Saturday, March 06, 2010

Economic Decline Is A Choice

Yet when we speak of "entitlements," or more precisely, against them, the first thing we face is public sector entitlements -- in Canada as in every other western or quasi-western country. The troubles the Greeks are now experiencing with their civil service, which is in a position to bring the country to a halt, is a warning for the road ahead.

And forget Greece, look at California. There one may see in clear North American daylight what a vast unspeakable public bankruptcy looks like. It was not an inevitable thing. Gentle reader need only compare, candidly, California with Texas -- which is flourishing, and whose voters know why. Economic decline is a choice, not a fate, and it has everything to do with big, intrusive government.


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Consider stocks priced not in money, but in gold.

Gold is a symbol for all the things you might want to buy.

Let's say stocks double, measured in dollars. Terrific, right? Not necessarily. Suppose the price of gold doubles, too. Not so terrific. You can't afford to buy anymore gold now than you could have before your stocks doubled.

Today, with stocks and gold each having risen over the last year — but with stocks rising more — one "unit" of the S&P can buy 99% of an ounce of gold. All we have to do is compare 73% a year ago to 99% now, and we can see that stocks, priced in gold, have risen 34.9%. Here's a chart showing the S&P 500 priced in gold over the last year.

Here's the most troubling part. The entire 34.9% gain made by stocks — priced in gold, that is — was achieved in just the first five weeks of rallying from the March 2009 bottom.
in reality they've just been sitting there. All risk, no reward.


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Take that "only 36,000" figure. The real number is actually 51,000 jobs lost, because the government counts 15,000 temporary workers hired by the Census as new jobs. But these jobs aren't, in any meaningful sense, real full-time jobs.

Would things have been better without all the snow? Undoubtedly. But we still would have lost jobs.

Then of course there's the very definition of unemployment.

If you count those who are discouraged or working part-time when they want a full-time job, the jobless rate soars to 16.8%.

Private sector employment gauges pretty much show the same thing. For instance, the pollsters at Gallup each month ask Americans questions about their employment. In February, the Gallup report shows, some 19.8% of Americans reported that they were underemployed or not employed at all.

That's one out of five workers — and even more than the 15 million unemployed estimated by the government.

The Winner Is...

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A Fox News poll asks, "What State Is Capital of Political Scandal?" The results so far:


It looks like even with the stuff that's been hitting the fan lately, the Dems running New York have a ways to go to catch up with the Dems running Illinois.

Next question: the notoriously septic political machine of which state produced the ham-fisted socialist currently occupying the White House?

Kurzweil On Subtleties

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The ending (spoiler alert) was a complete throwaway. The Na’vi defeat the immoral machines and their masters in a big battle, but if this mineral the evil corporation was mining is indeed worth a fortune per ounce, they would presumably come back with a more capable commander. Yet we hear Jake’s voice at the end saying that the mineral is no longer needed. If that’s true, then what was the point of the entire battle?

The Na’vi are presented as the ideal society, but consider how they treat their women. The men get to “pick” their women, and Jake is offered to take his choice once he earns his place in the society. Jake makes the heroine his wife, knowing full well that his life as a Na’vi could be cut off at any moment. And what kind of child would they have? Well, perhaps these complications are too subtle for the simplistic Avatar plot.

Friday, March 05, 2010


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Not enough people know about the Tides Foundation, which is one of the original “philanthropic” donation launderers for donors who don’t want to be tied to fringe activist groups. Frankly, there’s too much to tell, but they’re the sugar daddy for ACORN (whose founder, Wade Rathke, is intricately linked within Tides official leadership).

A look at their 2008 tax return, 160-plus pages, reads like a directory of the New Left. I’ve pulled out the donations to ACORN groups and Big Labor’s Working America Education Fund (not many people know unions take in ostensibly charitable donations) and one theme is clear: “general support” seems to be a popular phrase. Another theme: notice that states receiving money are critical to election-year success for Democrats. And finally, notice just how much money is being thrown around.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Containment II: The Mother Of All Moral Hazard

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8. The government can reasonably rely on debt ratings when it forms programs to lend money to buyers of otherwise unattractive debt instruments.

9. The government can indefinitely control both short-term and long-term interest rates.

10. The government can always rescue the markets or interfere with contract law whenever it deems convenient with little or no apparent cost. (Investors believe this now and, worse still, the government believes it as well. We are probably doomed to a lasting legacy of government tampering with financial markets and the economy, which is likely to create the mother of all moral hazards. The government is blissfully unaware of the wisdom of Friedrich Hayek: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”)


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18. When a government official says a problem has been “contained,” pay no attention.

19. The government – the ultimate short- term-oriented player – cannot with- stand much pain in the economy or the financial markets. Bailouts and rescues are likely to occur, though not with sufficient predictability for investors to comfortably take advantage. The government will take enormous risks in such interventions, especially if the expenses can be conveniently deferred to the future. Some of the price-tag is in the form of back- stops and guarantees, whose cost is almost impossible to determine.

20. Almost no one will accept responsibility for his or her role in precipitating a crisis: not leveraged speculators, not willfully blind leaders of financial institutions, and certainly not regulators, government officials, ratings agencies or politicians.

Stopped Clock Watch

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Joseph Stiglitz - former head economist at the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and a nobel-prize winner - said yesterday that the
very structure of the Federal Reserve system is so fraught with
conflicts that it is "corrupt" and undermines democracy.

Stiglitz said:

we [i.e. the IMF] had seen a governance structure that corresponds to
our Federal Reserve system, we would have been yelling and screaming
and saying that country does not deserve any assistance, this is a
corrupt governing structure.

Stiglitz pointed out
that - if another country had presented a plan to reform its financial
system, and included a regulatory regime that copied the makeup of the
Federal Reserve system - "it would have been a big signal that
something is wrong."

Not Enough

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A whistleblower has stepped forward in the largest and most corrupt enterprise in our country's history. The enterprise is the federal government; the whistleblower is South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who warns that the monstrous cancer metastasizing out of DC plans to place American citizens below animals in an appallingly greedy land grab:

A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job-creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development.

As for that pre-Hopey Change concept of consent of the governed:

President Obama could enact the plans in this memo with just the stroke of a pen, without any input from the communities affected by it.

The progressive authoritarians controlling the federal government are quite literally stealing our country away from us.

But it's still not enough. Via Knowledge Is Power.

Obviously Racist Whitey Democrat Wants To Impeach O Duce

Oh my, this one is the total package.
The victory in the 22nd Congressional District yesterday by LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers sent an unmistakable message to the White House, and its British imperial controllers: Your days are numbered. Kesha's campaign hit relentlessly at a single theme, that President Obama must go, that his attacks on this nation – with his dismantling of the manned space program, his efforts to ram through a fascist, killer “health care” policy, his endless bailouts for Wall Street swindlers, while demanding budget cuts which will increase the death rates among the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed – are not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.
Umm. Maybe not so whitey.

Du'O (Part 86,933)

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Don’t look surprised. The left has been remarkably candid about this over the past year or two. Again and again and again and again and again and again and again they’ve warned people that the dream is bigger than universal coverage or even the public option.

Memo from The One to progressives: Keep the dream alive.

Obama argued to the group of progressive members that his health care reform bill should be looked at as the foundation of reform, that can be built on in the future. He asked them to help gather votes for the final health care battle and promised that as soon as the bill was signed into law, he’d continue to push to make it stronger.

Obama pointed Kucinich toward single-payer language that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was able to get into the bill. Kucinich fought for an amendment that would allow states to adopt single-payer systems without getting sued by insurance companies. Obama told Kucinich that Sanders’s measure was similar but doesn’t kick in for several years.


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The title is from Columbia, and I should point out that this discovery on the Pacific Antarctic Ridge is 2800 miles from tip of the Antarctic peninsula, where volcanic activity is already well known. Examples are found at Deception Island and within the Bransfield strait. These two images I’ve prepared below (click to enlarge them) will give you a “lay of the land” so to speak.
A vent spews chemical fluids from the East Pacific Rise, about  5,600 miles from newly suspected vents on the Pacific Antarctic Ridge

A vent spews chemical fluids from the East Pacific Rise, about 5,600 miles from newly suspected vents on the Pacific Antarctic Ridge. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Scientists at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found evidence of hydrothermal vents on the seafloor near Antarctica, formerly a blank spot on the map for researchers wanting to learn more about seafloor formation and the bizarre life forms drawn to these extreme environments.


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Those of us who have looked at GISS and CRU code have been saying this for months. Now John Graham-Cumming has posted a statement with the UK Parliament about the quality and veracity of CRU code that has been posted, saying “they have not released everything”.

Memorandum submitted by John Graham-Cumming (CRU 55)

I am writing at this late juncture regarding this matter because I have now seen that two separate pieces of written evidence to your committee mention me (without using my name) and I feel it is appropriate to provide you with some further information. I am a professional computer programmer who started programming almost 30 years ago. I have a BA in Mathematics and Computation from Oxford University and a DPhil in Computer Security also from Oxford. My entire career has been spent in computer software in the UK, US and France.

ooking at the software itself I was surprised to see that it was of poor quality.

How To Cut



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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON CALIFORNIA’S DRONISM: “The well-off like nice cars, tasteful homes, good food, and appropriate vacations — but not the oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, transmission lines, timber, cement, farmland, water pumps, etc., that bring that to them. . . . The less well-off want their versions of the same things — cool clothes, good music players, neat cell phones, the best plasma TVs, blue-ray players, video games — but are not interested in the hard study and discipline necessary for a society to create the sort of educated work force that makes and deserves such appurtenances.”

All O Lie

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There are lots of previous Obama quotes to that effect offered in this post at Michelle Malkin’s (hat tip: commenter “adrian”). Here are a couple from 2007:

The bottom line is that our healthcare plans are similar, the question once again is, who can get it done? Who can build a movement for change? This is an area where we’re going to have to have a 60% majority in the Senate and the House in order to actually get a bill to my desk. We’re going to have to have a majority to get a bill to my desk. That is not just a fifty plus one majority…

You’ve got to break out of what I call the sort of fifty plus one pattern of presidential politics. Maybe you eke out a victory of fifty plus one. Then you can’t govern. You know, you get Air Force One, there are a lot of nice perks, but you can’t deliver on healthcare. We are not going to pass universal health care with a fifty plus one strategy.

But like almost everything else that comes out of Obama’s mouth, it turns out that it was all a lie.

Ramming Speed

Michael Ramirez imagines what would have happened if there had been a translator present at President Obama's speech today; click to enlarge:


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

UHI Again

Global hourly surface temperature observations and 1 km resolution population density data for the year 2000 are used together to quantify the average urban heat island (UHI) effect. While the rate of warming with population increase is the greatest at the lowest population densities, some warming continues with population increases even for densely populated cities. Statistics like those presented here could be used to correct the surface temperature record for spurious warming caused by the UHI effect, providing better estimates of temperature trends.

All station pairs within 150 km of each other had their 1-year average difference in temperature related to their difference in population. Averaging of these station pairs’ results was done in 10 population bins each for Station1 and Station2, with bin boundaries at 0, 20, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 50000 persons per sq. km.


-50 Degrees C, Update Edition

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Which of these states is closest to 20,000 square kilometers in area?

WUWT reader “DC” points us to this Gore-esque pronouncement from a USGS scientist about “Antarctic ice loss”.

Ms. FERRIGNO: I think I’ll go back 20 years, and in the last 20 years, I would say at least 20,000 square kilometers of ice has been lost, and that’s comparable to an area somewhere between the state of Texas and the state of Alaska.

RAZ: So about the size of the state of Texas in terms of ice has been lost in the past 20 years. ”

It gets better.

Ms. Ferrigno might do well to have a look at this map of the USA and Antarctica compared at Texas A&M University’s Polar Science program to get a sense of scale.

Here’s the story on all the Southern hemisphere sea ice, which includes all Antarctic sea ice, from Cryosphere today:

Maybe Ms. Ferrigno will be embarrassed enough by her geographic ineptitude and will heed Gavin Schmidt’s advice and stop trying to “persuade the public“.

Question is!: What is the average yearly temperature of Antarctica?


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The program is codenamed "Einstein"

The Obama administration lifted the veil Tuesday on a highly-secretive set of policies to defend the U.S. from cyber attacks...

...Homeland program known as Einstein...

...The program is designed to look for indicators of cyber attacks by digging into all Internet communications, including the contents of emails, according to the declassified summary...

DHS? An Obama program called Einstein? What could possibly go wrong?

Greece O The Pacific

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Violence breaks out as students at the flagship school of the University of California protest stiff tuition hikes.

 Students at the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus took to the streets on Friday night, vandalizing university buildings, burning trash cans and clashing with police in the latest expression of frustration over cuts to the educational budget in California.


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On Feb. 4, 2009, the smelter closed.

Workers gathered in the high school gym. Gov. Joe Manchin, a pro-union Democrat, came up from Charleston. "The world's changing," he said.

In the America where things are made, the recession has been a depression. According to a new Northeastern University study, one in every six blue-collar industrial jobs have disappeared since 2007, matching the drop in overall employment in the Great Depression.

Last year, about 1.3 million factory jobs vanished, including Shumaker's. For the first time, the government announced in January, most union members are government employees, not private-sector workers.

One-horse towns such as Ravenswood risk losing their reason for being, says Juravich, who teaches about labor at the University of Massachusetts. Without a hospital or university campus or county seat, "they're one plant shutdown from oblivion."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Still Here

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The More Things Change the More They Stay Insane


Obama signs one-year extension of Patriot Act



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The Huffington Post has figured out an explanation for why their flawless god still engages in the human failing of smoking tobacco, it's the Republicans fault. Obama only smokes because Republicans are blocking his agenda.


O Stains And Seeds

The poem is much more poignant if one imagines that Davis wrote it. Whether he is writing about a young friend, a son, a sexual initiate, or some combination of the three will likely never be known. If Davis named the poem "Pop" for his own literal fatherhood, it is quite possible that Obama himself never knew.

The progressive media do not care to know. And in their world, there is no greater offense than to seek to know something they have chosen not to. Ask Joe McCarthy or Whittaker Chambers or Gary Aldrich or the AGW "denialists" or the Swiftboaters or the CIA interrogators or even poor Linda Tripp. Ask the "birthers."

The literary faithful who have reviewed "Pop" prefer to see in it the seeds of the literary genius that would seemingly blossom in Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. I see in it signs that Obama, even as an adolescent, was willing to take full credit for something he could not himself write.

Monday, March 01, 2010


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Donald Trump is not a big believer in global warming. "With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast, the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore," the tycoon told members of his Trump National Golf Club in Westchester in a recent speech. "Gore wants us to clean up our factories and plants in order to protect us from global warming, when China and other countries couldn't care less. It would make us totally noncompetitive in the manufacturing world, and China, Japan and India are laughing at America's stupidity." The crowd of 500 stood up and cheered.

Cardboard Cutouts

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Keynes and Hayek are the archetypes of two very different schools of economic thought. Keynes was a leading proponent of interventionist government policies. His ideas influenced, and often drove, economic policies in Western nations from WW II through the late ‘70s. In 1942, for his service to Britain, he was elevated to the peerage and become the First Baron of Tilton.

Hayek was the leading voice for free markets and against collectivism.

Two brilliant thinkers who suffered the two worst fates for public intellectuals. Hayek’s forgotten. His ideas are largely ignored by policy makers and lampooned by pundits. Keynes has been reduced to a cartoon, hauled out by politicians every time the economy noses down.

The world would be a richer place, literally, if we paid attention to the real men. Not the cardboard cutouts we have today.

It isn't often that I send you to Kos for a RTWT. And jaw droppingly, Hayek is durrently winning the poll 713 to 26! I think that's because the Kossacks won't read it and Glenn linked it of course.


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UPDATE: Oh, hell, I’m reprinting the whole thing.

Ms. Chana Joffe-Walt and Mr. David Kestenbaum
All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Dear Ms. Joffe-Walt and Mr. Kestenbaum:

Your excellent February 26, 2010, report on the history of how government officials chose the different methods that Medicare has used over the years to determine doctors’ pay is frightening because…

… in your report, Joe Califano, a chief architect of Medicare, admits that the first method of determining doctors’ pay was chosen for political reasons, namely, to buy doctors’ support for Medicare.

… you report that Mr. Califano, LBJ, and Congress were genuinely surprised by the rapid cost increases sparked by this first method.

ends with the admission that, because the current method isn’t working so well, Uncle Sam – 45 years after Medicare was launched – is still searching for a sound method for determining physicians’ pay.

Given this history, what reason is there to suppose that Obamacare is a good idea?

Sunday, February 28, 2010


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I recently heard about the work of an American psychologist who discovered that in the Fifties only 12 per cent of youngsters agreed with the statement, 'I am an important person'. By the end of the Eighties, that figure had risen to 80 per cent. I think we can all guess what it is now.

Children leaving school today no longer want to be doctors or lawyers or architects. All I ever hear is 'I wanna be famous', or ' I wanna be a celeb'.

There is an epidemic of fame-obsessed youngsters - aged between ten and 25 - who wrongly believe celebrity is a shortcut to wealth and happiness, and who are convinced it will bring them everything they want. An entire generation that doesn't understand that nothing worth having comes easily.

Du'O (Part 86,932)

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From Reagan, A Life in Letters:

Today so many things we once thought of as personal or private responsibility are now just accepted as government's job.

Government exists to protect rights which are ours from birth; the right to life, to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A man may choose to sit and fish instead of working. That's his pursuit of happiness. He does not have the right to force his neighbors to support him (welfare) in his pursuit because that interferes with their pursuit of happiness.

Live The Dream ... Please

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