Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What percentage of organic farmers ...

Do you suppose voted for the new "transparent government" Obama?


Monday, March 30, 2009

Speaking of Corellations...

Went in to a meeting at work today, and people were talking about Europe. Holland came up, and someone threw out that unemployment is 40% there. (update: it really is much lower, and maybe it wasn't Holland -- but it's the conversation that follows that's baffling)

I don't know if that's true. Sounds a little high to me. I do know it's high, but I don't know about that high. But consider the conversation that followed in the room. It went something like this:

"Yeah, it's like, normal for them. They just accept it. It's no big deal."

"Well, at least they have socialized medicine and a lot of social programs."

"Even for anyone who's been there for 6 months."

"Yeah, they take care of their own."
And that didn't give them any pause! What's unemployment here in the USA in economic bad times? Up to 8%, maybe headed to 10%?

I'm quite certain there wasn't high unemployment in Holland, and THEN the government came in and took care of those unemployed, keeping the level steady or making it fall. I'm pretty sure the "taking care of" came first, and unemployment went up subsequently.

Is it really that hard to understand? You make it more expensive to employ people, and make it less expensive (and uncomfortable) to be unemployed ... what are you doing?

You are discouraging employment and encouraging unemployment.

Kind of ties in with this, which I found at Morgan's blog and was floored by (we love Mike Rowe. We gave Dirty Jobs season 1 to our godchildren for Christmas. Perhaps we should follow up with this). You really need to watch the whole thing. It's about 20 minutes.

I grew up milking cows, feeding and butchering chickens, collecting and cleaning eggs, slopping pigs, trapping rabbits — killing and cleaning them, mucking stalls, bucking hay. My brothers and I harvested several acres of corn with large knives and a trailer on the back of a tractor. We cut and split several cords of wood each year to heat our house. I’ve had my arm up to my elbow in the back end of a cow at 2:00 in the morning trying to re-position a breach calf so it could actually be born without killing it’s mom — because the vet’s arms were too big. He was instructing this 15-year-old what to do, and I did it.

I watched my Dad and two brothers build our house, and for two summers I did it myself with another construction crew. The third summer my brother and I built a garage.

I’ve had dirty jobs, and I know what Mike’s talking about here. His revelation is brilliant and timely. Just like “flyover country”, there are “flyover jobs”, and “flyover people” who do them in every state, in every city and township.

I have a “clean” job now, but I remember well what it was like doing the dirty ones, standing on a hot afternoon with sweat pouring off my bare back and sawdust stuck to me everywhere, a bandana around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes — maybe balanced on a wall we’d just put up.

I have respect for each and every one of those people who come in and do their job and take a little pride in it and do it well. I also have no respect for people who stick their noses up at these people like those people are somehow beneath them. They actually piss me off. And it’s not terribly easy to piss me off.

A Tale of a List of Headlines

Correlation? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Climate Change We Can Believe In

Stories like this are all too common.  And here's one in our local paper about yesterday's "Earth Hour".
Rain and cool temperatures put a damper on two public gatherings last night in observance of the second annual Earth Hour in Columbia.
Psssst!  Maybe Mother Earth is trying to tell you something.  Like go home.  Enjoy life.
About a half-dozen people and about as many reporters gathered at the south end of Eighth Street on the University of Missouri campus for a “lights out” watch party to see the dome of Jesse Hall go dark.

Then they walked to Missouri United Methodist Church at 204 S. Ninth St., where they joined another small group to attend a multi-faith service intended to spread the word about climate change.
I wonder if any of them were the same people who were laughing at the 500 or so "Republican" "Fascists" at the Tea Party event in Flat Branch Park a couple of weeks ago?
Columbia Earth Hour organizer Monta Welch said the wintry weather probably caused the light turnout.
Errrr... sure. If it makes you feel better.  Imagine away.  I imagine I was watching a basketball game.  On my electricity-driven TV.  With the heater and the lights on.  And a cold beer.  Chilled by my extra refrigerator.  With "Earth Hour" the farthest thing from my mind.  My wife said she wishes she'd known.  She would have turned on ALL of the lights in the house.

I love that woman.  ;-)

But wait, it gets better.
But even at the public events, things were not completely dark. MU kept lights around the base of the Jesse Hall dome illuminated, showing flags on the building. The service at the Methodist church was held in a renovated section of the building where the lights operate on motion sensors.
So here's six people sitting around in the dark dim light (or full, bright light when they went indoors where it was warm) in the cold for an hour smugly attempting to raise awareness about how our electricity use is causing global warming climate change.  And they imagined everyone in Columbia was at home playing cards by candle light.   I'm sure they feel very good about themselves today, which is why they were really there.
At Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, manager Desmond Peters said the restaurant dimmed its lights “to raise awareness that our lifestyles can be harmful to the environment.”

But Earth Hour was a surprise to at least one couple enjoying dinner and wine,

Matt and Lynett Morasch of the Columbia area said it was their first visit to the restaurant. “We didn’t know about it,” Matt Morasch said of Earth Hour. “We figured it was just real dark.”
Nah. You were just surrounded by a bunch of dim wits.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life Is Still Not A Bumper Sticker

My regular readers (all 6 of you!) are aware of my general feelings on bumper stickers.  I live in a college town where you see whole back ends of cars practically held together with a conglomeration of liberal niceties and outrages, like a huge cacophonous billboard of nonsense masquerading as common sense.

I'd like to respond, but I refuse to turn my car into anything similar, therefore I have the "one bumper sticker at a time" rule.

One of my earliest ones I actually had made, I shamelessly lifted from a comment Mark Steyn had made.  He had told a caller to a talk show "Well, life isn't a bumper sticker" when she basically asked why we can't just live our lives like some bumper sticker she mentioned -- said.

Well thanks to David Malki of Wondermark fame (my new favorite web comic strip) ... we have the sticker in the upper left of this post.

In case you can't read it... 
"Bumper stickers are an ineffectual means of communicating my nuanced views on a variety of issues that cannot be reduced to a simple pithy slogan"


On the GIVE Act

Such a cute name.  "GIVE".  A more apt title might be "GIVE! (or else!)"

Apparently my almost "blow off" post the other day on (what I called) the Hitler Youth Act is attracting a lot of attention ... for this little corner of the blog-o-verse... lately.  If you're one of those people, welcome.  I'm not in it for the attention, but welcome.  Poke around.  

On that same site (opencongress.org) another blog that was linked had an article that looked like a memo that went out to the Rock The Vote crowd ... youth activist groups -- urging members to call their congress-critters and urge them to vote for it.  I was compelled to leave a response, which I'll reproduce here.
Reshape the country on your own dime. When the government decides to take charge of shaping the citizenry, we transform from being in control of the government to the government controlling us. We change from free men to subjects.

Many groups would like to shape America. Animal rights groups (vegans, etc). Religious groups. Nazis. The KKK. Uber-environmental groups. And as long as they want to do it on their own dime and try to convince people their causes are worth joining, it's ok with me. That's the way it's supposed to work. Win me over by argument, or try, anyway.

When arguments fail to persuade people, there is always the temptation to go to the government and use it's coercive power to force people to do what we cannot persuade them to do. This goes against every ideal our Founders layed out for the country. And yet it's been done successfully, over and over. It doesn't make it right.

This is not the job of government. Changing society is the job of you and me, and we may have conflicting opinions. We let the marketplace of ideas work it out.

The worst part of this is forcing people to fund the indoctrination of their own children it things they might very well be directly opposed to themselves.

There is nothing stopping anyone from organizing their own volunteer organizations, indeed, there have been many since before the country began. We need to stop looking to government to do these things for us. That's not its role.

Media Malpractice

I ordered John Ziegler's "How Obama Got Elected" video last week and watched it.

Let me first say that I'm glad someone's out there doing things like this. John is a patriot and is doing an invaluable service and I commend him highly for his efforts.

That being said, I will say that while his overall message was well validated, I thought some of the points were weak. Some of them were very strong, don't get me wrong, but I think the film got a little watered down by the weaker ones, many of which probably could have been made better, or cut out and the film would have been stronger (albiet maybe shorter). I don't know how much time John had to track things down. I suspect he spent a huge chunk of his life (and his own money!) on this project, and again, I appreciate it. After all, what have I done?

The most damning bit, however, came at the end of the film. It seems that John had interviewed some Obama voters and they come off shockingly ignorant. But that wasn't scientific enough for John.

So he commissioned a Zogby poll to see if his observation bore out in a larger, more scientifically controlled population.

This overwhelms the small negative gripes I had about Ziegler's work here. What it shows is the effect of what the film suggested -- that the news media had painted a glowing, soft-focus picture of Obama that lacked any substance, driving home the negative points left-wingers made about McCain/Palin, and dismissing any negative points about Obama/Biden.

And here's what drove the final nail into the media's coffin and finished making Ziegler's case.

When he went to commission a similar poll on McCain voters -- Zogby, having seen the results of this poll ... refused to do it. But he did get Wilson to do a poll. The results speak for themselves.

From an Op-Ed Ziegler did subsequently:

Next, I issued a challenge on national TV to liberals to duplicate the Zogby results with McCain voters (and offered to pay for it myself if McCain voters didn’t outperform Obama voters on the “quiz”). Despite loads of belly-aching from the left that Zogby only polled Obama voters no legitimate takers took me up on my offer. So I decided to go ahead and do it myself. Zogby, seemingly intimidated by the firestorm of negative reaction, declined to take my money to do virtually the identical poll that his company was thrilled to do just a week before.

After discovering that other polling outlets were similarly frightened by the prospect of having the Obama-backers harass them, I was able to find a reputable one that was not. If ever there was proof of the adage “Be careful what you wish for…” the results of the ensuing survey are it. The Obama-backers are going to have to reignite their spin/assault machine of rationalization in a huge way.

One of the more interesting points seemed to be the disparity of general knowledge between those who watch Fox News and those who do not. And it wasn't in the direction the Fox bashers would have us believe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

House Passes Youth Slavery Act

Read it and weep. The Hitler Youth has come to America. Or what used to be America.

Fox News Reports on it here.

Update: On the GIVE Act

Since I appear to be getting a relatively large number of hits from OpenCongress.Org -- to you I say welcome. Poke around.

Reshape the country on youjavascript:void(0)r own dime. When the government decides to take charge of shaping the citizenry, we transform from being in control of the government to the government controlling us. We change from free men to subjects.

Many groups would like to shape America. Animal rights groups (vegans, etc). Religious groups. Nazis. The KKK. Uber-environmental groups. And as long as they want to do it on their own dime and try to convince people their causes are worth joining, it's ok with me. That's the way it's supposed to work. Win me over by argument, or try, anyway.

When arguments fail to persuade people, there is always the temptation to go to the government and use it's coercive power to force people to do what we cannot persuade them to do. This goes against every ideal our Founders layed out for the country. And yet it's been done successfully, over and over. It doesn't make it right.

This is not the job of government. Changing society is the job of you and me, and we may have conflicting opinions. We let the marketplace of ideas work it out.

The worst part of this is forcing people to fund the indoctrination of their own children it things they might very well be directly opposed to themselves.

There is nothing stopping anyone from organizing their own volunteer organizations, indeed, there have been many since before the country began. We need to stop looking to government to do these things for us. That's not its role.

Ever Consider This?

"Never waste a good crisis."
               - Rahm Emanuel

Ever get the feeling someone added:

"As a matter of fact, if you can exacerbate the situation, you can get away with a whole lot more."

But Chris, we TOLD you he wasn't

We SHOWED you he wasn't. And you didn't believe us.

I Thought Obama Was a Serious Man - Christopher Buckley

All of the associations, the influences, the two autobiographies by 47, the things he said ... that we brought up ... dismissed. "Oh, let's focus on the issues."

With the president, the prime issue is character. Everything else can be learned.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Obama Bumper Bummer Sticker

I made a typo when I first went to title this post.  I typed "Bummer" instead of "Bumper".... which I decided was actually appropriate.

On my way to work this morning, I passed a car parked on my street for the bijillionth time... the first car I ever saw with the "Hope Won" bumper sticker.  And it made me think of this, in keeping with Morgan's new recurring theme post category.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bush Derangement Syndrome Lives

I have a college friend who has veered so sharply to the left it's really not funny. She activist, vegan, and assumes Bush is the embodiment of evil.

She posted a link the other day to a story where Bush was quoted, talking about his impending memoirs:
"I'm going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there's an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened."
Of course the BDS'ers have their collective knickers in a wad over the word "authoritarian". Clearly, the word George was looking for was "authoritative".

But going by word roots and suffixes to arrive at a meaning, is there really a meaningful difference between the word he used and the word he should have used in the context he used it? Would they be any less consternated had he used "authoritative"? I doubt it.

A comment on the link said "He still thinks he's the decider." Well, he's talking about his memoirs and how he's going to handle getting across what was going through his mind when he made the decisions he made -- when he was the decider. After 8 years of having the left-wing media and academic intelligentia "decide" for us what he was thinking and "authoritatively" instructing us on what, excactly, that was, apparently we will soon hear what it actually was from the most authoritative source we could possibly get on the subject... that being from the very mind those facts and thoughts and resultant decisions came from.

They still think they're the deciders -- in regards to who Bush is and what his motives were.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Maybe I can start occasionally reading Maureen again

My home page is RCP. It's a good spectrum of opinion, including columnists I have fundamental disagreements with, like Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd.

Paul & Maureen were both infected with a severe case of Bush Derangement Syndrome during the Bush years, though, and after reading way to many rabid articles by both columnists, I decided I just couldn't read them anymore. They went on a "no go" list, which I seldom violated and always regretted when I did.

Even though I admittedly have sort of a crush on Maureen ... well, her head shot anyway. A pretty Irish lass, she is, even though we'd probably end up in a death match with our thumbs crushing each others' throats. (Yes, Morgan, I know you disagree with me on the "pretty Irish lass" thing. What can I say? I'm a weak man.)

But as she seems to have a few surprisingly harsh words for President Obama (perhaps she was a Hillary Democrat? Or maybe she shook her head and is seeing a bit more clearly) I violated my "no go" rule once again. Besides, I hadn't seen her pretty mug in a while.

RCP often re-titles a headline ... usually with something from the article. The RCP title was "Tough Talk From the Teleprompter" -- which I liked. (As an aside, doesn't it creep people out just a little that perhaps Obama is a talking machine that is programmed by a group of people with an agenda who hand picked him as their PR boy -- programmed through that very teleprompter? But I digress.)

The actual headline on her article is "No Boiled Carrots", a reference to what sounds like an old Irish saying her father used to use "Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot". Which I also like. Maureen, you're growing on me. We still have fundamentally different worldviews, but it appears there may be more overlap than I had once imagined.

Maureen is upset about money being thrown down the bottomless pit, and upset that if we were going to throw money down a bottomless pit that Mr. Obama should have attatched a few strings to it, like "hey, if you couldn't afford to pay bonuses before we gave you the money, you ain't payin' afterward or you ain't gettin' it." Which I agree with.

If we didn't want the money used for bonuses, we should've said so in the "contract". We didn't, and I doubt that legally there's anything we can do about it. Which I doubt will stop the administration from trying. Such things didn't stop FDR from going after people who made money on things that were legal but later the government decided it didn't like. But ... something about "no ex post facto". Part of our founding ideology dogma principles. (Can we talk about "principles"? I know, they're not scientific. But polls are. Sort of.)

So... a Maureen Dowd article that shows we have some common ground. Too bad I'm already married. ;-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Selective Facts

This morning I heard about a breakup of a plot to bomb an Ikea store in Amsterdam. They gave us the facts ... that some of them are thought to have been involved in the Madrid bombing, that there were males and females, and what their ages were. But I guess they just couldn't put their finger on anything that ties them all together, some little detail they had in common... hmmmm .... hmmmm .... nope, just can't come up with anything.

You know, if McCain flies somewhere and has dinner with a female campaign official that happens to be attractive, the press has no problems reporting speculative motives ... is it an affair??? After all, he's male and powerful, and she's female and attractive!!! But apparently absolutely no curiosity as to what the motive behind the thwarted Ikea boming might have been.

They're all European citizens, maybe? Well are they? Was the question even asked? What else might have tied them together? Did we mention they were males and females of various ages?

So you have to wonder why the detail about the local radio station that organized this event ... the detail that it happens to be a "Conservative" radio station -- was deemed important. I mean, there were males and females there from all age groups. Hey, one of them was even a French National. They could have just said it was a local radio station, you know, like the people involved in the bomb plot were "people" of no particular ethnic or religious background. No binding belief system that drove them to try it.

Could it be that it's ok to marginalize Conservatives for their opinions but not to marginalize Muslims because Muslims seem to be making threats, and backing them up by slitting throats and bombing public places every time you turn around?

I don't care if they characterize the crowd or the radio station as "Conservative", frankly. But when the media selectively qualifies like that (you don't hear about the "Liberal" news channel MSNBC) you can bet it's being done to marginalize the noun being modified by it.

Divorcing Science From ethics "ideology"

When we divorce science and ethics, we get things like Eugenics. This leads to things like dictating that people's roles in society. Slavery. Euthanizing retarded people. Genocide.

Yeah, not a good road to go down, Barack.

I heard a paraphrased quote from well-known stem cell researcher Jamie Thompson who said something to the effect that if embryonic stem cell research doesn't give you pause, you haven't thought about it enough.

I'd like to find the source of that quote and get the actual quote.

Boston Columbia Tea Party

The peasants are getting restless. Yesterday several people from in and around Columbia, MO got together to protest how and how much money is being spent on so-called economic stimulus. To us it seems like an excuse to expand the size and role of government in our lives -- and at the very least we want our legislators to READ THE BILLS before they VOTE ON THEM.

No death threats. No comparing people to Hitler. Nobody was rude. Matter of fact, the crowd was pretty quiet for a protest event for the most part. Nobody seemed to be there to draw attention to themselves. It was apparent that the people here were a little uncomfortable, in fact, about the prospect of being the center of attention. There were occasional cheers and a few shoutouts when the MC's or interviewees said something they liked. But mostly, just a bunch of decent, fed-up people.

There were some reporters there. One came up to this guy because of the Don't Tread On Me flag. Apparently he had some memo from the Missouri Highway Patrol on how to spot potential militia members. This flag was one of the signs. It was also news to the reporter that this flag was designed by some of the founders. The use of the rattlesnake for a national symbol can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Obama's Narcissism, and America on the Brink

My wife forwarded me et. al. an email today ... some Israeli psychologist (not a medical expert) apparently well versed in the study of narcissism wrote that he thinks Obama is a narcissist and why, and what he thinks that means. I didn't really respond so much to the guy's argument... as a matter of fact, I only read past the first paragraph AFTER I responded. Because to me it is obvious without reading an expert's opinion.

And that reply follows:

I have no doubt that he is, as are many of his supporters. A large portion of the people who voted for him voted for him to be seen voting for him, to be on "the right side" when their progressive friends asked -- so they could be all painted with Hopey-Changiness.

The guy wrote two autobiographies by his mid 40's! And biggest claim to fame seems to have been his "community organizing" with the shake-down group ACORN. There's no question he's a narcissist.

If you listen to him when he speaks and actually try to make logical sense out of what he's saying, it quickly becomes apparent that he is saying nothing -- nothing that he can be pinned down on. Ultimately there is a lot of flash and little substance to his words. It's gotten him far in life. In his own words: "I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." It is clear that he nurtures this image with his lofty but empty language.

I'll tell you what really bugs me, though, is his repeated talk of removing "ideology" from government. What he means to his core supporters on the far left is "Christian Ideology". But Progressive Ideology is just fine, apparently. It's somenow "not" ideology, (even though progressivism definitely has its own moral code - or "ideology"). In the larger context, it's even more scary. What it really means is that if you disagree with the cause, you're an "idealogue", and your opinions are to be dismissed out of hand, end of discussion. And that cause seems to be To each according to his needs, from each according to his means. And of course it's the government that gets to decide who needs and doesn't need what. It's not even thinly veiled socialism, it's socialism with a flashy paint-job. It's socialism of the "National Socialist" flavor, which in Italy was Fascism (where the State is in effect God, becoming the arbitor of morality) and in Germany, Nazism (Nazi was a German abbreviation for "National Socialist").

As we've seen in the past, these movements eventually get particularly ugly with those who do not get on the bandwagon and support it. Excuses come up to imprison or dispose of those who espouse or promote incorrect thought. Already we see conservatives being marginalized by progressive organizations, progressive politicians as evil, mean, or just stupid, depending on their social class. Oh, and the trump card is "racist". Or if you happen to be a black conservative like Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Condeleeza Rice, Bob Parks, or Michael Steele -- then you're an "Uncle Tom". Either way, the message is the same. You're not worth listening to.

And his party has a majority on the House and a near super majority in the Senate. Quite scary.

If you'd asked me a few years ago what the greatest threat to the country was, I'd've said the global Islamist threat. But apparently the country's fundamental character has changed if we can muster enough people to vote for you that promises a nebulous "I'll give most of you more money from the Treasury" and Hope™ and Change™ to go along with it. I can't believe so many people fell for that deliberately ambiguous sideshow and gave him a pass on the litany of past associations, speeches, interviews, and writings that showed absolutely who he was on the inside.

But today the danger Abe Lincoln spoke of no longer seems abstract to me.
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. - Abraham Lincoln
I no longer believe that it must be some future generation that will be its author and finisher.


I saw California senator Diane Feinstein on the news defending her earmarks in the so-called "economic stimulus" package.

“Candidly, why be an appropriator if you can’t help your state?”

Candidly, I can't believe you're being that candid, Diane. Because here's the deal. You should not be there to appropriate funds for your state. Maybe you are, but that's not why you should be there. The fact is, the Federal Government shouldn't be doling out money to the states. It does, I know, and that is unfortunate and should be scaled back to a bare minimum. This was one of the things I liked about McCain -- his fierce opposition to earmarks.

Supposedly, Obama had similar objections, but is apparently not willing to back them up with action (or he didn't mean what he said in the first place and was just politicking to get elected).

When a robber goes to a store and demands money at the point of a gun, he is "appropriating". That's why he's there. Hey, he may even be trying to feed his family. It doesn't mean it's right.

To add insult to injury, I recently read that California, as a separate entity, is the world's 6th or 7th largest economy. And they're bankrupt. Because they promised the Progressive Moon and when the bill came due they couldn't pay. And Diane's going to Washington to get other states to subsidize Califorinia's excess.

This is the kind of Change Hoped for by conservatives who were duped into supporting Obama.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A rare, well-balanced discussion of the ESCR issue

by William Saletan in his editorial on Obama's Embryonic Stem Cell Research decision.

Agree or disagree where you may, but at least this person recognizes that moral questions are not merely irrational religious beliefs.

He is for the decision, I believe. It's just refreshing to see that someone understands that opponents of embryonic stem-cell research have moral objections as valid as moral objections to torture.

He sums it up pretty well here:

Think about what's being dismissed here as "politics" and "ideology." You don't have to equate embryos with full-grown human beings—I don't—to appreciate the danger of exploiting them. Embryos are the beginnings of people. They're not parts of people. They're the whole thing, in very early form. Harvesting them, whether for research or medicine, is different from harvesting other kinds of cells. It's the difference between using an object and using a subject. How long can we grow this subject before dismembering it to get useful cells? How far should we strip-mine humanity in order to save it?
Later in the article he does talk about opponents being "on the losing side of history". Mr. Saletan and others should recognize that history isn't a line of progress, but a tree with many dead ends along the way. Even evolutionary charts show this. In other words, Change isn't always Progress.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Stem Cell Research: Not Illegal

You'd never know it by reading the headlines, or watching or listening to the news, but guess what?

Stem Cell Research, even embryonic stem cell research, is not, and has not been illegal.

Federal funding for it, under Bush, isn't even illegal for existing lines of embryonic stem cells. Something like 25 million federal dollars went to human embryonic stem cell research last year. But private funding has been neither illegal nor limited, nor has the research itself.

Proponents love to ridicule people with quaint notions of ethics ... "ideology" or "small thinking", as Obama likes to call it as being backward people who don't believe in science. But the fact is that many, many people in this country believe that it is wrong to kill a human embryo, that it is tantamount to murder, and they don't want any part in funding it. Why, then, should the coercive power of the government be allowed to force them to do it?

So next time you hear someone talking about "legalizing" stem cell research (oh, and federal funding of non-embryonic stem cell research has never been banned, either) -- keep this in mind.

It's About The Word

I commented on an article over at RCP over the weekend, and I'm reproducing that comment as a post here.
And for what end? Not so that gays can have the full package of rights and duties that go with the institution of matrimony. They already have those -- insofar as the state of California can provide them -- thanks to a domestic partnership law that duplicates everything about marriage except the name. This is not a fight over fundamental equality. It's a fight over nomenclature.
This hits the nail on the head.

At the crux of this is the fact that marriage isn't a right bestowed upon us by the government. Marriage is a social institution that has been recognized by the government (mainly have a legal basis to enforce the terms of that social contract should grievances arise over breaches of it), and when it was recognized it was recognized by name.

Now we have those in society that would like to extend the definition of that that social institution by fiat of the goverment. But it is not theirs or the government's to extend.

States like California had it right when they went for a parallel institution (or perhaps even by defining an institution that encompasses marriage as well as other domestic partnerships).

The other route -- having the state re-define society's definition of marriage, and do so by deciding over the will of the people, not by the will of the people -- is what is wrong with this whole thing.

Gay "marriage" isn't illegal. Any gay couple can have a ceremony where they commit to each other and they can call it whatever they want, including "marriage". Nobody will come arrest them.

It's when they want to use the coercive power of the government to force those who don't accept it as "marriage" to at least do it with lip-service where it wanders into First Amendment territory, and I'm talking about the religion part of it.

The so-called "separation of church and state" was put there so that the government couldn't foist the mores of any particular institution of religion on all of the people. What it really means is there is no official state religion. But increasingly, progressivism is becoming the state religion, and one of its mores is the idea that gay unions are the same as heterosexual unions and that everybody should accept and adopt that definition.

Most people do not agree. I'm fairly sure we could get a majority in practically every state, if not all of them to agree to recognize domestic partnerships, gay unions, "gairages" ... or whatever. But that is not what gay marriage proponents want, despite what they say.

Jim Cramer is probably on the cusp of conversion

All the parts are there, they just need to be baked into the final product. Right now, they're half-baked, but I mean that in a "glass is half full" sort of way.

Jim has recently noticed something I've heard from Dennis Miller and at least one other friend I have who has made the transition from the left to the right. And that is the observation that people on the right are generally much more civil than their counterparts on the left.

Jim Cramer:
It is funny how the right is certainly very civil as my old friends and new allies as of last week, Fred Barnes and Sean Hannity, don't hold my left wing social view against me when they talk about my criticism of the president! I always love anyone from Fox on the team because they are fierce in their defense with much less gratuitous slamming.
The one last ingredient Mr. Cramer seems to be missing is related to this: he believes that Obama's social agenda is a good one. That expanding government even more to provide services at further expense to "the rich" (who already pay the vast majority of taxes in the US) is a good thing, just not right now. So my question for Jim is, why would it ever be good?

Suppose, during good times, we enacted some of this social agenda. First, we must recognize that for the same reasons it is bad during bad times, it will at least add drag to the economy making those good times less good. This means jobs don't get created as quickly, retirement accounts don't grow as quickly, and maybe a few jobs even get lost.

Second, we must recognize that bad times will come again -- and using the logic Cramer is using that would mean those social programs would need to be scaled back for the economy to heal itself. But of course when times are bad that's the absolute worst time to scale back social programs that people have come to rely on.

So it is better not to have them in the first place.

The preamble to the Constitution does not speak of Life, Liberty, and free or subsidized health care. Employment isn't an inalienable right, nor is access to government unemployment programs. We have thrown trillions into social programs over the years, and the problems they were designed to address have not gone away. Sure, some individuals have been helped, but the problem has only grown. This is because you always get more of what you subsidize. Subsidize the poor, you get more poor. Subsidize unemployment and you get more unemployment. Subsidize babies and you get more babies. And so on.

It's basic economics, Jim.

"If you're not a liberal by the time you're 20, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." - unknown

UPDATE 3/11/2009
"President Obama's team, unlike Bush's team, demonstrates a thinness of skin that shocks me. When I somewhat obviously and empirically judged that the populist Obama administration is exacerbating the crisis with its budget and policies, as evidenced by the incredible decline in the [stock market] averages since his inauguration, I was met immediately with condescension and ridicule rather than constructive debate or even just benign dismissal. I said to myself, 'What the heck? Are they really that blind to the Great Wealth Destruction they are causing with their decisions to demonize the bankers, raise taxes for the wealthy, advocate draconian cap-and-trade policies and upend the health care system? Do they really believe that only the rich own stocks? What do they think we have our retirement accounts in, CDs? Where did they think that the money saved for college went, our mattresses?" --MSNBC's Jim Cramer

Sunday, March 08, 2009

You would think...

The western world, at least, would be more wary of charismatic orator-politicians who speak the language of class-warfare and populism.


There has, in the past week, been a spate of articles sounding a low but steady and possibly building drumbeat of "hey, this isn't what we voted for".

That's the problem with voting for something as ill-defined as "Change™" and "Hope™".

We can only Hope™ that the Change™ ... the "cure" -- isn't worse than the disease.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Morning of their Discontent

There seems to be a growing chorus of Centrists who voted for Obama who are disturbed by what, in their eyes, is "Obama's turn to the Left". These are the same people who dismissed his past associations with radical leftist people and organizations through the campaign.

Sal, Dennis Miller's sidekick who voted for Obama said earlier this week on the radio "I didn't see this coming." Jim Cramer of the famous CNBC meltdown last fall -- same thing. Today, Stuart Taylor in the National Journal sounds the same alarm.

While reading that article, I ran across a quote I hadn't heard ... from Maggie Thatcher. I sought out a more complete version of the quote to get better context, and I found one at Red State, which linked a recent Peter Wehner article.

On March 3, 1980, Thatcher (now Prime Minister) delivered an address whose main burden was placed on the role of the state and the right of the individual to freedom from state interference. “The first principle of this government… is to revive a sense of individual responsibility,” she said. She went on to say, “What we need is a strong state determined to maintain in good repair the frame which surrounds society. But the frame should not be so heavy or so elaborate as to dominate the whole picture. Ordinary men and women who are neither poor nor suffering should not look to the state as a universal provider.” And she then listed the layers of illusion that “has smothered our moral sense”:

The illusion that government can be a universal provider, and yet society still stay free and prosperous. The illusion that government can print money, and yet the nation still have sound money. The illusion that every loss can be covered by a subsidy. The illusion that we can break the link between reward and effort, and still get the reward.
It is apparent that Obama and Congressional Democrats buy into this illusion.

We were watching a show on the 1960's last night I think on the History Channel, and they were talking about Haight Ashbury and the "Diggers" (after the 17th century agrarian communists). The diggers were going to show us all a new vision of society where everything could be free. They gave away clothing, food, and housing. Of course, the only way a society can actually exist is as a parsite off of a productive society where people make things and the people who buy them take care of them ... which didn't happen in the Haight-Ashbury Diggers. Someone has to make the shirts. Someone has to grow the food and someone has to preserve it. Someone has to build the housing. And I suspect the Diggers and especially the hippie community they "served" were heavily subsidized by their "square" parents. It seems when there is no ownership, there is no incentive to take care of anything. And it's not surprising that the whole thing fell apart. Unsustainable.

I'm going to finish up with another Thatcher quote from the London Times article Wehner was quoting:

Collectivists may flatter themselves that wise men at the centre … can make better decisions, and waste fewer resources than a myriad of individual decision-makers and independent organizations all over the country. Events in Britain have shown that, wise or not, those at the centre lack the knowledge, foresight and imagination required. They are overworked and overwhelmed… How shaken and disabused are many of these intellectuals today. And rightly so, for we are now facing the crisis of Socialism: economic failure, social and political tensions; a decline in freedom of choice in education, health, economic activity.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On Liberal Argument Techniques

Wondermark has become my new favorite web comic.

This one caught my eye today.

This after I ran across a commenter on YouTube whose two basic argument techniques seemed to be profanity and calling people "morons" or "tools".

Yeah, his profile picture was an Obama face. Surprise surprise.

Were we hit again?

Maybe I'm late to the game on this.

But a friend sent me a link yesterday to a blog entry -- and no, I don't automatically trust blog entries. Anyway the guy was going on about how there was a massive run in the span of hours, maybe minutes, which he believed to be intentional, on U.S. money markets last September.

He believed it was caused by Soros-ian folks who want to intentionally bankrupt the country to foment a soft socialist revolution here. Me, I'm skeptical. I'm always skeptical at first. While I can't completely dismiss the idea that the Agents of Change™ behind the scenes might do something like that ... well for one thing I don't think even they have the staggering amount of money we're talking about. But the other thing .... is the timing.

It was Sept 11.

The video is from CSPAN ... where a Pennsylvania congressman (and before partisan skeptics ask, he's a Democrat) talked about it. Then I found another video where the same Congressman asks Paulson about it (about 1:50:48 into it), saying that the American people need to know about these things so they can put together the big picture for themselves. Paulson does not disagree, dispute, or dismiss the talk of the electronic run. He in fact appears to be addressing the Congressman's concern indirectly. So I'm pretty sure it happened.

Now I'm not saying that it was Al Queda. I'm just saying it smells like them. Consider Bin Laden's talk of destroying the U.S. by bankrupting us... the initial intent of the 9/11/2001 attack on the WTC (that succeeded in destruction of life and property far beyond Osama's expectations, but ultimately failed to bring us down financially). Then he thought he could do it via a long protracted war, which he believes is what brought down the Soviet Union (he believes he did it -- the U.S., in fact, had much more to do with it. Afghanistan didn't help, but it Bin Laden got much of his early misplaced confidence from believing he defeated the Soviet Union).

The only seemingly well documented fact I came away with was that there was a massive electronic run on U.S. money markets on Sept 11, 2008 that sent shockwaves through Washington DC. It was over $100 billion and the Feds were concerned that it would have ballooned to $550 billion by 2:00 that afternoon, and they somehow shut it down.

My huge grain of salt I was taking with it (thinking it might be Al Queda-based cyber terrorism) got a little smaller when I found out the same thing happened in the UK about a month later.

Now it COULD have just been a huge panic. Or it could have been an orchestrated run by American or other western anti-capitalists. It could have been China. Russia. Or Al Queda.

The point is, where's the investigation of that in the media?

I suppose it's easier to report on Michelle Obama's dresses or to pass on the latest DNC memo that Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party.

Incidentally, I watched that CPAC speech. I'm not a Rush listener. Never have been. But after watching that speech I only wish he were the leader of the Republican Party. He may be a leader of the Conservative Movement. But the Republican Party seems to have largely forgotten us. At least Rush doesn't go all mealy-mouthed over principles.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sign of the Times?

Ok, here's the first ad I've seen like this: