Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy St. Stephen's Day

Hoping everybody's Christmas was merry and bright.

Here's a wren song for St. Stephen's Day. Here's another. Here are the wren boys in action, from County Clare. And a collection of material on St. Stephen, along with lyrics and sheet music. Today you'll probably want the cached version.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Much fun for the whole family was had last year with the list of Christmas cracker jokes. The link in last year's post does not work any more, so here's a fresh link that works this year. Hmm; some of these jokes are familiar from last time. Here is another batch of jokes with just a couple of repeats from last time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

These Obama photos are a little different ...

… from the usual ones.

"I'm a Midnight Toker" -- Getting Stoned with Barry O

Hey, we all had our youthful indiscretions, right? And wrote about them in a couple of autobiographies? And went to prison, and found that our options for the future were not at all constrained, afterwards.

Van der Leun has the words and pictures: here is the music. Start this video, then read the linked post in another tab while the music plays to get the full effect.

Update: The video I had before does not work any more. Try this one instead.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Even more Fannie and Freddie

At Cafe Hayek: Finally, someone noticed.

There are four factors that helped drive up the price of real estate in the United States and create the housing bubble: The GSEs (Fannie and Freddie), the Community Reinvestment Act, expansionary monetary policy starting in 2001, and the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act that for the first time let people avoid capital gains on home price appreciation without having to rollover the gains into a bigger house. All of these factors pushed up the demand for real estate. But by how much?
And this follow-up: Good tax policy.
You don't want to tax-advantage one investment over another or you induce a disproportionate flow of capital into that asset. That's the tragedy of the last ten years that's hidden. Tax policy and what came afterward caused trillions of dollars (not millions, not billions, but trillions) from China and here and elsewhere to go into building new and bigger houses rather than into more productive assets.
Thanks to The News Junkie at Maggie's Farm.

At Reason.tv, Peter Wallison on how government intervention in the housing market has led to the current problems. (About half an hour of a man talking. You could make popcorn.)

At PJ Media, Roger Kimball asks Who caused the global economic crisis? (Hint: it wasn’t George W. Bush). He does translate the French, at the end.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Left-over Obama links

Clearing up some tabs that have been left open way too long…

Michael Barone: With victory in sight, Barack Obama’s supporters are predicting that he will give us a new New Deal. To see what that might mean, let’s look back on the original New Deal.

The purpose of New Deal legislation was not, as commonly thought, to restore economic growth but rather to freeze the economy in place at a time when it seemed locked in a downward spiral. Its central program, the National Recovery Administration (NRA), created 700 industry councils for firms and unions to set minimum prices and wages. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), the ancestor of our farm bills, limited production to hold up prices. Unionization, encouraged by NRA and the 1935 Wagner Act, was meant to keep workers in jobs that the unemployed would have taken at lower pay.

These policies did break the downward spiral. But, as Amity Shlaes points out in The Forgotten Man, they failed to restore growth. Double-digit unemployment continued throughout the 1930s; despite population growth, the economy failed to rebound to 1920s production levels. High taxes on high earners (a Herbert Hoover as well as Franklin Roosevelt policy) financed welfare payments (“spread the wealth around”) but reduced investment and growth.

***
Michael Knox Beran: Obama, Shaman.: He is not the first politician to argue that politics can redeem us, but in posing as the Adonis who will turn winter into spring, he revives one of the more pernicious political swindles: the belief that a charismatic leader can ordain a civic happy hour and give a people a sense of community that will make them feel less bad. [Drawings by Arnold Roth!]
One more Ayers item (oh, please, let it be the last).
Sol Stern: The Bomber as School Reformer.: Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.)
There, now I can close that window. On the computer, at least; not on the future.

Once, in a noisy tavern, I was chatting with the lady who supplied the potted plants for the place, and asked her, "What's the matter with my fuchsia?" She said, "Well, maybe you could get a better job, and not spend so much time in noisy taverns."

The fuchsia will be here before we know it.

Car trouble

First gear: I own a 2001 Toyota Avalon, designed in California, built in Kentucky. Over 100,000 miles and runs like new. Is it an American car? Darned if I know—define your terms!

Second gear: A good comment at Megan McArdle's place:

GM and Ford (at least) do make cars that are cutting edge in their categories and that the public wants to buy. There called trucks and SUVs. If GM and Ford were allowed to make what they want and are good at--these, and anything else the believe they can profitably make--everything would be fine. Problem is, they can't just make what they want and are good at. CAFE standards require that they make so many small cars every year. And the truth is, neither GM nor Ford (nor Chyrsler, for that matter) can profitably make small cars in UAW factories.

Every failure falls from this. The bad reputation for quality and poor resale value, for example, result from the fact that the small cars are sold almost entirely on price. The number of small cars GM and Ford they must sell is driven by the number of big cars they can sell and their required corporate average fuel efficiency, which is what CAFE stands for. Thus, the companies lower the price through price cuts, rebates and low interest rates until the requisite number sells. Quality is sacrificed because it doesn't much matter to price-only buyers and reduces the loss on each car sold. For the same reason, the companies push fleet sales, even though those kill their cars resale value.

A couple years ago, all the government needed to do to save Ford and GM was eliminate CAFE. Now more immediate measures need to be taken. But these won't work as long as GM and Ford are required to build small cars in UAW factories.
Third gear: Do you remember when New York City had ten daily newspapers? Let me list them: Wall Street Journal, Daily News, Times, Post, Herald-Tribune, Journal-American, World-Telegram and Sun, Mirror, Star-Journal, and Long Island Press. And the Brooklyn Eagle, from time to time, would make eleven. What happened? Labor trouble. The Mirror went down in '63, after a strike; in '66, the Herald-Tribune, Journal-American, and World-Telegram and Sun tried to merge following a strike, becoming the World-Journal-Tribune, which did not last. "The Star Journal closed its doors in 1968 due to a strike by its workers who demanded higher wages and other benefits. In 1977, the Long Island Press was closed down due to the sad fact that while it became more expensive to put out the paper, less money was coming in, as well as labor troubles."

What's the common element in the newspaper stories? Labor trouble. Union leadership would rather kill the companies that employed their members than back down on their demands.

We are seeing this kind of short-sightedness again from the UAW leadership. Chapter 11 is the way for GM to go, if they can. Ford does not need help. [Inline update: In spite of union workers who are barely working (via).] Chrysler is owned by an investment firm that can redirect money into the auto company, but would not mind getting something from the government, if there is something to be got.

Mickey Kaus has been all over this lately.

To sum it up, too briefly and glibly: Our auto makers have been trying to please three masters, the union, the government, and their customers, in about that order. That's too many masters. It's no wonder they are in trouble.

Update: More on unions that kill their industries, at Chicago Boyz: Killing Cities: Indiana versus Texas. Steel, this time.

Franken is now leading in Minnesota Senate recount

Numbers from the Star-Tribune.

Those Minnesotans have the heck of a sense of humor.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Suggestion for DVD makers

I wonder if it would be possible to put out DVD's and CD's in a package similar to the 3.5" floppy disk, so that the surface of the disk would be exposed only when the disk was inserted in the player, and even then only a small portion of it. Of course everyone would need new players.

But I'm getting tired of rental DVD's with surface flaws that obviously were caused by careless handling of the disk. You get partway through a movie, and then are left hanging. At least with VCR tapes, you could tell pretty easily if the tape was broken before putting it in the player.

This digital information storage is great stuff, but I wonder how much of the godzillabytes that are being stored in one form or another will last even a fraction as long as those clay tablets from Sumer.

Browner appointment is "an arrow aimed at the heart of the American economy"

That line's from Bird Dog, at Maggie's Farm. And it's memorable. I can't get it out of my own head, anyway. Mr. Obama appears to have drunk all of the Al Gore-ian environmental Kool-Aid. The Bird Dog links to a WSJ article: "Mr. Obama is stocking his energy shop with the greenest of greens who want to move fast on a very aggressive climate agenda. Here come the carbon busters."

Moonbattery has this charming picture:

pyramids in snow graphic
Glenn Reynolds links to John Tierney at the NY Times, who asks, "Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday."

The reports appear to have panned out, and colleagues at Woods Hole and Harvard, and some other people in Massachusetts, are excited.

Ron Bailey says that "In his salad days, Holdren was a paid-up member of The Limits to Growth club.… Near the beginning of his career, Holdren introduced with his colleague, perennial population alarmist Paul Ehrlich, the concept of the I=PAT equation. Human Impact on the environment is equal to Population x Affluence/consumption x Technology. All of which are supposed to intensify and worsen humanity's impact on the natural world. In the past Holdren has adhered to the common ecologist's disdain for insights from economics in helping solve environmental problems." [Typo in Ehrlich's name corrected by me.]

More Holdren at Solve Climate. And Luboš Motl isn't being coy: "John Holdren is the ultimate example of the pseudointellectual impurities that have recently flooded universities and academies throughout the Western world."

So Browner and Holdren are Deep Greens. Will they be having policy meetings with Paul Watson to determine the optimum method for bringing the world population down to a "sustainable" level, maybe one billion or so? That's a lot of Soylent Green.

In the meantime, the world is growing colder. Are we are getting closer to Fallen Angels all the time? Let's have enormous, expensive, economy-killing programs to stop the Earth from warming, when in fact the Earth is cooling.

Maybe we need to throw another log on the fire, as our ancestors did long ago. (via, via)

Here previously: Energy is the sine qua non of civilization, or even merely taking out the trash.

Update, Dec 24: a follow-up from Tierney: "My post on John P. Holdren’s appointment as presidential science advisor prompted complaints that I was making too much of Dr. Holdren’s loss of a bet to the economist Julian Simon about the price of some metals. But that bet wasn’t just about metals. It was about a fundamental view of how adaptable and innovative humans are, and whether a rich modern society is “sustainable.” Dr. Holdren and his collaborator, Paul Ehrlich, were the pessimists."

Update: Original source of the picture.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A new use for limericks

Thanks to Barbara Wallraff at The Atlantic for the pointer to the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, or OEDILF.

"Can you use it in a sentence?"
"How about in a limerick?"

Which has nothing to do with a lime rickey.

I think if I just had the skill for it
And somehow could muster the will for it
I'd rhyme "global warming"
With something alarming
And find room in the O-E-D-ILF for it.

I enjoy occasional blogging
But regular posting's just slogging.
So I'll post on a day
When I've something to say
Or have some idea that I'm flogging.

I'll give this a "poetry" tag simply to avoid having to deal with different tags for poetry, verse, light verse, and doggerel.

Update: I see from the year-end roundup at Making Light that the OEDILF was mentioned there back in July, occasioning a comment thread rich in varied versification: am-phi-brach (n) + am-phi-brach (n) + i-amb (n).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gleanings

A trojan that mimics Windows activation. (via) And another one: "It's not clear how the initial infection gets to your computer. But once there, it puts hooks into Firefox to allow the spyware to watch and report on access to banking-type web sites. When such a site is accessed, the spyware grabs your login credentials and sends them off to the evil hacker. And that can't be good."

What makes Idiocracy an unlikely outcome: Balls and brains, at the Economist. (via)

"You kids take it easy with that kissing, now!" "Did you say something, Dad?"
Chinese girl gets 'kiss of deaf': A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend. The story says that she will recover, so a little humor is not completely out of place. All the jokes are at Althouse.

50 worst cars of all time. Up to the present, I think, is what they mean, but it's TIME magazine, so maybe it's the 50 worst cars that have appeared in the magazine, or something else, careful about facts TIME is not, and the writing is highly subjective and personal (are those the same thing?), so "worst in what way," it could be anything, and indeed it's many things, to go with many cars. Worth it for the Horsey Horseless alone. (via)

A real Christmas tree is better for the environment than an artificial one. Via Planet Gore.

One of those blogs that's mostly links, you never know what you'll find there: The Message Digest. A few such links that appealed to me: the bacon and cheese roll. Looks delicious, but you would want to have a defibrillator handy. The Phrontistery, where "you will find the International House of Logorrhea (an online dictionary of obscure and rare words), the Compendium of Lost Words (a compilation of ultra-rare forgotten words), and many other glossaries, word lists, essays, and other language and etymology resources." Oddstrument.com, all about, yes, odd musical instruments, or as the author says, "fantastic instruments and sounds from around the world." Christmas Carol Music dot org: free sheet music for Christmas carols, in SATB and lead sheet styles, and quite a bit more, including MIDIs.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Should I be reading Cracked more often?

Or, What, more tentacles?

Back in the days when magazines were actually printed on paper, I remember Cracked was a lame imitation of Mad (the real thing, accept no fershlugginer substitutes). Now, on the Web, come articles like this one: 7 Terrible Early Versions of Great Movies. (Not for kids! Rated R for unnecessary bad language.)

Hollywood is full of screenwriters moaning about how the studio ruined their original vision. But what we never hear about is the opposite side of the tale, where some truly horrific piece of writing gets turned into an awesome film.

In fact, it turns out some of your favorite movies started out as truly awful screenplays that somebody had the good taste to rewrite before the cameras started rolling.
Which movies? Oh, let's see, Star Wars, Spider-Man, Alien … here's the original Alien concept, if you believe it:


Not sure I see the problem. Squamous, rugose, possibly, um, eldritch? Might be more Lovecraftian than stf-nal, yet a fair number of Lovecraft's stories were sf, strictly defined. I like the way the two lower-most tentacles fold into Don Martin-style hinged feet.

I saw this at Ace of Spades. Maybe I'll just keep reading Ace, and let him notify me when there's something good at Cracked.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another one for the squid fanciers

I know you're out there.


This thing is a Magnapinna. ("Big wing" in Latin.) It was photographed by a remotely-operated sub, a mile and a half below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. National Geographic has video, and more photos. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Concerned about "The Mentalist"

I started watching this because I liked the concept, and became a fan because I liked the concept and Simon Baker, whom I remembered from his earlier TV stint as "The Guardian." Probably the thing I find most appealing about the show is Patrick's hard-ass materialism. As a former phony psychic, he can say "There are no real psychics" and mean it, with a not-at-all-concealed undertone of contempt for the fakes who take money from gullible people who wish that they could communicate with the dead. It was only a few years ago that someone who was only one letter away from running for President was doing this on cable TV. Oh dear, he is still doing it.

So I felt a certain trepidation, a trembling in the Force, as it were, when in episode 7 ("Seeing Red"), a "psychic" presumed to give Patrick a message from his murdered wife, about their murdered child:

What I fear is that Baker's character, Patrick Jane, will "grow," in the way that conservatives "grow in office." I fear that he, having begun as a faker, and having repented of his fakery, will now come to see that the phenomena that he had been faking could actually be real.

I don't want to see this version of Patrick Jane as Houdini the fraud-buster turn into yet another "Touched by an Angel." There's more than enough psychic, spiritual, supernatural silliness in popular entertainment. I'm a science-fiction and fantasy reader from away back, and I love playing with unlikely ideas. As you can tell from my subhead, I enjoy "Buffy the Vampire Slayer;" but that does not mean that I am looking out for vampires, and carrying a stake all the time. I'm also a Sherlock Holmes fan, and Jane is as close to Holmes as I've seen in pop culture for quite a while: the character who is more observant than the rest of us, who can spot the things we don't notice and draw (usually) correct conclusions from subtle clues.

Please, Hollywood; there are angels and psychic phenomena all over TV and the movies, Ghost Whisperers and ghost this and that all over the damn place. Let's keep this one series grounded in material reality. It's just more thoughtful fun without the dei ex machinis showing up to send the plot sideways into woo-woo land.

IF there is more depth to the writing than we usually see in TV-land, AND I am just being affected by my own cynicism about television writing in general, THEN maybe I have misinterpreted this bit. I hope so.

Related: "Patrick Jane, flip-flopper?" Political ad satire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Laughing just to keep from crying

The Ace of Spades has the report right here. And a lot of comments. Here's the video. Your neighbors and mine, and, you know, they vote. That is, they voted! Oh dear oh my.

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." Thanks, Winston Churchill. We could be doing a lot worse. We really could. And might yet.

Cheer up, now, didn't you see in the last post that there's going to be less grumbling around here. Like it or not.

Update: followup on the video at Power Line.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The old salt

There's been altogether too much grumbling around here, and not nearly enough levity. To try to make up for that, here's a joke that came in the email from Gerry:

The Old Salt


There was a ragged, old, retired Submarine Chief who shuffled into a waterfront bar. Stinking of whisky and cigarettes, his hands shook as he took the "Piano Player Wanted" sign from the window and handed it to the bartender. "I'd like to apply for the job," he said.

The barkeep wasn't too sure about this doubtful looking old Squid, but it had been quite a while since he had a piano player and business was falling off. So, the barkeep decided to give him a try.

The old Chief staggered his way over to the piano while several patrons snickered. By the time he was into his third bar of music, every voice was silenced.

What followed was a rhapsody of sound and music, unlike anyone had heard in the bar before. When he finished there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

The bartender took the old Chief a beer and asked him the name of the song he had just played. "It's called 'Drop your Skivvies, Baby, We're Gonna Rock Tonight'," said the old Chief after he took a long pull from the beer.

The bartender and the crowd winced, but the piano player went on with a knee-slapping, hand-clapping bit of ragtime that had the place jumping.

After he finished the Chief acknowledged the applause and told the crowd the song was called, "Big Boobs Make My Anchor Chain Run Out." He then excused himself as he lurched to the head.

When he came out the bartender went over to him and said, "Look Chief, the job is yours, but do you know your fly is open and your pecker is hanging out?"

"Know it?" the old Chief replied, "Hell, I wrote it!"
I think I know that Chief. Or someone a lot like him.

Warming hilarity continues

So the Russians slipped the September numbers into the October slot, and warmingists were so pleased to see an extra-toasty October that they did not notice until after some time had passed and pronouncements of even more nearly impending doom had been made.

Tom Maguire has a roundup from several sources, with a comment thread that goes on for quite a while: The Hunt For A Red-Hot October.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

U-verse post updated

So go there, if that's what you are looking for. I'm thinking I'll keep it all in one post, for ease of reference. For now, anyway.

Some fresh air

A tropical sunrise.

Just to ventilate the place a bit. It was getting stuffy in here.

Even more stale Ayers

On "Good Morning America." Althouse "live-blogs" the first part of the video, and seems to exhibit some buyer's remorse. Hot Air has both segments; did Althouse miss the second part?

It's a book promo! He's promoting his book. And it's a reprint edition at that, of the old book, Fugitive Days. He's trading on his celebrity as an associate of Obama to sell a new edition of his old book about his time as an active terrorist! Wow. What nerve. Or sheer obliviousness, more likely. The man has lived all his life on his father's fortune, while hating his father and his father's/his own whole social class. What a case study he would be for a "talking cure" psychoanalyst! Oh Doctor Freud?

The new book coming is the one with John Brown on the cover, Race Course Against White Supremacy. Whatever that means. Probably something like "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at." But with a little extra bit of racial piquancy, a bit of warm spice to offset the insipid white ingredients. The thing about useful idiots is that they don't realize that they will be among the first to face the firing squads when the revolution really comes.

Oh, my. This election just won't be over for a while.

Do I have to have an Ayers tag? I guess so. Dammit.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Confused scientists don't know which way to spin

The headline: Earth would be heading to a freeze without CO2 emissions

The subhead:

Scheduled shifts in Earth's orbit should plunge the planet into an enduring Ice Age thousands of years from now but the event will probably be averted because of man-made greenhouse gases, scientists said Wednesday.
The first line:
They cautioned, though, that this news is not an argument in favour of global warming, which is driving imminent and potentially far-reaching damage to the climate system.
From the middle:
According to the model, published in the British journal Nature by Crowley and physicist William Hyde of Toronto University, Canada, the next "bifurcation" would normally be due between 10,000 and 100,000 years from now.

The chill would induce a long, stable period of glaciation in the mid-latitudes, smothering Europe, Asia and North America to about 45-50 degrees latitude with a thick sheet of ice.
Love those computer climate models. A little further along:
Crowley cautioned those who would seize on the new study to say "'carbon dioxide is now good, it prevents us from walking the plank into this deep glaciation'."

"We don't want to give people that impression," he said. "(...) You can't use this argument to justify [man-made] global warming."
Certainly not. Grants might be in jeopardy!

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds, who mentions Fallen Angels.

Update: Followup at the NY Times's Dot Earth blog, with comments from the potentially dangerous James Hansen and others. It's all about the models. Carl Wunsch of MIT says some things about models that could be taken either way, though I doubt that's how he meant it:
If I make a four-box model of the world economy, and predict the US stock market level 500 years from now, who would pay any attention? Climate is far more complicated than the world economy, yet supposedly reputable journals are publishing papers that superficially look like science, but which are the sort of thing scientists will speculate about late at night over a few beers. It doesn’t deserve the light of day except as the somewhat interesting mathematical behavior of a grossly over-simplified set of differential equations. Why should anyone take it seriously? The wider credibility of the science is ultimately undermined by such exercises.
Just what the skeptics have been saying all along! Thanks, Dr. Wunsch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Debunking a Palin smear

Is this the truth under the smear? So "she thought Africa was a country" was a hoax from the beginning.

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

Now a pair of obscure filmmakers say they created Martin Eisenstadt to help them pitch a TV show based on the character. But under the circumstances, why should anyone believe a word they say?
I do not anticipate much if anything in the way of apologies from the lefties who seized on this and made much of it.

Second Holy Land Foundation trial ...

drawing near its close.

My first post on the first HLF trial was Islamic fifth column, back in September 2007. The "lawfare" label brings up all of them. Keep current here.

Update Nov 24: Guilty on all counts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Honor rose

If I get another rose bush, it's going to be one of these.

Thanks to Althouse commenter Bissage.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Forty-five inches in Deadwood

Too much of this here global warming going on. It's vital that we shut down all industry now. For the children! Except, you know, the ones in those cars, buried in the snow, out on the highway.

Blizzard pummels South Dakota, stranding motorists

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — As snowfall neared 4 feet in the Black Hills and winds gusting higher than 50 mph continued to howl, state officials had a simple message for anyone thinking of trying to drive in western South Dakota's blizzard: Don't.

And they stressed that the storm, which stranded an unknown numbers of motorists and knocked out power to thousands, would keep causing problems as it moves eastward Friday.

"This is a dangerous storm," Gov. Mike Rounds told reporters in a telephone conference call Thursday evening. "Western South Dakota is basically under a no-travel advisory."

Officials closed a long stretch of Interstate 90, where dozens of vehicles were trapped. Some motorists have been stranded for more than 24 hours, Rounds said, noting that search teams can't get to them because of zero visibility.

"We cannot see a thing in many areas where we're out actually searching for people," said Tom Dravland, state Public Safety secretary, adding that the top speed for some rescue crews was as little as a half-mile per hour.
Solar power, that's what's needed here.

All right, enough snark, seriously now: Since Obama's soon to be in power, and his base is in the cities and on the coasts, will it look like a sensible move to the new administration simply to abandon the interior? For the Deep Greens like Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, that's a goal. Sort of like "charity begins at home." Population reduction can begin in places where people need power from coal to keep from freezing to death. Knock out the coal, and the project is begun.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dems coming after 401(k) accounts

Next session, they'll have a bigger majority.

House Dems Contemplating the Elimination of 401(K) Tax Breaks

Congratulations, President-elect Obama

H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."

Perry de Havilland is optimistic. Commenters, not so much (via). Me, I look forward to four years of no complaining from Democrats. (Yeah, right.) Oh, yes, and an upbeat press that sees only the silver linings.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Updates, added as I see them:

JRM, at Patterico's, has an open letter with a few suggestions for Obama: Good Luck to the President-Elect.

Steven Den Beste says it's not the end of the world: "the US is too large and too strong to destroy in just 4 years. Or even in 8. We survived 6 years of Nixon. We survived 4 years of Carter.… One other good thing: no one will be spinning grand conspiracy theories about this administration's Vice President being an evil, conniving genius who is the true power behind the throne." There's more.

Neo-Neocon has some post-election reflections, which give rise to a (mostly) thoughtful comment thread.

Mencius Moldbug is less sanguine: "Basically, dear Americans, this disqualifies you from voting ever again. You've been pwned. You're out." If you click through to his post, be sure to click again on his link to IvyGate, where his question, did Obama actually attend classes at Columbia, is mocked, but not answered.

Peter Hitchens says, among other things, that "the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World." (via Ghost of a Flea.)

Dave Barry thinks that "we, as a nation, need to drink more martinis." Hear, hear!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Why isn’t Detroit a Paradise?"

Asks Shannon Love at ChicagoBoyz. The answer: Obama type policies and union rule. I have not had many if any links here on Obama's policy on card check, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, which Obama has promised to sign on sight. This would, along with some other things, eliminate the election part of the process when employees of a company are deciding whether to unionize or not.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"So long, Bill of Rights"

Glenn Richter has a wrap-up column in Sunday's Meriden, Conn. Record-Journal that hits a lot of the Obama low points. An excerpt:

So long, Bill of Rights

Well, it's almost over now. On Tuesday, we're going to pick a new president, and I think I know who he is. He's smart, he's sophisticated, he's young, he's eloquent. And - most important of all - he's cool.

Oh, and he doesn't believe in the Bill of Rights. Other than that, he's just terrific.

He said it himself, calmly and clearly, on Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM on Sept. 6, 2001. He faulted the Earl Warren Supreme Court (which many consider radical) for not being radical enough, in that it "didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."

Not "violate," not "nullify," but "break free."

And what "essential constraints" are those? The only ones in there: the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights - you know, the hard-won protections against tyranny that, for 200-plus years, have stood between us and the miserable fates of countless other nations, from France in 1789 to Russia in 1917 to China in 1949 to Zimbabwe today. The law that tells government what it cannot do to us is what he wants to flush down the toilet.

So we're going to turn this whole country upside down - because Barack Obama is cool.

Did somebody say "personality cult"?

And soon he'll be in a position to do all the breaking free he wants, when he appoints oodles of new federal judges and probably several Supreme Court justices as well, with a bulletproof majority in the Senate to get them confirmed.

Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? Ha! His comrade Nancy Pelosi is already planning to take care of those little problems with the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which is designed to rein in the only segment of the mass media her party doesn't already have in its pocket: talk radio. (Controlling the blogosphere will be harder, but where there's a will, there's a way.)

The right to bear arms? Don't worry: "Commonsense regulation" will take care of that one.
There's more.

Stolen elections

Althouse had a post on this the other day. The post was brief, but the comment thread ran on for a while, and included a nice round-up on the subject by Michael McNeil, who has a highly interesting blog of his own, Impearls. I was especially pleased by his post on the Antikythera Mechanism, which combines techno-archaeology with sf.

Update: another Althouse post on election-stealing, this one about the Norm Coleman - Al Franken race for US Senate in Minnesota. It's happening before your eyes! CNN has numbers.

Update to the update: Coleman vs. Franken is in recount. CNN's numbers are not the ones you want any more; current numbers are coming from the Star-Tribune.
There's another squeaker in Irving, Texas. "The fight for Texas House District 105 isn't over. As expected, Democratic challenger Bob Romano said Tuesday afternoon that he plans to seek a recount in his bid for the seat that covers most of Irving. He trailed three-term Republican incumbent Linda Harper-Brown by only 20 votes after all provisional and overseas votes were accepted Monday."

And another close one in Alaska, and another in Georgia. After watching the Washington state governor's race last time, all of this feels like more of the same: ballots turning up in the trunks of cars, in offices here and there, and they are always votes for the Democrat candidate. I have no kind feelings for Sen. Stevens of Alaska. If he's re-elected, he'll have to resign tout de suite. But I would like to see an honest count.

And see below, Questions about Obama's fundraising.
Updates: Stevens has lost; the Georgia race will go to a run-off.

Still more stale Ayers

More of William Ayers's writings from the past are coming to light. Prairie Fire, the Weather Underground manifesto, is available now from Little Green Footballs in .pdf form.

Maybe Prairie Fire is Manifesto 2.0. At Streetlog (which seems to be a brand-new repository of Weather Underground documents) is the original Weatherman manifesto: You Don’t Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows, from 1969. By Ayers, Dohrn and number of others.

Zombie has found the Spring 1975 first issue of the Weather Underground newspaper, Osawatomie. What? It's a town in Kansas, and, more importantly, a nickname of John Brown, an early terrorist who used the anti-slavery cause as his excuse for murder and arson. And Procrustes at The Real Barack Obama has found the second issue, and written a post discussing both.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wise fools

This is … dismaying. Yet one of the perennial questions is "How can such smart people be so dumb?" Reason magazine's 2008 Presidential poll. Obama wins by a mile among this group of highly intelligent, highly imaginative people, who apparently have not been paying attention, and are mostly so annoyed with Bush that they want to slap him with a fish, never mind that he isn't even running.

Tim Slagle makes sense:

Who are you voting for in November? I'm voting for Palin. Maybe it's just the tendency of a guy with a big crush to project his ideology on that crush, but she just smells like a Libertarian to me. I'm probably wrong, but the alternative really frightens me. The darkest moments in world history have occurred during the confluence of a bad economy and a charismatic leader. Those videos of children singing and marching for Obama are really disconcerting. I don't care for McCain, but with Palin behind him, his age is an asset.
And Michael Shermer is funny (and I hope not serious about those first three words):
Who are you voting for in November? I’m voting Democrat because I think lawyers should run the country, because the last two years under their control has gone so well, because the government has done such a great job with FEMA that they should also be in charge of our school choices, health care choices, and retirement choices, because they protect me from crime so well that I don’t need a gun, because I want to pay more taxes (especially Capital Gains), because unions need to be stronger against evil corporations, because trade with foreign corporations is anti-American and we need to protect American jobs, and mostly because I’m tired of having so many choices and want someone else to make them for me.
But most of them seem to be suffering from the notion that a vote for Obama will be seen as a vote against current Republican policies, which will indicate to the Republican party that it needs to get back to the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. Or else they believe, out of sheer wishful thinking, apparently, that Obama will govern as a moderate. Do I need to say it: a vote for Obama will be taken by him as an endorsement of whatever he wants to do. There is no way to mark a ballot to say that "I am only voting for you because I don't like the other guy, even though I like you less." Can't do it.

Wise fools.

Possibly more scary

How is MySpace like a tattoo?

Sing along on the chorus:

How I hope that you forget your MySpace
I hope it slips completely from your mind
And I hope it stays up long enough for the next generation to find
And I hope that it embarrasses your children
I hope their bratty friends all forward it around
And I hope that you forget your password
So you cannot take it down

Click through for complete lyrics.

(via, via)

Scary


Trick or treat! (Received in email from Bud.)

Brits debate warming, in the snow

I'll just quote Instapundit on this, I can't improve on it:

HEH: Snow blankets London for Global Warming debate. "Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922."
Update: I can't improve on it, but Luboš Motl can, by linking to sites with pictures. One of which I shamelessly have swiped:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Duet for paint pot and politics

At American Digest.

Van der Leun establishes the theme, Sippican takes the cadenza.

"Tools for Fools:" ought to be a series.

Obama spelled backward is "Amabo"

Which is Latin for "I will love." It is common knowledge that "backwards, in a dead language," is the way to make a spell. Put that on a poster with a picture, and you have a charm. Magic, in other words. So this is the secret of Obama's success: his followers have been using Magick in Crowleyan style, following the prescription to "invoke often."

This is the only way to account for Obama's success, considering his obvious lack of qualifications and disqualifying associations and history. Every time his name is spoken, the charm is invoked. It works even better when chanted by a group. It's magic! But to call it "black magic" would be racist.

Swiping someone else's magic has also been known to work, but this attempt seems premature.

Related: Althouse: I contemplate the symmetry of the names Obama and Biden.

Also related: Althouse, again: "Is Barack Obama.... deliberately using the techniques of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), a covert form of hypnosis...?"

Possibly also related: Video: Obama Jedi Mind Trick.

Questions about Obama's fundraising

raised by Scott Johnson (who has more at Power Line): DUBIOUS DONATIONS: BAM'S WEB SITE INVITES FRAUD, Neil Munro at National Journal: FEC Rules Leave Loopholes For Online Donation Data: Reports Of Irregularities In Donations Under $200 Raise Questions Of Who Bears The Burden Of Filtering Out Improper Money, Patrick Ruffini at The Next Right: BarackObama.com's Lax Security Opens Door to Online Donor Fraud, and Paul R. Hollrah at New Media Journal: Obama is Bought, But Who Owns Him?

Megan McArdle's comments start getting interesting after the willfully obtuse have left, about here.

A question: IF the dubious fundraising activities amount to something criminal, AND Obama wins the election, THEN who will investigate?

Update: David Blue has more at Winds Of Change: The Big Steal, 2008. "That assumption that only Americans will decide the results of America's elections was old-fashioned, as the Obama campaign has demonstrated by opening its doors to unlimited millions of dollars in illegal donations, including foreign money."

Another update: Thanks to Patterico commenter AMac, I see that there is now a website dedicated to this topic: Obama Shrugged.

And see above, Stolen elections.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Laffer: "The Age of Prosperity Is Over"

Talking heads on CNBC were discussing this on Monday. I hope he's wrong, but I would hate to bet against him. In the WSJ:

Twenty-five years down the line, what this administration and Congress have done will be viewed in much the same light as what Herbert Hoover did in the years 1929 through 1932.
That's Laffer as in "Laffer curve."

Cited in discussion at Jerry Pournelle's place.

Update: Speaking of Hoover, he was only in till March '33. It took FDR to keep the Depression going. FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ayers, Dohrn, Weather Underground planned American genocide

It's all in the book, Prairie Fire. Zombie found a copy of the book. (One of a long list of dedicatees is Sirhan Sirhan.)

Confederate Yankee found documentary film footage of an an FBI informant describing what he had heard in the Weather Underground meetings. They had big dreams. Quote from the clip:

I asked, "well what is going to happen to those people we can't reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?" and the reply was that they'd have to be eliminated.

And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

And when I say "eliminate," I mean "kill."

Twenty-five million people.

I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious.
This is socialist thinking. Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin; for the greater good. Socialists just do not see human beings, other than themselves, of course. Hence the willingness to "spread the wealth." Those doing the spreading have to take some off the top, though. And since wealth creation is likely to stop once the spreading starts, it gets spread awful thin after the first few passes. If there's not enough to go around, it can be made to cover a larger percentage of the (remaining) population by reducing the population. Which would be why socialist revolutionaries want to kill the rich, not just take their stuff.

There is so much disputation about the definition of socialism that it might be worthwhile to quote Ayers's definition, from Prairie Fire:
Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit. Socialism means control of the productive forces for the good of the whole community instead of the few who live on hilltops and in mansions. Socialism means priorities based on human need instead of corporate greed. Socialism creates the conditions for a decent and creative quality of life for all.
"Violent … dictatorship … eradication … control …" leads to "decent and creative," somehow. This has got to be good. Right?

Update: Listening to McCain speak at a rally in Hershey, Pa., I'm pleased to hear him hit this note: "He's running to spread wealth—I'm running to create wealth."

Another update: Bob Owens (Confederate Yankee) has a new interview with Larry Grathwohl, the FBI informant quoted above, at PJ Media.

And another update: I didn't want to link to this; so I'll link to Victoria, instead. Bill Ayers's blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Dodd has guaranteed himself a permanent spot in the pantheon of the privileged oblivious."

Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant takes on Senator Dodd, in a link-rich report.

The senator, the reports tell us, in the midst of the meltdown, put the squeeze on the businesses that his committee oversees.
(via)

That there Google can be quick

I did not expect to see this:


at all, certainly not so quick.

What a kick!
Top o' the Google to you, Rachel Lucas. I couldn't have done it without you.

The link is to the post right before this one. I won't name it here; the screenshot shows quite enough wackiness for one day!

My "Links to this post" has not worked for a year, though. Oh, what do I want, caviar? Sorry. Room service sent all the caviar up to the Obama suite.

Update: There might be some caviar left after all. It seems that story was fake. Don't believe everything you read in the papers! Only on the Internet are all facts guaranteed!

McCain : Palin :: Théoden : Éowyn

Rachel Lucas explains it all. She sounds like Winston Churchill: "[T]he only honorable thing to do, ever, is to fight until you cannot fight any more. Even when you are horribly outnumbered, outgunned, outwhatevered - you must never give up because if you do, you’re handing victory to the enemy." That's a Texan speaking, one who, I imagine, remembers the Alamo.

Part 1: Do not despair, Part 2: Fell deeds awake.

That leaves Obama : Biden :: Saruman : Gríma Wormtongue.

That's assuming that Obama is not actually in the pay of foreign enemies, though the many dubious contributions give one to doubt that, but believes himself to be acting in his own behalf; one receiving such contributions might imagine that he could take their money, but not be beholden to them afterwards. So, assuming that he is self-deluded in this way is actually a charitable assumption.

I should explain that in this analogy I do not see Gríma so much as the evil counselor who nearly destroyed Théoden, but more as the feckless clown, trailing around after Saruman, who speaks words, lots of words, that are only loosely connected with reality.

Update: see here for a laugh. (That's the next post in chronological order, or the one above in blogological order, so if you arrived from the index page you have already seen it.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Compare and contrast: law school students, poll respondents, and Clever Hans

Althouse has this: "Professors Found to Keep Political Views Quiet, but Students Detect Them." Zombie has this: The Left's Big Blunder, in which are mentioned the Clever Hans phenomenon, and the Solomon Asch conformity effect. There seem to be some striking parallels.

I am trying to watch Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live while writing this; I don't think I can do both at once. So this post is a stub, as they say at Wikipedia. I'll see if I can come back to it.

Sharp teeth of a weasel puncture pretentious gasbags

That would be S. Weasel, specifically. A brilliant reduction of the wheezy, overblown rhetoric of "second-rate intellect[s] that [have] been dragged through a first-class education."

Update: Somehow or other, what Weasel has to say about language ties in with this Sam Schulman essay: Class Will Tell: Why is Bill Ayers a respectable member of the upper middle class and Sarah Palin contemptible?

What the Ayerses now teach, think, and do hardly matters as long as they observe good form, the form of "educated community activists." Stern wants us to hear a mellow Chekhovian tone in their lives (and his prose). Perhaps, but in his moral reasoning I hear Oscar Wilde's Cecily Cardew, in The Importance of Being Earnest, observing that the Ayerses "have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance."
Ayers's wealth and family connections have something to do with it. (via)

Obama's Secretary of Education?

I seem to recall Ronald Reagan calling for the elimination of the Federal Department of Education. That didn't happen. Presidents do not get to do everything that they would like to do. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not so good. Maybe it evens out. Although in the case of the Department of Education, maybe not. We, in our capacity as "the government," keep throwing more and more money at education, without achieving much in the way of results.

There is a prominent educator to whom Obama owes much: William Ayers. His portrait:
A wealthy man, scion of wealth, who hates the country and the system which made him wealthy. He has not given it all to the poor, though. No, he lives pretty high. In Russia, or the USSR in earlier days, he would have been called a member of the nomenklatura.

"Guilty as sin, free as a bird." Feet on the flag, unrepentant terrorist. He is the penultimate step of the "long march through the institutions." Is his disciple, Obama, the ultimate step? Obama's opacity makes it impossible to say. We know more about "Joe the plumber" than we do about Obama. From Chicago Magazine, "No Regrets."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One fish, red fish

In the light, this fish is a regular, though funny-looking, fish-colored fish. Raccoon eyes, pouty lips, veils, and all, still a fairly regular fish-looking critter.

But in the dark, look at that thing! Bright red and glowing.

"Kill him" shout fictional

It's a pity this news didn't break a few hours earlier. In last night's debate, in the course of declining to repudiate John Lewis's remarks comparing McCain and Palin with George Wallace, Sen Obama spent a fair amount of time agreeing with Lewis that Gov. Palin is inciting hatred at rallies, proved not by anything she said but by something someone heard shouted by a single voice during a speech by somebody else.

We now have a story from the other Scranton paper:

Secret Service says "Kill him" allegation unfounded.

SCRANTON – The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.


The Scranton Times-Tribune first reported the alleged incident on its Web site Tuesday and then again in its print edition Wednesday. The first story, written by reporter David Singleton, appeared with allegations that while congressional candidate Chris Hackett was addressing the crowd and mentioned Oabama’s name a man in the audience shouted “kill him."

News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim, with most attributing the allegations to the Times-Tribune story.

Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.

“I was baffled,” he said after reading the report in Wednesday’s Times-Tribune.

He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, after seeing the story, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than Singleton.

Slavoski said more than 20 non-security agents were interviewed Wednesday, from news media to ordinary citizens in attendance at the rally for the Republican vice presidential candidate held at the Riverfront Sports Complex. He said Singleton was the only one to say he heard someone yell “kill him.”

“We have yet to find someone to back up the story,” Slavoski said. “We had people all over and we have yet to find anyone who said they heard it.”

Hackett said he did not hear the remark.

Slavoski said Singleton was interviewed Wednesday and stood by his story but couldn’t give a description of the man because he didn’t see him he only heard him.

When contacted Wednesday afternoon, Singleton referred questions to Times-Tribune Metro Editor Jeff Sonderman. Sonderman said, “We stand by the story. The facts reported are true and that’s really all there is.”

Slavoski said the agents take such threats or comments seriously and immediately opened an investigation but after due diligence “as far as we’re concerned it’s closed unless someone comes forward.” He urged anyone with knowledge of the alleged incident to call him at 346-5781. “We’ll run at all leads,” he said.
Well then. One reporter says it happened; "more than 20" other people who were at the rally say they did not hear it. How convenient it is for a reporter to be present when something newsworthy happens. And the only witness, at that! If the reporter hadn't heard that unidentifiable individual shout whatever it was he shouted, the Obama campaign would have been short a race card play, Lewis would not have made those remarks, Obama would have had more time to discuss Ayers and possibly even Rev. "God DAMN America" Wright during the debate. Funny how that happens, that a reporter is the only one to notice something important. Of course he would write it up, whether he had a supporting witness or not. He is his own witness.

Thanks to Byron York at The Corner.

Update: Or as Glenn Reynolds says, with characteristic brevity: "It's as if they're just making stuff up to make McCain and Palin look bad."

Monday, October 13, 2008

What kind of Cassandra ...

… am I? I predicted this stock market crash back in February 2007. But did I get into bear market mode at the end of August? Ha! If only.

It's bad enough to be a Cassandra who predicts doom only to be ignored by all who hear; how about being a Cassandra who does not even follow her own dismal advice? "Come in out of the rain, Hector! You're gonna get wet!"

To try to analyze why I failed at this: I underestimated the perfidy of the Democrats. I thought they would just put out in the media the usual stories claiming that the economy was bad, regardless of the actual numbers, and let it go at that. It never occurred to me that they were so desperate to win this particular election that they would go ahead and really try to tank the economy. Of course, since Democrats don't know what the economy is, they misfired; stock market, housing prices, these things are not the economy. They partake of the nature of the economy, but the economy is much more than these things.

But since the strategy was 2-pronged, "lose the war and tank the economy," when the first one failed, the second one had to be executed with that much more emphasis.

Remember 1929? Of course not. I don't either. If I were actually Hector Owen, from the novel, I would remember it vividly. (FDR on TV, and all.) After the crash, the factories and farms were all still there. It took FDR to start enacting policies requiring destruction of food, to keep prices up, when people were hungry; oh, I'm not going to expand (or expound, or expatiate, either) on this any further, just go read The Forgotten Man.

ACORN becoming flagrant

It seems that even CNN can't ignore ACORN's flagrancy any more.

Does that do it for you?

I wonder how long this one will last on YouTube.

Via Glenn Reynolds:

MORE REPORTS OF MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD BY ACORN. "They turn in 5000 new voter registration forms in Indiana, election officials start checking them and give up after the first 2100 were found to be fraudulent." Where's the Department of Justice on this? CNN report below.
Or above, if you're here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

When in Roma ...

… one might try to speak Latin, or Italian, so as to be understood. When in America, or even some other English-speaking country, one might speak English, for the same purpose. We don't say "Deutschland," we say "Germany." The French don't say "Deutschland" either, nor do they say "Germany," they say "Allemagne." The affected pronunciations of the candidates in Tuesday's debate led to some discussion over at The Corner, which led to this delightful piece by Jay Nordlinger, “Gutter” Politics. A sample:

Last winter, I was thinking of starting a "Torino Watch." Why? Katie Couric was broadcasting from the Salt Lake City Olympics, and she was looking forward to the next Winter Olympics, to be held in . . . "Torino," she said. Why she said "Torino," instead of good ol' Turin, is shrouded in mystery. Would-be sophisticates are always saying "Torino" instead of Turin and "Milano" instead of Milan. But, oddly, they don't say Roma — except "when in Rome," presumably — and they don't say "Venezia" (Venice), "Firenze" (Florence), or "Napoli" (Naples).

Even I, though, draw the line at "Leghorn": I say Livorno. But this puts me at odds with Winston Churchill, who wrote to his foreign secretary in 1941, "If you approve I should like Livorno to be called in the English — Leghorn." Though "if at any time you are conversing agreeably with Mussolini in Italian, Livorno would be correct." This is the same Churchill who would write, four years later, "I do not consider that names that have been familiar for generations in England should be altered to study the whims of foreigners living in those parts." Without a firm stand, "the B.B.C. will be pronouncing Paris 'Paree.' Foreign names were made for Englishmen, not Englishmen for foreign names."
But if you don't call the city "Leghorn," then how are the kids to know where the chickens come from?

Update, Dec 3: Althouse is changing her "Mumbai" tag to "Bombay."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Obama olio

A whole lot of open windows, not much energy to make a coherent post.

Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis, by James Simpson. Thanks to blake for this one. It describes the Cloward-Piven strategy and its relationship to ACORN, Obama, and various foundations, and of course George Soros. Also at Simpson's blog. I mentioned this strategy, though not by that name, a year and a half ago: Got to break it before you can fix it.

Inside Obama's Acorn, by Stanley Kurtz. From last spring.

Why the press hides Obama’s lies, by Roger L. Simon at PJ Media. Lots of comments.

AT HOME WITH: Bernadine Dohrn; Same Passion, New Tactics, by Susan Chira, NY Times from 1993. At home with Mrs. William Ayers.

They named their children after some of their heroes. Their older son, Zayd Osceola Ayers Dohrn, was named in honor of Zayd Shakur, the Black Panther killed in New Jersey during a shootout with police in 1973, and Osceola, the Seminole chief who sheltered runaway slaves. Their 13-year-old, Malik Cochise, takes his names from Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) and the 19th-century Apache chief who fought settlers encroaching on his land.
Not Quite Ready to Join the Crusade, by Victor Davis Hanson at PJ Media.

Hot Air has some videos: The Ayers connection. The third video includes a brief interview with John Murtagh, who wrote this, in City Journal last April: Fire in the Night: The Weathermen tried to kill my family. Inline update: at 7:34 in this last video, after the Murtagh interview, is a clip from a 1998 interview in which Connie Chung begs Ayers and Dohrn to repent of their violent actions. Their response is to fall all over each other with interruptions in their eagerness to say that they did not do enough. "I wish we'd done more." "We'd do it again." No ambiguity here.

The WSJ has Bill v. Barack on Banks: Clinton instructs Obama on finance and Phil Gramm.
A running cliché of the political left and the press corps these days is that our current financial problems all flow from Congress's 1999 decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that separated commercial and investment banking. Barack Obama has been selling this line every day. Bill Clinton signed that "deregulation" bill into law, and he knows better.
How allies of George Soros helped bring down Wachovia Bank, by Ed Lasky. If you didn't quite understand what was going on in that Saturday Night Live video that is so hard to find (try here!), the one with Herbert and Marion Sandler, this will lay it out for you.

Stanley Kurtz asks, "What exactly does a "community organizer" do?" in O's Dangerous Pals: Barack's 'organizer' buds pushed for bad mortgages, in the NY Post.

And here's one from last February on the Global Poverty Act, Obama's Global Tax, by Lee Cary in the American Thinker.

Just a couple more here. Powerline is keeping up with ACORN: "Is ACORN stealing the election?"
It is reasonable to ask whether ACORN is in fact a criminal conspiracy to subvert the voting rights of Americans. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Barack Obama paid ACORN $800,000 to register new voters, and then lied about it, falsely telling the Federal Elections Commission that the $800,000 went to a group called Citizen Services Inc. for "advance work."
ACORN's Criminal Enterprise, Continued. "At least nine states have now launched criminal investigations of ACORN…." Oh, look, they also have this video of Louis Farrakhan, last Feb 24, calling Obama the messiah.

Post-debate malaise

That was a lame excuse for a town hall meeting.

So McCain has also bought into this business of having the government rescue everyone who screwed up.

"That's why we're gonna have to go out into the housing market, and we're gonna have to buy up these bad loans, and we're gonna have to stabilize house, home values, and that way Americans can, like Allan can realize the American dream, and stay in their home."

"I think if we act effectively, if we stabilize the housing market which I believe we can if we go out and buy up these bad loans so that people can have a new mortgage at the new value of their home…"

AP: McCain would buy bad homeowner mortgages. "… stabilize home values …" sounds an awful lot like price controls. That worked out so well when Nixon tried it. If the market is not allowed to find the bottom, it will be in a metastable state, which will always need to be propped up artificially. Of course, now that the government is taking control of the banks, I suppose Congress will do a fine job of that.

Obama doesn't understand the difference between regulation of "the financial system" and regulating corruption in Fannie and Freddie.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

VP debate

I just about wanted to throw something right at the beginning when Palin condemned "predator lenders" instead of going after the Democrats, who set up this whole CRA, Fan & Fred mess.

It got better after that.

Watching Biden throw the bull is almost enjoyable, in the way that one enjoys watching any master practice his craft. Almost, but not really, because the future of our country is at stake—and the future of our country = the future of the free world, aka Western civilization. He slings the BS so well that people don't call him on it. The US and France threw Hezbollah out of Lebanon? Please!

Jim Geraghty at NRO has a list. Part 1, Part 2. There may be more to come.

But possibly the most important and dangerous thing he said Thursday night was that he and Obama would somehow make it possible in cases where people were having trouble paying their mortgages for the principal to be adjusted! We have heard a lot of crazy talk from the Democrats in this campaign, but this is past crazy and into psychotic territory. Gerard Van der Leun calls this "just simply mind-numbing." (Like being hit with a brick?) Do read the comments. Donald Sensing says "Biden promises to destroy the American housing market." Hope and change, all right. Let's just change everything, and hope we survive. Might lose a few Kulaks along the way, but it's for the greater good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A little more on Fannie and Freddie

Rather than update the Fannie and Freddie post again, here's a new one.

A nice collection of quotations from some of the legislators involved in the mess, from the WSJ, including:

House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003:

Rep. Frank: I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing. . . .
Pesky "safety and soundness!" It would take a no-fun conservative to want to focus on those things. Rolling the dice is way more fun. And:
Senate Banking Committee, Feb. 24-25, 2004:

[…]

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.): I, just briefly will say, Mr. Chairman, obviously, like most of us here, this is one of the great success stories of all time.…
From the WaPo, Where Was Sen. Dodd?
Sen. Christopher Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has the gall to ask in a Bloomberg Television interview: "I have a lot of questions about where was the administration over the last eight years."
Barney Frank is also mentioned in the article, and he replied in a letter to the editor. The article was reprinted in the Hartford Courant, and drew some comments. I mentioned Sen. Dodd a while back, in this post.

Here's video of Bill O'Reilly going ballistic on Barney Frank. If you look closely, you can see that Rep. Frank actually does appear to have teeth, lowers at least. In the course of the confrontation, Rep. Frank mentions a bill passed in 2007. This WaPo piece about it, House Tightens Reins on Fannie, Freddie, tells us that the Administration wanted more regulation of Fannie and Freddie than the Democrats were willing to allow:
[I]n House action last Thursday, the bill was reshaped in a way that lessens the power of the new federal regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over their mortgage holdings compared with an earlier version that moved through the House. An amendment adopted by voice vote puts some restrictions on that authority.

The Bush administration has insisted that the new regulator have the discretion and authority to reduce the companies' mortgage portfolios.…

Fannie Mae quickly signaled its satisfaction with the amendment limiting the new regulator's authority over the companies' mortgage holdings.
In other words, Republicans opposed this bill because it was not tough enough, but was simply an effort by Democrats to appear to be doing something, while not actually doing anything.

What, an update already? The Instapundit has a new video: What Just Happened?

One more: the Bovina Bloviator remembers, well, not personally, the crash of 1907, and how J.P. Morgan straightened it all out, in a smoke-filled room. No taxpayers' money required.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NY Sun sets


I'm sorry to see it go. I had been a regular reader of Ira Stoll's Smarter Times website before he closed it, when he was starting the newspaper. I bought the paper whenever I was in their circulation area, which was very limited. It's too late for anything but Monday morning quarterbacking, BUT, I do think that if they had paid more attention to circulation, figured out how to do mail subscriptions, they could have become a national paper. Paying too much attention to the news side, not enough to the business side. As Susan Berger says, in a comment at Hit & Run, "We get the NY Post and NY Daily News in our grocery stores plus our other local newspapers, but the Sun was unable to send me copies even with me asking for a subscription."

Vale.

The last editorial: The Arc of the Sun.

Chris Rozvar at NY Magazine. One of many eulogies to come.