Sunday, September 30

Unemployment numbers due the day after 1st debate

A number of bloggers have predicted that when the national unemployment numbers are released the day after the first presidential debate, they'll show a slight improvement regardless of whether that's true.

Sound like conspiracy stuff?  Well consider that a month after each release, the Labor Department almost always ends up revising its initial figures on number of jobs created, new applications for unemployment benefits and so on, in a way that paints a grimmer picture than first portrayed. 

In other words, their initial estimates are wrong, but always in a way that makes Obozo, the Dems and their policies look better.  Thus it's no stretch to expect the same thing next week.

Of course by the time the revision is released, only the wonks remember what the initial figure was, and the press never makes a big deal about the poor revised picture.

One commenter took a different tack:  If it turns out that the unemployment numbers released the day after the debate are higher than the previous month, he suspects the Obama campaign has already told the Lying Media the cover-story:  The increase in unemployment will be blamed on the fear by businesses of a Romney win--because that would mean a return to the bad old economic policies of George W. Bush!

Obama+MSM:  "Reality is whatever we say it is."

Thoughtful Democrats can save the U.S.

As many political observers have noted, thanks to the steady expansion of government giveaway programs, roughly 40% of the electorate now lives on government (i.e. taxpayer-funded) "freebies."  They have essentially zero interest in freedom, free speech, free markets, the size of the national debt, initiative, education, responsibility or running a legal business.

Their interests are basically themselves and maximizing the "free" benefits they can get.

Thus in this election--and all future elections--the choice is between a free country and "Free Stuff."  If a majority of voters--as counted by Democrat machines and Spanish firms owned by George Soros--want the latter, there's no saving this country.

And frankly, at that point there wouldn't be much worth saving anyway.

Now, one can hardly be surprised when poor, uneducated people vote for what they perceive is in their self-interest.  Nor can one be upset when folks who are compassionate and intelligent but don't know much about economics want to ease the lives of the struggling poor.

I suspect most hard-working liberals/Democrats fall in this category.  They believe the poor can be rescued by having "the government" use "its stash" of money to give them all free food, housing and medical care.  (Oh, and cell phones.  And anything you can buy with an EBT card.)

On the other hand, seems to me that a lot of Democrats must know enough about economics to realize that trying to force the taxpaying half of the population to support the 40-percent cannot work in the long run--and indeed, must lead to financial disaster.

Not just "...may cause problems..." or " likely to lead to higher deficits...."

MUST lead to financial disaster.

These are the people who I think deserve most of the blame for the state we're in.  At some level they suspect there's something wrong with the notion that the poor can be rescued by giving them a living.  Using money borrowed from China, to be repaid (in theory) by our children and grandchildren.

Unfortunately, any liberal who suspects there's something wrong with the basic premise is afraid to break ranks and voice their unease, because no one else in their peer group has said anything.  And if they're the only ones feeling uneasy, why...they must be mistaken.

If any of you would like to make the case for why the fundamental Dem/lib premise is absolutely viable and will produce a wonderful outcome in the long run, feel free to give it your best shot.  But consider this:  Do kids turn out better if their parents make 'em get up, go to school, graduate and get a job, or if they give 'em everything the kid wants and let 'em sleep til 2pm every day?

Handing out free goodies makes both the people running the programs and the recipients feel good, but it doesn't reduce the number of poor people.  At some point the policy-evaluators need to realize that work is a good thing, and that jobs don't come from government. 

Indeed, when corrupt pols shower hundreds of millions of dollars on croney-owned companies in an effort to create jobs, you get a couple of dozen jobs that end up costing $300,000 each to create.

Barely 30 days left to decide whether you stand with OWS or on the side of personal freedom and responsibility.

Saturday, September 29

ABC reveals TSA theft

Who would have believed it: According to ABC, a TSA employee who was convicted of stealing $800,000 of property from passenger luggage, served a jail term and has been released, says theft by TSA employees is widespread.

I mean, who could have predicted it?

But here's the punchline from the ABC story:  "Congressional critics say the theft problem is no surprise, given TSA's failure to do proper background checks on personnel hired to handle security screening." 

This can't possibly be true.  

Hard to imagine that the TSA would hire people to screen for terror threats without putting 'em through the most thorough possibile background check.  But that's what ABC says "congressional critics" say.

Scrap the TSA and allow passengers to carry guns.  Problem solved.

Greek riots, America's future?

Yesterday there were riots in Greece over that government's proposed spending cuts--cuts made necessary because for decades that nation's government has been spending far more than it took in in taxes.

The only way the Greek government could do this was by borrowing huge amounts from various lenders.  And now those lenders--seeing no prospect of their previous loans being repaid--were starting to balk at lending them any more.

The BBC interviewed some of the rioters, and the most common comment was "We're fighting for our rights."

What "rights" would that be, exactly?  The right to continue to get free money from Greece's few remaining taxpayers?

That led me to consider our own financial problems here:  The Left has succeeded in convincing roughly half the U.S. population that they're entitled to "free" food, housing and medical care for life.  If one could ask a beneficiary as to where they think the money comes from to give them these things, most would have no clue.  The most common response seems to be "from Obama's stash."

While the goal of free everything is absolutely lovely, there is simply no way, financially, that half the population can support the other half without taking a 50% cut in disposable income.  And yet the Left has implemented policies designed to give anyone in the U.S. food, housing and medical care at no cost to them.

Indeed, government agencies blanket poor neighborhoods with leaflets urging them to sign up for their "freebies."

Democrats seem to be unalterably convinced that "the government" can provide free food, housing and medical care for half the population, for life.  Of course they can't say it in those words because the implausibility would be evident to anyone over the age of 15.

For Dems to continue to push the policies they push, one of three things must be true:  either 1) they actually believe the underlying basis of their policies--freebies for everyone who wants them--is financially sound; or 2) they've never actually considered whether such a policy is fiscally possible, and have just ignored that little detail; or 3) they know the policy of free everything must necessarily bankrupt the country and that's fine with them.

The media, academia, all government employees, Hollywood and everybody on welfare is thoroughly leftist in their economic thinking. The Left has a near absolute lock on the culture.  Even if by some chance Romney should win the election, all the above will still be true.

Many still think it's possible to move our country back to sanity and responsible policies--i.e. toward conservative/Founders principles.  Unfortunately I don't see any way that can happen.

The Greeks started rioting at the mere consideration of cuts to government freebies.  Does anyone really think that won't happen here?

Tuesday, September 25

"Responsibility to Protect" no longer operative

Remember the new Obama/Hillary doctrine for Libya named "Responsibility to Protect"?

So we spent scores of millions flying hundreds of USAF bombing missions protecting Libyan rebels--Islamic fundamentalists--against government forces, but couldn't spend a dime protecting our own ambassador and his staff, eh?

"Responsibiity to Protect."  Gee, if we had any journalists one of 'em might ask Obozo if R2P is still an active policy of the Obozo administration.

Oh yeah, what was I thinking?

Sunday, September 23

CBS in the tank for Obo again

I gave up watching 60 Minutes years ago, but while waiting for the late NFL game to start I made the mistake of watching the interviews with Romney and Obozo.  CBS fulfilled their job of boosting the Democrat while asking the Republican the toughest questions they could devise.

Example: Here's the CBS interviewer's voice-over, as best I could transcribe it:  "Governor Romney doesn't spend much time on the campaign trail talking about foreign policy, as he has limited experience in this area, and no military experience at all."


I'm not saying it's not legit to point that out.  But if lack of experience in foreign affairs is something voters should know about, where the hell was CBS four years ago?  Obama had exactly zero experience in foreign affairs, and zero military, but I don't recall CBS or any other network making a point of that.

And it gets worse.  Here's Steve Kroft, who interviewed Obozo, five minutes after his counterpart made a point of mentioning Romney's lack of foreign-policy experience:  "While we were doing our interview, the president's day was dominated by foreign affairs.  The tragedy in Benghazi..."

Ah yes, the attack on the anniversary of 9/11, that Obama and minions have said was merely a spontaneous demonstration over a film unflattering to Muslims, and the demonstrators just happened to have mortars and RPGs with them.  But *definitely* not a planned attack.  No sir, no way, not at all, according to the White House.

But see, if they admit it was a planned hit, that killed our ambassador and three other Americans, they'd have to actually DO something meaningful.  Which they have no earthly desire to do. Hence the goofy denial.  And they didn't even propose cutting foreign aid.  If anyone thinks this is sophisticated foreign policy I've got a bridge I'd like to sell ya.

It's bad enough that morons are running our foreign policy, but what's just as bad is that they think *you're* morons--because with the help of a dozen so-called journalists, you'll believe anything, no matter how incredible.

Friday, September 21

AP describes vandals as "artists"

The Associated Press is a disgrace.  The wire service recently ran a story about an activist who wanted to buy advertising space in the NYC subways for an ad saying "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

Predictably, once the NY Transit Authority learned the content of the proposed ad, it refused to let her buy the space.

Unpredictably, she sued.  And won.  So the ads will go up.

Now here's the weird part:  The AP piece notes that the same ads went up in San Francisco buses awhile ago.  And as you could probably guess, they were immediately vandalized.  And guess how the AP writer and editors describe the culprits?

"Artists."  Not "vandals."  Not "thin-skinned assholes who love to riot and burn cars and kill ambassadors over cartoons or bad videos."


Fuck you, Associated Press.  You're idiots.  If not worse.

Here's an educational mental exercise:  Suppose an artist produced a work arguably insulting to Christians--say, a big photo of a crucifix submerged in urine.  And suppose someone vandalized the photo in protest.  What are the odds the AP would describe the protester as an "artist"?

But no bias at the AP.  Not a bit.

Thursday, September 20

Geithner: In ten years entitlements will eat 92% of budget

How fast are we approaching the precipice?  Let's ask someone who should know:

Timothy Geithner, Obama’s own Treasury Secretary, says that within 10 years just the three biggest entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — plus interest on the national debt--will consume 92 percent of the federal budget. That leaves just eight cents of every tax dollar to fund everything else government does--defense, national parks, food inspection, everything.

And note that the guy who made this frightening forecast isn't some wacko conservative but Obama's own hand-picked head of the Treasury Department.  You'd think he'd be putting the best possible spin on things to help his boss win re-election.

Imagine the federal government closing 92 percent of its offices.  Hopefully someone will do a bit of triage and decide to cut NPR, NEA, the DOE, ATF, NASA and EPA first, and use the savings to keep our armed forces going as long as possible.

But somehow I doubt any Democrat will be that prudent.  In fact I imagine the last budget item the president and congress preserve will be the fleet of limos that whisk them to and from various destinations in D.C.

Wednesday, September 19

Obozo bans recording devices at fundraiser!

At Obozo's two fundraisers in NYC yesterday, journalists weren't allowed to bring in cameras or recording equipment. This was enforced by the Secret Service.

Gee, I wonder why Obie wanted to ban recording gear?

Could it be that he doesn't want his remarks made public, as was done by the secret recording of Romney's remarks at one of his fundraisers--remarks that the MSM is now hyperventilating over?

Saturday, September 15

Obama: 'Those who attacked our embassies will be punished'

After the attacks on American embassies by Muslim rioters, here's Obozo's reaction, as printed in the UK's Independent:
Speaking at a campaign event in Golden, Colorado, President Barack Obama vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.

"I want people around the world to hear me," he said. 'To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished."
Very...inspiring rhetoric. Just one problem with it: Everyone in the world knows you're just blowing smoke. There will be no punishment by the U.S. government, because the U.S. rightly rejects the notion of collective punishment.

If you're under 30 and went to public schools this may not ring any bells, but during WW2 in almost every country occupied by the Nazis, resistance groups formed and carried out whatever attacks they could to kill German soldiers. Because the members of the resistance were so hugely outnumbered, they didn't wear uniforms, and were impossible to distinguish from "regular" civilians.

Although almost all the attacks by the resistance had very little effect on the overall war, they understandably infuriated the German command, and eventually a number of regional commanders devised a strategy to get local civilians to actively oppose the resistance:

After a successful attack by the resistance, in some regions German troops would round up ten or 20 or 100 local civilians and shoot them dead.

This was "collective punishment," in which innocent people were killed as punishment for killings committed by others whose identities were unknown.

After the war, at the Nuremburg trials of surviving Nazi officers, this was one of the charges laid against particular officers by the Allied powers. Those found guilty were usually hanged.

So...Americans don't believe in collective punishment--at least in terms of hanging or imprisonment. And unless Obozo didn't study history in high school, he should know this.

For Obozo to solemnly vow that those who killed the American ambassador and three Marine guards in Libya would be punished is as blatant a bag of hot air as anyone could imagine. Because we can't know who did it, and we won't just go in and carpet-bomb the entire city.

But here's an idea, Barry (you ignorant poser): If you really believe what you said, announce that you'll immediately sign a bill reducing U.S. aid to Egypt by $400 million per year.

That would be $100 million for each American killed--in Libya!

The Egyptians will howl in rage! "Hey, WE didn't kill any Americans, so why punish us?" they'll wail. Sorry, we say; we're just applying your own principles: Your demonstrators and those in Benghazi said they were angry because someone made a film in the U.S. that insulted your prophet and his bloodthirsty religion. Yours reacted by burning our embassy, while the ones in Benghazi looted it and killed Americans.

Since you've shown you're down with collective punishment, we'll play too.

Oh, and next demonstration? If your troops fail to protect our embassy and staff--including shooting into the demonstrators if necessary--we'll cut aid by another $400 million.

If you protect our embassy we'll consider restoring the money.

But of course Barry won't make such a vow, because he's a Muslim sympathizer.

Friday, September 7

Borrowing from your children?

Say you have a friend whose parents worked hard all their lives and built a sizeable estate that he inherited. Those same hard-working parents also set up funds to pay for their grandchildren to go to college.

Unfortunately your friend has a habit of spending more than he makes, and has now spent everything his parents left him. But now that he's spent all his inheritance and maxed out his credit cards, rather than finally starting to live within his means he's decided to "appropriate" the college funds his parents set up for their grandchildren.

(That word "appropriate" as a verb is SO much better-sounding than "take"--or even "redistribute," eh?)

One day your friend asks you what you think about this strategy. Do you say
  • "Hey, that cash is just as much yours as your kids', so go for it!"
  • "That's unconscionable--you're taking something you have no right to take;" or
  • "You should run for national office."
If you favored the first or third choices you're probably a Democrat.

This country's politicians have amassed a $16 Trillion debt, largely by voting for programs that are fiscally unsound. IF anyone ever intended that this borrowed money would have to be repaid, the payers would be our children and grandchildren.

Literally, we're spending our kids' money. And since they didn't get to vote on that decision, this strikes me as unconscionable.

The problem has two causes: First, politicians know that giving things to voters wins them lots of votes--and since the first law of politicians is to get re-elected, it can scarcely come as a surprise that pols vote to do that.

Fortunately our Constitution--the magnificently-crafted blueprint for our nation--explicitly limited the powers of the federal gummint, and for about 110 years that amazing document kept the corrupt pols in check.

Sadly, around 1900 "our" (ha!) pols--both president and a majority of congresswhores--began to brazenly--openly, laughingly--ignore the limitations on government power specified in the Constitution. Once they saw they could get away with that there were no more restraints on their ability to have government give away money and other benefits to voters--and the ride toward the fiscal cliff accelerated.

And it's not just Dems; Republican pols have gone along with this same strategy, even if they haven't been as audacious or aggressive about it as their Dem counterparts.

Frankly I doubt that any party can succeed in rolling back the illegitimate power that's been grabbed by the president and congress over the last century. But if it *can* be rolled back, I'm pretty sure it won't be the Dems doing it.

At least it won't be done by the Dems we see today.

Monday, September 3

Crop circle

"Crop circles" have been popping up for something like 15 years now, and the "conventional wisdom" is that...well, what do you think about 'em?

Yeah, the CW is that they're hoaxes, produced by groups who love to fool the credulous.

This meme began when some TV network found two guys in the U.K. who had produced simple circular shapes in wheat fields in a few hours by using rope and two-by-fours. One guy would hold one end of the rope in the center and the other guy would walk out until the rope was taut, then walk forward, dragging his 2x4 on the wheat, bending it all in the same direction.

Ha ha. Stupid rubes who believe in aliens... etc. Case closed.

I hadn't heard much about crop circles in the past five years or so but then yesterday chanced on this photo:

My first thought was "Now that's one hell of an elaborate hoax." There are a LOT of circles there--including the little ones, almost 400. Lots of time there. Presumably hoaxers would have to be very highly motivated to invest that much work--in something that wouldn't have any financial payoff.

Of course it's the elaborate detail that makes any hoax convincing.

But some other factors jumped out:  While the perfect symmetry of the six curving arms is easy enough to lay out with a drawing compass, laying it out with a taut rope in a field would likely damage the areas between the arms--something that's not visible. 

Then there's the precise sizes of the 13 circles on each of the arms, so that they fill the entire length of each curving arm exactly, while just touching each other.  While the necessary diameters of each could be found by trial and error on a computer screen, accurately executing the different sizes on each arm would be extremely difficult.

What are the odds of getting zero mistakes in such a task? And remember that the crew wouldn't be able to see the figure from the air so they wouldn't know if a mistake had been made.

Then there's the perfect symmetry of the bends in the axes of the four to six smaller circles off 48 of the larger ones:  It's simple to strike a perpendicular to the main curved arm at any point, but each smaller circle departs from the perpendicular by exactly the same small angle, every time.  To do this even with a surveyor's rig, over 250 times without a mistake--at night--would be extremely unlikely.

Because the six main arms curve as they get farther away from the center, the bend axes of the side circles take a very large number of different heading.  Just keeping track of which circle a hoaxer was in would start to get prohibitive.

And remember, these things appear during a single night.

I realize humans are amazingly creative and have put some elaborate hoaxes over on the rest of us, but how elaborate does a figure like the one shown have to be before a rational person finally concludes that the probability of the thing being done by hoaxers in a single night approaches zero?

Solo blogger charges academic misconduct; U-T leaps to investigate

A professor at UT-Austin published the results of a study in which "thousands" of adult children of straight, lesbian and homosexual parents were asked dozens of questions related to their lives.

While many of the answers did not show statistically-significant differences between the various parenting groups, the study found that children of gay couples were two to four times as likely to be on public assistance, more than twice as likely to be unemployed and more than twice as likely to have contemplated suicide.

That's not what caught my eye about this story. It's this: a single gay blogger who learned about the study wrote two letters to UT-A accusing its author of academic misconduct--specifically, of deviating from ethical standards for research and of “possible falsification” of research. The accuser also claimed the study was flawed because it was funded by a conservative institute, and that the professor was unable to be impartial because he is Catholic.

In the academic world these are all potentially career-ending charges, and the university immediately sprang into action, confiscating the professor's computers and 42,000 emails. (Yes, 42,000.)

And after a thorough investigation they found no evidence of misconduct.

While one could argue that the university's prompt investigation could have been motivated by a desire to quickly clear the professor, one can also make the opposite case. I wonder if the university would have taken the same aggressive action if a single conservative blogger were to charge a liberal professor with the same misconduct.

I've never heard of that happening and I'll bet you haven't either. Universities normally take no notice whatsoever when a single critic--let alone one with no credentials in the field of the research--criticizes one of their faculty members. If universities reacted this way even half the time to a single charge by a layman, academic researchers would be paralyzed.

This strikes me as yet another example of a double-standard among PC institutions. It also seems to be yet another example of what might be termed "suppressive fire" by special-interest groups who don't want research to be published that would cut against their goals. The extreme reaction by UT-A (unless one believes it was motivated by a desire to clear the guy) is likely to deter other researchers from undertaking studies that could produce results that would put them in the gunsight.

Which, I suspect, is the whole point.

Kinda like the "global warming" crowd strong-arming journals into not publishing studies that cut against the AGW position.

Sunday, September 2

Sign greets Obama at airport arrival

Obama recently visited Sioux City, Iowa--where he was greeted by the following banner:

This is some funny, creative shit here, but to get the funny you need to know two things: First, in very small letters between the two big words is printed "welcome to."

Second: SUX is the official code for the Sioux City airport.

So nobody could object to a banner at the Sioux City airport saying, in effect, welcome to Sioux City. But of course the second meaning is obvious.

The banner got me to wondering: If the owner of a major building in a city being visited by Obozo decided to hang a banner on his own building saying something unflattering about the preezy, what are the odds that someone from the White House would prod a local city official (Democrat, of course) to get it removed?

My guess is the local would threaten the building's owner with a fine if he didn't remove it before Obozo's arrival. Of course there's that whole "free speech" thingy they'd have to get past, so the bureaucrat would surely cloak the demand as "You didn't get a permit to demonstrate" or "windows in commercial buildings can't be obstructed" or some similar bullshit. Be interesting to see if it'd happen.

Saturday, September 1

Split between Egypt and Iranian leaders?

In the last week there was a huge shift in Middle East fault-lines: As Syrian rebel forces began to win some battles against dictator Bashir Assad, Iran's leaders (Muslim mullahs) were increasing their support, not for the fundamentalist rebels but for Assad.

This alone is surprising. One would think the mullahs would support the Muslim fundamentalists who are leading the uprising. And in a surprising move, as the rebels gained strength the mullahs even sent Iranian troops to help Assad against the rebels.

Iran just finished a week-long conference of Muslim leaders in the entire Middle East. One of the participants was Morsi, head of the Egyptian government, making the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian leader since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In his address to the assembled conferees, Morsi said it was the duty of all good Muslims to support...the rebels. Morsi compared the plight of the Syrian people to that of Palestinians, whose cause is regarded as sacred throughout the Muslim world. Morsi said both Syrians and Palestinians are "actively seeking freedom, dignity and human justice."

The diametric difference between the positions of two of the most populous nations of the Middle East is surprising, to say the least. Since Egypt's revolution succeeded, Iran's mullahs may have backed a losing cause.