Thursday, January 29, 2009

So now Mike "Fuhrer" Bloomberg is crusading against salt

I've previously wished ill upon Bloomberg for pushing the trans fat ban, and now he's going after excessive salt in food. Here's my comment at my friend Karol's blog, replying to someone who said, "But obviously no one else is going to fix it."
Tanya, you're perfectly capable of fixing "it" for yourself. You're evidently capable of discovering that certain foods are not as healthy as they seem.

Instead of you and Bloomberg using government to force people to be healthy, then why don't you write a plan for Bloomberg to teach people about excessive salt, and he can fund it with $1 billion of his own money?

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It's in fact Obama's conduct that's more shameful

"Obama calls $18B in Wall St. bonuses 'shameful'" reads the headline.

Oh really?

First, he paints with an overly broad brush. My employer managed yet another quarter of profit and so paid out bonuses last month. We sure as hell didn't get federal funds, so why should we be called "irresponsible" or have our behavior attacked as "shameful"?

Second, Obama isn't admitting that, uh, these companies that received TARP funds and are paying bonuses could afford to because of...the TARP funds. Obama is right in the thick of that: he not only supported the original TARP but is now promising a second round. So he's an accessory by facilitating the companies' ability to be irresponsible.

Third, Obama is a hypocrite. If $18 billion is shameful, then what is a stimulus of over $800 billion that's effectively 100% pure pork? Actually, it's worse than that: it's 100% stolen money. It has to be stolen, otherwise people would have already voluntarily spent it on these projects, without government forcing them into it.

Shame on you, Barry.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hundreds of billions of dollars more aren't enough - the feds have to use accounting trickery too

Obama's administration is looking to spend blow through hundreds of billions of dollars more than TARP's original $700 billion.

Who's surprised? Under the various guises of "ensuring liquidity," "unfreezing credit markets," "restoring confidence," "saving banks," "saving jobs" and "for the children," this is the ultimate giveaway. Everybody from union workers to preservationists to state governments is lining up with their hands out, and never forget that you are the main course.

In addition to more money, the feds' plan is to set up a bank specifically to hold bad assets, essentially a shadow holding company. This was already done with AIG. This actually wouldn't be necessary if the feds didn't impose mark-to-market accounting rules in the first place: some of a bank's assets plunge at current market prices, the bank's net assets fall below zero, and the FDIC forbids the bank from lending a penny. After all, government needs to create problems it says only it can fix, otherwise it would be out of business once people realize we can fix things our own damn selves.

Now, has it already been so long that most of us have forgotten that Enron and WorldCom engaged in the same practice of hiding liabilities on other ledgers? When they did it and were caught, no one trusted them afterward, and they went bankrupt.

When the federal government does it, few seem to bat an eye, and it's all perfectly legal. And why shouldn't it be as far as government is concerned? It wields its power purely by force, so it can make anything "legal" that it wants. When Nute Gunray asked whether something was legal, Palpatine merely replied, "I will make it legal."

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As my friend Billy Beck would say, this is feasting at the cannibal pot

This shows everything that's wrong, including who's the main course.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Call them Obama-Jugend, call them Jungsturm Barack Obama, call them brainwashed

Think of the video of Obama-worshipping children I linked to last night. Now who do they remind you of?

I had meant to link to this instead, instead of the original video of the elementary schoolchildren.

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Reason versus acting like animals, Ayn Rand over Keynes, and Robert Schiller is a fool

My friend JK noted Schiller's idiotic op-ed in today's WSJ, talking about promoting confidence, and then Greg Mankiw's wisely cautionary reply: "The sad truth is that we economists don't know very much about what drives the animal spirits of economic participants. Until we figure it out, it is best to be suspicious of any policy whose benefits are supposed to work through the amorphous channel of 'confidence.'"

My comment:

This is where Ayn Rand trumps all these morons, particularly Keynes. If you want to call it confidence, fine, call it that. But don't call it anything related to "animals."

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it does." People throw out nice-sounding words but rarely stop to think about what they're really saying.

Keynes' term is a complete misnomer because "animals" use instinct and similar non-thinking passions as the basis for their actions. Man is not an animal. Man is a thinking, reasoning being that weighs decisions on the basis of trade-offs (i.e. what is to be gained). A decision may be made quickly or "spontaneously," but that hardly means the decision was not rational. (Side note: here I speak of "man" in a general sense. There are plenty of people who act little better than animals.)

I don't want people's "animal instincts" to come out or otherwise encouraged in any way. Animals' instincts are to do whatever seems right at the time, with no rational judgement, even if it means killing their own young. Do lions worry about being confident about pursuing prey? Do deer similarly worry about finding vegetation? Hardly. Animals merely do, so using the term "animal spirits" to mean confidence is completely absurd.

Contrary to what Schiller asserts, to "trust" isn't to act like an animal -- in fact, it's exactly the opposite. Animals have no sense of "trust" because their nature has no doubt to suspend. On the other hand, when humans "trust," it actually is not dismissing any fear or hesitation, but in fact making a rational judgment based on information.

What happened with the current crisis, and I'll get to this in a subsequent paragraph, is that the government created an artificial sense of "trust" in housing and other markets. People were not suspending any doubt, because government made things look better than they actually were. Schiller is correct to point out specific things like the collateralization of mortgage-backed securities, but he misses the big picture that government was the problem in everything that happened. It wasn't the case that "confidence was blind," but that people believed they saw more than they actually was. This is not mere semantics; the logical distinction is important. People were led to believe there was more reason to be confident than not confident when the former didn't really exist, not that they turned a blind eye.

Furthermore, these economists who want to promote "confidence" typically don't understand a simple point: why do we want people to have confidence when it's not necessarily warranted? Note that politicians, and most economists too, aren't even talking about making certain people more confident in a certain industry. They're talking about increasing confidence in general, but confidence for its own sake is a bad idea. Just one of many examples: I don't want banks loaning out tons of money just because, just one of many reasons TARP is a bad idea. There are plenty of would-be borrowers who don't deserve the least bit of confidence insofar as repaying the debt. It was home ownership for home ownership's sake that helped fuel the housing bubble, followed by the Fed injecting hundreds of billions of new dollars into the global economy -- liquidity for liquidity's sake.

Now, I'm on record as saying the crisis is one of confidence, not liquidity (there's plenty of the latter). But that doesn't mean we should do things to make people more confident, which is to effect confidence for its own sake. We should let market processes work on their own, unfettered by government, so that people can compete and be worthy of confidence. If people are generally not confident about something, there's a damn good reason: their information tells them not to be. There may have proper information showing its a bad company, they may not yet have enough information to be confident (but could in the future), or government skews information so that people can't make rational decisions. The third happens all the time, but so badly today that it's the direct cause of this crisis.

The one thing few people point out is that government has a monopoly on confidence. You can mistrust it, but in most cases it ultimately gets its way.

(Editor's note: corrected my inadvertent misspelling of Schiller's name.)

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I wouldn't weep for Aubrey Coleman if he found himself in the middle of "unidentified" Arizona fans

He stupidly stomped on an Arizona player's face and got ejected, and he now offered an apology so full of bullshit that I can't help but doubt its sincerity.

The celebratory palm-slapping with his teammate says it all. Instead of merely being ejected, this garbage should have been arrested for assault. Or better yet, escorted out the back with a few Arizona fans coincidentally waiting there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What would they call it, Obama-Jugend or Jungsturm Barack Obama?

This loon, an "ethics professor" (meaning you can dismiss virtually anything he says as pure garbage), wants Obama to set up a youth corps.


For all once they graduate from high school, for two years.

Paid at minimum wage, room and board provided. (I won't touch on the stupid economics behind this, because it's secondary. But briefly, think of how many billions of dollars this will waste. Young adults could be out there working at jobs they want, producing things of actual value.)

We shouldn't be surprised that Obama's worshippers are proposing such things. Parents were already all too willing to hand over their young children to The One, and various ghetto rejects were naturally eager to step up and pledge themselves. But that still isn't good enough. Your children must join The Movement to be indoctrinated, and that's that.

This is the sort of outright slavery that makes Selective Service look voluntary. During 2004, the false rumor was that Bush would reinstitute the draft. Now there are proposals for Obama to draft every child after high school for two years, and nobody bats an eye.

When your children are seized, don't ever say you weren't warned. People are already pledging themselves to be "servants" to The One. If this video doesn't creep you out, then either you belong to him, or you don't realize the gravity of the situation.

As I was telling a friend last night, I feel like Dr. Strangelove. After watching that video, I have to stop my right arm from doing a Nazi salute.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Got nothing better to do on the lake today, Major?"

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite movies, "The Last of the Mohicans" (the 1992 version with Daniel Day-Lewis). (It's from the original version, I should clarify. The director's cut, sadly, removes it and other choice quotes.)

I originally saw this on Yahoo News and thought the price might be a typo, but checking around seems to validate it: An Iowa woman failed to return a library book valued at $13.95, and she's now been arrested.

Independence, Iowa, must be the safest place in the country. After all, if police can arrest a woman over a $13.95 book, there must be no greater crimes...right? And how many thousands of dollars will this cost to prosecute her?

So, "Got nothing better to do on the lake today, Major?"

Danny Vice has more, including Koontz's explanation that she's been so busy raising her two children and a new grandson. We all get busy sometimes and forget to return a library book, send a check, etc. But to be arrested over something that doesn't even arise to petty theft?

What puzzles me the most is that she paid a $250 bond. So why not the $13.95 for the book? Clearly she would have paid for the book instead of going to jail. People can be stupid in that they make a lot of errors, but people for the most part still act rationally in that they don't make systematic errors. Pay for or return this book, or go to jail -- which would a normal person choose? However, I can see some jack-booted thug refusing to accept $14 cash so he can arrest her, because he's behind on his quota (notice it's near the end of the month, too).

Tannerleah has a great response to Independence's local kommisar:
As Jesup Police Chief Rick Deitrick put it. "Theft is theft, no matter what it is". That’s right, Inspector Clouseau. If you are going to not return a book, you might have just as well stolen a Ferrari. It's all the same in the eyes of the law.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A note to the hit-and-run driver who almost killed my wife, mother and aunt today

To the motherfucker: you know who you are, and because you drove away from the scene, you don't even know if you killed anyone.

I pray for a thousand angels to torment your soul, or a thousand devils to ruin your life. You goddamn sonofabitch, if I ever find out who you are, you'll wish I let you off easy by skinning you alive.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The top 10 most corrupt politicians

A friend forwarded me this list. None of these names should surprise you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tell me why we simply don't kill this person as a genuine menace to society?

This sex offender preys on young boys and even raped a 6-year-old relative. Now he's been caught with a teenage boy. And he apparently has HIV.

Tell me why he should be allowed to live? He should be butchered horribly where he stands. But when most "regular people" lack the moral fiber to help an old man on a train, why should we expect them to have the courage to dispatch the worst elements among us?

Haven't we learned from the case of Jessica Lunsford? Or from the case of the little girl who was repeatedly molested over a four-year period? Her rapist, and remember this name Mark Hulett in case he lives in your town, was originally sentenced to 60 days, and the public outrage caused the judge to up it to 3-10 years. Hulett was scheduled for release this month. Who wants to bet he'll rape again, no matter how much the government "supervise" him? Sex offender registration didn't save Jessica Lunsford, now did it?

Catching the AP in the act: if the news isn't bad enough, they'll rewrite it

Take a look at the original article, which is still on Forbes' right at the moment, but I'm reproducing it here as a screenshot, lest the AP require that it "disappear":

Elsewhere, the article has been replaced by an update. Here's the article on Google News' site (again, a screenshot):

It's now the 11 p.m. hour, so the article was rewritten and republished around 10 this morning. See the differences?
New claims for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week while the number of people continuing to seek aid rose sharply, the government said Thursday.The number of people continuing to seek unemployment benefits has risen sharply, according to government data released Thursday, indicating that laid-off workers are having a harder time finding new jobs as the recession enters its second year.

The Labor Department >>also<<> to 540,000. T, but the new figure partly reflects seasonal volatility that occurs around the >>shortened<<>>week<<.\
Virtually the same beginning paragraphs. It looks like Rugaber comes from the San Francisco Chronicle and is now at the AP. His editor probably said to him, "What the hell are you doing? We can't report good economic news! At least not just yet, not until Obama has been in office long enough to take credit."

Good lord. At least Dan Okrent at least admitted the New York Times is liberal. Evidently his counterparts at the AP have no shame.

And as if Rugaber's rewrite weren't already laughable, he changed it again!

It's no secret that the mainstream media is so liberal, hoping for a recession while Republicans control the White House, and they'll even try not-so-subliminal imagery to convince Americans of a "bad economy." Usually it's the AP's ultra-bear "economics" writers Martin Crutsinger and Jeannine Aversa, whom I have skewered on this blog, and occasionally Tim Paradis, the AP's "business" writer. I enclosed "economics" and "business" in quotes because the trio regularly demonstrate that they don't truly understand their assigned subjects. I will readily concede that "writer" is far more accurate than "reporter," because in their bias, they're definitely not reporting news. They're just writing bullshit to suit their liberal agendas.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

One reason I haven't been blogging as much since the holidays

A while back I watched a couple of friends' kids playing the "original saga" on their Xbox, and it looked fun and charming. I'd been meaning to get this for a while and finally decided this would be a Christmas gift to ourselves.

I was unprepared. I haven't had this much fun playing a video game in years! And playing it on my Wii has the unmatched satisfaction of flicking your wrist to activate your lightsaber, if you're playing a Jedi or Sith (it pulls out your weapon for any other character).

I also purchased two of this, whose price varies. One reviewer has complained that the listed $5.99 price wasn't honored, so your mileage may vary. I bought mine for $8.99 each, and currently they're $12.99.

Next on my shopping list: