Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Blogs 2008

The Blog phenom continues. This link takes you to the best of 2008. Huge listing in dozens of categories from fashion to science. Check it out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On Science, astrology, cooked data, the Inquisition and the power of the State

We are about to see a new gear kick in on the Global Warming front. John Holdren, O's new Science Advisor is in lock step with the "Alarmist" and has used his considerable power to bring legal action against the heretical "Deniers".
Read the attached which I copied in its entirity from the Blog Urgent Agenda. It uses the Scientific method, Copernicus, Galileo and the Inquisition to help illustrate what you can expect in the years ahead. If it evloves in the extreme expect Bloggers will be silenced and the debate will become a "whisper". ooopps! did I say Debate? I forgot the Debate is over.

Frank Tipler, the distinguished mathematical physicist at Tulane
University, is an Urgent Agenda reader. We recently asked him for his view
of the global-warming controversy, and he was kind enough to send us this
thoughtful reply. We reprint it in full. Recommended reading:
As regards global warming, my view is essentially the same as yours: Anthropogenic
Global Warming (AGW) is a scam, with no basis in science. A few comments on my
own particular view of global warming: (1) I am particularly annoyed by the claims that the "the debate is over," because this was exactly the claim originally made gainst the Copernican theory of the Solar System.
Copernicus' opponents said the idea that the Earth was the third planet
from the Sun was advanced by Aristrachus in 300 B.C. (true), and had been
definitely refuted by 100 A.D. The debate is over! Sorry, it wasn't:
the Earth IS the third planet. (2) It is obvious that anthropogenic global
warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious
predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person
can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW
theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted
steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by
experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a
cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand ---
whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A
perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology. (3) In contrast, the
alternative theory, that the increase and decrease of the Earth's average
temperature in the near term follows the sunspot number, agrees (roughly) with
observation. And the observations were predicted before they occurred.
This is good science. (4) I emphasized in point (2) that the average
person has to be able to check the observations. I emphasize this because
I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think
the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many
recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case,
Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record.
Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used
September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not
surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern
It snowed here in New Orleans last week and it was the second heaviest snowfall I've seen in the 25 years I've lived in New Orleans. According to the local newspaper, it was the earliest snow had fallen in New Orleans since records were kept, beginning in 1850. I myself have looked at the relative predictive power of Copernicus's theory and the then rival Ptolemaic theory. Copernicus was on the average twice as accurate, and the average person of the time could tell. Similarly, anybody today can check the number of sunspots. Or rather the lack of them. When I first starting teaching astronomy at Tulane in the early 1980's, I would show sunspots to my students by pointing a small $25 reflecting telescope at the Sun, and focusing the Sun's image on the wall of the classroom. Sunspots were obviously in the image on the wall. I can't do this experiment today, because there are no sunspots. (5) Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a
disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of
the Maunder Minimum. (6) AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. Stillman Drake, the world's leading Galileo scholar, demonstrates in his book "Galileo: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2001) that
it was not theologians, but rather his fellow physicists (then called "natural
philosophers"), who manipulated the Inquisition into trying and convicting
Galileo. The "out-of-the-mainsteam" Galileo had the gall to prove the
consensus view, the Aristotlean theory, wrong by devising simple experiments
that anyone could do. Galileo's fellow scientists first tried to refute
him by argument from authority. They failed. Then these "scientists"
tried calling Galileo names, but this made no impression on the average person,
who could see with his own eyes that Galileo was right. Finally, Galileo's
fellow "scientists" called in the Inquisition to silence him.

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case
against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor.
Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I
think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to
use state power to silence their scientific opponents. (7) I agree with Dick
Lindzen that the AGW nonsense is generated by government funding of science.
If a guy agrees with AGW, then he can get a government contract. If he is
a skeptic, then no contract. There is a professor at Tulane, with a Ph.D
in paleoclimatology, who is as skeptical as I am about AGW, but he'd never be
considered for tenure at Tulane because of his professional opinion. No
government contracts, no tenure. (8) This is why I am astounded that
people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government
funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid
advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no
centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity
on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the
Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job ---
Einstein's idea that time duration depended on the observer was very much
opposed to the "consensus" view of the time. Einstein's idea that light was
composed of particles (now called "photons") was also considered crazy by all
physicists when he first published the idea. At least then he could
publish the idea. Now a refereed journal would never even consider a paper
written by a patent clerk, and all 1905 physics referees would agree that
relativity and quantum mechanics were nonsense, definitely against the
overwhelming consensus view. So journals would reject Einstein's papers if
he were to write them today. Science is an economic good like everything else,
and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to
control the means of production. Why can't Newt Gingrich understand this?
Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government
funding for science.
We should add that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his famous farewell address as president - the "industrial-military complex" speech - also warned of the intersection between science and government.
This is what he said:
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public
policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
We thank Professor Tipler for his contribution.
December 22,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who are those guys?

My favorite line from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid In the movie "Those guys" were a bunch of hard nosed, kick ass deputies. Today I ask the question because of a news item by the Rasmussen report reporting that congressional approval is down to 9%. That seems way high to me but I guess it is teatament that there are at least 10 million morons out there. WHO ARE THOSE GUYS?

For all you Night Owls

This what you Night Owls are missing in the morning. And Yes, I know this is the best I am going to feel all day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

They earned it....NOTTTTTT!!!!

How more out of touch can our Congress be?
From Gateway Pundit

Worst. Congress. Ever. continues to impress.The Hill reported:
A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), anon-partisan group.“This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter.”However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as lawmakers did in 2000.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Euphemisms abound

As I watch our elected representatives flop around on what to do about all the emergencies one thing stands out, the use of euphemisms . One striking example is the term "stakeholders" in the current auto bailout debate. Everyone and his mother gets mentioned by Congrss except the big elephant in the room. . My friend at Planet Moron puts it best: (note: when you think about the dog Rex, think Unions.

Stakeholders consist of two groups:

1) People who own the company.
2) People who do not.

For instance, let’s say you wanted to refinance the mortgage on your house. Your “stakeholders” would include, in addition to you and your spouse, your mortgage company, all your neighbors, the guy who mows your lawn, the county government, the local school district and your dogs.

All you need to do to refinance is to get all these stakeholders, who will at times have opposing interests, to come to an agreement on the specific terms. (Hint: Your dogs’ demand for more squeaky toys is non-negotiable. "I can't go back to my people with this," Rex will say.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chapter 11

Why do we need Congress to Fix the Big 3. Here's a comment I picked up recently that hits to the heart of the matter.

Nancy Pelosi calls the deal a barber shop, where everybody will take a haircut.
There is already an available process for operating companies that cannot meet their obligations where all the parties take a haircut: Its called chapter 11. We have about a zillion man-years of experience with it, in companies great and small. And it does not take idiotic Senators flashing billions of our tax money to mediate it.
The auto industry is tremendously magnetic for wannabee technocrats in Congress, in large part because in perhaps no other industry is there a bigger gap between what the average American wants
to buy and what the country's intelligentsia things they should buy

The next Trillion $ boondoggle

This is something I picked up on ICECAP
I thought it was short and to the point and if you "get it" it might help you when you are discussing Global Warming and the soon to be enacted TRILLION dollar boondoggle our leaders have in mind.

Meteorologist Dave Epstein wrote this excellent letter which he agreed to share with us.
Dear Bryan,
As a meteorologist, I just wanted to comment
on your article in Saturday’s Paper. The headline is a good place to start and I will expound from there. Please take the time to read this as I have spent some time thinking this through for you.
You stated that ‘New US military report
of global warming raises worry’. Why does this raise worry? Let me give you a few facts about global warming that you should have considered before you wrote Saturday’s article. No disrespect, but please read on. I have training in meteorology for over 25 years. I am also an instructor of meteorology at Framingham State and Colby College in Maine. That doesn’t make me an expert in climate per se, but I do know science.
1. Man-Made global warming is a theory. It has not been proven. Models that have been used to come up with the theory that man caused the warming of the 80s/90s are fatally flawed. Believe it
or not, it is possible that aspects of the traditional greenhouse gas
explanation could be largely wrong, and if you think I am crazy, let’s visit an article just published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics. (Compo, G.P. and P.D. Sardeshmukh. 2008. Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics, DOI 10.1007/s00382-008-0448-9). Go take a look. Here is but one line from the report. "Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land."
2. The IPCC is an organization that does NO research, it has never
done ANY research and many of the members of the panel have never done any research. The number 90% confident was made-up. Period. If you dig around you will find that to be the case.
3. The data that shows that we are warming is fatally flawed. I could give you many examples too long and boring for this but here is but one. Did you know, for example in October NOAA said that we had just had our warmest October on record but had to retract that from using SEPTEMBER data. That is just because they got caught by a blogger.
4. Did you know that the planet has been COOLING for the past several years. This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07.
5. CO2, while increasing is acting OPPOSITE
to temperature for the past 5 years. See last image of the three.

6. Ice in the arctic is poised to go above long-term averages this
year. It has been rapidly increasing all fall and glaciers actually GREW for the first time in 250 years in parts of Alaska.

I am not going to go on and bore you with data.
However, as a journalists isn’t is your responsibility to present the data and not go find data which supports your personal views contradicting what you might not like?
You can find all sort of people to say that man is causing the
climate to change. Guess what, the climate is changing. And it may well be getting cooler not warmer. As a good journalist ask yourself this question. Why do so many people try to shut down debate about a scientific UNPROVEN principle? I would argue it is because they want to change the way we consume/drive/live and this is the best way to get noticed. I am an environmentalist myself. I have preserved land, I started my own weekly gardening/conservation show on the web and I have long been a huge proponent of slowing down consumption in general. However, not by creating some trumped up science.
Look at something else. What is the climate we are trying to get
to? For argument sake, let’s say we all got rid of cars tomorrow. Now based on the science, we should start to cool right? How much? How cold would we get? Would we return to the temperatures of the 1700s and the little ice age? Did you know that the cold of that time caused more damage to the planet, to animals to crops than any warming has. At least look at the graphs I am sending to you to keep this whole thing in perspective. Why are we (man) being blamed for something that has occurred for over 450,000 years of past records? I think
if you dig further you will find number of REPUTABLE scientists who AGREE with the Joint Forces. Remember, when people try to shut down debate on something that has not been proven, that is the time to open up more debate.

Thanks for reading this. I am happy to discuss further.
Dave Epstein, Meteorologist.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Action, not intention matters ...

I recommend this post from Power Line.
The problem instead is why we continuously
consider liberal transgressions as misdemeanors and their conservative counterparts as felonies.
If Plutarch once believed that action, not intention matters (otherwise, as Aristotle noted, we could all be moral in our sleep), we moderns believe the reverse -- that proper thinking can often excuse improper acts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Piracy vs Terrorism. It's all in the word!!

While the world's shiiping is falling prey to pirates our elected defenders are debating the words. Have you noticed how we justify our reaction based on politically correct concepts. A killer may not get any attention unless it was motivated by "HATE". A robber at sea can't be pursued unless he is a "Terrorist"; God forbid we go after that loveable "Jack Sparrow".

The Bailout - One pcture says it all

Ocean Noise & Sleepless whales- Doncha know?

While the rest of us endure sleepless nights fretting about our jobs, our shrinking 401k retirement funds and deciding where we can furthur cut our budgets it is comforting to note that the guardians of the Green are staying on top of the important things.

GREENHOUSE gases worsen ocean noise by raising acidity levels and causing sound to travel farther, making it ever harder for marine mammals to communicate, UN and wildlife experts said today

How do these things get paid for? Are there that many contributors to these environmental causes or is it tax money? Think about it. This can only be done if it is funded by donations or taxes. Who pays for the UN? "UN and wildlife experts"!!! The US pays more than any other country by orders of magnitude for this playground of bureacrats and this is what we get.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

US Big 3 Car makers competitive edge

Is Big Gov't the answer? Dec 3, 2008

This is the first in a new series I will serve up on my blog to highlight the shear and utter incompetence of our federal government to manage anything. The intent is to get you thinking and talking with your friends about this and stop pointing to Washington to solve everything. The less these folks try to help us the better. Check out the latest fiasco associated with the new Capitol Visitors Center. Key quote below:

Initially conceived in the early 1990s and projected to cost $71 million,
the CVC has become an example of out-of-control government contracting and mismanagement. After costs ballooned and construction schedules spiraled out of control, the three-level, underground monument to congressional excess finally came in at a whopping $621 million and three years behind schedule

Nuclear winter in Chernobyl

Wow!! This is something. A young game develper swings a side trip to the site of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear plant disastor. He gives you a personal tour with geiger counter and pictures. The pics are creepy. Check it out by clicking here.
Here is a quote to remember:

One of my Kiev game dev friends hooked me up with a private tour, so I decided to go for the day to check it out. Every woman in my life told me this was a bad idea. Every man said it sounded awesome.It was awesome, although I really usually fare better when I listen to the women

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Arrogance knows no bounds!!!

My jaw dropped when I read this. It's no wonder the current approval/disapproval rating for congrss is 19%/73%. Harry Reid is utterly clueless. $681 million dollars for an "odor" shield" from us unwashed masses.

The Capitol Visitors Center, which opened this morning, may have tripled its original budget and fallen years behind schedule, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found a silver lining for members of Congress: tourists won't offend them with their B.O. anymore."My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway," said Reid in his remarks. "In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true."But it's no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.And that's not all. "We have many bathrooms here, as you can see," Reid continued. "Souvenirs
are available." $621 million well spent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You must know this if you are to be King

I read a lot on this subject. I start everyday with ICECAP, a compendium of recent articles and studies on the subject. Although, the Political consensus is settled and our erstwhile leaders are fully committed to reducing CO2 emissions at any cost there are still real scientist who are trying to figure out if we are warming or cooling and what role nature and or man has. Below is from a reader comment to a article titled "Adjusting temperatures for the ENSO and AMO" I am enclosing the entire comment because it is a good example of LOGIC and if you can follow it you will get a better understanding of the enormous complexity involved in understanding our universe. Anyone who says "It is settled science" is either clueless or stands to make a fortune cashing in on the bubble created by our bungling leaders.
Now, so your eyes don't glass over here are some key points:
The AMO: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the ENSO: El Nino Southern Oscillation are multi decade changes in the massive ocean currents that influence our weather.
The referenced study analyzed these influences and then removed them to reveal an Unexplained temperature rise.
The reader uses logic to challenge conclusions and suggest other possible explanations that might be attributable to longer term frequency oscillations that span hundreds of years and observable with statistics.
When he gets to the "Argument from ignorance must be witches" - this is the AHA! moment.
This is the point that you realize we don't know. The politically driven "Alarmist" are saying it must be the rising CO2 and they have convinced all the right people with their false claims of 95% certainty and "the consensus of world scientist" Blah, Blah Blah.

Anyway, I find it enlightening. As Arthur said in Monty Python's "In Search of the Holy Grail" " must know these things if you are to be king"
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment.

Richard S Courtney (03:24:30) :
Bill Illis:
Thankyou for this cogent
analysis. I have one comment on your method and its effect on your
conclusion. I understand your article to say your analytical method has the following steps. 1.The effect on temperature of AMO and ENSO within the time series is calculated by simple regression (this is possible because AMO and ENSO exhibit several cycles within the temporal range of the data set).
2.The temperature effect of AMO and ENSO is deleted from the time series to reveal a residual temperature trend in the time series.
3.The residual trend is assumed to be an effect of changed atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the temporal range of the data set.
4.The assumption in step 3 is used to calculate the climate sensitivity to changing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.
This may be correct, but the assumption in step 3 is the
logical fallacy of ‘argument from ignorance’. The assumption amounts to, “The cause of the residual trend is not known so it must be changing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration”. (If this ‘logical fallacy’ is not clear then consider, “The cause of crop failures is not known so it must be witches”.)
Of course, the residual trend may be a result of changing
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. However, the assumption in step 3 does not concur with the implicit assumption of steps 1 and 2 that natural cycles are affecting the temperature trend.
Other natural cycles may also be affecting the trend, and the method is not applicable to cycles with lower frequency than the time series. Such a very low frequency oscillation does seem to exist. There is an apparent ~900 year oscillation that caused the Roman Warm
Period (RWP), then the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), then the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), then the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the present warm period (PWP).There is no known cause of this apparent low frequency oscillation: some people suggest it could be solar influence, but it could be the chaotic climate system seeking its attractor(s), and it could be … . However, there is no known cause of the AMO and ENSO, either.Therefore, the implicit
assumption of your steps 1 and 2 suggests that the residual trend determined by your steps 1 and 2 could be recovery from the LIA that is similar to the recovery from the DACP to the MWP.
Indeed, since the method adopted the implicit assumption of your steps 1 and 2, consistency suggests that all the observed rise of global temperature in the twentieth century is recovery from the LIA that is similar to the recovery from the DACP to the MWP. Hence, the
calculated climate sensitivity to changing atmospheric carbon dioxide
concentration obtained by your method should be assumed to be a maximum value until this possibility of recovery from the LIA is assessed.
I hope these
thoughts are helpful.
Again, thankyou for your superb work that I trust will
soon be published.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A look ahead - Obama Cabinet Meeting

If I am going to survivie the next 4 years it is going to be up to me. The old adage about humor is important for all of us and we need a healthy dose of it EVERY day. Thank God there is a lot of it out there. You need to make it a priority like taking your meds or working out.
Come back here from time to time and see the gems I have found.

This one courtesy of a daily compendium of "Must Reads" from around the world compiled by a group calling themselves "L dotters"

Cabinet of Curiosities #5

OBAMA: Michelle's now my Senior Advisor. You want to talk with me, ask Rahm, and if you get past him, Michelle.
EMANUEL: Waste our time, I'll cut your budget ten percent.
OBAMA: Our health initiative, HHS?
TOM DASCHLE: We're into Stage One, pouring resources into the chronically underserved undocumented immigrant community. Once they’re healthy, we’ll shift them into general coverage and begin Stage Two: making hospitals and clinics death traps through staff cuts and underfunding. That’ll reduce the strain on facilities and ease population pressures, too.
OBAMA: Good. Transportation?
RALPH NADER: There’s no ''right to drive'' in The Constitution, sir. Ban private ownership of autos -- we’ll get off foreign oil and save big on infrastructure. Let's look to the Amish for public transport ideas.
OBAMA: Nader isn't in the Cabinet--how’d he get in here? Never mind. Treasury?
PAUL KRUGMAN: You always do the opposite of what I advise, sir, so I object to a tax on air breathers.
OBAMA: Noted. State, tell Reid I want Reverend Farrakhan’s appointment as Vatican Ambassador fast-tracked. Can't wait to see his X men mix it up with the Swiss Guard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


If you want to start your day with a grin I recommend Planet Moron. I have reproduced one below.

November 14, 2008
maybe they call it research because you have to do it over again
A research study reported on this week from the Workforce Education and Development Initiative (WED) found that non-profit organizations contribute to the economy.

This is surely true. For instance, General Motors is a non-profit and we all know it contributes to the economy, including nearly $10 million contributed to Washington lobbyists and lawyers alone. Imagine what that did for local Ferragamo shoe sales!

Oh, they meant organizations that are non-profit on purpose.

The study focused primarily on the Pennsylvania Association of the Blind (PAB) and noted that the economic activity such non-profits generate is due directly to the fact that they spend the money people give them.

This finally puts to rest the long-held belief that charities use donor checks primarily to create soup stock for Meals-on-Wheels programs (you have no idea how long it takes to boil those things down).

But no, expert researchers Dr. David Passmore and Dr. Rose Baker applied their unique insights (it’s a gift, really… and a curse) and found that the PAB “purchases such items as electricity, water, office paper,… and office furniture.” This would be as opposed to sitting in the dark, thirsty, writing on the walls cross-legged on the floor.

Who knew?

But as they delved further into the subject, their curiosity obviously piqued by their startling discoveries up to that point, they found more, including irrefutable evidence that the people who work for the PAB spend their pay on “various consumer items,” and do not, as was previously believed, burn the money in ritualistic pagan harvest ceremonies. This is all “part of the complex web of economic relationships that comprise the Pennsylvania economy,” observed Passmore and Baker, clearly giddy with the realization that they may be the very first researchers ever to compile the hard data necessary to convince a skeptical academy that people both make and spend money.

Is that Mr. Nobel calling?

But then, the Workforce Education & Development Initiative, a partnership of various Penn State entities, has long been on the cutting edge of economic analysis. If you have a question about how a specific economic event might impact your area, the WED is the place to go for a report that does not specifically address your question.

And do it dependably. Every time. For example:

A repot on Merck & Co. layoffs “was designed to help understand the impact of job cuts of Merck & Co. in Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties,” however “the Brief does not forecast the specific impact of Merck & Co.’s operations.”

A report on National City Corporation layoffs “was designed to help understand the potential effect it has on the County,” however “the Brief does not forecast the specific impact of National City Corporation’s operations.”

And a report on potential gas royalty income that doesn’t offer any information on the actual impact of gas royalty income beyond the assumptions that it would probably be real good.

In other words, the WED is kind of like a murder mystery train; they provide all the clues you need, but it’s up to you to guess what the real effect on employment and tax receipts will be!

Isn’t that more fun?

Regardless, the WED clearly fills a vital role in detailing the obvious and avoiding the difficult. We should consider ourselves fortunate that the WED is able to retain the services of Passmore and Baker and that they have not been tempted to leave and apply their intellects to more lucrative pursuits, such as finding a cure for cancer, developing sustainable fusion reactions, or pasting colorful bits of felt to poster board.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Planet Moron: CONSENSUS WATCH – 11/06/2008

Check out this humorous (but accurate) account of what we are facing with CAP & TRADE, coming soon to a Utility near you. But don't despair, it is based on BAD science but it is also WELL INTENDED so those good feelings should compensate.

Here's a teaser...

As luck would have it, bankrupt power plants have a relatively small carbon footprint and in fact might be carbon positive if you factor in the overgrown weeds sopping up carbon dioxide and the workers who no longer need to commute to their jobs but instead hang around the house listlessly emitting low levels of CO2.

So it’s sort of win-win-win.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Free pizza everyday and No more homework"

"Free pizza everyday and No more homework"

Campaign pledge from an 8th grade student running for class president. You wouldn't fall for pandering like that!!! WOULD YOU.

Well be honest with your self. THINK.. Its not enough to just have a good feeling. What exactly is CHANGE?

Keep this quote from former president Gerald Ford:
'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to
take away everything you have.'

Read this post. It is from this blog but I have pasted the entire essay here. Do you really understand this stuff? Does it matter?

Change: It’s what you’ll get, and what you’ll be left with
With comments passed on by Paul Dreissen, CORE

As Bloomberg reported, Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions. Placing heat-trapping pollutants in the same category as ozone may lead to caps on power-plant emissions and force utilities to use the most expensive systems to curb pollution. The move may halt construction plans on as many as half of the 130 proposed new U.S. coal plants. This even as the McCain campaign comes to its senses on a realistic emission plan. They always had a more sensible and essential “all the above” solution for energy than the democrats who believe they can replace fossil fuels with solar, wind and other alternatives without any interrruption. With a multi year head start, only 2% of Britain’s energy needs are met by renewables.

Palin today said “We will control greenhouse gas emissions by giving American businesses new incentives and new rewards to seek, instead of just giving them new taxes to pay and new orders that they must follow, ‘so says government,’” Palin said during a visit to Xunlight Energy, a Toledo-based solar-power component manufacturing company. In the end many of us even this will prove unnecessary as CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant fertlizer, the gas of life.

Paul Dreissen passes on the other changes that an Obama presidency would bring. These change are not what the party’s sloganeering which sounds appealing to so many tells you.

No thanks to the “mainstream media,” the true parameters of presidential candidate Barack Obama�s plan to redistribute wealth and give tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans are finally becoming clear. Here are some of the “changes” he has in mind for our businesses, freedoms and earnings.

FICA. Mr. Obama�s plan defines “rich” as anyone making over $97,000 a year. That is because he plans to eliminate the FICA tax cap, and you will start paying an additional 7 percent tax on each and every dollar you earn! No longer will earnings above the annual cap be exempt from further FICA withholding from employer and employee accounts. Self-employed people will see their earnings above $97,000 taxed an additional 14 percent, because they will pay both the employer and employee FICA taxes. Small businesses would be hard hit.

TAX HIKES. If you are making a mere $50,000 a year or more, you will pay another 4.5 percent on every dollar you earn, starting in 2010. That’s when the Bush tax cuts expire. These “unfair tax breaks” for “rich” people like you and me will simply be allowed to lapse. Obama and the mainstream media insist that this will not constitute a “tax increase.”

DIVIDENDS. Taxes on your stock and mutual fund dividends will increase from the current 15 percent to at least 20 percent. This clear tax increase is to ensure “fairness” and “spread the wealth around.”

INHERITANCE. Estate taxes are likely to skyrocket - not just on unspent savings, but on homes, farms, small businesses, and unspent IRA and 401K retirement savings.

401K CONTRIBUTIONS. There�s even talk of eliminating part or all of the deduction for putting money aside in 401K retirement savings accounts. These, says Rush Limbaugh, are the points at which your quest for the American Dream will end. The Democrats “New New Deal” could turn a painful recession into a long Great New Depression.

JUDGES. As Northwestern University law professor Steven Calabresi notes in the October 28 Wall Street Journal, if Obama wins, “the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation’s most important regulatory court of appeals,” and throughout much of the judicial system. Courts will be stacked with judges who will likely rule that all these tax system changes are fair, equitable, legal and constitutional. We could see, “a federal constitutional right to welfare; a federal constitutional mandate of affirmative action wherever there are racial disparities [outside of sports], without regard to proof of discriminatory intent; ruinous shareholder suits against corporate officers and directors;” and much more.

Thomas Sowell stresses that court cases should not depend on who you are and who the judge is. We are supposed to be a country with “the rule of law and not of men.” Obama is proposing the explicit repudiation of that ideal. That is certainly “change,” but is it one that most Americans believe in?

These “changes” will affect new business development, job creation, charitable giving, and budgetary decisions in poor families. When bottom lines suffer, wealth creation and civil rights suffer. As to your right to know facts like these, and your right to informed debate, once Obama and the Democrats reinstate the “Fairness” Doctrine, public access to essential information will be severely circumscribed. The doctrine and its “50 percent” airtime rule will almost certainly apply only to talk radio and similar conservative news outlets - not to NPR, PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN or MSNBC.

This is the kind of CHANGE Obama believes in. The kind of CHANGE you can be sure is coming. The kind of CHANGE you’ll have in your pocket when he’s finished “spreading the wealth around.” Ponder all this when you enter the voting booth next Tuesday. And help your friends to ponder it, too, by forwarding this to them.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Looking out for Numero Uno"

No one can put the case better than Krauthammer. Read the whole thing

Some key tidbits: (bold/italic emphasis added by me)

Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years.

This is beautiful. It truly points out how opportunistic politicians are. Forget ideals or doing the right thing. It's "looking out for numero uno" Think of the slime on the Titanic who disguised themselves as women to get on the Titanic's life boats. They're reacting to polls at this late point to insure their survival. If their opinion were legit and "heart felt", where were they 6 months ago?

So Krauthammer puts these guys in their place and then makes a straightforward case for McCain.

The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.
Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the past year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one", and who refers to the most
deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?

Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?

Think of this scenario before you punch the chad for Obama.
We have this stranger we know little about.
He has no history of accomplishment of any note.
He comes out of the Chicago poitical machine
He sat in a church pew for 20 years and never heard Rev Wright's radical and bigotrd ideology.

OK, now forget all that because your purpose is to cast a vote reflecting your disapproval of G W Bush .
Punch the button for that "Change" guy.

He will take care of you. Trust him

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama is all about J_O_B _ S

Caught this post at Coyote Blog. What's the point? The point is you can expect Obama to provide major league payback to the Unions for his election. Take a look what unions have done for the Auto Industry

Global Warming Apocalypse Are you tuning in or out?

This NY Times reviews a current exhibit at the Natural History Museum on Global Warming. What is noteworthy is the reporter actually gives the reader a good analysis of the subject matter and insight into a real debate that is going on regarding this so called "settled science".

Contrast that article with this one from the Financial Post on Walmart Environmentalism that predicts the next commodity collapse will be mass marketed environmentalism.

So we have the Elites in NY tut tutting over the coming apocalypse while sipping their chardoney whilst the "Joe the [fill in] " of the US are tuning out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gov't managing health care and you get this kinda stuff!!

Hat tip to Instapundit, here is another example of what happens when you turn over management of your life to big government. In this case it is Britain's Health management

Dozens of incentive schemes have been uncovered which allow GPs to profit by slashing the number of patients they refer for hospital care. Under one scheme, GPs stand to gain £59 for every patient not referred to hospital, if they cut an average referral rate by between two and eight per cent. Torbay care trust in Devon will pay up to £15,000 to the average-sized GP practice if it hits a swathe of targets, including reducing hospital referrals. . . .
A leading surgeon said that patients' cancers had already gone undiagnosed after they were denied specialist care under two such "referral management" schemes. . . .He said: "I recently encountered two cases in which patients referred to
physiotherapists later turned out to have a malignant tumour. If they had been sent to a consultant the outcome may have been very different

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Know your place, the Elites know better...Leave it to them

Give it to Mark Steyn to condense the whole Joe the Plumber phenom into a few words.
Here he creates the analogy of a peasant back in feudal times who makes less than 25 groats a year...LOL

The heart of the American Dream is aspiration. That's why people came here from all over the world. Back in Eastern Europe, the Joe Bidens and Diane Sawyers of the day were telling Joe the Peasant: "Hey, look, man. You're a peasant in the 19th century, just like your forebears were peasants in the 12th century and your descendants will be peasants in the 26th century. So you're never gonna be earning 250 groats a year. Don't worry about it. Leave it to us. We know better." And Joe the Peasant eventually figured that one day he'd like to be able to afford the Premium Gruel with just a hint of arugula and got on the boat to Ellis Island. Because America is the land where a guy who doesn't have a 250-grand business today might just have one in five or 10 years' time.

"Out of Karl Marx's mouth"

This video of Joe the plumber is great. The guy's appealing because his talk is simple and straight forward. The Elites in NY and SF must be going crazy realizing this guy is stirring up the "unwashed". The Karl Marx comment is right on

Friday, October 17, 2008

Redistributionist Camels & Scoundrels

Imagine a US with no income tax. Hard to imagine but it once was. How it started and why makes for a good read and might help one see the true "root cause" of our current political malaise.
This short posting takes you back to 1894 and the new Income Tax, intended to rectify the injustice of the regressive tariff/excise taxes originally authorized by the Constitution. Essential reading as it should help you see how "Monsters" are created with the best of intentions.

When the ducks quack, feed them

This Fortune magazine article spotlights just one example of the "Junk" mortgage instruments that have poisoned the market. It's a good simple explanation for us financial rubes who get suckered every day. Sample from article...

This issue, which is backed by ultra-risky second-mortgage loans, contains all the elements that facilitated the housing bubble and bust. It's got speculators searching for quick gains in hot housing markets; it's got loans that seem to have been made with little or no serious analysis by lenders; and finally, it's got Wall Street, which churned out mortgage "product" because buyers wanted it. As they say on the Street, "When the ducks quack, feed them."
Alas, almost everyone involved in this duck-feeding deal has had a foul
experience. Less than 18 months after the issue was floated, a sixth of the borrowers had already defaulted on their loans. Investors who paid face value for these securities - they were looking for slightly more interest than they'd get on equivalent bonds - have suffered heavy losses.

I like the "duck quack" thing. This also reminds me of the WC Fields quote: "There's a sucker born eveyday"
One last point it was Goldman Sachs that created this package. They were the first to get bailed out, by Warren Buffet! Ever wonder what Warren knows that we don't?
It was sold by Goldman Sachs (Charts, Fortune
) - GSAMP originally stood for Goldman Sachs Alternative Mortgage Products but now has become a name itself, like AT&T and 3M.

Read the whole thing

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spread the wealth around

I thought this graphic and link might help you wade through all the wrangling and rhetoric about taxes and who pays them and who the real stake holders are in the coming election. A couple of key points to consider:
  • Approx 40% of workers pay NO income tax
  • Top 10% pay 60% of taxes
  • Tax rates varied from 3 - 22%. That is highly progressive. Higher incomes pay more

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dow at 7000?

Here's an interesting trend line I picked up from Coyote Blog. Note the twin bubbles from the tech and housing/credit. Check out his blog. Scroll down a few posts. What irritates me is the wealth accumulated by the "Players" that led us into this and I'll bet knew when to get out. Buy low, sell high sucker.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pricipitous Action - not necesarily correct.

We have something like a "Perfect Storm" going here. The gov't is taking unprecedented action at a pace never seen before. Is it the right thing to do? Are all arguments being presented? are all stake holders being given consideration? or are we taking precipitous actions due to panic?

Here is a letter written to the Wall Street Journal by one of our readers that highlights some key pints I'll "betcha" (thanks to Sarha Pallin for making that terminology cool) most people haven't considered.

Subject: Your Editorial "Free AIG"

Dear Editor:

Thank you for your editorial recommending that we "Free AIG". I totallly agree. As a shareholder of AIG I was shocked at the "gun at your head" conduct of Mr Paulson and the fact that this 11th hour one sided negotiation was conducted with absolutely NO REGARD for shareholders. In retrospect what massive meltdown was so imminent that shareholders should give up 80% of the stock and subject the company to a debt transaction under such onerous conditions. I believe this transaction was at least unethical and possibly illegal. Also there is an inside story on this that most likely is tied in with AIG's massive portfolio of Credit Default Swaps. The possibility that some of these might flow back to Goldman Sachs and other protected elites is not good news for Mr Paulson if true.

The final insult to shareholders stacked on top of the outrageous conduct of the US government is that the current slate of AIG Directors remain directors. How is it possible that these people have not been frog walked to the nearest jail let along being given responsibility for selling the henhouse they were supposed to be protecting. The corporate governance melt down by the Directors is breathtaking in it's own right and I look forward to the WSJ's continuing coverage of the people responsible for this financial trainwreck that has laid to waste a once great company to the tune of $60 billion of market value.

As I ponder what else could have been done, I come to the conclusion that management should have threatened to file for bankruptcy. No doubt this filing was what the FEDS did not want and thus would have allowed AIG management to negotiate a better deal. Perhaps our present ownership of 20% is the EQUITABLE ownership that the government should have presently rather than their current 80% stake.

This transaction smells bad all the way around. I am hopeful that Hank Greenberg might lead a charge to take back what is rightfully ours.

Best Regards

Thomas Delaney
Avondale Estates Georgia

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Too Big to manage

When you take a look at who we have given the power to manage our lives there is a common factor. They are all too damn big. All you have to do is look at the endless list of failures: Energy, Economy, Education, Defense,etc. I don't have time to list all the big government assigned to just about every aspect of our lives. Check out this site for a complete A-Z listing of Government agencies. Holy cow, Batman, do we really need all this? Who is paying for this? The answer to the 2nd question is easy, YOU and I. If you consider all wage earners that would be 60% of us as 40% of wage owner pay no Federal income tax.
I don't know about you but I'm sick and tired of paying for something that does not work well. I'm also wise to the pandering of the political class with their election year pledges to reduce the size of government and cut government spending. Hell, their definition of reducing spending is to reduce the rate of growth. Check this site it is fairly easy to follow and it lays out what the government spends by major categories from year to year. The most telling table is the avg growth rate in spending in the discretionary portion of the budget year over year since 1998 (Table S-9). Compare that one with your year over year salary increases!! Education went up 37% in 2001. There is no aggregate for all but I would guess it is closer to a 10% CGR than it is to 5%.
It's too big to manage. If you agree go to this site, look up your House representative and follow the easy links to send him/her a message. Here is the link for your senators. Just DO IT!! Save the links and use them to send frequent comments .

Oh by the way, when you contact your reps by the web they ask you to fill out name, address and email. This is easy if you enable "autofill" in your Goggle tool bar. One click and all the data is automatically y filled in. No excuses there, eh?

Cool Animated GIF of horse

Cool animated gif of a horse galloping. As some of you may know I have a long history/fascination with horses. Another point, according to Wikipedia this is one of the "finest"images of a horse available. I concur.

Some of the Fox's pics - a set on Flickr

Best Pics 01 - a set on Flickr

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama the Magician

This post from Powerline blog illustrates how politicians will promise anything to get elected. They appeal to the lowest common denominator who "want desperately to believe".

Kimberly Strassel pays tribute to Obama's magic in a column that usefully summarizes the internal contradictions of Obamanism:
To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he 'cut' zero? Abracadabra! It's called a 'refundable tax credit.' It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as 'welfare,' but please try not to ruin the show.
For his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! That will include all those among the top 1% of taxpayers who are in fact small-business owners, and the nation's biggest employers who currently pay some of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Mr. Obama will, with a flick of his fingers, show them how to create more jobs with less money. It's simple, really. He has a wand.
Those of us troubled by the fact that Obama's prescriptions would aggravate the financial crisis (among the consequences of various Obama positions spelled out by Strassel) can take comfort, however small, in the fact that they show Obama to be an extraordinarily cynical politician. He doesn't believe in much, but he certainly believes in his own power to make voters believe whatever he says, even when what he says today contradicts what he said yesterday, and even when it constitutes a bald fiction."

Help a heart

OK, this is a solicitation. Robbie isn't in scouts so its not to sell popcorn. Check out my website and if you feel generous contribute to a worthy cause. All those who "Give at the office" are excused.

Climate folly in North Carolina

Here we go. I'm from the governement and I'm here to help you. Please spare us from the buraucrats. According to this article (do your fact checking) the climate alarmists are sold on "Green jobs" Here's a key quote. The "swine" in the text is a reference to to the "pork barrel" nature of this stuff.
Here’s what the swine left on the CAPAG collar: a projection that the state would realize 15,000 new jobs, $565 million in “employee and proprietor income,” and $302 million in gross state product by 2020. Compare that to what the Beacon Hill Institute, who analyzed CAPAG’s recommendations for the Locke Foundation earlier this year, found: “By 2011, the state would shed more than 33,000 jobs, annual investment would drop by about $502.4 million, real disposable income by more than $2.2 billion, and real state Gross Domestic Product by about $4.5 billion.” So I guess the question boils down to, whose analysis do you believe: a political science graduate student’s or PhD economists’?

This "Green Job" meme is a ruse to legitimize fleecing the tax payer Here is another link to an article about Hillary Clinton's push in that direction. Editorials, Political Cartoons, and Polls from Investor's Business Daily -- Hillary's Green Elixir
Money quote:
"I do believe the green-collar job piece of this is important," she said in Monday's debate. "That's why I have $5 billion to do it."

"We could put hundreds and hundreds of young people to work right now, putting solar panels in, insulating homes," Clinton gushed. "That would give them jobs, and it would move us more quickly to a green economy."

The Next Bubble

It seems our lives are an endless string of bubbles followed by bubble burst. Why is that? I'm asking. Let me know.
Well you heard it from me first. The next bubble is going to be Higher education. A recent article in US News & World Report pointed to big increases in MBA school applications. In the 24%+ range. A lot of this is expected to continue with the latest bubble bursts as out of work people and undergrads with no job prospects want to find a place to park. Not discussed was how do you pay for this. Can we continue to rely on the easy availability of college loans? Can middle class parents pull equity from their homes to send junior to grad school? Will US colleges reduce the tuition/fees that go up year to year at a rate way above inflation? Is it really worth the $'s?
You tell me. Personally I see the whole value proposition coming into sharp focus and we will see a bubble burst. The grant money that pays for tenured professors to travel to conferences world wide and study all kinds of meaningless stuff is going to dry up significantly or least have reasonable "bang for the buck" justification. Hell, we might even see professors teaching again when they can't hire armies of teaching assistants.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I was reading this and it seemed like the usual political jabbering that we've all been bombarded with until I got to this paragraph. I think it stikes to the core of what has been gradually taking place in our culture. Many of us quietly fume when we hear the endless stories of well financed, lawyer enabled activist cutting away at the fringes of our lives to impose their so called "progressive' ideals on the majority. They can't achieve their agenda through election but with enough money and lawyers and jduges they can lawyer it in. They can do this no matter who is in power because they have the law. However! and this is the MAIN point, if they can win the big one and get Obama in it will open the flood gates. No more small initiatives at the fringes like the Pledge or removing "in God we trust" NO NO. They will control the national agenda.
Think about that. At least 2 years to call ALL the shots. Obama, Biden, Reid, & Pelosi. It's enough to make me want to cling to my 9mm and bible.

What's worse is that Obama would impose his culture on the rest of us, through judges that go beyond the text of the Constitution to give legal status to their own expressions of "empathy." Empathy for the criminals, like the terrorist Bill Ayers, who go free on a technicality. Empathy for the people offended by a Christmas tree on the public square. Empathy for the 13-year-old who doesn't want to inform her mother about the abortion she is procuring, even though her mother would have to give approval for any other surgery for the daughter. Empathy for the student so offended by the presence of Army ROTC on campus that he demands that ROTC be banned. Empathy for the father offended that his child is exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Empathy for the horrible brute sentenced to death for the grisly rape of a little girl.


It’s the Culture, Stupid
By Quin Hillyer
Published 10/9/2008 12:08:23 AM
When James Carville insisted in 1992 that the Clinton campaign should pound home its message that President George H.W. Bush had mishandled the economy, he wasn't laying down a marker for all time that the economy is always the best presidential campaign issue. Instead, he was astutely insisting that his campaign focus on his opponent's greatest weakness.

But sometimes the most pressing issue isn't the best issue to press -- because it's not the one where your candidate can draw the best distinction with the opponent.

That's the situation John McCain finds himself in today. Yes, in Carvillian language, today's biggest issue is indeed "the economy, stupid." But John McCain talks about the economy no more convincingly than a hippopotamus dances ballet. And while Barack Obama's economic prescriptions are about as wrongheaded as Linda Blair mid-spin in The Exorcist, he at least sounds quite cogent and reasonable (until you actually think about it) when discussing them. Yes, the McCain campaign needs to find a way to undermine Obama's current polling edge on the economy, but the only thing "stupid" would be an attempt at a head-on assault from McCain's position of weakness on the issue.

McCain's a military man. He should know that it's best to attack from strength to weakness, not the other way around. Sometimes that requires a flanking maneuver.

The way to undermine Obama's apparent (if unearned) credibility on the economy is to undermine his credibility, period. Make Obama's worldview in general anathema, and you make his economic worldview anathema. And the way to do that is to place Obama outside the common culture, while rooting McCain firmly within it.

Yes, absent another national security surprise, "culture" is the best, indeed the only potentially effective, battleground available for McCain to fight on. It's a battleground on which Obama is extraordinarily vulnerable.

Without putting it as bluntly as this sentence does, McCain's campaign must pound home the message, in a coherent way, that Obama is not "one of us" -- meaning that he is estranged from, not part of, middle America. And the way to make that message relevant is to say that when times are tough it is not any one economic theory that will get Americans through the crisis, but rather that it is our American-ness, our exceptionalism, our national character that guarantees that we shall overcome.

McCAIN IS SKILLED, utterly convincing, at carrying this message. His best moments in Tuesday's debate came when he said that "America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world," and when he answered the last question by saying, "I know what it's like to have to fight to keep one's hope going through difficult times. I know what it's like to rely on others for support and courage and love in tough times. I know what it's like to have your comrades reach out to you and your neighbors and your fellow citizens and pick you up and put you back in the fight. That's what America's all about. I believe in this country. I believe in its future. I believe in its greatness."

Obama, though, sneers at the culture of middle America. Obama is the one who said that working-class Americans "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion as a way to explain their frustrations." It was Obama whose own autobiography portrays himself not as somebody who transcends race but somebody who wallows in it, somebody not integrationist but separationist, somebody who sees white people not as able to be redeemed of racism but as people to whom racism was endemic.

"The other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart," he wrote.

Obama is the one who went to Germany and proclaimed himself "a fellow citizen of the world" while apologizing that the United States has "struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people" as "our actions around he world have not lived up to our best intentions." Somehow, though, middle Americans won't quite cotton to a presidential candidate assuming the responsibility or right to apologize to foreigners for our country's supposed sins.

Obama is the one -- The One! -- so arrogant that he said his own nomination would be "the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...." So arrogant, too, so presumptuous, that he designed his own presidential seal.

Also, a person in concert with our culture does not, as Obama did, start his political career in the house of and serve in co-leadership, closely consultative roles on two boards with the founder of a domestic terrorist organization, while using the boards to funnel money to groups that promoted racially separatist and other radical educational causes.

It is not enough to say that the former terrorist had somehow become a respected member of the community -- not when that terrorist remains so radical that even to this day, at least 13 years (and as many as 20 years) after Obama began his association with him, he defends his long-ago bombings and praises those who attack the United States.

Those boards also gave money to the church Obama attended for 20 years, a church whose pastor from the start told Obama (in Obama's own words in his autobiography) that life for a black man in America "probably never will be" safe and who spewed hatred from whites and America from his pulpit; and also to a radical American pro-Palestinian group.

Obama has praised the radical, hate-spewing Catholic priest Michael Pfleger. His wife has said she was never proud of America until her husband started winning presidential primaries. And they together have accepted what amounted to a real-estate gift from their state's most notorious convicted influence peddler.

What's worse is that Obama would impose his culture on the rest of us, through judges that go beyond the text of the Constitution to give legal status to their own expressions of "empathy." Empathy for the criminals, like the terrorist Bill Ayers, who go free on a technicality. Empathy for the people offended by a Christmas tree on the public square. Empathy for the 13-year-old who doesn't want to inform her mother about the abortion she is procuring, even though her mother would have to give approval for any other surgery for the daughter. Empathy for the student so offended by the presence of Army ROTC on campus that he demands that ROTC be banned. Empathy for the father offended that his child is exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Empathy for the horrible brute sentenced to death for the grisly rape of a little girl.

Oh, wait -- Obama says he himself did not approve of the decision outlawing the death penalty for child rapists. But that hardly exonerates him: Every one of the Supreme Court justices he says he admires, and who would be his models for future appointments, decided on their own authority that the death penalty, even for a grisly child rapist, violates their own standards of decency.

Finally, of course -- and this is an issue McCain's campaign should mention every hour of every day between now and the election -- Obama was the only member of the Illinois state senate so radically dismissive of human life that he spoke on the senate floor against a bill mandating care for babies who survived "botched" abortions. Obama's position was beyond despicable; it was monstrous. It puts him so far outside of the mainstream of American culture that he might as well be in his own moral desert.

EVERY ONE OF THESE issues is an indicator of culture. Every one of them is an indicator that Obama himself can't possibly empathize with most of us as we struggle with an economic crisis, because he not only misunderstands how we feel and how we see the world but also has contempt for our very point of view.

"Look," McCain could say. "My friends, we have tough times ahead. But we will survive because Americans know how to pull together and because we know the value of hard work and voluntary community spirit, and because we have a native toughness. We will pull together not because some orator with a smooth, deep voice cites some pie-in-the-sky economic theory, but because we know how to roll up our sleeves, trust each other, and get the job done. My opponent doesn't share our faith in ourselves and our common culture. My opponent thinks bureaucrats in Washington know best. But we know better. My friends, we know better. We know that we don't need Washington to serve as a national community organizer pushing newfangled theories and taxing us to do it; we know that our communities can organize on our own, if only we use our common values to rebuild the real economy of real goods and real services.

"And when we go to church for sustenance, we won't be blaming our country or clinging to our religions out of bitterness. We'll be going there because we know that 'perseverance produces character, and character, hope, and hope does not disappoint us.'

"Hope does not disappoint us, because of our faith -- and because we are Americans."

Quin Hillyer is an associate editor at the Washington Examiner and a senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fake but accurate

One of my foavorite blogs is Coyote Blog. Check out his post today on this subject:
Fake but Accurate -- Now Coming to the Hard Sciences
of us remember the famous "fake but accurate" defense of Dan Rather's story on
GWB using forged National Guard documents. If the post-modernism movement
were to have an insignia, their tag line (their "E. Pluribus Unum') could
well be "fake but accurate."
I have written for a while that
post-modernism seems to be coming to the hard sciences (I differentiate the hard sciences, because the soft sciences like
sociology or women's studies are already dominated by post-modernist
thinking). For example, I quoted this:
For those of you who cling to
scientific method, this is pretty bizarre stuff. But she, and many others, are
dead serious about it. If a research finding could harm a class of persons, the
theory is that scientists should change the way they talk about that finding.
scientific method is a way of building a body of
knowledge based on skeptical testing, replication, and publication, this is a
problem.The tight framework of scientific method mandates figuring out what
would disprove the theory being tested and then looking for the disproof. The
thought process that spawned the scientific revolution was inherently skeptical,
which is why disciples of scientific method say that no theory can be
definitively and absolutely proved, but only disproved (falsified). Hypotheses
are elevated to the status of theories largely as a result of continued failures
to disprove the theory and continued conformity of experimentation and
observation with the theory, and such efforts should be conducted by diverse
parties.Needless to say postmodernist schools of thought and scientific method
are almost polar opposites.