February 29, 2012

Stockton California - Another Harbinger of Doom

The real culprit.
Stockton California is a harbinger of more problems to come, perhaps even DOOM. In a state that is notorious for it's overspending, cities are not immune from the threat of bankruptcy, but that isn't even the real problem.

The Open Wound Paradigm

Imagine yourself out in a snowstorm or a lost in desert and you've somehow just suffered a bad cut on your leg.    You are bleeding pretty badly and you need to stop the flow of blood.  You don't have a hospital, medical equipment or even gauze bandages.  You do however have an extra shirt that you can cut into strips and use as a makeshift bandage.  It likely won't stop the flow of blood entirely but it will slow it significantly.  In fact, it will stem the flow of blood enough that you will be able to continue on towards civilization which will allow you to get proper medical attention.  The alternative is the risk of simply bleeding to death.

February 28, 2012

Quick predictions on Michigan and Arizona

Seeing as the two primaries are today and once again I'm too busy to do an in-depth analysis, let me go on record as predicting that Romney wins Arizona by a comfortable margin and that he will also win Michigan by a handful of votes that once certified might turn out flipping to Rick Santorum just like Iowa did.

Just a hunch on that last point.

February 27, 2012

Another sign the 'recovery' isn't solid

What's in your wallet?
Well into an article about credit card debt rising again to dangerous levels, MyFoxDC reports (emphasis added);
In a weak economy with high unemployment, Dvorkin noted, many people with big card balances become vulnerable to financial catastrophe.

Lewis J. Altfest, a Manhattan adviser who targets professional, high-income clients, devotes part of his practice to telling the well-heeled how to cut back on credit card debt. "It's still a big problem. Some people want to live life to the fullest even though they are using their cards too much," Altfest explained. He said many clients last year tried to reduce card debt. But some "are falling back into their old ways."

Indeed, last holiday season many consumers financed Black Friday trips to the mall and Cyber Monday online buying sprees by making purchases with plastic, Dvorkin contends.

"As the bills begin to roll in, consumers may find themselves unable to pay them off. It's good to see an increase in consumer spending, but never is it worth going into debt," according to Dvorkin.
 In other words the situation hasn't changed much for consumers and the credit purchases may have put a lot of people back up towards their credit limits or credit comfort levels once again.  That means that if credit card purchases are fueling the tepid-at-best recovery then that recovery may have already run it's course or may be nearing that point soon.

It's one more thing for the president to choke on.

Obama will choke on this

A proud tradition of protesting intelligent decisions since the 1960s.
Via The Globe and Mail;
TransCanada Corp. (TRP-T42.390.390.93%) said it will spend $2.3-billion to immediately build the southern leg of its proposed Keystone XL pipeline, aiming to fill a shortage of crude supply to refineries while the company works to make the full Alberta-to-Texas line a reality.

Calgary-based TransCanada plans to connect the major North American oil hub at Cushing, Okla., to the Texas Gulf Coast, where giant heavy oil refineries are running under capacity due to shipping constraints from Cushing. The bottleneck has weighed on prices for crude shipped to Cushing, as supplies in storage grow.
While Canada is working on a deal with China, unlike the president, they haven't given up on the U.S. oil market.  What does the president do next? Get spiteful and say that there is no way the oil will ever flow from Western Canada to the Gulf Coast? Or does he cave?  Neither option is politically viable so perhaps he avoids the issue for as long as possible or else he tackles it "head on" by saying another review is still needed and this changes nothing.

That's what happens when you paint yourself into a corner.  The president has left all of the moves with TransCanada and his Republican opponents all the while satisfying no one in his base.  It's heartening to see that no one is knuckling under to the president's ham-fisted mismanagement of this whole episode in America's energy saga.

Thoughts of de Tocqueville on the welfare state

If you've read my FAQ page you have no life, but you've probably read that there a number of philosophical influences that I've listed as having had an impact on me.  One is Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), who is best known for his work Democracy in America.  Below is a wonderful quote from one of his lesser known works, Memoir on Pauperism.
Any measure which establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives it an administrative form thereby creates an idle and lazy class, living at the expense of the industrial and working class. This, at least, is its inevitable consequence if not the immediate result. It reproduces all the vices of the monastic system, minus the high ideals of morality and religion which often went along with it. Such a law is a bad seed planted in the legal structure. Circumstances, as in America, can prevent the seed from developing rapidly, but they cannot destroy it, and if the present generation escapes its influence, it will devour the well-being of generations to come.
That's powerful stuff.  But he goes on with this;
If you closely observe the condition of populations among whom such legislation has long been in force you will easily discover that the effects are not less unfortunate for morality than for public prosperity, and that it depraves men even more than it impoverishes them.
This seems like it's aimed squarely at the Democrats of today with the notion that state charity - welfare - normalizes and institutionalizes laziness and therefore a need for a welfare state.  His  thought was that in a single generation changes can be made that cause this institutionalization of welfare to start and once started the 'bad seed' will continue to grow and in essence rot the country more and more with each succeeding generation.

No way out for GOP

One guy, no so much.
A long and bruising battle for the GOP nomination for president this year didn't bother me. Now it does. What changed? Nothing. Except there was one factor I hadn't taken into consideration. I've been pointing to Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama 2008 as the model for a long and hotly contested primary not being harmful ultimately to candidate Obama. But this year is not 2008 for one key reason. In 2008 Republicans could not keep their powder dry because they were busy waging a primary of their own. President Obama does not have that concern this time around. As he continues to travel the country raising a war chest for the general election, Republicans are travelling the country beating each other up and spending money.

The former issue was one I felt was an advantage for the GOP. It hones their debate skills, campaign skills, speeches and their ability to handle a hostile press. I still feel that despite the wounds, it would be a net positive for the eventual nominee. But the money thing, that's a killer. We need a candidate prepared to go blow for blow with Obama. That will take a lot of money.

February 26, 2012

Democrats versus the truth

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner thinks the rich have to pay more. It's the standard liberal line that the rich don't pay enough, despite evidence to the contrary.

I mentioned evidence to the contrary. Here is some data from 2003 (it hasn't changed much since) conveniently aggregated by Rush Limbaugh, in a potent visual format.

Who is not paying their fair share? Class warfare is not a solution to the problem, but it is a potent emotional weapon used by liberals to misguide voters. Truth is not an afterthought, it's a roadblock for this administration.

Oscar-Nobel-(Pulitzer-Cannes) same old same old

Stop me before I host again.
It's Oscar night.  How do I know that besides the Oscar pool at work that I assiduously avoided? It's all over the television. Other than the fact that the Oscars have turned from a celebration of excellence in film into a gaggle of Hollywood liberals congratulating themselves for finding new and inventive ways of trashing the United States I think the Oscars are great.  No.  That's not true.  The Oscars are the same as many other major award ceremonies. They are a platform for progressivists to propagandize their beliefs as if they were the norms of society yet bask in their own greatness and making touching films about these matters. In other words, they are self-important, self-indulgent, delusional pieces of fluff that liberals want to take oh-so-seriously. Kinda like the movies they trumpet.

February 25, 2012

Mitt Romney fact of the day

Wake up Republican voters.
In 2005, Human Events put Mitt Romney on it's Top 10 RINOs list.  He came in at 8th spot with the following quote:
8. Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)

Has said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” Supports civil unions and stringent gun laws. After visiting Houston, he criticized the city’s aesthetics, saying, “This is what happens when you don’t have zoning.”
He's on the same list as Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chaffee. Enough said about that.

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory 8 (location and segregation)

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes an interesting look at location and segregation.

Add Jeb Bush to the conservative Nightmare Team

Helping the cause.  But which one?
There are a good number of Republicans that have had no business calling themselves conservatives or pretending they belong under the Republican banner - Bob Dole, John McCain, George H. W. Bush, Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney, Olympia Snowe and the list of RINOs goes on for far too long.  They make collectively (and I chose that word deliberately) a conservative Nightmare Team.  The exact opposite of a Dream Team. The list is far too long already, but now you can add Jeb Bush to that list - a list apparently on which every member of the Bush clan actually belongs.

Via Time:
“I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are.”

February 24, 2012

Bill Whittle admits that conservatives suck

Bill Whittle's eloquent explanation of why conservatives suck.  You'll be surprised.

Watch and learn.

For Black Voters - the most important political video EVER.

In my last post I shared Allen West's floor speech in Congress about Black History Month and I asked with the real history being what it was, why are African Americans overwhelmingly supporting Democrats?

Zo' explains it better than I ever could.

Allen West on Black History Month

February is black history month in America.  I haven't paid much attention to it, but I don't really want to ignore it because a lot of the history has suffered revisionism over the years by Democrats.  Congressman Allen West helps set the record straight.

With such a  history, how on earth can Republicans not be the party of African Americans?

February 23, 2012

Ann Coulter calls us morons.

What happened to Ann Coulter? Her man crush on Mitt Romney has led her off the deep end.  In an effort to convince Republican voters that Mitt Romney is the guy to vote for, she's decided that the best way to convince the unconvinced is to insult them.
...if reducing contraception use, lobbying for Freddie Mac and promoting huge government programs such as moon colonies and No Child Left Behind are the best ways to create jobs, then it could be true that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are our strongest candidates in a general election.

Of course, it might also be true that dousing yourself in fairy dust does not guarantee that you will find the perfect mate and get the perfect job.

We're being asked to hand Obama another four years in the White House in order to "send a message." To whom? And what message? That we're morons? Message received!
Nice.  Thanks for the convincing Ann, I'm ready to support Mitt Romney now.  Here's a hint Ann, if you want to convince conservatives to support the establishment liberal Republican Romney, your best possible course of action is to shut up.

US apologize for Koran burning. Muslim response? Kill.

Briefly, the United States accidentally burned some Korans. The military apologized. President Obama, predictably, apologized. Then this:
Two American troops were gunned down by a man wearing an Afghan uniform in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Mohammad Hassan, a local Afghan leader in Nangarhar province, says the shooting occurred outside an American base in the province during a riot against the Koran burnings. He says the gunman was an Afghan soldier.

The shooting is the latest in a rising number of attacks on NATO troops by Afghan police and soldiers or militants dressed in their uniforms.
The obvious question: When is Afghanistan going to apologize for the killing of those Americans?  They won't.  It turns out I wasn't the only one asking this question.  Sarah Palin replied with the obvious question and Newt Gingrich adds the obvious conclusion:
“It is an outrage that President Obama is the one apologizing to Afghan President Karzai on the same day two American troops were murdered and four others injured by an Afghan soldier. It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around.” 
Gingrich added, “This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end.”

No word from Mitt Romney.

February 22, 2012

Post Debate Thoughts

Next debate: Bean bag chairs.
Unorganized, here's a stream-of-consciousness series of thoughts on the final GOP debate before Super Tuesday.

The audience in every Romney - Santorum exchange early on seemed to be members of Mitt Romney's immediate family.  Those tense exchanges made Santorum look underwhelming and made Romney look arrogant and unfriendly.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul probably benefited by staying out of the way and letting that train wreck happen on its own.  But when they spoke later on both Gingrich and Paul came across well.  Gingrich was the most statesmanlike.  He also had some clear and well-spoken points.  He won the debate, but he did not dominate.  He just did well, while Santorum and Romney came across poorly.

Stossel makes it simple

Tired of trying to explain the budget situation to your liberal friends?  John Stossel explains it in relatable, simple terms.  Via Townhall:
Imagine this family budget:

Last year, you earned $24,700. But you spent $37,900, incurring $13,300 in debt, and you were already $153,500 in debt.

So you say, "I promise I'll spend $300 less this year!"

Anyone can see that your cutback is pathetic and that you need to spend much less.

Yet if you add eight zeroes, that's America's budget.
Go read the whole thing.  He talks about the hard choices that need to be made, the same point myself and others have been making for years. 

CNN Debate tonight - do or die?

Tonight's debate is especially important for each candidate as it could shape the next portion of the race, including Super Tuesday.  It's the last debate before that delegate deluge. For Mitt Romney, it's his chance to re-emerge in Arizona and Michigan.  If he loses in Michigan, by many accounts, the establishment will bail on him.  That sounds like mission critical stuff if it is true.  For Rick Santorum, attacks have been dredged, or Drudged up against him that makes this debate important for him to establish his credibility and electability.  And for Newt Gingrich, this may be his last chance to mount a last surge with a strong, positive debate performance.  For Ron Paul - this may be a rare chance to come across better on foreign relations, which is where he most lacks credibility with the Republican mainstream.

The debate may have higher ratings than previous debates I suspect, because of partisan interest and because with growing news coverage of the Republican contests, more people will be tuning in for the first time.  That makes this debate all the more critical.  Sadly, given the high expectations and the pressure to perform, I suspect 2 if not 3 of the contenders to falter.  Ron Paul, with the least pressure to exceed expectations, has the best chance of performing well, depending on the lines of questioning.  We shall see.  It should be lively.

February 21, 2012

2012 - Putting Obama on defense

The way to win an election, no matter who the GOP nominee turns out to be, is to not let the Obama campaign make this election cycle about the Republican candidate or allow the president to get traction on the notion that the recovery is underway finally and that Bush left a much worse mess than he realized. If the election becomes about the Republican nominee, Obama will win. If the president can make the case that the recovery is now kicking in (remember Recovery Summer in 2009 2010 2011?), then people will start to think that it took too long but the president was right, so we should now stay the course.

February 20, 2012

Drudge: Déjà vu all over again

Remember when Newt Gingrich was peaking in the polls and a panicked establishment threw everything they could at Newt to make sure Mitt Romney was the winner of the Republican nomination for president?  Do you recall Matt Drudge, long a conservative news source being preeminent among Gingrich's attackers? No?  Below is a quick reminder of what happened to Gingrich, because it's started to happen again to Rick Santorum.

Drudge: Casting any and all contenders in an unfriendly light. This time, Santorum.

Americans should have known Obama was not ready

History is replete with people who came into power or wealth and were unprepared for it, leading to significant negative consequences.  When someone is unprepared for such a profound paradigm shift, they are ill-equipped to handle the responsibility or the dangers that come with the new situation.  President Obama is a prime example - he was snot equipped to answer that 3 a.m. phone call Hillary Clinton said he could not handle.  He was not equipped to handle the economic crisis he faced.  He was not equipped to handle the details of a 2200 page health care bill and that is becoming clearer with every passing day.  He was not ready to be president.  Americans should have known, but history and current events apparently did not provide enough lessons for voters prior to his election.

Often times, aspirations far outstrip qualifications. While you can argue that experience doesn't matter, it does.  Preparedness comes from experience.  Here are some examples of people not ready for prime time and the unfortunate consequences that ensued.

Krugman tells half a story

The Krugman answer.
Paul Krugman, economist, propagandist, and Keynesian ideologue looks to Europe and sees a failure of countries' attempts at austerity in helping their economies - as if the problem was one that could be solved overnight.  The same liberal logic used to defend president Obama - the recovery will take time - doesn't get applied when Krugman looks at the success or failure of solutions that don't fit his world view.
Specifically, in early 2010 austerity economics — the insistence that governments should slash spending even in the face of high unemployment — became all the rage in European capitals. The doctrine asserted that the direct negative effects of spending cuts on employment would be offset by changes in “confidence,” that savage spending cuts would lead to a surge in consumer and business spending, while nations failing to make such cuts would see capital flight and soaring interest rates. If this sounds to you like something Herbert Hoover might have said, you’re right: It does and he did.

Now the results are in — and they’re exactly what three generations’ worth of economic analysis and all the lessons of history should have told you would happen. The confidence fairy has failed to show up: none of the countries slashing spending have seen the predicted private-sector surge. Instead, the depressing effects of fiscal austerity have been reinforced by falling private spending.

Furthermore, bond markets keep refusing to cooperate. Even austerity’s star pupils, countries that, like Portugal and Ireland, have done everything that was demanded of them, still face sky-high borrowing costs. Why? Because spending cuts have deeply depressed their economies, undermining their tax bases to such an extent that the ratio of debt to G.D.P., the standard indicator of fiscal progress, is getting worse rather than better.
(emphasis added)

The interesting point is that austerity measures don't produce results overnight, just as president Obama said there were scores of shovel-ready projects that would lift the country out of recession almost immediately turned out to be pure fantasy, it is fantasy to suggest that austerity, during a downturn would provide nothing but roses is a false claim.  Nobody suggested it would.

As for the lessons of history, in the early 1980s the deep economic recession under Reagan was deepened by the high interest rate policy which was designed to deepen the pain but significantly shorten the period of pain.  Krugman has not learned the real lessons of history - that long term solutions are not the best short term solutions.  Looking at the austerity measures taken in Europe in countries that had previously been on unsustainable paths, the long term is set up far better than additional stimulus efforts would have provided.  The point is - the results are not in this has just started.  True, it's painful, that's what happens withdrawal symptoms of an addiction.  But give it 10 years and you'll see an entirely different set of circumstances.  

The sad part of the proof will be this - if Krugman gets his way and Obama gets re-elected, the matter of proving the effectiveness of austerity measures will be easier because the United States will become the control group for the European austerity experiment. Spendthrift American government will end up being the cautionary tale Austrian school economists teach to a new generation of European economic students.

February 19, 2012

Blog outage today

Today I was travelling and I tried to take a look at my blog via my mobile device.  I got a 404 error.  As it turns out so did a number of other people I know.  It seemed like my blog had lost its  DNS identity.  Then later in the afternoon, the blog came back to life. I don't know what happened but it sure caused me a panic when it was out.

My blog, despite having it's own domain name, is still hosted at blogger, since it is a blog.  In any case Blogger and Google were the recipients of some colorful language this afternoon before mysteriously righting themselves and my blog.

Odd, frustrating, but ultimately my blog is still alive.  If you thought I disappeared today, I haven't.  As to what happened, I have no clue.

Dictator Watch - World War Iran edition

Iran is trending towards being a danger spot for a breakout of hostilities very quickly, and it looks like there is the potential for it to drag everyone into something of a broader conflict. France is being affected, Israel is widely seen as a future Iranian target, and meanwhile Russia and China are likely to back Iran in any conflicts as they did with Syria, an Iranian ally.

While Britain is worried that there could be an escalation of tensions with Iran, Iran is stopping oil to the U.K. and France:
"Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers," spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.
Meanwhile reports are that they are on the brink of a nuclear capabilities jump in their peaceful purposes nuclear facilities built in bunkers deep underground.
Iran is poised to greatly expand uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker to a point that would boost how quickly it could make nuclear warheads, diplomats tell The Associated Press. They said Tehran has put finishing touches for the installation of thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the cavernous facility -- machines that can produce enriched uranium much more quickly and efficiently than its present machines.

While saying that the electrical circuitry, piping and supporting equipment for the new centrifuges was now in place, the diplomats emphasized that Tehran had not started installing the new machines at its Fordo facility and could not say whether it was planning to.

Still, the senior diplomats -- who asked for anonymity because their information was privileged -- suggested that Tehran would have little reason to prepare the ground for the better centrifuges unless it planned to operate them. They spoke in recent interviews -- the last one Saturday.
The United States is not so naive as to be standing by - at least diplomatically.  When the time comes the Obama administration may be reticent to help out Israel, but at least they are talking;
JERUSALEM — President Barack Obama’s national security adviser huddled with Israeli leaders on Sunday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program following growing speculation that Israel is planning military action against Tehran. 
 Tom Donilon was to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak before leaving on Monday.
While the White House seems on the surface, worried about Israel's possible actions, with Iraq and Afghanistan slowing or slowed to a halt, and a president with precious little to trade on for re-election, perhaps the president sees Iran as a way to build on his tough guy image which he didn't really even earn when the navy seals got Bin Laden.

I'm not one for conspiracies, and I don't believe it's the case, but it almost seems as if the die has been cast for a regional conflict to grow into something far more substantial and global in nature.  If China and the United States end up on opposite sides of a military conflict, even if by proxy, there will be trade and balance of payment implications that should have both countries very concerned, in addition to the potential damages of the hostilities themselves.  That's something that should have everyone worried right now.  

February 18, 2012

Democrat Math: More benefits + more condoms = ?

Some of the obvious dichotomy of liberal Democrat math escapes me entirely.  If you can explain how this is supposed to work, please enlighten me:

More health care, more social security and more welfare = more cost to tax contributors

More free contraception =  less children.

Less children + aging population  = fewer people supporting those requiring support.

Fewer people supporting those requiring support + more cost = unsustainable and growing burden + more national debt

You can't increase the welfare state while encouraging, or forcing contraception.  Liberals are at odds with themselves and they either don't see it or don't care to reconcile the two issues.  

Interminably frustrating.

Seriously, if anyone knows of some secret liberal plan to make all this work, please enlighten us conservative Luddites because we clearly are not the math geniuses that you are.

I figured out how to make solar panels work.

Get them to run on oil.

</end sarcasm>

Birthday, links and that's about it.

Happy birthday to me.
It's my birthday today, and I'll be busy with family instead of posting thoughts on the American political and economic landscape.  So, for your Saturday reading pleasure, check out these great pieces:

US Geological Survey: Bakken Black or Man, do we ever have some oil in America!

Verum Serum: Occupy fundraiser leads to vandalism spree.

Conservatives 4 Congress: Romney, earmarks and the Olympics.

Legal Insurrection: Raising the specter of another Bush candidacy?

Scottcarp Dream: An endorsement from battleground Ohio

Gateway Pundit: Obama wrong again on jobs - Caterpillar edition

Chicks on the Right: Maxine Waters demonizing the right - literally.

Michelle Malkin: More sneaky news releases on the Obama Solyndra scandal.

Right Wing News: How to talk on the radio (in case your blog ever gets you mildly famous)

Sean Trende: The dangers of a brokered GOP convention.

Jay Cost: The Continental Divide for the GOP

Race for Justice: Not the separation of Church and State.  It's separation of Church and people

Eccentric/Conservative: Sloganized, simple but accurate and memorable.

All American Blogger: No more guns to Mexico please...

The Republican Mother: At last, a Star Trek metaphor. Tholian Web of regulation.

Mind Numbed Robot: About That Obamacare Attack on Religious Liberty – aka The Birth Control/Abortion Pill Mandate…

Gonzalo Lira: Inflationary undertow prior to the inflationary wave

King Shamus:  Obama, for real, totally has a plan on spending. 

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory 7 (shopping)

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak discusses shopping, standing and voting..

February 17, 2012

The right tactical move but bad strategy

Different time frame, but same principal.
Mitt Romney backed out of the CNN debate just prior to Super Tuesday (which is on March 6th). He was followed by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in a move clearly designed not to let Newt Gingrich back into the race just prior to a mass of delegates being allocated by voters.
Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum decided to skip the March 1 debate that was to be co-hosted by CNN and the Georgia and Ohio state Republican parties, their campaigns confirmed Thursday.

CNN decided to cancel the debate after being left with a single confirmation, Newt Gingrich, who would have been left to square off solo with moderator John King. Gingrich’s camp is unlikely to be happy with the turn of events as the former House speaker has used the nationally televised spectacles to savage the media and twice revive his lagging campaign.
It was the right tactical move for that objective. After all, Newt clearly has the best debate skill of the bunch. But for at least two of the candidates, it was the wrong strategic objective.

New Link Page added

If you have read any of the Saturday Learning Series posts - quality learning videos from around the web - you'll know there have been a lot of them over the years and they can be difficult to find.  But I've saved you the trouble of searching.  You can find links to every Saturday Learning series post, right here.

If you aren't familiar with those posts, give the page a look.  There are some fantastic lectures and series there.

February 16, 2012

I've said it before - Milton Friedman, genius.

A while back I included Milton Friedman's series on capitalism as part of my Saturday Learning Series posts.  The man was a genius. I've read some of his work and it is truly inspiring, and it's been too long since I've posted some of his thoughts.  Here are two videos of the man discussing capitalism and society.  The first one is him discussing the Inheritence Tax and the redistribution of wealth.  Similarly, the second is him discussing the myth that the government has benefited the poor at the expense of the rich and the reality of the fact that the government robs from both the rich and poor to give to the middle class.

Take a look back at his Free To Choose series for sensible economic reason.

Romney, Santorum torpedo Gingrich

More debates? No. Did I mention I don't care about the very rich or poor?
How do you ensure that Newt Gingrich can't compete and won't see another surge in voter support?  Easy - take away his greatest advantage - debates.
CNN canceled its March 1 Republican presidential debate on Thursday after three of four candidates declined to participate, citing busy campaign schedules leading to Super Tuesday on March 6.

"Mitt Romney and Ron Paul told the Georgia Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party, and CNN Thursday that they will not participate in the March 1 Republican presidential primary debate," CNN said in a statement. "Without full participation of all four candidates, CNN will not move forward with the Super Tuesday debate."

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum also said he would not participate, leaving only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich committed to attending.

February 15, 2012

Sean Penn - socialist toolbag or just always wrong?

That was my skull!
Sean Penn has decided to take on England.  Clearly, he has yet to tackle reason.
Sean Penn is accusing British media of pushing for war instead of diplomacy to resolve the United Kingdom's dispute with Argentina over the islands both countries claim in the far South Atlantic.

The Oscar-winning actor said British journalists had twisted his comments the day before in support of Argentina's push for a U.N.-sponsored negotiated settlement to the sovereignty dispute.

"Good journalism saves the world. Bad journalism destroys it," Penn said.

London's conservative Daily Mail called the statement "an ugly attack on the press" by a "left-wing U.S. actor" in its Wednesday editions and quoted a member of parliament, Patrick Mercer, as calling Penn's comment "moronic."
Do your homework Sean - Argentina was the aggressor in the Falklands War. They were the ones with imperial ambitions, not England. But facts don't matter to Penn.
"My oh my, aren't people sensitive to the word 'colonialism,' particularly those who implement colonialism," Penn said Tuesday night. He then doubled down on his criticism of Britain's actions leading up to the 30th anniversary of Argentina's failed 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands, a British territory that Argentines claim as the Malvinas. More than 900 people were killed in the war.

Britain says it will never negotiate with Argentina as long as the Falklanders want to be British. It has sent Prince William on a six-week air force mission to the islands, along with its most powerful destroyer, the HMS Dauntless. The British government also hasn't denied reports that it sent a nuclear submarine, possibly with nuclear missiles, to the disputed southern seas.
emphasis added.

England is not wrong Sean, you are.

Celebrities capture candidates qualities succinctly

Not like this.
Celebrities can be pretty vacuous, but there actually a number of them who have supported and do support conservative candidates, sometimes quite surprisingly.  What's more surprising is that sometimes left or right, they nail it in describing the candidates.  

Now, I'm not talking Alec Baldwin or Sean Penn here.  Sure, they get the most attention because of their outlandish opinions, but they aren't the ones who are capturing the essence of the candidates.  

Here are a few examples.

February 14, 2012

OMG, Obama must be stopped!

Dear America,

Please, please, PLEASE do not re-elect this president guy.  He's talking about unilateral disarmament now.  He's talking about massive military cuts and ceding international preeminence to China.  Thank God his budget is D.O.A.  Nevertheless, his agenda has been, continues to be and will continue to be - if allowed - damaging to the United States of America.

Whether it is deliberate or not no longer matters.  Damage has been done and it will only get worse.  With Jimmy Carter the United States proved it could rebound very successfully from four years of a bad president.  Given the incremental level of danger, there is no reason for the United States to test itself with eight years of a bad president.  President Obama has enacted radical, expensive and unsustainable legislation.  He has bought the country controlling interest in General Motors.  He has enacted regulation that is burdensome and unwieldy for business.  He has hamstrung the energy sector by blocking oil and natural gas development at every possible turn while simultaneously enabling unsustainable solar power companies like the now bankrupt Solyndra.

He has bowed to foreign leaders with whom the United States is not the greatest of allies, while disrespecting the Queen of England, undercutting Israel and forcing it's closest neighbor and ally Canada to sell it's oil to China instead of working with them to bring the oil to American refineries.

He has forced religious organizations like Catholic hospitals to provide contraception coverage to it's employees, regardless of the fact that such mandates are not Constitutional and trample upon the religious freedom of those organizations.  Purposeful?  Who cares if it is or not.  It is dangerous to America and anathema to its liberty.  You still believe in liberty, don't you America?  This sort of decisioning is contrary to the first amendment.  That the president has backed off in a supposed compromise is not only insufficient, it is beside the point.  The real concern is that the president, a supposed constitutional scholar, would not take that sort of implication into consideration is deeply disconcerting.

It no longer even matters who the Republican nominee for president turns out to be. At this point, what is urgently needed is to stop travelling in the direction the country is still moving.  Yes, it would be better to find a presidential nominee to reverse the country from travelling towards the economic cliff and the collapse of liberty.  But even finding someone who will stop the progress is better than nothing.

It may sound alarmist, but the risk is simply to great to give Obama another four years.  Without the worry of another re-election, the president would be unfettered to push forward an even more radical agenda.  

DO NOT RE-ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA America.  You cannot afford his destruction of the foundations of a once great nation to continue.  The country may not survive.  

I'll make you a deal - vote him out, and I won't ask "What were you thinking?"


Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood extorting U.S.

The Muslim Brotherhood, principal beneficiary of the Arab Spring in Egypt is making it's position clear:  if you want us to keep the peace with Israel, keep sending Egypt money, even if you don't want to do so.
(CNSNews.com) – A top Muslim Brotherhood official has warned that any cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt could affect Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel – the latest sign that Egypt’s emerging political forces intend to call Washington’s bluff over the diplomatic dispute triggered by a crackdown on non-governmental organizations.

Egyptian judges have referred 16 Americans and 27 others linked to NGOs for trial, accusing them of using foreign funds to encourage disruptive protests. Among the targeted NGOs whose assets and funds have been seized are the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.

...the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which won almost 50 percent of the seats in recent legislative elections and dominates parliamentary committees, is making its position clear...

Any U.S. aid cut to Egypt, top MB lawmaker Essam el-Erian told the pan-Arabic al-Hayat newspaper, would violate the U.S.-brokered 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Erian as saying that if the U.S. cuts aid to Egypt, the MB would consider changing the terms of the peace treaty. He is warning that the U.S. should understand that “what was acceptable before the revolution is no longer.”
Way to go on that call for Mubarak to step down Obama, way...to...go.

February 13, 2012

Don't be fooled - There ARE NO free condoms!

There is no such thing as free anything.  Do you really want the government deciding what you get for free, what you have to pay for, and what you have take whether you want it or not?

Peter Schiff waxes eloquently (or perhaps just riffs really well) on the Obamacare mandate for coverage of birth control for women. Why it's unConstitutional and about a hundred other reasons it is a really bad idea.  The unintended consequences will be mostrous.  Watch:

Speaking of CPAC - Daniel Hannan

Since I couldn't attend CPAC this year, I'm posting some of the highlight speeches for myself as much as for readers who could not attend. Here's Daniel Hannan's speech, warning America not to follow Europe's example.

Speaking of CPAC - Newt Gingrich

Since I couldn't attend CPAC this year, I'm posting some of the highlight speeches for myself as much as for readers who could not attend. Here's Newt Gingrich's speech.

Speaking of CPAC - Rick Santorum

Since I couldn't attend CPAC this year, I'm posting some of the highlight speeches for myself as much as for readers who could not attend. Here's Rick Santorum's speech.

Speaking of CPAC - Sarah Palin

Since I couldn't attend CPAC this year, I'm posting some of the highlight speeches for myself as much as for readers who could not attend. Here's Sarah Palin's speech.

More to come.

Speaking of CPAC - Marco Rubio

I wasn't able to attend CPAC, so I'm living vicariously through some of the highlight speeches.  Here's Marco Rubio's terrific speech this year:

More to come.

February 12, 2012

Mean Ol' Meany's back!

Harsh, but not wrong.
With the controversially titled "Blackuary 12, 2012 - Black Presidents Suck" Paul has posted a strong post. He's been back for a while after having taken a blogging sabbatical. But I had missed it, assuming that the down time was going to be permanent. I'm glad he's back and glad I have some catch up reading to do.

In case you couldn't tell, Paul doesn't like dislikes hates president Obama.  That doesn't make him racist - it makes him someone who questions the qualifications and decision-making of this president.  He does so in a deliberately provocative way.  

Romney fever is not back, it was never here.

The Republican vote split - is it simply geographic?
With a win in a week-long process that finished up yesterday, Mitt Romney is back in the win column. It was predictable, as was the whole Romney-is-back-in-the-game meme in the mainstream media and the mainstream conservative media.  Romney is back, and the Santorum roll is over. But just as it was too soon to say that Romney had lost all momentum, it's too soon to say he's regained it.  No one has really had a ton of it and it is still early in the race. Maine changes nothing.

February 11, 2012

Department of Education Tripe

Forget calculus, study unicorns and rainbows.
On Friday the Department of Education had a press release which include only a little more than the following *(emphasis added);
The Department of Education today announced the release of its draft Environmental Justice (EJ) strategy. The Department’s draft EJ strategy focuses on healthy learning environments for students, energy-efficient school facilities, sustainability education and environmental literacy, and energy efficiency in the Department’s facilities. This draft EJ strategy is the Department’s plan to address environmental justice concerns and increase access to environmental benefits through the Department’s policies, programs, and activities.

Why I didn't go to CPAC this year

In the spirit of full disclosure, two things, (1) CPAC is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and (2) I've never been there.  However, I've always wanted to go - at least since 2008 when I first heard of CPAC. It sounds like a terrific place to meet fellow conservatives and see some conservative icons

There is no nefarious reason like I refused to be in the same place as faux conservative Mitt Romney. In fact I had planned on attending the conference this year, but the reason I haven't attended is that I couldn't scrape together the funding to do it. But I do plan on making sure I can attended it next year. And you can help by simply occasionally clicking on an ad on the right hand side of my blog.  If you do, thank you and even if you don't, thanks for reading or even checking out my blog.

'Severely' Conservative?

18 seconds of video, and one unanswerable question comes out of it - What did he mean by that?

'Severely' conservative? Who says that besides a far left liberal? Or someone who used to consider himself a progressive? Seriously - if you are conservative, why would you ever consider voting for this guy? Seriously constipated - maybe. Selectively conservative - okay, I can buy that. Solid conservative, not at all. And severely conservative - more like severely desperate. 

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory 6

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak discusses Nash equilibrium and dating.

February 10, 2012

Obama's American Jobs Plan?

Trade imbalance
For a man who has said he's pivoted to the economy and jobs who knows how many times, this bit of news has to come as bad news for Obama.  Via the Financial Times (emphasis added, but it's all bad news):
The US trade deficit increased more than expected in December on rising imports and higher oil prices, lifting the 2011 gap figure to the highest level since the financial crisis.

Separately, consumer sentiment slumped in early February as concerns over falling incomes outweighed renewed optimism over jobs.

Commerce department figures released on Friday showed the trade gap grew 2.7 per cent to $48.8bn, the highest level since June, from a revised $47.1bn in November. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the deficit to rise to $48.5bn in the final month of the year.

December’s increase lifted the full-year trade gap 11.6 per cent to $558bn, the highest level in three years, with imports and exports both hitting record levels.

Imports were up 13.8 per cent to $2.7tn, as purchases of foreign cars surged. Oil prices reached record highs last year, also lifting the cost of imported fuel. Meanwhile, exports grew 14.5 per cent to $2.1tn. President Barack Obama has set a goal of doubling exports by 2015.

The trade gap with China, a closely watched and politically sensitive figure, rose to a record $295.5bn in 2011 as record imports outpaced export growth.
 Why the emphasis?  Because his goal is pretty much vaporware.  How does he expect to double exports when he has done nothing, no worse than nothing, to help business in America?  Except for Solyndra of course.  His whole domestic agenda helps only to serve offshoring.

February 9, 2012

Obama bashes Super PACs - until he needs them.

That was then. This is now. A flip flop of convenience.

It's hard to be a security hawk these days.

OMG, I've gone hippie! Or not.
Back in 2003, conservatives rallied around president Bush when the decision to go into Iraq was made.  Even many Democrats who later disavowed denied their initial position rallied behind the decision.  Back then, so close after the events of 9/11, it was easy to believe that Iraq and Afghanistan were necessary endeavors.  In fact it was hard to argue that they were not. But after a decade of war, war-weariness has set in for much of the country.  In addition, there has been a diminishing rationale for the continued effort, especially in light of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.   What's a national security hawk to do? Give up on a robust national defense force? No.  Give up on the the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters?  Yes.  

There's a way to consolidate the GOP base and force an Obama stumble in one move - guess what it is.

February 8, 2012

Greece understands what a turnaround means

Socialist, labor-coddling Greece, on the verge of an economic collapse, realizes what it must do. In a word - austerity Watch, and learn America:
Greece will pledge permanent spending cuts, including lower pension payments and a 20 percent reduction in the minimum wage, as the economy contracts this year at a faster pace than originally estimated, according to the draft of a new financing deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

“To restore competitiveness and growth, we will accelerate implementation of deep structural reforms in the labor, product and service markets,” according to the letter of intent addressed to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a document obtained by Bloomberg News.
If Greece gets this and vast tracts of America do not yet understand, is the only way to get it to sink in is reach an imminent collapse? Hopefully not.

Ann Coulter - Kool Aid

I don't get Anne Coulter.  The outspoken conservative has clearly drank the Mitt Romney Kool-Aid and is defending him.  It's one thing to think he's the most electable candidate and the only one who can beat Obama but it's an entirely different matter to distort the truth in the defense of Romneycare aka Obamacare.

What gives?  Seriously, this makes no sense to me.  Is she up for a Press Secretary post in a Romney administration?   I know I'm late to this conversation, but I really don't get it.

February 7, 2012

The takeaway from Santorum's second wind

It's early, but if the results hold up as they look so far, there are some takeaways from the results.

(1)  Mitt Romney is in trouble.  In the non-binding Missouri race, Rick Santorum currently leads Romney 55% to 25%.  In Minnesota Santorum leads Ron Paul 43% to 27%.  Mitt Romney has 17% and only leads Newt Gingrich's 12%.  In Colorado, Rick Santorum leads Newt Gingrich 50% to 21%, Romney trails in third with 19%. That represents three majorities of Not Romney in one night.

(2) In the bigger picture there is room for two Not Romney candidates.  Gingrich is still well positioned in the south if he plays his cards right.  Santorum clearly is well positioned elsewhere to compete with Romney.  If the two play the game intelligently, they can split the states they compete with Romney.  Alternately if either Gingrich or Santorum bow out, the remaining candidate can compete with Romney.  Either way, Mitt Romney is in trouble.

(3) Santorum may be surging.  But it is too early to claim that, just as it was to early to claim victory for Romney after Florida or Nevada.  The race is more likely a lot more fluid than pundits have realized.

(4) Mitt Romney is not doomed now.  But he is in trouble. He doesn't have this race sewn up.  Other contenders can compete.  Clearly Santorum has a claim to be the not Romney.  Gingrich can also now claim his southern states strategy is more viable than people thought last week.  And with a  lengthy lull coming after tonight (with the exception of Maine), there is time for all the candidates to reformulate their plans.

(5) Ron Paul can't win, but his share of the votes in some states can be significant.  He cannot be ignored, not forever.  What remains to be seen is how he is included or excluded from the party.

Is Santorum the anti-Romney firewall?

It could be.  With 3 wins in 5 states, Romney is indeed the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination.  Newt Gingrich has clearly stumbled and isn't going to factor in the top two in the states going tonight - Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.  Add to that the fact that Rick Santorum is the most consistently conservative candidate in the race and he's leading in some of the polling.

Whether Rick Santorum is ultimately the most conservative yet still electable candidate in the race, is another question.  But he needs to win tonight and anyone not having imbibed the Romney Kool-Aid should be cheering him on.

We'll see soon enough.

February 6, 2012

Some choice Obama words

President Obama is a master at finding the right choice words to position his presidency.  What he spoke about at his recorded interview at the Super Bowl pre-game, was his framing of the employment situation and his recovery.  I mentioned before that owning the conversation is critical to this election - indeed every election. Framing the argument is one of the most important factors in winning the argument.  Liberals excel at that.

Canada-China oil talks in high gear

A quick update on the failure of the Obama administration to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring Canadian oil to the Gulf coast for refining.  Canada is in talks with China - today.
Canadian oil and business executives are well-represented in the delegation travelling to China with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, since oil exports are expected to be high on the government's agenda.

A delegation assigned to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver includes eight mining or oil and gas companies.

Harper's own delegation includes a wider businesses focus, with top executives from Air Canada, SNC Lavalin and Bombardier, Manulife and Scotiabank.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will also visit China.

China's total investment in Canada used to add up to millions of dollars, but since 2009 has increased to up to $20 billion.

It has come with a shift in this country from relying solely on the United States as the only buyer of Canadian oil and gas — something Harper emphasized repeatedly when U.S. President Barack Obama delayed a decision and then denied a permit to TransCanada for its Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would have sent oil from Alberta through the U.S. to the coast of Texas.
The president would like to pretend there are no consequences to his non-decision on the pipeline.  He's wrong. These talks, while always an option that would be considered, are moving forward faster as a direct result of the president's delays.

2012 Election - choice words

drum beat
As conservatives look to unseat the president, there are a few choice words that many would like to direct the president's way.  But those types of words that come to mind are typically incendiary, often obscene and most often ineffective in accomplishing their goal.  Instead, Republican supporters need to take a page out of the liberal playbook and start using repetitive language in the form of catch phrases that will hopefully remain in the conscious of American voters.  In that spirit, 

I've offered a few phrases here that might be worth consideration.

The clock is running out on Gingrich

In the weeds.
I've never worked with Newt Gingrich, so I don't have a personal dislike for him as do many in the Washington Republican establishment.  Unlike some in the conservative camp, I'm not going to hold his past personal life against him - personal issues don't disqualify you from having good ideas and the idea that people can't change is, in  my opinion, closed-minded.  Furthermore, a few bad decisions in the past don't to my mind discredit the amount of positive works done by a candidate.  Meanwhile Mitt Romney has a history of flip-flopping on some major issues.  To expect conservative consistency from him is harder to imagine.  Out of the remaining field of candidates I believe only Santorum or Gingrich are ultimately electable. Paul has too many views that are radical to be elected, and Mitt Romney has too many flip-flops and not enough conservative base support to ensure both conservatives and independents turn out in his favor.

With all that said, the clock is still running out on Newt Gingrich.  He can still defeat Mitt Romney after back-to-back defeats in Florida and Nevada, but he's got to improve his game significantly, and do so very quickly.  If time is running out for him with me, it has to be the same for a number of other conservatives watching this race.

February 5, 2012

Quick stuff worth noting

A few quick highlights in the news today, since I won't be posting again.  Here are a few items to watch.

Nevada caucus discrimination?
But near the table where participants were to sign an affidavit stating under penalty of perjury that their religious beliefs precluded their ability to vote during regular caucus hours, a cluster of voters who did not meet that requirement slowed the line as they were turned away, one by one. Most had come at the urging of the Ron Paul campaign, which had placed calls to its supporters informing them of the "second chance" to vote Saturday night.

"I received probably 10 phone calls today saying if you didn't make it this morning to your caucus, you can come down here - 30 minutes away from my home - and they would let you vote, get a second chance at it," said 23-year-old Henderson resident Michael DiCicco, a Paul supporter who said he was not aware the late caucus was reserved solely for those who practice certain religions. "It's discrimination."
Romney admits mistake on anti-poor comment.  No word on an apology for Romney-care.
“I misspoke,” Romney said Thursday in an interview aired on KSNV, a CNN affiliate in Las Vegas. “When you do I don’t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong, and I misspoke.”

Romney made the original comment in an interview with CNN on Wednesday morning, in which he said he was not "concerned about the very poor" because there is a safety net in place for them—but added, "if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that."
Egypt's version of the Arab Spring goes horribly awry. More stuff Obama won't claim credit for now.
The son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is among 19 Americans being referred to criminal trial for allegedly receiving foreign funds illegally and being involved in banned activity in Egypt, several news agencies reported Sunday. In all, Egyptian officials say 44 non-governmental organization workers will be put before the court after investigating judges claimed they had reason to try the democracy and rights workers.
In case you are living in an area with an unusually warm winter like me, don't get all global-warming-hysteria on everybody again. It's not like that.
Bitterly cold weather sweeping across Europe claimed more victims on Sunday and brought widespread disruption to transport services, with warnings that the chilling temperatures would remain into next week. 
At least 200 people have lost their lives as freezing weather sweeps across the continent westwards, while airports in Britain and France saw disruptions from new snow.
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