Archive for July, 2007

Suing the Sky

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

The lawsuits over global warming are being rushed out the door.

Now, I know global warming is bullshit.

(Note to readers with no sense of irony – that’s a joke!).

Emotions

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

One meme I’ve been hearing lately that’s driving me crazy goes like so:

“Democrats are too intellectual. They’re too focused on the details of policy. They need to make more emotional appeals to people!”

In fact, there’s now a best-selling book on this subject.

It’s utter crap.

Every election cycle, seniors are told Republicans are going to “gut” Social Security and Medicare. When the GOP took Congress in 1994, we were told they were going to pollute the air, dirty the water and cancel school lunches. Dick Gebhardt specifically appeared in a school to respond to Newt’s address and said that Republican had voted to cut school lunches (they hadn’t). In 2000, a commercial implied that if Bush was elected, blacks would be dragged to death in hate crimes.

Yep, cool rational consideration.

An enormous amount of Democrat rhetoric is about the rich “paying their fair share”. Their reponse to ending the Estate Tax is to lament “a tax cut for Paris Hilton”. Fight against imminent domain abuses have run into the claim that this is to “benefit the rich.”

Boy, so cerebral. I feel like I’m reading Tolstoy!

In 1988, the Dems told us we were “a pink slip away from being homeless” (this was before we discovered that rational, number-crunching Democrats had over-estimated homelessness by a small factor of 400%). In 1992, we were told we were a pink slip away from losing our healthcare. In 2004, we were an election away from our jobs going to India.

Uh-huh. Boy, what boring numbers fanatics. It’s like listening to philosophy professors debate.

Was it cold reason when the Democrats told us that 2004 was the most critical election in American History – that our very lives were at stake? (Personally, I might say 1864 was more important. Or 1800. Or 1796. Or 1940. Or 1968. Or 1980. Or…)

Is it mind-numbing number-crunching that makes them rally behind the WHO’s bullshit numbers?

And I’m sure they seek endorsements from Hollywood celebrities because of the immense intellectual prowess of these people.

In fact, the biggest problem with getting global warming taken seriously is the use of bogus, hysterical claims designed to frighten people into thinking The Day After Tomorrow is a serious insight into our future.

Let’s just look at macro-economic issues. Here are some reasonable things that Democrats dispute. These are things that almost all economists will agree on:

  • Raising the minimum wage cuts low-income jobs.
  • Fixing prices creates scarcity.
  • Free trade benefits everyone.
  • The trade deficit is nothing to worry about.
  • And yet, not only to the Democrats dispute these things, they do so for irrational reasons, with their rhetoric on the issues being:

  • George Bush hates poor people.
  • George Bush is letting the oil companies rob us.
  • George Bush is sending our jobs to Mexico.
  • Our economy is being destroyed by George Bush.
  • And that brings me to my final point. Since December of 2000, the reasonable, rational cerebral Democratic party has been consumed with hatred of George W. Bush. No matter what he does, it’s wrong. Even if it’s an education bill Ted Kennedy wrote and the greatest expansion of socialized medicine in 40 years, it’s wrong and evil.

    Party of Reason? Give me break. The last reasonable Democrat was Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    Yes, the GOP appeals to emotions a lot of times — unfortunately a lot more often with the twerps we have in charge now. But just because one side uses emotions does not mean the other side uses logic and reason.

    The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. And opposing irrational people does not make you rational.

    Hurricane Hysteria

    Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

    You know all thse hurricanes that global warming is causing? Um, not so much.

    The problem with these storms is that Americans have a peculiar proclivity to take money and bury it in a sand dune on a hurricane-prone beach, i.e. a beach house. As a result, the number of beach homes is going up and up, and because the supply is limited (there’s only so much beach), prices have risen astronomically. And the costs and sizes of the homes have also risen, given that increases in real wealth have outpaced inflation.

    Monday Morning Linkorama

    Monday, July 23rd, 2007
  • NYT on a drug crusader. This guy disconcerts me for two reasons. One, things like this:

    In his article on Avandia, Dr. Nissen was careful to note the limitations of his analysis. In some media interviews, though, he was less guarded. On the ABC television program “Nightline,” Dr. Nissen predicted that the deaths caused by Avandia could “dwarf” the carnage of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Which is nonsense. Second, he seems to be of the school that only 100% safe drugs should be on the market. But, fool that I am, I think people should be allowed to make their decisions. As long as they know the potential risks, they can decide for themselves whether pain-killers like Vioxx or anti-diabetes meds like Avandia are worth it.

  • Apparently, problems at oil refineries are raising prices. Clearly, this is a conspiracy by Bush.
  • Boortz outdoes himself with this stupidity::

    Feingold said that Bush made misleading public statements on the war and went into Iraq without adequate military preparation. You know what? There has never been a war that this country entered with adequate military preparation. Feingold would have to censure FDR if this was the test. There was no way in hell the U.S. was prepared for war in 1941. The Japanese brought the war to us, and we responded. The Islamic fascists have now brought us war once again, and once again we must respond.

    Um, Neal? We had to go into World War II against two major superpowers on short notice in the middle of a Depression. We invaded Iraq with years of preparation times as the only superpower on the planet with a great economy. Those situations aren’t even remotely comparable.

    We could have been prepared. Men like Colin Powell tried to get use prepared with more troops and more allies. But Rummy wouldn’t have it.

    I usually like Boortz — still like him. But these World War II comparisons short circuit my temper. Bush supporters — what few of you remain — please memorize the following:

    World War II was not the only war in American History. Ths situation in Iraq is not even remotely comparable to World War II. If it were, Bush would have, like FDR, cut spending, instituted a draft and raised taxes. He would not be treating the war like it’s an annoyance he can’t seem to get rid of and would spend more time attacking the enemy than the other party.

  • Oh, THAT Liberal Media

    Monday, July 23rd, 2007

    Sully links to this note on how the GOP is abusing the filibuster.

    I’ll agree, the GOP is going overboard on the filibuster, adopting a bizarre scorched earth policy. But note this text on the graphic:

    “The longest and most notorious filibusters were against bills on civil rights, voting rights and school busing.”

    The problem: they fail to mention that it was their beloved Democrats who performed the record filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Granted ,a number of them subsequently fled and were unfortunately brought into the GOP. But the clear implication that the GOP was behind the Civil Rights filibuster is staggering.

    Even when they have something legitimate to criticize the GOP about, the media can’t resist twisting and turning the facts like a twisty turny thing.

    Now I can’t say that I’m completely against what the GOP is doing here – the Dems have 12 years of stupid liberal legislation constipation to try to defecate out. But there is a veto pen, you know.

    Ten Things

    Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

    I find this post on ten lesson from Iraq fascinating (hat tip, Sully). My favorite:

    (6) Think very hard about the lessons of history. For every case like Munich, in which failing to confront a dictator more forcefully led to disaster, there is a Cuban Missile Crisis, in which a leader’s unwillingness to make the most hawkish response to a dictator’s provocation averted disaster. Trotting out Munich at every possible opportunity only ensures that the next time you find yourself in a Cuban Missile Crisis, your country will be turned to radioactive glass.

    This works both ways. As I noted before, the Reichstag Fire is not the appropriate historical comparison for 9/11. The Maine, the Zimmerman Telegram – these are more appropriate.

    I’ve been on a very big history kick lately, bookwise. This year alone, I’ve read long books on the Civil War, the translation of the Bible, World War II and ancient Rome. The insight it gives me into modern issues is striking.

    Geek, I Am

    Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

    Yeah, I finished it in one night. So what about it?

    All told, I thought it was excellent. My amazon review will be up at some point. There are a handful of negative comments on it over at Amazon and other sites. And it’s amazing, as usual, to see how many of these negative arise from a simple inability to read declarative English sentences.

    Note to the negative nellies (very minor spoiler alert):

    1) You can’t complain that Hermione is dumbed down when she spends large parts of the book saving Harry’s butt and is right about almost everything.

    2) Ron’s books is clearly about how to charm witches in the more conventional sense — manners and style. The one time he uses the book’s advice, it’s giving compliments. It’s not about mind control.

    3) Ginny can not be a Mary Sue in the sixth book and not be a Mary Sue in this one. Doesn’t work that way.

    Actually, looking over the very few negative reviews, is seems like there are some big feminists chips on a few shoulders. The biggests complaints are that the women turn out to be, you know, women.

    Page 136

    Saturday, July 21st, 2007

    Yes, I’m reading Deathly Hallows. It’s goofy but there’s something to be said for reading a book and knowing that ten million other people are reading the same thing. It’s the closest my generation will get to a shared cultural experience this side of Janet Jackson’s nipple.

    One of themes in the last couple of books which continues in Hallows is the ruthless and often illegal methods being used by the Ministry of Magic to battle Voldy. Secrecy, kangaroo courts, secret witness, alliance with bad people, etc. And I feel that there’s more to come.

    How long will it be before some Right Wing reactionary decides she’s criticizing George W. Bush? I mean, these guys lost it because they thought Revenge of the Sith had an anti-Bush message.

    I predict that by Wednesday, J. K. Rowling is denounced as a left-wing lunatic who wants the terrorists to win.

    Illegal Criminals

    Saturday, July 21st, 2007

    Remember how illegal aliens are supposed to committing all these violent crimes?

    Um, not so much:

    Using the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses, we show that 18-40 year-old male immigrants have lower institutionalization rates than the native born in each year. The gap in these institutionalization rates widens over the decades, and by 2000 immigrants have institutionalization rates that are one-fifth of the native born.

    Let’s see if the anti-immigrant hysterics acknowledge this. Don’t hold your breath.

    Giggles

    Saturday, July 21st, 2007

    After all this serious stuff, I’ll post a funny piece about a guy who got Deathly Hallows four days early.

    Mine should come tomorrow. It’s been shipped and is in San Antonion. But knowing the New Braunfels Post Office, I won’t get it until Monday.

    Lesson Unlearned

    Saturday, July 21st, 2007

    The Dems and GOP are trying to shove even more spending down my six-week old daughter’s throat.

    (Since we are $500 billion in annual deficit right now — Bush Administration lies about the budget aside — they are spending the money she will earn when she’s an adult).

    It’s so depressing.

    The Plunge

    Saturday, July 21st, 2007

    You think I was a Commie Fag Junkie before? Well, hold on to your hats because I’m with Hillary on the withdrawal business. It’s perfectly reasonable for a United State Senator and Presidential front-runner to ask about withdrawal plans. And it is absolutely deplorable for an Undersecretary of Defense to chide her like a child. And absolutely predictable given the way this President is determined to politicize the entire engine of government.

    Yeah, I know. The Right hates Hillary so anything bad is justified. Wrong. They know damned well that if President Clinton’s pentagon had done this to a GOP senator asking about Kosovo, they would have gone crazy.

    I realize this is becoming too fine a distrinction for the mindless anti-Democrats who are Bush’s only remaining supporters. But the Undersecretary of Defense is not a political office. They are not in the business of supporting the President’s decisions and defending his actions. They are not supposed to be “on message”. Their job is carrying out his orders and leave the politics out of it. And if Hillary becomes President, their job will be to carry out her orders.

    This is getting ridiculous

    Laptops for Tots

    Friday, July 20th, 2007

    A great take on the doling out of laptops to third world kids. The money spent on this could have cleaned up their water or gone into genmod crops to keep them well-fed. But we decided porn was a priority.

    Norm

    Thursday, July 19th, 2007

    I’ve referenced Norman Borlaug twice in the last few weeks. I was going to write a long diatribe on how no one knows who this great American is, but Easterbrook, damn him, beat me to it.

    Borlaug is 93 and I hope he’s with us until he’s 193. I’ve heard him on television and his wit and intelligence is as vibrant as ever. But when goes, his tombstone could be inscribed, “one billion saved” as that’s the conservative estimate of how many lives he’s saved worldwide.

    And you probably know more about Brittany Spears’ underwear or lack thereof.

    Pathetic.

    One of Glenn Reynolds’ readers adds:

    Gregg Easterbrook has it half right about why Norman Borlaug is ignored by the press. It’s not because he spent his life serving the poor, per se. Press accounts are filled with stories about those who serve the poor. It’s that Mr. Borlaug didn’t serve the poor by giving away other people’s money, or by demanding that other people give away their money. He served the poor by DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGY, which in the view of the press is just as evil as making money, if for no other reason than someone makes money from the developed technology.

    You won’t see any accolades afforded all the brilliant researchers at GE Medical Systems, Pfizer, Merck, Glaxo, Medtronic, or you name it, for precisely the same reason.

    This is an excellent point. Contrast the attention given to people like Bono or Princess Di to Borlaug. It’s amazing.