Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Richard Epstein from Columbia (a video). Obviously he is opposed to the plan, but I believe he raises implications that I have not seen discussed.

Monday, December 28, 2009


From the Huffington Post.


There has been no dearth of items over the past six months about the crisis newspapers are facing in the blogs I follow. Some newspapers have filed for bankruptcy, a few have closed down, and others have laid off much of their staff. Even the hallowed New York Times is having problems. I am not going to rehash all of the problems and analysis I have read over the past months.

In some cases I think newspapers just don't give much news for a variety of reasons. Some of this is ideological and some of it is just bad or inefficient reporting. I have found blogs to give more in-depth analysis and are often days ahead in reporting what is happening. And you can always check opinions out quickly by looking at blogs that report and comment from a variety of perspectives.

However, as a long time subscriber to the Dallas Morning News, I have been puzzled for months about its decision-making. First, let me say that I think it is really a good newspaper (far better then those I have seen in other cities, including my beloved Chicago Tribune). I felt its news reporting was above average, its opinion paged is balanced and filled with thought-provoking comments from left and right, the business section is strong, and the sports pages are great (especially if you are a Cowboys fan).

In September our renewal rate went to over a thousand dollars for a one year subscription! As a middle class family this is entirely beyond the budget so we dropped our subscription. Who can afford a newspaper subscription, at least at the Dallas Morning News? I am sure there will be at least 10,000 people who will want to pay this rate.

The interesting thing is that I have recently received subscription letters from Fortune and now Kiplingers (and maybe Forbes) with a yearly subscription rate of less than $10. Maybe they are trying to hook me for a year and then ask for a $500 renewal rate for the next year! I assume they want to raise circulation levels and then show advertisers the value of an ad.

Recently the Dallas Morning News called to win us back with a special offer. We didn't even ask what the offer was--no thanks--don't need an umbrella or a $999 special. I wish you guys the best, but it is going to take some doing for the print media to bring us back.


The impact of the coming debt crisis--with Greece and other countries facing national bankruptcy, 2010 will be an interesting year. I keep finding great Churchill quotes: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I especially like those that say their vote can't be bought. And Senator Baucus reading from Wikipedia to support the bill!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I was given Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny and was able to give it a quick read on the airplane. Some of his quotes:

p. 53: A discussion of the 1942 Supreme Court ruling Wickard v. Filburn that a farmer growing wheat on his own land and for his own use was still subject to federal production limits, even though none of his what ever left the state.

p. 65: Saul Alinsky and the radicals desire to eradicate the middle class.

p. 76: . . .ethanol has been around since the 1800s. If it were a vialbe alternative or additive to gasoline, which supposedly would reduce oil use, gasoline prices, and automobile emissions, the free market would have responded positively. [I am not sure Rockefeller would have allowed it, although I agree with his argument that ethanol is not a solution to the energy issue.]

p. 86: Quoting Rexford Tugwell (advisor to FDR): We didn't admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.

p. 89: The reason stimulus plans of this sort do not work is a fundamental reality of governance: The government does not add value to the economy. It removes value from the economy by imposing taxes on one citizen and providing cash to another. Or it borrows money that would otherwise be used by investors and redistributes it elsewhere. Or it prints money and threatens the value of the dollar. Nothing is stimulated.

p. 120: A discussion on enviro-statism and attacks Earth First for putting the earth ahead of human beings. Humans are expendable, the earth is not.

p. 127: In 1971, Dr. S.I. Rasol, a NASA scientist, insisted that "in the next 50 years, the fine dust man constantly puts into the atmosphere by fossil-fuel burning could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees." An ice age was predicted.

p. 140: A 2 1/2 page (small print) of all the things caused by global warming--everything from acne to yellow fever. But spiders invading Scotland and a squid population explosion particularly caught my eye!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I guess every president get's his foreign policy doctrine.

He stated clearly that war can be just, indeed, that sometimes it is the only path of justice.

"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes," he said. "There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naive -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King, but as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."


I had forgotten about the work of T.D. Lysenko in Stalin's Soviet Union. He is a great example of the politicization of science.

Perhaps the most egregious ghost is Trofim Lysenko, the man who ruled the life sciences of Soviet Russia from the late 1920s until the early 1960s. He had a theory which fit Marxism perfectly: acquired characteristics can be inherited. This is not true, of course, but Lysenko had the Politburo and Stalin behind him. It was science that fit the political needs of the Bolsheviks, and so it was science backed by the awful power of the party and the state.

Lysenko's experiments were heralded, although the experiments were never replicated. The Soviet Union was full of botanists, biologists, geneticists, and other life scientists, and it was obvious to anyone with a free mind that Lysenko was propounding nonsense. But it was not until 1962 that the Soviet government allowed a real critique of his cartoon science

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Obama and the Democrats are in trouble if the Daily Show is doing this! The comments on Hot Air.


It is worse than thought. Data has been withheld by many other scientists. There should always be an ongoing debate in science about the data no matter what the issue.

In 2004, retired businessman Stephen McIntyre asked the National Science Foundation for information on various climate research that it funds. Affirming "the importance of public access to scientific research supported by U.S. federal funds," the Foundation nonetheless declined, saying "in general, we allow researchers the freedom to convey their scientific results in a manner consistent with their professional judgment."

Which leaves researchers free to withhold information selectively from critics, as when CRU director Phil Jones told Australian scientist Warwick Hughes in a 2005 email: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."

Volokh has a detailed analysis of the data issues.

And here is an even more complete summary of issues involved.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Powerline, analyzing an article in the Washington Post, shows the inconsistencies in Obama's foreign policy team's decision-making in the last few months. It appears the administration gave McChrystal orders to draw up a plan and then denied, when the plan was drawn up, that it had given him those directives.

Also it is interesting to see that Obama has flipped on the Iraq surge. Under Bush he criticized it, but now he uses it as a model.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


The city looks good on the outside with all of its magnificent buildings, but it is a moral and humanitarian sewer. This British report doesn't say much for the value system of the country. It is not an Arab Disneyland or a "Santa Claus' state. Evil abounds.

There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, like Karen; there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?

Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away. Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.

Friday, December 04, 2009


Interesting. No mention of homelessness even though unemployment is up; references to "Christmas" shopping are declining; and no mention of the $80 billion taxpayers have already lost to keep General Motors going.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


John Stoessel has his usual insightful analysis.

When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.

The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving healthcare and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Dr. Ian Pilmer said Governments were treating the public like “fools” and using climate change to increase taxes. He said carbon dioxide has had no impact on temperature and that recent warming was part of the natural cycle of climate stretching over ­billions of years.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


A lengthy, but important post on the falsification of data. Derek Love sees a problem.


Human brains are shrinking! This is more serious than global warming--what happens if our brains shrink to the size of a pea? Maybe it is our expanding waists that is causing it. This has been a crisis since at least 1996, but Al Gore has done or said nothing about it. Obama shouldn't be flying to Copenhagen, but instead he should call a world conference of leaders to address this issue. But wait, maybe global warming is causing our brains to shrink.


Politico is not a part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy," but its "7 Stories Barack Obama Doesn't Want Told" is quite critical of his presidency.