Archive for January, 2011

 

Sputnik Misfire

Friday, January 28th, 2011

So I didn’t watch the SOTU speech, but everyone has been commenting on the Sputnik reference in it. So I thought I’d so a word search on the speech and read the reference:

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we’re seeing the promise of renewable energy…

When Sputnik was launched, the American populace said, in 1950′s parlance, “Holy fucking shit, we need to do something!” And they launched the space program in response, culminating in a man on the moon. The president at the time, Dwight Eisenhower, thought little of the launch initially, and so it was his successor president who took action to assuage the fears of the populace.

Obama seems to take the Sputnik idea a bit too literally. Nobody is having a pant-shitting moment over the fact that China makes more windmills or solar panels or high-speed trains than we currently do. In fact, there were only two Sputnik like moments within my lifetime. The first was over 9-11, and the sense of urgency about Islamic terrorism has faded since then, to put it mildly.

The second such moment was the financial collapse that started in 2007. In particular, the fact that the facade was ripped off of our economy, wherein it was revealed that the United States economy much more closely resembles that of a South American basket case crony capitalist economy than the free-market meritocracy that we like to believe our economy has always been. That shock was doubled down upon by the massive spending programs in the stimulus and Obamacare, plus the arrival of the day of reckoning with the first of the Baby Boomers receiving Social Security and Medicare. That pant-shitting moment continues unabated, as the recession plods along and the federal government showing no interest in cutting back on its spending binge.

The fact that Obama couldn’t can’t see this, and instead thought that people were shitting their pants over solar panels and windmills indicates to me that he is almost certain to be replaced in 2012 by somebody who does see it, or at least claims to. No guarantee of course that said person will deliver us from calamity, but whoever it is, he/she will be sure to talk a good game at a minimum.

 
 

SOTU

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I didn’t watch it. Sorry.

 
 

Tax Receipt

Monday, January 24th, 2011

A friend points me to this idea:

Taxpayers should get a receipt so they know what they’re paying for, a think tank called Third Way argues in a new paper.

Here’s a sample from the group. It includes federal income tax and FICA, which funds Medicare and Social Security. Details are here.

I like the idea. I would organize the receipt by cabinet secretaries, with sub departments under each. Further, I would also include a line item for debt incurred/paid in the period as well.

 
 

Shirt, Imported

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I’m thinking about buying myself this shirt:


This historical design is in honor of the trials and tribulations our nation faced and overcame. Highly detailed with special treatments it has stars on the collar, appliqued navy bars and shotgun cuffs. Piping is the final touch. Imported.

What kind of soiree do you suppose it would be appropriate to wear such a shirt to?

 
 

5.375%

Friday, January 21st, 2011

This story intrigues me:

George Bronk, 23, was arrested in late October after police found evidence that he’d hacked into more than 3,200 e-mail accounts. He used the same technique that Sarah Palin hacker David Kernell used to break into the former U.S. vice presidential candidate’s Yahoo account: He scoured his victims’ Facebook accounts for answers to the security questions used by Web-based e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Then, posing as his victim, he would claim to have forgotten the account’s password and try to answer the security questions that would let him back in. Often, the security questions are easy to guess. The questions Bronk faced asked him things like, “What is your high school mascot?” and “What is your father’s middle name?”

Once in, he would change the account password — locking out his victim — and search for any racy photographs. If he found any, he posted them to the victim’s Facebook profile.

Of the 3,200 accounts he broke into, Bronk found nude or semi-nude photos in 172 of them, prosecutors said.

What I learned from this article was that 5.375% of women have nude photographs of themselves stored within their email accounts. Interesting. Presumably, that is a smaller subset of women who posses digital photographs of themselves nude. I wonder what percent?

Will knowing this information make you think differently about 1/20 of the women you know?

 
 

Learn Chinese

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Rush Limbaugh way…

I guess this is supposed to be racist or something. I thought it was pretty funny.

 
 

I Blame Gay People

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

So here’s the latest unspeakable horror from Tuscon [emphasis mine]:

The night before the rampage, authorities say, Mr. Loughner, 22, dropped off at a drugstore a roll of 35-millimeter film containing images he had shot of himself posing with a Glock semiautomatic pistol while wearing a red G-string. [...] In some of the photos Mr. Loughner is holding the gun near his crotch, and in others, presumably taken in a mirror, he is holding the gun next to his buttocks, investigators said. It was not clear when the photos were taken.

What could ever possess someone to make them wear a red g-string like that? And in photographs to boot?

I blame gay people and their incessant culture of gayness, permeating our minds and influencing the feeble-minded among us to do as they do and prance around in a g-string and act weird and shit. Someone really needs to do something.

UPDATE: In the event you couldn’t figure it out, this post is a joke. It is making fun of people who blame Jared Loughner’s behavior on talk radio and Sarah Palin. I’m sorry to have to ruin the joke by having to explain it, but to be perfectly clear, Jared Loughner was not wearing a thong because of gay people in general, or Liberace in particular. I’m sorry if that wasn’t immediately clear to some of you.

 
 

Several Whatevers Ahead Of The Big Name, well, you get the idea…

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

At Megan McArdle’s, a commenter writes:

You’ll have a hard time finding any market as highly regulated as mortgages and finance. The idea that a LACK of regulations are a major problem here is laughable. It also comes from this bizarre idea that a lot of people have that there is some “Regulation Knob” that government has control of, and they can turn the knob to the right to “increase regulation” and turn it to the left to “decrease regulation”. This just is not the case at all – there is bad regulation and good regulation. The idea that some people think the solution to all of our problems is simply more rules and more employees at regulatory agencies is bizarre.

In the Rob Sama Grand Plan, Financial Plank:

We have heard a common refrain from the left since the economic crisis hit. The refrain goes that the crisis was due to there being no financial regulation during the Republican years. It was as if a switch had been turned off at some point in the last 8 years, and now it’s time to turn it back on. As if we had a brief experiment with no-holds barred Laissez-Faire Capitalism, and it didn’t work, and now it’s time to return to a more sage time of managed markets.[...]

But that is not to say that the current regulatory regime that we have in place is fine as is. We do need to make changes. But the operative question is: what do we hope that these changes will achieve? To answer that question, we will dispense with the mantra, “Regulation good, markets bad” from the left and the imagined, “Markets good, any regulation at all bad” mantra from the right, and instead set out to determine what it is that we want from our financial regulations, and then set out to make some modifications to our current system to better achieve those ends.

It’s always been strange to me to hear the left refer to the right as anti-intellectual and reactionary, when you hear the left arguing that more regulation, no matter what it is, is always the solution for everything. It’s not bizarre as McArdle’s commenter calls it. It’s idiotic.

 
 

Jared Loughner Is a Muslim Fanatic

Monday, January 10th, 2011

The ridiculousness of the left’s accusations against Sarah Palin with regards to the Giffords shooting has been already covered by the right’s top bloggers. Glenn Reynolds has been all over the case, just go to Instapundit and keep scrolling, or read his summary in today’s Wall Street Journal. See also William Jacobson.

What I wish to do is connect a few dots here and see if I can uncover what exactly is going on inside the head of someone who willingly jumps to conclusions that aren’t supported by the facts; namely that a kid who has apparently had a long obsession with Giffords, an obsession that predates any map created by Palin, a kid who is recounted by his classmates as likely mentally ill, a kid who regards Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as being among his favorite books, a kid who believes the government engages in mind control schemes, and a kid described by former classmates as being “left wing, and quite liberal“, that kid was a Tea Partier or at least Sarah Palin/Tea Party influenced, and shot Giffords because Sarah Palin and right wing talk radio in effect instructed him to do it.

Well then. If that’s fair play I may as well call Loughner a Muslim fanatic while we’re at it.

Sure, I suppose some of this is wishful thinking on the left. There have been no shortage of open fantasies on the left about an Oklahoma City type disaster to bolster Obama’s approval ratings, and in this shooting they see what they have been wishing for. But I think that there’s something else going on as well. Consider the following three events: The Giffords shooting, the Fort Hood Shooting, and those “I am an American” ads that the left ran just after 9-11. In the case of the Giffords shooting, the left immediately tried to pin the blame for it on America’s right of center politicians and commentators. With the Fort Hood shooting, there was long attempts to calm everybody down, and tell them not to “Jump to conclusions” about the perpetrator being a Muslim or being motivated by Muslim fanaticism.

But it was the “I am an American” ads that were worst. In the face of one of the most bloody acts of hate ever perpetrated by one group against another, the American left sought not to lecture those who perpetrated those acts against us for their hate, but to lecture those who had been violated not to judge. It was an astonishing moment of moral perversity. But one that illuminates their shaded worldview. Taken together, the left’s reaction to these three events tells us that the left believes that Americans (if not the West in general) are hair-trigger crazies ready to explode into violence at any moment.

This accusation creates an intentional catch-22 for the right. When violence occurs, terrorism especially, one cannot react lest one plays into the stereotype, thus reinforcing the narrative. One cannot respond forcefully or angrily without reinforcing the narrative, that you’re ready to explode into violence at a moment’s notice. The purpose is to render the right impotent. The planned catch-22 doesn’t surprise me. It’s the classic purpose of any loaded question (“So Socrates, are you still beating your wife?”) What I learned by the rapid fire reaction to it, from seemingly all quarters of the left, the organized left and just random lefties around me, is that for many it’s not an intentional loaded insult. Many on the left actually believe it.

It’s one thing when you spread false rumors for a specific purpose, but its quite another when you believe your own lies.

And I’ve come to believe that they really do. One twitterer retweeted by Andrew Brietbart wrote, “That’s why an equal number of conservatives and liberals have been assassinated I suppose. JFK, RFK, MLK, Moscone, Milk etc”. Except that JFK was a conservative Democrat assassinated by an avowed communist. And RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian national. And MLK was assassinated by a racist, not a Republican. And Moscone and Milk were assassinated by a guy who felt like he’d been slighted for a political job. But they maintain a myth in their heads that these were all right wing guys out to get them. It’s a flattering self-delusion, but a delusion nonetheless.

It’s also an insult to us on the right, those of us who work to put forward thinking arguments to advance a cause, who would like to be met with arguments back. But instead, we’re taking a weekend and probably the better part of the week if not longer, pointing out the obvious, that we’re not behind Giffords’ shooting.

So I guess if I have any message to the left, it’s “Get over yourselves”. You’re not important enough to anyone on the right to want to shoot. Your arguments are full of holes, which is precisely why we don’t have to or want to put holes in you.

Good day.

 
 

Repeal Part I

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I just wanted to take a moment to comment on the repeal of Obamacare that just passed the house. What struck me about it was just how easy it was. No arms needed to be twisted. No pork needed to be dished out. But on bipartisan lines, a vote to repeal easily passed. Contrast that with the effort required to pass Obamacare in the first place. not a single Republican vote could be garnered (or maybe they got just one in the house, I forget), and when the house finally passed the Senate bill, it was a week log excruciating arm twisting effort.

Can there really be any doubt as to what the will of the people really is?

Between court challenges and salami slicing away at the bill that is bound to take place over he next two years, I do not seeing Obamacare being implemented, at least not in the way it is currently written. And assuming that a Republican takes the White House in 2012, its eventual repeal is all but assured.

And so I ask my liberal progressive friends out there, was that all worth it? Really?