Sunday, May 30, 2010

Family Matters

I have some family matters that may keep me from blogging for a while.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tom Ligon At Balticon

Details here. Tom announced his presence here:

I'll be giving one of the opening talks at the Balticon Science Fiction Convention this Friday, May 28, at 9 PM, near Baltimore, MD. This will be an updated version of the talk I've given before. I won't have any earth-shattering news, but I will have my recently-overhauled Farnsworth fusor and photos of the construction process. Details are available below.
A little late notice I admit. I haven't been keeping up this week.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Global Warming Upsetting Weather Patterns

Evidently nothing in climate is normal these days.

Experts tell us that spring snowcover has seen rapid declines in the Northern Hemisphere over the last 20 years. As of today, western US snowpack averaged by state is 137 percent of normal.
And how do I know it is caused by global warming? It is not normal is it? QED.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Many Has She Tricked?

Why do beautiful women get cheated on so much?

"Beautiful women are prey to men who want to use their beauty to elevate their own status. Because of their beauty they're used to being adored, and they are flattered by guys who go completely goo goo for them," explains relationship expert, Dr. Gilda Carle, who has treated many celebrities.

The problem is that those guys often don't see beyond their beauty and they don't like it when they wake up one day and see a real person, who has a real problem one day, whether it's a cold or emotional needs. This type of man looked for a woman to make up for his own ego deficiencies, and when he can't get enough of that, he looks elsewhere.

"Beautiful women may doom themselves to becoming cheating victims because they themselves have want a "charismatic and attractive love mate." They're often attracted to "narcissistic men." Think Tiger, Jesse, K-Fed for Britney, Tony Romo for Jessica Simpson.
Let me see if I get this. Beauty is no insulation from dysfunction. Giving or receiving.

Assuming you want to keep up with all this on a more mundane level you might like Cheater's Confessions. About 3 or 4 new ones every hour during waking hours. About 6AM to 1 AM EST. Their confessions run 51% male and 49% female. And you can vote and comment on them without registering. Sentiment mostly runs against the cheaters, but it is devastating to out and out scum. After reading a few you can see a pattern. The pattern of what is probably the most destructive behavior in any relationship. Dishonesty. And out of that we get juicy anonymous public confessions. Yum.

Below are some books on the subject to get you started or finished as the case may be. Which reminds me of some sage old advice. "A man is not complete until he is married and after that he is finished." OTOH if you are very lucky.....

Is It Still Cheating If I Don't Get Caught?

The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims

With more here.

H/T Instapundit and Extra Good - whose home page is Not Safe For Work.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Pentagon Of Hemp

Irony of ironies. The Pentagon was built on ground that used to house a government hemp farm.

Never-before seen journals found recently at a garage sale outside Buffalo, N.Y., chronicle the life of Lyster Dewey, who tended a United States government hemp farm in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Dewey, a botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrote in detail about growing strains of hemp called Keijo, Chinamington and others on a tract of government land known as Arlington Farm, reports Manuel Roig-Franzia of the

If the “Arlington” part of that name sounds familiar — as in Arlington National Cemetery — that’s because the acreage used to grow the hemp was handed over to the War Department in the 1940s for construction of the world’s largest office building: the Pentagon.

So in addition to the already-known intertwining of the noble hemp plant and U.S. history, now it is revealed that the very location of the Pentagon itself was once covered with verdant fields of cannabis.
History is more ironic than any novelist would dare. Try this one on for size. After outlawing hemp cultivation in 1937 the government was encouraging farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. Right here in Illinois even.

BTW the top link is safe for work. The home page is definitely Not Safe For Work.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Free Book

Ed Driscoll notes that J. Neil Schulman's Alongside Night is available for free download.

“Just look at TV news or read a newspaper,” Schulman said. “Plot point after plot point is identical. In my 1979 novel I have General Motors go bankrupt — General Motors then files for bankruptcy. I have Europe issue a common currency in my novel called the ‘eurofranc’ — the European Union then goes and issues the ‘euro.’ In my novel I have a European Chancellor, based in France, accuse the U.S. President of having the monetary policies of a banana republic — then the President of the European Union — also based in France — slams U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as ‘a road to hell’ and says President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout ‘will undermine the liquidity of the global financial market.’ The copycat nature of all these plot points and dialogue” — says Schulman — “could not be more obvious!”
You can read the Amazon reviews at:

J. Neil Schulman's Alongside Night

Note: there are only about 12,000 more copies available for download. Don't wait if you want a free copy.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family Feud

There is a Drug War going on in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. As you might expect, it is not going well.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico— Authorities battling drug traffickers in this violent border city have begun to suspect that their efforts to impede the flow of drugs into the U.S. has fostered demand—and turf wars—on their own territory.
Dang. Fighting drugs only spreads them. Which reminds me of a personal anecdote. About 15 or 25 years ago when the police in America decided they were going to drive drugs and drug gangs out of the big cities I said the result would be an infestation of drugs and gangs in our towns and villages. I told this to a police officer back then (on FIDO Net). He said I was nuts. Unfortunately, I had the last laugh.
... authorities also see an unintended result of the crackdown: Traffickers, unable to get some drugs to Americans, began to sell them in Ciudad Juarez. That has left the city of 1.3 million people—once mainly a transit center for drugs—with a pattern of mounting crime similar to that of the U.S. cities where drugs are headed, namely killings at street corners between gangs vying to be the town's principal drug dealers. Even in cases when drugs begin flowing back across the border into the U.S. again, some amount remains destined for local consumers.

"What we're seeing is a retail market here in the city," says Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, who has run the city since 2007 and was there when the soldiers arrived. "The killings you're seeing now are one gang going after another to sell [drugs] here."

The trend hasn't gone unnoticed across the border. "What you have to understand is that if drug traffickers can't get cocaine across the border, rather than having it sit in a warehouse where they risk losing it, they'll distribute it locally," says Joseph Arabit, who heads the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's operation in El Paso.
Isn't that comforting. The DEA knows exactly how this works. And they support the drug war why? Green energy. i.e. it is a jobs program and heaven knows they will not work against their own interests. And what is that interest? It certainly isn't either ending the Drug War or stopping the flow of drugs.
In response to rising violence between drug cartels over cross-border trade in Ciudad Juarez, President Calderón sent 5,000 more soldiers into the city in early 2009. Seizures of marijuana continued to fall, as did homicide rates, which dropped from about nine a day earlier in the year to two per day, according to estimates by the city. City leaders were cautiously optimistic; for a short time, violence in Ciudad Juarez appeared to have been calmed.

Then homicide rates suddenly skyrocketed, to 12 a day, the highest level in the city's history. The year ended 2009 with about 2,750 drug-related homicides, up from 1,600 the year before.

"We didn't understand what was going on," says Mr. Reyes, the mayor.
Mr. Reyes should have consulted with the experts at the DEA. They witnessed roughly the same thing in the USA about 15 to 25 years ago. The one thing the drug warriors seem really good at is redeploying policies that are known, tested, and guaranteed not to work. As opposed to redeploying policies that are known, tested and guaranteed to work. A man has got to protect his phony baloney job.
Mexican federal officials say there are signs the violence in Ciudad Juarez, which has claimed 996 lives so far this year, has peaked.

Analysts say any such hopes are probably premature. One reason: Blood spilled by this year's turf wars won't be forgotten quickly, gang members say, meaning the fighting in Ciudad Juarez could continue even if the government succeeds in reducing drug sales and transit.

"The Aztecas have killed our families, friends and kids," says Nicolas Sosa, a leader of a Ciudad Juarez gang called The Artistic Assassins, in a jailhouse interview. Mr. Sosa said he didn't see an end to the violence anytime soon.
Our experience with alcohol prohibition in America is that it takes 15 to 25 years for the internecine warfare inspired by prohibition to die out. The clock starts as soon as we stop being stupid. The beginning of the end of stupidity could begin as soon as Nov. 2, 2010 in California.

Here is a catalog of some of the stupidity as reported in 1997! -

Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure
It is not like we didn't know.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Revisionist History

More video:
Glenn Beck Part 2
Glenn Beck Part 3
Glenn Beck Part 4

Books mentioned:

George Washington's Sacred Fire

New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, May 21, 2010

Examining The Drug War

House Bill H.R. 5143 is touted as a review of Criminal Justice in America. According to the summary its purpose is:

National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010 - Establishes the National Criminal Justice Commission. Directs the Commission to: (1) review all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local, and tribal governments' criminal justice costs, practices, and policies; (2) make findings regarding such review and recommendations for changes to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, reduce recidivism, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system; (3) consult with government and nongovernment leaders, including the United States Sentencing Commission; and (4) submit a final report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to Congress, the President, and state, local, and tribal governments and make such report available to the public. Expresses the sense of Congress that the Commission should work toward unanimously supported findings and recommendations.
The Senate Bill, S-714, mirrors the House version word for word. Which means that the likelihood of passage is strong. No fiddling with reconciliation.

So what is the bill really about? Here is a clue.
When Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, proposed creating such a commission, his idea quickly attracted wide support. It is a rare cause in Washington that has the backing of the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the A.C.L.U. and the Marijuana Policy Project.
This is really a chance for our Federal Government to take a look at the Drug War.

So how about a look at our government. Specifically the anti-marijuana caucus in Congress.
The members of this new anti-cannabis caucus in the Congress are: Dan Burton (R-IN), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Mica (R-FL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Mark Souder (R-IN) and Michael Turner (R-OH).
That was the from the summer of 2009. Where are they now? Souder is on his way out of Congress. And Rep. Issa seems to have at least opened his mind if not changed it altogether.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the original legislation last year which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and awaits action by the entire Senate. The bipartisan House companion, introduced by Reps. William Delahunt (D-MA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), was introduced in April.
Why a change of heart for Issa? I have no way of knowing. My guess? They want to spend the $50 bn a year or so that the Drug War costs the country on something else. Maybe reducing the deficit? We can only hope.

H/T Retired police detective Howard Wooldridge at Citizens Opposing Prohibition

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Scientist In Congress?

Watts Up With That reports on a primary race in Oregon.
Art Robinson ran in the GOP Primary to represent the Oregon in 4th Congressional District. Wise Republican voters selected Dr. Art Robinson to represent them in the November 2010 Congressional race against Democrat Peter DeFazio.

I saw an online video by Art Robinson at the 4th International Climate Change Conference explaining why he is running. He wants to being some scientific rationality to the discussions on issues in Congress, especially climate change. “Let’s have at least one real scientist in Congress,” he said.

Dr Robertson is an expert on energy and founder of the Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine. He is widely known for his petition signed by more than 31,000 American scientists exposing human-caused global warming as a fraud.
It wouldn't hurt to have more than a few engineers (those well versed in the practical applications of science) in Congress either.

Another list of scientists who are not convinced about man made global warming catastrophe can be found here: The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so

and for those of you not familiar with the other side (it is not warming much and there will be no catastrophe) of the controversy may I suggest: Understanding The Global Warming Hoax: Expanded And Updated

If you want to help Art win the seat against DeFazio visit Art Robinson For Congress.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What About My Profits?

Retired police officer Howard Wooldridge meets up with some big time illegal pot growers (inadvertently) and finds out what they fear. Hint: it isn't the police.

I spent my second week of the Oregon speaking tour like the first… speaking to various groups, media etc. The most memorable question of the tour came from a guy in Coos Bay in SW Oregon. He asked what would happen to the price of pot, if California legalizes it this fall.

The price would fall hard I replied, though I admitted to not being an expert. I later learned the questioner and several of his friends were big-time illegal growers.
Which brings up something I have been saying for years.
Drug prohibition is a price support mechanism for criminals and terrorists
And yet my anti-price support (it is socialist) anti-terrorist friends on the right are the staunchest friends of prohibition. Maybe it is just another deal like the case of Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) a staunch champion of abstinence education and traditional family values. Who recently got caught cheating on his wife with a staffer. The staffer Tracy Jackson interviews Souder on a (pulled - and possibly restored) YouTube video.
In the November 2009 abstinence video, Jackson introduces Souder this way: "You've been a longtime advocate for abstinence education and in 2006 you had your staff conduct a report entitled 'Abstinence and its Critics' which discredits many claims purveyed by those who oppose abstinence education."
It has been reported that their get togethers have been going on for four years. Which would mean the affair was ongoing when the video was made. Another case of a "the rules are different for me" politician.

Well back to pot. How is the California initiative polling? By a 56% to 42% margin California voters favor legalizing marijuana. As Officer Wooldridge has told me in one of his weekly e-mails (roughly), "prohibition will be over five years after the first state legalizes." To get his weekly updates contact Howard.

H/T Radley Balko at Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Jeff Id at The Air Vent has a few words about blogging:

I’m not sure people realize that blogging is more about reading than writing. Sure, I do enjoy the privilege of placing my thoughts on line for discussion with a lot of smart people, so there is a measure of talk, but from a functional perspective, blogging is mostly reading.

I find that on average a typical post takes about 1 to 2 hours of reading. And that does not count the time spent looking for something interesting/useful to write about. Or going through all the e-mails that come from various sources and subscriptions that I go through every day. About 100 to 150 e-mails every day.

So let me say this about that:

Help me keep blogging at no cost to yourself. Order your Amazon purchases through this link: Amazon. I get a small percentage which helps me buy books and electronic maintenance items (like printer cartridges). All of which helps me keep blogging.

A Republican You Can Believe In

H/T Vanderleun at American Digest

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, May 17, 2010

Europe Is Cracking

The EUReferendum has a few words about the status of the Euro.

...Merkel is now admitting - that the trillion-dollar stabilisation package that the "colleagues" cobbled together last week merely "buys time". It solves nothing in the medium to long-term and, in fact, its beneficial effect may not last even weeks. Serious commentators are now quite openly talking about the collapse of the euro.

And this is what is more than a little surreal about the whole issue. The prospect of the euro collapsing is serious. Despite our willing it to happen, the impact on currency markets and the EU member state economies would be catastrophic – and prolonged. We could quite easily see Europe dragged into a depression, the like of which made the 1920s look like a rehearsal.
If Europe and the UK go down the US will definitely take a hit. A big hit. That could lead to a double dip recession. If that is followed by the collapse of the Chinese real estate bubble there could be a triple dip. And that is not even counting the uncleared real estate overhang in the US.

Richard North has more at Crash and Burn.

H/T Chuck at Pounding The Pound

The Conservative Position

Commenter Forgotten Man at The Belmont Club had this to say about how to win the battle in Afghanistan:

...things like opium growing and Heroin production need to be stopped.
Yes. Of course. We have been working on stopping it for 96 years so far and real soon now we will have success.

Or we can do the Conservative thing and return to the Status of drugs that obtained before the Progressives tried to “improve” the situation with their anti-drug laws.

It is always amusing to see “Conservatives” spouting the rhetoric of Progressives. Funny thing is that Progressives see the stupidity of their former policies. Which I suppose makes Conservatives reactionaries (“if Progressives are for it I’m against it”) when it comes to the drug laws.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stupid And Incoherent

Esquire Magazine has an interesting article on California's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California.

...the president of the California Peace Officer's Association, John Standish. "We just don't think anything good will come of this," he said. "It's not going to better society. It's going to denigrate it."

Later he was quoted again: "We have a hard enough time now with drunk drivers on the road. This is just going to add to the problems — I cannot think of one crime scene I've been to where people said, 'Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.'"

My jaw dropped. That's it? That's the best you've got? For that, thousands of people die every year in the drug war? For that, we arrest more than seven hundred thousand Americans a year? For that, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on police, prisons, and international eradication efforts?

Besides, I've got two kids. To the point of driving them crazy, I tell them over and over to drive sober and stick to the speed limit. But I would five thousand times rather see them drive stoned than drunk — and I don't believe Mr. Standish could produce a single parent who feels differently.
No doubt we could find a LOT of parents that believe differently. Still, I think parents who have had experience with marijuana in their youth would generally feel that way.

The experience of Portugal (which legalized all drugs) is confounding (at least when it comes to statements about the dangers of legalization.
what happened in Portugal (according to a study by the super-conservative Cato Institute) in the first five years since they legalized all drugs:

"Lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1 to 10.6 percent; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5 to 1.8 percent (although there was a slight increase in marijuana use in that age group). New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17 percent between 1999 and 2003, and deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. In addition, the number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, and money saved on enforcement allowed for increased funding of drug-free treatment as well."
Since addiction to drugs is a medical problem (can police cure cancer?) it seems to me that moving resources from police to treatment actually accords to reason.
CPOA spokesman, John Lovell, a pleasant man who also represents the police chiefs' and narcotics officers' associations. These are the arguments he came up with:

"First off, the figure of seven hundred thousand arrested is factually inaccurate — people do not get arrested for simple possession. The most that happens is they're given a citation and release. In California, the penalty for simple possession is $100 fine."

In other words, pot isn't all that illegal, which strikes me as a weird argument for keeping the drug war going full tilt. It also suggests they don't take the stoned driver problem as seriously as their rhetoric suggests.
Well what about drugs in the workplace?
"For sure, it's going to cost every employer more in insurance," he said. "If you look at section 11340C, the only thing an employer can do is address consumption issues of an employee that actually affect their workplace performance — if you're in possession, an employer can't take any action. If you test dirty, the employer can't do anything."

So you can only punish an employee for something that "actually affects his workplace performance" – these are his words, folks. In other words, if a person gets stoned on Saturday night and comes in Monday morning 100 percent sober, there's no way to punish him? And the problem with this is?
The problem with that is that there are a lot of pigs at the trough who will have to get real jobs. The Drug War costs the Federal Government $25 billion a year. It costs the States an equal amount. Most of that money goes into law enforcement. Instead of chasing murderers, rapists, robbers, and thieves police are chasing plants and plant extracts. That is just stupid and as you can see from the above the reasons for continuing on this path are incoherent.

As the author of the Esquire piece says:
This war is lost. The only question now is how much more blood and treasure we're going to waste before we all admit it.
A police officer friend of mine predicts that the Drug War will be over 5 years after the first State legalizes. If the California initiative passes this November (polling is running 56% to 42% in favor) that would mean that by 2015 the Drug War would be over.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I was reading the comments at this Victor Davis Hanson piece and came across an interesting set of observations on the state of the economy.

14. Foobarista

As for the “gray market” in California, I’m convinced that regulators – and politicians – are well aware of its existence and don’t want to touch it. My wife sells small businesses and pretty much never sees a little, cash-heavy business that doesn’t pocket most or all of the cash – even in otherwise regulated areas like restaurants and dry cleaners.

The sad thing is that my wife occasionally runs into American-born blacks or whites who want to buy a business and whose heads explode when they realize that nearly everything is under the table, and that operating a completely legit business would mean you simply wouldn’t make enough money to operate because the market prices in the “grayness” of the market players. Immigrants of all sorts are far more comfortable with these arrangements and often prefer it.

And any business involving lots of manual labor? They’re completely under the table, not because the owners are paying sub-minimum wages – the workers are often decently paid – but because regulations and taxes make it impossible to operate legally. And since few American-born people are willing to work under the table, illegals are pretty much the only ones hired.

April 11, 2010 - 10:06 pm
Which explains the title of this post. When the government hand becomes too heavy people no longer use it. And it is not just the people who sell labor. It is also the people who buy it.
15. tryingtodorightthing

I work in law in the San Fernando Valley and can tell you from personal experience that the Los Angeles County Building Code Enforcement does not inspect nor enforce laws such as illegal converted garages or the related building codes. The inspectors will act as if they are going to inspect and then just refuse to do so. I have made complaints of very serious conditions such as exposed wires, gas lines illegally re-routed and the such with no action by the city.

April 11, 2010 - 10:11 pm
That is how you make a third world country. You regulate everything with a heavy hand. If you want to be profitable in such an environment you have some choices. Bribery is one. Ignoring the rules is another. The next comment makes that point.

You’re my neighbor. (In a general sense – I live also in the SFV) and you’re talking about MY neighbors. (In the specific sense! The house to my right has two illegal ‘apartments’ in the back yard – the one to the left has a ‘converted’ garage.) I look at houses and they all have unliscensed contruction. No one cares. The law is a joke. No – worse – the law is predatory. You would actually be in legal trouble if you tried to OBEY the written laws.

April 12, 2010 - 1:47 pm
So who is bypassing the state? Some very nice people.
20. Les Hardie

Dr. Hansen: I and my upscale neighbors are all scofflaws. We live in a village in the Santa Monica mountains just west of Topanga. Most of us are professionals,others academics, scientists, businessmen, some cops and firemen. RE prices are high, but the area is semi-rural—a lot of horses, atvs, trucks, chainsaws. People here are well educated but pride then=mselves on being tougher than city people. Most are still Democrats. But everybody tries to avoid any gov’t permitting. The view is that between the county and coastal, nobody can build a dog house, much less a room addition, so f***them and do it anyway. Judges and lawyers do major remodels without permits; pools and spas, sheds and barns, these projects are regularly done subrosa. More than a complete lack of trust that the government will be fair and reasonable, is a belief that govt has no right to tell us what we can and cant do on our property (at least on a small scale). It seems to be a version of “don’t tread on me!” It may be the salvation of Ca when those who espouse the regulatory state realize how bad it is in practice, and take real steps to get it off our backs.

April 11, 2010 - 10:39 pm
The next commenter is not so optimistic about the situation in terms of people believing in the regulatory state on the one hand and avoiding it at all costs on the other.

The problem is that those who espouse the regulatory state will never realize how bad it is in practice. When liberal social theories don’t work its always because they weren’t executed correctly or because of some outside influence. It’s never because the theories were wrong-headed or flawed from the outset.

April 12, 2010 - 10:30 am
And of course every one who has watched Star Wars knows the final outcome:
Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
Conventional wisdom at its finest.

There are over 170 comments to that post so I'm sure there is more information along the above lines. Not to mention thread drift and thread jacking. I leave it to the reader to ferret out more useful stuff.

Now about the Drug War Black Market.....

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pounding The Pound

Reader Chuck left a link at my post Reality Check to Zero Hedge that is rather interesting.

As we pointed out last week, nobody cares about either Greece or the PIIGs any more. The focus among the smartest money out there, in the face of CDS traders, for the third week running, is on the core of Europe, and specifically on the UK. Last week the net notional derisking in UK was a massive $1,063 million in 280 traded contracts, which according to our files is the single biggest one week derisking amount on record. all the Greek "speculators" are now focusing their attention squarely on the UK... and France, which came in second with $384 million in derisking. Incidentally, these two represented the greatest amount of of derisking in all top 1000 CDS reference names (third altogether was not surprisingly Goldman Sachs with $256 million). The bet is now squarely on that the PIIGS contagion will move to the UK, and that France will also not be spared.
Despite what you hear about the economy of the US improving it is my opinion that we are not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.

If one studies the history of the Great Depression one finds that there were a number of false dawns. The #1 rule of the universe is that if something is unsustainable it will not be sustained.

BTW the comment section at the very first link above is most interesting and amusing. I had more than a few LOLs reading it.

Peace Officers

A free country wants Peace Officers. A country run by a criminal gang needs enforcers.

Inspired by this thread on Talk Polywell. Which refers to this post on Power and Control.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Deal With A Tornado

Also included at no extra charge: how not to deal with a tornado.

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Another Big Spill

H/T Diogenes at Talk Polywell

Reality Check

Dr. Housing Bubble is looking at the state of the real estate market. It is not good. Not good at all.

Let me start with a quote that explains the above chart.

The ultimate sign of housing distress is foreclosure. This should be obvious. So for all the talk of a housing recovery I point to the above chart. Today, as in right now, we are in record territory for the number of homes in foreclosure. 14 percent of all U.S. mortgages are in some form of foreclosure.
So are things actually improving? Would the government lie to you? No and yes.
...foreclosure filings are still at record levels. In fact we are heading to a 3.5 to 4 million foreclosure year in 2010! This is somehow a positive thing for the market? People forget that foreclosures happen because of underlying economic issues. If everyone was making big bucks and homes were going up in value then we wouldn’t have this problem. Just look at the number of foreclosure filings back in 2005. Roughly 60,000 to 70,000 per month. Last month we hit 367,000+ which was an all time record. When foreclosure filings get back down to more normal levels, then we can say the housing market is improving.
If the numbers are still rising then things are not improving. No matter what the government says.

So who is making the housing market these days (providing loans)? I'm sure you can guess. But no need for guessing. There are answers.
96.5% of all originated loans are now government backed. Remember Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their epic continuing losses?
The housing market has been nationalized. As in bought by the government. I suppose it is better than outright theft. That comes later when taxes have to rise to pay for the "fun".
Banks are moving on current REOs (the small batch that they have) and pumping this up as good news but the 90 days plus foreclosure number is still trending up. How is this magic done? We’ve talked about it above. You simply don’t move on delinquent homeowners. You ignore actual losses. You mark your assets to fantasy valuations.

In total the housing market is in worse shape today than it was a few years ago.
So that may explain why the economy seems to be trending up. A LOT of home owners are living rent free. Why does that make any sense at all? Two reasons come to mind. One is that if the banks had to acknowledge their losses they would be failing. Which is to say the banking system is kaput. Another reason is that a property with people living in it will be better maintained than one that is vacant.

Now about the nationalization of the mortgage industry.
The bailouts have been one large transfer of wealth to the banking sector. Remember that the bailouts were brought about under the guise of helping the housing market and keeping people in their homes. None of that has happened. Ironically the only thing that seems to keep people in their home is when they stop paying their mortgage! If that is the strategy we have arrived at after $13 trillion in bailouts and backstops to Wall Street we are in for a world of problems.
Yes we are.

May I also suggest reading Foreclosures, Auctions, and Banks Obscuring Financial Data by Dr. Bubble.

My guess is that Europe is in no better shape. And that does not even take into account the coming collapse of the Chinese real estate bubble.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

La Raza

La Raza means The Race. And some people call Tea Partiers racist.

The gentleman in the video wants to take back the lands stolen from Mexico. In 1848. The war that started in 1846 was over whether Texas could join the Union ( Mexico was against it) and what the boundary with Mexico would be. I have a word of advice to La Raza in Greek. Molon labe.

You can read what Presidet US Grant had to say about the war in: Ulysses S. Grant : Memoirs. Short version: he thought it was wrong for the US to go to war with Mexico and called the US Civil War punishment for our transgressions against Mexico. I note that President Grant did not offer the territory back to Mexico. Wrong it may have been but it was a fait accompli.

The speaker in the video is apiece of work. He doesn't like Jews. He does like underage girls.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Smaller, Cheaper, Tokamak

The Italians and Russians are working on a cheaper version of ITER.

Russia and Italy have entered into an agreement to build a new fusion reactor outside Moscow that could become the first such reactor to achieve ignition, the point where a fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining instead of requiring a constant input of energy.

The design for the reactor, called Ignitor, originated with MIT physics professor Bruno Coppi, who will be the project’s principal investigator.

The concept for the new reactor builds on decades of experience with MIT’s Alcator fusion research programme, also initiated by Coppi, which in its present version (called Alcator C-Mod) has the highest magnetic field and highest plasma pressure of any fusion reactor, and is the largest university-based fusion reactor in the world.
Bruno Coppi was an associate of Dr. Robert Bussard (of Polywell fame) when they worked together on the Riggatron concept [pdf].

For those of you not familiar with fusion or Polywell, you can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

And the best part? We Will Know In Two Years or less.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Can Already Count The Cost

The recently passed Health Care initiative is already raising medical insurance costs.

Letting young adults stay on their parents' health insurance until they turn 26 will nudge premiums nearly 1 percent higher for employer plans, the government said in an estimate released Monday.

The coverage requirement, effective starting later this year, is one of the most anticipated early benefits of President Barack Obama's new health care law. Many insurers have already started offering extended coverage to families who purchase their coverage directly. And employers say parents have flooded their benefits departments with questions.
Raising costs for people is a benefit? George Orwell would be proud.

And about the promise of the health care bill according to Obama?
After decades of struggle and a year of debate, health reform is now law in America.

What does it mean for you? It means an end to the worst insurance company abuses, new rules that treat everyone fairly, and more choices and affordable health insurance for millions of Americans.
I guess affordable means higher priced. See what I mean about Orwell?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Regulatory State

When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. - George Orwell

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Sunday, May 09, 2010

GOP Ousts Senator

It looks like the impotent, racist, violent, Tea Party folks have ousted Senator Bob Bennett in Utah.

Republican Senator Bob Bennett was thrown out of office yesterday by delegates at the Utah GOP convention in what represents a stunning defeat for a once-popular three-term incumbent who fell victim to a growing conservative movement nationwide.
Ah, yes. The growing conservative movement. No mention of the Tea Parties which is not strictly Conservative in the current political sense. It could more accurately be described as a Fiscal conservative movement.
Bennett’s failure to make it into Utah’s GOP primary — let alone win his party’s nomination — makes him the first congressional incumbent to be ousted this year and demonstrates the difficult challenges candidates are facing from the right in 2010.

Bennett survived a first round of voting yesterday among about 3,500 delegates but was a distant third in the second round. He garnered just under 27 percent of the vote. Businessman Tim Bridgewater had 37 percent and attorney Mike Lee got 35 percent.

“Don’t take a chance on a newcomer,’’ Bennett had pleaded in his brief speech to the delegates before the second round of voting began. “There’s too much at stake.’’

Bennett’s endorsements by the National Rifle Association and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney did little to stave off anger toward the Washington establishment from delegates.
I especially liked Bennett's "Don’t take a chance on a newcomer" statement. I am looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth come this November.

Fox News has this rather juicy bit on the prospects for the less than fiscally conservative politicians in Washington.
Bennett isn't the only Republican lawmaker in trouble as other moderate candidates across the country find themselves being abandoned by GOP voters in favor of those backed by Tea Party activists, such as with Senate races in Arizona, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

In Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist decided to run for Senate as an independent rather than face an almost certain primary defeat at the hands of Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, Florida's former state House speaker.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine emphasized the Tea Partiers' role in recent primary politics.

"This is just the latest battle in the corrosive Republican intra-party civil war that has resulted in the Tea Party devouring two Republicans in just as many weeks," Kaine said. "If there was any question before, there should now be no doubt that the Republican leadership has handed the reigns to the Tea Party."
As you can see Fox is not afraid to mention Who Done It.

And yeah Democrats. The Tea Party is destroying the Old Republican Party. It is changing it from a mainly socially conservative party to a mainly fiscally conservative party. Which is to say a more libertarian party.

So what is happening in other states? Real Clear Politics has a few words.
In Arizona, Sen. John McCain is in a tough primary fight against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, a conservative talk-radio host. In Kentucky, Rand Paul, the son of libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, is gaining momentum in his challenge against the GOP establishment's pick of Secretary of State Trey Grayson to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

In New Hampshire, former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte is battling three Republican challengers to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Judd Gregg.
So how about some words from noted leftist site Fire Dog Lake?
...while in the short term, the now lame-duck Bennett might be freed up for a vote with Democrats here or there, over the long haul Republicans will now be even more frightened that, if they don’t move hard to the right, they will suffer the same fate. Illogical as that may sound, the Bennett ejection holds a powerful message that the far right of the GOP has taken over.
So fiscal conservatism is now a far right concern? Haven't they heard about what is happening in Greece?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Happy Mothers Day Mom

My mom is 90 and doesn't do Internet so that means she will not be reading this. But I will tell her when I call her and she always gets a kick out of it.

So happy Mothers Day mom.

And how could I possibly say enough about the mother of our four children? So happy Mothers Day first mate.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

They Are Pushing The Wrong People

PJTV has a new Trifecta up that is very much worth a watch. About 9 minutes of excellent political entertainment.

The New Reconstruction

Legal Insurrection quotes The New York Times on the upcoming election in November.

Among the many reverberations of President Obama’s election, here is one he probably never anticipated: at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials.
and who are these candidates asking for support?
The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,” Colonel [Alan] West, the candidate in Florida, said. “There is no violence or racism there.”
Legal Insurrection observes:
The narrative of Tea Party racism has been a contrived political tactic from the start, launched and perpetuated by Democratic Party operatives and their mouthpieces in the media and left-wing blogosphere.

Their worst fear is that the race card will fail, and they will have to defend their ruinous policies.

And that worst fear is about to be realized. In November.
Sounds very good to me. And let us not forget what the Tea Parties are all about.

Tea Party Difference

Click on the above image and learn how to spread it around.

H/T Instapundit

The Last Polar Bear

I was reading the comments at Watts Up With That and came across a link to the above photo. What is most interesting is how iStockphoto describes their offering:

A polar bear managed to get on one of the last ice floes floating in the Arctic sea. Due to global warming the natural environment of the polar bear in the Arctic has changed a lot. The Arctic sea has much less ice than it had some years ago. (This images is a photoshop design. Polarbear, ice floe, ocean and sky are real, they were just not together in the way they are now)
Well what better way to advertise something that may or may not be happening than to use a photo of something that definitely did not happen?

Also from iStockphoto is the same photo shop with a penguin. If that ice brick the penguin is floating on melts the penguin, like the bear, will have to swim for its life. What? Penguins and polar bears swim for a living? Oh! Never mind.

Friday, May 07, 2010

It's Always About Greed

I was reading a report on the market meltdown and came across this comment:

it' always about greed.
The funny thing is that there don't seem to be significant numbers of people asking their employers for lower pay. Nor does there seem to be a voluntary movement of any size of people willing to pay higher taxes. Well excepting Public Employee Unions who hope to benefit from higher taxes. Haven't they heard that greed is bad? I have never seen the government exception to the greed "rule" propounded. Maybe it is just one of those things that everybody knows. I guess the main political division in the country is between those who think government greed is good and those who are of the opposite opinion.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hammering Small Business

The Taxprof quotes from CNN:

An all-but-overlooked provision of the health reform law is threatening to swamp U.S. businesses with a flood of new tax paperwork.

Section 9006 of the health care bill -- just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document -- mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

The stealth change radically alters the nature of 1099s and means businesses will have to issue millions of new tax documents each year.

Right now, the IRS Form 1099 is used to document income for individual workers other than wages and salaries. Freelancers receive them each year from their clients, and businesses issue them to the independent contractors they hire.

But under the new rules, if a freelance designer buys a new iMac from the Apple Store, they'll have to send Apple a 1099. A laundromat that buys soap each week from a local distributor will have to send the supplier a 1099 at the end of the year tallying up their purchases.

The bill makes two key changes to how 1099s are used. First, it expands their scope by using them to track payments not only for services but also for tangible goods. Plus, it requires that 1099s be issued not just to individuals, but also to corporations.

Taken together, the two seemingly small changes will require millions of additional forms to be sent out.
So what happens in reality? Fewer items get expensed so tax collections go up. Not counting business that goes underground.

Sons of bitches. This new Health Care Law needs serious fixing. I propose repeal. The first step in that process is to Repeal Congress.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Graphic Content

From Reason Online which excerpted this quote from Radley Balko.
SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family's pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.

They found a "small amount" of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.

So smoking pot = "child endangerment." Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone's safety.

Just so we're clear.
The video is quite graphic so sensitive dog lovers should avoid it. You sensitive human lovers should be outraged.

Now about that war on some plants.

Yeah. Yeah. I know. Shit happens. But you have to ask yourself - "Is this the kind of shit I want happening over small quantities of pot?" And if not, how do you justify the rest of our National Pot Prohibition Policies? And then once you have the National argument sorted what about your State and Local Governments? Because you get to pay for it. Final question: "Is The Game Worth The Candle?"

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Wolf Of Velvet Fortune

The Beau Brummels

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Eric at Classical Values repeats the old saw:

"the Right is looking for converts and the Left is looking for heretics."
I always thought the left was looking for lunatics.

Preferably well educated lunatics:

George Orwell: "Some things are so stupid, only an intellectual could believe them"

Looking for converts implies that Republicanism is faith based. There is in fact a big belief problem in the US. So is belief in a Supreme Being the problem? No. How about hatred of abortion and gay marriage? Nope. It ain't even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Nope. It is the belief that Cultural Conservatives are reliably in favor of limiting government spending and thus favor smaller government. Cultural Conservatives make Cultural Issues the litmus test of Conservatism (if you are OK on abortion your spending record doesn't matter). And thus we get politicians like Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is proof positive that blind support for cultural conservatives is no panacea. In fact it is probably counterproductive.

And yet in comments around the 'net the idea that only cultural conservatives are reliable fiscal conservatives (you can find an example at the Classical Values link above) is widespread. Nice idea. If only it was true then all Republicans would need is a Jesus Test. Or a "Sincerely Held Religious Belief Test" if you prefer.

The Republicans have two problems in this area. Too many Cultural Socialists in the Party and too many Economic Socialists. My (often repeated) stance on this issue is simple (Clever for a Simon. No?) - Just Say No to Socialism. Government is no more capable of creating a moral people than it is of creating a wealthy people.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Tale Of Two Countries

You have to watch this Bill Whittle video.

One of his very best.

H/T Instapundit

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Spilling Oil

Al Fin has an article on natural oil spills. He links to a Science Daily piece on oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2000) — Twice an Exxon Valdez spill worth of oil seeps into the Gulf of Mexico every year, according to a new study that will be presented January 27 at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

But the oil isn't destroying habitats or wiping out ocean life. The ooze is a natural phenomena that's been going on for many thousands of years, according to Roger Mitchell, Vice President of Program Development at the Earth Satellite Corporation (EarthSat) in Rockville Md. "The wildlife have adapted and evolved and have no problem dealing with the oil," he said.

Oil that finds its way to the surface from natural seeps gets broken down by bacteria and ends up as carbon dioxide,...
So how much oil was spilled by the Exxon Valdez? About 260,000 bbls. At 5,000 bbls a day it would take about two months to equal the Exxon Valdez. And another two months to equal the natural oil seeps in the area.

So how about some math?

Say we have 5,000 bbls a day spread along 100 miles of coast. That is 50 bbls per mile. Every day. At 42 gallons per bbl that is 2,000 gallons per mile or about .4 gallon per foot. Not too bad for one day. If it goes on for a couple of months not good immediately. A lot of wild life will be killed. And then as time goes on bacteria will start eating the oil and the food chain will blossom.

If the oil spreads more – that is good. If a lot evaporates – good. If a lot can be captured before it reaches the coast – good.

Of course if more drilling and mining of oil was allowed on land the chances of an accident at sea would be reduced relatively if not absolutely (oil consumption is still rising).

The desire of the ultra greens for a risk free civilization is increasing the risk that we will wind up with no civilization. Fools.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Give Us The Money

With shouts of "Give Us The Money" and "We Need The Cash", public employees demonstrate in Springfield, Illinois.

Nothing could make it more obvious after a demonstration like this that there is a war going on in America between government and the people over who is going to be the Master and who is going to be the Servant. Who will be on the leash and who will be on top.

The American Thinker has more.

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values