Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Maximizing Growth

One thing he doesn't consider is the cost of keeping world order sufficient for world trade. The Brits shouldered much of that cost for most of our existence (until about the 1890s or 1900s).

Some books on the subject (including the Laffer curve):

The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy--If We Let It Happen

Economics Curves: Lorenz Curve, Supply and Demand, Indifference Curve, Is|lm Model, Hubbert Curve, Phillips Curve, Yield Curve, Laffer Curve

H/T Instapundit

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Song For Our Times

A song for our times. Written by Sheldon Harnick. You might think this song was written recently. The above recording of the Kingston Trio was made at the Hungry I in 1958.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 28, 2010

Overheard On The 'Net - 1

Left wing collectivism is state socialism (the light hand) or the collective (the heavy hand).

The right wing collective is monarchy or theocracy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Washington Is Unpredictable

Better than the Santelli rant:

Tea Party Difference

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

H/T American Thinker via Jccarlton at Talk Polywell.

A Little Surf Music Maestro

The piece is called Diamond Head. It is a surfer standard.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The New Jim Crow

It all started (in modern times) with Richard Nixon

"You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks.

The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to."

Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy.
Thus begins the Fort Worth Star Telegram review of Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. They go on to look at how she came to write the book.
Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch. One day, in walked this black man.

He was maybe 19 and toted a thick sheaf of papers, what Alexander calls an "incredibly detailed" accounting of at least a dozen police stops over a nine-month period, with dates, places and officers' names. This was, she thought, a "dream plaintiff."

But it turned out he had a record, a drug felony -- and she told him she couldn't use him; the state's attorney would eat him alive. He insisted he was innocent, said police had planted drugs and beaten him. But she was no longer listening. Finally, enraged, he snatched the papers back and started shredding them.

"You're no better than the police," he cried. "You're doing what they did to me!" The conviction meant he couldn't work or go to school, had to live with his grandmother. Did Alexander know how that felt? And she wanted a dream plaintiff? "Just go to my neighborhood," he said. "See if you can find one black man my age they haven't gotten to already."

She saw him again a couple of months later. He gave her a potted plant from his grandmother's porch -- he couldn't afford flowers -- and apologized. A few months after that, a scandal broke: Oakland police officers accused of planting drugs and beating up innocent victims. One of the officers involved was the one named by that young man.
They go on to look at some of what she found.
Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal injustice system. In "The New Jim Crow," Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. WRONG.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, WHITES are far and away the biggest users -- and dealers -- of illegal drugs.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

So why aren't cops kicking THEIR doors in? Why aren't THEIR sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren't WHITE communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?
The answer is pretty simple. If the laws were equally enforced the Drug War would be over in a few months. White people wouldn't stand for it.

Tea Party Patriots Support Killer Sheriff

The site, billing itself as The Home of The Patriotic Resistance, is supporting Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

So let me tell you a few things about Sheriff Joe. How about we start with the wrongful death of Scott Norberg.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: The Norberg wrongful death lawsuit was settled out of court for $8.25 million. Sheriff Sheriff Joe Arpaio has repeatedly claimed that this cost the taxpayers nothing since it was paid by an insurance company.

Truth: At the time of the settlement the county had a $1 million "deductible" on its coverage. The taxpayers had to pay the first $1,000,000 on this case and now the deductible has been raised to $5 million.
Well I have a few more details on that case.
The investigation into the death of Scott Norberg is a perfect example. Norberg, who had struggled with drug addiction, was arrested after attempting to slug a cop. He was in Arpaio's jail just 15 hours before he was handcuffed by guards, kicked, stomped on, and then strapped into a restraint chair. There, guards held a towel over his head, literally suffocating him. Medical records later revealed that he had been shot with a stun gun at least 14 times and beaten so badly that his larynx cracked.

The county was forced to settle with Norberg's family for $8.25 million. Astonishingly, says Norberg's attorney, Mike Manning, Arpaio promoted the guards who did the beating.

Arpaio's critics say Norberg's death was far from an isolated incident. But there's one reason the case continues to be talked about when so many other inmate deaths have fallen into obscurity: Scott Norberg's family had enough money to hire a good attorney. Manning's investigation showed that important records had been destroyed — including the X-ray of the cracked larynx. He also obtained the videotape that showed Norberg pleading for his life.

Even then, Arpaio managed to thwart a criminal investigation.

The sheriff's internal affairs investigators, Manning says, failed to give deputies the proper warnings before interviewing them. That invalidated the evidence they had obtained. Even worse, internal affairs and criminal investigators sat in on the same interviews, which Manning says is strictly forbidden by most police agency policies.

"There is no doubt, no other explanation, than that they intentionally botched the investigation," Manning says. "This kind of stuff was too stupid — too stupid even for them."
Or how about the death of Charles Angster III?
Mentally retarded Charles Agster III, 33, was arrested for trespassing on August 6, 2001. Detention officers pulled a hood over his head and slammed him into a restraint chair. Agster was asphyxiated to the point that he became brain dead. He was pronounced legally dead three days later. In 2006, a federal court awarded $9 million to his family.
Or how about this case?
Deborah Braillard, 46, was documented as a diabetic in the jail's health records. Her cellmates say a nurse did not give Braillard insulin, and then detention officers ignored her when she went into diabetic shock. Braillard died on January 23, 2005, ultimately from lack of insulin.
Ah. What a well run jail. A fine example for law enforcement everywhere.
Legally blind and serving a short sentence in Tent City for shoplifting, Brian Crenshaw, 40, was transferred to solitary confinement after a tussle with Arpaio's detention officers. Six days later, he was found comatose in his solitary cell with a broken neck, ruptured intestines, broken toes, and severe internal injuries. Arpaio maintains Crenshaw sustained the injuries when he fell off his four-foot bed. Crenshaw died on March 14, 2005.
Yeah. He fell. It could happen to anyone.

And Sheriff Joe's deputies are a kind and caring lot.
On March 26, 1996, Jose Rodriquez, 39, died in a pool of his own vomit on a jail floor. His cries for help went ignored by Arpaio's jail employees. Rodriquez's dehydration, fever and twitching ultimately led to his death, even while inmates shouted for help.
Well those inmates were just troublemakers. Not doubt Sheriff Joe's boys meted out to them the punishment they deserved.

From what I can tell Sheriff Joe has cost the taxpayers in his area over $40 million for the mismanagement of the jail. I was under the impression the Tea Parties stood for fiscal restraint. So even on that count the Sheriff is not a good exemplar of the movement.

My advice? Until cleans up its act don't give them a dime or any other kind of support. If they were trying to discredit the Tea Parties they couldn't be doing a better job.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Repeating The Cycle

Instapundit linked to the RS McCain blog which was discussing the resignation of Washington Post reporter David Weigel. I found this comment there of interest:

Danby June 25th, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

The deal here Stacy is that Weigel was NEVER A CONSERVATIVE. He’s not a member of set B. He’s a member of set F, the so-called cosmopolitan Libertarians. In other words he’s pro-drug, pro-abortion, pro-perversity, the kind of guy who writes for Reason. He is for a smaller government, but only because government interferes with absolute personal autonomy. Somehow, in the current political climate that puts him on the right.
I'm a member of the government can't fix the drug problem, government can't fix the abortion problem, and government can't fix the perversity problem libertarian right (government can kill people and break things - which is useful in some very limited situations).

I have a lot of trouble with conservatives who believe government can fix much of anything. So to my conservative friends all I can say is:

Your faith in government is misplaced

Liberals believe government can fix things by money taken at the point of a gun. Conservatives skip the money part and go straight for the guns. (gross generalizations of course but this is a a blog post not a footnoted essay)

I dunno - haven't conservatives ever heard of limited government?

Conservatives lost control of Congress when they painted themselves as the social control party. Liberals will be losing over being the economic control party. Do we wish to keep repeating that cycle?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, June 25, 2010

Some Speculation On War

Donald Sensing asked me to write up an e-mail conversation we were having about the coming war in the Middle East. You can find it at The Coming War.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Your Next Senator Or Congressman

H/T Hot Air

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Overheard On The 'Net

The obama administration:

Hype and Chains

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All Heck Is Breaking Loose

Yesterday I posted a story on the publicity amateur fusion has gotten over the last few hours (at the time).

It is a day later and a Google search on fusion suppes (Suppes is the last name of the fusion experimenter profiled) now shows 857,000 hits. And my Classical Values article (a cross post of the one I did here) is right up there near the top.


Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BBC Covers Amateur Fusion

My friend Famulus whose blog is Prometheus Fusion Perfection has just had his efforts (and in part mine too - I helped him with a Polywell research proposal) picked up by the BBC

Mr Suppes, 32, is part of a growing community of "fusioneers" - amateur science junkies who are building homemade fusion reactors, for fun and with an eye to being part of the solution to that problem.

He is the 38th independent amateur physicist in the world to achieve nuclear fusion from a homemade reactor, according to community site Others on the list include a 15-year-old from Michigan and a doctoral student in Ohio.
The fusion reactor in the Brooklyn warehouse Mr Suppes has spent the last two years perfecting his reactor

"I was inspired because I believed I was looking at a technology that could actually work to solve our energy problems, and I believed it was something that I could at least begin to build," Mr Suppes told the BBC.
Here is sort of an offhand reference to the proposal work I did with him. Let me add that we were assisted by a knowledgeable physicist friend of mine who wishes to remain out of the spotlight for now. Our physicist friend is also working on an amateur fusion experiment.
Mr Suppes is hoping to build a break-even reactor from plans created by the late Robert Bussard, a nuclear physicist who drew up plans for a fusion reactor that could convert hydrogen and boron into electricity.

Work on a scaled up version of a Bussard reactor, funded by the US Navy, has already been taking place in California.

But Mr Suppes believes he will be able to raise the millions of dollars it takes to build a Bussard reactor because he feels someone with enough money "will feel they cannot pass up the opportunity" to find out if it will work.

Iter said it would be wrong to dismiss out of hand the notion that an amateur could make a difference.

"I won't say something that puts these guys down, but it's a tricky situation because there is a great deal of money and time and a lot of very experienced scientists working on fusion at the moment," said Mr Calder.

"But that does not eliminate other ideas coming from a different group of people."
The work is actually going on in New Mexico but other than that they have most of the details correct. I'm hoping that he connects with enough money to do his proposed prototype reactor. Because I'd dearly like to help.

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.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Commenter simentt at my post Got An Old Hard Drive? tells me about a campaign going on in Norway to reduce the costs of goods imported to Norway.

Do you eBay?

There is a small campaign (Organized by the libertarian magazine 'Farmann', apparently on Facebook) going on to have people eBay all kinds of stuff for 30USD with a 'buy now' option enabled. The reason for this, is that the Norwegian customs service collects VAT for all imports above 200NOK (~33USD), and that this tax is waived for lower amounts.

Thus the above campaign to get a as large as possible market for 'no-tax' imports.

This USB-adapter would thus be tax-free from Amazon, while a device costing 40USD would be taxed (the tax is 25%, and in addition a 'handling fee' of another ~20USD would be applied).

The intent of the campaign is to have people offer up goods from WallMart and other low-price vendors at less than 33USD (depending on exchange-rates) on eBay and similar so that we Norwegians can benefit from low US prices, and US citizens can make a few bucks pr item on reselling them to Norwegians.
Which just goes to show the problem of "no feedback" accounting when it comes to government taxes and tariffs. Citizens will do as much as they can to thwart the efforts of government to steal their money.

If only those passing the laws took to heart the old libertarian slogan:
Taxation Is Theft
we might get some legislators who tried to increase tax revenue by growing the economy rather than just trying to increase the extortion rate.

In general the smartest people go into the sciences and mathematics. Then come the engineers. Followed by businessmen. And who goes into politics and crime? (what's the difference?) The dimmest bulbs on the block.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Obama Regime

As overheard on the interwebz:

Hype and Chains

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Got An Old Hard Drive?

Amazon is selling for a very reasonable price (currently $27.93) a hard drive to USB adapter that is just wonderful for extracting data from old hard drives or using a new hard drive for an emergency backup. I don't recommend it for use as a permanent USB drive as it doesn't come with a case. Let me add that it comes with a power supply for the drive and can read modern SATA drives and the older IDE drives. Transfer speeds using USB 2.0 run from about 10 MB/second to 25 MB/second. I bought it because the hard drive in my new computer (2 months old) was giving an immanent failure notice and I happened to have a hard drive on my shelf that I was planning to install in my computer. Here is the adapter:

Cables To Go 30504 USB 2.0 to IDE or Serial ATA Drive Adapter (Black)

And here is the new hard drive I was planning to install:

Western Digital 1.5 TB Caviar Green SATA Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive WD15EARS

Let me add that I did have one minor problem with the adapter and it was my own damn fault. If you are using a new Hard Drive with this device be sure to follow the formatting instructions given in the half page manual. Hint: use diskmgmt.msc Enter it in your command line utility or in Win 7 the search function in the Windows toolbar icon. The rest is easy.

I messed around for a half hour or more before I followed the universal rule - RTFM. ;-) My thinking was "A half page? How hard can it be?" It turns out that for most stuff not hard at all.

Let me add that Amazon still has Sony DVD-Rs at $5 for 30. A real deal. And if you order 6 packs of them shipping is free.

Sony DMR 47RS4 - 30 x DVD-R - 4.7 GB ( 120min ) 16x - spindle - storage media

Cross Posted at Classical Values

His Allies Are Deserting Him

A promo for an article on the Gulf oil spill at Rolling Stone is entitled:

The Spill, The Scandal and the President: How Obama let BP get away with murder.
No wonder my friend Eric at Classical Values thinks the Resident would like to be doing something else besides being President. Like parties, golfing, and photo ops.

Only two and a half more years to go. The question is not "will he survive". The question is "will we"?

Cross Posted at Classical Values


We hear a lot about how greed is ruining _____ (fill in the blank). In other words:

Definition of greedy: anyone who has more than you do.

OK I'll play. Governments are the greediest bastards on earth.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guns Or Drugs?

“Guns are always the best method for private suicide. Drugs are too chancy. You might just miscalculate the dosage and just have a good time.”

PJ ORourke quotes

PJ also wrote Parliament of Whores.

Can You Believe It?

Note that the gentleman being interviewed is an Obama supporter if you can judge by the above conversation. He says Obama was not born in Hawaii. He also says those that don't like Obama are racists.

Here is what he had to say:
There is no birth certificate," he said. "It's like an open secret. There isn't one. Everyone in the government there knows this. ... In my professional opinion, he definitely was not born in Hawaii. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he was not born in Hawaii because there is no legal record of him being born there. - Tim Adams, the former senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu
H/T Curmudgeonly & Skeptical

Cross Posted at Classical Values

A Child's Heroes

The picture is from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.

The above is a proud Palestinian child. Eric at Classical Values discusses the resurgence of Nazi Politics in the Middle East. I too have posted a few times on the subject. Then there is my post: The Nazis of the Middle East. The Baath Party which runs Syria and formerly ran Iraq under Saddam is an offshoot of the Nazi Party.

And this is not the first time Palestinians have been closely identified with the Nazis.

In the Middle East we are still living in the aftermath of WW2. In fact it is not even the aftermath. It is just the continuation.

H/T Diogenes via e-mail.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Put The Navy In Charge

Let us get the bad news out of the way first. The Resident has put a part timer in charge of oil spill operations. And of course the Resident is defending that decision.

Can the man who President Obama has tapped to formulate a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan work only part-time on such a monumental effort?

Some environmental groups say no way and are suggesting that Ray Mabus should give up his post of Navy secretary to focus on the Gulf full-time.

The criticism comes after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, will be splitting his time between the two jobs.
At least the guy has some contact with the Navy and knows the Gulf. Another big plus is that he is a Democrat.

Now for the real meat. Here is what a Louisiana politician had to say about the matter on 10 June.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told a Senate Homeland Security hearing today that the government and BP's command and control structure in responding to the Gulf oil spill disaster have been overly bureaucratic and slow to respond to the ongoing crisis.

"I still don't know who is in charge," Nungesser told the Subcommittee on State, Local and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration.

Nungesser said President Barack Obama should appoint someone with "the authority and guts to a make decisions." He said that currently it takes five days for questions to make their way up the chain of command to Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander, which Nungesser said was "much too slow."

The president and Allen have assigned Coast Guard officials to work with parish officials to cut through red tape, but Nungesser said it isn't working.

"If they have the authority they aren't using it," he said.
Ah. It isn't working. It seems nothing the Resident does is working. Except for paying off supporters and cronies.

Not to worry. The Idiot in Chief says he is going to give the Gulf spill every thing he has got.
Seeking to reassure Americans that his administration can handle the growing Gulf Coast oil crisis, President Obama promised Tuesday in his first address from the Oval Office to hold BP accountable for all costs and to "use everything we've got" in the federal response to the calamity.

Hours earlier, the scale of the problem widened dramatically when federal officials said in new estimates that the spill is at least 50% greater than previously known.
Evidently everything he has got is a part time director of operations.

Bill Quick is calling out (wanna fight?) the idiots who put President Present in office. Like the ass lickers in the media.
Listen up, you punked, chumped boobs: We looked at Obama not through your rose colored hallucinations, but through the cold, clear spectacles of reality. None of what he’s done since has surprised us one bit. In fact, many of us, myself included, predicted it even before his coronation by people like you. Yes, it’s nice that after a year and a half of horrible examples, the truth about him is finally beginning to penetrate your skulls. But why, for the love of god, couldn’t you see it at the beginning, when it was no less obvious, but your understanding of it might have done some good?

Actually, never mind. Since Obama’s election will turn out to be the worst thing to happen to the leftist project in America in the past hundred years, and will free a generation from the chains of leftist quackery at just the time such freedom is most sorely needed, I actually thank our lucky stars for useful idiots like you two. Without such, we might have been saddled with John McCain, and that would truly have been a disaster for conservatism, liberty, and America.
Sorry to say this. But I think he is right.

Let me add that the Brits are none too happy with President Absent.
If further proof were needed that the Obama administration’s relentless bashing of BP is seriously damaging America’s standing in Britain, a new YouGov poll shows that just 54 percent of Britons now have a favourable view of the United States, down from 64 percent before the Gulf oil spill. The poll, which surveyed 1,500 people on both sides of the Atlantic, also revealed that a significant majority of Britons believe that Barack Obama has harmed the Special Relationship. As The Sunday Times reports, “by 64% to 2% in Britain and by 47% to 5% in America, people believe the president’s handling of the crisis has damaged relations.” In addition, 22 percent of those surveyed in both the US and UK believe that President Obama is anti-British, a strikingly high figure among Americans.
Well a lot of those Brits depend on BP share prices to fund their retirement. So maybe that is understandable.

Wasn't Obama going to restore our special relationship with Europe that Bush had destroyed?
When Obama was campaigning for president (as did John Kerry before him), he harped on endlessly about “restoring” America’s standing in the world in the wake of the War on Terror and the Anglo-American led war in Iraq, as though world leadership were some sort of glib PR exercise. He excoriated the Bush administration for supposedly alienating US allies (no doubt he had the likes of France and Germany in mind), and imperiously lectured about the need to make America respected abroad.

But what has the Obama administration actually succeeded in doing? Seriously damaging relations with its closest ally, Great Britain, throwing loyal allies like Poland and the Czech Republic to the Russian bear, and sparking a major diplomatic spat with America’s closest friend in the Middle East, Israel. I don’t recall President Bush ever knifing US partners in the back, and siding for example with Washington’s enemies in Latin America by calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of British territory. Bush understood the meaning of alliances, and he also cherished the partnership with Great Britain. No one could ever accuse him of being anti-British.
You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

But what about the French? Here is a report from April of this year. A very long time ago it seems.
A new report circulating in the Kremlin today authored by France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) and recently “obtained” by the FSB shockingly quotes French President Nicolas Sarkozy as stating that President Barack Obama is “a dangerous[ly] aliéné”, which translates into his, Obama, being a “mad lunatic”, or in the American vernacular, “insane”.

According to this report, Sarkozy was “appalled” at Obama’s “vision” of what the World should be under his “guidance” and “amazed” at the American Presidents unwillingness to listen to either “reason” or “logic”. Sarkozy’s meeting where these impressions of Obama were formed took place nearly a fortnight ago at the White House in Washington D.C., and upon his leaving he “scolded” Obama and the US for not listening closely enough to what the rest of the World has to say.
I don't see how you can get closer to your friends without at least considering their opinions. As to "insane"? Only the people who voted for him. Well. I tried to warn you. But you wouldn't listen. You insane fools.

Not near soon enough.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

DVD Sale

I just came across a real deal for recordable DVDs at Amazon. Sixteen and a half cents each (roughly). And not some off brand. These are made by Sony (or at least carry their brand).

Sony DMR 47RS4 - 30 x DVD-R - 4.7 GB ( 120min ) 16x - spindle - storage media

Let me add that if you order 6 packs (180 DVD-Rs) shipping is free.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


You can also see the video at an Israeli site.

Learn more about Urban Warfare.

H/T Diogenes via e-mail

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Heavy Casualties Anticipated

Heavy casualties are expected among Democrats come November.

A new public opinion survey for NPR shows just how difficult it will be for Democrats to avoid big losses in the House this November.

Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger conducted the first public battleground poll of this election cycle. They chose the 70 House districts experts regard as most likely to oust incumbents this fall. What they found was grim news for Democrats.

For this poll, Bolger and Greenberg chose the districts where incumbents are considered the most vulnerable, and, in the case of open seats, the ones most likely to switch party control in November. Sixty are currently held by Democrats — many of whom won these seats even when voters in the same district preferred Republican John McCain for president in 2008. The other 10 districts are the flip side — held by Republicans in the House, even though their voters went for Barack Obama in 2008.
It can't happen soon enough.


And where does the term "jonesing" come from? From the Grateful Dead. And the song? Casey Jones. Introduced here by Bill Graham who talks about "all the shit that has gone down." No shit.

Grateful Dead Stuff

Oh. Yeah. A few words on how the Jones Act is hampering cleanup in the Gulf.

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, June 18, 2010

Public Morality - Private Corruption

Russell Roberts discusses the perverse incentives that motivate politicians.

This wiggle room for politicians in a democracy leads to some strange outcomes. It allows politicians to do the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time. How is that possible? We shall see below. Even stranger, the imperfect information available to voters can even allow politicians to do the wrong thing and pass it off as the right thing if we're not paying close enough attention.

Bruce Yandle uses bootleggers and Baptists to explain what happens when a good cause collides with special interests.

When the city council bans liquor sales on Sundays, the Baptists rejoice—it's wrong to drink on the Lord's day. The bootleggers, rejoice, too. It increases the demand for their services.

The Baptists give the politicians cover for doing what the bootleggers want. No politicians says we should ban liquor sales on Sunday in order to enrich the bootleggers who support his campaign. The politician holds up one hand to heaven and talk about his devotion to morality. With the other hand, he collects campaign contributions (or bribes) from the bootleggers.

Yandle points out that virtually every well-intentioned regulation has a bunch of bootleggers along for the ride—special interests who profit from the idealism of the activists and altruists.

If that's all there was to Yandle's theory, you'd say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. But it's actually much more depressing than that. What often happens is that the public asks for regulation but inevitably doesn't pay much attention to how that regulation gets structured. Why would we? We have lives to lead. We're simply too busy. Not so with the bootleggers. They have an enormous stake in the way the legislation is structured. The devil is in the details. And a lot of the time, politicians give bootleggers the details that serve the bootleggers rather than the public interest.
Which brings me to the drug war. A classic Baptist-bootlegger coalition.

And it is not like it is a new thing. The directors of an opium trading company had this to say about the Opium Wars in China:
"If the trade is ever legalized, it will cease to be profitable from that time. The more difficulties that attend it, the better for you and us." -- Directors of Jardine-Matheson
It can't happen here. Can it?
"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995
Possible? More like certain or inevitable.

Well it is for the children. Of the drug kingpins. For the American children illegal drugs are easier to obtain than beer. The bootleggers are very fortunate to have a whole large government agency devoted to maintaining their profits. The DEA. Not to mention every police force in America. So let me see here. Drug cartel cash flows in America track expenditures on the drug war. Approximate numbers are: $50 billion spent on enforcement (Federal, State, and local). Giving the agents of enforcement a powerful incentive to "save the children." And the cartels? They too reap very roughly $50 billion a year from enforcement. How else can the value of a pile of vegetables be escalated to be worth its weight in gold?

So you have very powerful constituencies who depend for their funds on the strong enforcement of the prohibition laws. For the children. Which is why it is very hard to put an end to this stupidity which takes $100 billion a year (or more) out of the American economy.

Don't believe me? Here is what the prospect of pot legalization is doing to the market in California.
For decades, illegal marijuana cultivation has been an economic lifeblood for three counties in northern California known as the Emerald Triangle.

The war on drugs and frequent raids by federal drug agents have helped support the local economy — keeping prices for street sales of pot high and keeping profits rich.

But high times are changing. Legal pot, under the guise of the California's medical marijuana laws, has spurred a rush of new competition. As a result, the wholesale price of pot grown in these areas is plunging.
Yep. And that is just from the medical marijuana laws. What will happen when California legalizes pot come November? There is a comment on that article that is so backwards that you would think that some one with an interest in the trade had written it:
Mar 24, 2010 10:20pm EDT

You have GOT to be joking! That’s exactly what we need in California: Drug cartels bringing their violence even further into the state to protect their illegal drug trafficking under that guise that it is now ‘legal.’

Hey, if you think the cartels will sit still for losing even a penny of their revenues, I’ve got some beachfront property in Oaklahoma I’d like to sell you.I’m sorry, but I will not have California become “North Mexico” and allow us to be subject to the violence they have just across our border. I will fight this with every donation I can to organizations that are working to stop this from becoming legal, and to organizations that will challenge its legality should it pass. I really will not stand for this.
Uh. Dude. When the profits from growing pot approximate the profits from growing wheat the cartels will have NO MONEY to support vast armies of enforcers that make Mexico a living hell. The commenter goes on to say:
Oh, just to let you know, my brother died last year because of years of drug and alcohol abuse that started with pot when he was young. I won’t allow anyone to go through what he went throught and what we all went through with him, not without a fight.
I think that is proof positive that prohibition is not working. I note that he made no mention of people like my brother who got killed in the drug war crossfire. I guess he has no problem with killing my brother (Jeffrey) for a policy that does not work and can not work for its publicly intended purpose. Jeff's death turned my family from strong supporters of the drug war to strongly supporting the anti-prohibitionist position.

Well Jeff, this post is for you. RIP. I will not rest until this stupidity ends.

Some books on the Opium Wars.

H/T Jccarlton Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tea? Party

There is a report in Playboy about the Tea Party movement and a consultant who plans to help them win. The article is discussing a Tea Party organizer.

The speeches went on for hours. The sun was shining. It was the kind of day when you could take a nap under a tree. The organizer had personally delivered about a thousand activists. It was her big day. Two hours into the speeches she sat down on the warm grass next to me at the back of the rally and said, "This is the perfect day. Now all I need is a joint." That tells you everything you need to know about my friends.

We are tremendously plugged in to and its stable of writers. Our news cycle is measured in minutes, not days. Combine the DNA of a flash mob, a news addict and a con­servative who feels betrayed by the spending excesses of George W. Bush, sprinkle in some anxiety and you’ve got my people.
That doesn't sound very conservative. It sounds down right libertarian.

I can't wait to tell my conservative friends. And woo hoo - I can't wait to tell my anti prohibition - mostly liberal - friends. Perhaps I can add some cognition to their dissonance. Or at least get them all agitated. Some fun!

H/T Dana Loesch via Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Whiny Little Bitch

Whiny Little Bitch: The Excuse-Filled Presidency of Barack Obama

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Lobby

JLawson is responding to a comment by Diogenes at Talk Polywell.

Diogenes wrote:

This doesn't look good.
You can read more about the link at: The Gulf - It Is Worse Than We Thought.

The reply by JLawson:
No, it doesn't. In fact - that's about as far from 'good' as I could imagine.

Ironic, isn't it, that the environmental lobby, pushing hard as they can to get oil drilling as far offshore as possible, seems to have caused the disaster that they were so anxious to avoid.

Of course, it all depends on how accurate the info and analysis is... but it rings true, unfortunately.
What can you expect from people making technology policy who have no deep understanding of technology?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Gulf - It Is Worse Than We Thought

The Oil Drum has an excellent bit of speculation (backed with knowledge) about what is going on with the blown out well in the Gulf of Mexico. (you should read the whole thing)

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now? the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

It's a race now...a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

We are not even 2 months into it, barely half way by even optimistic estimates. The damage done by the leaked oil now is virtually immeasurable already and it will not get better, it can only get worse. No matter how much they can collect, there will still be thousands and thousands of gallons leaking out every minute, every hour of every day. We have 2 months left before the relief wells are even near in position and set up to take a kill shot and that is being optimistic as I said.

Over the next 2 months the mechanical situation also cannot improve, it can only get worse, getting better is an impossibility. While they may make some gains on collecting the leaked oil, the structural situation cannot heal itself. It will continue to erode and flow out more oil and eventually the inevitable collapse which cannot be stopped will happen. It is only a simple matter of who can "get there first" or the well.

We can only hope the race against that eventuality is one we can win, but my assessment I am sad to say is that we will not.

The system will collapse or fail substantially before we reach the finish line ahead of the well and the worst is yet to come.

Sorry to bring you that news, I know it is grim, but that is the way I see it....I sincerely hope I am wrong.
And what is the worst case?
According to BP data from about five years ago, there are four separate reservoirs containing a total of 2.5 billion barrels (barrels not gallons). One of the reservoirs has 1.5 billion barrels. I saw an earlier post here quoting an Anadarko Petroleum report which set the total amount at 2.3 billion barrels. One New York Times article put it at 2 billion barrels.

If the BP data correctly or honestly identified four separate reservoirs then a bleed-out might gush less than 2 to 2.5 billion barrels unless the walls -- as it were -- fracture or partially collapse. I am hearing the same dark rumors which suggest fracturing and a complete bleed-out are already underway. Rumors also suggest a massive collapse of the Gulf floor itself is in the making. They are just rumors but it is time for geologists or related experts to end their deafening silence and speak to these possibilities.
I wonder if mining oil shale might not be better relative to environmental risks than drilling for oil in deep water. The risks of oil shale are relatively well known; the real risks of deep water drilling not so much. Until now.

If you want to read up on oil shale may I suggest:

Oil Shale

H/T Diogenes at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Some One Is Missing

In a discussion of Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill it seems as if a commenter has found that some one is missing.

captainjack Jun 14, 2010 03:56 PM ET

This problem calls for someone with managerial experience and knowlege of the oil business. Hum, see if you can find that resume from that guy, uh, George something. That must have been a couple of years ago. I thought he was kinda stupid but I didn't really know what stupid was back then.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 14, 2010

Origin Unknown

Merriam Webster defines galoot as:

Main Entry: ga·loot
Pronunciation: \gə-ˈlüt\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: circa 1818

slang : fellow; especially : one who is strange or foolish
Wikipedia defines galut as:
Galut or Golus (Hebrew: גלות‎), means literally exile. Galut or Golus classically refers to the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel.
I wonder if there is a connection?

obama Action Figure

More like an obama INaction figure. It has no moving parts.

From the comments at Hot Air

Sunday, June 13, 2010


The New Your Post is discussing President Present's inadequate response to the Gulf Oil Spill. As usual I think the best commentary is in the comments. Like this one:


06/13/2010 6:22 AM

This week we've learned that assistance from countries that are experienced in oil spill clean-up was rejected repeatedly by the Obama administration and the Coast Guard. We need to know why.

The explosion of the oil rig and the leakage of the oil was tragedy enough. But the intentional actions of NOT cleaning up the oil is a crime.
It may not be totally Obama's fault.
We learned a simple thing this week: that the BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed. So while, for instance, the U.S. Coast Guard can accept such help as three kilometres of containment boom from Canada, they can’t accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand. This is amusing, in a way: a memorable illustration of … the sort of stuff I keep going on about. Which is to say, the law of unintended consequences, which pertains with especial virulence to all acts of government regulation.
Well OK. So why didn't he call Congress in session to amend the law at least for the duration of the crisis? You know - take executive action.

More comments at the post:
Maspeth Sally

06/13/2010 6:30 AM

....Obama's lack of any action and his not allowing others like Bobby Jindal from doing any corrective action shows that history will call Jimmy Carter only the second worst president in modern history after Obama "the anointed one". All this president is the re-definition of idiot. I think the U.S. would be better off with having Bush back than the current empty suit at 1600 Penn. Ave.
Which reminds me of a recently famous billboard.

Another commenter notices a few fundamental problems with Obama's general approach to management.

06/13/2010 6:55 AM

Obama needs to understand the fundamental principle of "lead, follow or get out of the way". He has not shown leadership and his best move would now be to just get out of the way and let the experts get it done. Many proposals have been put forth, but he seems incapable of rendering a decision.
The heck with rendering a decision. He could just make one.

This commenter is replying to a comment by an Obama supporter.

06/13/2010 8:46 AM


Yes, the job of plugging the well falls to BP and experts, but the point that the article is making is that Obama is not showing real leadership here. It is a sign of weakness when a manager or leader has to resort to threats and firings.

He SHOULD be leading the cleanup and containment effort, mobilizing all resources and drawing from all sources on that front. And, he should be addressing that, rather than public ccck swinging and bravado that's just fueling emotions and angering one of our closest allies. Proverb from Japanese business - fix the problem not the blame.

By the way, Bush is no longer president. 2/3 of your post is Bush bashing.
Let me note that in the above comment ccck is spelled wrong. Possibly a slip of the fingers or hand. That can cause some very nasty spills although the volume is unlikely to cause a disaster.

So what can the Present do? He could read some books. Might I suggest he start here:

Drilling For Oil

H/T Instapundit and Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, June 12, 2010


It is called the news industry because they manufacture news.

Suggested by a comment at Watts Up With That

Barbed Wire And Guns

According to Anthony Fry economic conditions will not be improving any time soon.

“The current problems will be with us for 5 years or more and uncertainty is very high," Fry said.

"Sentiment is extremely volatile as shown by the collapse of the Prudential’s attempt to buy AIA. When the deal was thought up just a few months ago it was a very different world,” Fry told CNBC on Monday.

Fry says the best we can hope for in the current environment is a soft landing, but sees little chance of this happening.

“Look at the current situation. You have Greece, now you have Hungary and huge issues surrounding Spain and Portugal,” he said.

Fry believes many European banks have yet to fess up on losses and says governments across the world are between a rock and a hard place.

“Governments need to cut spending and raise money and if they do not do so credibly will be killed by the bond market demanding higher rates,” he said.
Pretty gloomy, huh? Well that was just the intro. He gets more pessimistic as he looks at what is likely to be done versus what needs to be done.

So how about some investing advice in this climate? He has that. In spades or sticks of dynamite depending.
...Fry is telling investors to play it safe and buy physical assets like land.

“I don’t want to scare anyone but I am considering investing in barbed wire and guns, things are not looking good and rates are heading higher,” he said.
Why am I not encouraged by this advice? I can imagine another question that might elicit a similar response. "Would you like that coffin in teak or mahogany?"

H/T Diogenes at Talk Polywell

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jimmy Smith - Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf ?

Cross Posted at Classical Values


The US Government has a plan. A plan to deliver us from the the scourge of drugs. Really. For sure. Well OK not so sure. It is hard to sell sure after the twentieth or thirtieth time. Well it is all good. But not in fun.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 2,200 people in an investigation targeting Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the United States, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The probe, called Project Deliverance, focused on the transportation networks that carry methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States, with return trips of drug proceeds and weapons.

At a news conference Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the extensive operation began nearly two years ago. He said federal agents targeting violent drug cartels have seized nearly 70 tons of marijuana and nearly 1,500 pounds of heroin. Authorities said some of the drugs were hidden inside buses that cross the Southwest border.

But Holder said the fight is far from over.

“Make no mistake. We know that as successful as this operation was, it is just one battle in what is an ongoing war,” he said.
Yeah. A War On Plants and Plant Extracts is going to be successful one day. Real Soon Now. The war on the opium and coca plants has been going on for 96 years (Harrison Narcotics Act). The war on the hemp plant has been going on for 73 years (Marihuana Tax Act of 1937). So yeah. Real soon now there will be some useful results.
At the news conference in Washington, Michele Leonhart, acting administrator of the DEA, described the law enforcement strategy as an effort to cut off and shut down the supply of drugs headed northward and the flow of drug profits and guns southward into Mexico.
Well the US Government has been doing that for over 70 years with no end in sight. Evidently the government is beginning to wise up. A little. Look at what the Drug Czar recently said about the government effort.
"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske told the Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."
So what do you call an effort (how many Drug Kingpins have been collected so far?) that makes things worse and yet is intensified with each successive failure?

A Government Program.

That is how it works with socialism (price supports for criminals). And yet a lot of so called conservatives support this program. A friend of mine tells me that in the new crop of "Conservatives" running for election this year there are quite a few who favor government price supports for criminals (what would a pile of vegetables be worth if it wasn't for Drug Prohibition?). I don't get how you can be a Conservative and support a government program that has never worked, is not working, and will never work in the way proposed by its supporters. Did I mention that it costs at least $50 billion a year (Federal, State, and Local). A rather nice chunk of change in these hard times.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wasting Trillions Is A Conservative Strategy

I'll bet you didn't know that wasting trillions was a conservative strategy. It is. In one of the biggest pork barrel projects in America. The Drug War.

After 40 years, the United States' war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.

Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn't worked.

"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske told the Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."
Another conservative social engineering failure. Well actually it was started by Progressives, but many Conservatives have fully embraced it. So what do you call a Conservative who embraces Progressive policy?


Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Unthinkable Is Now Inevitable

The Euro is going down. Not with a whimper but with a bang. A trillion dollar bang.

Mrs Merkel is right: "The euro is in danger… if the euro fails, then Europe fails." What she has not yet admitted publicly is that the main cause of the single currency's peril appears beyond her control and therefore her impetuous response to its crisis of confidence is doomed to fail.

The euro has many flaws, but its weakest link is Greece, whose fundamental problem is that for years it spent too much, earned too little and plugged the gap by borrowing in order to enjoy a rich man's lifestyle. It flouted EU rules on the limits to budget deficits; its national accounts were a moussaka of minced statistics, topped with a cheesy sauce of jiggery-pokery.

By any legitimate measure, Greece was unworthy of eurozone membership. That it achieved card-carrying status was down to the sleight-of-hand skills of its Brussels fixers and the acquiescence of central bank bean-counters. Now we know the truth, jet-hosing it with yet more debt makes no sense. Another dose of funny money will delay but not extinguish the need for austerity.

This is why the euro, in its current form, is finished. The game is up for a monetary union that was meant to bolt together work-and-save citizens in northern Europe with the party animals of Club Med. No amount of pit props from Berlin can save the euro Mk I from collapsing under the weight of its structural dysfunctionality. You cannot run indefinitely a single currency with one interest rate for 16 economies, when there are such huge fiscal disparities.

What was once deemed unthinkable is now, I believe, inevitable: withdrawal from the eurozone of one or more of its member countries.
The welfare state as we know it is unsustainable. I suppose I'm going to need some back up for such a broad statement. I have it.

How about this: Europeans Fear Crisis Threatens Liberal Benefits.
Across Western Europe, the “lifestyle superpower,” the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.

Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism.

Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella. They have also translated higher taxes into a cradle-to-grave safety net. “The Europe that protects” is a slogan of the European Union.

But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead.

With low growth, low birthrates and longer life expectancies, Europe can no longer afford its comfortable lifestyle, at least not without a period of austerity and significant changes. The countries are trying to reassure investors by cutting salaries, raising legal retirement ages, increasing work hours and reducing health benefits and pensions.

“We’re now in rescue mode,” said Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister. “But we need to transition to the reform mode very soon. The ‘reform deficit’ is the real problem,” he said, pointing to the need for structural change.

The reaction so far to government efforts to cut spending has been pessimism and anger, with an understanding that the current system is unsustainable.
And yet under our Glorious Leader, in this crisis our government has moved in the direction that sunk Europe. One way or another it will not last.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

A New Patch

You can find out more about the patch (including buying one of course) at Unorganized Militia: Propaganda Corps. And naturally I've added it to the sidebar. For HTML hints on how to do that sort of thing may I suggest The Tea Party Difference.

Let's Get Some Tea And Party

H/T Snarky Bytes via Instapundit

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Double Dipper?

Chairman Bernanke says no double dip recession. Sort of.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday he is hopeful the economy will gain traction and not fall back into a "double dip" recession.

"My best guess is we will have a continued recovery, but it won't feel terrific," Bernanke said.

That's because economic growth won't be robust enough to quickly drive down the unemployment rate, now at 9.7 percent, he said in remarks to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a nonpartisan research group.

The economy grew at a 3 percent pace in the first quarter of this year. That's good growth during normal times. But coming out of such a deep recession, the economy must grow much more strongly to make a dent in the jobless rate.

Fears have grown that the recovery could be derailed if Europe's debt crisis turns into a broader financial contagion, crimping lending in the United States and around the globe.
Broader financial contagion? IF? There is no IF about it. It is just a matter of when. And did the Chairman mention the China Real Estate Bubble? No he did not.

And something else he didn't mention while we are at it. Housing may go into a double dip.
mortgage purchase applications are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997. Yes, you can argue that a larger-than normal share of buyers today are all cash, but those are largely investors.

That means real organic buyers are exiting in droves.

"With another week of historically low mortgage rates, the trend from the prior three weeks continued, as refinance applications increased while purchase applications dropped. Purchase applications are now almost 40 percent below their level four weeks ago, while the refinance share, at 74 percent, is at its highest level since December," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.

And then the Realtors' chief economist, Lawrence Yun, after touting the numbers and telling all of us how much home equity was "preserved" by the tax credit stabilizing prices ($900 billion), throws water on his own numbers:

“A big concern surfacing recently is insufficient time to close the deal at the settlement table. Under normal circumstances, two months would be enough time from contract signing to settlement date,” Yun said.

“However, the recent housing cycle has brought long delays related to the short sales approval process by banks, and from ongoing appraisal issues. There could be a sizable number of homebuyers who responded to tax credit incentives, but may encounter problems meeting the settlement deadline by June 30.”
The mentality seems to be "If we just hold on there are better days around the corner." But what if that is not true?

What if they are cooking the books?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that employment in the United States grew by 433,000 jobs in May, but that those jobs included 411,000 temporary workers hired by the Census Bureau.
So let me answer the question: what if better days are not around the corner? And the answer is: a second crash. A Double Dip Recession.

This book on the Great Depression was pretty popular for a while:

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

The reason I bring it up is that there were lots of dips (rises and falls) in that depression. Could we be repeating some of the same mistakes? Why not?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 07, 2010

ITER Meltdown

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) did not melt down from an excess of energy production. It is melting due to budget excesses.

It has been billed as the solution to tomorrow's energy crunch, but ITER, a massive fusion experiment by seven international partners, is under serious threat from a present-day problem: the financial crisis.

In a meeting on 26 May, the cash-strapped member states of the European Union (EU) were unable to agree on how to find the additional billions needed to finance construction of the giant reactor, which is sited near St-Paul-les-Durance, France. The EU is set to contribute 45% of the construction costs for ITER, which some estimates now put at €15 billion (US$19 billion) -- three times the 2006 cost estimate (see 'The ITER rollercoaster').

Left unresolved, the impasse in Europe will, at best, delay the project further. At worst, it could cause ITER to unravel entirely.
All the while Polywell Fusion and other small fusion programs are getting along on budgets 1/100th the size and are actually making progress towards answers.

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.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Jews Out Of Israel

Ari Fleischer says Helen Thomas is 'advocating religious cleansing'.
"She is advocating religious cleansing. How can Hearst stand by her? If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs."
The season on Jews was closed for 50 or 60 years following 1945. But the season has been reopened. This will not end well. It never does.

H/T Eric at Classical Values and The Drudge Report

Government Prices Are Market Prices

The government of the US is engineering a shortage of doctors. Read it and weep:

... the Justice Department has unambiguously stated that refusal to accept government price controls is a form of illegal “price fixing.”

The FTC has hinted at this when it’s said physicians must accept Medicare-based reimbursement schedules from insurance companies. But the DOJ has gone the final step and said, “Government prices are market prices,” in the form of the Idaho Industrial Commission’s fee schedule. The IIC administers the state’s worker compensation system and is composed of three commissioners appointed by the governor. This isn’t a quasi-private or semi-private entity. It’s a purely government operation.

What’s more, the Antitrust Division has linked a refusal to accept government price controls with a refusal to accept a “private” insurance company’s contract offer. This lives little doubt that antitrust regulators consider insurance party contracts the equivalent of government price controls — and physicians and patients have no choice but to accept them.

Despite this, Antitrust Division chief Christine Varney, an Obama political appointee, insists she’s trying to protect “competition”:

The orthopedists who participated in these group boycotts denied medical care to Idaho workers and caused higher prices for orthopedic services. Today’s action seeks to prevent the recurrence of these illegal acts and protects Idaho consumers by promoting competition in the healthcare industry.”

The Idaho attorney general compounds the lie:

The free marketplace works best when there is fair competition. Anticompetitive activity harms the marketplace, businesses and consumers. Enforcement of the antitrust laws restores competition to the marketplace to the benefit of businesses and consumers and the marketplace as a whole.
There are two possible outcomes of this:

Government sets prices too high and more producers enter the market and some consumers leave. Or government sets prices too low and some producers leave the market and some consumers enter the market who would otherwise be priced out.

The net result of government efforts is supply/demand imbalances.

There is a third possible outcome: government gets the prices just right and continually adjusts them according to local and general market conditions. What are the odds of that?

A couple of books on the subject of the knowledge problem and market pricing that you might find of interest:

Keynes and Hayek: The Money Economy

Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy

Update: thanks to commenter S.M. Oliva at the CSM link at the top I have this bit of added information:
By law, the DOJ must file all comments received with the court together with an official reply. The court is then supposed to take the comments and reply into account when determining whether entry of the proposed order is “in the public interest.”

Comments should be sent to Joshua H. Soven, Chief, Litigation I Section, Antitrust Division, U. S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 4100, Washington, D.C. 20530. Soven’s fax number is 202-307-5802.

The 60-day clock doesn’t start until the proposed order is published in the Federal Register, which might take up to two weeks.
Do send them a polite note or two. Just to give them something to think about.

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Economics Quiz

H/T commenter Chuck at Free Book

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, June 04, 2010

Informing The Enemy

Found at Good**** , now the place is definitely Not Safe For Work but I will tell you how to find it. Search for - Fred Lapides Good. You are on your own.

If She Had Only Gone Topless

From the YouTube site (or should that be sight?) of this video.
July 28, 2009 — CORRECTION: The description originally stated that exposed film was to be used, but you actually have to use blank, developed film. A chemical used in the development process is what gives the film it's visible light filtering capabilities.

First off my apologies for the very shoddy camera work and even shoddier narration.

Secondly, this is merely my own personal findings after conducting several very unscientific tests using esotericsean's method of turning an ordinary camcorder into one that only lets in infrared light, allowing the operator to 'see through' various objects including clothing. The tests speak for themselves and yes, by using this method you can actually see what people are wearing under their clothing, provided that the clothing is relatively clingy, and is a thin fabric. Dark clothing works the best, but I've also gotten great results with all colors, provided that the fabric is thin and clingy.
In other words - if you can practically see through the garment already this method has possibilities. And even if it doesn't, it might be fun to find an accomplice who would be willing to help you with the experiments. To insure the correct experimental procedure is followed in every experiment it is a requirement that the experimenter dress and undress the model for each iteration of the experiment. And to properly document the experiment videos and photos should be taken at each step. Then you have to write it up. Finally no experiment is really complete until the results are published and replication has confirmed the results. Oh. Yeah. Take measurements.

You can buy a Hoya 58mm RM-72 Infrared Filter from Amazon but making your own or just getting a bit of developed blank film from a film processor seems cheaper.

Some books on Infrared Photography to help you on your way.

Cross Posted at Classical Values