Friday, October 29, 2010

No High-Speed Rail Pork For You, New York!

Here's what happens when your state is considered known to be a pushover by the current administration.

Just in time to influence the November election, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has granted $2.5 billion for high-speed rail to several states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. Underscoring the political nature of the grants, the announcements were not made by the Federal Railroad Administration, which doesn’t mention them on its web site.

Instead, LaHood phoned major politicians (all Democrats), who then announced the grants to the media. A formal announcement is expected on Thursday. Until then, announcements indicate that:

■California received $902 million
■Florida $808 million.
■Iowa and Illinois received $230 million for a conventional-speed Amtrak line between Iowa City and Chicago.
■Michigan received $150 million for a high-speed rail line on the vital Dearborn-to-Kalamazoo corridor.
■Connecticut received $121 million to improve rail speeds between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, MA.
■Virginia received $45 million to plan a high-speed rail line from Washington to Richmond.
■Minnesota received $40 million to renovate the St. Paul Union Depot.
New York received $18 million for rail upgrades in the Syracuse area.


California (where Meg Whitman may well upset Jerry Brown for governor) got almost $1 trillion for high-speed rail and New York (which everyone expects to be ruled by Democrat Cuomo after 11/2) got a lousy $18 million for some lousy upgrades in Syracuse. Hey, we've got pie-in-the-sky high speed rail dreams, too!

New York Democrats are craven. I wish you guys would just pretend -- just once in a while -- to be unhappy with your party. Maybe we'd get some real pork then.

Christine O'Donnell Defended By The Left

The National Organization for Women on Thursday condemned the tabloid website Gawker for publishing an anonymous account of a man’s sexual encounter three years ago with Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell.

And the 2010 election cycle keeps on going.

NOW issued a statement late Thursday stating that “sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate’s political ideology.”

-Daily Caller

That's all well and good and, actually, it's about damned time they stood up for a conservative woman. I can't help but wonder, though, if NOW would have been so even-handed if O'Donnell still stood a chance of winning.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"The Obamacare runaway train"

Probably the most disturbing article on the future of American health care I've read yet.

"Night Of The Living Fed"

Heh.

Does Mara Really Think We Should Tax Tylenol?

Another "benefit" of the Obamacare legislation is that people paying for over-the-counter drugs with their Health Savings Accounts will now need to get a prescription from their physician. This will, of course, end what small advantages there were to HSA's which is completely by design. The program will die.

Tonight on Fox News Report, Mara Liasson attempted to play conservative devil's advocate by oh-so-cleverly pointing out that no longer would you be able to have your Tylenol subsidised by your neighbors. This is a beloved trope of the left -- that which isn't taxed is, by definition, subsidised.

Their belief is that all income and all expenditures are taxable and that any exceptions are just loopholes for special interests. I've even heard some claim that New York State subsidises food purchases for the wealthy because the sales tax isn't applicable to food.

It's a disgusting belief which attempts to do away with the concept that what we earn is our property. Mara was, by the way, thoroughly shamed by the rest of the panel for her unusually shabby behavior.

[UPDATE:] Now, here's an example of a real subsidy. A subsidy is the grant of someone's money to another -- not the tacit permission to keep a portion of one's own.

"Voting machine technicians are SEIU members"

Well, now, why would that be a problem?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obamanomics Reaching Its "Logical" End

Representatives of the world’s largest economies, meeting in South Korea, reached tentative agreement early Saturday on the need to rein in trade imbalances, as part of an American-brokered compromise on calming exchange-rate tensions that have threatened to disrupt the uneven global recovery.

The Obama administration on Friday urged the other economic powers that make up the Group of 20 to agree to curb persistent surpluses and deficits that could contribute to the next financial crisis.

The proposal, which included a numerical limit, was backed by South Korea and quickly drew support from Britain, Canada and Australia.


On its face, of course, such a goal is as preposterous as the lofty CO2 emissions goals of the Kyoto Treaty. Who will measure it? And who will enforce it? No one.

And how could a nation's government, seeing that its citizens were approaching the trade deficit goal, actually do something about it? I suppose it could impose punitive tariffs -- but punishing one's own citizens through higher prices and sparking trade wars with allies won't be an attractive political proposition.

The obvious solution to the supposed problem of global trade "imbalances" is for central banks to stop inflating their currencies and toying with interest rates. With stable money and interest rates that reflected the relative scarcity of capital, foreign exchange would begin to reflect actual PPP and each country could finally discover where its true comparative advantages lie.

It's just too depressing to realize that highly-paid and supposedly-skilled diplomats and economists are filling their time by coming up with crap such as this -- and that they take it seriously.

"Good Marks at UB"

That would be the State University at Buffalo which has been recognized for the quality of its MBA program by the Financial Times.

The program ranked No. 51 on the newspaper’s ranking of the top 100 executive MBA programs in the world. The UB program ranked No. 23 for graduates’ salary growth, No. 7 for its percentage of female students, No. 26 for its percentage of female faculty, No. 55 for faculty research and No. 16 for its percentage of international faculty.

Well, well. Number 7 for its percentage of female graduates! That must really mean something. I have no idea what -- in fact I think an MBA held by either sex is just another crock of educational shit. Corporations do seem to love them, though.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Way That Global Warming Idiots Make Themselves Look Dumb

Calculating the carbon emissions generated from sending an email.

Welfare By Any Other Name

California's food stamp program has a new name, which officials hope will encourage more people to apply for the nutrition benefit: CalFresh.

We crossed some sort of line when government started marketing its handouts.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I've Wondered About This, Myself

it is better to let people who want to blow themselves up fly and look up everyone's butthole than look up the buttholes only of people who want to blow themselves up


Read the whole thing.

Honesty Is Breaking Out All Over

First, l'affaire Juan Williams, now a couple judges in the Northwest state the obvious.

State Supreme Court justices Richard Sanders and James Johnson stunned some participants at a recent court meeting when they said African Americans are overrepresented in the prison population because they commit a disproportionate number of crimes.


You're not supposed to say that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Right-Wing Terrorism Directed At The NAACP?

It might be.

The NAACP announced on Monday that it would soon be releasing an extensive report detailing links between the tea party movement and various extremist and white supremacist groups.

A few hours later, the group's Washington offices were evacuated because of a suspicious package. The FBI found that it contained a tea bag.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Regime Uncertainty

To review, the original intent of the law that was enacted as of January 1 of this year was to eliminate the manufacture of any residential A/C that contained the refrigerant R-22. Unfortunately the law was written poorly, and quickly the Chinese manufacturers flooded the market with air conditioners that were shipped dry, meant to be charged with R-22 in the field. R-22 is still available at relatively low prices.

Last week in Chicago I attended a lecture by the head of a large HVAC trade group. Apparently the DOE (Department of Energy) is frowning upon this loophole and may be doing something to not allow the dry units to be sold.

Meanwhile, several of the major manufacturers are (as of this writing) gearing up production for dry R-22 units.

So what to do. Jump in and risk the units being outlawed at a later date (as is what most think will happen) or sit here and let my competitors get a leg up on the thing?



Business is hard enough without having to jump through hoops trying to guess what government will regulate next.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Global Warming Skeptic's Case

Forbes:

It is important to begin by emphasizing that few skeptics doubt or deny that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas or that it and other greenhouse gasses (water vapor being the most important) help to warm the surface of the Earth. Further, few skeptics deny that man is probably contributing to higher CO2 levels through his burning of fossil fuels, though remember we are talking about a maximum total change in atmospheric CO2 concentration due to man of about 0.01% over the last 100 years.

What skeptics deny is the catastrophe, the notion that man’s incremental contributions to CO2 levels will create catastrophic warming and wildly adverse climate changes. To understand the skeptic’s position requires understanding something about the alarmists’ case that is seldom discussed in the press: the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming is actually comprised of two separate, linked theories, of which only the first is frequently discussed in the media.



Read the whole thing.

Here Comes The Inflation

Two top Federal Reserve officials argued for further aggressive action by the central bank, with one saying the economy needs "much more" help and the other pointing to Japan's painful lessons.

With nearly one in ten in the U.S. labor force unable to find work and already very low inflation threatening to drop further, the U.S. central bank is expected to offer the economy more support at its next policy meeting on Nov. 2-3.

Most analysts expect the Fed will embark on a fresh round of Treasury purchases, over and above the $1.7 trillion in longer-term assets it has already bought.



You've just got to love that phrase: "the U.S. central bank is expected to offer the economy more support".

The support it's "offering" -- counterfeit dollars added to a stagnant economy -- is akin to watering down the ketchup, adding cellulose flakes to the meatloaf and keeping the potato chip bag the same size while cutting the number of chips by 10%. All of those might, indeed, make the meal seem larger, but they wouldn't improve its nutritional value or its taste.

All the economy needs, of course, is for the federal government to stop its threats of higher taxes, higher health care premiums and more regulation of energy. You'd think the geniuses at the Fed would know that, but they're so wedded to the paradigm that inflation cures all slowdowns that they can't think straight.

From a commenter at Don Surber's blog.

The current national leadership either fails to understand how an economy produces and distributes goods and services, or believes that economic laws can be ignored as if they were the Constitution.


The only rule for these people is that there are no rules.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Double Standard?

Why is Walmart vilified while Target isn't?

None Of The Above

“The history of transportation shows that we adopt new technologies when they are faster, more convenient, and less expensive than the technologies they replace. High-speed rail is slower than flying, less convenient than driving, and far more expensive than either one. As a result, it will never serve more than a few marginal travelers.”
USA Today

We won't adopt high-speed rail, but the politicians will make damned sure we pay for it anyway.

H.T. The Antiplanner

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Old Adage Still Holds True

A conservative is often a liberal who's been mugged.

On Liberaltarians

I hope we are over this left-libertarian nonsense now. They are lizards and they want our planet.


The Right Coast

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where Are The Advocates For The Poor?

Nanny Bloomberg is asking the federal government to forbid soda sales with food stamps in New York City. Now, when Food Stamps were first introduced in the sixties, soda and snacks (somewhat arbitrarily defined, of course) weren't food-stamp-eligible. At the time, it seemed a perfectly sensible limitation for a program that was, after all, designed to provide basic nutrition.

It wasn't a health restriction -- soda pop was simply considered a luxury. For Bloomberg, though, it's just another way to control people's lives according to what he thinks best for them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Trash



No respect for us, no respect for our country and, obviously, no respect for themselves.

H.T. Chicago Boyz

[UPDATE:] After all, as Glenn Reynolds notes: "this was not a march of the industrious."

[UPDATE UPDATE:] HUMAN EVENTS Reporter Assaulted at Leftist Rally

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yours, Mine and Ours

The New York Times is very afraid of the literature favored by us tea party types.

In Maine, Tea Party [sic] activists jammed the state Republican convention last spring to reject the party platform, replacing it with one that urged “a return to the principles of Austrian economics,” as espoused by Hayek, and the belief that “freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion.” The new platform also embraced the idea that “it is immoral to steal the property earned by one individual and give it to another who has no claim or right to its benefits” — a line ripped from Bastiat’s jeremiad against taxation and welfare.


Let's repeat that controversial clause -- “it is immoral to steal the property earned by one individual and give it to another who has no claim or right to its benefits.”

Now, of course, the Times writer is concerned because many of us extend that very innocent phrase to include our incomes. We understand it to mean that the money we've worked for is our property just as surely as our homes, our cars or our IPOD's are our property (just try to suggest to the reporter that the government should be free to take his IPOD).

Now, the left does admit to some property rights -- after all, even the USSR allowed people to own their furniture (though not the room it was placed in). But it has become all discombobulated about money. Money, it seems (and I blame the Keynesians), is seen as some sort of common possession on which we all have a claim, but a claim whose validity is to be determined by the government -- or, if you prefer, the will of the people.

What intellectual sleight of hand do you suppose allows them to think that? Are they really thinking at all?