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Aborting Competition [Nov. 10th, 2009|04:32 am]
mlewis
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It should be painfully obvious that Democrats aren't interested in competition. That's not what government does. However, their uproar over abortion not getting any federal funds demonstrates just how silly they are.

Consider that they plan to regulate the bejezus out of insurance plans. The price of private insurance is going to be driven even higher, public/consumer/coercive option or not. So why would anyone want to buy a private policy under those conditions? Assuming that the feds can't cover abortion, there would be at least one reason. Of course, liberals assume that private plans wouldn't cover it. Even though they do right now. And even though it would be a true discriminator between a private and public plan.

The mind boggles. Wait, no, this is just par for the course.
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Representative Illogic [May. 25th, 2009|12:31 pm]
mlewis
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A self professed Climate Scientist, Dr Ben McNeil, comes up with a ludicrous challenge to climate realists:

The discovery of sunscreen has similar parallels to that of climate change...The same scientists who know the properties of sunscreen protect our skin from UV know that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat. Wearing sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change. Very simple.

So I want to ask climate deniers like Andrew Bolt “Do you wear sunscreen?” If you answered ‘no’ to this question then you have every right to be skeptical of climate science, along with other shaky principles like gravity and photosynthesis. However if you answered ‘yes’ to wearing sunscreen then you better make it a secret, as the basic science of climate change is just as solid as your sunscreen use.

Dr McNeil should have taken Mark Twain's advice, and kept quiet so as not to confirm how much of a fool he is.
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Representative Stupidity [May. 21st, 2009|04:10 am]
mlewis
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The credit card bill has had at least one unintended effect so far, even before it's become law. It's done an excellent job of drawing out the people who not only don't understand economics, but can't think their way out of a paper bag. Ezra Klein, from the Washington Post outs himself:
The credit card industry, in recent years, has developed something of a tiered model....The result is that low income credit card holders effectively subsidize high income credit card holders. The financially illiterate are gamed so the financially literate can pay very low fees.

The theory here is that credit card companies have been good class warriors, charging the bejesus out of the downtrodden proletariat in order to enrich their bourgeois betters. It clearly hasn't occurred to Klein that people who are bad at paying cost the companies a lot of money. Therefore, if you have a history of such behavior, they're going to charge more, because the risk to the company is greater. In other words, the high risk borrowers are 'subsidizing' each other.

The financially literate people don't get charged high fees because the companies can make money off of them without the fees.
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Only words...until they're not [May. 18th, 2009|06:46 am]
mlewis
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The irresponsibility of Barack Obama's speeches in front of many audiences continues to amaze. I was frankly horrified when he apologized for pre-Obama America, and after Danny Ortega gave a blistering anti-America speech, the President's response was that he was glad he wasn't personally blamed for anything the JFK did. Mr. President, you're not representing yourself any more. You're representing all of us.

He gave the commencement address at Arizona State University recently, and apparently doesn't understand that the words of a President are not like the words of a regular citizen (of the world, or just this country) or even a Senator. He made a joke about the IRS auditing ASU officials due to his college basketball bracket picks.

As Glen Reynolds notes, if this quip were from Jay Leno, or even Wanda Sykes, it would be an amusing joke. But when the President says it, we start to enter Nixonian territory.

The thing that amazes me most about this administration is how every new week brings more things at which I am amazed.
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A leaded ray of sunshine [May. 18th, 2009|06:39 am]
mlewis
The Senate passed an amendment to the Big Nanny credit card bill that would allow law abiding citizens with legal guns to bring them into national parks. It's a brief moment of bipartisan sanity. 27 democrats, including Harry Reid, voted for the amendment.

The Constitution would be proud.
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We had to eat the tiger to save the tigers [May. 15th, 2009|06:18 am]
mlewis
John Stossel recently did a TV special, and wrote an article about how to save tigers from extinction. The content of each is pretty identical (well, there was more to the show than the segment on tigers, but you get the point). This seems an example of when well meaning, but not particularly rational, people set out to do some good.

The basic problem is that there are very few tigers left in the wild. Even though there are international bans on stuff made from tigers, there's a lot of demand from places like China, and other places where people from China have moved, like, say, the US. The people behind the bans are convinced that this is the right way to save tigers, even though it obviously isn't working.

"If people would just stop buying the tiger stuff, the tigers would be safe!" Well, duh. But like with other illegal things, the illegality doesn't stop the demand, especially when the demand is founded thousands of years of culture. In fact, the artificial scarcity just makes activities like poaching even more lucrative, and guarantee that it will continue, no matter how many public service announcements are made.

On the other hand, the solution that Stossel comes up with may strike some as counter-intuitive, which says more about your intuition than the solution. The idea is to make it all legal, and allow people to set up tiger farms, so that people can eat tigers and use parts of their bodies to make folk remedies. After all, as Stossel reminds us, no one is worried that chickens will go extinct.

One ban proponent tells Stossel that there's no need to farm tigers. She is clearly not paying attention. While she cites a poll showing that 90% of Chinese support the ban, 50% of them are in favor of using tiger based products. And the illicit market demonstrates that there is a demand, such that farmers could definitely make money selling tiger meat or other parts for profit. It would probably also have the effect of ruining the demand for poached tigers. Modern agriculture beats hunter-gatherers hands down.

This is a great example of the sort of fuzzy thinking that permeates most of the 'environmental' movement. I'm not talking about cleaning up rivers, or using unleaded gas. I'm talking about banning DDT (and, by the way, killing millions of people). I'm talking about ruining our economy over the fantasy effects that some believe a crucial for life, trace gas might have on the climate due to some unrealistic computer simulations.

Though some of these sorts of issues may have begun with a rational search for answers, at some point they were hijacked and no longer make sense, given what we know.
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Won't someone please think of the Canadians? [May. 13th, 2009|04:48 am]
mlewis
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It's a great time to be alive. We are the ones we've been waiting for! Thankfully, the beings we have taking command of the economy are finally the folks that are smarter than all the other people who have attempted to direct an economy, which hopefully means they won't fail this time.

Consider, for instance, our domestic auto industry. Finally, we'll have someone running the show who cares more about worker well being and corporate average fuel efficiency than selling cars at a profit.

Although, now that I mention it, the same sort of people who had their rightful, lawful first claims at the company taken away...those people are just the sort of people who we were going to rely upon for the whole private public investment thingy. Maybe this wasn't such a great plan. Consider this quote out of the WSJ:
"You don't need banks and bondholders to make cars," said one administration official.

I suppose that, technically, you don't need them to tighten any lug nuts. Either this sad person forgot the root of the word capitalism, or maybe he just knows that we, the taxpayers are powerless to resist the checkbook of the teleprompter. Could we end up like this?


Now that's a scary, even if sorta funny, thought. But now I'm having second thoughts on this health-care take over that's in the works. If we do the same thing to our health care industry that we're doing to cars, who will treat all the Canadians that can't get access to care in Canada?

Won't someone please think of the Canadians!?
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Straight A's for 100 Days [Apr. 29th, 2009|05:08 am]
mlewis
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  • Amature. There's no better way to describe Air Force One buzzing Manhattan, or the instant flip flops on executive bonuses or prosecution for 'torture memos.' Being hard on our allies and soft on our enemies. Giving the Prime Minister of Britain DVDs that won't even play in his country. A State Department that can't speak Russian. A cabinet that doesn't pay taxes.

  • Arrogant. Sure, he says he wants America to be less arrogant, but then he's glad that Danny Ortega didn't blame him for something that happened when he was a baby (of course, it actually happened before he was born, but hey, who's counting?). Then there was the, "I won," comment when talking to Republicans about the 'stimulus' bill. Of course, he was correct, and within his rights to do so, but it seemed a little out of bounds for a guy supposed to be post-partisan.

  • Apologetic. Apparently, Barack was in agreement with Michelle about just now starting to be proud of America. It's one thing to try to be honest with others, but the President seems more concerned about what others think about us than he is about us.

  • Automated. The most powerful man in the world isn't the guy with his finger on the button. It's the guy with his finger on the teleprompter. Though listening to him off the cuff, it's not surprising why he uses it so much.

  • Adult supervision. Where is it when we need it?
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Scientific perspective on climate change policy [Mar. 19th, 2009|05:30 am]
mlewis
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Roy Spencer:

“Policy fixes to climate change” is like saying, “let’s outlaw gravity”.
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Outrageous! [Mar. 19th, 2009|04:28 am]
mlewis
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The most outrageous thing about the AIG bonuses is the outrage that's being directed at them. Sure, they probably shouldn't have been paid. At the very least, it looks really, really, bad. But some of the very people who are foaming at the mouth (I'm looking at you, Dodd) over this went along with removing language from bailout bills that would have disallowed such payments.

Ok, so hypocrisy is nothing new in Washington. And certainly not from the likes of Sen Dodd. And people from all parts of the political spectrum are piling on. But in the end, the amount of the bonuses were less than 0.1% of the bailout money that went to AIG. And it's a tiny, tiny fraction of the massive pile of cash that we're throwing hither and yon.

  • How about being outraged at the politicians who shoveled them all this money, and refused to restrict the use of the money?
  • How about being outraged at the potential billions that vote fraud champions ACORN might get from the government?
  • How about being outraged at the trade war we just started with our second biggest trading partner, all because the Democrats need to please their union bosses?
  • How about being outraged at the other trade wars they'd like to start, with allies like Canada, Columbia, South Korea or the entire European Union?
  • How about being outraged at an administration that wants the government to take over all health care, except for that which it is rightfully responsible for (i.e., the war wounds of veterans)?
  • How about being outraged at the idea that our government wants to make everything more expensive by taxing our energy use through an opaque (at least as far as responsibility for increased prices is concerned) 'Cap and Trade' policy for no benefit other than increased government power and pandering to something that's more religion than science?
  • How about being outraged at an administration that promised 'smart' diplomacy, and then insults our allies?
  • How about being outraged at an administration that makes the Bush administration's massive expansion of government spending look spendthrift?

It's OK to think that the AIG bonuses were wrong. But we should keep them in perspective. Whatever those executives do with that money will probably help the economy more than giving it back to the government so the government can spend it. But in comparison with the list above, who cares?
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