Sunday, January 27, 2013

How Long Until That Pol Says Something Stupid?

"As a hunter and gun owner, I believe that we should protect the Second Amendment right of law-abiding individuals to own firearms. As a dad and grandfather, I also believe that we have a responsibility to make our schools, streets and communities safe. We can do both if Congress steps up. Many of the president's executive actions will help reduce gun violence, but the policies that would have the greatest impact require congressional action."

There's just not a shred of evidence to support the notion that Congressional action will make anyone safer, and the assumption that we should assume government is a source of safety, when historically it is the largest source of risk, is too ignorant for adequate description.

It has become a surprise to me if I read something from a politician that even approaches profundity.  This one was standard fare pol speak.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Forced To Pay For Killing

"Christians are often pilloried for imposing private morality on the public. Yet, this fiasco reveals the absurdity of the so-called "war on women." Mr. Green seeks neither to outlaw contraception nor to prevent his workers from using birth control. Hobby Lobby's health plans already cover contraceptives. Moreover, the "preventive medicine" in question remains widely, and cheaply, accessible elsewhere.

"What pills employers furnish ought to be settled privately between management and labor. Instead, the public, or more precisely President Obama's henchmen, foist mandated immorality on private businesses. "Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer," chastises the administration "and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion." Thus has the Christian walk been narrowed via royal decree.

"Submit or pay."

The only way I can view this is with hope that the clear over-reach of the Federal Government will allow someone to stuff Obamacare into history's dustbin.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Assumption

Most that could be said - variation may be affected by GHG but what drives the variation? Which is the greater factor, and how could that be proved?

Obviously GHG are not the "drivers" of climate or the relationship would not be linear.

Why Did No One Help?

Powerful, beautiful writing.

"At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared."

Sobering analysis of the price we pay for an overbearing state, which we don't trust and which, at the same time, makes "protecting victims" a job of the police; "not what I'm supposed to do."

" The crux is here that the "cost" is often not a strictly economic or financial cost. Rather it represents in part the opportunity cost of time and the more direct costs that would be incurred for someone who did get involved and then would need to spend hours, days, perhaps even weeks entangled with the authorities. We document in the book cases in India and China where would-be Good Samaritans have ended up being harassed by the police, wrongly accused themselves of being the perpetrators, and, in some cases even being accused by the victims whom they're trying to help. To put it bluntly, most people just don't trust the authorities and aren't willing to take the risk of getting mixed up with them for fear of any or all of these things happening. It's not necessarily that they don't want to help, or somehow apathy is hardwired into Indian culture, but people's desire to help is overwhelmed understandably by their reluctance to suffer unnecessarily as a result of helping."

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Right of the People

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an extension of the natural right to self-defense and a hallmark of personal sovereignty. It is specifically insulated from governmental interference by the Constitution and has historically been the linchpin of resistance to tyranny. And yet, the progressives in both political parties stand ready to use the coercive power of the government to interfere with the exercise of that right by law-abiding persons because of the gross abuse of that right by some crazies in our midst."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

"Liberals could have had a revenue increase of $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Instead, they surrendered nearly $3.1 trillion of that. They cannot have repeated bites at this apple. They cannot now increase government revenue as a share of gross domestic product through tax reform because Republicans insist that the Taxpayer Relief Act closed the revenue question. And because tax reform is dead for the foreseeable future, so are hopes for a revenue surge produced by vigorous economic growth.

"No numerate person thinks that today's entitlement state, let alone the steady expansion of it that is liberalism's aspiration, can be funded by taxing the income of the 0.7 percent of taxpayers whose rates were just raised. Or the 2 percent whose rates would have been raised had liberals and their president simply allowed the automatic increase of rates for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000."

Friday, January 4, 2013

In The Laboratory

"When compared to Republican and swing states, respectively during the 11 years ending 2011, Democratic states suffered:  
"A loss of 1.6 million jobs (including government jobs) compared to a gain of 1.3 million jobs in Republican states, and a loss of only 139,000 jobs in swing states.
"A loss of 1.9 million private sector jobs compared to a gain of 671,000 private sector jobs in Republican states, and a far smaller loss of 515,00 jobs in the swing states;
"Greater declines in real median family income in both absolute and percentage terms than in Republican states, though they fell less than in swing states.
"In Democratic states, real median family income fell on average $4,460 to $55,325 (2011 dollars) in 2011 - a 7.5% decline since 2000.
"Over those same 11 years, average real median family income in Republican states fell by less - $2,603 to $46,730 - a 5.3% decline. Swing states suffered a more severe average decline of nearly 10%, due in large part to greater than 20% declines in Nevada and Ohio.
"In the states Democrats dominate, the need for revenue to support their belief in the primacy and goodness of government have been used to justify imposing significantly higher taxes on middle-class families.
"In exchange for their votes, Democrats promise greater economic security and a more just society. But, as the results show, this is a false promise that leads to a less secure economy, less opportunity for low and middle-income people, and higher middle-class taxes."

Interesting correlation vice causation questions.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Equality and Unicorns

"It's misplaced because it glosses over strong evidence that the ability to rise above your starting place-the American Dream, by most accounts-is better than it was 40 years ago.  "There is no doubt that the spread between top earners and those below them has grown over time. The share of income earned by the top 1 percent in the United States has doubled since the early 1970s. The top 20 percent's share has risen, too, though the increase is much smaller and has leveled off since the 1990s."
Excellent points to consider from this article: If Bill Gates has 200 million or billion or whatever, does that hurt you, and if so, how? You were not forced to buy his product, so your money only went to him if you decided his product was worth what you had to pay. And if someone else's money went to him, how did that hurt you? Answer, it did not unless you were a business competitor.
Furthermore, all of the productivity Microsoft's products enabled materially contributed to you by allowing businesses to develop and sell their products with greater efficiency (better product, available to market more rapidly, at a lower cost). 
How could we "compress" incomes, even if "we" decided we could? "The same trend toward greater inequality is happening in most advanced economies, across different tax and regulatory systems. Despite spending $1 trillion a year on the poor, federal and state governments report increases in poverty and need." 
Government leveling attempts tend to work opposite of the way they were intended. Great example - government workers, who are paid from your taxes, whereas private employees are paid only from money voluntarily exchanged. Washington, DC is now the wealthiest - do you think that comes from the value DC adds to your life? 
"The wealthy" could mean "the old", since the old on average have 22 times the wealth of those under age 35. 12.5% (SS) and 2.9% (Medicare) of the income of "workers" is extracted and given to the "wealthy old." 
And yet - the author cites a study that indicates that 84% of Americans have higher family incomes than their parents did - presumably, even though their parents were more likely to have been or remained married.  
Conclusion: equality is more likely to result from removing the government sucker punches that prevent the less wealthy from upward mobility, than it is from looking for more ways to "slice money off of the top" so that it could be recycled through government programs that are proven not to be cost effective.  

Tyranny Begets Tyranny

"The young woman was reacting to a New York City regulation, to take effect on March 12, limiting to 16 ounces the size of sugar-sweetened soft drinks available for purchase at restaurants, street carts, movie theaters and sporting events. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the new home of the Nets, has already imposed this limit. Convenience stores, vending machines and some newsstands are exempted from the regulation.  Several new studies underscore the public health potential of the restriction. If it succeeds in curbing the consumption of sweet liquid calories, it is likely to be copied elsewhere, because the nation's love affair with super-size sugary soft drinks is costing cities and states billions of dollars annually in medical care."   

Uh, how about having the government stop advocating low fat, high carb diets?  Notice the author's disclaimer paragraph which allows her to skirt the larger question of the health impact of carbs generally: 
"Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University, explained that beverages aren't as filling as solid food because they lack texture and "mouth feel," and we "tend to consume them so fast they don't register."  

I have mixed feelings - wrong to limit human choice, wrong to mis-educate based on bad science, wrong to give the sugar beverage industry a pass while pounding the meat and whole fat dairy folks. It's government gone wrong. 
And yet, there's virtually no doubt that doses of sugary drinks above 12 ounces a day become problematic very rapidly. And sports drinks are just as much to blame as coca cola and its competitors.  It's also wrong to limit smokers, but I sure like being able to dine without the smokefest around.  The truth is, the whole "public health" and "environmental protection" concepts are another means to justify tyranny and get people used to the idea that wise and well informed superiors know more about how to take care of us than we do of ourselves, and more about our self interest than we do.  
And nit-wits like Jane Brody are more than willing to strap on their lemming suits and march on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013