Thursday, May 31, 2012

Told you so.

Allahpundit on Hotair notes much the same reasoning that I've seen and concludes:

Actually, I think the reason he’s taking such a half-assed step now is simply to set a precedent that NYC and other cities can build on later. We may yet see a dip in sugary-drink consumption if portion size is regulated, simply because some people won’t want to pop for a second cup to get their fill. When that happens, Bloomy will point to the decline as evidence that regulation works and the public, meanwhile, will have gotten used to the idea of having its dietary choices restricted. The next step would be to apply the size rule to supermarkets and convenience stores, then after that to impose a calorie rule, and maybe down the road to drop one of those European “fat taxes” on sugary beverages to really drive down demand. It’s the same M.O. as regulating smoking — one of Bloomberg’s points in the clip below, in fact, is how obesity is now a bigger health threat than cigarettes — but minus the “secondary smoke” logic of regulating the individual to protect those around him. What he’s trying to do here is simply get his foot in the prohibitionist door. (And I do mean his foot; according to NY1, Bloomberg won’t even seek a rubber stamp from the City Council to impose this policy.) That’s more important long-term to controlling people’s diets than enacting a policy on soda portions that’s consistent or coherent.

My a half assed law based on scare tactics exploiting a "crisis" to get the public "a little bit pregnant", set precedent, and be used to further the agenda?

Well America, welcome to the world us gunnies have been living in.

And go to the link for the bonus update that goes to this.

Just click.

I'm sure Bloomie could do something to define a baker's dozen to something more "healthy".

Also Department of Health and Mental Hygiene really? Man talk about reactionary 50's style social control.

Seat Belts Justify Food Rationing.

I'll get to the title in a bit.

By now I'm sure you know that wannabe-Baron Bloomberg wants to ban all sodas and other disallowed sugary drinks from being sold in containers larger than 16oz.

And Tam wonders why New Yorkers don't get sick of this paternalistic nonsense?
Apparently New York City is about "doing something", if by "something" you mean taking a lot of patronizing lip from nosy busybodies with Napoleon complexes.

Think about it: This is a man who thinks he can tell you what size container you may place sugar water into. That's nuts. That's completely, flat-out, Howard Hughes-meets-Kim Jong Il bugnuts crazy. Are you all going to just sit there and go "Derrr... hokay, boss!" while the rest of us snicker behind our hands at you and tell jokes about pre-ban soft drink cups, or are you going to toss this jackhole in the East River?

Well, plenty of people support the idea. Including talking heads on the news happily sipping from their 20oz Starbucks.

But I actually talked with a person who supports Bloomberg's idea. Yes, it was Mr. A once again.

He actually takes the If it saves one kid from being a fatty line.

Here's a few choice quotes as I recall them:

Sure it's paternalistic, but when you've proven that 58% of the target population can't manage not to be giant fatassess, well.. that's when a paternalistic approach is appropriate

Representational government? What's that?

I'll note two nerves that struck, he got very angry at the suggestion that this was any type of rationing, but expressed hope that it would retard consumption. He also professed a strong assertion that the health care savings would be considerable and make up for any extra police cost, but got angry when it was asked if saving health costs was a valid reason for a law then what else could be banned.

He was very big on the idea of "Well you could still buy as much coke as you want."
And repeatedly pointed to seat belt and helmet laws as a justification for this law.

Naturally he also demures from any idea of a limiting principal:

I'd rather just take each law on a case-by-case basis and weigh the harm done against the good done.
I question the morality of pursuing a philosophical construct like that, at the expense of good laws that impose on peoples freedoms in minor ways but benefit them in major ways again, as with seatbelt laws.

I seem to recall emphasis in his little speech there.
As for "good done" well how good is it to force someone to be "better" at gunpoint?

What's interesting is he was very, very aggressive on denying any mention of rationing, and pointedly not considering future laws.

One can easily see Bloomberg decrying the Big Gulp "loophole" that enables people to buy more than 16 ounces at a time. Even Mr. A admits that the law as it is is largely toothless on stopping consumption, but pointedly ignores the door that leaves open to "fix" said law.

And thus, you get rationing. First soda but then, the sky's the limit, because hey if the good outweighs the bad...

Oh and for an added, delicious, bonus Mr. A is a regular scotch drinker, a marijuana legalization advocate, and does want to own a gun.

You see his interests and hobbies are normal! Being a fatty? That's a sin!

Basically, Mr. A views disapproved self-destructive behavior as something the state has every right to regulate, no mater how petty, paternalistic, and totalitarian it becomes.

I'll repeate a line I made earlier (but clean it up a bit):

The whole point of having liberty is that you are free to make mistakes, be wrong, be a jerk, do things harmful to your health, do all that. You're free, provided you do not infringe on another person's liberty. Then, and only then, you are punished, and only after the action and due process.

If your concept of liberty is dependent on people making "the right" choices. Then you don't have it.

It does make one wonder why anyone can stand living under the thumb of such a ninny.

Though plenty of people are voting with their feet and fleeting New York State by the million (I would be among them). Ed Driscoll in a roundup post notes that and other hings.

As Jim Treacher once quipped, “You can marry a person of the same gender in New York City, but you can’t eat your own wedding cake without Bloomberg slapping it out of your hands.” And don’t even think about washing that cake down with some soda.

And don't even thing about carrying a gun unless you're rich, famous, or connected.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Southland Tales... wow... just wow.

I knew it was a bad movie, but I had no idea.

Such an amazingly bad and confusing mess. Loads of characters that have no purpose and plot points that are brought up then forgotten again.

Also gotta love the Cutting-Edge-Political-Commentary!

In sanner news, I'm figuring out what to do with a bunch of young apples that fell due to yesterday's storm. Maybe dehydrating them will work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What do Red China and the Tampa City Council have in common?

They're both tyrants that whine and complain about the Right to Bear Arms.

You gotta love the gall it takes for a government that's responsible for the deaths of over a hundred million people and still reveres history's greatest mass killer to say this:

“The United States prioritizes the right to keep and bear arms over the protection of citizens' lives and personal security and exercises lax firearm possession control, causing rampant gun ownership.”

They say the latter part like it's a bad thing. In fact they outright call US civilian gun ownership a "human rights violation". Well, they would know. And this is coming from one of the largest gun producing countries on the planet.

Also from Robb Allen is a view into the minds of tyrants with a smaller sandbox. You see, the mucky mucks in Tampa are pissed that State preemption laws prevent them from banning guns "for the people's good". Sure the Governor has repeatedly told them no, and state law makes them personally liable if they try to ban guns. But they still complain and plot that they should be able to do it because:

We have been a democracy for over 200 years, and we have had many things happen that have caused us to either break our own laws or cause other people to be injured because we are breaking our own laws. Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and we survived. The people that came out of reconstruction in the 1880s created Jim crow laws that restricted the right to vote, the right to hold property, many other rights of former slaves, and people that were considered citizens under the 14th amendment, and we survived. We have had Japanese citizens in turn in California and other parts of the west and took their property and trampled on their rights, and we survived.

So there you go, as long as something doesn't destroy the United States, government agents should be able to do whatever they want. A lot of people on the Gun Rights side point to the racist roots of gun control. Such as discretionary issue in the South being used to disarm blacks.

It's interesting to see someone against gun rights make the same argument. So you have a politician waxing nostalgic for Jim Crow, and as one of Robb's commenters points out complaining about all those armed people.

It's 44,000 [licensed to carry] in the city and quite a bit more in the county. It is almost unnerving to think that the governor and the legislature have put us in this position to deal with.

Well, at least he didn't call them "uppity".

Sure, putting US citizens in internment camps without due process or even commuting a crime other than being "the wrong race" is worse than banning their guns, but that doesn't make the latter okay.

Robb Allen puts it succinctly: "It’s disgusting that someone would say that the violations of rights from Jim Crow are no big deal because we made it through so let’s do it again, and make no mistake, that’s exactly what Councilman Suarez said."

At least when the Chinese Communists make arguments for Gun Control in the US, they don't openly favorably compare it to internment of US citizens, Jim Crow, and suspending the writ of habeas corpus.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Remember those who gave their one life for this nation.
Thank those who serve and will go into harm's way without question to secure our liberty.

As Weerd, who inspired this minimalist approach, says: I remember, and I give thanks.

And RobertaX has some perspective with her post 1,343,812. Read it all.

It's beautiful morning, and I'm off to the range. And no, it's not about the time off. It's that because of the sacrifice of those men and women that I can do it.

Update: JayG has some things you can do.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quote of the Day: LabRat

Over on Atomic Nerds LabRat digs into some clumsy research that confounds evolutionary reasons with sociological reasons and mixes up sex with reproduction.

Give it a read.

Why is it the people saying “IT’S JUST SCIENCE YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH IT” are almost always citing lazy, shoddy science?

Confirmation bias and the desire for a handy argumentum ad verecundiam club?

It also shows a deep ignorance of science because the whole point of "just science" is to argue with it.

Say I conduct Experiment X and come to the conclusion that A often causes B.

People are going to want to tear into my experimental procedure and data. They'll want to do their own copy of Experiment X. They'll try Experiment Y and Z which while different from X should produce similar data vis a vis A and B.

They'll also look into the results of X and that relationship between A and B. As if there is even a correlation let alone causation.

Just because you have an experiment that has a certain conclusion doesn't mean you can shout down anyone else and that the debate is over and the science is settled.


So SpaceX's craft has linked up with the ISS.

And here's some photos of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Fascinating to see the equipment they use, their facilities, and, what stuck out to me, the condition of the grounds.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Convicted Bomber and Perjurer Brett Kimberlin sues people that report his history of criminal terror.

Being in Indy at the time, RobertaX talks on the 1978 bombing spree of the Speedway Bomber. Who is now a darling in leftist circles.

She also notes a puzzler: "Why do they love bombers so, and hate people who lawfully carry firearms for self-defense? "

How much to they love him? Well this man and his merry fellows are getting lots of money from wealthy liberal donors such as: $70,000 From Tides Foundation, $10,000 From Streisand, $20,000 from John Kerry’s Wife

I can't be the first to notice this but, Barbra Streisand is one of Brett Kimberlin's funders?

That's just delicious. Guess Brett isn't aware of the Streisand effect.

It's a bit of a trite saying but censorship is seen as a failure mode to be routed around. So when you try to cover up information, especially public information that is a mater of court record... You're going to get people spreading the information just because they can.

And Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin with Neal Rauhauser and Ron Brynaert have an organized means of silencing critics. Critics who end having police being sent to their houses after being told said critic has just murdered his wife.

The phenomenon is called “SWATting,” because it can bring a SWAT team to your front door. SWATting is a particularly dangerous hoax in which a caller, generally a computer hacker, calls a police department to report a shooting at the home of his enemy. The caller will place this call to the police department’s business line, using Skype or a similar service, and hiding behind Internet proxies to make the call impossible to trace. Anxious police, believing they are responding to the home of an armed and dangerous man, show up at the front door pointing guns and screaming orders.

That is exactly what happened to me. It is a very dangerous hoax that could get the target killed.

Above: an anonymous Kimberlin supporter mocks my swatting in August 2011, before it was publicly known. The reference is to an article about a 2008 swatting case in Dallas.

Although I am an L.A. County Deputy D.A., it is certain that I was “swatted” because of my blog and not because of my job. As Andrew Breitbart noted, this happened to two people within the course of a single week: a man in New Jersey and myself. Both of us had had contact with Andrew Breitbart. Both of us were writing about the same story. And both of us received email threats days before we were swatted. The threat to me said, in part: “Please think about your family. This story is not worth it. I can assure you that.”

Sure it could be a coincidence. It's not like Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin has a history of violence or intimidating people into silence. However, Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin did personally threaten the reporter and DA in question:

The next day, Kimberlin threatened to sue me. He said: “I have filed over a hundred lawsuits and another one will be no sweat for me. On the other hand, it will cost you a lot of time and money and for what.” I asked him to identify any specific falsehoods in my post and he did not. I published subsequent posts about topics like Kimberlin’s alleged murderous plots to escape from prison and exact revenge on his enemies and an examination of his non-profits’ tax returns. In February 2011, I talked about stalkerish intimidation tactics used by Kimberlin and his business partner, Brad Friedman of the “Brad Blog.”

Yes, funny how literal bomb-throwing anti-establishment leftist darlings will gleefully use the courts and, apparently, the police as the tools to terrorize people into silence.

If your wondering what you can do about aggressive lawfare tactics designed to silence people, Ace has some ideas on what you can do.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It’s different when the government bilks you.

Glenn Reynolds today. That's going to be a coda for tonight.

So Obama wants more Stimulus for Greece. Roger Kimball has a modest proposal

OK, fine. Why doesn’t he set an example and invest some yet-to-be-determined billions of dollars from the union pension funds in (for example) Greek bonds? Why doesn’t Paul Krugman, who is always wanting the our government to confiscate more of your money to spend on stuff, allocate, say, 50 percent of his retirement fund to Greek bonds? The New York Times should follow suit, as should other individuals and entities who have been loudly demanding we spend more to “stimulate” our way out of debt. Just a thought . . .

It’s different when the government bilks you.

And it turns out that if Congress used the same rules for calculating debt that it forces the rest of is... well there'd be a few extra trillion dollars worth of debt for this year. Details Details.

Why doesn’t Congress follow the same accounting rules for its unfunded future liabilities that it requires of businesses and lower levels of government? The long answer is that these liabilities are arguably not incurred until the federal government pays them. Congress can change the statutes governing Medicare and Social Security at any time to reduce or eliminate these future liabilities. Therefore, the official budget numbers only account for the liabilities that come due in the same budget cycle. In fact, USA Today gets that exact explanation from an analyst at the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which tells us where a great deal of the problem originates.

The short answer? Because they want to get re-elected, that’s why. And the same politicians who screech about corporate malpractice and fraud are the same politicians who insist that there really isn’t an entitlement crisis, and that we’ll be totally OK until 2034, or 2068, or the year 2525, if man is still alive and woman can survive, etc etc etc.

It’s different when the government bilks you.

And when it comes to equity... well Obama's got no experince with private equity, but he has a bunch in the last 3 years with public, hey it's different when he spends your money.

After all, if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity — and that record is not pretty.

Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions.

See a list of failed "energy" companies that seemed only able to burn money.

Amazingly, Obama has declared that all the projects received funding “based solely on their merits.” But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, “Throw Them All Out,” fully 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. Obama said this week it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine.

Clearly, for the right people, investing in Obama, in goverment, is the way to go. You can get a great return for just a little juice!

It’s different when the government bilks you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sure, sure but what happens once they're inside?

Via tonight's Ace of Spades Over Night Thread here's 22 Things a Burglar Would Never Tell you.

Good advice, but it's almost all aimed with the idea that if you're home a burglar won't try to come in.
Which is true... for some.

For others, they won't care if you're home or not.

Well take this one: "21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in."

Okay, homeowner now what? A strange person has just waltzed into your house.

And while the next bit advice on using the car alarm on your key chain fob will actually start some noise... then what?

You still have a hostile in your house with you. You can hope he'll run, and that's for the best, but what if he doesn't?

You better not count on the discretion and social graces of a person freely willing to break the most basic of social compacts.

Carry your damn guns!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Welfare State.... a remarkably effective way to run a police state."

So Lybia's rebuilding itself, and there's been some issues, among them, the welfare checks.
Yes, really:

Meanwhile most Libyans want their Kaddafi-era welfare state back, but bigger and better. Kaddafi held power for so long, despite his bizarre behavior and mismanagement, by spending over half the oil income on a shabby, but effective, welfare state. Anyone who misbehaved had their benefits cut off. But Kaddafi would also cut benefits for the extended family of those who opposed him. This was a remarkably effective way to run a police state. With Kaddafi and his secret police gone, people want their welfare state and not a shabby one either. But without control of the entire country, the interim government has no way to deliver the expected goodies.

Emphasis added. It seems all so familiar. Like how pre-revolution Libya had an unemployment rate of 30%.

Yet there are over a million foreign workers in Libya, and a million government employees. The foreigners comprise 20 percent of the population, and nearly half the workforce. There are plenty of jobs for Libyans, but most of the jobs require work most Libyans will not do. As a result, most of the jobs are held by foreigners, often illegal immigrants from Egypt and other African nations to the south. A revolution is unlikely to change this.

That article was published over a year ago. They were right.

This is not an unusual situation in the Arab oil states. In Saudi Arabia, the unemployment rate is 12 percent, but many of those men are unemployed by choice. Arabs tend to have a very high opinion of themselves, and most jobs available to poorly educated young men, do not satisfy. Thus most Saudis, and Libyans, prefer a government job, where the work is easy, the pay is good, the title is flattering, and life is boring. In the non-government sector of the economy, 90 percent of the Saudi jobs are taken by foreigners.

Well, nice to see that special snowflake syndrome isn't limited to the West. Yay for the common bond of countries full of entitled, cretinous, arrogant louts.

But hey at least "The oil industry has made a rapid recovery from the damage inflicted during last year's rebellion."

I'm not one to say "Lets go into Syria" but it is telling that Nato and the Euros aren't as keen on that war, but were right gung ho about Libya. Meanwhile US Anti-War protesters don't care, but once they shrugged at Gitmo still being open their principals were made abundantly clear.


So here's the drama llama on Open Carry and California deciding to go the extra mile and go from banning open carry of loaded firearms to banning even carry of unloaded.

Basically, some folks are blaming Open Carriers for getting OC banned... by open carrying. Course this fellow, Rob Pincus, is a not new to Drama Llama with his Barnumesque tone on 1911 challenges and his habit of putting camera men downrange.

Well, if expressing your right gets it removed, then you didn't really have that right did you?

Robb Allen has a lot of good thoughts, on Open Carry and how to be persuasive when you want to get political change (Like say legalizing Open Carry) and on not being a dick about it.

I do idly wonder what their thoughts are on states where Open Carry is already legal. Is it seen as counter productive to OC when it is fully legal? Or is it only when OC is limited (to say camping of fishing) that it is a protest and considered questionable?

Oh and look, California is planning to close the "bullet button" loophole. State Senator Yee makes himself "Cystal Clear":

It is extremely important that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear, there is no debate, no discussion.

State Senator Leland Yee
May 20, 2012

That's where a weapon isn't an "assault rifle" because you need a "tool" to remove the magazine.

I wonder if the folks behind the bullet button will get blamed when Cali bans all magazines that can be removed by any means. Here's a hint go to that link and read what State Senator Leland Yee thinks about "assault weapons" and about the rights of the proles within his barony.

Now keep in mind how very strongly State Sen Yee feels about Assault Weapons, and go here and look at this illustration of what an Assault Weapon is compared to "normal" rifles.

Senator is either ignorant or duplicitous, and neither is comforting given he feels there is "no debate, no discussion" on his "crystal clear" stance "that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons."

I really don't care about Rob Pincus or Caleb Giddings getting their Llama on. It's a shame as it distracts from the central problem of who is ThikuftheChildren busybody that's actually restricting liberty.

The whole point of having liberty is that you are free to make mistakes and be wrong and be a jerk, provided you do not infringe on other. And then you are punished after the fact and after due process.

If people are only free to be "good little citizens" then they're not free. And that counts if your idea being good goes from Green to Progressive to Jesus to Concealed Carry to Revolvers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

War Buddies.

I got nothin' today, so read Steven Green's telling of "A Marine and His Dog."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Winning? Part: Bloomberg Business Week

Here's their "Open Carry" Gun Owner's Starter Kit

And they actually hit all the right notes: gun, holster, belt, defensive ammunition, spare magazines, and as an extra voice and video recording.

Of note they talk about carrying 17 round magazines, without any snark or talking down of "high capacity magazines", or "no one would need that many bullets". Instead those 17 rounds are just the normal capacity of the Glock in question.

There's also no snide commentary on hollow points, instead letting it stand that "they expand into the first thing they strike—whether it’s a bad guy or a wall. It provides greater safety. And it helps stop the threat more quickly.”

The article itself is actually a good little primer on what you want in a holster, belt, and the like. Interesting progress.

Collectivize Farmville! Twitter pay my Student Loans! Limit Human Potential! or I wonder if these are related.

Apparently Ezra Klein is reenacting his Bourbon Bolshevism by demanding Facebook hand over the means of production. I do find it adorable that people voluntarily using a free service specifically designed to make money off of the said use is "The Story of Modern Income Inequality".

Wow Ezra, you discovered that unless one is paying for a service you're not its customer. Instead your part of the company's product that it sells to its real costumers. Like how Google sells access for advertisers of how the evil Facebook does the same or... MSNBC does the same too.

But it doesn't matter, the babble about "exploiting the workers" sells very well on people that want to feel that they are exploited, and as a bonus can do it without having any coal under their nails. Collectivize Farmville! Or as Tam snarks:

The idea that this garbage still sells in a world that has already traveled the historical arc from the storming of the Winter Palace to the fall of the Berlin Wall is just damned depressing. Rather than having to root out the last bolshevik holdouts from the cellars of the Lubyanka, we'll need to dig them out of the third floor of 30 Rock.

If Ezra really hates the Facebooks well... he doesn't have to use it.

Seriously, there's no "Social Media Mandate" he can keep on trucking and push for his viewers to abandon the service and maybe try to have MSNBC pull any sponsorship of what have. Not using a product because you do not like it is perfectly cromulent.

Though I can see Ezra also pulling for congressional investigation into "predatory meme posting".

Maybe he could have Face Book go all Myspace, and replace it with Ezra's more "equitable" means where each poster owns the means of production.

You know, split that IPO among every user. Though I suspect that if Ezra had his own Social Media page he'd be just as stingy with that money as he is at hitting Tam's tip jar. Though as Tam points out: : "The Rich" = "Anyone Who Makes More Than Me".

Meanwhile we see something that I'm sure is purely coincidental of the "Facebook Generation":

The majority of the 79 million U.S. Millennials are either unemployed, underpaid, or weighed down with student loans. One in four Millennials, for instance, has more debt than savings, according to Some 94% of college students currently graduate with debt. The current unemployment rate among workers ages 20-24 is 13%, compared to 8% for older workers, according to the most recent economic data.

At the same time, Millennial college students (without full-time jobs) spend $784 a month on discretionary expenses, especially food and entertainment, according to the Mooslyvania marketing agency. Millennials are the largest demographic purchasing new technological gadgets and fashion apparel. And their spending on jewelry increased 27% in 2011, according to American Express Business Insights.

Though as David Swindle notes: "it’s not like our predecessors did any better." And shows a big old national debt cliff.

And if you want more economic mercantilism here's Robb Allen on an article by the Greens who want you to starve in the dark and be ignorant of it.

It’s not just resources that are limited, in the WWF’s view: human potential itself is up against a hard limit beyond which the race cannot ever advance. Even progress thus far, as seen in the wealthy nations, has been achieved only by an unfair and wasteful over-use of precious resources: we rich Westerners are already beyond the practical limits that humans should ever aspire to achieve in terms of health, wealth – and even of education.

My religion offers salvation, theirs offers starvation. And they know this. And they want this. Not for themselves, mind you – they’ll be rationalizing away on how they require a better standard of living so as to ensure you do not. They would prefer (other) humans die off en masse so that… uh… metal can stay in the ground?

Emphasis in original.

The World Wildlife Foundation is litterally saying that us Westerners are getting smarter (or at least more educated) at the cost of the rest of the planet.

Really? Yeah the cost of education is a gigantic fiscal drain and a huge debt bomb, but I don't see American colleges working by stealing books and lab equipment and money from Indonesian schools.

Scratch a progressive and you'll find an aristocrat whining about how the proles don't "know their place".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ed Driscoll: "Was Obama Himself the First Birther?"

Ed asks the question in this digest post.

It certainly looked like Obama fudged his biography a bit to make himself seem a bit more exotic when it suited his needs. And then later on evolved his back when the false position was no longer needed.

Welp, wouldn't be the first time a Liberal claimed extra, and undeserved, minority status.

I'm wondering if there'll be a cute name for people that still believe that Elizabeth Warren is really a Cherokee.... other than Mrs. Warren...

And again... it's rather pathetic and sad. But it is rather funny.

I didn't do it! It was the butterfly!

So Staffers on the Obama Administration can't admit that they added paragraphs about Obama to the biographies of the last 15 presidents (excluding Ford for some reason).
For you see... "No biographies have been altered. We simply added links at the bottom of each page to related content, which is a commonly used best practice to encourage people to browse more pages on a site."

They just added some links. The paragraph about Obama appeneded to every post Coolidge Biography (save Ford's) well that was done by someone else.

Who you may ask? Well. Not them. Possibly by gnomes, or maybe it was done by the outgoing Bush administration that was feeling generous... and had time travel.

This is both creepy, sad, and pathetic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's like they want History to be boring...

For many years I did French and Indian war to Revolutionary War reenactments and living history (fancy talk for dressing up in period clothes and camping out in period tents and having fun with drink and flinklock shoots (not at the same time)).

As such I have more of a living history perspective of the period and it's breathtaking changes and developments. But this bit by Cracked is a neat start: 6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America.

One of the saddest things about Political Correctness is how boring it makes things. The PC versions of History and Literature are even duller and more die-cut than the old "Go Go USA" versions.

Monday, May 14, 2012

For your own good, for the Greater Good.

When you think you're working with a "higher purpose" you can exuse alot of behaviour on the part of you and your allies. Not only can you tell yourself that the ends justify the means, but you can say that your special mission entitles you to dispensation. That you deserve such rewards and that your moral purity ensures that you can enjoy such riches without being corrupted.

It's like how an avowed socialist and hater of the rich can enjoy his own wealth and multiple luxury homes on the riviara. Or as Andrew Klavan points out, the media can freely lie:

So to re-cap: a make-believe story from a make-believe newspaper heaped make-believe shame on Mitt Romney in the face of Obama’s pretending to abandon his make-believe opposition to gay marriage to instead adopt a make-believe states’ rights stand in an interview with a make-believe reporter which in turn led a make-believe news magazine to run a picture of Obama as a make-believe angel which should go well with other MSM pictures of Obama as a make-believe Lincoln, a make-believe FDR and a make-believe friend of Ronald Reagan. One thing you have to admire about the leftist MSM, when it comes to this president: They are supplying us with all the make-believe that’s fit to print.

And that’s good! Because leftists are good. So if they have to lie or twist or distort the facts to fool the ignorant populace into accepting their programs and ideas, that’s a /good/ thing. Because their programs and ideas are good. If they weren’t good, they wouldn’t lie about them, because then they would just be corrupt, dishonest, morally desiccated purveyors of disinformation who aren’t making an honest living but instead go to work each morning intending to mislead an audience they despise. And that’s not possible. Because they’re good.

The whole point of Nanny Statism (Eitehr Mommy-Dem State or Daddy-Rep State) is that the proles "need" their moral betters to take care of them.

If one could get the proles to act sensibly by simply explaining things to them, then they'd already be acting like good little Progressives or Good little Charlie Churches. Coercive force on the State wouldn't be needed.

But things are not that way.And if they need things told in a way that's a bit simplistic or helps appeal their baser natures, or isn't even true... well, that's just a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

And if they still won't do what's good for them... well that's why the State is Empowered to do the People's Work. But since our masters are good they'd rather not have their hands forced; they'd rather you get with the program, even if you don't know what the program is and simply put your trust in their wisdom.

Thus lies in the service of "the greater good" are not only acceptable but morally required.

It's for the greater good you see.

Richard Fernandez on some malaise being felt. In Wisconsin and elswehere.
That is the sound of Independent eating crow, together with much of the British Left, who were utterly wrong on the Euro. Not entirely though. The Independent adds, “but we cannot allow them [those whose whose name must not be mentioned] to claim the euro’s failure as a vindication of their entire world view.” Just because the Left were wrong on the minor issue of the Euro doesn’t mean they aren’t right on 99% of everything else. Of course not. Who would have thought it?


Who moved the cheese? The Republicans? Hardly. They are far too incompetent for that. The probable answer is that technological change, cultural diffusion and market forces were behind the switch. That is why Central Planning does so poorly. Things never work out quite the way they are planned.

It's fitting that so much of the central planner's energy is devoted to squashing such developments, especially those that empower the individual.

Such as done here, can't have another Edison, Jobs, or Ford.

And watch for the ending line to tie it all together. "If I wanted America to fail, I would have to convince them that all of this, was for the greater good."

More from Fernandez on the rules our betters make for us and exempt for themselves.
Bryan Preston at the Tatler notes that President Obama is off to raise money on Wall Street right after denouncing them as greedy SOBs. The ability of certain politicians to live a caviar lifestyle while remaining true to their proletarian goals is a skill that should excite admiration in all. Take the new French President Francois Hollande. Hollande, who heads the French Socialist Party, has three homes on the Riviera, and is living with a beautiful former journalist, Valérie Trierweiler.

Hollande is described by the Guardian as ” a moderate, jovial, moped-riding Joe Average”. But in addition to Trierweiler, who is quite an eyeful, is quite able to nominate his wife — they are still married – Segolene Royale — yet another eyeful — to his cabinet, making her the “most powerful woman in France”.

If they allow such indulgences in their personal behavior one should not think they'd be so... regimented and pure in their policies, no?

But maybe there's some hope...

10^27 meters to 10^-31 meters

Yup, that's about it.

Via GBC.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Least the PetSmart was open today....

...the other three places I went to for errands were either not open yet, closed on Sundays, or closed for the day. Ah well.

Here, have a ReAnimator music video:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Allegorical Threat is Through the Roof!

So take this idea:

And via Atomic Nerds, listen to 25 minutes of Cave Johnson guiding you through your testing adventures on alternate earths. It's a bunch of semi-random commentary for new content for Portal 2, but there's a bit of a narrative at work... if you squint hard enough.

If you think Aperture Science's CEO is great, just wait until you see some of his alternate universe selves.

Gotta love the references. Creepy kids, Mantis Cave, Black Mesa Cave, Wasteland Cave, J. Claims Rep. Cave, Michigan Slim Cave Johnson Hobo King, and my favorite Big-Box Cave. Aperture Paranormal, Aperture Rituals, Aperture Hollow Science Jungle, Game of Cat and... Cat. Stop Imposting! And the asparagus rations! All Hail the Sentient Cloud. Air ducts aren't a secret escape hatch.. they're how we ventilate the facility.

Chariots. Chariots. Chariots.

Friday, May 11, 2012

But my wealth isn't evil!

France's incoming President Hollande is well known for railing aginst the rich and thinking that "Finance" is a grave threat to the world.

Well... prepare for your shocked face:

France’s new Socialist president owns three holiday homes in the glamorous Riviera resort of Cannes, it emerged today.

The 57-year-old who ‘dislikes the rich’ and wants to revolutionise his country with high taxes and an onslaught against bankers is in fact hugely wealthy himself.
As well as the spacious Paris apartment he shares with his lover Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande owns a palatial villa in Mougins, the prestigious hill-top Cannes suburb where the artist Pablo Picasso used to live.

It is valued by the Official Journal at €800,000 (£642,000), and is just a short drive from Hollande’s two flats in the Cannes. They are each priced at €230,000 (£185,000) and €140,000 (£112,000).

Hollande has promised to cut his pay by 30 per cent after he is officially sworn in as President next week, but he will still be on €156,000 (£125,000) a year, plus fabulous expenses and other perks.

You'd think if your bit was screaming about the rich and how their greed is ruining the world, you'd be able to limit yourself to just one luxury home in Cannes...

They just can't help themselves can they?

Someone did bring up a point that spending wealth could be more "helpful" than simply retaining it, but somehow, somehow, I doubt an out and out Socialist would use trickle-down economics to justify his own riches.

Via Jammie Wearing Fool.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apricots, Rose, Bench, Dog

Camera's on it's last legs, needs duct tape to keep the batteries in, but it works enough for me to take pictures with no sense of lighting or much else.

Here's Joe inspecting the apricots. Didn't lose to many in the storms earlier this week.

A rose bush that has actually managed to survive. Then again roses are tough.

My workbench complete with my Franken Turret.

Joe is not impressed.

Silly Knife Laws

More from Jay G:

It has always struck me as the height of insanity that my MA LTC allows me to carry pretty much any handgun that I want, yet I cannot carry a knife with a 3" blade that has a little spring inside it to help the blade deploy. Ditto a knife with a double-edge, a balisong, or a gravity knife. This isn't limited to MA, either - there are many states where assisted openers or other types of knives are illegal, yet CCW permits are issued. Some states have it right and cover everything under the CCW - concealed carry weapon being the operative word. Others, like New Hampshire, have removed all prohibitions on knives so they can be carried regardless.

And it's yet another thing to be aware of when traveling across the country.

And it's not just Massachusetts being dumb. Lots of states have this sillyness.

For example in the Indiana Code on Prohibited Instruments:

IC 35-47-5-2
Knife with blade that opens automatically or may be propelled
Sec. 2. It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to manufacture, possess, display, offer, sell, lend, give away, or purchase any knife with a blade that:
(1) opens automatically; or
(2) may be propelled;
by hand pressure applied to a button, device containing gas, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife.

Mind you, Indiana is a Shall Issue state with no training requirements, lifetime permits and equal standing on Open Carry versus Concealed Carry. Oh and machine guns are legal here, but not throwing stars or short barreled shot guns.

And yes, there is a Knife Rights group.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You know McAfee...

When there's pages dedicated to how to force the removal of your Virus Software, you might be doing it wrong.

Also having a bloated anti-virus scanner on a netbook is one thing, but having it constantly pester for registration and purchase while not responding to commands is another.

You see, when you push the sale too hard, people will take the effort just to spite you and go with a competitor Especially when the product is lousy too.

As a bonus, the little Lappy runs a loot smoother and has such a small footprint I can keep on my workbench without interfering with the press, vise, or any of my tools.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The most interesting part...

Of this trailer is that it's not selectively edited. Yeah... the big two parter season openers and finales of the new My Little Pony series really are like that.

MLP is less "just for girls", vampires are for girls (okay that's insulting to women, Twilight is... just creepy), and 2nd String Marvel characters get their own interlocking movie series building up to a massive team-up film.

And yet another "permanent" Senator got primaried. Right now, I'm betting Dick Lugar's kicking himself for not leasing a studio apartment in Indianapolis or plopping a double-wide on his family's land. But I suppose he felt he was too important to bother with minor details like residency.

Also my Acer netbook came in. It's intersting what technology can bring. As even at being a much smaller size, this machine is better in all metrics than the previous laptops I've been using. It even has a better keyboard. The only thing is that it's got an 11 inch screen, but I think that will be sufficient for my needs. Especially as a supplemental machine.

Due Process? We don't need no stinking Due Process.

Weerd Notes the Antis being all angry that we're not living in the kind of State where the Police can do whatever they want.

Specifically the CSGV is angry that the police have to obey such pesky rules like Due Process and Search and Seizure. You see they're angry that the Police can't just round up the folks that we know are "just guilty". So that's hating the 4th and 5th in addition to the 2nd Amendment.

Once you start thinking that the Police are the "Only Ones" that can be armed, it doesn't take long for you to think that they're the "Only Ones" fit to have other rights.

Meanwhile the Bradies are having a fit because a Mayor can ban some items but he can't ban guns.

Update: Here's Ace talking about how when the State becomes the Parent, the citizen becomes the child. And now the busybodies and "experts" want to mandate exercise and diets. Because it'll save money on healthcare, which is now the government's responsibility.

When the biologist Daniel Lieberman suggested in a public lecture at Harvard this past February that exercise for everyone should be mandated by law, the audience applauded, the Harvard Gazette reported.
Not even a more-in-sadness-than-anger resignation to the idea that freedom must be abolished -- no, they're positively giddy about it!

They would strip the freedoms away from Americans to vindicate a busybody impulse to slim people down?

If they're willing to jettison freedom over so trivial a reason -- what reason wouldn't justify ending the American birthright of freedom?

What would not, in their eyes, justify the coercive power of the state squashing individual autonomy?

Just think of the logistics on how such a scheme would be enforced. The limits on free speech required to remove "obesity promoting environments". The regulations and rationing of food. The inspections of homes and restaurants. Mandatory weighing?

Also note that states that have nationalized healthcare and even full on Police States usually don't go this far.

To describe such a petty, greedy, all-encompassing State, one has to use the term Orwellian. And yet these clowns clap and cheer such ideas.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Well... I was warned...

When you're given a laptop and warned that it gets a bit hot that's a thing.

Thankfully I didn't have anything that was not backed up on it when the Toshiba fried its wireless and got its ram bad. Shame was it was a pretty good laptop, but man it was a hot bugger.

Now I know why.

Moral of the story? Backup your files. Especially if your machine starts to act out of normal, strange noises, odd performance, getting hotter and hotter.

Keep your data safe.

Lies People Tell Themselves

On an interview with Ed Driscoll about his latest book "The Tyranny of Cliches, Jonah Goldberg notes an interesting observation.

DRISCOLL: And how will skeptics receive the new book’s subtitle, “How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas”? I mean, don’t both sides speak in clichés?

GOLDBERG: Well, yes. And if I—and you know, I want to be clear about this. Both sides have buzz phrases. Both sides have bumper stickers. Both sides use sound bites, all that kind of stuff. The fundamental difference between the Left and the Right, as I argue in the first few chapters of The Tyranny of Clichés, is that conservatives and libertarians, and I’ll concede, Marxists and socialists—but how many Marxists and socialists are left out, you know, in the wild these days; they’re basically all in captivity on college campuses.

But libertarians and conservatives, unlike mainstream liberals or progressives, are open and fairly honest about the fact that they have an ideology. We say, these are our first principles. We wear Adam Smith ties. We dork out like Dungeons & Dragons geeks about, you know, our founding texts. We have arguments about what Ayn Rand would say, or what Whittaker Chambers would say, or whether or not Edmund Burke would agree with this, that or the other thing.

Liberals—and this is a point that, you know, people like E.J. Dionne and Martin Peretz and a lot of liberal intellectuals will concede—liberals don’t have the same relationship with their intellectual history, with their ideology. They deny that they have one.

And so this is the key distinction. Where, you know, conservatives may use buzz phrases; they certainly may use clichés, and sometimes they use them badly. I mean, I can’t tell you how many conservatives misuse fascism to this day. But at the end of the day, you talk to a conservative, you say well, look, here are my principles; here’s where I’m coming from and all of the rest. Liberals claim that they’re pragmatists, that they’re empiricists, or that they’re fact finders, that they only care about what works, and they just wish we crazies on the Right would drop all of these labels and these ideological, you know, squabbles, so that we could get busy doing the work the American people sent us to Washington to do and all that sort of nonsense. And that is a monumental lie.

And it’s first and foremost a lie liberals tell to themselves. The idea that liberals aren’t ideological is just nonsense on stilts. And I don’t mind that liberals are ideological. What I mind is that they won’t admit it. It’s sort of like liberal media bias. I don’t mind that—I don’t really care that much that the mainstream media is biased at this point, you know. I mean, that’s something we’ve learned to live with. What bothers me is—what really drives me to distraction is the way mainstream journalists deny that liberal media bias even exists.
Emphasis added.
It is a very handy denial. If you say that your views are based entirely on pargmatic, emperial, rationalism, then anyone that disagrees with you *has* to be stupid, evil, or if one is feeling generous simply ignornat.

And that's where the idea that Republicans (or anyone that disagrees with Liberal Dogma) have to be either evil or stupid. Because they deny what's "common sense".

And as Richard Fernandez points out, nothing is more ossifying than that concept.

Because they don’t know anything else. Because it has seemed to work for so long they don’t know how to do anything else. Because it has always been a case of “heads we win, tails the public loses”. Both the “populist left” and the “centre-right” drink from the same river of public funds. The sole distinction is that while the first fatten one set of cronies, the second fattens a slightly different set of cronies.

And the worse things get, the likelier people are to demand the high-tax, high-spend policies which caused the mess. The eurozone is now in a vicious circle,” Hannan concludes. The cure, having caused the disease, will be used to treat the disease.

It's like how many antis think you can "shoot to wound" and thus anytime someone kills another in self defense it's an act of wanton murder. Of course wounding an attacker would also be seen as horrid because "voilence never solves anything".

Which conveniently, Goldberg addresses in the interview:

I mean, there’s no—there’s nothing a conservative regularly says that is more wildly radically extremist in its ideological assumptions than, say, violence never solved anything. I mean, that is the most idiotic, wildly, radically ideological reality-distorting conviction, if you actually believe it. And yet they say they believe it, and at the same time they claim that it’s not ideological at all.

Conversely a criminal killing in agression is simply a poor soul being driven by social factors.

He also highlights the insanity of "Social Darwinism"

Yeah, this is, you know—this is a good example of the sort of—the spinoffs from Liberal Fascism. One of the things, when you start studying fascism, that you have to deal with, is this thing called “social Darwinism.” And you’re constantly told in various, you know, textbooks and all the rest, that Nazism was a doctrine of social Darwinism. And at the same time, we’re told that the Robber Barons and people like Herbert Spencer were champions of something called social Darwinism in the United States.

And there’s a huge disconnect here. Right? I mean, it sort of gets at sort of the same problem you have where people call libertarians fascists. You know, a libertarian fascist is almost, by definition, an oxymoron. Hitler was not a real leave-’em-alone kind of guy.

And that’s part of the distinction here, is that social Darwinism, in the European context, basically means Hitlerism and racial eugenics and state—you know, and state cruelty and invading countries to impress upon them, you know, Aryan superiority and all that nonsense.

But in the United States Social Darwinism, if it means what Herbert Spencer believed in, is wildly, radical libertarianism. Herbert Spencer was a soaked-to-the-bone libertarian who opposed imperialism, favored women’s suffrage, was a huge champion of private charity. And he is routinely denounced as this social Darwinist who wanted the poor to suffer; and sort of, somehow his ideas gave fruit to Nazism, which is just an unbelievable slander. In many ways, Herbert Spencer is the most maligned public intellectual of the nineteenth century.

But here’s the bigger problem. There was no such thing called social Darwinism in the United States. Herbert Spencer never called himself a social Darwinist. William Graham Sumner, his sort of sidekick in the alleged school of social Darwinism, never called himself a social Darwinist. Spencer never even called himself a Darwinist. He had a different theory of evolution."
Emphasis added.
And when it comes down to it Social Darwinism has no coherent believe system and no one that really praciced it. The Nazis were Social Darwinist, Corporatist, and Eugenicist? Right, that makes sense.

And the term was essentially invented by defenders or practitioners of reform Darwinism, which was essentially eugenics, which wanted to interfere in the warp and woof of society, which wanted to cull out the unfit and all of the rest. It was an invidious way to describe non-socialists.

Indeed it was Jonah.

Again this isn't Rah-Rah go-Conservatives. But even Social Cons will admit that they're operating from a bias. Even if it is Lovin' some Big-State Pappa Jesus.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

When the guy sayin' the we can get all our fill by cutting into the dike's starts looking at boats...

So late Friday, Mr. A stopped by and dropped an interesting idea. He's worried about the USD losing it's reserve currency status and wanting to diversify his assets to mitigate risk.

Perfectly prudent. Though one of his ideas (hopefully jokingly) was World of Warcraft gold. Then again he was also thinking of flipping silverware and doing used cars.

But what's interesting is Mr. A, who is very pro single payer (medical care is different!), and gets very angry when you suggest he voluntarily pay the tax rate he demands that he should have to pay at (Where have we seen that before?).

In short, Mr A is a wannabee-Limousine liberal (he's not quite that well-to-do but he has the attitude and he'll do every trick in the book to get as rich as he can), and a fan of the Campaign-Socialists (he's not quite that radical in "smash the corporations" because -well- he likes his money).

Though the label he wears proudly is "Tax and Spend Democrat". And it's a neat trick. You see he gets to claim all these social policies and government spending is fiscally responsible. Because he wants to increase taxation hand in hand with spending.

But what happens when congress fails to get the tax rate hike? Well, the fiscally responsible thing would be to postpone increased spending until you can secure the money to pay for it. Right?

Nope, Mr. A claims that the Federal Goverment has a duty to spend more anyway. To ensure that all Americans have a First World class life. Yeah... he though the Julia's Life story was gangbusters.

So there you have a man that has pushes and screamed all his political life for more government spending and debt preparing to move his money to escape the consequences.

But hey, the guy does dream of being a full Limousine liberal, and if you've got the money you can insulate yourself from such fiscal calamities.

The poor and middle class? Well, the government can take care of them all. And if it doesn't? And the dike breaks? Who cares, he's bought his boat.

It's one thing to prepare for a disaster, it's another to prepare for it while agitating to ensure it occurs.

Field Engineering: You're doing it right.

Here's an article on the development, design, and deployment of the Army's "Ironman" system. Which is basically putting a belt of ammunition in a backpack and connecting it to a machine gun via a flexible linkage.

All modular, all off the shelf, and very effective and cool. Bravo.

Update: Here's some more photos and a claim that the field developed version is a copy of an existing prototype.

If true undercuts the point, though the first link seems to point more to parallel development, as it has been a commonly seen idea.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just in Time...

I was casting today.

Just as I was draining the leftover lead it started raining. Wasn't a direct problem since I had an awning over the molten lead.

Still got a bit over 50 255 grain and 50 230 grain 0.452 diameter bullets. Also was able to use the hardness tester to see the effect of "hot" cast bullets versus casting at the normal temperature.

Paying Forward If you want to donate to something

If you want to donate to a good cause. Jamie Chambers's sister Bambie lost her house, no injuries but her and his family have lost their possessions.

I'm not familiar with his work, but I'm passing along the notice, and every bit helps.

Information here, and here.

Edit: *Coughs*I goofed on the house and pronouns. Too early for posting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aviation History Can be Hilarious.

Today on Cracked: Five Recklessly Stupid Attempts at Human Flight that Worked.

For a given value of "worked".

And just yesterday I was linking to Steven Green

Well... Trifecta is a mite behind the times, just figuring out about this whole Brony thing.

The good parts:

They do point out the original Big Hollywood article was needlessly insulting and over generalized.

Bill Whittle has excellent points on the increasing trend of escapism and Peter-Pan syndrome. And that My Little Pony is no different from Starwars obsession and mentions his own past Star Trek cosplay. Kinda wish Bill put up a photo of him wearing Spok ears.

Referencing Obama's base via rainbow-farting-unicorns.

The bad parts:

No footage at all from the show itself. That shows a pretty thin setup on exactly why someone might actually like it. And betrays a deep ignorance of the show itself (like how the main characters are actually adults with careers and responsibilities and the like).

Misuse of the term "Brony" which means any adult fan instead being used to talk about people dangerously obsessed with the show.

A lack of realization that the series creator Lauren Faust intended the show to have broad appeal.

All together it comes off like saying all Star Trek fans are basement dwelling loners. Or all anime fans are emotionally stunted perverts. Or that D&D players are all garage-living Satan worshipers.

I got a real Mazes and Monsters vibe of people who have no idea what they're talking about recoiling at folks having fun with something they find really strange.

Which is a shame as Whittle has a really good point.

One problem I see with us Bronies is being too aggressive getting people to watch and defensive with critics. The latter is self-explanatory, but the former is interesting. Very few Bronies started out as fans of My Little Pony, and most can't stand to watch the previous generations of the show. They are much worse with insipid characters and hideous animation.

So for the vast majority of the fans there was a conversion from hating MLP and not wanting to watch, to being apprehensive to watching, to watching, to being a fan. Thus many Bronies see any non-fan as a potential fan.

Which is not true, and can be a bit annoying to non-Bronies.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Word of the Day: Ostalgie

Meaning: Nostalgia for East Germany, combination of the German word for East and nostalgia.

We'll get to this phenomena in a sec, but first Steven Green talks of his experiences in West and East Berlin. He recalls how shoddy, impoverished and oppressive the whole experience was:
Later, Doc Kalmar — our German teacher and tour guide — told us all something very simple and very profound. “That was the wealthiest city in the wealthiest communist country in the world.”

East Berlin was the height of Communist achievement. That was their shining city on a hill — a place where a bunch of rowdy teenage boys were hard-pressed to spend a dime each. And every other communist city in the world was even worse off. Typically, much worse.

Now go look through Koppelkamm’s entire photo essay with that in mind. Remember, too, just how quickly capitalism was able to repair decades of communist mismanagement. These photos weren’t taken decades apart. Some of them showed the difference less than ten years could make. Just ten years to lift 17 million people out of 40 years of grinding poverty.

And from a comment: “Communism is powerful, powerful stuff. So powerful it managed to spread laziness, poverty, and hideously poor engineering in a country populated entirely by Germans.”

You'd think that with an almost scientific example of a culture a people split into two test cases 1 Communist, 1 Not that the effects of Communism would be obvious. Korea is another prime example.

But no, some people miss it.
For example take this line in the Wikipedia page on Ostalgie: "Before 1990, there was no unemployment or poverty in the eastern part of Germany."

Get that? Don't believe your lying eyes, there was no poverty and no unemployment. See mandates work! People will do the jobs they're given if the penalty for not doing it is prison or worse.

What's scary is this nostalgia is not just for naive useful idiots and fellow travelers who never felt the communist boot on their throats:

The renowned West-German magazine Der Spiegel asked former GDR-inhabitants whether the GDR "was the better state" (compared to present-day Germany), 57% of them answered yes. To the statement of the interviewing journalist that "GDR inhabitants did not have the freedom to travel wherever they wanted", Germans replied that "present-day low-wage workers do not have that freedom either".

Get that? The State making it a crime for a person to travel at their pleasure is morally equivalent to a person not being able to afford to travel at their pleasure.

I guess some find the boot on their neck to be a comfort. Sure they may be impoverished and oppressed, but at least everyone is equally impoverishment and oppressed, save for the nomenklatura but they've got the people's interests in mind.

I'm reminded of this Soviet-Era joke:

A Frenchman, and Englishman and a Russian were each granted a wish.

The Frenchman says, "My neighbour has a beautiful teenage mistress, and I haven't even got a girlfriend. I would like a beautiful teenage mistress too."

"No problem," says the genie.

The Englishman says, "My neighbour has a Rolls Royce, and I haven't even got a car. I'd like a Rolls Royce too."

"No problem," says the genie.

The Russian says, "My neighbour has a goat, and I have no goat. Kill my neighbour's goat..."

The poor worker can't afford to move to a better city? The solution is simple: make unauthorized movement illegal.

The poor worker has no job? The solution is simple: tell everyone what their job is and make it illegal to quit.

The poor worker is poor? The solution is simple: Declare that he's no longer poor.

There are people that when released from prison will go out and commit another crime to get back in. There are people that want to be treated like babies and will pay others to indulge their fantasies.

And then there are those that dream of putting all of society in such a crib.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cracked on Insurance or Obamacare's like mandating BestBuy extended warranties

As part of their 5 Every Day Rip Offs that are Surprisingly Easy to Avoid.

Number 3 is Extended Warranties with this sage adivce: Don't Buy them

The insurance company figures this Uh-Oh has a 1 in 10 chance of happening each year, and if it does, it will cost $1,000 dollars. The insurance company will conclude that this insurance should cost them about $100 a year, and will then offer it to you for $150 a year with an enormous smile.

That's not completely unreasonable, incidentally. They obviously have to cover their overhead, the costs of maintaining all those nerds and spreadsheets, and they certainly have a right to make a profit. But you also have the right to not overpay for shit.

Now, in some cases, you should really still buy insurance. For things like home insurance, or life insurance, or car insurance, where you couldn't afford the costs of an Uh-Oh, then insurance is usually a prudent idea. It spreads out the costs of the Uh-Oh into small, bite-sized chunks. But if the Uh-Oh is less big -- more of a Meh-Oh, I guess -- where you can afford the costs, there's a concept called "self-insurance" you should know. This basically says, "Don't buy the damned insurance, Chester." The money you save by not buying it will more than offset the costs you'll incur. Losing a television would suck ...

As they point out there are some things you want insurance for but there's other things where it's not worth it. Basically if the bet is too small (Meh-Oh) or if its not a bet like say Gas-"Insurance". You know you're going to be buying gasoline.

The comparison to health care is obvious.

And before people scream "but Healthcare is different!" why yes it is, see the car/home/life matrix. In that case a catastrophic policy or major medical that covers something big would make sense.

And yes it's just a coincidence that Obamacare bans major medical policies. No, you have to buy a full comprehensive insurance no matter your needs. So yes, Obamacare is like forcing you to buy an extended warranty for every little electronic device.