Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interesting times.

Homeland security can demand your papers for any reason no arrest no
warrent if you're
within 100 miles of a border.

But Arizona can't pass a law mirroring Federal statute that would require you to show your ID after being arrested for an actual crime. But Arizona can be beaten up in reports to the UN, because we have to answer to the likes of China, Lybia, and Russia on Human Rights.

Edit: More on this subject by Roberta X Specifically on getting used to it: frog, water, stove.

Identifying criminals to see if they're on record for other crimes: Bad!
Hassling train passengers for their ID because they're on a train: Good!

Fanny that Rhode Island which has the same law as Arizona and gets a pass.
And as for "sanctuary cities" that have passed laws declaring their stance to ignore federal law? Well that's okay, those places don't have to worry about the DOJ

The speaker of the house can want to investigate people for unapproved speech and Secretary Sebelius wants reeducation for Obamacare opponents.

But Congress is making it so the CIA has to "stay away from anything that is unpleasant, politically incorrect, or potentially embarrassing." and they want to avoid anything messy in Afghanistan, like going after the drug lords that fund the Taliban and others.

This is related to a piece by Richard Fernandez.

He points out that such things are not examples of hypocrisy or double
standards. Instead they are merely the result of a simple operating postulate.

But the problem isn’t the height of the bar. There is no function that will tell you, for any given height of bar, whether it is appropriate or inappropriate. The key to understanding this conundrum is that modern public policy logic doesn’t return a Boolean. It returns an item in a list. In considering whether it is appropriate to talk about God on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, or inquiring into the connections of the Koch Brothers or Imam Rauf nothing is ‘true’ or
‘false’. It all depends on the elements of the list.

Glenn Beck or Martin Luther King returns Martin Luther King.

Imam Rauf or Koch Brothers returns Imam Rauf.

Some things are never OK if you’re Glenn Beck. Some things are always OK if you’re the Imam Rauf. It’s just like certain programming languages, which have rules like: x or y if x is false, then y, else x. In this case ‘conservative’=false. Also, anyone who the Left doesn’t like =’conservative’. From this all else follows. This is
especially important when it comes to identifying evil or potentially
evil people.

Some things are always okay if you are a Democrat, some things are never okay if you are a Republican. Some things are always okay if you're one of the smart-set, some things are never okay if you're a bitter clinger.

In short: know your, place serf.

More on this by Ed Driscoll

As Kathy Shaidle likes to say, the credo of what passes for 21st
century “liberalism” boils down to, “It’s Different When We Do It”;
James Taranto sees it as a case of, “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:”

Replace liberalism with "big government" or statist and that's how you get a police state where people can be hassled for their papers, xrayed via mobile "scanning vans" , and have gps trackers put on their cars , all without warrants or an arrest for the commission of a crime. And all that will be considered normal and patriotic.

But! But if you suggest to the same folk that maybe the government should enforce it's own laws like for immigration, fighting people what want to blow up buildings, or for balanced budgets (which many states are supposed to maintain by law) then you're a racist.

Mark Steyn said it best: Tyranny is always whimsical.

If you follow a "Big Man" in the hope that at least the trains will run on time, prepare to be disappointed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A new Army carbine? Really?

It looks like the army has a plan to upgrade their standard rifle.

It comes in three parts, one is to continue the evolutionary improvements of the M16, M4 systems. This is in an improved M4A1 that will be getting mass distribution.

Following that will be further evolutions of the system.

The second phase of the M4 improvement program begins this fall and will focus on increasing the M4’s effectiveness and accuracy, with emphasis on the bolt, bolt carrier assembly and the forward rail assembly.

The final part is a potential new weapon including changes to the operating system (direct impingement versus piston).

Interesting stuff, though I suspect they'll merely continue the slow incremental improvement of the system. There seems to be too much inertia given the decades of existing service, with the decades of known performance.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The power of Fox News, Talk Radio, and the Tea Party...

... is that they can infect anyone into committing Hate Crimes. Anyone, even activist working for the People's Party and harmless art students working for Peace.

Why else would the MSM is quick to blame the Right and now the Tea Parties whenever there's violence?

Unfortuantly reality doesn't really support their Narrative.

Mean old reality. Can't we all just pretend that this violence is coming from the Right wing? Instead of disgruntled Democratic campaign staffers and "drunk art students working for peace organizations."

And looking back in history here's some anti-science terrorism.

Also via Glen Reynolds.

William Jacobson explores the narrative spinning. And goes with the money quote from Jim Treacher.

Here’s how it works: When 19 Muslim terrorists fly planes into buildings and murder thousands of people, it’s not a reflection on all Muslims. Or any Muslims besides those 19, for that matter. But when a drunk A-hole in the same neighborhood yells “As-salaam alaikum! Consider this a checkpoint!” and stabs a Muslim cabbie, it’s a reflection on all opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If they can't get the guns they'll get the bullets...

The EPA is "considering" changing an existing regulation. That way they can ban all bullets that use lead.

This is the country we live in, where unelected bureaucrats can heavily
restrict an enumerated right by fiat.

Yes, steel and tungsten and other metals are still available, but this will make shooting much, much more expensive, and will greatly reduce recreational shooting and price firearms ownership right out of many hands.

Which I'm sure is the attention. Can't have poor people thinking they've got rights.
And can't let someone have fun that is morally upsetting to our betters.

There you have it, no limited constitutional republic here. All three parts are being broken.

A related piece on how administrative agencies have been creating laws.

Separation of powers, what's that?

Allahpundit is more sanguine about things.

I could sit here for a week and not come up with an issue more likely to make already vulnerable House Dems wet themselves than this one, assuming that the EPA acts on it. Which, I’m guessing, they won’t.


The date the comment period ends? Two days before the midterms. Worst-case scenario here: The EPA announces the ban, thereby instantly causing a stampede of Blue Dogs from rural districts down Pennsylvania Avenue so that they can pass a bill overriding it. (If the ban comes next year, our new Republican House — and Senate? — will take care of it, natch.) Then it’s on to The One’s desk for signature, and rest assured, with his eye on 2012 and knowing that he’ll need western and midwestern states to win, he will sign it. Maybe even with a smiley face as the “O.” Damn, I love wedge issues.

To be fair, Obama has left firearms alone so far. So maybe he's got some sense of what's too self-destructive. However, note that this is all dependent on electoral backlash hurting the Dems for he EPA's totalitarian impulses.

So, it's certainly a reason to get out there and vote, at the very least.

Update: To be a bit clear I do think Allah's take is right on this one. This seems far too hot for the EPA to actually go through with it, and even if they did, it doesn't seem likely to stay enacted. For one thing there will be even more nullification, legal challenges, and people outright ignoring it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There's always a worse question.

Ed Driscoll asks: What’s the Second Coming of FDR, without his Depression?

Be careful what you wish for progressives.

Well it could be worse. Like: "What's the Second Coming of FDR, without a World War?"

But it's not like global instability and agression is being encouraged by the president's behaviour. I mean it's not like there was a World War on Carter's watch.

See! It's not so bad!

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Simple" Revolvers and Literate Death

First we've got Tam talking about Revolvers.

Let me tell you something about revolvers: People wax poetic about their ruggedness, reliability and simplicity, but when they call a revolver "simple", it makes me wonder if they've ever had the sideplate off of one. The mechanical ballet going on inside a Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector makes your typical autopistol look like a stone axe by comparison. Further, a revolver demands clearances measured in thousandths at both ends of the cylinder in order for it to turn freely and still function with reliability and accuracy.

It's funny how much of a meme that bit about revolvers being the simple guns is.

Then we've got Joanna with an essay about libraries culling "old books" but it's more than libraries.

My concern about the state of our libraries is not, at its root, for the libraries themselves. It is for what they and their state represent. A well-kept library represents the desire of a community to better itself, to attain knowledge, to learn from the past. The library’s contents show that community’s interests and areas of study. Therefore, culling older materials is an alarming sign, not just because of the loss of available knowledge but because it shows, and I mean this without hyperbole, a point lost on the cosmic scoreboard.

There is a bit of an upside see if you can find it from this bit of the anecdote at the core of the essay.

Recently, I have had quite a few patrons requesting different books such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Screwtape Letters" and other classics and I was unable to fulfill their request because libraries either do not have them or are unwilling to loan them out anymore.

Sure libraries have failed in their basic duty, but at least people still want to read those books. That's... something.

And why not here's the decay of basic math, with Tam asking: When did people become unable to make change?

So it goes.

Given these trends I don't think humanity will dived into the Eloi and the Morlocks. No, I think we have the risk of becoming a hybrid. The vapid idle hedonism of the Eli with the angry savagery of the Morlocks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weaponized Democracy

In China there's a General that is speaking of the need for democratic reforms, and he's being published and giving talks and is not being censured or imprisoned. Which means that there is some level of official approval.

But why is General Liu pushing for reforms?

Liu's backing of democracy is purely practical, and really has
nothing to do with political beliefs. He describes American democracy
as a system designed by a genius for effective use by stupid people.
As Liu puts it, ''a bad system makes a good person behave badly while
a good system makes a bad person behave well. Democracy is the most
important reform for China, for without it there can be no sustainable

Liu has also been active in anti-corruption efforts, and points out
that democracies tend to have far less corruption than
non-democracies. This gets the attention of Communist Party officials,
who have long believed that the Russians made a mistake by enacting
economic reforms as well as political ones. Liu points out that the
Russians had no choice, as the communists in Russia were completely
discredited, and the economic reforms followed the political collapse.

Liu points out that communists can compete in a democratic
environment, especially since Chinese communists have abandoned the
most destructive aspects of traditional communist doctrine (state
control of the economy).

Consider that. A general is considering democracy (or at least representational government as a method to achieve military results via healthier business growth, cleaner government, and more technological advancement.

Isn't it interesting? A Chi-Comm sees the US's military and economic strength as a side effect of being a representative republic. He infers that the electoral process is a feedback system that can remove government officials that are... problematic.

Of course the US system only works when the populace response to provocations and "throws the bums out" when required.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Speaking of New York State: Incentives.

Some of you may know, I used to live in Buffalo. I don't anymore.

It's all abotu incentives.

Jay G of Stuck In Massachusetts notes similar egresses of many of his friends.

Lissa and Borepatch's stories are hardly unique; Massachusetts has
been hemorrhaging residents so badly we're in danger of losing a seat
in Congress. I know easily a dozen folks (or more) who have left MA
for NH, ME, or even RI in the past five years; countless others would
leave if not for work or familial reasons. When you create a climate
openly hostile to those who want to work hard, protect what they have,
and live their lives with minimal intrusion by the government, it's
not unrealistic to expect that folks are going to get out of Dodge.

Borepatch and Lissa, I'll be sorry to see you go but happy to see you
get out of Massachusetts. I'll watch with barely-contained envy as you
leave the state behind, settling in a state where you don't have to
jump through hoops just to own a firearm; where you aren't penalized
for not having health insurance; where schools don't openly ban the
pledge of allegiance. Enjoy your new life in a state that trusts you
to act like a grown-up rather than an unruly child to be watched at
all times and fussed over, incapable of even the slightest independent

From Personal experience my life has been one westward motion. The primary driver was employment, but living in a place where I'm not treated like a subject was a very, very nice bonus.

I wonder if there's some connection?

Nah, it's not like employeers and companies can move.

Pelosi wants YOU!

I haven't written on the Ground Zero Mosque. As it's the standard insensitivity and arrogance of those that demand tolorance and understanding. It's an issue where reasonable people seem to go "Yeah, they can legally build where they want, but sure is in poor taste," while the leftist elite scream about their newfound love of private property rights.

Tiresome really, especially given the President Present babble and all. But then someone said something really stupid. Something that turned if from a whine over whether or not people should express their displeasure at something legal but distasteful to something... else.

Nacy Pelosi's got a conspiracy theory, there's secret big money funding all this opposition and "hate" and she's going to get to the bottom of it.

Yes, really.

From Ace: Nancy Pelosi: The goverment should investigate political opposition.

Political opposition to a building project? Threat to religious freedom. Government harassment of political opponents? Just another day at the office for Democrats. Somebody should write a book. Maybe call it, "Liberal Fascism" or something.

Who is joining in this crusade against Americans who dare exercise their rights? As far as I know, not even nut jobs like Olbermann and Obama have gone that far.

Liberals are always far more concerned about imaginary rights (abortion for example) than they are real ones (ever heard of the Second Amendment).

One wonders if she'll demand the investigation of the Senate Leader
Hary Reid, who is quite outspoken against the building project (one wonders if November means anything to him). Oh wait, he got an indulgence so his stance is okay.

Allahpundit doesn't mince words

Has there been any dumber statement uttered by a major American politician this year than Pelosi calling for mosque opponents to be investigated for their thoughtcrime? In the thick of a brutal midterm campaign, with a supermajority of voters nationwide opposed to the mosque and the GOP already out to unprecedented leads on the generic ballot, facing a conservative narrative that the Democratic elite is power-mad, out of touch, and utterly contemptuous of the American public — she goes and pulls this. It’s so insane that, after I first read the quote, I was momentarily paranoid that there was some deep strategic brilliance to it that I was completely missing. But after thinking about it another five seconds, nope — she really is this wacky.

Emphasis added.

Madam Speaker, head of the House of Representatives first in line after the Vice President, one of the leaders of the Democratic party wants to investigate you.

Cheery thought, eh?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zombies and why they fail.

Ever wonder about Zombies? I enjoyed World War Z, but after reading it felt unsure. The whole idea of zombies being that much of a threat (and that interesting) seemed overratted.

Well here's Cracked on the subject:

7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)

In sort Zombies are stupid creatures ill-suited to defend themselves from predators, the elments, and damage. And there's this:

As a species, they are pretty much designed for failure. Their main form of reproduction is also their only source of food and their top predator. If they want to eat or reproduce, they have to go toe to toe with their number one predator every single time. That's like having to fight a lion every time you to want to have sex or make a sandwich. Actually, it's worse than that: Most top predators are only armed with teeth and claws, meaning they have to put themselves in harm's way to score a kill. Humans have rifles.

Which brings us to humans, which are smart, tool using, able to hunt in packs, and can outsmart terrain (we can use doors and ladders, they can't). The article even mentions military weapons, which are almost unfair when used against shambling creatures that don't even hide from danger.

Zombies... boring.

Oh and of course the obligatory Gun Rights and pro redneck message:

As we touched on briefly above, if Homo sapiens are good at one thing, it's killing other things. We're so good at it that we've made entire other species cease to exist without even trying. Add to the mix the sheer number of armed rednecks and hunters out there, and the zombies don't even stand a chance.

Remember, the whole reason hunting licenses exist is to limit the number of animals you're allowed to kill, because if you just declared free reign for everybody with a gun, everything in the forest would be dead by sundown. Even the trees would be mounted proudly above the late-arriving hunter's mantles. It's safe to assume that when the game changes from "three deer" to "all the rotting dead people trying to eat us," there will be no shortage of volunteers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Incompetent? Evil? Both?

PJM's Zombie looks at whether Obama is a Keynesian or of the Cloward-Piven school.

Raising the issue of whether he is trying to save the economy (albeit via the idea of more spending and debt to give a short term "stimulus") or trying to hurt the economy (by maxing out number of people on various forms of goverment support) in order to give a crisis to enact his "reforms".

The answer? Not good.

That’s because there is a bit of Cloward-Piven inherent in Keynesian theory itself. When Nancy Pelosi in all seriousness announces (as she did) that indefinitely extended unemployment benefits are a great way to stimulate the economy, then we’ve seemingly crossed the frontier into Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Or have we? The original goal of Cloward-Piven, after all, was to bring about a “guaranteed annual income” for all Americans, and wouldn’t the arrival of permanent unemployment benefits for everyone essentially bring us to the same station, albeit by a different track?

So less of an or and more of a both. Joy.

And then there's this little gem.

To discourage any sparks of self-reliance or proud independence amongst the poor, the left invented a profession called “community organizer,” whose very purpose is get the underclass addicted to government handouts — an essential component needed for the Cloward-Piven Strategy to work. What did you think “community organizers” do when they organize communities? Ever seen ACORN at work? “Community organizing” groups such as ACORN are in fact the physical embodiment of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. They exist to encourage as many people as possible to sign up for all the benefits, welfare programs and handouts for which they could conceivably be eligible (and, as various investigations have revealed, many benefits
for which they aren’t).

Is it therefore any surprise that Barack Obama described himself as a community organizer and once worked with ACORN? With that sort of track record — not to mention that he also went to school at Columbia, where both Cloward and Piven taught and where their strategy was born,
and that he himself said he hung out with “Marxist professors” in college — there’s no question that Obama must be intimately familiar with the Cloward-Piven Strategy and the principles behind it.

Read it all.

Meh, here have a sleepy corgi.

Friday, August 13, 2010

[Guns; Crime] Proportional or inverse proportional.

A piece on what happens when lawful gun ownership is introduced and subsequently banned from a society.

There are few gun free societies in the world today. However, if we
look back in history to the time before the invention of firearms, we
can judge for ourselves whether those societies were tranquil and
safe. Remarkably good homicide data is available for England,
beginning in the 1200’s. Those data indicate a pre-gun homicide rate
in England of roughly 20 per 100,000 [roughly four times greater than
the U.S. today]


The introduction of the flintlock coincided with the largest decline
in homicide in English history. The homicide rate plunged to 6 per
100K in the 1600’s. The English homicide rate continued to decline
slowly and steadily until well into the 20th century. For example, in
1900 the homicide rate was 0.96 per 100K.


According to the more guns more crime hypothesis, all this restriction
of civilian guns should have resulted in England enjoying lower and
lower rates of violent crime. Unfortunately, the facts reveal a
pattern that is almost opposite. [as of 2000 England had twice the
violent crime rate of the U.S.]

So over a hundred years of banning guns (that really kicked off in the
last fifty), the UK went from roughly 1/100k to roughly 10/100k. Yup
violent crime went up 10 times per capita in the UK.

But now they don't have to worry about the serfs having those dangerous arms.

Hat tip Says Uncle

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meh... Science does not work that way

Been feeling sick with sinus stuff the last couple days.

The heat's not helping.

In more "positive" news there's this.

Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Iowa and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way.

The weather-related cataclysms of July and August fit patterns predicted by climate scientists, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization says - although those scientists always shy from tying individual disasters directly to global warming.

Great.... that's now how science works.

Ace explains:
By all means, let's get some more of that "modeling" going on supercomputers because everyone knows that supercomputers are smart and don't, say, just regurgitate your starting assumptions back to you.

Yeah... the problem with climate modeling is that we've only got one earth, and one set of data (which itself can be riddled with errors)

Feh. Phrenology had more experimentalism. Phrenologists could study lots of skulls and map all sorts of behaviours. Granted it was all bunk, but it was verrifiable as bunk.

Climate science is like living in Iowahawk's world: Top Scientists Warn: Sea Gods Angry

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And they wonder why the raw data is so important?

Raw data is what counts.

I wonder why people sare skeptical about this global warming stuff?

Together the two institutions show temperature maps for northern Lake Michigan registering an absurd 430 degrees Fahrenheit -yes, you read it right –that’s four hundred and thirty degrees-and this is by no means the highest temperature recorded on the charts.

In the heated debate about Earth’s ever-changing climate you certainly don’t need to be scientist to figure out that the Great Lakes would have boiled away at a mere 212 degrees so something has seriously gone awry inside this well-funded program.


But our intrepid anonymous whistleblower wasn’t done yet. He pointed out that Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, really got cooking this July 4th around 9:59AM, according to NOAA and Coast Watch. It was there, at the bottom left row of the temperature data points, that the records reveal on that day a phenomenally furnace-like 600 degrees Fahrenheit. (Click here if CoastWatch link does not work or disappears)

Further analysis of the web pages shows that the incredibly wide temperature swings were occurring in remarkably short 10-hour periods-and sometimes in less than 5 hours. Strangely, none of the 250 citizens of the 78 families living in the village appeared to notice this apocalyptic heatwave during their holiday festivities.

But asside fromt that you can trust the numbers.

Don't worry your pretty-little-head about it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


If you take away math you take away critical analysis and quantatitative evaluation.

Today's students are weaker than ever in Math.

Handy that.

The Pantry Proof.

Staghounds shows why Statism doesn't work.

In short, have you never run out of a household item? Has a statist? If you can't run a command-economy of one, what makes you think you can run someone else's life? A whole country?

Via Roberta X
Roberta also talks on how even the military goofs on command economy and what that implies:

And that's Our Military, who have gone in for stats and analysis and planing in a big way, and who issue standardized everything to more-or-less standardized fighting men and women, most of them operating in known places under known conditions: if they still have trouble getting it right even playing with loaded dice in a generally-predictable environment, how much more difficult is the task for a non=-uniform population? (And a lot of that fine .mil surplus one buys is the other side of central planning; not only do they run you outta bumfodder, you end up with a jillion extra tortoise forks and eventually have to sell 'em as scrap, back into the....drumroll...uncontrolled market).

Emphasis added.

Even in the best case, the smart set can't run things.

I suppose the desire for Statism comes from the desire to control others, the desire to "help" others see these quotes, and the desire to be "helped".

If someone can't run their own life, if they can't stay out of debt, if they can't be frugal, if they can't be genrous, if they can't be responsible, if they can't be healthy well... why not look to some paternal figure to do all that stuff for them.

Statism depends on the idea that the "smart" people can run things and run them better than an uncontrolled market, country, society.

And that's not even talking about the unintended (and intended) consequences of adding a 2000 page bloated law that was not even read by the legislators voting on it, and not comprehended by the controllers that wrote it.

Related to today's Moring Jolt. Sorry subscription only. Jim Geraghty cites a WSJ piece by Will McGurn.

As the controversy over the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero escalates, we have had many secular sermons on the need to recognize that the vast majority of Muslims should not be confused with the terrorists. No argument there. But how much more fruitful our own debates might be if the Judge Walkers, Mayor Bloombergs and Speaker Pelosis could extend that same presumption of decency to the American people.

Geraghty comments:
I think McGurn expects them to do something they're not quite capable of doing. The elites in question don't choose not to extend the presumption of decency; their uncharity -- believing that non-elite Californians are homophobic, that Arizonans are xenophobic, that New Yorkers are bigots, that health-care opponents are Nazis, etc. -- is at the heart of their worldview. If the masses could make their own good judgments, they wouldn't need the elites to steer them.

Indeed. Sheep need to be lead, curs need to be corrected. The common rabble have to be worse than the elite, otherwise why are they being ruled?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feedback Controls.

Strategypage on trouble brewing in China. In short corruption breeds unrest, unrest breeds revolution.

Here's what happens when there's endemic corruption and a total lack of trust.

The corruption is everywhere. University degrees, and other education credentials, for example, cannot be taken at face value. There's simply too much cheating. So employers have to carefully examine job candidates. This often includes administering lots of tests, and making sure there is no cheating, or that the test monitors are not bribed. In effect, the most honest aspect of the country is business. You can't run any kind of profitable company without a fair degree of
honesty and dependability.
There is cheating going on (like the contaminated baby formula that actually killed a few babies), but that sort of thing puts you out of business (and got some of the baby food executives executed). Thus market pressures keep a lot of Chinese honest, but not so government officials.

Emphasis added.

Funny that. The only way you can ensure quality is by giving the "consumers" a method of choosing to forgo paying for the service. If the provider's funds are cut off then they cannot continue.

This is what is so troubling about government bailouts of banks, automakers, and newspapers. It makes them immune to customer power, and beholden to governmental power. The feedback system of quality being ensured by customer buy-out fails, and is replaced by a feedback system of pleasing governmental paymasters. This way they'll get money from the the public (via taxes), no mater what they produce.

"Whoever pays the piper chooses the tune." When you bailout a company, they stop selling products and airtime, and start selling governmental-approval. They make money by towing Policy, whether by donating to the "right" causes or producing the "right" products.

Profits be damned, because they're not making their money by moving product, they're making their money by ensuring the tap from Uncle Sugar doesn't run dry.

Another example of how the feedback system is subverted.

With military equipment, lax standards are an even greater problem. That's because military equipment doesn't really get put to the test unless there's a war, and China has not been at war since 1979 (where outnumbered, but experienced, Vietnamese troops beat the crap out of
the Chinese invaders). So second rate military equipment is all the rage. Manufacturers make more money, a lot of which is used to bribe purchasing officers to buy the flawed gear. The Chinese leadership, or most of them, are aware of this, and this leads them to make military
threats, with the realization that actual military action could be disastrous for China. The best stuff is often exported, because foreign users are less likely to tolerate shoddy standards, and will not order more stuff.
Emphasis added.

Here's a prime example of what happens when the government becomes your customer. This is especially acute on military procurement, as the product can only be purchased by government. Hence bloated programs, schedule slip, and feature creep. As we've seen the only way out is if the Defense Contractor can sell to a different nation-state, one that can choose where they buy their weapons. This requires the approval of the host nation, but one can see how consumer choice is what ensures quality.

The ability of a customer to take their money elsewhere is what forces a company to fight for that money. Take that away, and they've got no reason to maintain quality or service, because they'll get your money anyway.

But don't worry, making healthcare a government procurement program will be different. They'll get it right this time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Americas?

John at Powerline looks into the real faultline in America today.

Note that all we are talking about here is reducing the rate at which the pensions of retired public employees will increase. This at a time when private sector employees are being laid off, seeing their salaries cut, and their investments have declined in value.

The injustice is obvious. Yet the retired or soon to be retired public employees have a point: the law of contract. They took their jobs and worked for years or decades in reliance on promises by taxpayers (in effect) to, among other things, fund lavish pensions. Forever. Public employees all across America will sue to force taxpayers to make good on those obligations. The result could be significant demographic shifts, as taxpayers flee jurisdictions that have massive liabilities to former government workers. The result, presumably, will be municipal, county and state bankruptcy.

I suspect that this is one of those fundamental societal divides that cannot be reconciled by applying conventional legal principles. My guess is that new legal doctrines will be developed to mediate between the legitimate but unrealistic claims of public retirees and the fiscal reality that the private sector is not rich enough to continue supporting those retirees in the style to which they are accustomed. But the struggle will not be an easy one. There will be many winners and losers along the way. For a decade or two to come, the division between public and private employees--in particular, retirees--will be one of the principal fault lines of our political life.

Wild ride.

And here's Roberta X on some of the "Fixes" the political class are coming up with.

Because the goobers at the wheel have decided that making the public sector even bigger is the solution to our economic woes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hubris Nemesis

Adding to the previous post...

Two peices by Victor Davis Hanson

Obama as Greek Trajedy.


Angry America

Read both, and buckle in, as the next few years are going to be a wild ride.

Vote Democrat: The Party too dumb to undo Bush's trickery.

Buess who's still blaming Bush.

Tam's got some Grade-A snark.

You are, in effect, saying "Ooh, those nasty Republicans broke the economy soooo bad that we haven't been able to fix it. But you should vote for us anyway. Even though we can't fix it. 'Cause it's Bush's fault, so don't vote for this other guy over here who isn't Bush, but if you squint really hard he kinda looks like him..."

Ringing upbeat endorsement of your team there, Barry. If I were a Democrat candidate, I'd ask you to please keep your weaksauce appeals out of my district and away from my fundraisers. Blaming it on the other guy might work while you're trying to get elected, but it doesn't help you once you've got the job.

It is ammusing to see the Hopechange Unicorn rapidly turn into The Load

But hey... if only there was some sort of concept that covered what hapens when the good ship ego and arrogance rams right into the harsh rocks of reality.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Scabs protesting scabs


The union's Mr. Garcia sees no conflict in a union that insists on union labor hiring nonunion people to protest the hiring of nonunion labor.

A poll that needs to be asked: “Do you think Obama is a werewolf?”

Seriously, what is the werewolfer situation?

Via hotair, this one musing on various paranoias

It has almost nothing, then, to do with birtherism specifically. There’s no material difference between asking people “Do you think Obama was born in the U.S.?” and asking “Do you think Obama tips 15% and likes adorable baby animals?” Or perhaps “Do you think Obama is a werewolf?” You will get comparable results no matter what, perhaps minus the tiny proportion that actually knows and believes the birther theory (and I conjecture that those people would immediately be “werewolfers” too, given the opportunity).

Also some of the birthers have some "strange" allies.

And there's been more help from various right wing and "right wing" activists.

From Hot air:

Other examples would be the 2007 Rasmussen poll showing 35% of Democrats were “Truthers,” or the PPP poll showing similar numbers of Republicans and Dems would label Obama or Bush, respectively, as the Anti-Christ.

So yeah.... nuts everywhere.

Including this:

As part of a larger survey about Americans’ predictions for the next 40 years, just over 1,500 people were asked whether they thought that Jesus Christ would return to the earth during that timeframe. Interestingly enough, it is self-identified Democrats who appear to have more certitude that this will happen than Republicans.

According to the poll, 26% of Democrats believe that the Second Coming “will definitely” happen within the next four decades. In comparison 19% of Republicans believe this.

Among those who think Jesus will probably return to earth in 40 years, there are more GOPers than Democrats. Just under a quarter (24%) of Republicans believe this will happen compared to 18% of Democrats who predict this. Independents are least likely compared to members of both parties to believe in Jesus’ imminent return.

However when you add up, people who think Jesus will or might come back within 40 years you get the close 43% Republican, 44% Democrat. Hardly seems that one party is more Jesus-gung-ho than the other. At least in a return option.

But the narrative is about the paranoid and insane Right. So that's what the media blathers about.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Who killed the Electric car?

Well in Indianapolis, it was taken out by Light Rail, over a hundred years ago.
Roberta X talks about some history "History doesn't so much repeat itself as it works from old notes."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Freedom versus Fairness

Glen Reynolds cuts to the heart of it: "Personally, I believe that “fairness” consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes."

That sounds alot like the Lefty notion of charity and generosity: forcing other people to give their money to causes you support.

Reynold's link points to a peice by Roger Kimbal on the same issue, but less pithy.

Charm Alone.

"It never worried me, because how far can you coast on charm? Pretty far actually."