31 December, 2009

Arise, Sir Patrick & Sir Peter

Patrick "Jean Luc Picard" Stewart has made Queen Elizabeth's Honors List for 2009, and is to be knighted.

Also knighted was film director Peter Jackson, best known for the Lord of the Rings films.

Congratulations to both gentlemen!

29 December, 2009

Illinois GOP Statement on Andy "Scumbag" Martin's attack on Mark Kirk

The Illinois Republican Party will have none of Andrew Martin's crap:

"The Illinois Republican Party disavows the statements made today by Mr. Andrew Martin in his statewide radio advertisements. His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party. Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican Candidate by the Illinois Republican Party."

Pat Brady, Illinois Republican Party Chairman

GOP Statement on Andy Martin

According to the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, Martin's real name is Anthony R. Martin-Trigona, and that he has had a history of making bizarre claims. He was once denied a law license in the State of Illinois because the Illinois Bar Character & Fitness Committee found him unfit and unsuitable to be a lawyer, which considering some of the people they have accepted, tells you all you need to know about him. Oh yeah, he's also apparently a Birther, one of the first to loudly question President Barrack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate.

Scumbag. Prior to this, he was polling at around 2% among Republicans. Now I doubt he'll get even a tenth of that.

28 December, 2009

Marvel/DC Season Three: Zero Hour #1

Usual disclaimer: This is going to make absolutely no sense to those who aren't comics fans (or who haven't been following Itsjustomerandomguy's other videos).

Mud starts flying in the Illinois Republican US Senate Race

I knew this was going to happen in the closing weeks before the primary.

Desperate to get somewhere above 5% in the race for the Republican nomination for US Senate, Andy Martin is attacking Mark Kirk... by claiming that Mark Kirk is gay.

Now, I've actually met and talked with Kirk.  I have no idea if he is gay or not.  But guess what?  I don't flipp'in care.  Its nobodies business but Mark Kirk's.  Even if he was, it certainly wouldn't change my opinion that I think he's the best man for the job.  If anything, the only thing that's changed is that I now believe Mr. Martin to be the last person who should get the job.  So keep running those ads, Mr. Martin; prove to the world just how big of a scum sucking dirtbag you are.

Mark Kirk for US Senate!!!

25 December, 2009

December 25, 2009

To All!

23 December, 2009

Best Titans Moment 2009

My nomination for the best moment in a  Titans comic for 2009: Beast Boy defeats Black Lantern Terra.

Blackest Night Titans #3
Written by JT Krul; art by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter

Later on Gar acknowledges that Terra was "not worth it", and finally puts her behind him.

Here's hoping that sticks.

New 10000Pennies

21 December, 2009

ObamaCare and Mission Creep

One, two, three, everybody now... "I am going to be in so much trouble when my in-laws discover this blog..."

17 December, 2009

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven,
by Joseph Karl Stieler

Today is the birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), one of the greatest composers who ever lived.  So let us take this moment to enjoy a performance by one of the most gifted interpreters of his music of all time:

Liberal Fascism on the March

Venezualian dictator Hugo Chavez gets a hero's welcome by the Climate change delegates in Copenhagen. They also warmly greet mass-murderer Pres. Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Hopenchangen crowd.

Seig Heil!

10 December, 2009

An Open Note to Whoever Is In Charge of Protocol at the White House

You suck at your job.

Look. I'm just a know-nothing schlub who sometimes studies history and occasionally dabbles in politics. But even I know that, when you win the Nobel Peace Prize, its EXPECTED that you at least spend a little time with the King of Norway over tea and lutefisk.

Especially when, after having been given the Nobel Peace Prize based on the thinnest of achievements, you promptly turn around and deploy 34,000 more troops into a war zone.

I don't care if you think getting Health Care through congress is important. This is the rest of the world we're talking about. Appearances matter. And flying in, picking up the prize, giving a little speech, and then heading home is NOT the way to ingratiate yourself with your hosts. Surely you could spend even a day doing the positive foreign relations thing, especially in this modern age when arm-twisting reluctant senators is little more than a cell phone away.

This was a bone-headed, unnecessary move that will do little to dispel the reputation of arrogance that President Obama says he wants to change.

06 December, 2009

Merry Christmas from the BBC!

BBC1's ident commercials for the 2009 holiday season have a distinctly Doctor Who theme to them...

Dictionary Definition of Hypocracy

According to the UK Daily Telegraph, the delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Change conference will use some 140 private aircraft, and 1,200 limos. Convention attendees such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore will stay in luxury hotel suites costing a minimum of over $1,000 a night. In the space of a few days, the International Climate Change Conference will leave a carbon footprint equivalent to the yearly output of a mid-sized town.

And then they'll tell us how the rest of the world is ruining the planet, and that everyone "needs to make radical changes" in their lifestyle.

You first.

02 December, 2009

Trust Science

Over on National Review Online, the always interesting John Derbyshire puts the current Climategate controversy in perspective.

Jon Stewart on Climategate

Memo to climate change doomsayers: You know you're in trouble when Jon Stewart starts making fun of you.

The Scientific Tragedy of Climategate

Can't have a day go by without at least one post about Climategate, can we?

Ronald Bailey at Reason has a write up about what must be done going forward for climate research.

01 December, 2009

2001: A Who Odyssey

An impressive little fan film:

Today in Climategate Opinions

Richard S. Lindzen (Professor of Meteorology, MIT), today in the Wall Street Journal:

What does all this have to do with climate catastrophe? The answer brings us to a scandal that is, in my opinion, considerably greater than that implied in the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit (though perhaps not as bad as their destruction of raw data): namely the suggestion that the very existence of warming or of the greenhouse effect is tantamount to catastrophe. This is the grossest of "bait and switch" scams. It is only such a scam that lends importance to the machinations in the emails designed to nudge temperatures a few tenths of a degree.

The notion that complex climate "catastrophes" are simply a matter of the response of a single number, GATA,(globally averaged temperature anomaly) to a single forcing, CO2 (or solar forcing for that matter), represents a gigantic step backward in the science of climate. Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming. And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors.

The Climate Science Isn't Settled, Richard S. Lindzen

30 November, 2009

Lenin Statue Defaced

Protesters in Kiev, Ukraine have splashed red paint on a recently repaired statue of Lenin: Lenin statue vandalized in Kiev (AP)

Its the second time this year that the statue has been defaced; in July, its face was smashed in and an arm pried off. Its also not the only attempt this year to destroy a statue of Lenin; earlier this year, someone attempted to blow up a similar statue in St. Petersburg, giving it a 30 inch hole roughly in the crotch. In the latter case, St. Petersburg authorities declared it an "April Fool's Day prank", but an anonymous letter to a St. Petersburg newspaper claiming responsibility declared otherwise.

Good. Hope it continues.

Lots of other statues in the Ukraine of former Communist leaders are getting similar treatment, according to the BBC.

Busy Bodies Minding Your Own Business

Yep. Its something other than a Climategate post!

More on Climategate in the UK Press

The Financial Times has a good op/ed by Michael Schrage.

When doing important research about the potential future of the planet, scientists should have nothing to hide. Their obligation to the truth is an obligation to openness.

One of the comments below rings true to me: The scientists in question probably started off as being well-meaning and objective. But little by little, probably with them not even being aware of it, they allowed their prejudices and personal motivations to creep in. And that gradually tainted the process.

Mr. Schrage makes a suggestion that I think should be considered seriously: making it a requirement that all data (both raw and "processed") must be published with any paper they are associated with. The Royal Society already requires this in the UK, as do publications in many other fields. Climate research publications, however, don't seem to be this stringent. Had Professors Jones and Mann (and their associates) been more willing to share their data -- instead of actively fighting tooth and nail against its release -- then chances are the entire current mess would have been avoided.

Transparency. That's what's needed. If we're being expected to trash our economic and social systems as the cost of "saving the planet", then it damn well better be on the basis of something more tangible than "Because we say its so!".

Interesting words from Eduardo Zorita, a climate change scientist in Germany and one of the scientists whose emails were hacked and released:

These words do not mean that I think anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, it is a question which we have to be very well aware of. But I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research.

Eduardo Zorita: Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process, linked from his website.

Hat Tip: James Delingpole, at The Daily Telegraph.

29 November, 2009

Climategate in the Canadian Press

Lorrie Goldstein at the Toronto Sun puts it most succinctly:

And based on stuff like this, politicians are going to blow up our economy and lower our standard of living to "fix" the climate?

Are they insane?

Link: Botch after botch after botch.

Climategate in the UK Press

Over in the UK, the Climategate story appears to be getting much more press than it is on this side of the pond. Christopher Booker over at The Daily Telegraph does a good summation on why the scandal is important:

The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Whether or not you believe that Global Climate Change is a genuine threat, you must agree that the accuracy and reliability of the scientific research should be paramount. True science does not care what its observers hope or wish were true, it only deals in what is true. If the data has been fudged, or if the scientists in question chose to cherry pick only the data that bolsters their claims, while knowingly ignoring a far larger set that which does not (even to the extent of destroying that data before anyone else can review it, which the emails clearly discuss), they do not do the scientific process any favors. What is more, the efforts that these scientists made in attempting to stifle dissent and contrary opinion is appalling; even Carl Sagan, in discussing and rejecting the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky and their reception in academic circles, often came to Velikovsky's defense on the intellectual grounds that the scientific process depends on those who constantly question what everyone "assumes to be true". If the theories and assertions that Professors Philip Jones and Michael Mann are to have any validity, they must be held up to the same standards and scrutiny that they themselves demand of their opponents. Especially when they carry such tremendous implications for economic development and government intrusion into everyday life.

27 November, 2009

Communism Is Evil

Another installment in my ongoing browsing through YouTube.

26 November, 2009

More from Itsjustsomerandomguy...

Again, this is only going to make sense if you're a comics geek (or have been following Itsjustsomerandomguy's other videos!):

The Climategate Controversy

Let me make this perfectly clear: I believe in science. I believe the universe is about 13-14 billion years old, the earth is around 4.6 billion years old, that life on this world began around 3 billion years ago, and that the human race is the product of an ongoing process of evolution that has existed for aeons on this planet. I believe that the universe is more complex than we can possibly imagine, but that everything -- from the smallest quark to the largest super cluster of galaxies, fits inside a structure that is both rational and understandable, though at present we only have the vaguest notion as to its internal workings.

And I believe that climate change on this planet is real. One only has to look at one hundred year old pictures of glaciers to understand that something has happened to the world’s climate in the last century, and that we are definitely in the midst of a global pattern of weather change.

However, where I disagree with most of the climate-doomsayers is the notion that we are heading for irreversible disaster, or that man is incapable of finding a way to either solve the problem or compensate for the change. And I vehemently disagree in the notion that the only way to stop this change is to adopt measures that seriously curtail personal freedom, or that require the establishment of all-encompassing, intrusive government entities -- or worse yet, the establishment of autocratic government in order to closely regulate people’s lives, all in the name of “saving the planet”. But yet, that is the end result that many, many in the Global Warming movement advocate, though I will grant that some do not seem to have fully thought through the implications of the policies they are advocating.

What the scientists at the Climate Research Unit in the UK have done is a disgrace. Not only to the study of science, but to the scientific process itself. Science is based on facts, and facts do not lie. What these scientists evidently did was not make conclusions based on the facts they had discovered, but instead edited the facts in order to fit their conclusions. The extent to which this was done is still unclear, but judging from the leaked emails, it appears to have been an ongoing, coordinated effort promulgated by multiple prominent scientists, going back at least ten years (and probably longer). At best, the leaked evidence suggests an extreme practice of data cherry-picking (admittedly, nothing new in scientific research); but at worst, there is some suggestion of outright data fabrication (although I personally don’t buy into that conclusion). But even worse was the way they sought to discredit and disqualify those that questioned their conclusions, or attempted to offer different theories -- even to the extent of seeking ways to outright silence them by preventing publication of their papers, or by attempting to the get the mainstream media to brand these dissenters as “kooks” and “out of the mainstream”, when the very data they were collecting seemed to be favoring the dissenters and not them.

Reading the leaked emails, these scientists come across very much as being so wedded to their most cherished ideas that they were unwilling to accept even the remotest possibility that, just perhaps, they were wrong. About anything, even the tiniest notion. They had a theory they wished to prove, that they believed in whole-heartedly and unquestioningly, and the very notion that they might be incorrect about any part of it proved so anathema that they were not even willing to consider the idea. No matter what the evidence said, no matter what anyone else said. They were so completely certain that their ideas were correct that they were willing to restructure the data to fit their conclusions, perhaps in the vague hope that maybe future studies might perhaps be more favorable to them and thus vindicate their theories. Further, like the true believers they had become, they concluded that the only proper place for the heretics in their midst was to be burned at the stake, and not only sought to find ways to make that happen, but fantasized about being the ones to pile the kindling at their feet.

I do not think that these scientists actions have discredited the notion of global climate change. However, I do think they have seriously undermined the process of scientific research into its questions. Those scientists who have been saying for years that climate change is not (nor will it ever be) as drastic as many have opined now have new, potent ammo. But more politically significant, the studies these scientists published have been used to justify sweeping legislation designed to strengthen government involvement and regulation; discrediting these studies calls into question such things as Cap and Trade, environmental policy, and even energy policy. It is important to get these issues right, and not implement radical new policies on the basis of flawed data, irrational fear, and scientists with ego problems.

It seems a similar set of accusations about climate research is being made in several New Zealand studies. A study involving temperature measurements going back to the 1850s appears to have its data substantially skewed to show global warming, when the unadjusted data clearly shows that the change in average temperature in New Zealand since 1850 has been less than one degree.

Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg on NRO's The Corner has posted an email he received which does a pretty good break down of the red flags that should have been raised about the climate change research and researchers:

I followed with interest your interchange about the recent developments concerning global warming research. I thought John’s point that there will always be contrarians in any scientific discipline, and that in general it is likely that the consensus position has more validity than the contrarian one, is a valid one. Given the recent events, though, it seems to me that we need to develop methods that can alert us to situations where the consensus position is faulty. In the case of climate research, there were numerous such clues that were available five or more years ago which should have made people look much more carefully at the consensus. Here are some red flags in the behavior of mainstream scientists that could be used as prompts for examining more carefully the consensus position.

(1) Consistent use of ad hominem attacks toward those challenging their positions.

(2) Refusal to make data public. This has been going on in this area for some time.

(3) Refusal to engage in discussions of the actual science, on the assumption that it is too complicated for others to understand.

(4) Challenging the credentials of those challenging the consensus position.

(5) Refusal to make computer code being used to analyze the data public. This has been particularly egregious here, and clear statements of the mathematics and statistics being employed would have allowed the conclusions to be challenged at a much earlier stage.

If one believes in the science one is doing, one should be willing to go to great lengths to engage those who challenge it or fail to understand it, and provide various explanations at various levels of technical detail, rather than attempt to discredit others.

Link here.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

21 November, 2009

The Coming Deficit Disaster

This is what scares the living crap out of me right now. From The Wall Street Journal:

Our fiscal situation has deteriorated rapidly in just the past few years. The federal government ran a 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion—the highest since World War II—as spending reached nearly 25% of GDP and total revenues fell below 15% of GDP. Shortfalls like these have not been seen in more than 50 years.

The Coming Deficit Disaster

19 November, 2009

Because I'm an old anime geek who can't let go of his childhood favorites...

Two Japanese trailers for the new Space Cruiser Yamato film, Yamato Rebirth:

Yamato, Hasshin!

17 November, 2009

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart on Dissidents in Cuba

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) talks about the current plight of dissidents in Castro's Cuba.

This is the same country whose leaders are routinely praised by brain dead FUCKING MORONS like Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Michael Moore. They should be ashamed of themselves for supporting this regime. By rights, Communists and their fellow-traveling enablers should be treated the exact same way we treat the adherents of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini; yet, it never happens, in large part because so many people think the ideas of Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, and even Mao are still, at their core, correct. Its sickening.

If there is one thing I would like to see changed in this world, it would be that the Hammer-and-Sickle be treated the exact same way by society as it treats the Swastika.

Mark Kirk still leads Giannoulias

Another poll has come out showing Mark Kirk still leading against Alexi Giannoulias in a General Election match up. Curiously, the poll was conducted by the David Hoffman campaign, who is running against Giannoulias in the Democratic Primary. Also curious... Hoffman's own numbers show him losing to Kirk by an even larger margin than Giannoulias. But of more potential bad news for Giannoulias, the poll also shows that his family banking connections and their legal troubles might be a major stumbling point for him, especially in this campaign season where the entire financial system is being viewed with massive distrust.

Hoffman will probably start hitting Giannoulias on those banking connections. He's got nothing to lose between now and February 2, after all. While I doubt that will change the outcome -- lets be real, Giannoulias is the candidate hand picked by President Obama himself -- it may damage Giannoulias enough that he will enter the general contest wounded. At the very least, the seeds of doubt will have been laid in the minds of the general public. All Mark Kirk has to do right now is to sit back and let the Democrats sling the mud at each other.

By the way, I've got to say this: I think Mark Kirk's stand on the Thomson Correctional Facility is just... stupid. Its an unused, brand new facility that otherwise isn't being utilized. Why shouldn't we sell it to the Feds if they want to make it Great Lakes Gitmo? The idea that it would make Illinois a terrorist target any more than it already is is just idiotic, a knee jerk reaction opposing something merely because it was proposed by a Democratic administration. Chicago's prominence already guarantees that its on the Terrorist Target Top Ten list, and I highly doubt this will make it any more or less likely to be a target. On the other hand, using Thomson would mean jobs for that area of rural Illinois, not to mention an extra infusion of cash in a state that badly needs it. So far as I'm concerned, this is a win-win situation for Illinois and the Federal Government.

I respect Mark Kirk and still think he's the best man for the job. But on this one issue, I'm going to have to vehemently disagree.

Heck, maybe I'll even show up at Thomson when the Gitmo guys arrive, holding a noose and a sign that says "Welcome Terrorists".

Doctor Who: The End of Time trailer

This is the trailer for "The End of Time" (the final episode of David Tennant as the Doctor), that appeared at the end of "The Waters of Mars".

No, I have not yet seen "The Waters of Mars". Will probably wait until December when BBC America runs it, unless I get too anxious and bit torrent it instead.

Wow. Two Doctor Who posts in a row.

16 November, 2009

Michael Moorcock to Write Doctor Who!!!

Holy crap!

OK, its just an original novel. But still!

Legendary Science Fiction and Fantasy writer Michael Moorcock has announced that he will be writing an original Doctor Who novel, tentatively slated to come out next year Christmas.

Looks like it’s official. I’ll be doing a new Dr Who novel (not a tie-in) for appearance, I understand, by next Christmas. Still have to have talks etc. with producers and publishers but we should be signing shortly. Should be fun.

Details can be found here.

The Illinois Senate Race

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Democrats are starting to get nervous about their ability to hold on to the Senate seat currently occupied by Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich).

Alexi Giannoulias is the main front runner (and the one I expect to win the nomination), but he has political vulnerabilities at a time when voters are growing a little wary of the party in power. Also, he frankly hasn't really fired up his base (though the Greek community will undoubtedly come out in full support for him), something that a candidate needs even a year out from the general election if they hope to build any kind of momentum. The only thing going for him at this moment is that his challengers are even less organized. Nevertheless, I expect the race to tighten in the coming weeks as some potential big endorsements come the way of his challengers, which consequently means he will have to dig much deeper into his campaign chest than any candidate in the race -- Republican or Democrat. A major potential liability, come the general election.

Mark Kirk, on the other hand, pretty much has his nomination secure. His nearest challenger is polling in the single digits. What's more, he already has more money in his champaign chest than any other candidate in the race, and that's without any significant opposition. For him, his campaign and its associated fund raising is essentially already in General Election campaign mode. Mark Kirk has a lot of name recognition in this state, nearly all of it positive. Unless there is a skeleton in Kirk's closet that no one is aware of (which seems unlikely, given Northshore politics; if there were one, it would have come out by now), I find it very unlikely that Giannoulias will be able to match Kirk.

I'm going to watch this race carefully, so expect some long winded discussions about it over the next year. First hurdle is going to be the Illinois Primary, which this year will be held on February 2, 2010. That's not that far away, barely 2 1/2 months.

14 November, 2009

Remembering the Holodomor

This weekend, people in the Ukraine remember the victims of the Holodomor, otherwise known as the Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933 -- one of several genocidal acts perpetrated by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Communists during their reign. Estimates vary, but anywhere between 1 Million and 10 Million people perished during the famine, this despite the fact that the Ukraine was experiencing a bumper crop of food production during the entire time period.

It is generally recognized that the famine was orchestrated by Stalin, for the sole purpose of subjugating the Ukraine during a time of unrest and rising nationalism; in this Stalin largely succeeded, as the primary victims of the genocide where the peasants and workers while those more closely associated with the Communist regime were given preferential treatment. Everyone was equal, but some were more equal than others.

Stalin managed to keep the famine mostly hidden from world view by heavily restricting access to the Ukraine by outsiders. The infamous Walter Duranty, the Soviet Union correspondent for the New York Times, was one of the few to be allowed to visit, but like the useful idiot he was he only reported to the world the story Stalin wanted the world to hear (more on the New York Times and their shameful history with Stalin can be found here). But thankfully, some good reporters (such as Gareth Jones) did manage to sneak their way into the Ukraine and attempt to tell the world what was really going on, though they frequently were attacked by the likes of Duranty while doing so.

So on this weekend in November, let us pause to remember one of the great evils of the 20th Century, a genocide on par with the Holocaust that few know about. And vow that history should never, ever, under any circumstances, be allowed to repeat itself.

Some Links:
Holodomor Memorial website.
Holodomor UK website
Remember the Holodomor

12 November, 2009

The National Debt

I don't think I've posted this here, though I have posted it elsewhere.

And George F. Will also has some appropriate words to say.

11 November, 2009

Another brilliant idea that will never see the light of day

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina has drafted a Constitutional Amendment that will establish term limits for Congressmen and Senators.

Too bad it doesn't have a chance of coming up for a vote, much less go to the states for ratification.

09 November, 2009

Remembering the Victims of Communism


Some 100 million people have died in the pursuit of a communist utopia. Eliminating profit and private property was meant to end social ills, such as inequality, racism, and sexism. But the closer a society got to Marxism—whether it was half-hearted attempt as in Hungary or a whole-hearted attempt as in Cambodia—the bloodier the result. Survival in a communist society necessitated lies, theft, and betrayal. Thus, as the former Czech President Vaclav Havel wrote, most people in the former Soviet bloc grew up without a moral compass. These morally compromised survivors of communism find it difficult to reflect on the past and to come to terms with it.

Unlike the Germans after the World War II, the people in ex-communist countries were never forced to face their demons. As a consequence, communist rule has not acquired the moral opprobrium of Nazism. As long as that remains the case, socialist economics will continue to enjoy an aura of plausibility.

-- Marian L. Tupy, The Road from Surfdom

Once more, because it is important

I think of John F. Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961, after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of Berlin by saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” This appeal shall remain forever in my heart.

I thank George Herbert Walker Bush for the trust he placed in Germany and then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, offering something of immeasurable value to us Germans already in May 1989: partnership in leadership. What a generous offer 40 years after the end of the Second World War.
-- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

November 9, 1989

Twenty years ago today.

08 November, 2009

Nikolai Getman and the Soviet Gulag

In 1945, Russian artist Nikolai Getman was arrested by the Soviet NKVD. His crime? Attending a meeting of artists, where one happened to doodle a small caricature of Stalin on a box of cigarettes. For this transgression, he was deemed an Enemy of the State, and sent into the Soviet Gulags... where he endured for eight long years. Almost as soon as he was released, he began producing paintings like this:

Waiting To Be Shot, by Nikolai Getman

Working in secret, he spent the next forty years attempting to chronicle the horrors he witnessed and endured, hoping to document one of the greatest unrecognized crimes against humanity of the 20th Century.  He ended up producing 50 such paintings, but it was not until 1993 did he show the world what it was he had produced.   Fearing that the works would be destroyed by those who, even today, still revere the Communist system, he had the complete collection moved to the west in 1995, where it currently resides with the Jamestown Foundation.

The full collection of works have now gone on display in Washington DC at the Heritage Foundation.  But on this day, with the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall upon us (and hence, the crumbling of the old Communist empire), it is perhaps appropriate to reflect on the genocidal evils that totalitarian socialism have inflicted on the world.  And the spirit of one man -- working alone and in secret, fearing for this life if caught but yet still pressing forward -- determined to shine a light on a dark corner that many, many do not want shined.

More information about Nikolai Getman can be found here:

Wikipedia entry
Painting the Gulag, by Hans A. von Spakovsky (NRO)
Remembering the Gulags' Victims, by Rebecca Hagelin (Heritage Foundation)
Inside the Gulag, by Deborah K. Dietsch (Washington Times)

06 November, 2009

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars

"The beginning... of The End." The final sequence of David Tennant Doctor Who episodes begins on November 15 in the UK, and evidently sometime in December on BBC America.

First up... "The Waters of Mars".

Hero(ine) of the Hour

According to several news sources, Nidal Malik Hasan had a problem with women. He refused to be in pictures with them, avoided working with female colleagues, even complained that the Muslim women he was meeting in America "weren't devout enough". So it is with delicious irony that when he decided to go on a killing spree that resulted in the deaths of 13 individuals and 30 wounded, he happened to meet this woman:

And the first thing she did upon meeting him?  Plug four bullet holes into his worthless carcass.

Meet Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the woman who stopped the Ft. Hood shooter.

Too bad the military no longer has firing squads, but hopefully an except can be made for Mr. Hasan.

Dear Mr. President....

In a time of shock and concern, and with the whole nation watching, this is not the way to preface your remarks:

Good to see I'm not the only person who thought this opening was wildly innapropriate:

Obama's Frightening Insensitivity Following Shooting

You'd think someone in Mr. Obama's retinue would at least be aware enough to remind the president not to toss the opposition such hanging curveballs.

05 November, 2009

Why I Consider George Soros The Enemy

European-style socialism is exactly what we need now. I am against market fundamentalism. I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful — but also very harmful to our society.
-- Der Spiegel, 11/24/2008

The Soros Plan to Kill Capitalism

In other words, high unemployment, crushing taxes, stifling regulation, and decreased standards of living are what we should be aiming for?

I found this image amusing:

The Legacy of the Soviet Union

Former dissident Vladimir Bukovsky discusses the Soviet Union and the lack of any condemnation in the west of the crimes of Communism since its fall:

Just how many jobs were saved by the stimulus?

From the AP:

President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

STIMULUS WATCH: Salary raise counted as saved job

03 November, 2009

Earthquake in New Jersey

AP is projecting that Christie has won in New Jersey.

Christie up by 100k in NJ

With about 63% of Precincts reporting:

Chris Christie -- 795,932 (49%)
Jon Corzine -- 698,476 (43%)
Christopher Daggett -- 85,069 (5%)

However, a number of large, Democratic-leaning counties have yet to report in.

No information yet on New York 23.

Holy crap! Christie may be pulling this out?

The polls have been closed for an hour in New Jersey, and Christie is still leading over Corzine. As of 2000, CNN lists the vote totals as: Christie: 167,323 (51%); Corzine: 134,055 (41%); Daggett: 18,373 (5%).

Polls are now closed in New York 23rd District.

In Virginia, Creigh Deeds is giving his concession speech.

Results are coming in fast now. Christie still has the lead by about 50,000 votes. However, several sources are cautioning that many Democratic leaning areas have yet to report in. Looking to see how many votes they need to manufacture to get Corzine over the top?

Christie with early lead

First results have Christie up by 10 points, but no one expects that to last.

McDonnell Wins Virginia Governor

Most of the networks called it at 7:00pm: McDonnell has wan in Virginia.

New Jersey way too close to call.

Election Day 2009 - First Reports

First reports indicate light turnout in Democratic districts in New Jersey and Virginia. Virginia is not surprising, since the supports of Creigh Deeds have been demoralized for weeks now by the defeat even they know is coming. But the reports of light turn-out in New Jersey are surprising, considering how tight and high-profile the Governor race is. However, NJ is still much more of a working-class state than Virginia is; there's still the early evening to consider. However, if reports of light turnout persist up until the polls close at 7:00pm EST, then that will be very bad news for incumbent Corzine.

No word on New York 23rd District, but since it is a much smaller race, that should come as no surprise. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Hoffman's supporters are a million times fired up than anyone else in that district.

Incidentally, I understand there is a second House race going on as well, in California. The California 10th Congressional District (just outside of San Francisco) is apparently also holding an election to find a replacement for their old representative (don't know what happened to them). No one expects the Democrat to lose in that district, not even the Republican challenger. However... if the Republican manages to get close, that could be a sign that the seat may be up for grabs in the 2010 election.

Exit polling on Virginia is suggesting that its going to be a rout for the Republicans (McDonnell 54.5%, Deeds 45%). Not only will McDonnell win, but they are also going to be making significant gains in the state legislature as well.

New Jersey exit polls have it tied -- Christie 47%, Corzine 47%, Daggett "barely registering". We might not find out who the winner is tonight.

New York exit polls have Hoffman up by 5 points.

Polls in Virginia close at 7:00pm EST (only 49 minutes from now); New Jersey polls close at 8:00pm EST, New York polls at 9:00pm EST. Subtract one hour to get Central time.

Quick Predictions for Tonight

Virginia: Creigh Deeds will concede early, probably about an hour after the polls close.

New Jersey: Long night ahead in very close race. No matter who declares victory, look for allegations of massive voter fraud -- some of which will probably be true. No side will concede; election will end up in the courts.

New York 23rd District: Hoffman will win, though I think the margin will be closer than the polls are indicating. Watch for the Democrats to target this seat in next year's elections.

02 November, 2009

Election 2009 - The Night Before

Some quick notes, just on the off chance anyone actually cares what I have to say.

New Jersey Governor: Looks like it might be slipping out of Christie's hands. Two polls this evening -- Monmouth/Gannett and FDU PublicMind -- have Corzine up by 2 and 1 percentage points, respectively. However, both polls are in the margin of error. Looking at the nuts and bolts of both polls, each seems to be heavily weighted towards Democrats, but since New Jersey is a heavily Democrat state that's to be expected. Christie might yet pull it off, since both poll results are within the margin of error. But like many are saying this evening, the closer the election, the more likely the voter fraud to throw it Corzine's way.

New York 23rd District: Hoffman looks like he has all the momentum. Following on the heals of PPP's poll showing an unlikely lead of 17 points, Siena has a poll out putting Hoffman up by 5 points. And some Hoffman supporters are claiming online that Hoffman's internal polling suggests it will indeed be a blowout.

Virginia Governor: The polls haven't even opened yet, and Virginia Democrats are already conceding defeat.

01 November, 2009

Election 2009 Roundup

New York 23rd District: Oi. Talk about volatile. On Saturday, Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign, because polls were showing that she was so far behind New York Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens that she had no hope of capturing the seat. At the time she pointedly did not make an endorsement. However, late tonight she did... for the Democratic nominee. Frankly, I kind of feel bad for her -- she clearly got the short end of the stick in this election, and it wasn't entirely her fault. Yet, its got to be said: politics is a full contact sport, and anyone who runs for office has to be prepared for the inevitable curveballs that come from the least expected directions. Something which Scozzafava clearly did not plan for. What this means for the election is clearly unknown; some Scozzafava voters will undoubtedly follow her recommendation, but the idea that she has turned around and endorsed the Democrat has clearly rankled many in her district. So the question on Tuesday will become, which side will the Scozzafava voters go? A week ago I predicted that Bill Owens would win, because the Republican/Conservative vote would be split by Hoffman and Scozzafava. But right now, I've got the gut feeling that Hoffman has the momentum and will carry the election.

New Jersey Governor: This race is probably a toss up, but appears to be leaning Christie's way. Rasmussen has Christie up by 3 points, Monmouth/Gannett has him up by 1 point. But in an election like this, any advantage less than 4 points is suspect. Added to this is the fact that New Jersey, like Illinois, is run by a corrupt Democratic machine so entrenched a full scale nuclear bombing campaign could not dislodge it, as even the cockroaches are registered to vote. With that in mind, many have suggested that Christie needs to be going into Tuesday with at least a 5 point lead, or the prevailing voter fraud will tip the election to Corzine's favor. Unlike New York's 23rd District, the conservative Independent candidate -- Chris Daggett -- appears to be fading, with most of his support going to Christie as those voters realize Daggett has no chance. I still think Christie will pull this one out, but it will be close.

Virgina Governor: The only suspense left in this race is whether or not Bob McDonnell will win with a single or double digit majority. Honestly, if Creigh Deeds wins this election, it will only be because of massive, massive voter fraud.

Released this evening, Public Policy Polling (PPP) has Doug Hoffman up in the New York 23rd District by a whopping 15 points. And PPP is a Democratic/Liberal pollster, which means the margin could even be larger. If they're finding that big of a lead, then Owens definitely has cause to worry.

31 October, 2009

Scozzafava Out in NY 23rd!

Dede Scozzafava has suspended her campaign in the New York 23rd District, which effectively means she has dropped out of the race. This means that the race is now officially between Doug Hoffman (NY-C) and Bill Owens (D). And all the momentum appears to be with Doug Hoffman; he may actually pull this off.

30 October, 2009

Some more math...

Lets see...

The House Health Care bill runs to 1,990 pages. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the total cost would be $1.055 Trillion Dollars. That works out to an average of roughly $53,150,754 of spending per page.

Hope they used recycled paper.

29 October, 2009

Christie, McDonnell Up, Hoffman ?

New Jersey: Corzine seemed to have garnered a brief surge in the polls a few days ago, but now appears to have stalled. As I thought would happen, supporters of independent candidate Daggett are giving their candidate a second look, and realizing that he almost certainly cannot beat Corzine, are now throwing their support behind Christie as the candidate who has the better shot of actually winning. Rassmussen has Christie up by three points; perhaps more significantly, Daily Kos (which leans Democrat about as much as Rasmussen leans Republican) also has Christie up, but only by One percentage point. Survey USA has them tied. Taken all together, I'd say the actual is somewhere around Christie +2, but considering the closeness of the race that's basically means its a toss up. The Daily Kos one is perhaps the most telling of what is happening; even leaning Democrat, Kos has Christie leading by a slim margin. Whoever manages to bring their base out the most will win that election.

Virginia: Rasmussen has McDonnell up by 13 percentage points, Daily Kos has him up by 10 points. Either way you look at it, Creigh Deeds days appear to be numbered.

New York 23rd District: By far the most interesting race in the country. Daily Kos puts Democrat Owens up by One percentage point, with Conservative candidate Hoffman just behind. Scozzafava, the Republican, is fading fast -- faded so much, in fact, that the race has basically become Owens vs. Hoffman, with Scozzafava playing the role of also-ran. And Hoffman appears to be gaining strength, while Owens support has mostly been a steady percentage. Earlier this week I predicted that the Democrat would win because Hoffman's presence would mean the conservative voters would probably split; instead, what appears to be happening is that the conservative voters are realizing that supporting a third party candidate in this case might not actually amount to throwing their vote away. Hoffman now has a real shot at winning. This race will be incredibly interesting to watch.

27 October, 2009

Warning to Mayor Daley, Todd Stroger, and Gov. Quinn

This is what happens when you keep raising tax rates: the people who actually pay the taxes wind up leaving the state to live someplace more affordable. The result? Your tax base (and consequently, tax revenues) go down.

Paying taxes may be patriotic, but paying excessive taxes is just downright stupid.

McDonnell, Hoffman Up, Christie Flatline

New York 23rd District: Another poll has come out putting Doug Hoffman in the lead, and showing Scozzafava fading fast. But like the Club for Growth poll yesterday, this one was also a partisan poll, commissioned as it was by a group which has also endorsed Hoffman. However, it did have a slightly larger sampling than the Club for Growth poll. I'm still a little suspicious, and won't really believe Hoffman has a chance unless a poll comes out from a less partisan source showing he has at least similar strength. But it could very well be that Hoffman is starting to peak at exactly the right moment. Oh, and RCP has finally started tracking the polling for this race. Thank you, RCP.

New Jersey Governor: Rasmussen has Christie up by 3 percentage points, but since Rasmussen always leans Republican I tend to lop off two percentage points on any Republican result they publish. RCP still gives the average to Corzine, but its very, very tight -- only a 0.2% advantage. I still think Christie will pull it out in the end, but it will be very, very tight regardless.

Virginia Governor: Its going to be a McDonnell blow-out. Even the Washington Post poll -- which ALWAYS leans Democrat -- shows Republican McDonnell up by 11 percentage points. And Survey USA has him up by 17 percentage points. And with Democrat Deeds going down in flames, there is the possibility that it will also tip the balance in a number of local legislative districts, as the Virginia Democratic party is already feeling thoroughly demoralized before the polls have even opened, and may not turn out to support Democratic candidates in some of the closer legislative elections.

Mike Rogers (R-MI), Opening Statement on Health Care

You all know the drill... I'm going to be in soooooo much trouble when my in-laws discover this blog...

26 October, 2009

Sounds good to me

An anonymous blogger has suggested that the Chicago City Council be slashed in half, to 25 members from the current 50. The idea has struck a cord, and now people are seriously talking about it.

News article here.

Do it. Dear god, DO IT. Then institute term limits, cap their pay, and peg any future pay increases to the rate of inflation.

Hoffman in the lead in NY-23?

I'll believe it when I see it, but according to a poll conducted by The Club for Growth, Hoffman is now leading in the NY 23rd District with 31.3%, to Owens 27.0% and Scozzafava 19.7%. Sample size is small, though; 300 likely voters. I have no idea what the average voter turnout is in that district, but that still strikes me as too small a sampling to take seriously. But with a week to go, it does make one wonder if NY23 is about to send to Congress their first non-Democrat or Republican since the Civil War.

Health Insurance's Financial Health

Hey, remember my musings a few weeks ago when I ran through the numbers and found that Health Insurance profits amounted to diddly squat when compared to the Federal budget for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?

Looks like I overestimated their profitability.

Political Races 2009

Right now there are three political races in the country that may be a precursor of things to come in 2010: The governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey, and the race for the congressional seat in the 23rd District of New York.

The Virginia governor's race will almost certainly see a Democratic defeat. The incumbent governor, Creigh Deeds (D), is currently running about 10 percentage points behind the challenger, Robert McDonnell (R). A traditionally Republican state, Virginia leaned Democrat in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but only barely. Unemployment, economic issues, and general dissatisfaction with the Democrat-controlled government -- not to mention an inept and largely ineffectual Deeds administration -- have fueled McDonnell's rise to the top of the polls. The independents who voted for Obama now appear to be swinging towards McDonnell's way. I'd expect that the race will tighten before the polls on November 3rd, but at this point it is likely to be too little too late. RCP polling data can be found here. Verdict: Likely Republican win.

The New Jersey governor's race is closer, much closer. Incumbent Jon Corzine (D) is facing a stiff challenge by U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie (R), with a third party candidacy by conservative independent Christopher Daggett running in double digits. This race is especially interesting for those of us in Illinois, because like Illinois, New Jersey is a Democratic state that has had several major waves of arrests for political corruption in the last year, all of which involved influential members of the state Democratic party. In many ways, this election is being seen as a referendum on the political corruption in New Jersey, and incumbent Jon Corzine is on the receiving end of that anger. The ONLY thing that is saving Corzine at this point is the fact that the anti-Corzine vote is split between Christie and Daggett, since most polls have shown that were it not for Daggett in the race, Christie would be winning this race handily. More than likely, this race is going to come down to which idea the Daggett voters think is more important: making a principled statement about conservative values, or getting rid of Jon Corzine. Since Daggett and Christie are actually closer in where they stand on the issues than not (unlike, say, the differences between the candidates in the New York 23rd District), its quite possible that when the voting actually starts Daggett's base will instead vote for Christie, and console themselves by opining that at least Christie is "close enough to approximate". Current polling have Corzine and Christie in a stastical dead heat. Verdict: Republican win, but just barely. Watch for allegations of massive voter fraud in this one -- especially since ACORN has been waging an aggressive registration campaign.

New York 23rd District has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. Its the only House of Representatives seat up for grabs this year, being an election to find the replacement for John M. McHugh (R), who resigned to take the position of Secretary of the Army. And it is currently being contested by three candidates: Bill Owens (D), Dede Scozzafava (R), and Douglas Hoffman (NY Conservative Party). What's interesting about this race is that the Republican, Scozzafava, is actually considered the most LIBERAL of the three candidates, being pro-life, pro-green, and a generally pro-taxation voting record -- so much so that the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, has actually been getting traction by campaigning as the more "conservative" candidate for this heavily-conservative district. But added into this race is Doug Hoffman, the NY Conservative Party candidate who is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and anti-taxation. And this has essentially split the Republican voters in the NY-23. Right now Owens is leading, with Scozzafava not too far behind; however, recent polling seems to indicate that, while Owens numbers are relatively constant, Scozzafava's numbers are slipping and Hoffman's numbers are gaining. What's more, some polls indicate that the difference between Scozzafava and Hoffman is now less than six percentage points. People in New York are hopping mad at the taxes in that state, and especially with the administration of Governor Patterson; this may be their first chance to voice that dissatisfaction, and to send a message to both parties that enough is enough. Unfortunately, my gut feeling is that I don't think Hoffman is going to pull it off; he may actually surge enough to take second place, but I think the Democratic machine in upstate New York is just solid enough to benefit from a splitting of the normal Republican vote. Verdict: Democrat win, followed immediately by a very intense Owens (D) vs Hoffman (as R) fight in next year's general election.

I was just looking at the New Jersey Governor's most recent poll numbers on RCP's average. I find it interesting that, of the polls it lists, the ones that show Corzine ahead are all the polls with the smallest samplings. The larger the number of respondents, the stronger Christie's support seems to be. The only exception to this is the Monmouth/Gannett survey, which had 1,004 Likely Voters and lists the race as tied.

Be warned, folks. I'm probably going to be doing a lot of this poll watching and amateurish statistical analysis over the next year, leading up to the 2010 elections.

And yes, feel free to laugh at me while I do so.

Time to seriously consider Nuclear Power

If you run through the math, so-called "renewable" energy resources will not meet the demands of modern technology - no matter how many windmills, dams, or solar cells you build. At best, they supplement but can never surpass more traditional means of generating electricity. What's more, its well known that there is a finite limit to how much energy can be produced by using these methods -- and sadly, our current level of technology is very close to that limit. This isn't something that can be solved by improved technology; rather, its simply a limit established by the ordinary laws of physics. Which makes this current push for "green technologies" sounding more and more like "fool's gold".

It also makes the case for more investment in nuclear energy all the more important.

22 October, 2009

The Fall of the Wall

In a few weeks comes the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, probably the most shining moment of that most extraordinary year, 1989. Justifiably, the event is now being looked back upon as the important moment in history it was.

But who gets the bragging rights for setting it in motion?

Did Brinkmannship Fell Berlin's Wall? Brinkmann Says It Did

Personally, I give both gentleman praise for realizing the implications of the moment: the East German apparatchik fumbled, and they picked up the ball for a touchdown. Medal of Freedom (or the German equivalent) to them both.

Just so everyone knows where I stand

In case you had any doubt...

Nazism - Communism by D3uterium

(Unknown Artist)

19 October, 2009

Pull List for October 21, 2009

DCU Halloween Special 2009
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #6
Justice League Of America #38
Power Girl #6
Vigilante #11

Not much this week. Of these I'm probably most interested in FCA: Dance, since I rather enjoy the Super Young Team and hope they get an ongoing. I've also enjoyed DC's past Halloween Specials, so I'm hoping this year's will be as good. The rest of the pull list is pretty much just there to keep up with current story lines.

Eminent Domain Abuse

One of the most frightening power Governments have in the United States is that of Eminent Domain. Essentially, this is the doctrine that states that all property can be seized by the State, so long as it is for the State's use and so long as the owners of that property are compensated. In the past, this has mostly been used to make way for government facilities - post offices, military bases, etc. However, in some parts of the country it is increasingly being used not for government use, but for commercial development.

Here's the scam: A developer wants to put in a shopping center on a piece of land it does not own. The owners of that land do not want to sell. But rather than finding someplace else that will sell, the developers instead go to the local city council and convince them to seize the land (usually in the guise of "economic development"), and then turn around and sell it to them. We're not just talking about economically blighted areas, but in regular, bustling suburbia. And not just individual homes, but thriving businesses, church property, etc. Essentially, if private ownership gets in the way of the plans of a politically well-connected developer, then Eminent Domain is increasingly being used as a weapon to further that developer's plans. And there is very little that home owners can do to stop it.

Think that's far-fetched? Look what's happening in New York state:

New Report Documents Widespread Eminent Domain Abuse Across New York State

This is corruption, pure and simple. I don't care what party you are affiliated with, this sort of abuse should not be tolerated no matter who is in power.

October 19, 1781 AD

On this day in 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown, effectively ending the American Revolution and insuring independence for the young United States of America.

The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, by John Trumbull

17 October, 2009

Pull List for October 14, 2009

Didn't post a pull list for last week.  Well, here it is, for what its worth:

Batman #691
Blackest Night: Batman #3
Booster Gold #25
JSA vs Kobra #5
Secret Six #14
Titans #18

Now if I can just have a weekend to myself where I can sit down and catch up on my comics reading...

Anarchy in the UK

Islamic extremists in the UK are planning to hold a protest on October 31 in London, calling for an end to "Democracy and Freedom" and demanding the implementation of Sharia Law in the UK.

Well, I say that if they are so desirous of an end to "freedom", then the UK government should oblige them by depriving them of it, and shipping them off to Looneybinistan or whatever.

Daily Telegraph
Daily Express

16 October, 2009

The Broken Common Bond

Yep, its another one of those kind of videos. You know the drill: I am going to be in soooooo much trouble when my in-laws discover this blog...

Goblin Bloggin'

Gobby's back... (and yes, I perfectly realize that this will make absolutely no sense to the non-comics reading segment.)

Thanks to ItsJustSomeRandomGuy

Quote of the day

From "Lessons from Chairman Mao", by Dan Freeman, on Big Government:

Is Mao an isolated case? Not likely since the same story has been repeated in so many other communist states. Or can we say that the very nature of concentration of power in the State is evil? One fundamental and misguided belief that lies at the root of not only communism, but also its more acceptable cousins, socialism and progressivism, is that the state knows what is best for us. Hence President Obama’s ongoing narrative about what he can do to help us. Progressives, having learned that the private sector is the creator of wealth, do not want to eliminate it. Rather they just want to control it, and redistribute it.

Yet the very notion of redistribution of wealth—a common theme among many of the President’s Czars and other advisors—is a fallacy. When wealth is redistributed, it is largely destroyed. In fact, if we just transferred all the wealth from the private sector to the Government, the Government wouldn’t be “rich” for very long. The wealth would evaporate as it moved from the productive, innovative, and efficient private sector to the unproductive, stagnant, and wasteful public sector.

Lessons from Chairman Mao

14 October, 2009

Kirk Leads Giannoulias in latest Poll

Its still way too early to take any polling on this race seriously, and this one is a little more suspect than most since it was actually commissioned by the Mark Kirk campaign. But the latest poll shows that the hypothetical match-up between Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias for the US Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich) has Kirk up 42%-35% over Giannoulias.

New poll shows Kirk up over Alexi Giannoulias

Encouraging news. But mostly meaningless, considering that the election for the seat is a little more than a year away.

But the pole does show one major bit of news for Giannoulias: Mark Kirk is going to walk away with the nomination for this position, whereas Giannoulias has got a burgeoning primary fight on his hands.

The Birthers Get Slapped Down

What the Truthers ("9/11 was a government conspiracy!") are to the Left, the Birthers ("Barrack Obama was not born in the US") are to the Right. Both groups are comprised of highly partisan political chimpanzees with axes to grind, grandiose delusions of Illuminati-level conspiracies, and moronic levels of common sense. So its good to see at least one of them got the smack-down today in Federal Court:

From Yahoo:
Federal judge in Ga. sanctions 'birther' attorney

From the opinion:
Or perhaps an eccentric citizen has become convinced that the President is an Alien from Mars, and the courts should order DNA testing to enforce the Constitution (*).

(*) The Court does not make this observation simply as a rhetorical device for emphasis; the Court has actually received correspondence assailing its previous order in which the sender, who, incidentally, challenged the undersigned to a "round of fisticuffs on the Courthouse Square," asserted that the President is not human.

Taitz Sancstions Opinion - US Federal District Court

Wow. Talk about people with tenuous grasps on reality. This is Cynthia McKinnon levels of stupidity.

Beware the VAT

I will say this right now: Any attempt to impose a Value Added Tax in the US will result in a huge, monumental, tax payer revolt.

13 October, 2009

Student Loan Socialism

I am going to be in sooooooooo much trouble when my in-laws discover this blog...

Mythbusters PSA

I'm a big fan of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. With all of the brouhaha in the news about Swine (H1N1) Flu, it seems that Mssrs. Savage and Heineman have been recruited to do a whole series of Public Service Announcements on the various Discovery channels... in their own Mythbusters way.

For more information, go to Discover.com's 5 Myths About H1N1 page.

12 October, 2009

Quote of the day

The Quote of the Day comes from economist Jagdish Bhagwati, at the World Affairs Journal:

After two and a half centuries of this fascinating debate, I have to say that my own sympathies lie with those who have found markets, on balance, to be on the side of the angels. But I should also add that I find the specific notion that markets corrupt our morals, and determine our ethical destiny, to be a vulgar quasi-Marxist notion about as convincing as that other vulgar notion that ownership of the means of production is critical to our economic destiny.

Feeble Critiques: Capitalism's Petty Detractors

Its Gonna Be Cooooooold This Winter

We had below-freezing temperatures briefly over the weekend. And the next several days aren't going to be much better (though we evidently do warm up to the 60s briefly next week).

I've got a feeling we're going to be in for a long, long, brutal winter.

10 October, 2009

People who are (or in this case, were) far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize #6

Candidate #6:
Ronald Wilson Reagan

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
Ronald Reagan Library
The Real Reagan Record -- National Review, August 31, 1992

October 10, 732 AD

Charles de Steuben's Bataille de Poitiers en Octobre 732

On this day in 732 AD, the Battle of Tours took place.

The Battle of Tours is important because it was the decisive turning point in Christianity's struggle against an invasion of Europe by Moorish and Islamic armies. Effectively, it saved Christianity for Europe and prevented Islamic forces from advancing any further then their toe-hold in Spain. Had the Frankish and Burgundian forces not prevailed, it is highly unlikely that any other military force in Europe of any consequence could have been mustered in time to stop the invasion; Europe would have certainly fallen to the Islamic invaders within a few years, and more than likely all of Western Europe would today be Muslim. For that reason, the Battle of Tours is generally regarded as being one of the few instances in which the outcome of history truly did hang in the balance.

09 October, 2009

People who are far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize #5

Candidate #5:
Wei Jingsheng

Another prominent Chinese dissident and activist. Also currently imprisoned.

Wikipedia page: Here.

(suggestion courtesy of Moonbattery blog)