Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

Random Connections

Posted by Dan Draney on March 22, 2012

We can’t look at the news without seeing examples of What’s Wrong with the World Today. Face Palm Example 1, entitled “FDA Accepts Public Comments on Emergency Shortages Data Collection System” reads in part:

Many medical devices are essential products to the patients who use them. If the supply of these devices were interrupted—in the case of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earth quake, for example—lives would be at stake. To prevent such scenarios from becoming reality, FDA created the Emergency Medical Device Shortages Program Survey. Developed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the survey is intended to allow FDA to collect data on domestic inventory, manufacturing capabilities, distribution plans, and raw material constraints for medical devices that would be in high demand or vulnerable to shortages if a disaster or emergency would strike or certain regulatory actions were taken.

via FDA Accepts Public Comments on Emergency Shortages Data Collection System | MDDI Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry News Products and Suppliers.

Because in a crisis, obviously we could all rest easier knowing that a massive, slow-moving, inflexible federal bureaucracy is ready to take total control of all aspects of the supply chain for everything important.

The only better way to assure that shortages will occur would be to establish price controls to prevent “gouging.” Gouging occurs when anyone pays what something in short supply is actually worth. Don’t worry, though, price controls will be the natural, first response of the FDA.

Closing question: What do you suppose they mean by “if … certain regulatory actions were taken” in that quote?

Meanwhile, over at The Nation, Jeff Madrick provides Example 2, as he wonders, “Can Americans Trust Government Again?

Contrary to what we hear from Republicans, America did not lose its way in the past few years. It lost its way a generation ago when it abandoned its faith in government.

Conventional wisdom has it that come November the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the state of the economy. Actually, the real battle will be over a much older fundamental ideological issue in American politics: what role government should play in shaping our future. This special issue of The Nation is dedicated to bringing the debate about government front and center as the presidential race heats up.

Because in his view, it’s not that the government consistently fails the basic tests of competency in practically everything it attempts. It’s not that appetite for new government programs, regulations, and rules is boundless. The problem is that people growing disgusted with the overreach and looking at the results have lost faith. If we just give the government more control over every private decision, we’ll reach Utopia. You Gotta Believe!

Nonetheless we wish them well in bringing this issue to the forefront of the presidential race. I sincerely hope these two competing visions are a major part of the debate, because they are the root of our political disagreements.

Posted in Economics, regulation | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Twitter Trolls to Block

Posted by Dan Draney on January 9, 2011

If you follow discussions on Twitter with the “hashtags” used by conservatives (#tcot #twisters #ocra #sgp, etc.), you may be wishing you could block the annoying leftist trolls trying to disrupt things. Here is my compilation of accounts to block. While it’s far from comprehensive, it does dramatically reduce the noise.

@watergatesummer, @jrbaltmd57, @libertybelle4, @johnd1967, @moodyloner, @justabrick, @garylpollard, @hardknoxfirst, @punkyp, @1oldcoot, @alottawa, @tatterd, @larrydhalstead, @zjas5, @ksquared3, @anti_fox_news, @portcitypisces, @maliheh_, @janettthinks, @ellceebee, @harmonywho, @genderconstruct, @celestialbeard, @d_hoppers_ghost, @unorigmoniker, @nojoe101, @sharoney, @spathiphyllum, @brettr4763, @bowedoak, @brx0, @bigmoney4shelly, @theladyharley, @pheco, @jolinastar, @its_our_choice, @_gregwhoward, @redscarebot, @achura, @pittgirly, @louvice, @watergirl95, @sandinbrick, @shannon_ahern, @rocky1542, @mdrfl, @wre1948, @sindad1, @thechickabides, @navdoc3rdmar, @politicalbee, @mother_rell, @socooked, @hardknoxfirst, @mccollin2010, @caregiver55, @ghostdansing, @anarchytweet, @barbiesnow, @antiwacko, @cody_k, @progressiveman7, @whumba, @salleegal, @queerjohnpa, @1kecko, @concrusher, @spreadbutter, @withyobadself, @politicalgates, @turtletears, @crystalwolflady, @otoolefan, @katieannieoakly,  @msveronicajay, @runforfun54, @molinelobo, @justgrateful @libwstcoastprof

If you are using Tweetdeck, simply copy this list. Then open your preferences. Click on “Global Filter,” and paste the list into the “From people:” box. Click “Save Settings,” and tweets from these accounts will never trouble you again in Tweetdeck. The list is in the correct format for Tweetdeck (users separated by commas). Using it in other Twitter apps may require some other format.

If you have suggested changes (additions or deletions) for the troll list, please comment on this post and/or send me a message on twitter: @DanDraney. Of course, if you are on the troll list, I won’t see your tweets.

I will update this list from time to time and keep it on the main page of the blog. So bookmark it for future reference.

UPDATE: 4/24/11 Added the Twitter usernames in red to the list. Update2: The last 3, in bold, were added after the initial update.

UPDATE: 2/28/14 Removed a person who does not seem to be engaged in any trollish behavior.

Posted in crazy leftists, general nuttiness | 1 Comment »

Jobs Americans Won’t Do

Posted by Dan Draney on October 24, 2010

Socialist Patty Murray has discovered that it’s OK to exploit illegal aliens in service of her own bid to cling to power. Apparently there really are some Jobs Americans Won’t Do.

The 42-year-old is one of dozens of volunteers — many of them illegal immigrants — canvassing neighborhoods in the Seattle area trying to get naturalized citizens to cast a ballot for candidates like Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who is in a neck-to-neck race with Republican Dino Rossi.

Pramila Jayapal, head of OneAmerica Votes, says the campaign is about empowering immigrants who may not feel like they can contribute to a campaign because they can’t vote.

“Immigrants really do matter,” Jayapal said. “If we can’t vote ourselves, we’re gonna knock on doors, or get family members to vote.”

So far the illegal immigrants going door-to-door aren’t meeting opposition. Craig Keller, an organizer for Respect WA, a group pushing for stricter immigration law in the Washington, said he doesn’t mind illegal immigrants volunteering for vote drives, he just wants to make sure mistakes on the voter rolls don’t allow them to vote.

via Illegal Aliens Canvass for Votes in Wash. State – FoxNews.com.

You can make a contribution to Murray’s opponent, Dino Rossi, here.

Posted in Senate, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Give Me Liberty TV Interview with Governor Heineman

Posted by Dan Draney on September 4, 2010

Nebraska Governor David Heineman sits down with GML-TV’s W. A. Mitchell. The Governor talks about the state budget, federal spending, illegal immigration, the Cornhusker Kickback, and the states’ lawsuit against the ObamaCare “individual mandate.” Will he challenge Sen. Ben Nelson in 2014? He doesn’t say so, but he sounds like someone who’s thinking a lot about what a Nebraska senator needs to do.

via Give Me Liberty TV.

Posted in GML-TV, government spending, healthcare, Nebraska, Senate, taxes, tea party | Leave a Comment »

York County Tea Party Group Plans Flag Day Rally in Seward

Posted by Dan Draney on June 6, 2010

York, Nebraska, has an active Tea Party group with plans for a rally on Flag Day (6/16). The local paper, The York News-Times reports:

YORK — Just about two months ago, the Tea Party movement in York County was made up of two like-minded women who said they were sick of high government spending and lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution. Today, the local grassroots group consists of dozens of people, a board of directors and a outreach program that’s assisting their neighbors in Seward County.

Watch the Video Report

Jeremy Jensen, chairman of the York County Tea Party, says the group is partnering with Lincoln Tea Party volunteers to host a Flag Day rally in Seward, June 14.

“Our goal is simple,” Jensen says. “We want to deliver resources for people who feel like us, to take a stand, become informed and provide education about our Constitution. We believe in limited government, free market solutions and fiscal responsibility. We support everything that is in the U.S. Constitution. We do not endorse specific candidates, but rather want to educate the people so they can ask the right questions and make the right decisions when it comes time to vote in November.”

Voting is important — the local Tea Party chairman says they encourage voter registration and are distributing material to help residents be registered and prepared.

“We are not looking to be a third political party,” Jensen said. “We want to provide a platform for the citizens to ask questions of the candidates, on the local, state and federal levels. We believe that if individuals have good information they will make good decisions” in the voting booth. “We want people to study the Constitution and base their decisions on whether a candidate backs it.”

[…]

Jensen said they will also be having an informal event before Flag Day, on June 10, at the York Community Center. “From 1-7 p.m., we’ll have an open house during which we will be giving people complimentary supplies to make signs for the Seward rally. And, if someone wants to make a sign but cannot attend the Seward rally, we can take the signs over for them.”

My friend, Ed, made this short video promotion for the event:

Posted in Constitution, GML-TV, government spending, Nebraska, tea party | 2 Comments »

My Drawing of Mohammed

Posted by Dan Draney on June 6, 2010

Mohammed's X-wing

Mohammed in his X-Wing

PLaplace’s post on the results of the Reason magazine “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” competition reminds me that I never submitted a drawing of my own on the subject. Due to my extreme lack of artistic talent, I’ll submit one I made on my computer.

So here you have Mohammed, May the Force Be with Him, in his X-Wing fighter. It’s a little hard to spot him there in the cockpit, so you’ll have to take my word for it that he’s inside. True Star Wars aficionados may wonder why he’s in an X-Wing rather than a TIE fighter. We can only surmise that he captured the X-Wing and is escaping from the rebels.

Posted in Islam, jokes, Mohammed cartoons | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

A Look Back at Everyone Draw Mohammad Day

Posted by PLaplace on June 6, 2010

Though the official “Everyone Draw Mohammad Day” passed by several weeks ago largely unnoticed, I thought I would draw some attention to reason magazine’s celebration of the day.  Around the time the contest was first making the rounds, the editors at reason announced that they would hold a contest for best EDM Day picture, and post the winner on their website.  The entries were numerous, and I must admit that though the runners up were all fantastic in their own way, the winner truly took the cake and fit the spirit of the event perfectly.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend you take a minute and check it out.  The winner is at the bottom of the page:  And the Winner of the Everybody Draw Mohammad Contest is…

Bonus link:  reason also published an article entitled “Defending the Project of Free Inquiry,” defending their decision to celebrate EDM Day in the first place and rebutting the argument that EDM Day is counter productive because it also insults moderate Muslims.  A fantastic read as well.

Posted in Islam, Mohammed cartoons | 1 Comment »

Book Signing in Lincoln and Omaha

Posted by Dan Draney on June 3, 2010

I received this press release about a book tour visit of Jon Lauck to Lincoln and Omaha. I don’t know Dr. Lauck, but Ryne knows him from the Thune vs. Daschle election in South Dakota in 2004, and says he’s an all around great guy. Perhaps Ryne can be coaxed into adding a note to this post. :)

I also haven’t read “Prairie Republic,” but I did read this review of it, and that sounds good. If you have a Facebook account, you can check out the Facebook page for the book.

AUTHOR TO SIGN BOOKS IN
OMAHA AND LINCOLN THIS SUNDAY

–New Book Examines the History of Prairie Settlement–

Norman, OK — Jon Lauck, author of the newly-released book “Prairie Republic,” published by the University of Oklahoma Press, will be appearing on June 6th at book events in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. The events will be held at the Bookworm Bookstore in Omaha at 1:00 (8702 Pacific Street, 402-392-2877) and Indigo Bridge Books in Lincoln at 5:00 (The Haymarket, 701 P Street, 402-477-7770). “Prairie Republic” explores the settlement of the Great Plains/Prairie region during the late 19th-century, notes the successes of the pioneers and the institutions they built, and discusses the broader meaning of this historic moment in American history. A Creighton University professor recently wrote in a review of “Prairie Republic” that “Lauck argues that the farm and small town culture of the Midwest in the late nineteenth century encouraged a sense of responsibility for the common good. Until the end of the Civil War, nearly all of Nebraska and the Dakota Territories were thought to be arid wastelands. With newly developed farming techniques and expanded railway networks, however, the final decades of the nineteenth century saw a tremendous boom in the upper Great Plains.”

“Prairie Republic” is also available from online booksellers, in bookstores, and directly from the University of Oklahoma Press: 1-800-627-7377 or http://www.oupress.com. For an author interview or to schedule a book event, please contact Sandy See, Publicist at the University of Oklahoma Press, 405-325-3200 or ssee@ou.edu. To directly contact the author, use the electronic address: jlauck1941@hotmail.com For more information and publicity materials visit: http://www.oupress.com/bookdetail.asp?isbn=978-0-8061-4110-7

Signings of “Prairie Republic” will also be held in Sioux Falls (Barnes & Noble, June 5th, 1:00, 3700 West 41st Street, 605-362-1500), Fargo (Barnes & Noble, June 12th, 4:00, 1201 42nd Street South, near West Acres Mall, 701-281-1002), Rapid City (Borders, June 18th, 4:30, 2130 Haines Avenue, 605-394-5334), Watertown (Goss Opera House, June 24th, 6:00, 100 East Kemp Avenue, 605-878-4677) and other locations in the near future.

Lauck is also the author of “Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007) and “American Agriculture and the Problem of Monopoly” (University of Nebraska Press, 2000). A former lawyer and history professor, Lauck is now Senior Advisor and Counsel to U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota

Sandy See
Publicity Manager
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive
Norman OK 73069
405-325-3200
ssee@ou.edu

Posted in Nebraska | Leave a Comment »

Peculiar Result in Neb Primary

Posted by Dan Draney on May 24, 2010

can of hammerheads

Which is smarter: A Dem primary voter or this can of hammerheads?

Last Tuesday’s primary election here in Lincoln for the Congressional seat currently held by Jeff Fortenberry [R] is a bizarre and largely untold story. No, Rep. Fortenberry did not drown in a TEA Party tidal wave; he easily beat back his primary challengers. The oddity was in the Democrat primary, with the party’s choice, Ivy Harper, facing off against a group of amateurs. Two of her opponents were so inept they had no web presence at all and didn’t even bother  answering the questions to get into the Lincoln Journal Star Voter’s Guide.

Harper campaigned as a “moderate” Democrat, to the extent one believes such creatures exist, calling herself the “Center-Pivot Candidate.” It’s a small joke on the center-pivot irrigation systems, widely used in Nebraska, which apparently means she’ll be going around in circles. Or perhaps, it’s that once she’s elected she’ll pivot sharply to the left? On the issues Harper advocates pretty conventional liberal positions.

So it was shocking to see Harper struggle to eek out a win in a very tight race against Jessica Lynn Turek. Turek’s qualifications and positions via the Journal Star Voter’s Guide:

Turek says she is a Nebraska native who works to make us prouder Nebraskans. She says people deserve economic stability. Technology has made our lives easier and now is the time to make positive adjustments.

Turek has a Bachelor of Arts degree, more than six years of professional library experience and a year of AmeriCorps work.

What would you like to accomplish as a member of the House during the next two years?

Raise the minimum wage; price caps on housing, autos, produce and gas. Price caps on energy and make money beautiful and smell good.

Do you believe Congress should attempt to govern in a more bipartisan way, and if so, what actions would you take to try to help achieve that?

Bipartisanship is a natural result of good ideas. Positive, the Nebraska we want. Everlasting for the future now.

The rest of the questions were unanswered. Now Ms. Turek may be a wonderful person, but who in the world reads this kind of thing and decides, “Yeah, I’ll vote for that?”

Posted in crazy leftists, Economics, Fortenberry, Nebraska | 5 Comments »

GML-TV Update

Posted by Dan Draney on May 22, 2010

We have a new Give Me Liberty TV episode running on Lincoln’s Time Warner Cable public access channel. There are three segments in this show:

  1. The conclusion of the interview with Tea Party leaders Shelli Dawdy (Grassroots in Nebraska) and Laura Ebke (Red State Eclectic / Campaign for Liberty) hosted by GML-TV’s Patrick Tarr. The discussions cover the Federal Reserve, local grassroots organizations for limited government, citizen efforts to report on legislation in the Unicameral, and the new movie, “A New America.” If you missed the first part of the interview, you can check it out here.
  2. The second is an interview I did with Lory Storm of the Nebraska 912 Freedom Project about their Initiative petition to allow recall of elected officials in Nebraska. The Initiative process in Nebraska allows citizens to place amendments to the state constitution on the ballot by collecting signatures throughout the state in support of the amendment. The purpose of this particular amendment is to increase government accountability by adding a mechanism for the people of Nebraska to remove a politician from office before the end of his/her term. If the amendment reaches the ballot and is enacted, it would apply to Nebraska officials at all levels of government: federal; state; and local.
  3. Finally there is a video of a speech about Repeal and Replace that former NY Governor George Pataki gave in Lincoln recently. It’s a good speech, but I’m not a big fan of Pataki based on what I saw of him when I lived in Connecticut. The Governor appeared through RevereAmerica, which seems to be mainly a vehicle for promoting him for the 2012 presidential race. That seems like a pipe dream to me.

Posted in Constitution, GML-TV, Nebraska, tea party, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The T-Word

Posted by Dan Draney on May 4, 2010

That would be the use of “teabagger” in reference to those patriots protesting the hard left turn by the Democrat politicians who have their boot on the throat of the country. In my view anyone using that term is displaying his own bigotry and has forfeited all rights to be listened to at all. I’ve made just one exception to that personal rule. (He knows who he is.) It would be interesting to know what fraction of the cratering of CNN’s ratings in the past year can be traced to Anderson Cooper and company yukking it up on the air about “teabaggers,” in full-blown “Because-We-Know-About-The-Homosexual-Meaning-And-They-Don’t” mode. Openly mocking and insulting your customers: Not A Good Business Model.

Right on the heels of his speech calling for civility by denouncing the partisanship of his opponents, our phony “centrist,” pretend “post partisan,” allegedly “post racial,” President has come out of the teabag closet himself by using the term in an interview. As Allah Pundit points out, it’s got to be good news for the opposition when Joe Biden is the tactful, elder statesman of the left. Just keep it up, fellas. We’ll see how hard you’re laughing in November.

Meanwhile, the main worry of the Obamacrats seems to be their inability to devise enough wildly unpopular legislation to ram through Congress with parliamentary chicanery. The thinking, if you can call it that, seems to be, “We know we’re going to take a bath in the midterm elections anyway, so what have we got to lose?” Gaze into this crystal ball for a glimpse of where that path leads.

Posted in Civility Watch, Obama, tea party | Leave a Comment »

Statistics and Reality

Posted by PLaplace on May 2, 2010

Fellow poster Dan Draney drew my attention to this article on statistics the other day.  It’s a fascinating look at what statistical significance really means and how the notion is unwittingly abused by those in the sciences, predominantly in the fields of psychology and economics.  As astute observers may have inferred from my pseudonym, my interest in mathematics and statistics is more than casual, and as such the topic of abuse of statistics is dear to my heart.  Moreover, in a world where billions, if not trillions, of dollars ride on the reliability of statistical models and conclusions, a strong understanding of what statistical significance means is essential.

The beauty of statistics comes not from its ability to discover objective truth, which it cannot do, but rather from its ability to quantify uncertainty.  At the heart of statistics lies probability theory.  This is used to assign probabilities to experimental results.  If for instance, 12 out of a 1000 people suffer heart attacks when given a new drug, is that result significantly different enough from what we might expect from blind chance to justify pulling a drug from the marketplace?  It turns out than when one digs deeply into the laws of probability, one discovers that it is possible to prove many many probabilistic conclusions from the simple assumption of randomness in sampling.  Even if one knows absolutely nothing about an underlying population (for instance, how many people favor Barack Obama over John McCain) a properly constructed sample can yield measurable results.  Hence the importance of always conducting surveys, clinical trials, and psychological experiments with completely random samples, i.e. calling random households or selecting random patients.  This point is crucial, so I will repeat it:  without a random sample, results mean nothing.

As concerns politics, this is rarely a problem with the major polling firms such as Gallup or Rasmussen.  Their statisticians are rigorous and extremely competent.  One must however always be wary of polls put out by think tanks or political advocacy groups, especially if they talk about “weighting” the result for demographics or socioeconomic status, any other number of data manipulation techniques.  The instant this happens, all of the conclusions of the survey or study evaporate.  Additionally, another issue is margins of error.  These are critical to the quantification and understanding of statistical conclusions.  If someone says that Barack Obama is leading John McCain by 49% to 47% amongst registered voters with a margin of error of .1%, that result is highly significant and I would put money on an Obama victory.  If the margin of error was 3% (as is common for most polls), then we can’t really say anything about Obama’s chances of winning.  To but it in betting terms, a margin of error of .1% might correlate to something like 1000:1 odds of an Obama victory, while a margin of error of 3% would be close to 1:1.

Now when it comes to predicting a presidential election, there are enough polls going around that a clear picture normally emerges, regardless of the results of any individual poll.  But what about when the survey in question is only done once or twice, such as our heart attack experiment above, and billions of dollars might be on the line?  In that case the difference between 10:1 odds of being right (often not enough of an outlier to justify action), and 1000:1 odds can be critical.  Surveys and studies will almost always show differences between the populations in question, be they voters, medical subject, or psychology volunteers.  Being able to interpret what these differences actually mean is an essential skill, not just for statisticians but for anyone who might encounter statistics on a regular basis.  Given how often statistics are thrown around in academia, industry, and government, the ability to decipher statistical conclusions can often prove useful.  While not everyone can devote years to the study of the mathematics behind it all, and few rigorous statistics courses are offered as part of the “standard” American college or high school education, taking some time to at least browse wikipedia might well prove invaluable down the line.  At the very least, one might find oneself better equipped to correct the erroneous conclusions of those who bandy about flawed studies without knowing their error.  The world can always use a little more truth.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Obama Gives Partisan Speech Denouncing Partisanship

Posted by Dan Draney on May 2, 2010

True, that’s not exactly news. It’s pretty much a standard, liberal trope to call for “civility” as a way of suggesting that your critics are vicious, while ignoring the contributions your own policies, actions, and rhetoric have made to the poisoning of the political atmosphere.  The objective is to cast all criticism of your own actions as outside the bounds of civil discourse. Bill Clinton was the master of this, as we saw again recently. The al-Reuters “News” Agency reports:  Obama defends government power ahead of elections:

Obama, a Democrat, used a commencement address at the University of Michigan to encourage new graduates to engage in civil debate — an issue Obama feels is often missing in Washington — and expose themselves to different political points of view.

Obama lamented the lack of civility in public discourse and encouraged the students to be able to disagree without demonizing their opponents.

“We can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down,” he said to applause.

It sure helps to have most of the media in your pocket when indulging in this sort of thing. Otherwise how could you hope to campaign as a moderate, post-partisan “healer”, then govern from the far left, and jam your whole agenda through on party-line votes on bills no one has read? Still it takes quite a bit of gall when you and your surrogates transparently lie about what is in the billsmock and demonize your political opponents at every turn, grossly misrepresent their positions, question their motives, falsely accuse them of racism, etc., to then complain about a “lack of civility.” Never mind trying to marginalize the one independent television voice before calling for people to “expose themselves to different points of view.”

Posted in Obama | 1 Comment »

New GMLTV: Nebraska Grassroots Groups

Posted by Dan Draney on May 2, 2010

The Tea Party Movement consists of hundreds of small groups operating independently around the country. Of course, GMLTV itself is such a group, but there are many others just here in Nebraska. Laura Ebke, who blogs at Red State Electric, is the leader of Campaign for Liberty in Nebraska. Shelli Dawdy of Grassroots in Nebraska is another local Tea Party leader. Recently GMLTV’s Patrick Tarr hosted a discussion with Shelli and Laura. Topics ranged from the Tea Party Movement to the Unicameral’s resolution on state sovereignty and the Constitutional balance between state and federal power.

[Cross-posted at GMLTV]

Posted in 10th Amendment, GML-TV, Nebraska, sovereignty, tea party | Leave a Comment »

Greeks In the Streets

Posted by Ryne McClaren on May 2, 2010

America, welcome to a snapshot of your future!  Greeks take to streets in protest of deep spending cuts.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Greece on Saturday, including hundreds of black-clad youths who clashed with the police here, as Greeks vented their rage at tough new austerity measures aimed at securing aid and avoiding a debt default.

[…]

The protests, and a planned strike on Wednesday, are a sign of the challenges ahead for Greece. On Sunday, Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to announce cost-cutting measures totaling 24 billion euros (about $32 billion) that will include freezing public-sector salaries, raising taxes and slashing pensions. In return, Greece is expected to receive up to 120 billion euros in aid over three years.

Greece is, thanks to having their arms twisted, slashing their runaway “social democratic” spending ways, all in hopes of receiving an influx of necessary euros to keep their country from collapsing.  I mean, long story short.

But surely the can-do attitude can keep the country of Greece running, right?

Wrong.  Many in Greece are responding with nothing short of rage.  Sweet, sweet rage at the government that they require and expect to sustain them from the cradle to the grave.

The government’s proposals for deep spending cuts pushed by the International Monetary Fund have met angry resistance in a country where one out of three people is employed in the civil service, which until now has guaranteed jobs for life. The shake-up of Greece’s bloated public sector represents one of the biggest overhauls of the country’s welfare state in a generation. Fears are growing that once Greek society begins to feel the effects of the austerity measures, social unrest could unhinge a potential recovery or force the government to dilute some changes.

“This crisis is not my fault, I won’t accept these austerity measures and I want to know where all the money has gone,” Emily Thomaidis, 29, the owner of a coffee shop, said as she marched through central Athens past vendors selling newspapers with the headlines “Fear. Rage. Hope.” She added, “Why should my generation have to pay the price for problems created by our parents’ generation?”

I can’t remember the last time I read such a delicious, delicious quote in a newspaper.  “Why should my generation have to pay the price for problems created by our parents’ generation?”

Oh my… the glorious irony… the lip-smacking schadenfreude.

Because this is how it works, Emily.  This is government in action.  This is the essence of government, being acted out on the global stage: Patching and solving problems by passing the buck to its future generations.

Given the tragedy and farce of such beautiful American endeavors such as the “stimulus,” and Obamacare, I hope that the New York Times archives this piece of work for future reference, because they’re going to need to run it again and again in the coming decades.  Except the scene won’t be Athens.  (Well, Athens, Georgia, perhaps.)

But there is hope yet.  Surveyed Greeks claim to support these fat-trimming measures (84% claim that the economic difficulties present the chance to introduce needed reform).

One can only hope that they’re not three to five generations (at least) too late.

Posted in capitalism, debt, Economics, socialism | 1 Comment »

The Road to Welfaredom

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 29, 2010

In what could arguably go down as one of the most laughable quotes ever to come out of the office of an American President, Real Clear Politics lands this Moby Dick of bullsh*t from President Obama, during remarks that were apparently uttered yesterday:

“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

The link will take you to actual footage of these words, from a man who’s shaping up to be the ultimate barker in the carnival of anti-capitalist, anti-free market insanity.

I spent a part of my day (ok, the last 15 minutes or so) parsing the sentence quoted above.  There’s a lot of voodoo in this sentence, and I would urge most readers to not dismiss it as Obama simply pimping to a room of “ordinary Americans.”  Not at all.  In fact, these words are quite lethal.

“I want to be clear…”

I only add that because it’s a staple of any Obama speech, and I find it funny.

“[W]e’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success…”

Oh, heavens no.  By no means does the President or his cadre of tax cheats and bank failure friends begrudge success.  They’re hugely, massively, hilariously wealthy.  The President himself is wealthy by nearly any standard you want to measure him against.  And they’re getting more wealthy every day.  And you, Ordinary Citizen, are not to begrudge them this success.

“[success] that’s fairly earned…”

We do not need a financial reform, headed by hand-picked success auditors, to begrudge success that’s fairly earned.  What we need to do is create measuring devices to determine what is fairly earned, and what is not fairly earned.  What is fairly earned will be ours.  What is not fairly earned will be theirs.

This right here is us.  That over there is them.  And all around is a system of class warfare.

I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.

A personal aside: I am a producer, not a moocher.  I’m also a capitalist, and notoriously greedy.  I’m greedy for myself and I’m greedy for my neighbors.  And yet even I (yes, me!) think that there’s a certain point that you’ve made enough money.

And that point is… when there’s no more money left for you to possibly make.  Either the day isn’t long enough, the market has been tapped, saturated, milked dry, or else when the spirit is willing but the body is unable, even I know that there’s a certain point when someone has made enough money.

But I’m not the person who gets to decide that.  Our markets get to define that.  Our demand gets to define it.  Our supply gets to quantify it.

But not the President of the United States.  And not Congress.  And not even “community organizers” shouting vaguely bubble-gummy flavored slogans.

There’s any number of directions that the speechwriter (or the President himself) could have taken the end of that statement.

It could have been said, for example, “I do think that at a certain point Wall Street has made enough money.”

Wall Street is made up of big boys and girls who are used to being rolled around.  Insulting Wall Street is like insulting used car salesmen and lawyers: it really can’t even be done.  Giving the imaginary Monopoly Guy who rules Wall Street a delicious cod punch is always a crowd pleaser, and plays well to the “ordinary Americans.”  Talk about fired up and ready to go!  Nearly every flunky working in an Organizing for America office would have stood and cheered at that one.

The President may also have said, “I do think that at a certain point people who wish to commit fraud have made enough money.”

If he had said that, then I think we could reach a milquetoast agreement that he said something true.  That breaking the law to make money is unethical and immoral.  That gains must not be ill-gotten.  We all could have been happy.

Is this a case of the President committing a Freudian slip?  Or one of a work weary blogger totally over analyzing and blowing out of proportion a throwaway line in yet another of our President’s ridiculously dumb speeches?

I hope it’s the latter.  I hope years from now we can sit back and laugh, like we do when we think of, well, basically anything that came out of the mouth of James Earl Carter.

But I don’t think this is going to be.  I’m deeply suspicious that, years from now, we’re going to sit back and wish we’d paid closer attention to the things this man said.  To the way he said them.  To the way he liked to utter “us” and “them,” all the while meaning himself, his friends, his cronies, his confidants.

And all the while not realizing that when he said “you” at the end of that line, he really did mean you and me.

Posted in capitalism, Obama | 1 Comment »

What He Said

Posted by Dan Draney on April 28, 2010

I just loved this letter to the editor today in the WSJ from Robert G. Anderson of Sheridan, Wyoming.

Gerald O’Driscoll’s excellent “An Economy of Liars” op-ed, April 20 ends too soon. Crony capitalism is merely the first phase of an imposed interventionist welfare state on a free-market economy. As our country continues its descent down Frederich von Hayek.s “road to serfdom,” our politicians and their apologists are being transformed from liars to demagogues.

The anti-capitalist mentality ingrained in egalitarianism and envy is taking our country closer to the path taken by Argentina as that country steadily declined from being one of the world’s richest countries to one of its poorest in the last century. Recovery still remains an illusion for Argentina, and possibly it will for us as well.

While the most immediate and visible consequences from this shifting change are the unfunded, contingent liabilities and growing deficits in both the public and private sectors, the far more dire result is the massive destruction of accumulated wealth and the disincentives for its replacement which this anticapitalist mentality of expanding wealth transfer by political edicts is generating.

As the indebtedness and regulatory grasp of the political process expand, it’s becoming obvious that the government parasite is killing its market host. The wealth destruction occurring today, coupled with the undermining of market incentives to replace it, inexorably assures a declining material standard of living ahead.

Unless a drastic change in our political climate comes soon, with a restoration of market wealth generating prospects for future entrepreneurs, Americans may find themselves doing the bidding of the Chinese rather than buying their goods.

Posted in government spending, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Abandon All Hope

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 27, 2010

This word “illegal.”  It does not mean what liberals think it means.

According to one enterprising headline writer at MSNBC, Arizona law “Makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant.” Contessa Brewer and her guest also take a journey down that road in very serious voices.

And yes, according to most definitions of the word oxymoron, it should be intentional.  I’m not sure if MSNBC got the memo, but at any rate you would certainly think that they would be able to read.

Posted in MSM bias, Obama | 1 Comment »

The Ghosts of Cowboys Past

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 27, 2010

Remember how we used to be governed by a dopey cowboy who used tragedy for political gain and drive-by pandering?  All the while his sinister VP secretly ruled the planet (along with the Queen, the Vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds, and Colonel Sanders before he went tits up)?

I’m sure glad that we don’t have that any more.  What we have now is a government that is much more full of nuance.

National Security Adviser James Jones loves a good Jewish merchant joke, for example.

And Joe Biden plumbs the depths of head football coach Rich Rodriguez leaving West Virginia for Michigan… while eulogizing at the funeral of the tragically deceased WV coal miners.

Personally, I have a sensibility that is almost impossible to offend.  Jones’ Jew joke?  Inappropriate and disrespectful.  Trade the jokes in your spare time.  But I’m not offended, merely peeved that the man would actually think that saying something like that into a live microphone would be in good taste in any situation.

Biden’s remarks may well have captured the thoughts and personalities of the miners who lost their lives.  But really?

But if you flip either of these situations back in time three or four years, I think you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Posted in fake news | 1 Comment »

The Danish Cartoons

Posted by Dan Draney on April 25, 2010

danish011

The most widely known cartoon of the series

The “controversial” Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed were published in Sept., 2005, leading to riots and murders perpetrated by Muslims in 2006, and death threats that persist today against the cartoonists involved. As I wrote in DLMSY at the time:

Thousands of Muslims around the world got all worked up about 12 cartoons published back in September in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Outraged that some of the cartoons dared to suggest that Islam is a violent religion, many of the “faithful” have poured into the streets threatening to kill those who would utter such a slander. Others went right to the killings of random Westerners, the burning of any buildings associated with Denmark, and so on, all in the name of the Religion of Peace. Some slightly less nutty groups began a boycott of Danish goods. Gee, a person might get the wrong impression about Islam from the way its adherents overreact to such small things. Well, it’s not the “wrong” impression, we guess, but a bad one anyway.

Despite (or more accurately because of) the controversy many people have never seen the actual cartoons that sparked it. American mainstream media generally declined to broadcast or print the cartoons, as the riots were occurring or afterwards. A recent book from Yale University Press devoted to the topic did not even show the cartoons it was discussing. These acts of self-censorship were generally dressed up as nods to “sensibilities” of Muslims, but the root cause was obviously fear. The cartoon with Mohammed’s turban as a bomb is probably the image, if any, that most people saw and remember. I can understand why Muslims would find this offensive. Do Muslims understand that murder, rioting and terrorism in the name of Islam is not just offensive, but evil and bad for Islam? Those behaviors have done far more to hurt Islam’s reputation than a million cartoons could.

Today free speech continues to lose ground even here in America where it is deeply rooted in our culture. If we keep taking the “safe,” easy way of self-censorship we let the most violent elements of Islamic Fascism define what is acceptable discourse. If we do that we have de facto Sharia law. In the name of standing up for freedom of expressiont, here are the rest of the Danish cartoons, along with something else that stains Islam. See if you can pick that one out.

danish1

Not much to be offended about with this one.

danish002

Note the Islamic crescent as horns.

danish006

More of a caricature of the cartoonists.

danish008

Apparently a police lineup w/ Danish polticians dressed as Mohammed.

danish012

Caricature of cartoonists: PR Stunt to the Head

danish007

The best of the 12. The cartoonist is in the process of penning a perfectly harmless drawing of Mohammed. He's in a dark room, sweating profusely, hiding the drawing with one hand, and glancing furtively over his shoulder in fear. That gets right to the heart of the matter, with subtlety, sharpness and humor.

danish004

Combining opression of women and violence

danish003

Not much to be offended about with this one.

danish010

Actual caption: "Relax folks, after all it's just a drawing made by an infidel from south Denmark..."

danish005

I don't care who you are. That's funny.

Which dishonors Mohammed more: cartoons or this?

danish009

Click to see translation of the Danish poem.

Posted in Islam, Mohammed cartoons, terrorism | 2 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: