Saturday, May 30, 2009

If Obama's lost Ted Rall . . .

Read the whole thing:

The Other McCain: If Obama's lost Ted Rall . . .
Of course, if Ted Rall becomes an ex-Democrat, he'll likely end up Green, but a complete 180 from far Left to far Right is not unimaginable. Whittaker Chambers and David Horowitz were both Communists once, and Ronald Reagan was such a "bleeding heart" liberal that in the 1940s he unwittingly joined two Communist front groups.

Horowitz announced his departure from the Left with a conference called "Second Thoughts," which term aptly describes how one goes from disappointment to repudiation. And the weird thing is, it doesn't really matter what the specific disappointment was.

The point is, if you feel like you've been suckered -- hustled, flim-flammed, bamboozled, sold out, ripped off -- and you have both pride and curiosity, you will begin to wonder whether it was all just a scam from Day One.

Seeing Chukchi

The important bit... Seeing Chukchi
At the time, it was thought that Chukchi's waters northwest of Alaska's landmass held 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Today, Science magazine reports that the U.S. Geological Survey now finds it holds more than anyone thought — 1.6 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas, or 30% of the world's supply and 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 4% of the global conventional resources.

That's enough U.S. energy to achieve self-sufficiency and never worry about it as a national security question again.

The only thing left to do is drill. "Congress can do that for us right now," Palin told IBD, urging Washington to open the territory.

An Unhealthy Infatuation With Obama

Skepticism used to be the hallmark of journalism:  -- An Unhealthy Infatuation With Obama
The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment; but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.

Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means.

The leaderless and confused Republicans don't provide effective opposition. And the press — on domestic, if not foreign, policy — has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.

Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows.

It concludes: "President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Church of Scientology facing dissolution in France

Uhm...yeah, they are a money making fraud outfit.

Church of Scientology facing dissolution in France as members go on trial accused of organised fraud | Mail Online
The Church of Scientology is facing dissolution in France after members went on trial yesterday on charges of organised fraud.

Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France and has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

U.S. Home Sales Remain Sluggish as Supply Soars

This isn't good:

U.S. Home Sales Rise, but Supply Soars -
A glut of unsold homes continued to grow last month, fed by a new wave of foreclosures, even though sales of existing homes rose, a national real estate trade association said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors reported that the inventory of unsold houses, townhouses and condominiums rose to 3.97 million in April, the highest level since November. At the current rate of sales, it would take 10.2 months to exhaust those unsold properties.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did anti-Obama campaign contributions dictate which Chrysler dealers were shuttered?

Honestly I'm skeptical.  If this is true the political ramifications would be huge (I would think).  Make sure and read the whole article including the updates:

RED ALERT: Did anti-Obama campaign contributions dictate which Chrysler dealers were shuttered?
A tipster alerted me to an interesting assertion. A cursory review by that person showed that many of the Chrysler dealers on the closing list were heavy Republican donors.

Why Chrysler and GM’s Dealer Slash and Burn Won’t Work

As usual, when the government gets involved...problems:

Editorial: Why Chrysler and GM’s Dealer Slash and Burn Won’t Work | The Truth About Cars
GM and Chrysler, under orders from the PTFOA, are decimating their dealer network in the perverse expectation that doing so will lead to higher sales and/or profits. The word decimate comes from the Romans’ practice of showing displeasure with the soldiers by randomly killing one-in-ten of them. While the famously brutal Romans capped their ritual slaughters at 10%, GM and Chrysler are killing off more like 30% of these formerly loyal partners.

Many have made the argument that the bloodletting is necessary to improve GMAC’s cash flow, reduce GM and Chrysler’s inventory costs and give the remaining dealerships the chance to make better profits with which to support future sales efforts.

All of those arguments point to second order effects, not primary effects. GMAC’s floorplanning business, for example, has historically been wildly profitable. Credit worthy dealers paying their floorplan loans on a timely basis are a benefit to GMAC, not a liability. What bank hates having good paying revolving loan customers?

California court upholds Prop 8

This seems significant:

Hot Air » Blog Archive » California court upholds Prop 8
In what looks like a Solomonic and almost unavoidable conclusion, the California Supreme Court acknowledged that voters in the state properly amended the Constitution to bar single-gender marriage. The ruling signals a victory for democracy over judicial fiat, as Proposition 8 reversed the same court’s declaration of the right to gay marriage. The court split the baby, figuratively speaking, by reaffirming the marriages conducted by California in the interim:

Monday, May 25, 2009

The history of Memorial Day

Good read:

The history of Memorial Day : Perspectives : Knoxville News Sentinel
This year May 5th marked the 141th Anniversary of General Order No. 11 creating Decoration Day from Maj. Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the premier organization of Union veterans. General Logan, who served in the 31st Illinois, is said to have been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day. He decided the Union dead needed a similar day. He established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country and is because it was not the anniversary of a major battle.

What right do Colin Powell and Tom Ridge have to lecture the Republican party?

Good question:

What right do Colin Powell and Tom Ridge have to lecture the Republican party? :: Toby Harnden
Amid much ballyhoo, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State in the Bush administration, went on "Meet the Press" last October and endorsed Barack Obama for President.

His move was no real surprise and had been anticipated for at least a year but the timing and manner of it seemed designed to wreak the maximum political damage to his old friend John McCain.

So why does Powell now seem to think he has the right or credibility to lecture Republicans on how their party should be run?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who Wrote Dreams and Why It Matters (Obama's Dreams From my Father)

Very interesting:

American Thinker: Who Wrote Dreams and Why It Matters
The thesis is simple enough: Barack Obama needed substantial help to write his 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. Moreover, unlike Sarah Palin, Obama chose to conceal the identity of his collaborator and not without good reason. To admit that he needed a collaborator would have undercut his campaign for president and to reveal the name of that collaborator would have ended it.

My involvement in this occasionally harrowing literary adventure began in July 2008, entirely innocently. A friend sent me some short excerpts from Dreams and asked if they were as radical as they sounded. I bought the book, located the excerpts, and reported back that, in context, the excerpts were not particularly troubling.

But I did notice something else. The book was much too well written. I had seen enough of Obama's interviews to know that he did not speak with anywhere near the verbal sophistication on display in Dreams.

About six weeks later, for entirely unrelated reasons, I picked up a copy of Bill Ayers 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days. Ayers, I discovered, writes very well and very much like "Obama."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fed’s Plosser Says Inflation to Increase, Warns of Complacency

Not good: News
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said prices may rise 2.5 percent in 2011, a rate well above central bankers’ preferred range, and cautioned against complacency on inflation.

“The economy may be at greater risk of inflation than the conventional wisdom indicates,” Plosser said in a speech yesterday in New York. “While inflation expectations appear to remain anchored, we should not become sanguine about our credibility. It can be easily lost.”

Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill stuffed full of unpleasant surprises

Ouch!  Says the pocket book:

Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill stuffed full of unpleasant surprises | Washington Examiner
If cap-and-trade is an energy and global warming bill, why is a three-year package of unemployment benefits, job training and relocation expenses buried deep within its fine print? And why is a federally subsidized “job bank” needed if laid-off workers would quickly be rehired for higher-paying “green” jobs? The fact that generous unemployment benefits are buried in the bill means that “green jobs are bunk,” the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Ben Lieberman told The Examiner.

A Heritage analysis also found that Waxman-Markey is the largest, most intrusive energy tax increase in American history. It would reduce the nation’s GDP by $7.4 trillion, raise electricity rates 90 percent and gasoline prices 74 percent. Apparently, the authors of this legislation were unaware that a recent poll found six out of 10 Americans oppose energy policies that raise their electricity bill by even one cent, much less practically double it. And the final kicker is that the bill’s effect on greenhouse gases emissions would be just barely measurable.

Dick Cheney and Hill Democrats put Barack Obama on the defensive on torture -

Who would have thought:

Dick Cheney and Hill Democrats put Barack Obama on the defensive on torture - Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin -
For the first time in his presidency, Americans are getting a glimpse of Barack Obama on defense.

Over the past few weeks, Obama has been back on his heels over torture and terror, issues on which he surely thought he had the upper hand.

And he spent Thursday battling charges from a man he surely thought he had vanquished in November, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Understanding the President’s CAFE announcement

This is long but well worth the read.  Bottom line:  Very expensive and a lot of jobs lost. » Understanding the President’s CAFE announcement
There is not yet much data available on the President’s CAFE announcement. Luckily, we have a huge base of analysis that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did in 2008 that allows us to infer a lot from what was announced. Here are the specific data points we have from the President’s announcement:

* The average fuel economy standard will be 35.5 mpg in 2016. That’s a weighted average of all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S.
* Assuming that the Wall Street Journal’s reporting is accurate, they would require cars to hit 39 mpg by 2016, and light trucks to hit 30 mpg by 2016.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amid Queries, CIA Worries About Future


New Rules May Hinder Interrogations -
Intelligence Officials Privately Warn That New Rules May Hinder Their Interrogations

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich

Uhm... yeah:

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich -
Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.

And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

Guess what we have to look forward to:

Jeremy Clarkson Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid review | Driving - Times Online
Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Welcome Flip-flop

Enter reality:

* Along with reviving tribunals, the Justice Department is looking to detain some terror suspects indefinitely -- even when Gitmo is closed.

* Citing national security, Obama announced last week that he will challenge a federal judge's order to release photos showing alleged abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan -- reversing an earlier decision on the photos.

* The Obama Justice Department is supporting its Bush-era predecessors' argument that a lawsuit by ex-CIA detainees should be shut down based on the doctrine of "state secrets."

* And the White House has adopted Bush administration legal arguments for the authority to continue warrantless wiretapping.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Getting Cheney

I've never been able to understand why Cheney brings out so much hatred from the left, but he sure does:

Jules Crittenden » Getting Cheney
The first thing you need to understand about him is his strange power to induce irrationality in his opponents, even greater possibly than the similar power wielded by Bush. It will be the stuff academic careers are built on. For now, we have to make do with the media and punditry, their descriptions of the raw manifestations of Cheney’s dark hold upon the body politic and their efforts, with varying degrees of sophistication, to comprehend.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time

This is significant:

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time
A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

Fissures in the Obama Facade

He's off to a horrible start.  I'm surprised his approval numbers are as high as they are:

Works and Days » Cracks in the Facade
Oh, I know that President Obama’s approval ratings are still around 62%. But I also remember that George Bush’s at the end of 2001 got even higher — and stayed at or above 60% through most of 2002, explaining why he increased his congressional majority in the midterm elections.

Nevertheless, I think we are beginning — after less than four months — to see fissures in Obama’s Pentelic statuary. And the cracks will widen, because in about six areas he has taken on human nature itself, age-old logic, and common sense-opponents that even a Harvard Law degree and Chicago organizing are no match for.

Obama’s Competence Gap

This is becoming painfully obvious:

Pajamas Media » Obama’s Competence Gap
We’ve heard the cliché: there is a difference between campaigning and governing. But in the last few weeks the contrast between the two could not have been more stark. And the gap between President Obama’s effectiveness at the former and shakiness at the latter is coming into focus.

Guantanamo is the most vivid example. As a candidate, Obama pushed the notion that George W. Bush was a constitutional Neanderthal and destroyer of American values. Now he’s discovered that it is really hard to figure out what to do with these really bad people. And he’s even discovered the virtue of the Bush-created military tribunals.

Republicans have kept up the drumbeat, forcing Democrats to include limits on funding and demands to “show them the plans” before funding a Guantanamo shut-down. And it may be that there is no plan, no viable one to allow Guantanamo to be closed. As Kimberley Strassel put it:

If so, Guantanamo will join the growing list of security tools that President Obama once criticized as out of keeping with American values but has since discovered are very in keeping with protecting the nation. Wiretapping, renditions, military tribunals, Gitmo — it turns out the Bush people weren’t a bunch of yahoos but often thoughtful defenders against terrorism. This is all progress, though America might wonder if it could have been spared the intervening drama.

Then we had the detainee abuse photo controversy. Before he took office, Obama seemed agreeable to the Left’s narrative that there was a massive policy of detainee abuse and the American people should see what it looked like. After the firestorm which followed his initial decision to release the photos, he adopted conservatives’ view that we should not let a few bad apples destroy America’s image and endanger our servicemen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Critics of gay parenting are branded 'retarded homophobes'

The times continue a changin.  All in the name of tolerance, I'm sure:

Slurred by the adoption Nazis: Critics of gay parenting are branded 'retarded homophobes' | Mail Online
People who have concerns about the adoption of children by gay couples are 'retarded homophobes', the state-funded national adoption agency said yesterday.

Those who protest over controversial gay adoption laws are merely 'whinging', according to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

Its insulting description angered senior MPs and former Cabinet Ministers, Roman Catholic and Church of England leaders.

It also offended disability campaigners, who have been trying to discourage the use of the word 'retarded' for years. Whitehall has banned the word for civil servants.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Al Gore: 1984

Carrie Prejean; A learning moment

Sound advice:

Prejean; cautionary tale for Christians - | The Anchoress
Let this be a lesson to young ladies everywhere, but especially young ladies who profess Christ; if you’re going to take off your top for a camera, be prepared (sooner or later) to have to answer for it, both in this world, and the next. But in this world, the chances are you will have to defend your nudity against the jeers, sneers and fake prudery of those “open-minded” folks who would never, for an instant, tolerate anyone telling them what they should or should not do with their own bodies, but will crucify you for the choices you made with your own. You’ll have to answer for it because when you profess yourself a Christian, you choose exile, and you will be held to a different standard, entirely, than the world’s.

And that is not a bad thing, but you girls must think about that.

How's Obama's foreclosure policy working out?

Not well:

American Thinker Blog: How's Obama's foreclosure policy working out?
It has been nearly three months since a newly sworn in President Obama stepped forward with a plan to rescue underwater homeowners from foreclosure. Now, we learn that the President's $275 Billion foreclosure fix has floundered and failed. The professional media slobbered over Obama's homeowner bailout under the pretext that they cared about the little guy/gal losing the family home. Yet as foreclosure numbers climb to a record, breakneck pace the media stubbornly refuses to note this enormous failure of the Obama administration. The foreclosure "surge" has been lost.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Home Prices in U.S. Drop Most on Record in Quarter


Home Prices in U.S. Drop Most on Record in Quarter
Home prices in the U.S. dropped the most on record in the first quarter from a year earlier, led by California and Florida, as banks sold foreclosed properties.

The median price fell 14 percent to $169,000, the National Association of Realtors said today. Prices dropped in 134 of 152 metropolitan areas, with the deepest declines in Cape Coral and Ft. Myers, Florida, followed by San Francisco and San Jose.

Feds are broke but keep right on spending

Scary: >> Opinion >> Opinion Articles - Editorials on Top News Stories - Feds are broke but keep right on spending
There is a cleverly constructed sentence in the AP report about the 2009 budget deficit being $89 billion higher than expected, which will raise the projected annual deficit to $1.8 trillion, or nearly four times as much as the previous record. Here’s how AP explained it: “The unprecedented red ink flows from the deep recession, the Wall Street bailout, the cost of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, as well as a structural imbalance between what the government spends and what it takes in (emphasis added).” In sports journalism, such a sentence is called covering for the home team, which in this case includes the present and previous White House occupants and the present majority in Congress.

The two key words in that sentence are “structural imbalance.” Sounds like something beyond the ability of mere mortals to change, doesn’t it? Part of the natural order, kind of like the swine flu. It just happens. Out in the real world beyond Washington, “structural imbalance” means: Washington politicians are on a spending rampage the likes of which has never before been seen anywhere in human history. The spenders include President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, plus a supporting cast of bureaucrats like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his predecessor, Henry Paulson, and the Democratic majorities in the Senate and House (joined by a few Senate Republicans). These officials are terminally afflicted with what Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, calls “federal spending disease” (FSD) an incurable addiction in which the sufferer is utterly unable to stop spending other people’s money. An intervention by voters is the only effective treatment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here comes California's May 19 Rebellion

The repercussions of this election could be huge: >> Hugh Hewitt >>
California voters head to the polls next week with predictions of doom echoing in their ears if they decline to endorse the massive tax hikes prescribed for them by big Democratic majorities in the statehouse, Arnold and a handful of now ruined-politically Republican legislators.

"Shrill" doesn't begin to describe the campaign designed to stampede the Golden State electorate. The latest ad has a weary, soot-covered fire-fighter urging a yes vote on the tax hike. The message is clear: Vote no and your homes will burn down.

Not even this sort of fear-mongering is moving the needle towards "yes" on the massive tax surge on next week's ballot as poll after poll shows all the key measures put forward by the tax-and-spend-and tax-again crowd failing badly.

Deficits soar

This is beyond concerning:

Deficits soar even with rosy assumptions in new Obama budget | McClatchy
The White House on Monday projected 2009 and 2010 federal budget deficits far higher than it forecast just two and a half months ago, even as it continued to defy most experts and predict that the economy is headed for a strong comeback starting late this year.

Economists scoffed at the latest administration predictions.

"If they keep playing this game, they're going to have real credibility problems," predicted Brian Bethune, the chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight, an economic research firm.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Barack Obama's rich supporters fear his tax plans show he's a class warrior


Barack Obama's rich supporters fear his tax plans show he's a class warrior - Telegraph
Wealthy Wall Street financiers and other business figures provided crucial support for Mr Obama during the election, backing him over the Republican candidate John McCain as the right leader to rescue the collapsing US economy.

But it is now dawning on many among them that Mr Obama was serious about his campaign trail promises to bring root and branch reform to corporate America - and that they were more than just election rhetoric.

A top Obama fundraiser and hedge fund manager said: "I'm appalled at the anti-Wall Street rhetoric. It was OK on the campaign but now it's the real world. I'm surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing. He's a real class warrior."

Why not probe Congress on briefings?

This could be interesting if it happens:

Glenn Thrush's Blog: Alexander: Why not probe Congress on briefings? -
During a scantly noticed exchange in a Thursday Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked Attorney General Eric Holder a potentially explosive question -- given the furor over Nancy Pelosi's 2002 interrogation briefing.

Alexander wanted to know if the AG would consider investigating what House and Senate members knew about torture and when they knew it. And Holder didn't exactly reject the idea.

ALEXANDER: Should you follow these facts and continue in an investigation if you’re investigating lawyers at the Department of Justice who wrote legal opinions authorizing certain interrogations, wouldn’t it also be appropriate to investigate the CIA employees or contractors or other people from intelligence agencies who asked or created the interrogation techniques or officials in the Bush Administration who approved them or what about members of Congress who were informed of them or know about them or approved them or encouraged them? Wouldn’t they also be appropriate parts of such an investigation?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Triad Marriages

The genie has been let out of the bottle:

Threesome Marriages - The Daily Beast
First came traditional marriage. Then, gay marriage. Now, there's a movement combining both—simultaneously. Abby Ellin visits the next frontier of nuptials: the "triad."

Are There Any Rules In The Bailout Game?

This is a cause for concern.  If the investors don't feel comfortable entering the market our recovery will be short lived:

Are There Any Rules In The Bailout Game? -
We are entering a precarious phase of the economic and financial crisis. On the one hand, there are encouraging, if weak, signs of an economic recovery. There is evidence of a revival in lending. Consumer confidence is improving quite a bit both in the U.S. and Europe.

But on the other hand, lots of things are not happening. Many investors are sitting on the sidelines, as is much money. Why? Because it is impossible to know what the rules of the game are. And that's because the administration and the Congress keep changing the rules in capricious ways in pursuit of larger political objectives.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wall Street Advice

HT: Ken

I called my stockbroker yesterday and asked him, "What are you buying?"
His answer: "Canned goods and ammunition."

Sounds right to me.

Wall Street Advice

HT: Ken

I called my stockbroker yesterday and asked him, "What are you buying?"
His answer: "Canned goods and ammunition."
Sounds right to me.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fascism revisited


Fascism revisited (Wizbang)
The best example of a fascist economy is the regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Holding that liberalism (by which he meant freedom and free markets) had "reached the end of its historical function," Mussolini wrote: "To Fascism the world is not this material world, as it appears on the surface, where Man is an individual separated from all others and left to himself.... Fascism affirms the State as the true reality of the individual."

This collectivism is captured in the word fascism, which comes from the Latin fasces, meaning a bundle of rods with an axe in it. In economics, fascism was seen as a third way between laissez-faire capitalism and communism. Fascist thought acknowledged the roles of private property and the profit motive as legitimate incentives for productivity--provided that they did not conflict with the interests of the state.


From 1922 to 1925, Mussolini's regime pursued a laissez-faire economic policy under the liberal finance minister Alberto De Stefani. De Stefani reduced taxes, regulations, and trade restrictions and allowed businesses to compete with one another. But his opposition to protectionism and business subsidies alienated some industrial leaders, and De Stefani was eventually forced to resign. After Mussolini consolidated his dictatorship in 1925, Italy entered a new phase. Mussolini, like many leaders at this time, believed that economies did not operate constructively without supervision by the government. Foreshadowing events in Nazi Germany, and to some extent in New Deal America, Mussolini began a program of massive deficit spending, public works, and eventually, militarism.

God Talk

Interesting:  While I would disagree with many of his conclusions that the questions are being asked is a significant push back against Hitchens and Dawkins.  HT: Ray.

God Talk - Stanley Fish Blog -
In the opening sentence of the last chapter of his new book, “Reason, Faith and Revolution,” the British critic Terry Eagleton asks, “Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God?” His answer, elaborated in prose that is alternately witty, scabrous and angry, is that the other candidates for guidance — science, reason, liberalism, capitalism — just don’t deliver what is ultimately needed. “What other symbolic form,” he queries, “has managed to forge such direct links between the most universal and absolute of truths and the everyday practices of countless millions of men and women?”

Monday, May 04, 2009

High school teacher's anti-Creationism comment violated law

An example of someone getting caught being many Christians.  I'm sure he was surprised he got caught on it.

High school teacher insulted Christians | News -
A Mission Viejo high school history teacher violated the First Amendment by disparaging Christians during a classroom lecture, a federal judge ruled today.

James Corbett, a 20-year teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, referred to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” during a 2007 classroom lecture, denigrating his former Advanced Placement European history student, Chad Farnan.

Post Politics: Swine flu not modern world's real disease

Words of wisdom:

Post Politics: Swine flu not modern world's real disease
Swine flu. Two words that by now you've seen and heard a thousand times. And you'll probably hear them a couple hundred more, at least until the next big fear that comes along. You know, that next big disease, animal, insect or chemical that just may kill us all.

It's tiresome. The disease threatening to take down or disrupt the modern world isn't swine flu or any of these other "threats." The disease that threatens us is sensationalism. It's fear. It's over-protection. Frankly, the biggest disease threatening the modern world is the modern world itself.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

April 2009 Chrysler Sales Figures: -48%

With it looking like the UAW may end up with a 55% controlling stake in Chrysler can we say that Chrysler will be the next AMC?

Ladies And Gentlemen, Your April 2009 Chrysler Sales Figures | The Truth About Cars
These are the stats of a dead company: Cars -61 percent, Trucks -44 percent. Yes, the Wrangler is up. Ram is only down 26 percent, with 17,903 moving in April. Otherwise things range from the bad (Grand Cherokee -45 percent, Journey -33 percent, 300C -49 percent) to the ugly (Sebring -75 percent, Compass -75 percent, Durango -87, PT Cruiser -76 percent, Avenger -76 percent, etc.). American taxpayer, I hate to be the one to say it, but you’ve made one lousy investment.

The flip-side of same-sex marriage

Everything has consequences, the ethical ramifications of gay marriage will impact a wide variety of people, businesses, religious views etc. 

The flip-side of same-sex marriage - Los Angeles Times
The country is deeply divided on same-sex marriage. But once it is recognized legally, all kinds of people -- clerks in the local registrar's office, photographers, owners of reception halls, florists -- might not have the legal right to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings, even if doing so would violate deeply held beliefs. Religious organizations could be affected too. For example, a Catholic university that offers married-student housing might have to rent to married same-sex couples or risk violating state law.

These are not imagined or speculative concerns. Flash-points over same-sex unions are already occurring across the United States. In Iowa, the state's attorney general told county recorders that they must issue licenses to same-sex couples or face criminal misdemeanor charges and even dismissal. New Mexico's Human Rights Commission fined a husband-wife photography team more than $6,000 because they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. In New Jersey, authorities yanked the property tax exemption of a church group that denied requests by two lesbian couples to use the group's boardwalk pavilion for their commitment ceremonies.

The things you don’t read about Barack Obama

The wonders of an objective press:

The things you don’t read about Barack Obama - Nova Scotia News -
The Chronicle Herald recently made space for an urgent Associated Press dispatch from Washington informing readers the Obamas had chosen a Portuguese water dog. Not original reporting, of course, but an AP rephrasing of a White House-arranged scoop in the Washington Post online.

That was followed by a crack Canadian Press report, drawn from such gumshoe news-gathering as reading the Huffington Post, on the "hillbilly" Republican governor of Alaska: her "family and political theatrics that would do Jerry Springer proud," like "the arrest and indictment of her sister-in-law on break-and-enter charges" and "the sordid revelations of her daughter’s ex-boyfriend."

The Portuguese water dog and Alaskan "hillbillies" news beats apparently leave little time for anything remotely skeptical of the president of the United States. And they wonder why folks aren’t buying the papers like they used to.

So here is a small selection of news on the most powerful man on Earth which has been deemed unfit to print:

•Obama’s first two major bills alone, the "stimulus" and "omnibus," cost nearly twice as much as was spent on Iraq over six years – $1.2 trillion vs. $650 billion.

•Obama abandoned his campaign promise of "a net spending cut," his first annual deficit – not counting bailouts – being three times the worst deficit under President George W. Bush.

•Obama’s objective in his first G20 summit – commitments to spend our way to prosperity with massive stimulus boondoggles across the G20 – was rejected out of hand.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

‘Google killer’ Wolfram Alpha gets public demo


‘Google killer’ Wolfram Alpha gets public demo - Telegraph
The site's main focus will be on hard facts and raw data. Wolfram Alpha will be able to grab information from the web and live information feeds, such as share prices and news headlines, as it generates results. Users will be able to ask a simple question – such as the date of birth of Winston Churchill – and receive the correct answer in return. Dr Wolfram said the engine would also be able to “number crunch” numerous sets of data to produce an answer to a complex question, such as a country’s annual GDP.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Quiet Coup

Long but worth the read:

The Quiet Coup - The Atlantic (May 2009)
In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.