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  • Archive for August, 2009

    Floating Over Chicago

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th August 2009 (All posts by )

    floating-over-chicago

    Via StrategyPage.

    (Jonathan adds: This photo is well worth viewing at its original size, so click on the Strategy Page link.)

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos | 2 Comments »

    Rose Friedman, ~1911-2009

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 18th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Via Brian Doherty and Pejman Yousefzadeh, I learn that Rose Friedman has died. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Obits | Comments Off on Rose Friedman, ~1911-2009

    I’m Such a Geek, Part 233,426

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th August 2009 (All posts by )

    So I read this post on Instapundit:

    THE S.E.C. spitting in the faces of fans. A roundup from Michael Silence.
     
    What are they thinking?

    You know what I first thought when I read that? I thought, “The Securities and Exchange Commission has fans?”

    I’ve got to get out more.

    Posted in Humor, Personal Narrative | 10 Comments »

    Robert Novak, 1931-2009, Reporter

    Posted by Lexington Green on 18th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Always love your country — but never trust your government!

    Robert Novak

    (His memoir, Prince of Darkness is supposed to be good. Thomas Sowell’s review here.)

    Also, see this:

    The fact is that Novak, as he would disclose in his autobiography, actually admired very few politicians. He wrote that he found the first politicians he covered less impressive than the athletic coaches he had covered as a young reporter — “an impression of the political class that did not change appreciably in a half-century of sustained contact.”

    Michael Barone says the man and his books will live on.

    Posted in Obits | 5 Comments »

    Badfinger, “Day After Day” Live (1972)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 17th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off on Badfinger, “Day After Day” Live (1972)

    The Power of Narrative

    Posted by Shannon Love on 17th August 2009 (All posts by )

    [Note: This post is a little dated. The events described have been assigned their place in the leftist narrative and swept under the rug. However, I did promise commenter Tdaxp a detailed explanation of why I thought his view of the Gates affair was dead wrong and this post covers that ground. In any case, the event serves as a powerful example of the hold that predefined narratives have over the minds of leftists.]

    The incident between Officer James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. demonstrates just what a powerful grip fictional narratives have on the minds of leftists. All the leftists in the country, from the President on down, fervently believe that Crowley acted out of racial animosity but they can’t explain what action of Crowley’s indicates his racial animosity. Instead, they must rely on a narrative shared by the subculture to convince each other that Crowley must be wrong.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Politics | 26 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 16th August 2009 (All posts by )

    No one will ever be rich enough to buy his enemies by concessions.

    Otto von Bismarck.

    (This was quoted in the very excellent book I just finished reading, From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima and the Cold War, by Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C.)

    Posted in Book Notes, History, Quotations | Comments Off on Quote of the Day

    The History of Political Correctness

    Posted by Lexington Green on 16th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Nicely done. According to this, the Magna Carta of Political Correctness is the 1965 essay by Herbert Marcuse, Repressive Tolerance. I guess I have to read it, however distasteful that may be.

    The story, among others, is told in greater detail in the excellent book The Idea of Decline in Western History by Arthur Herman (an excellent author).

    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a thousand battles without a single loss.
     
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
     
    If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

    Sun Tzu, of course.

    Posted in Leftism, Video | 8 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th August 2009 (All posts by )

    24/7 blogging

    Stay caffeinated with the Chicagoboyz

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 2 Comments »

    Healthcare: Mackey, Obama, and Reid

    Posted by David Foster on 16th August 2009 (All posts by )

    I’ve had a hard time taking John Mackey (Whole Foods co-founder & CEO) very seriously ever since he was caught engaging in sock-puppetry of a particularly silly sort. But his thoughts on healthcare, as expressed in this article, are well-thought-out and concisely written. Read the whole thing, but Mackey’s ideas include:

    –Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
    –Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.
    –Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
    –Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.

    Meanwhile, our President continues to push his own complex and radical plan through the use of high-pressure sales tactics and exaggerations. Here’s Obama talking about tonsils:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Health Care, Political Philosophy, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Business Week Article on Stock Buybacks

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 16th August 2009 (All posts by )


    A recent Business Week article titled “The Buyback Boondoggle” discusses stock repurchases.

    As the unemployment rate hovers near 10%, the economic debate is focused on how the government should aid recovery… but it’s business’ task to get the economy back on track – by investing in innovation and job creation. And if the recent past is any guide, corporations may stall the recovery by investing instead in something else – stock buybacks.

    This article is an example of poor journalism and populist reasoning right from the start. You can see the writer’s view on business – that its purpose is somehow to create jobs – and that this should be the main goal of a business. Which, frankly, is a terrible assumption.

    Businesses are created to make money. Businesses are (usually) run by smart people who want to invest their equity capital (raised from the stock market) in the place that will earn them the most money, and if they have a lot of equity capital outstanding (in the form of stock proceeds and retained earnings) they have to put this money to work on new projects that are at least as profitable as their current portfolio, or they are decreasing their company’s profitability, which is severely disliked by investors.

    And the United States nowadays is a poor place for new investment. Want to know which country in the developed world has the least friendly tax outlook? The good ol’ USA. Per that highly recommended site “The Tax Foundation

    Currently, the average combined federal and state corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 39.3 percent, second among OECD countries to Japan’s combined rate of 39.5 percent… Many states impose state corporate income taxes at rates above the national average of 6.6 percent. Iowa, for example, imposes the highest corporate tax rate of 12 percent, followed by Pennsylvania’s 9.99 percent rate and Minnesota’s 9.8 percent rate. When added to the federal rate, these states tax their businesses at rates far in excess of all other OECD countries.

    The US also has a surplus of lawyers and a highly litigious culture that requires businesses to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for lawsuits of every sort. And if you want to build something, such as a manufacturing plant… you must be kidding, right? The environmentalists and regulators will tear you to shreds, with protests, forms, and a never-ending stream of bad publicity. And if you have unions, or are in a state loaded with unions (such as the Midwest, sadly enough) you have a militant work force demanding gold plated benefit plans and happy to walk out and crush your operations at a moment’s notice.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Taxes | 7 Comments »

    Does our Prime Minister have nothing else to do?

    Posted by Helen on 15th August 2009 (All posts by )

    It comes to something when the Prime Minister of a country that is in the middle of a serious political, economic and, let’s face it, spiritual crisis can think of nothing better to do with his time than to become involved in a stupid Twitter campaign to persuade Americans that the NHS, well-known for its expense, incompetence and low standards (for a rich Western country) is absolutely wonderful.

    Coupled with the most extraordinary hysteria that has once again pushed any notion of a real British debate about healthcare as far away from political discussion as possible, this has not been an edifying spectacle.

    I have a rant with more details on Your Freedom and Ours. Enjoy.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Anti-Americanism, Britain, Health Care | 2 Comments »

    Caption Contest

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th August 2009 (All posts by )

    misc37-0101

    I will start with “The White House War Room”. The winner receives hearty congratulations and perhaps a ChicagoBoyz certificate of achievement.

    Posted in Photos | 12 Comments »

    This Has Got To Be a Typo

    Posted by Shannon Love on 14th August 2009 (All posts by )

    From Sweetness and Light [h/t Instapundit]:

    And speaking of jobs, according to the Southern Policy Center (a 501c3 “charity”) 990 forms as reported, they received $33,526,228 in 2007. The same form reports that their net assets or fund balances in 2007 were $219,551,849.

    Holy farken snit! What the hell is a charity group doing with assets of $219 million dollars on an income of 33 million? What good could they possibly do by sitting on that kind of money?

    People need to spend more time researching organizations before they donate. People expect the money they donate to be put to work helping the causes they support, not shoveled into a bank vault somewhere to build up corporate assets. How many people would donate their hard-earned money if they knew that the Southern Policy Center was already sitting on $219 million?

    It might be time for a law that requires non-profits to publish their income, assets and even the pay of their top executives in every donation solicitation.

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Economics & Finance, Leftism, Morality and Philosphy, Philosophy | 4 Comments »

    Irshad Manji’s Moral Courage Project

    Posted by leifsmith on 14th August 2009 (All posts by )

    efGlyph 478: thought, thinking, idealism, realism, courage . foundations of civilization . individual vs. herd . post-individuation community . no identity taken from accidents of birth . shared identity among all who passionately and courageously seek truth above correctness or triumph . world alliance of sovereign minds and spirits, of all radical explorers

    My way of describing Irshad’s project. For more and for links:
    http://explorersfoundation.org/glyphery/478.html

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Irshad Manji’s Moral Courage Project

    Right on, Hillary.

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Quote of the Day

    I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.

    Hillary Clinton

    (Listening to Hillary for only 15 seconds, I am once again relieved that we are forced to endure Pres. Obama’s “Mr. Smoothie” schtick, instead of the Mrs. Clinton berating us and whapping that rolling pin into her palm, for four years. It could, indeed, be worse.)

    Posted in Politics, Quotations | 1 Comment »

    Made The Mark Levin Show

    Posted by Shannon Love on 14th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Radio talk show host Mark Levin read my “The Dangers of Decompartmentalized Health Care Spending” on the air last night (8/13/09). You can listen to it online here. It starts at roughly the 75:00 mark and goes to 85:00.

    Nifty.

    Posted in Health Care | 2 Comments »

    Why We Think We Can’t Afford Health Care

    Posted by Shannon Love on 13th August 2009 (All posts by )

    In 1900, most people walked to work, school, shopping and socializing. The percentage of the average household’s budget devoted to transportation was so low that the Census bureau didn’t even bother to collect data on it. Today, the average household spends 21% of its budget on transportation. It’s the second biggest single cost after housing yet people take such spending for granted and easily factor it in to their personal budgets. We do so because transportation costs rose slowly over the course of the last half century while other costs, such as food, decreased. Decade after decade we gradually became used to spending more and more for transportation till now the average middle-class family easily accepts spending several thousand dollars a year in transportation costs.

    As a thought experiment, imagine that for some reason people never had to individually pay the cost of their own transportation.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Health Care | 17 Comments »

    Some Substantive Review of the Obamacare Bill

    Posted by Lexington Green on 13th August 2009 (All posts by )

    We get told that opposition to the Bill is “hysterical”. Yet I get emails like what I have put below the fold all the time. People who are going to have to live with this thing are reading it, understanding it, and very sensibly, getting alarmed by it. That is not hysteria, it is rationality.

    This thing is a pig in a poke. Obama and Pelosi and Reid are trying to rush it through before anyone can figure out how bad it is.

    The longer people have to read and understand this thing, the more they are going to oppose it.

    Take a look and decide if you like what you see.

    [To be absolutely clear, the analysis below the fold was not prepared by me. I received it as an email. It was prepared by a gentleman named John David Lewis.]

    UPDATE: And of course Gov. Palin is correct about the Death Panels.

    UPDATE 2: Is President Obama telling lies about surgical care in America because he (1) knows the facts but is dishonest, (2) does not know the facts because he ignorant and inept, (3) is desperate and hysterical about the disintegration of political support for his Plan? (Hat tip The Corner.)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Health Care | 11 Comments »

    Sammy Davis, Jr., “I Can’t Get Started”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off on Sammy Davis, Jr., “I Can’t Get Started”

    The Dangers of Decompartmentalized Health Care Spending

    Posted by Shannon Love on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )

    So the Democrats have a problem convincing senior citizens that socialized medicine won’t diminish the already dubious quality of care they receive through Medicare. [h/t Instapundit]

    Seniors no doubt base this suspicion in large part on their 50+ adult years of watching politicians over-promise and under-deliver. They probably remember back to 1965 when Medicare itself was sold as a cost-saving measure, and today we’re told it’s going to bankrupt the government unless we socialize 15% of the economy. They no doubt wonder how long it will be before Obama’s ideological descendants will tell us that Obama’s miracle plan is a disaster than can only be solved by more socialism.

    Seniors have another reason to be nervous. Obama’s plan will put them in direct competition with everyone else for health care spending.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Health Care, Politics | 51 Comments »

    Rationing Versus Allocation

    Posted by Shannon Love on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Economists commonly talk about the entire economy as a “rationing” system because all resources are finite and human desire is infinite. In terms of standard dictionary terminology, the day-to-day economy does not ration. We use the term rationing only to describe situations when an individual gets a fixed amount of something regardless of price. For example, during a mass evacuation, we stop using a price mechanism to control an individual’s access to gasoline and instead set a fixed limit of gallons per vehicle.

    When opponents of politically-managed health care claim that politically-managed health care will lead to rationing, they use the term in the ordinary sense. Proponents of politically-managed health care have dishonestly tried to obscure the debate by substituting the specialized definition that economists use for the standard definition, so they can claim the current system already “rations” care so nothing will change.

    It’s thinly possible that some proponents of politically-managed health care are honestly confused and aren’t just intentionally employing rhetorical tricks to hide the real consequences of the policies they advocate. For those people, I offer the following explanation that uses the common definition of rationing.

    It involves tires.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Health Care | 1 Comment »

    If the other children told you to jump out of the window …

    Posted by Helen on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )

    All of us who can recall our childhood and have had to deal with children ourselves know the scenario. Child whines because everybody has something or other, does something or other, is going somewhere or other. Eventually, the parent, irritated beyond rationality says: “And if all those others told you to jump out of the window would you do it?”. Or words to that effect.

    I thought of that again when I read Lex’s links to Megan McArdle and her extremely sensible comment about not wanting the state acquiring a bigger role in healthcare. “Nay, not even if all the other countries . . . well, all the cool countries, anyway . . . are doing it.” Clearly, I cannot intervene in the heated debate about American healthcare and the changes proposed by what seems to be known more and more widely as Obamacare. I do not live in the United States and, therefore, my knowledge is second hand, therefore, inadequate. (Though, I notice that a similar handicap with regards to Britain does not stop various people from commenting with … ahem … varying degrees of accuracy.)

    However, I do know something about that argument of all the other countries … well, all the cool countries having something and, therefore, we must as well. In Britain we have had to put up with that inane argument over and over again as step by step we surrendered all that made the British legal, political and constitutional system not only different (not unique because other Anglospheric countries have developed along very similar lines) but much better.

    Adversarial parliamentary democracy where debates are out in the open and subjects are, indeed, kicked about? No, no, no, must not turn health/education/name-your-subject into a political football. Look how they do it on the Continent. Well, how they do it is to make decisions behind closed doors and call it a consensus.

    Adversarial legal system? Not what they have in other countries. Well, not in the cool other countries where we like going on holidays. We should have a procuratorial system, too. Don’t want to be left out of the game.

    And so on, and so on. Yet the answer is so simple: our system is different from those other cool countries’ because it has grown differently over many centuries; it also happens to be considerably better. That’s it.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Europe | 4 Comments »

    The Economist on Britain’s Electricity Situation

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )


    The Economist recently wrote an editorial called “How Long Till the Lights Go Out?” describing the electricity situation in Britain. The byline was

    Thanks to its posturing politicians, Britain will soon start to run out of electricity. What should it do?

    As a long time writer on electricity and energy, I was pleased that The Economist at least hit on the core of the issue:

    In 2009 Britain’s electricity demand peaked at 59 GW. Just over 45% of that came from power plants fuelled by gas from the North Sea. A further 35% or so came from coal, less than 15% from nuclear power and the rest from a hotch-potch of other sources. By 2015, assuming that modest economic growth resumes, a reasonable guess is that Britain will need around 64 GW… where will that come from?

    This is the HEART of the issue. Electricity has to be generated from somewhere, and traditional sources of generation are 1) Coal 2) Gas 3) Nuclear 4) Hydroelectric 5) everything else (generally insignificant).
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain, Energy & Power Generation | 13 Comments »

    Attn: Chicago Area and Southern Wisconsin Shooters

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th August 2009 (All posts by )

    On Aug. 15 & 16 there will be a two-day rifle marksmanship clinic at the Kenosha County Range in Bristol, WI (about 60 miles North of Chicago):

    The Appleseed Program is designed to take you from being a simple rifle owner to being a true rifleman. All throughout American history, the rifleman has been defined as a marksman capable of hitting a man-sized target from 500 yards away — no ifs, ands or buts about it. This 500-yard range is traditionally known as “the rifleman’s quarter-mile;” a rifleman can hit just about any target he can see. This skill was particulary evident in the birth of our country, and was the difference in winning the Revolutionary War.

    See this web page for more information.

    (The Appleseed Program is a project of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association.)

    This looks like a fun event!

    Posted in Announcements, Chicagoania, RKBA | 1 Comment »