Monday, October 25, 2010

Fair and Balanced

Yahoo has a story about the campaign ads getting negative. Their example are instructive. A Democrat in Kansas has an ad claiming that the Republican favors a mosque in NY (He does not; the NYC mosque was not mentioned in this campaign until this ad). It is clearly a negative ad; just as clearly a lie. Another example is in Connecticut. The Democratic candidate for Senator has mentioned his service in Vietnam several times. The Republican ad points out that the guy did not serve in Vietnam - which the Democrat has since admitted. Yahoo claims this is a negative ad. It is not the most positive ad but what is a candidate to do when your opponent lies?
The similarity is that in both ads there were lies involved. In both cases it is the Democrat that is lying. Did the moron forget that he did not really serve in Vietnam? Or that the mosque is not an issue in Kansas?
We can all agree that purposely misrepresenting your opponent’s position is a negative ad or worse. Is that the same as pointing out that your opponent lied in his speech? (Not "misspoke"; lied.) This Yahoo writer seems to think so. Sounds like he is angling for a job at NPR.


Fifty years ago there was an election issue about John Kennedy and his religion. The suspicion was that he would let his religion overcome his allegiance to the Constitution. He resolved it with a speech in Houston where he said – among other things: “I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me...” and that he would do what “…my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.”
Kennedy was running for President and would obviously have had greater responsibilities than the average citizen. But is it too much to expect that every citizen will do what their conscience tells them?
The current public debate is about how people feel when Moslems get on the plane their taking and where mosques are built. The PC crowd wants it emphasized that it is the radical elements of Islam that are causing all the trouble, Islam is the religion of Peace, etc. But is it? Would Rauf or any of the “moderate” Islamic spokesmen say what Kennedy said? Their answer would clearly be a resounding “No”.

Friday, October 22, 2010

TV Wars

I want to watch the World Series and the Giants and other Fox stuff. But right now I am out of luck. Fox and Cablevision are arguing about how much Cablevision should pay Fox to broadcast the station over their cable network. Cablevision’s customers are not happy and both corporations are issuing statements that it the other guy’s fault. Local politicians are jumping in – including US Senators – calling for Binding Arbitration. Sounds fair to many people but look closer.
One company (Fox) is willing to sell its product; Cablevision wants to buy it. They just don’t agree on the price.
In a rational world when the seller and buyer don’t agree on a price, the sale doesn’t happen. If you don’t want to buy the widget because you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t buy it.
In our current bizarre world, there are calls for Binding Arbitration. That means, some other guy listens to both sides and decides what price Fox should pay cablevision. Back to the real world, suppose you are selling you widgets and a potential buyer does not want to meet your price. The options are that you (and the potential buyer) either make a deal or walk away. What are the chances you would let a stranger set the price for selling (or buying) your product? In that situation, who is running your business? Mr. Stranger is determining how much you “should” sell your product for; he is determining how much is a “fair” profit – if he believes in profits; and telling the buyer how much he should be spending. And Mr. Stranger bases his decision on what? - Other profits for the seller? How much money the buyer has? Whim? Bribes? His desire to see the Giants play?
This is absurd. People should buy or sell things based upon the value they put on the product and not what some other guy says is “fair”.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Out of his depth

With little fanfare, the First Dope has lifted the ban on drilling in the gulf. The ban was supposed to last until December but he needs votes so whatever is supposed to happen is irrelevant. The problem is that – by Government estimates - 10,000 lost their jobs because of the ban. (What are the odds that their number is too low?) It seems that the oil rigs involved are valuable, moveable, and don’t make any money when there are not in use. It is a surprise to no one except the Administration that many of the rigs have left the Gulf. Whether they come back to deal with the additional levels of paperwork the Administration now requires is not yet know – at least not known to the Administration.
The elephant in the room is why the drilling in the Gulf is going on anyway. It would make the environmentalists happy if were to go any, it would make the oil companies happy not to have lay out the additional costs for deep water drilling, and it would make the customers happy if it were cheaper to obtain domestic oil. This is too easy. Drill on land. There are lots of reserves under land that the Administration is keeping off limits. Drilling in these areas can be controlled, is cheaper for everyone, is safer, is domestic and if anything does go wrong can be fixed sooner than the months the under water accident took to resolve

Spinning Social Security

Newsday is nothing if not a reliable mouthpiece for all things related to the Democratic party.
A recent editorial on the 2011 cost of living adjustment to Social Security that is not going to happen was devoted to telling everyone that this was good news. By some measurement known only to the Feds and Newsday editorial writers, these wizards have determined that prices have declined. Of course, no one in their bizarro world will disclose where they buy their gas, heating oil or food so maybe there is a planet where prices are falling.
And in a final display of their economic intelligence level, the last line of the editorial is quoted here with out comment.
“A true cost of living adjustment, after all, would sometimes mean a smaller check.”

Blending for Oil

The EPA struck another blow to sanity by raising the allowable limit of Ethanol mixed with gas to 15%. They determined that the new limit does not harm the emission controls equipment current being produced nor would it harm engine performance. The cars guys I know all say the opposite but they actually work on engines unlike the EPA guys who specialize in pushing paper and making stuff up.

The political reason for this (does the First Dope ever have any other reason)is the ruling helps farmers get more money for their corn but will increase the costs of food. Now pretty much everyone buys food and will be adversely impacted by this so the exact political calculus behind the ruling is murky. The news article concedes that there is a “broad coalition” of groups against this ruling – unusual allies including environmentalists, car companies, food companies, and cattle ranchers. They left out people who will be paying more to eat stuff.

Seems like more rigid ideology: Don’t care what it means, got to have those renewable resources - no matter what.


The AP has broken a big news story again. Their headline was “Palin PAC gives big to conservatives”. Wonder where they thought it should go.

The Brookings Institute tried to top them with their study of immigration and income levels. The study noted that in the areas with large increase of Hispanic immigrants, income levels dropped. One area noted as a “bright spot” was Washington, DC. Apparently, the incomes there are rising thanks to “steady demand” for government workers.
The foremost Democratic think(?)-tank sees no problem here. That is the problem.

Last week the American Postal Workers Union had to postpone its national election of officers because so many of the ballots were lost in the mail. No comment could be adequate

Friday, October 8, 2010

A likely story

The house organ for the White House – otherwise know as the AP – released a story that the economy is "likely" creating jobs! Likely? This is a refinement of the First Dope's favorite economic stat: "Jobs saved". Jobs saved is a pie in the sky, make believe number that can be neither proven nor refuted with any accuracy. His press releases touting the success of his stimulus programs usually track jobs created and jobs saved. This made up number will now include jobs that are likely to be created. Of course, they will continue to only give one number. Think they rely mostly on jobs saved and likely to be created?
This sophisticated economic statistical analysis is the norm for the AP parrots. There is a difference between “the sun is likely come up tomorrow” and “it is likely that the unemployment rate is 3% next week” but the wizards at AP doesn’t seem to see this subtle difference.
How can people with opposing thumbs continue to buy this crap? Vote accordingly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Getting Stuff from the Government

Newsday reports that NY will get 2.3% of the Administration’s latest redistribution plan. The program has enough problems but the idea that NY will “get” anything from this program is a joke. First, over half the money that this Administration is spending is borrowed. Second, the potion that is not borrowed is collected from citizens and run through the Washington administrative process that is most effective in reducing the amount available to spend on any project. Third, more than 2.3% of the Federal tax income is collected from NY. So, for the money that is not borrowed we are “getting” back less than we send to Washington. It would be way more efficient for every project that is not a Constitutional responsibility of the Federal government for the money just not to be collected in the first place.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rutgers Suicide

A gay guy killed himself after his non-gay roommate posted a video of his gay sexual encounter. The media is crazed and wants to try the posters for a hate crime. Lots of other emotional response on the campus where this happened.
First, it is unfortunate that the guy is dead. Suicide never solved anything. Second, the guy was gay. His business entirely.
The hate crime stuff is really dopey. Did the guy kill himself because people found out he was gay? Was he embarrassed? Why? Because he was gay? Suppose he was embarrassed to be short, left handed, a Met Fan. Being embarrassed is not a good reason for suicide - not that there is one. Sexual orientation comes out eventually anyway. If that was the reason, it was a suicide waiting to happen.
Turn it around. Suppose the video showed him and a girl and he would be embarrassed if his mother saw it.
Is the poster guilt of anything but bad taste?