Thursday, July 28, 2011

Global warming update...

....with a hat tip to Elmer of "Minnesotans for Global Warming" and Rob at SayAnything Blog.  Evidently, new data out of NASA indicate that heat lost out of the atmosphere far exceeds that predicted by our current models.  So if this holds, it would indicate that the horrendous damage suggested by the IPCC and others is, thankfully, an exaggeration. 

Which suggests any number of other questions.  For starters, the satellites measuring this kind of thing have been up for over a decade.  Why did they wait until now to release the data?  I am guessing that they do for the same reason they haven't been overly talkative about how their computer models aren't working too well versus real data.

New song for finals from Campus Crusade/Cru

Sources unknown have provided me with a song which "Cru" members may soon be singing before finals, reflecting the true hope of many college students.  Here it is; let me know if you like it.

Pray Pray Pray
Pray Pray Pray
Pray for the Rapture

Oh the test is gonna come right after tonight
And you’ll blank when you see the first page
And don’t you try to lie
And don’t you dare deny
It’s a knife to your back,
Oh in all of your short life
You never saw such strife
My heads’ spinnin’ round and round
But in the seasons of shiver
We’ll write and deliver
Be strong and laugh and

Pray Pray Pray
Pray for the Rapture
Pray Pray Pray
Pray for the rapture!

Now you remember those days
When in the coffee shop you’d laze
And never open a book
Got no strength for the test
‘cause you spent your days in bed
Thought you’d learned it all before
Like a Cosa Nostra kiss
Putting danger on your lips
Might run scared for the door
But in the seasons of shiver
We’ll write and deliver
Be strong and laugh and

Pray Pray Pray
Pray for the Rapture
Pray Pray Pray
Pray for the Rapture!
Repeat verse 1
Repeat chorus twice

(with due apologies to Motley Crue, and of course I made this up.....)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

15 good years

15 years ago, I learned that my wife was serious about those marriage vows and the Biblical injunctions concerning marriage, a lesson she has repeated for me again and again and again......bearing our five (soon to be six) children, caring for our home, and getting me my truck, my guns, my bike, and my power tools.

If anyone out there doubts that Christian marriage is a good thing, talk to me.  I can be "wuw...twue wuv" after all.  Thanks, honey!

On the difference between absolute numbers and relative rates

On its website, the "Violence Policy Center" ( gun control advocates) breathlessly tell us that 319 people have been killed by carry permit holders, and gives them the onimous name "concealed carry killers".  How's that for an obvious bias?  Let's see whether their logic holds, or whether in fact most gun owners are far less likely to kill you than Teddy Kennedy's Oldsmobile, a five gallon bucket, or federal grain subsidies.

To start, let's consider that there are about six milllion permit holders, and many states (Florida, Texas) have been issuing the permits for decades.  So the total number of permit-years around the country definitely exceeds sixty million, and probably is well in excess of 100 million.  So we have 319 deaths atttributable to 100 million person-years, a rate of about 0.3/100k.

Now consider the actual murder rate; about 15,000 per year among 300 million person-years, or a rate of 5/100k.  In short, you are 16 times more likely to be killed by a neighbor without a carry permit than you are by a neighbor with a carry permit.

Sounds like we need more Americans to lawfully carry a weapon in their daily business.    How many lives could be saved if they did?  Thanks, Violence Policy Center, for making an emphatic case for more carry permits!

Excellence in Government "Logic"

Apparently, a great justification for Medicare part D (prescription drug coverage) is that spending $55 billion annually has saved about $12 billion in hospital stays.

Forget Aristotle's categories ("barbara, celerent, darii, ferio, camestres, cesare...."), can someone teach DC bureaucrats and the "researchers" at Mathematica/Harvard the definition of "savings"?  I'm pretty sure spending $43 billion more annually does not count as one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poetry in motion

My wife and I got to talking about what constitutes good music in the church, and the thought came to mind that one very important thing for music--whatever the genre--is that the poetic meter and scheme serve to commit the message to memory.  That is, there are various meters and rhyme schemes used in church music (and poetry in general), and when the author ignores the principles of poetry, what generally results (whatever else might be in the genre) is an eminently forgettable song.

Almost as if cued, our four year old son started singing a toilet training song set to Surfin' Safari:

Let's go poopin' now, everybody's learnin' how,
Poopin' on the potty with me!

Let's go poop, poop in the potty......

On the bright side, you now know that there is some good in the Beach Boys, as they've helped get my son out of diapers.  On the down side, you also know that it's not only the poetic meter, but also the content, of a song which matters.

Post-Script; The Brownsville Station/Campus Crusade for Christ song "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" has also been very helpful for toilet training.  And no, this blog has not, in fact, been taken over by either Learned Foot in its content, or W.B. Picklesworth for general poetical excellence.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Manly Monday, part 1

OK, so "Husbandly Hump Day" is indeed too clumsy.  Hopefully Manly Monday will be better, and we'll see if it catches on.

For a starter that is sobering, it turns out that the suspect in the Norwegian atrocities of last weekend is the son of a diplomat, and this sentence in the article caught my eye:

Jens David Breivik said he had severed all contact with his son in 1995 when the latter was 16.

Now I will grant that 16 years of age used to be a time at which a young man could go out on his own, but the fact remains that the Biblical example is not for a father to sever ties, but rather to shepherd his son into manhood.  Whatever his reasons, Jens Breivik chose his own way, and it appears that part of his punishment is horrendous shame and guilt over the path his son chose.   It is a brutal, brutal reminder of the truth of Proverbs 22:6; train a young man in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Having been taught by example by his father that child-rearing is not all that important, then, Anders Breivik chose not to work against the cultural suicide of the West, but rather to hasten it with an atrocity.   That is, the suspect did understand correctly that western civilization is committing suicide, but failed to realize that the proper response to cultural suicide is not to further assault that culture, but to live well in Him.

Fathers, if you doubt that what you do for your children is important, Anders Breivik would like to have a word with you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How bad is Somali piracy?

Check this out.  Apparently, German-flagged freighters make about 1700 trips off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean each year, and in the first half of 2011, there were 163 pirate attacks, 21 of them resulting in hijackings.

In other words, between 12-20% of German transits involve a pirate attack, and about 3% result in a captured ship.  If this is at all representative of shipping as a whole, I would think that this would justify putting armed guards on at least a large portion of merchant ships, as obviously, the naval flotilla is not getting the job done.

And once again, my recommendation is that ship's armaments include Ma Deuce.  Nothing says "I love you" to a pirate skinny like a few fifty caliber holes in their speedboat when their own weapons are still half a mile out of useful range, and finding the need to swim 300 miles home through shark-infested waters.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blessed simplicity, blessed introspection

I just wanted to highlight a couple of posts which display on many levels a blessed simplicity and introspection--one that I'd suggest all brothers and sisters in Christ ought to share.

First, one from Douglas Wilson regarding why immersists don't understand (from a paedobaptist view) the covenant theology of covenant; well, all too many pastors of his perspective don't exactly understand it, either.  Now Wilson is arguing for something with which I profoundly disagree--infant sprinkling instead of believer's immersion--but he gets a hearty AMEN out of me in noting that those who ought to understand these things, and be able to expound them, cannot and do not.  We have Presbyterian and Baptist pastors watching people flit from church to church in the same town, and they're wondering why a Baptist/Presbyterian could so quickly become a Presbyterian/Baptist.  Now apart from the efforts of those like John Piper who de-emphasize the differences on mode of immersion, there is a reality that all too often, the issue is simply that the leadership does not know how to clarify the issues, either.  Hence, it doesn't matter to those in the pews.

Second, Terri from Breathing Grace tells us "I Think I've Run Out Of Things to Say."  Specifically, she notes that a great portion of marriage is really pretty simple--not easy, but simple--and rightly wonders what else really should, or ought, to be said, as all too often, giving one's own example is interpreted as setting one's own example as THE Biblical example.  Or, worse yet, it becomes the de facto Biblical example without anyone ever stopping to question whether it ought to be normative.

That said, the "Wifey Wednesday" series is one that I think does encourage the fairer sex, but if indeed the man is responsible for leadership, maybe there needs to be a masculine counterpart.  How does "Husbandey Hump-Day" sound?  Like many men, it's clumsy with a hint of a double entendre,  so it just might work.

And of course we would try to drag in as much good theology as possible without getting all Chauceresque.

I know I'd have been confused

According to Fox News, Campus Crusade for Christ is going to be changing their name to "Cru", evidently forgetting that there is already a group by that name.  In their defense, both the college ministry and the heavy metal hair band do shout at the devil all around the world already, so it sort of makes sense, but....

.....yeah, I'm guessing some people might be confused and disappointed to arrive on campus to get an invitation to "Cru" and find it was a Bible study.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Political genius at work

A Baltimore mayoral candidate has proposed to mitigate that city's crime problem--evidently its murder rate is right up there with Detroit's and the District of Columbia--by taxing bullets at $1 apiece.  Because obviously, there isn't a transit system that will take people to gun dealers in Linthicum or anything like that.  It certaily won't be for less than two bucks--with nobody on the train to check whether you even bothered to buy a ticket--or anything like that.  And certainly it's not like getting the materials for mayhem would be a nice trip away from the bums that infest Baltimore itself.

Except, of course, that this is exactly the case.  That said, in defence of Mr. Rolley, he is not the most clueless politician within an hour of Baltimore.  That title would, of course, belong to the guy who thinks the way to solve a budget crisis is to take a vacation on Martha's Vineyard, and who apparently defines leadership as not proposing a solution to difficult problems.

No, it's not like the media covering up for the ambitions of a man with no resume and numerous radical associations did the country any harm.  Except, of course, that this is exactly the case. 

Making Gino Jealous!

Or,why Minnesota is way cooler than California, part ............  Witness the Waseca Dragstrip, also known as 8th Avenue NE, just south of the fairgrounds.  My apologies, Gino, for not getting a picture of this glorious event while it was going on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another reason not to let government "partner" with business

A company desiring to make electric cars has just gone bankrupt in Salinas, California.  Why?  "Not enough capital," the former CEO says, but let's be real; the federal government, the state of California, and the city of Salinas all poured in a lot of capital to make this work.  Moreover, all these levels of government were aiming to subsidize these vehicles; you could pretty much buy batteries and motors off the shelf and have a local welder "sweat" these things together and make a go of it. 

So what went wrong?  Well, if he couldn't raise capital despite over $700k in government money helping things along, that means one thing, and one thing only; his business plan was really, really, really bad, and private investors wouldn't touch it.  It's not beyond guessing that not even the SBA would touch them--and given that entrepreneurs are warned against SBA loans if they can get other financing, this is saying something.

Suffice it to say that California and Salinas taxpayers have yet another reason to give a one finger salute to their elected officials for awarding large amounts of capital to a company arguably without a business plan beyond hype.  Hopefully they will in the next election.

Scientific genius at the TSA

Right here.  Apparently, a TSA agent told an angry mother--whose child was about to be groped by TSA agents--that the Rapiscan (yes that is its real name) used for screening used the same technology as a sonogram.

For reference, the Rapiscan uses microwave energy, while a sonogram (ultrasound) uses sound energy at a much lower frequency.  Moreover, given that the frequency used for a Rapiscan is far different from a cell phone, it's really hard to tell which is safer, especially given that most clinical tests of the effects of microwave and RF radiation are inconclusive.

Now I don't expect TSA agents to be experienced in clinical trials, but I do expect them to know that their tool works with microwave radiation, not sound.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How not to get noticed at the county fair, apparently

At last week's county fair, temperatures went up into the nineties, and predictably, many of the attendants used that opportunity to divest themselves of as much clothing as they could legally do.  While I was busily averting my eyes, my wife (who of course does not share my weakness for the exposed female form) was busily watching the response of the young men towards the young ladies.

So what was going on?  More or less, despite the earnest efforts of the young ladies to get the attention of the young men, the young mens' response was.....flatline.   Whether it was common grace teaching Proverbs 31: 30, the fact that many of these young men were frankly bored with what they'd seen too many times, a combination of both of these factors, or yet something else, all those hours tanning and primping did not seem to generate much ROI for these ladies.

Watch out for ducks and scales

Apparently, there is a new Harry Potter flick out there, and apparently (horrors?) one of the people on my blogroll has allowed her daughters to see it, and apparently if I were of the hyper-fundamentalist mindset, instead of a mere fundmentalist, I should be horribly appalled and should drop her blog from my blogroll.

Because, of course, if  a book references witchcraft--say the "Bible" in 1 Samuel 27, or C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia--then obviously those who read that book will become witches.  I'm pretty sure a history of New England would have the same effect, and to be fair, the enduring political power of Barney Frank, John Kerry, and the Kennedy family would tend to support this hypothesis.

But that said, I've read all of these, and have also viewed "The Princess Bride" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and am as yet unaware of any witchly inclinations on my part, or that of others in my family who have engaged these literary works, towards witchcraft.  That said, I might just start to get nervous if my neighbors come to my house with a giant scale and a duck.  There is a woodpile near my home already.

And a serious note; the most damning thing I've ever heard about the Harry Potter series is a commentary by seminary professor friend of mine who simply notes that, while being well written and engaging, there simply isn't any point to it.

And as a wiser guy than I once wrote, "it's a fair cop."

Update: here's another review of the latest Harry Potter movie which notes's simply completely unremarkable.  Perhaps it will become a classic nonetheless, but those who are reading seriously--and have experience with the classics acknowledged today--are saying "meh" about this one.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Now that was cool!

Here in the Waseca metropolitan area, we're enjoying our (FREE) county fair, and on the opening night, a friend came up to me and told me that they were having lawn tractor pulls on the street on the south side of the fairgrounds.

So I went, expecting to see a few little John Deere and Cub Cadet lawn tractors pulling a hay wagon or something like that.  Nope, by the time I arrived, they'd progressed to the "open" division, and I quickly saw that each "lawnmower" engine had eight straight pipes coming up, they were weighted down to provide optimum traction, and the rear tires were by "Hoosier," just like at the dragstrip or NASCAR. 

My son and I took a seat, and we quickly found that the trailer being towed was the back end of a bus chassis--complete with bus engine to provide drag for these little beasts, some of which I'm sure were getting in excess of 500hp.

No, they didn't have an undercarriage for mowing the grass.  There was, however, one powered by a turbine that did very well.  The trick seemed to be that you start off with medium power and then gently nudge it up to full power at about fifty yards into the track, hoping that you'd maintain good traction to counter the steadily increasing drag of the bus chassis to make it to the stop sign two blocks away.

So if you're going to get into this grand sport, all you need is a small block Chevy engine and some aftermarket parts to get more power out of it, a transmission, and some welding skill.  Oh, and a pair of earplugs would help, too.  You too can help 8th Avenue look like a dragstrip.  I'll see you at Pizza Ranch after the festivities are over.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here's an interesting theological question

One of the hallmarks of Lutherans worldwide is the belief that baptism works forgiveness of sins, and without going into my own position (basically the immersist/Baptistic view), one thought that occurred to me is that Luther was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant, and yet into his adult life came to find our Savior the "jailor and hangman of my soul", and later on came to believe that the Pope was an Antichrist.

And so it is very interesting; did not Luther himself know from bitter personal experience that his own baptism was not terribly efficacious until the book of Romans opened his eyes to salvation by faith, and did not Luther himself know that the head of the organization which had sprinkled him was working strongly against the Gospel?  And yet Lutherans not only affirm baptisms as a means of grace, but also honor Catholic baptisms.

I'll be waiting for WB to point out some idiosyncracies of my fellow immersists now!

Book review, "Economics in One Lesson", Henry Hazlitt

I just got through reading about 200 easy pages of Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson," originally produced in the aftermath of the New Deal and World War Two.  Originating around the premise of Sumner's "Forgotten Man" (and paying homage to him in the last chapter) and the concept of the secondary effects of economic policy decisions, it mirrors a lot of the work of Bastiat (especially Bastiat's concept of "that which is not seen") and others.  All in all, it is an able refutation of the excesses of the New Deal, and well worth the read.  I highly recommend that all who want to understand what's wrong with our current crew of economic planners and their ideas.

One bit of disappointment for me is that it does indeed spend so much time on the excesses of the New Deal, and does not go further into how one ought to apply the concept of "secondary consequences" to economic thinking in general.  In short, it tends to help people understand the mistakes of  1929 to 1948, but not necessarily to avoid the next crop of mistakes that would arise during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. 

Dismally, of course, economic mistakes are recyled, as liberal politicians seem to place as little stock in history as they do in physics and chemistry, so the damage to Hazlitt's goal is not extreme.  Even so, given that often politicians hide old bad ideas under new names, a more rigorous treatment of the principles of "secondary consequences," "the forgotten man," "that which is not seen," and "man acts" (von Mises) would have been greatly helpful here, even had it come at the expanse of a less rigorous approach to specific errors of Roosevelt.

But that said, there is such a thing as a free book, and per the link, you can get it from FEE.  Thank you, FEE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Good automotive news

Apparently, Chevrolet is going to join VW, Mercedes, and BMW and produce a diesel powered compact sedan, hopefully to achieve approximately 50mpg on the highway, far better than the ordinary 36mpg highway achieved by the gasoline powered Cruze.

OK, so how does this pan out for the consumer?  Well, as one who is currently driving a 12 year old minivan with about 225,000 miles on it, I'm guessing that even domestics can achieve 300,000 miles and 15 years if well cared for.  So I generated a little spreadsheet to calculate what would be saved given a vehicle life of 300k/15 years, gas/diesel price of $4/gallon, 5% interest lost on the extra price of the diesel, 35% added efficiency, and $5000-$7000 extra for the diesel engine.  The extra cost is estimated from the surcharge for the VW Jetta ($5k) and the Silverado 3/4 ton ($7k), though it might be lower for the Cruze.

End result?  Monetary savings start when you drive about four times as many miles as the extra cost for the diesel--20k miles/year if it's $5000, for example.  For a minivan with ordinary mileage of 22mpg, you need to drive 2.5 times as many miles as the extra cost--12,500 miles to break even with a $5000 diesel.  For ordinary drivers, it looks like a $3000 option would help them break even given typical use of a compact vehicle. 

Note as well that not even this--a compact car with a diesel engine--meets the fuel economy standards envisioned by the Obama administration.  In terms of science and engineering, this should be a nonstarter.  But again, physics and economics don't seem to mean much to politicians, sad to say.

Prayer request from corn country

A sweet young couple, one of whom attends my church, is considering marriage, but sad to say, they're religiously divided.  He's a Deere man, and she likes Internationals.  At least it's not a Ford/Chevy divide, or else I fear they'd have to break up.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seriously out of touch

Who?  Our President, of course, who apparently thinks that talking about the NFL is his job, and that most people will welcome new government programs.   If you doubt that the man is a de facto socialist, roll tape and learn better.

He also laments the fact that what he's doing is so hard.  An honest statement, and one that ought to be accompanied by his resignation.  H/T SayAnythingBlog

This is why grammar, logic, and rhetoric are important

Apparently some on the left side of the aisle are using a clause of the 14th Amendment to argue that the President has the arbitrary right to increase the national debt beyond the official debt limit.  Now, beyond the reality that it's Congress that has the right to initiate government spending and not the President (that's in Article 1 of the Constitution), there is also the reality that the debt must be "authorized by law," and of course that means that, again, Congress must give its approval.

So if you wonder why the government schools (and too many private and parochial schools) treat grammar as a punishment and logic as entirely optional, this might be the reason.  Here, and in too many other places, the prerogatives of the ruling class depend on the rest of us not figuring out the game they're playing, and that requires us to not chant "bovine scat" at pronouncements like the first link.

Speaking of which, "bovine scat," liberals.  Authority to contract debt is vested, per Article 1, in Congress, and don't think we've forgotten this.

What a good place to cut (proposed) government spending?

I'd suggest Michigan Senatress Debbie Stabenow's proposal to spend $2 billion on "new" lithium ion technologies.  Why so?

Well apart from the basic issue that hybrid and electric cars simply don't live up to the hype, you've got Stabenow's insanely ignorant statement that she doesn't want the country to have foreign battery dependency.  Even if you could get corporate types to risk the Obama regulation gauntlet to make the batteries here, the simple fact of the matter is that most lithium production is outside our country.   So whether we like it or not, if hybrids become the de facto standard, other countries will control our sources of this vital material in the same way they control supplies of vital commodities like coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Then, of course, there is the even more basic question; if Stabenow does not want us to be dependent on other nations for lithium ion batteries, why is she so adamant that we should rely on other nations for petroleum?  It's not like her vote has gone the right way on allowing drilling in ANWR and elsewhere, after all.

From a technical perspective, moreover, it makes no sense, either.  Reality here is that a battery consists of metal plates with a chemical "brew" between them, and making batteries carry more energy per pound is more or less a matter of making the metal and the chemical brew as light as possible.  Lithium (atomic number 3) is the lightest metal, and there are a limited number of things they can do with the chemical mixture that they're mostly already doing.

In short, improving batteries at this point is a matter of tweaking designs; the big gains are probably all gone, at least if we can trust the good work of Mendeleev.  Not that physics, economics, chemistry, and geography mean anything to Democrats, of course, but hopefully we can get at least 41 Senators to shoot this idea down.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Book Review: 20 and Counting

Recently, dear homeschooling friends of ours loaned us the book "20 and counting" by the Duggar family, famous for having eighteen children at this point, as far as I know.  The book itself was interesting to view, as our benefactors had marked all of the Duggar recipes with colorful tape. 

More or less, the book is a chronology of their lives, starting from childhood, and is in many ways a beautiful chronology of their faith--a faith that enabled them to live on a shoestring as God brought in more mouths to feed, and a faith that has enabled them to both enjoy blessings and endure suffering with good humor to spare.

There are certainly some things that I would not endorse from the Duggars, starting with their implementation of Bill Gothard's work into their lives.  It seems a little bit too mechanistic for Gospel life, to put it mildly.  I also won't be trying their recipes, either, as they are heavy on packaged foods.  While boxed macaroni and cheese has its place, that place is not Bike Bubba's kitchen.  For that matter, having cooked for 30 people using a basic house kitchen, I'm not terribly desirous of their industrial style kitchen, either.

Now, my kids might like their grand piano, of course....

But that said, it's a book that ought to be read, as the example of the Duggars is a powerful rebuke to today's habit of family infertility and selfishness, and their willingness to take risks in business is a wonderful reproof of today's habit of trying to find security in corporations and government.  And that's where I would leave it, right where the Duggars themselves would; they are no perfect family, but they have been blessed mightily by God as they seek to serve Him as best they can.  Definitely worth a read.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

How to fix "Most children left behind"

As any reader of mine knows, I am not a big fan of the government's schools, and this sad event from Atlanta makes it ever more clear.  More or less, the Atlanta schools hired a "turnaround artist" to improve test scores and thus avoid a large number of their schools being "reformed" (and all personnel fired or reassigned).

The results are familiar to anyone who has ever worked for a company that has "turnaround artists" in the executive ranks.  The turnaround artist threatens his subordinates with firing if they don't "get something done," and of course the subordinates generally "do something".  More or less, this means that they solve the immediate problem without considering the long term effects of what they're doing.  In this case, the long term effect is that nobody trusts Atlanta test scores anymore, or the schools in general, since the principals and teachers were fudging the tests.

And of course, the next effect is that the turnaround artist, having achieved "great things," goes on to "greater things" before the damage is seen.  So how do we end this?

Simple; don't allow teachers to administer the tests, but rather have an outside testing service come in to do so.  Yes, there would be an expense, but every ISO certified company knows full well that their certification must be approved by an outside vendor, and that vendor will lose their certification to issue ISO certificates if they allow clowns to pass.  It's time for the schools to learn about basic principles of corporate governance.

And, of course, I hope that companies realize what they're getting into when they hire turnaround artists, too.

Addendum; see Gino's comment for how it is likely that even this plan could be circumvented by the NEA.  A parent's protection against the NEA is not this, but rather to take a look at whether their child can read, write, and reckon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

And now, a miracle.....

Apparently, several faculty members of the Hahvid Harvard University Economics Department have figured out that throwing money down the toilet stimulus plans do not, in fact, stimulate the economy unless they use rigorous return on investment calculations.

As Vox notes, they're only about eighty years behind von Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, and 160 years behind Bastiat in figuring this out.  Hopefully someone listens, though.

From the "What were they thinking?" files

Last night, I saw a young lady wearing pinkish orange "hot pants" with something very odd written on the derriere'; "True love waits."  Well, yes it does, but ordinarily I'd think that drawing mens' eyes to one's tuckus is an odd way of promoting abstinence.

Not quite as bad as Miss America contestants trying to promote abstinence by parading their bikini clad bodies on national TV (worldwide?), but it suggests that we've got something of an issue in our country if we think that we can promote abstinence by wearing tight pants with a slogan right where a man should NOT be gazing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

America held hostage, day 896

Back during the Clinton administration, Rush did a hilarious bit called "America Held Hostage"--more or less comparing the situation of 1993-1994, with Democratic control of both houses of Congress and the White House, to a hostage situation.  While watching fireworks last night, it seemed regrettable that this bit isn't being run today.  Why so?  Well, while there were many huge dangers during the Clinton administration, we did not yet have a national debt officially as large as GDP, and we did not yet have an unofficial (GAAP, honest accounting) national debt of fifty to one hundred trillion dollars.  We also weren't involved in wars in four countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya), either.  (do we add Yemen now, too?  sigh)

In light of this, and in light of the fact that we have a President and Senate which cannot even agree to cut funding for an organization that was caught covering for a child brothel on tape, I dare suggest that we have a situation of the theoretically "responsible" people whistling past the graveyard.

America held hostage, day 896.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Hilarity by the NCAA

College sports fans all over the nation are well aware of the NCAA's crusade jihad effort to remove "native american" names from the membership of the NCAA, under the idea that somehow using the name of a tribe is inherently degrading to native americans.

Now, leaving aside for a moment that the NCAA will accept the "Seminoles," but not the virtually identically portrayed "Illini" or "Fighting Sioux", and leaving aside for a moment that using a name for your sports team is generally intended as a measure of respect to convey the idea of being manly and a worthy opponent, and leaving aside for a moment the question of whether other ethnic names like "Fighting Irish" or "Spartans" or "Banana Slugs" are obnoxious, consider where the NCAA is meeting North Dakota elected officials to discuss the fate of the Fighting Sioux moniker:

Indianapolis, a city of course named after Native Americans, and, AHEM, the headquarters of the NCAA.   You'll need a sharp knife to cut through that hypocrisy.

Consumer Reports concedes.....

....that they don't know squat about physics, the Carnot cycle, or the tradeoffs inherent in engineering.  How so?

Simple.  They came out in favor of a national 62mpg requirement for new vehicles, ignoring the fact that there is no vehicle capable of carrying a family that can achieve this currently--unless you count the "pie in the sky" concept cars with a roof of solar cells, fully hybrid drive, aircraft-style carbon fiber construction, and such retailing for a mere six figures.

Reality here is that we've been using solar cells for half a century, hybrid drive for close to a century (think the diesel-electric locomotive in railroads), carbon fiber for decades, and fuel cells for half a century as well.  The "easy" improvements in cost and reliability have been discovered for these, and hence there is no tenable conclusion than that Consumer Reports either does not know, or does not care, that a 62mpg CAFE standard would result in new cars that make the Prius look like a limousine.

Or, more likely, it's going to keep them in 20 year old SUVs with visible emissions.  Either way, it's safe to say that educated consumers are wise to ignore Consumer Reports.