Live Science or Gun Propaganda?

You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.

Mayor Bloomberg is for denying gun ownership to everyone but his heavily-armed personal security team and government social control personnel. I can understand that kind of lust for power. Big Gulps are out of control. Salt shakers are rampaging through quiet American neighborhoods. We need to get a handle on this, because “everything seemingly is spinning out of control.

In an effort to support their control-freak agendas, politicians buy a lot of propaganda masquerading as science. Here’s a snippet from, a fairly well-respected science news site. It describes work, bought by your taxpayer dollars, looking at data on households with guns and homicide rates. Matthew Miller of the Harvard School of Public Health found this:

[2007] In the top firearm-household states, homicide rates were more than double the rates found for states in the lowest firearm group. Overall, the top-gun states showed homicide rates that were 60 percent higher than all other states.

Who is Matthew Miller, M.D.? Well, he claims to be an expert on suicide, studying things like the effect of fatulosity (that’s BMI if you’re a Food Nazi) on the propensity to off yourself1. Seems like a perfect colleague for Mayor “Big Gulp” Bloomberg.

But look at what they’re doing here. It’s shameful. The LiveScience article may be just parroting Miller’s paper, so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. But you know it’s raw propaganda when they highlight a table showing the top five states in terms of household gun ownership alongside the claim that “the top-gun states showed homicide rates that were 60 percent higher…”, and all five states they show in the table rank nearer the bottom than the top in homicide. The top five states are listed below with their percentages of household gun ownership. In parentheses and bold is the rank of that state in homicides per 100,000 according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2010:

  • Wyoming – 59.7% (50)
  • Alaska – 57.8% (26)
  • Montana – 57.7% (33)
  • South Dakota – 56.6% (36)
  • (Almost Heaven) West Virginia – 55.4% (37)

In other words, the top five states in household gun ownership are all in the bottom half of homicide rate rankings, and Wyoming, with the highest gun ownership rate in the nation, is dead last, as it were, in homicides per 100,000.

The wiggle out of what would otherwise be a barefaced lie is Louisana and Mississippi. They are states near the top of the list in percent household gun ownership with high homicide rates. But any fool still drawing breath could see that something else is going on here. If, of course, they were looking for the truth.

Well, I’m retired, lazy, and don’t have a million dollars of your money to waste on this bullshit, but I was able to get my hands on the household data Miller used without too much effort, along with some FBI and Census data. So I thought I might nose around a little.

Using the methods preferred by Doc Miller and his epidemiology crowd, I decided to run a couple of regressions on some data. So let’s start with percent household gun ownership and homicide rates. By the way, I’m personally convinced Miller ran this regression but simply failed to publish it. After all, regression is what he does. Look at his other papers.

Anyway, the correlation coefficient for percent household gun ownership and homicide rates turned out to be 0.08. Basically zero. Obviously, the rate of household gun ownership has nothing to do with the homicide rate. I wonder why Doc Miller didn’t report that? Must have been an oversight.

But I started thinkin’… a dangerous thing to do in a Progressive State… that there had to be something that was driving homicide rates. And  even without a million bucks of your money, I remembered South Chicago had a higher death rate than Afghanistan. Oh yeah, and there’s Detroit. And South Memphis. And Camden. And Baltimore. Hm.

So I got my hands on state-level demographic data and regressed percent black population in a state on homicide rate. Lawdamercy, the correlation was 0.76! Now folks, that’s about as big as epidemiological correlations get and about as “no-brainer” as “research” goes.

But still, I was not satisfied. In contrast to Doc Miller’s more political approach, I scrutinized the actual state numbers. And I thought I might have seen a trend. I remembered all those frightened Americans I saw in YouTube videos and on Fox News who live on the Arizona and Texas border with Mexico. And I remembered the Danger sign I saw in the news story about the AZ border. It’s been erected in Organ Pipe National Park (AZ) warning Americans not to enter because of heavily-armed, violent drug smugglers and human trafficking.

I couldn’t find good data on illegal Latino populations (that’s why they call them undocumented), so I just eliminated the border states (FL, TX, NM, AZ, and CA) from the regression analysis. Once you back out some of the border violence, the correlation coefficient between percent black population and homicides jumps to 0.84. That’s even huger than huge. For those of you interested in such things, it’s an R2 = 0.70.

So passing a law to prohibit the sale and possession of guns by black Americans would seem a direct route to a dramatic reduction in the gun homicide rate. If gun laws actually worked the way politicians claim they work before the laws are passed and they’ve confiscated your guns. In fact, the first gun control laws in America were designed to do precisely that: keep blacks on the plantations from arming themselves. Given the level of violence in black communities, it’s law-abiding black citizens that need a household defensive weapon the most. It’s little consolation when the police show up after your kid has been shot to death by a drug-addled degenerate trying to steal your TV. And even if they burn the bastard who did it, your kid’s still dead.

Now here’s the thing… if we could eliminate mass murder by passing laws, the Israelis wouldn’t need to worry about being shredded by ball bearings and rusty nails while having lunch in a pizza parlor. I’m fairly sure bomb belts are illegal there. And concealed carry is probably out of the question.

But here’s the thing I don’t like: I don’t like a law that says regular folks can’t possess a defensive weapon because black thugs and Latino drug smugglers are killing each other. I’m sorry for them, and I wish they would stop, but taking my gun away because of what they do is – in my not-so-humble opinion – collective punishment; i.e., “the punishment of a group of people as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups”. Collective punishment is a blatant human rights violation. Hells’ bells, it’s even a violation of the Geneva Convention. should either be ashamed of itself and do some groveling for knowingly propagandizing in favor of collective punishment, or they should fire the author of that article, Jeanna Bryner, for journalistic malpractice.

1 By the way, he didn’t find anything, but spent a lot of your money doing it. Well, actually, he did find something: fatulous people are less likely to commit suicide. But that didn’t make the Noo Yawk Timez for some reason.


Needs An Ass-Kicking: Union Scum

Doug Ross is highlighting the disgusting tactics of Service Employees International Union scum. The SEIU is endangering the elderly and infirm because HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers (CT) won’t capitulate to their demands.

The [Newington, CT] police report states that “prior to the employee labor strike … the name tags on the patient’s doors for the Alzheimer’s ward were mixed up. The photos attached to the medical records for these patients were removed further complicating, but not making impossible the identification of the patients.”

“Also, dietary blue stickers affixed to the door name tags were removed,” the report continued. A source with knowledge of HealthBridge’s operations told The [Daily Caller] that those stickers identify residents that have dysphagia, or trouble swallowing. Those patients have special dietary restrictions to prevent them from choking.

Keeping in mind cuts and chronic underfunding from Medicare and Medicaid, along with a moribund economy and health care inflation, here is a summary of the union demands:

[T]he Union demanded […] the Health Care Centers increase their pension contributions from 8% to 8.5% of Union members’ salaries into the SEIU pension plan, with no employee contribution.  The Union insisted that the Health Care Centers should continue paying 1% of the salaries of Union members into the SEIU Training Fund, when in fact it is doubtful whether many employees receive any benefit from this Fund. The Union also insisted that the Health Care Centers pay virtually 100% of all employee health insurance costs (until, late in the negotiations, the Union conceded that its members could pay a token amount).

Even if one agrees with the union, (which, in this economy, I don’t), endangering the lives of our most vulnerable and frail elderly citizens is not a reasonable weapon as a union “sabotage” tactic.

But President Obama may think differently. Here’s what he had to say, in a 2008 speech reminiscent of one of Jeremiah Wright’s best stemwinders, to an ecstatic SEIU congregation in the full grip of the Holy Progressive Spirit:

[T]he SEIU agenda is my agenda…

Watch it and make up your own mind, but if you ask me, it’s a thin line between that speech and snake handling. Not that there’s anything wrong with handling snakes, mind you. Why, I wouldn’t mind throwing a big basket of ill-tempered, jacked-up timber rattlers in the midst of one of those charismatic union encounters myself. Be a pay-per-view event.

The Root of Obama’s Contempt For Small Business

Every small businessperson should read a report entitled “Small Consolation: the Dubious Benefits of Small Business for Growth and Wages” (1998) authored by Dale Belman and Erica Groshen.

Belman is on the faculty of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State. His hard-left unionism is no surprise in an academic Labor Relations Department.

Groshen, however, was with the New York Fed (Clinton Administration) at the time the report was published and has just been promoted by President Beaux Zeaux to a much more powerful position in the Department of Labor. Groshen has been entrusted with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and has the President’s back on the unemployment numbers. As you will see, she is no friend of small business.

This is how the report opens:

Small business has long enjoyed a favorable spot in the public imagination. It is often portrayed as the engine of economic growth in the U.S. economy and extolled as the source of economic virtues such as job growth, entrepreneurship, innovation, cost reduction, and flexibility.

I think we can all agree with that. Americans love their small businesses. We often call them “Mom and Pop” stores. Many of us, myself included, had our first job in a small business. Millions of us, including me (now retired) and my wife (currently working), have owned small businesses.

Small business is also part of the American dream. Countless immigrants have come to this country with nothing but a few dollars and the dream of opening a small business. Why, it’s even carved on the Statue of Liberty, the very symbol of America:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

It goes like this, quoted from a ChicagoTrib column by John Kass, son of a Greek immigrant:

[My Dad would] return home long after dark, physically and mentally exhausted, take a plate of food, talk with us for a few minutes, then flop in that big chair in front of the TV. Even before his cigarette was out, he’d begin to snore.

The next day he’d wake up and do it again. Day after day, decade after decade. Weekdays and weekends, no vacations, no time to see our games, no money for extras, not even forMcDonald’s. My dad and Uncle George, and my mom and my late Aunt Mary, killing themselves in their small supermarket on the South Side of Chicago.

Click on the link and read the whole damn thing. It’s a great column.

And America is dotted with restaurants, dry cleaners, ice cream shops, ethnic grocery stores, medical practices, landscaping companies, handyman services… a myriad of small businesses of every kind. It’s truly a beautiful thing. Except to statists. Statists hate small business.

What statists don’t understand is why someone like John Kass’s father would do such a thing. Instead of going on welfare or working for a bailed-out, unionized business so they can  hang out in the parking lot of the union hall smoking dope and sucking beers over lunch. Before they put your car together.

Erica Groshen, who has the President’s ear, does not see beauty in the riot of small business that exists on almost every street in New York City and on every Main Street in every cornpone town that nestles among the farm fields and cattle pastures of flyover country. What she sees is privilege:

The favorable image of small firms has translated into considerable influence on public policy, and, as a result, laws are often written to partially or fully exempt small firms from oversight and regulation.

And, not surprisingly, Ms Groshen is not amused. It bothers her that there are businesses left outside the iron fist of regulation and government control:

[F]irms with under $500,000 in revenue are not covered by minimum wage laws; the Family Medical Leave Act applies only to firms with 50 or more employees; the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 exempts small chemical companies from testing and reporting requirements; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exempts firms with fewer than 20 employees from regular inspections; and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance exempts businesses with fewer than 50 employees from filing affirmative action plans. Even Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements are more stringent for larger firms.

Everyone recognizes that the volume of required reporting and the compliance costs of tens of thousands of regulations would put many, if not most, existing small businesses out of business. And it would destroy small business creation.

But destroying small business is OK. Because large business is statistically better.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think President Obama and his pet labor economist, Erica Groshen, are specifically aiming to destroy small business. No, I think it’s simply a determination to remove all exemptions. Substituting small business for the coal industry in President’s 2008 comments, “So, if somebody wants to build a [small business], they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them…”

The last sentence of Groshen’s report perfectly summarizes the Administration’s view of small business:

Small may be beautiful in many arenas, but it is not beautiful for workers.

If you own a small business, this may be the most important election in your lifetime.


If The SEALs Had Been Killed, It Would Have Been Terrible for the President?

Some retired special operations veterans have set their sights on the President’s campaign. His trashy exploitation of the bin Laden assassination put him in the crosshairs. They want to blow up his chances for a second term.

Oh, fiddlesticks. Was I being uncivil? I’m so sorry.

Anyway, the SpecOps guys have a website you should visit: Special Operations for America. It features a great video, with this money quote:

Suppose the Navy SEALS had gone in there… suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him.


Stimulus Money and Hookers in the Prison Yard

“Like a hooker dropped into a prison yard” is how venture capitalist Paul Holland describes the position of Matt Rogers, senior adviser to Secretary Chu at DoE, after attending a 2009 event at the White House covering stimulus spending and green technology.

(H/T: Doug)

Why Republicans Are Losing

Republicans are losing because they don’t realize they’re in a fight. Republicans are losing because they think they showed up for a debate. Republicans are losing because they fail to follow these simple rules from the USMC’s “Rules for gunfighting“:

  1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring their friends who have guns.
  2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice.
  3. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “4”.

I’ve been listening for a week to experts claiming that Mitt Romney, who is struggling in this fight, should be explaining some sort of “plan” to revive the economy. Then we can have a “real debate”. Unfortunately for the Debating Society, the Democrats don’t want a debate. If they debate, they lose. There’s no “debate” about the unemployment rate. There’s no “debate” about the economic outlook.

But just to make sure everybody’s on board and happy, let’s do a plan. How’s this for a plan?

  • Go back to a free market

You can call it the Apostate’s One Point Plan.

Now that we have the “real debate” part of the campaign taken care of, let’s get down to the “getting elected” part.

If the Republicans are going to get elected, they must ignore all Democratic caviling about civility. Civility is a sucker’s game in this election. Civility is for debate teams. This is a fight. I’m sick of the civility argument. Matt Tabbibi provides a perfect illustration why I’m sick of it. Tabbibi writes for Rolling Stone. Last Friday, he penned a column about Romney’s NAACP speech. Tabbibi’s premise was idiotic, but that’s both beside the point and expected – he’s a hard Leftist. Idiotic goes with the territory. More to the point of this post, Tabbibi chides Romney for his tone and a lack of thoughtfulness. Here’s what Tabbibi put in the suggestion box:

[Romney] could have talked about the increasingly strident tone of the national debate over racially charged issues, and wondered aloud if politicians on both sides perhaps needed to find a new way to talk about these things without fearmongering, stereotyping, or trading accusations. He could have met the racial-tension issue head on, in other words, just by saying out loud the simple truth that white and nonwhite Americans, and Democrats and Republicans both, need to find more civilized ways to talk about their political concerns. [emphasis added -ed.]

A noble sentiment, indeed. Or would have been, had it not been immediately preceded by this:

The twin appearances revealed [Romney] to be not merely unlikable, and not merely a fatuous, unoriginal hack of a politician, but also a genuinely repugnant human being, a grasping corporate hypocrite with so little feel for how to get along with people that he has to dream up elaborate schemes just to try to pander to the mob.

Are you seeing a disconnect here, or is it just me?

For the record, I’m generally in favor of Nice. Nice is a virtue. The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was a wonderful and instructive story.

But Margery Meanwell, aka Goody Two-Shoes, was not being assaulted and the fate of England was not at stake. Chamberlain was nice, in contrast to Churchill, who was a fighter. “Peace in our time” in contrast to “The war is inevitable; and let it come.”

Nice is good, but not as a replacement for simple honesty. Honestly, the Collected Law Review Papers of Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama, Esq. is the shortest book in the world at 0 pages. Honestly, President Barack Obama wrecked the economy. Honestly, Constitutional Law “Professor” Barack Obama is ignorant of Constitutional Law. Honestly, investment guru Barack Obama wasted billions of other people’s dollars on stupid investments. Honestly, America’s Most Transparent President, Barack Obama, is America’s least transparent President. Honestly, President Pencilneck Obama did not kill Osama bin Laden. Honestly, what is not deliberately concealed about Barack Obama’s life is a pack of lies.

I could go on, but I won’t. There are a million ads in there. Oh yes, they’re all “negative”, but it also happens they’re all true.

Nice is good. But not in a street fight.

Republicans were sooooo upset that the press did not tell the truth in 2008. And they are sooooo upset that the press is in the bag and not telling the truth in 2012.

I detect a pattern here. Republicans were sooooo upset that John Roberts didn’t do their work on Obamacare for them after they didn’t bother to get out and vote in 2008.

Here’s my suggestion to Republicans: man up.

Don’t expect anyone else to do your fighting for you. If the press won’t tell the truth for you, if the Chief Justice won’t protect you, pull out the brass knuckles. And if the Democrats snarl and yap that you’re “going negative”, rack the pump action. That’ll get their attention.

Food Deserts Are Not Caused By Global Warming

Michelle Obama sez:

“Think about all the neighborhoods that could be transformed, because people want to live in communities where they have resources,” Obama said in Chicago following a summit hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on strategies to increase the availability of healthy, affordable food in underserved communities. “And a grocery store — a good-quality grocery store — is the first step.”

Food deserts are not caused by global warming. Food deserts are not caused by greedy capitalists.

Food deserts are caused by crime:


Great Moments in Government History

If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
—–- B. Obama [7/13/12]

Alexander Graham Bell and the Government Invent the Telephone

Charles Townes and the Government Invent the Laser


Ray Dolby and the Government Invent the Electronic Noise Reduction System

Benevolence: The Handmaiden of Tyranny

Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for?
—-- Mustapha Mond in Huxley’s Brave New World 

Huxley’s words perfectly describe a post-cultural world. Roger Kimball comments on the current anti-cultural, anti-civilizational ethos vibrantly alive in America today.

Benevolence, unfortunately, is not only not incompatible with tyranny, it is often its most conspicuous handmaiden. [9:50]

Edify yourself:


On government benevolence and Title IX…

(Newsweek) Let’s not forget, Title IX isn’t just about sports. From addressing inequality in math and science education to preventing sexual assault on campus to fairly funding athletic programs, Title IX ensures equality for our young people in every aspect of their education.
—-- Barack Obama

Some claim that the Obama Administration is poised to issue regulations capping the number of men that can be enrolled in science and engineering to ensure “gender equality”.

The Pyle Principle, Quantified

Readers of a certain age may remember Gomer Pyle, USMC. If so, they may also remember Lance Corporal Pyle’s Principle, to be uttered in sincerity on every occasion of the blindingly obvious: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

The Pyle Principle certainly applies to Americans’ confidence in television news, as measured by Gallup

Gallup comments,

It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last.

It’s blindingly obvious to me. They lie.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Outsourcing: Beaux Zeaux Eliminates The Middleman

President Beaux Zeaux has accused Mitt Romney of supporting “tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

The Beaux Zeaux Administration would never do anything like that. They’re more efficient. They send your tax dollars directly overseas and eliminate the middleman.

But truthfully, it’s even more elegant than that: they borrow money from the Chinese government to create jobs in China.

Negative Optimism

From the National Federation of Independent Business, the “voice” of small business in America:

The Index of Small Business Optimism declined 3 points in June, falling to 91.4. The decline is significant, relinquished the gains achieved earlier this year and is a clear indication of slow growth.

Negative optimism: two words that perhaps best describe the result of President Beaux Zeaux’s Progressive economic policy.

Remember when Beaux Zeaux said “the private sector is doing fine”? Remember how people who participate in the private sector laughed? And then cried? Beaux Zeaux even got his pet Wall St lickspittle financial writer, the delightfully named Rex Nutting, to gin up a column entitled “It’s the best of times for US corporations”. You can go here and read it if you have the slightest interest in the techniques and methods of Advanced Sycophancy. But if you’re pressed for time, here’s the money quote: “[A]s piece of economic analysis, the president was spot on.” If you’ve read that sentence, you’ve read the whole column.

Well Rex, maybe that’s the way it looks from down there, but here’s the way it looks to actual small businesspeople:

And the outlook isn’t going to improve anytime soon. Because Beaux Zeaux has promised that, if elected (and he probably will be if Mitt Romney keeps running on his resume), he will veto any extension of the current tax rates for “the rich” next year. Of course, many of these “rich” people are small businesses and limited liability professional companies that pass through corporate income directly to the owners under the tax rubric of an S corporation. Like the nice family who lives down the street and runs that little burger joint on Main St.

Religionists of Peace Murder 115 Christians in Nigeria

According to the Indian press, peaceful members of the Religion of Peace™ murdered 115 Christians in central Nigeria:

[H]erdsmen from the [Islamic] Fulani tribe besieg[ed] and raid[ed] Christian villages near conflict-prone Jos city, prompting violent clashes.

Those killed today were attending the funeral of 63 other people killed earlier yesterday in Karkuruk village in Barkin Ladi local government area when the assailants returned to kill more people with guns and machetes.

Of course, hacking kafirs (“unbelievers”) to death with machetes is standard practice within the highly civilized stratum of devout Islamoid Believers. Other techniques of social purification include burning, beheading, and nail bombing.

After the attack on funeral attendees, some 50 bodies were also discovered burnt in the house of a pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Matse village in Riyom Local Government Area of the state.

Naturally, you need not expect to read anything about this in the US mainstream media. They are fretting about possible terrorist acts from US military veterans, pro-life activists, and individuals who believe in the US Constitution.

It’s Official: Barack Obama Is A Loon

There are liars and there are loons.

A liar is a man who will meet a prospective date in a bar and invent an impressive biography. A liar is a man who will tell a prospective employer that he has skills, experience, and education that he doesn’t have. A liar is a man who will take your money to invest it, and waste every penny on gambling and high living.

Barack Obama is certainly a liar, convicted on all counts. But that’s not atypical of politicians. If Obama were just a liar, there would be no cause for alarm.

On the other hand, a loon is a man who tell you the sun is shining while you’re standing in a dark alley at midnight. A loon is a man who will piss on your shoe and tell you it’s raining.

Barack Obama is a loon. Get a load of this:

Not only did Barack Obama outspend John McCain $740.6 million to McCain’s $227.7 million, Obama was the first Presidential nominee to reject Federal funding and the consequent legal limits (source: Boston Globe, 12/27/08).

The difference between a liar and a loon boils down to the believability of the lie. A good liar can convince you he’s telling the truth. You laugh at the risible lies of a loon. That’s why they used to call the loon-atic asylum the “funny farm”.

For Barack Obama to tell a lie this transparent is, as Democrats would put it, “deeply troubling”. It’s troubling because there’s no way to spin the lie as any sort of truth. But it’s especially troubling because everybody – everybody – knows it’s a lie. Just like you know the little guy back there on the Tittering Ward is not Napoleon without looking at his birth certificate, you know that Obama vastly outspent McCain. The spending differential in 2008 was one of the signature features of the ’08 election, like Obama’s mixed race, distinguishing that election from all others. Gallons of ink and hours of talking head time were expended on the spending differential during the ’08 campaign season and since.

The best thing the voters could do for this deeply troubled and piteously malleable man is send him back to Hyde Park before he inadvertently drags America into another economic meltdown or, worse, a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East.

Why “Islamic University” is an Oxymoron: The Timbuktu Tragedy

The Guardian reports:

Islamists armed with Kalashnikovs and pick-axes have destroyed the centuries-old mausoleums of saints in the Unesco-listed city of Timbuktu in front of shocked locals, witnesses say…

[W]itnesses said Ansar Dine had already destroyed the mausoleums of three local saints – Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi el-Mokhtar and Alfa Moya – and at least seven tombs.

“The mausoleum doesn’t exist any more and the cemetery is as bare as a soccer pitch,” a local teacher, Abdoulaye Boulahi, said of the Mahmoud burial place.

Not only do these sites have unique religious, historical, and archeological value, they contain priceless scientific texts. The New Scientist reports that

Various sites in Timbuktu house a matchless collection of 300,000 ancient Islamic texts, some dating from the 13th century, which include treatises on science and mathematics. Among them are texts on the harmful effects of tobacco, on medicine as practised 300 years ago, and on astronomy.

I don’t understand. President Beaux Zeaux, the World’s Smartest Man, started a project to improve Islamists’ self-esteem! According to NASA’s Director, Gen. Charles Bolden, Beaux Zeaux tasked NASA to help the Islamists “feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

It looks like they’re feeling their oats, all right.

But I don’t think it’s workin’ out like you planned, Mr President. Somehow, even after you became President, they still see these sites as idolatrous and they’re on a mission to destroy them as shari’a law demands. Maybe it’s time for another speech.


Maybe They’re Not Ready To Run The Country

I have been keeping a list of Occupy (remember them?) accomplishments. As of last night, the list included the following:

  • xxxx

This morning, I was greeted with news of yet another Occupy project: an Occupy cookbook…

(Seattle Times) The cookbook was to be “cooking and recipe ideas for the 99%, by the 99%,” as well as “information on hot topics of food injustice” and a look at the early days of the busy Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

As it turns out, I was briefly involved with a cookbook project (until it became abundantly clear to my fellows that I was a drag on the effort due to my unrelenting tendency to sloth). I learned a few things, though. There are companies that will basically do the whole thing for you. All you need to do is collect the recipes and format them in a text file. One imagines that even a newly-indebted MFA in Medieval Puppetry could manage that.

Unfortunately, if one imagined that, one would be wrong.

In any Occupy effort, consensus is of paramount importance. All and sundry must buy into the task at hand. Naturally, that implies meetings, gatherings, and drum circles. Despite many meetings, incessant drumming, and oodles of goodwill tempered by hours of Deep Conflict Resolution training,

It was difficult to figure out whether the book should be inexpensive or a coffee table novelty, how to split profits and whether there should be profits, and how it should be organized.

In short, a disorganized rabble of highly-educated, unemployable vagrants could not organize and sustain an effort that would be considered mundane by a small group of rural church ladies.

Apparently, though, the problem was less about the task and more about the metaphysical nature of cooking:

The Occupy Cookbook project ran into contradictions at every turn in part because the acts of preparing and serving food are so complicated, bringing so much joy and also carrying so much baggage.

I was going to grill brats tomorrow night, but I have been seized by existential angst. Or sloth. I’m not really sure which.

Anyway, it seems to me that it might be better to defer handing over the country to these people until they get this cookbook project out the metaphorical door. The Post Office is f**ked up enough as it is.


Even The Communists Weren’t This Good

It was easier to appreciate from this side of the Iron Curtain, but the Communists had some pretty amusing habits. One of them was lying. Josef Stalin, for example, was famous for having people erased from photographs.

The musings about Stalin’s erasures of history occurred to me while I was skimming the EurekaAlert website. EurekaAlert is the news aggregator for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It’s basically a clickable list of news releases from academic, government, and private scientific laboratories around the world. It’s amazing what you can find there on any given day. For example, Penn engineers have developed a polymer from sunflower seeds that may turn out to be useful as a highly specific drug delivery system. Cool, eh?

But it’s also amazing what you don’t read there.

Do you remember the HUGE controversy over embryonic stem cells? It was all over the evening news and plastered across every newspaper in America. MIchael J Fox was pleading on television for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. And even poor old Christopher Reeve was trotted out (no pun intended) to claim that George Boosh and the Republicans were blocking his chance to walk again.

If you had the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) involved and everybody working together, I am positive in 10 years I’d be on my feet … I would not be sitting here in a wheelchair,” Reeve said.


Because, if you recall, it was never about “legalizing” stem cell research. Oh, I know that’s what they said. But the research was going on all around the world at the time. In fact, at the very moment Christopher Reeve was pleading for deliverance, “pioneering stem cell scientist” Hwang Woo-suk was busy fabricating his data in a Korean embryonic stem cell laboratory. No, the entire controversy was about legalizing the release of billions of dollars in Federal funding.

Now let me ask you a question: when was the last time you read a breathless article about the promise of embryonic stem cells? It’s probably been a while, hasn’t it? And that’s all the more odd, given (1) that embryonic stem cell research has been perfectly legal in most of the world for decades, (2) US federal dollars began to flow into embryonic stem cell research the very moment President Beaux Zeaux, our “science” President, was inaugurated, and (3) breakthroughs were supposedly “right around the corner”.

Don’t you think we would have heard something by now? The least we could expect after all this spending was that somebody would have been raised from the dead or something. Right?

But the important question for today is not whether a lack of news means that the embryonic stem cell research people have been abducted en masse by aliens and the government doesn’t want us to know. No, the important question for today is whether the words “embryonic stem cell” have even entered your consciousness since the election. Because those words were all the rage. The list of diseases slated to succumb to the magic of embryonic stem cells was impressive: Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, blindness, and diabetes are but a partial list. Funding had the “fierce urgency of now“. People were dying. Stem cell research was on everyone’s lips.

So it’s interesting that we have heard nothing about breakthroughs, but it’s even more interesting that the whole burning issue has simply dropped into a memory hole.

I understand how that can happen to young people. They don’t know anything. But there are a lot of us around who’ve been through this before. Remember interferon? The “silver bullet” for cancer and viral diseases? No? Don’t remember interferon on the cover of Time? Down the memory hole. That whole brouhaha was about funding, too. And after all the hype, interferon turned out to be just another useful adjunct to existing therapies.

Remember monoclonal antibodies? “[Monoclonal antibodies were] hailed as the prototypical magic bullet…” But, sadly,

Despite their enormous potential as therapeutic agents, monoclonal antibodies of nonhuman origin have performed poorly in clinical trials as a result of immunogenicity, poor pharmacokinetic properties, and inefficiency in recruiting effector functions.

They were flogging monoclonal antibodies to gin up funding for recombinant DNA research.

The hype and hullabaloo about embryonic stem cells, interferon, and monoclonal antibodies was at its zenith  during the Administrations of two Presidents, Reagan and G.W. Bush. Neither President Reagan nor Bush was inclined to dump taxpayers’ money down a dry, and possibly dangerous, hole. And, frankly, there was no need. Does anyone in their right mind really think that the tier one scientific staffs of the giant pharma companies would pass up an opportunity to develop a “silver bullet”? Such a compound or biologic would put the word “blockbuster” to shame. It would be a “supernova”.

teratoma with teeth

But I said dangerous. Both Presidents had convened impressive and philosophically diverse boards of bioethicists to ponder the wisdom of human genetic manipulation. Here’s what they said in the refereed journal Nature, for Pete’s sake:

The ability of embryonic stem cells to form noncancerous tumours called teratomas is one of their defining traits. It is also a frightening one…

Teratoma. Look that up. I don’t remember hearing about teratomas on MSNBC. But the Left is weird, isn’t it? They will swoon upon the fainting sofa at the very mention of eating beef fed with genetically engineered corn, but apparently have no problem with puttering about in the human gene pool.

I think most people feel a bit uncomfortable with the notion of mucking around in human DNA, using fetal tissue for medical purposes, and human cloning. We’ve had a bit of experience with medical research that went badly off the rails when Dr Mengele was running the lab at Auschwitz. He wasn’t a one-off, you know. So it’s easy to see how genetic technologies could turn out to be unspeakably evil. These things need to be pondered deeply.

But when billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, the politicians get involved. And some of them are notorious liars. Just this morning, I read a quote from a black professor of English literature, Gerald Early, that “It really doesn’t matter if [Barack Obama] made up stuff” in the tissue of lies (Dreams From My Father) that was marketed as an “autobiography”, because they’re “his lies”. Well, Sir, it may be true that they are “his lies” but they are not just “his lies”, anymore than John Kerry’s autobiographical lies were just “his lies”, or James Frey’s autobiographical lies were just “his lies”. The only difference among those three was that James Frey, bestselling author, was publicly humiliated on Oprah Winfrey’s show, abandoned by his agent, and dropped by his publisher. Because when Mr Frey published “his lies” in the public square, “his lies” became our lies. And Frey richly deserved the calumny he received.

The reason you haven’t thought about embryonic stem cells in a long time is because the whole controversy was a ginned-up lie. The “imminent breakthroughs” storyline was a lie, the “silver bullet” storyline was a lie, and the politicians were lying about the lack of funding.

And now that the maw of the political press has been fed with your money…

Well, we can just forget about the whole thing. And we do. The shade of Josef Stalin must be green with envy.


Electric Cars: Back to Basics

Energy Secretary Chu wants to be the little engine that could. He’s going around the country trying to gin up interest in developing a fast-charging. unsubsidized electric car that is competitive in price with conventional vehicles within the next decade. The government program designed to accomplish this is called the “EV Everywhere Grand Challenge”. The program was designed by President Beaux Zeaux. The cars will presumably be designed by the Unknown Genius.

Of course, one could build a price-competitive electric car today. The only problem is, it wouldn’t go very far. To get from driving 18 holes to 50 miles (with windshield wipers and headlights) costs about $200,000, most of which is in government subsidies already.

President Beaux Zeaux’s pet car, the Chevy Dolt, has been roundly ridiculed because of its limited range and its six-figure subsidies. Beaux Zeaux is sick of the hilarity and poor sales. It’s almost like people were ridiculing his inane ideas. So he designed another subsidy, the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, to get rid of the subsidies and sent his pet physicist out to sell the thing

Chu was in Dearborn, Mich., for one of the [brainstorming] workshops designed to recruit scientists, engineers and businesses so U.S. companies become the first in the world to produce affordable and convenient plug-ins for the average American family.

Now you may think it’s the height of folly to send out a geeky physicist to sell anything. And, in most cases, you would be right. But Dr Chu is selling free government money. So consider me recruited, Sir.

According to my back-of-the-envelope cackalations, for the small sum of, say, $500,000,000, Apostasy Central can set up a full-fledged research program to investigate an amazing, but time-tested, approach. You see, the world has been focusing on the wrong thing: batteries. We here at Apostasy Central think outside the box. We have a different approach.We call it Back to Basics: frictionless tires. Once you eliminate tire friction, the battery only needs to start the car rolling. Once the target speed is attained, the car will continue forever or until you apply the brakes. It’s Newton’s First Law, man. Newton had this stuff down cold. Why, you could run the car on two D batteries as long as there aren’t any hills and it doesn’t rain.

Poor old Dr Chu is just totally stuck on this whole, inside-the-box battery thing. Here’s his claim:

By 2015, there will be the capacity to build 500,000 batteries a year in the U.S.

My friends, that’s a stock tip. A stock tip from  a PhD in physics and the Department of Energy, whose vaunted stock-picking capabilities have been much celebrated of late (see e.g., Solyndra).

Before you invest, though, a word to the wise: Lux Research, an independent research and advisory firm providing strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies, is forecasting a catastrophic glut in advanced automotive battery manufacturing sector with a major shakeout on the way. Which is why advanced battery manufacturers have begun hawking wind and solar energy storage with an air of, well… desperation. According to the barons of Big Battery, it’s cheap Chineeze knockoffs!

So you can see why frictionless tires would make so much sense. Frictionless tires work as well on gasoline-powered cars as they do on toy electric cars. In fact, frictionless tires will even work on cars with the venerable Flintstone Drive™, which is generally acknowledged as the Gold Standard in green vehicle technology.

Chu equates this challenge with putting a man on the moon before the Russians.

Actually, that analogy makes some sense. But there is a difference… Getting to the Moon was absolutely worth it, even though we have no serious intention of going back anytime in the foreseeable future. What we’re going to do with 500,000 surplus batteries is a different question altogether. For an additional half-billion dollars, give or take a few bucks, we could give that question some serious thought, Mr Secretary.

Reality Check: Health Care

Many words will be spilled over the SCOTUS decision affirming the Affordable Care Act. Naturally, the Left is celebrating a successful result for the decades of work they invested to seize the medical economy. I’m sure many champagne corks popped last night in the salons and parlors of coastal California and the Acela corridor.

But, amid the Leftist back-slapping and expressions of mutual admiration, I wonder how many of those celebrations even mentioned the catalyst for their victory: ideological conservatives. On that note, back in August, 2009, I made the following observation:

I attended the [April] 2008 NRA convention in Louisville, and my buddy and I were talking to the folks around our table during the Banquet. John McCain was the featured speaker, so the conversation naturally turned to the upcoming elections. The 40-something fellow sitting next to me with his lovely wife, from Minnesota if I recall correctly, harrumphed and gesticulated a bit and announced he was staying home in November. John McCain just didn’t pass his Conservative Purity Test, and he had decided that witholding his vote would somehow punish the Republican powers-that-be. Show them a thing or two, ya? Ahhh, you betcha!

As Dr Phil might say, how’s that workin’ out for ya now, Bunky?

About that same time, after all the election data were in, the AP reported that

[T]he share of eligible voters who actually cast ballots in November declined for the first time in a dozen years. The reason: Older whites with little interest in backing either Barack Obama or John McCain stayed home. (7/20/09)

How many of the Ideologically Pure Conservatives who tore McCain apart in the run-up to the election are gnashing their teeth today? I hope Rush Limbaugh is happy, because here’s what the Mighty Rushbo was doing back then:

For weeks, Limbaugh has been on the attack against McCain, branding the Arizona senator a “liberal” and suggesting he would destroy the Republican Party.  [02/2008]

Excellent strategy, Sir. Having been among those who poisoned the well, Mr Limbaugh, I can’t wait to hear your complaints about how the water tastes bad today.

I know, because I have listened to it for weeks, that the Ideological Conservatives who savaged John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, the Righteous Conservatives who stayed home on election day, were depending on the Supreme Court to bail them out.

But I think the Chief Justice, John Roberts, expressed it perfectly:

It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Furious at not having been saved from their own stupidity, the purist vipers are beginning to stir:

Let’s talk about Roberts. I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. [M. Savage]

Yeah. That oughta work. Destroy the remaining credibility of the razor-thin conservative majority in the SCOTUS. Why didn’t I think of that?! Brilliant!

It is possible that Obamacare has already sifted its toxic dust so thoroughly into the cellular interstices of the bureaucratic beast that, for all practical purposes, it cannot be “repealed”. If we’re not yet at the incurable stage, the repeal window of opportunity is closing rapidly. Time is of the essence.

So can we hear another rousing round of Conservative Purity about Mitt Romney’s political sins? Can we produce a few more ads from the right about “vulture capitalism”? Sing a rousing round of “He belongs to the Mahr-man Kult!” Here’s a shout-out to Ron Paulists: you guys can ride the Gold Standard Express all the way to the Government Hospice!

It was a nice idea that SCOTUS would ride in and absolve the Conservative Purists of their electoral sins, but Chief Justice John Roberts decided not to play the Messiah.

Good for you, Sir. We can’t allow Ideological Conservatives to become government dependents at the SCOTUS teat, now can we?

Time for a reality check. November is looming. Have you written that check yet? Because, fellow small-government fans:

If anybody was going to take up the slack for you, they would have arrived already.

Beaux Zeaux Investments

I haven’t yet gotten my official monthly newsletter from Beaux Zeaux Investments, but the financial wires are telling me there may be a bit of bad news. Abound Solar is about to go dark.

President Beaux Zeaux, the Chief Investment Officer for Beaux Zeaux Investments, decided a couple of years ago that Abound Solar was going to be a hot stock. In his weekly radio address, July 3, 2010, President Beaux Zeaux said:

The second company [slated for taxpayer investment] is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.  A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory.  When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.

Millions of panels per year! Wow! Millions!

So why are they going bankrupt, and why is our capital (capital that Beaux Zeaux Investments was managing) circling the drain?

Why, it’s the fault of the Chineeze!!! Not Beaux Zeaux’s fault! The Chineeze!

Aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar-panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage startup company like Abound to scale in current market conditions,” the company said in the statement.

If I may say so, gentlemen, I noted here in this blog on July 3, 2010, the very same day Beaux Zeaux announced his investment, that

As far as I can determine from their press releases, Abound Solar has lined up 3.2 MW of production with GP JOULE (a German firm) and a tiny test project with Chevron expected to deploy 190 kW of product. In total, this is about 0.1% of the output of one conventional power plant. Sounds like a great place to sink a billion dollars. Ken Salazar has visited their tiny manufacturing facility at least twice. It will be interesting to see whether he keeps his “boot on the neck” of Abound Solar.

This was one of the most predictable corporate train wrecks in the last decade.

Who do I call to get my money back? And when will the indictments be coming out? Bernie Madoff must be so jealous.