Comments on politics, the culture, economics and religion by Paul Tuns -- in short, everything about the human endeavour from a non-hyphenated conservative perspective. I am Toronto-based writer and editor, whose articles, columns and reviews have appeared in more than 35 publications. I am editor-in-chief of The Interim, Canada's life and family newspaper, author of Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal and a regular contributor to the book pages of the Halifax Herald.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
What's wrong with Ontarians?
CTV reports that a new Ispos Reid poll they co-sponsored finds that if an election were held "tomorrow" the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives would both get 34% of the vote while the NDP would register 26% support. One in 20 respondents like another party (mostly the Greens) and 13% are undecided (I understand considering the choices). What is stunning is that over the past month there have been additional revelations about the gas plant cancellation and yet the Tories are down three points while the Liberals are up six points. All the usual warnings about single polls (or polling in general), but it must be frustrating for those who are eager to see the McWynnety Liberals turfed from office. Considering the NDP are also down three points, perhaps there is a fair bit of support for Premier Kathleen Wynne's first budget and a slight backlash against Andrea Horwath's inept handling of whether to support it or not.
Excellent post on the 'Catholic' who committed suicide in reaction to legalization of same-sex marriage in France
Five Feet of Fury has an excellent post on French historian Dominique Venner, who opposed same-sex marriage and committed suicide at Notre Dame cathedral this week. FFF's key point about Venner's Catholicism:
Venner was likely worked up because “sodomy” is one of the “sins crying out to heaven for vengeance.”However, suicide is equated with despair, which is considered a “sin against the Holy Spirit,” and therefore a Really Big Deal too.Despair means that you can’t believe God will ultimately triumph — that in fact, he already has.The Catholic notion is that God has won, the game is almost over, and our job is to run out the clock without earning any stupid penalties.
Mostly unreported: Venner more concerned about Islamism and immigration than SSM and his writing contained plenty of condemnation of the Catholic Church in France. See LifeSiteNews for more.
Campaign Life Coalition turns 35
My article from the May edition of The Interim is reprinted today at LifeSiteNews.com.
On Sweden`s rioting
Maybe the Scandinavian model does not work so well. The Daily Telegraph: "Stockholm riots leave Sweden's dreams of perfect society up in smoke." Of course the Jew as canary in the mine should have alerted us to this. The Local reports that rioting has spread beyond Stockholm. This Reuters report is atrocious, effectively making excuses for the rioting (although the reporter is only doing what a member of the government is doing):
In a country with a reputation for openness, tolerance and a model welfare state, the rioting has exposed a fault-line between a well-off majority and a minority - often young people with immigrant backgrounds - who are poorly educated, cannot find work and feel pushed to the edge of society. "In the short run, the acute thing is to ensure that these neighborhoods get back to normal everyday life. In the long run we need to create positive spirals in these neighborhoods," Erik Ullenhag, Sweden's integration minister, told Reuters.
You would think this article from Fria Trider is from The Onion, were it not for the reaction of the likes of Ullenhag above: "Parking Tickets Issued on Wrecks while Stockholm Burns." I am sorry, but this really sounds like The Onion:
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
Pro-immigration economist Tyler Cowen says not many pundits are mentioning Sweden as part of America`s immigration debate:
It is odd for me how, in the midst of a major policy discussion of the issue, most of the people I read cover the topic but do not mention or much discuss five nights of riots in Sweden. The economics of additional immigration work out fine in my view, and I am happy to count the well-being of foreigners without hesitation. The real question is how much immigration a nation’s politics can handle.
The upside of destruction
Seen on Twitter:
@DeathStarPR: Paris Hilton is releasing a new album. There has literally never been a better reason for the Death Star to explode your planet.
Friday, May 24, 2013
The Industrial Revolution, liberty and dignity
The Cato Institute's Andrew J. Coulson says: "This is the most important question in economics: Why did the Industrial Revolution happen when and where it did–and not before or elsewhere?" He briefly notes why it is important to get the answer correct (to not accidentally undo the incredible good the progress coming from the IR does for human flourishing) before answering:
Liberty and Dignity for entrepreneurs/tinkerers/merchants raised the number of clever, dedicated innovators beyond a threshold that had never before been reached. Below that threshold, would-be innovators would often have hit stumbling blocks that they could not overcome, e.g., needing some as-yet-uninvented process/material/tool/concept to complete/commercialize their own innovation. Without that missing piece, their innovative efforts would have failed. Above that threshold, cross-pollination among innovators would have drastically reduced the number of insurmountable problems–innovators would increasingly have been able to borrow from their predecessors and contemporaries who were working on related problems. This cross-pollination would have required inexpensive information storage and retrieval (i.e., books), but it also would have required a critical mass of innovators simultaneously working on a vast array of problems, a critical mass that the widespread Liberty and Dignity for entrepreneurs created for the first time.
The Hill reports: "The survey, by CNN and ORC, found that 67 percent of Americans rate the nation's economic conditions as poor." Just under half of those rate the state of the economy as "very poor." The Hill stresses that the numbers are improving, suggesting that the economy is just hunky-dory, even though two out of three respondents think things are pretty lousy and 29% perceive the economy as quite bad.
Don't blame the death of marriage on the gays
Gavin McInnes at Taki Magazine:
Unfortunately, marriage died long before homosexuals got involved. Divorce is what killed it ...My peers are the children of divorce and I’ve seen it permanently scar almost all of them. Both Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly have been divorced. Rush Limbaugh has done it three times. You can’t be sanctimonious about marriage when you’re on your fourth ...People don’t want to criticize divorce in America because they’ve either done it, are about to do it, or love a parent who did it. Today a man can marry a woman, knock her up, and leave a couple years later citing excuses like, “I wasn’t happy” or “We fell out of love.” Ann Coulter describes this as a form of child abuse.
I am theoretically willing to concede divorce makes some sense in some very limited circumstances, but the casual ease with which individuals can enter and leave marriage has obviously cheapened and undermined this foundational institution of our civilization. What McGinnes is not saying -- nor am I -- is that just because marriage has been vandalized by heterosexuals there is no reason to further undermine marriage by extending it to couples that have no chance of reproducing naturally. Which brings me to the final point: marriage is not about the couple, husband and wife, but about family; McGinnes makes an excellent point about how love (as moderns understand it) cannot be the sole basis for marriage.
(HT: Five Feet of Fury)
’Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense’
Investor’s Business Daily editorializes about how the Obama administration doggedly harassed a guitar-maker (Gibson) over a relatively minor and obscure possible violation of importation of flora and fauna regulations while it’s competitor (C.F. Martin & Co), which used the same material, was left alone. Hint: it makes sense in light of the IRS scandal. There is no prize for guessing which company’s CEO gives money to Republicans and which one’s gives to Democrats.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Despite what Canadian media and political elite say, abortion is still an issue
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper and mainstream media have said that Canadians do not want to reopen the abortion debate, MPs have presented the government with more than 70 petitions from constituents since January that say otherwise.The petitioners are asking the government to condemn the practice of sex-selective abortions.
What the hell does this even mean?
The CBC reports:
Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC New Network's Power & Politics to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.This week: Few Canadians are confident their government will be able to accomplish anything positive in the current political climate, according to a recent poll by Nanos Research ...Only 13.1 per cent said the current political climate will lead to positive policy outcomes, while 29.1 per cent said somewhat positive, 24.7 per cent said somewhat negative policy outcomes, 27.4 per cent said it would result in negative policy outcomes and 5.7 per cent were unsure.
Do you think the average respondent -- which is someone too stupid to avoid a pollster -- gave any thought to what today's political scandals mean in connection to the development and implementation of public policy? I think and write a lot about politics and I'm not sure how this would be all connected. Really, this is exquisite bullshit being shovelled by the state broadcaster and their celebrity pollster, and because there are numbers attached, it all looks so real and meaningful.
The Liberals always knew possible gas plant cancellation costs
The Toronto Star: "Ontario power plant cancellations: Liberals knew of $900 million ‘worst-case scenario’." Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli said the $900 figure was in the Treasury Board projections for the 2012/2013 fiscal year while cancellation negotiations were taking place.
Cameron's wimp reaction to Woolwich murder is the opposite of the outrage we should feel
United Kingdom David Cameron is being depicted as tough on terrorism because he says that Britain "will never buckle in face of terror." But as Gates of Vienna notes, Cameron also says that perhaps it would be better if soldiers didn't wear their uniforms in public. As Baron Bodissey says, "now there’s an idea: maybe British soldiers could wear burkas in public. That way no one would ever know."
The beheading of anyone -- not just a soldier, but any innocent human being -- on the street by jihadists who claim to take action while talking about "our land" should outrage people. Did you see the hands of Michael Adebolajo? It looked like he was wearing red gloves. This barbarism must be condemned and called what it is: Islamic violence. There is no explaining this away. There is no ignoring the despicable murder. And there is no pretending that it is not tied to the murderer's religion.
Just because Cameron's a wimp and won't call an Islamic terrorist an Islamic terrorist, and plays the policy equivalent of blaming the victim by suggesting that soldiers not wear their uniforms in public, does not mean that free men and women must follow suit. Be pissed off and let people know that the execution of innocents pisses you off. There is a lot of faux and misplaced outrage out there, but some things really should outrage us.
The Onion on Obama's media whores
Standing before members of the White House Press Corps Wednesday afternoon as aides lowered a bunch of grapes into his mouth, President Obama encouraged everyone gathered in the West Wing briefing room to abandon their inhibitions and revel in a wild, drunken orgy ...
According to reports, the six-hour-long alcohol-fueled orgy included nearly 50 reporters from a number of Pulitzer Prize–winning media outlets engaged in various sex acts. Multiple eyewitnesses confirmed seeing two AP reporters engaging in anal penetration against a lectern, an ABC News correspondent screaming in ecstasy as she was repeatedly penetrated with a live NPR microphone, and a naked secret service agent urinating on New York Times journalist Peter Baker.Eyewitness accounts confirmed that as the reporters continued ravenously copulating on top of one another, Obama ripped off his shirt, leaned back in a large golden chair, and was attended to by a bevy of 23-year-old political bloggers who eagerly satisfied his every sensual whim.
You want an explanation for the Ford drug allegations?
Here's a possible explanation, via Blazing Cat Fur: a "film" maker was looking for Rob Ford lookalike back in January. The ad said, "It's a short shot of the mayor smoking a cigar and chuckling into the camera - as part of a montage. It's a dark comedy set in Toronto. Please send a photo for consideration and more information." I thought the story could be true, but it isn't all the far-fetched that he would be the victim of such a hoax. If it is a hoax, I hope he sues the creators of the film and the so-called journalists who fell for it. And I hope the police get involved.
* I also don't care if the Mayor does smoke crack as long as he continues to not raise my taxes and finds more city services to privatize.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Three and out
3. SB Nation's Grant Brisbee's ask who's worse, the Miami Marlins or Houston Astros? There is an advantage to the Marlins (as the better team, not the worse one) because they have better pitching and the possibility of the return of hitting fiend Giancarlo Stanton.
2. Greg Simmons of Hardball Times has a brilliantly entitled column, "Is 5/125 the new 5/55?" Eight-figure salaries were once a big deal, but they aren't now. As Dave Cameron of Fangraphs said today (in a good column about Andre Ethier's future): "Given all the money in baseball right now, solid average veterans go for about $10 million per year in free agency." At one time, Darren Dreifort and Gil Meche got five-year, $55 million deals that did not quite work out. Now Ryan Howard is a five-year, $125 million first baseman who should be platooning. The Los Angeles Angels are massively over-paying Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols for what they are getting, and will probably be overpaying for years. But as Simmons concludes, "Teams have to pay a premium for premium talent, in terms of both dollars and years. It's just the way negotiations go these days. The dollars are huge, but players in their early 30s should be somewhere near their peak. It's those pesky late-30s/early-40s seasons that really foul things up."
1. Grantland's Jonah Keri has a good piece on the career of David Ortiz, who has become MLB's best all-time designated hitter, and is having a surprisingly good season this year.
One of the most persistent but under-reported forms of media bias is what journalists don't write about. Ron Unz has a long article in The American Conservative [sic] on the U.S. media and what it doesn't cover. It is worth reading if you can stand the standard TAC prejudices and dispositions that come with such a piece, but this is a useful insight into politics today:
We always ridicule the 98 percent voter support that dictatorships frequently achieve in their elections and plebiscites, yet perhaps those secret-ballot results may sometimes be approximately correct, produced by the sort of overwhelming media control that leads voters to assume there is no possible alternative to the existing regime. Is such an undemocratic situation really so different from that found in our own country, in which our two major parties agree on such a broad range of controversial issues and, being backed by total media dominance, routinely split 98 percent of the vote? A democracy may provide voters with a choice, but that choice is largely determined by the information citizens receive from their media.
Building bridges with cliches
At NRO Betsy Woodruff reviews former Republican Senator Olympia Snowe's memoir Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress, which is apparently full of trite sayings about bipartisanship: "It’s amazing the positive things that can happen when you get people talking in a room together!" One needn't even read Snowe's screed to know that the erstwhile senator, like most self-proclaimed centrists, thinks in cliches and that such substitutes for thinking (and principles) can unite America. Woodruff explains whether you are the right reader for Fighting for Common Ground:
If you find comfort in the assurance and reassurance and re-reassurance that Senator Olympia Snowe thinks and has always thought that the good of America should supersede the good of the Republican Party, then this book will provide you with hours of unmitigated delight. If, however, you suspect that the “the place of burned bridges and scorched earth” to which Congress has been reduced may be the result of fundamental differences of opinion between Americans, which they reflect when they vote, then you may perhaps find Fighting for Common Ground a teensy bit quixotic.
New issue of Cato Journal
The Spring/Summer Cato Journal is out and it's theme is, "Europe's Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for America." I'm most looking forward to Pierre Lemieux's article, "American and European Welfare States: Similar Causes, Similar Effects." (pdf)
There is no Great Stagnation (printable food edition)
NASA is looking at additive manufacturing to create printable food sometime in the future. The idea is not for consumption in space, however, but to feed a world with 10-12 billion people.
How do you prove you're qualified?
Andrew Lawton at Landmark Report: "Why is University of Toronto screening sexual orientation of job applicants?"
(HT: Lilley's Pad)
Remove this bum from the Senate
The Toronto Star: "Mike Duffy billed two Tory campaigns $510 during 2011 election while claiming Senate allowance."
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Three and out
3. Michael Baumann has a good article at Grantland on "The Great Weirdness of That Reds-Phillies Game." Also at Grantland, Jonah Keri also examines the freakish sequence of events that got Philly its win Sunday night (scroll down to his section on Philadelphia).
2. Fingers crossed: MLB may expand its use of instant replay next year.
1. Steven Goldman has a provocative and persuasive article at SB Nation arguing that Joey Votto should bat second in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. There is no way Dusty Baker would ever do anything so innovative.
Today's Milton Friedman
I haven't read it yet, but the May 2013 Econ Journal Watch symposium, "Why Is There No Milton Friedman Today?" featuring contributions from Tyler Cowen, David Henderson, Richard Epstein, Richard Posner, Robert Solow, and others looks very good.
'The bystander president'
Investor's Business Daily editorializes:
Is Barack Obama the president or not? If you were visiting from another planet, you'd have to wonder. He says he learns what his government is doing from the news, and seems detached from his role as leader.Let's take Obama at his word (for now) that he didn't know his Justice Department was spying on reporters. Or that his IRS agents were targeting his political enemies. Or that al-Qaida was attacking his diplomats — after they'd asked for more protection, which he also didn't know about.The ignorance and incompetence defense looks just as bad as guilt. The president does not look like someone involved and in charge of his administration.
I don't believe Obama, but as IBD says, incompetence is just as bad a guilt.
We are assured by the abortion industry and pro-abortion politicians that Kermit Gosnell is unique. LifeSiteNews.com: "Webcast to expose other Gosnells in America tonight." Family Research Council and Live Action team up to expose the really ugly side of the abortion industry.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath props up McWynnety government; Ontarians will not be forced to decide among three mental and moral midgets any time soon.
University: you mileage may vary, depending on the choices you make
Of course, not all choices are self-evidently self-destructive because 19-year-olds can't be expected to notice the link between taking a bird course and going to a kegger on the weekend, and accumulating debt that will cripple you in the future. The description of Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton's new book, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality, sounds interesting (and tragic):
Two young women, dormitory mates, embark on their education at a big state university. Five years later, one is earning a good salary at a prestigious accounting firm. With no loans to repay, she lives in a fashionable apartment with her fiancé. The other woman, saddled with burdensome debt and a low GPA, is still struggling to finish her degree in tourism. In an era of skyrocketing tuition and mounting concern over whether college is "worth it," Paying for the Party is an indispensable contribution to the dialogue assessing the state of American higher education. A powerful exposé of unmet obligations and misplaced priorities, it explains in vivid detail why so many leave college with so little to show for it.Drawing on findings from a five-year interview study, Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton bring us to the campus of "MU," a flagship Midwestern public university, where we follow a group of women drawn into a culture of status seeking and sororities. Mapping different pathways available to MU students, the authors demonstrate that the most well-resourced and seductive route is a "party pathway" anchored in the Greek system and facilitated by the administration. This pathway exerts influence over the academic and social experiences of all students, and while it benefits the affluent and well-connected, Armstrong and Hamilton make clear how it seriously disadvantages the majority.
Never let the chance to exploit a tragedy go to waste
The Daily Caller: "Democratic Senator uses Okla. tornado for anti-GOP rant over global warming." Thank you Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI).
London spends more on benefits than United Kingdom does on defense
The London Evening Standard reports: "The study by the Centre for Social Justice highlighted that £36 billion went on working-age welfare payments in 2011/12 in the capital, compared with defence spending of £33.8 billion." And here's the kicker: it's not working. Again, the Standard: "In the study — entitled Signed Off, Written Off — the group said that as many as 6.8 million people, including 1.8 million children, in the UK have been trapped into long-term poverty."
(HT: Blazing Cat Fur)
Believe it when I see it
The Washington Examiner reports that Congress is considering cutting funding for food stamps:
The Senate on Monday opened debate on a $955 billion farm bill that would reduce federal spending by as much as $23 billion over the next 10 years by cutting funding for food stamps and eliminating some farm-support programs."This legislation will create jobs, cut taxpayer subsidies and reduce the deficit," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday.
Ah, but there's a hitch:
The White House offered only conditional support for the bill, an indication that lawmakers will need to make changes to win the president's signature.
IRS scandal is a freedom of speech issue
David Rivkin and Lee Casey with an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal:
The unfolding IRS scandal is a symptom, not the disease.For decades, campaign-finance reform zealots have sought to limit core political speech through spending limits and disclosure requirements. More recently, they have claimed that it is wrong and dangerous for tax-exempt entities to engage in political speech.The Obama administration shares these views, especially when conservative, small-government organizations are involved, and the IRS clearly got the message. While the agency must be investigated and reformed, the ultimate cure for these abuses is to unshackle political speech by all groups, including tax-exempt ones, from arbitrary and unconstitutional government regulation.
Felix Salmon likes the Yahoo-Tumblr 'merger'
Merger isn't the correct word* but Felix Salmon says "the more I look at this tie-up, the more it makes sense to me." As for Yahoo, Salmon says:
For Yahoo, having $4.4 billion in cash plus Tumblr is clearly going to be better in terms of the future than having $5.5 billion in cash, waiting interminably for some kind of Godot to come along and be bought. $1.1 billion is a lot of money, but it’s not so much money that it’s going to change the way that investors look at Yahoo’s balance sheet.
And for Tumblr:
But Yahoo certainly has the tools to help boost Tumblr’s flattening traffic numbers, while Karp should be able to retain enough control of Tumblr that his users don’t revolt entirely. After all, it’s far from clear where else they could go.
Former Google and NBC exec John Saroff doesn't like the deal, because "Many tumblrs are unhospitable to advertising," so there's no way for Yahoo to make their billion-plus investment.
* There is a saying in business that there is no such thing as a merger, only various degrees of takeover.
GOP will f--k it up
Charles Murray tweets: "The great question: Will conservative pols bungle it so that they make Obama a sympathetic figure on Benghazi, IRS, & AP? Probably yes."
Texas Governor Rick Perry? For what it's worth, NRO reports, "Texans close to Perry have told National Review that he’s strongly considering a presidential run."
Monday, May 20, 2013
Obama-named tax-exempt foundation doesn't appear to exist
The Daily Caller reports:
The “charity” run by President Barack Obama’s half-brother that was fast-tracked for IRS tax-exempt status is based at a Virginia UPS store, according to its website.The organization’s IRS filings list another Virginia address that is actually a drug rehab center where the foundation does not appear ever to have been based.The Barack H. Obama Foundation is run by Abon’go “Roy” Malik Obama, the half-brother of Barack Obama.
Thank God for studies
The Brookings Institute finds that Americans who can't find jobs or affordable housing in cities are moving to the suburbs. Technically the report is about suburban poverty, but the takeaway is that people who can't afford very expensive cities are moving to slightly less expensive suburbs. Shocker.
Best. Che. Shirt. Ever.
At Blazing Cat Fur.
Journalist does job asking questions, could face criminal conspiracy charges in Obama's America
Reason's J.D. Tuccille at Hit & Run on the U.S. Department of Justice investigation of Fox News chief correspondent James Rosen:
At its heart, the allegation that Rosen broke the law "at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” is based on nothing more than meeting with and asking questions of government adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who told him the non-shocking information that North Korea could very well respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests. That's right. Meeting an official and asking questions, which is what journalists do, is interpreted as criminal conspiracy. Taken with the already brewing scandal over the snooping of Associated Press phone records, we're looking at a full-fledged assault on the free press.
Politico headline: "Scandal-shocked House Democrats fear for 2014." The key sentence in the story: "The sting may be felt most among middle-of-the-road voters — the same bloc that bolted from Democrats during the previous midterm election and helped sweep House Republicans into power."
Obama's culture of intimidation
Breitbart's Ben Shapiro:
With new reports today that the Obama Department of Justice leaked documents intended to smear a whistleblower in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal, it is now more obvious than ever that this administration has, in the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) created a “culture of intimidation” that stretches from the White House down to myriad agencies of the executive branch.
Shapiro lists ten departments (including Obama himself) that have employed intimidation since the President took office, and some (including Obama) have used such bully tactics more than once.
Joe Scarborough co-host Mika Brzezinski calls New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd a must-read, but as Mediate notes former Obama adviser Robert Gibbs doesn't read MoDo, "largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last, like, eight years." I get Gibbs is trying to diminish Dowd's anti-Obama op-ed, and there is no way he doesn't read her twice weekly screeds, but it's nice to see someone call out Dowd's pathetic little pieces as the near-worthless space of they are.
Living in a 78-square foot apartment in New York
This is a few years old, but worth viewing. The rent is still $800 a month. Here's the kicker: he works from home.
(HT: Marginal Revolution)
What's wrong Millennials
Five Feet of Fury links to a fine American Spectator article about Millennials (I prefer Penelope Trunk's piece "Five Things You Dn't Know About Gen Y"), but Kathy's own one sentence diagnosis of the generation in their 20s is pretty spot-on:
a) the rampant beta-male faggotry and b) their related obsession with “racism” and “sexism” while living in the least “racist” and “sexist” time and place in history, and the way this manifests itself: in puny expressions of petty outrage towards safe targets, all of which serve as a convenient but fairly convincing substitute for demanding, risk-taking action and thought.
The Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics dictates that you should buy a lottery ticket
I bought a Powerball ticket for the $500MM lottery last Saturday, and was actually interviewed by a local TV crew when I bought my one ticket, and said something to the effect that $2 buys me several minutes of daydreams about buying ridiculous things (that $100k lake submarine in SkyMall magazine). Later I discovered a better reason for my purchase. In the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every quantum event happens. It's basically the only way many can reconcile the EPR paradox or Schrodinger's cat being alive and dead. All possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an actual "world" or "universe". Therefore, after buying that ticket, I actually won the $500MM jackpot in many of those universes. Unfortunately, in this particular universe I did not win the lottery, but, I can take comfort that many of 'me' did win, and my utility function somewhere among those universes is insanely high. For some reason, I'm not enjoying that as much as I should based on the math.
(HT: Tim Wostall)
The Economist: "Sweden is leading the world in allowing private companies to run public institutions." The article is worth reading, but I have additional thoughts.
A few months ago Tim Worstall attempted to raise enough money on Kickstarter to write a book investigating why Scandinavian economies do so well despite libertarian theory saying they shouldn't. Unfortunately he didn't raise the money. I have four guesses why Scandinavian countries outperform what the economic theorists predict:
1) Sweden, Denmark, et al are not as socialist as we think, or is becoming less socialist (see Economist story above).2) Swedes, Danes, etc... work harder and are more productive, therefore their economy does not suffer when a fair degree of socialism is introduced.3) There is actually a fair degree of economic freedom in many of these countries (see Scott Sumner's post at EconLib) and Scandinavian countries have figure out the right mix of free market production and statist redistributionist policies.4) The welfare state works better in ethnically homogeneous societies.
There is more evidence for some of those claims than others, but the best explanation is probably a mix of two or more of them. If I had a few million dollars drop into my lap, I'll gladly fund Worstall's investigation.
Celebrate Victoria Day while you can
If idiots like Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth May get their way, the May long weekend will be called "Victoria and First Peoples Day." I don't want to say it's the dumbest idea ever, but it's close. Another dumb idea, but this one is already implemented: in Quebec they celebrate "National Patriots' Day" on Victoria Day.
High school drop-out success: Tumblr sells for $1.1 billion
The Daily Mail reports that Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion despite the latter's revenue of just $13 million last year -- that's revenue, not profit. David Karp, 26, is thought to own three-quarters of the micro blog site he started in 2007, which means he isn't quite a billionaire, but not bad for a guy who dropped out of high school and finished his education by homeschooling.
Not a news flash: government doesn't deserve your trust
The Toronto Star: "Rob Ford, gas pains, the Senate: Scandals and bad spin-jobs plague all levels of government." Subhead: "Trust takes a hit amid political scandals at all three levels of government." When will the Left (and Right) learn: the power government entrusts to politicians attracts people who should be nowhere near power.
Steyn's song of the week
Mark Steyn has everything you need to know about Abba's song "Waterloo." My favourite part: "Benny and Björn are much mocked for their somewhat shaky grasp of English pop conventions, but the boys are, after all, writing in their second language: they were bilingual songwriters at a time when most pop writers were barely lingual." You will also learn about Abba's connection to the song "One Night in Bangkok" -- or at least Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's connection.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Even questioning Obama is 'offensive'
Going on the offensive about President Obama’s mysterious whereabouts during the Benghazi terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012 that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said it was “offensive” for anyone to question whether the White House could have done more. The assertion “from Republicans” that Obama was not responsive enough during the attack, said Pfeiffer, is “offensive.”
It is offensive, and irrelevant, which is what the Daily Caller reports Pfeiffer considers Obama's whereabouts during the Benghazi tragedy.
I totally endorse Donald Boudreaux's blog comments introducing the Uncommon Knowledge interview with Thomas Sowell, which is worth watching regardless of how often you've seen/heard Sowell interviewed (about his new book Intellectuals and Race).
Bloomberg News scandal
This isn't getting much coverage: Bloomberg LP spied on the terminal use of employees at several banks. And in government. Instapundit says the market will
How does a greater than 100% tax rate work?
Reuters reports: "More than 8,000 French households' tax bills topped 100 percent of their income last year, the business newspaper Les Echos reported on Saturday, citing Finance Ministry data." But don't worry, it's only a one-time thing because of the one-off 75% levy on the highest incomes.
(HT: Small Dead Animals)
Protect us from the police
The Associated Press reports:
A New York college student being held in a headlock at gunpoint by an intruder was accidentally shot and killed by a police officer who had responded to a report of the home invasion at an off-campus home, police said Saturday. Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head Friday morning by an officer who opened fire after the masked intruder pointed a gun at the officer while holding the 21-year-old Hofstra University student in a headlock, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said. In a tense confrontation with the officer, gunman Dalton Smith "menaces our police officer, points his gun at the police officer," Azzata said. The officer opened fire, killing Smith and his hostage.
The Associated Press, via the Toronto Star: "Honeybees trained in Croatia to find land mines."
The Republicans won't get the head of Eric Holder
Republicans are eager to claim a trophy firing amid the scandals that have flared up around the Obama administration. But after years of trying to get Holder, the attorney general doesn’t seem at all worried that it’ll be his.He’s already become the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress, after the Justice Department refused to comply with a House subpoena demanding documents about the department’s response to the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal. He’s already been vilified by Republicans. He’s already been called on to resign.All the while, President Barack Obama has stood by Holder, invoking executive privilege against Congress for the first time in his presidency — and doing so in an unusually broad fashion that arguably undercut his pledge to run the most transparent administration. Apart from a barrage of unpleasant news coverage, little of consequence happened.
President Barack Obama's handling of scandal is reminiscent of former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien's: let the opposition fulminate, ignore it, and go on like nothing at all is happening. It worked for Chretien and it'll work for Obama. And it will infuriate the Right.