Monthly Archives: February 2012

So Long Keystone XL Pipeline

The law of unintended consequence? The House voted by voice vote to overturn the Kelso ruling,

The House sought Tuesday to undercut a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that gives state and local governments eminent domain authority to seize private property for economic development projects. Sponsors of the bill, which passed by a voice vote, said it was needed because the 5-to-4 ruling in a Connecticut case skewed constitutional intentions that eminent domain apply only to land for public use projects.

HT Neil Cavuto & Judge Napalitano

Here We Go Again

Seems like only ten years ago we faced the same barrage of stenography from the same journalists and organizations previous to the war on Iraq.

What was that President Bush said, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice … don’t get fooled again.” I’m not sure if he was talking to the people or the journalism profession, but they apparently have made up their minds that it wasn’t them.

I could get pretty vitriolic about it, believe me, but there were a lot of hard feelings engendered last time around, some of it due to ad hominem remarks about journalists and news organizations, that given the naivete of the times, and closeness to September 11th, was probably uncalled for. I know, because I was right in the middle of it.

But wee no longer have the luxury of innocence in the current situation. Iraq hasn’t been called America’s greatest strategic blunder in its’ history without good reason. Wars make great stories and sad tales. It is one thing to report on children being killed and quite another to dig the holes to bury them in. It is not the media’s job to provide the shovels, nor can they escape their culpability when they are wrong, even if that culpability goes unreported.


Know Yourself

Interesting read, just swap out investor with your gig and add salt. You can see the observation at work, here, and here.

To make it topically fun for myself, next time someone proposes bombing Iran we ought to compel them to undergo an ultrasound of their head, preferable with a cattle prod, just so they are aware of things.

Of course that would be imposing my religious views on other people and that would be bad.


If you can figure out how to send me your old archaic iPad2 as an email, I’ll open the attachment. Cash also too.

Almost A Religion

No it isn’t,

What Chris Mooney is telling us is that this is a vain hope. Highly educated political conservatives — and this includes conservative economists — are going to be less persuadable by empirical evidence than the man or woman in the street. The more holes you poke in doctrines like expansionary austerity or supply-side economics, the more committed they will get to those doctrines.

This debate isn’t going to be won by rational argument.

I hate to keep getting back to models and frameworks, but some people’s entire self esteem and sense of self worth hang on their having reached the correct conclusion on matters that are important to them.

It’s hard to tell sometimes if your conclusion is going against the grain and correct, or if you’re wrong. Hence the saying the proof is in the eating of the pudding.

So, not to belabor the point, is the American economy better off now than it was thirty years ago? I would say no. Supply side economics failed.

Adam Smith vs Ayn Rind

Since you asked,

“When the happiness or misery of others depends in any respect upon our conduct, we dare not, as self–love might suggest to us, prefer the interest of one to that of many. The man within immediately calls to us, that we value ourselves too much and other people too little, and that, by doing so, we render ourselves the proper object of the contempt and indignation of our brethren.l Neither is this sentiment confined to men of extraordinary magnanimity and virtue. It is deeply impressed upon every tolerably good soldier, who feels that he would become the scorn of his companions, if he could be supposed capable of shrinking from danger, or of hesitating, either to expose or to throw away his life, when the good of the service required it.

One individual must never prefer himself so much even to any other individual, as to hurt or injure that other, in order to benefit himself, though the benefit to the one should be much greater than the hurt or injury to the other. The poor man must neither defraud nor steal from the rich, though the acquisition might be much more beneficial to the one than the loss could be hurtful to the other. The man within immediately calls to him, in this case too, that he is no better than his neighbour, and that by this unjust preference he renders himself the proper object of the contempt and indignation of mankind; as well as of the punishment which that contempt and indignation must naturally dispose them to inflict, for having thus violated one of those sacred rules, upon the tolerable observation of which depend the whole security and peace of human society. There is no commonly honest man who does not more dread the inward disgrace of such an action, the indelible stain which it would for ever stamp upon his own mind, than the greatest external calamity which, without any fault of his own, could possibly befal him; and who does not inwardly feel the truth of that great stoical maxim, that for one man to deprive another unjustly of any thing, or unjustly to promote his own advantage by the loss or disadvantage of another, is more contrary to nature, than death, than poverty, than pain, than all the misfortunes which can affect him, either in his body, or in his external circumstances”

(TMS, Part 3, Chapter 3, paragraphs 5 and 6: 137-8).


A Network Of Corrupted Officials

Oh, do tell,

Rupert Murdoch’s flagship tabloid, the Sun, established a “network of corrupted officials” and created a “culture of illegal payments”, the police officer leading the investigation into bribery and hacking at News International has alleged.

Soon to be a major under the rug sweeping operation near you I suppose.

There They Go Again

It’s OK if we do it,

Should you be able to read research you’ve helped to fund? A few years ago, Congress decided this was a good idea, and approved an access policy that makes most taxpayer-funded research freely available online within 12 months of publication. This modest step toward open access — which, as I’ve written before, is vital to healthy science and science policy — has proven a huge boon to researchers and also to those of us who write about science, while leaving most publisher profits quite healthy.

Now, however, as UC Berkeley evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen relates, a proposed bill threatens to reverse this policy:

I wonder what it cost to ship a roll of toilet paper to DC, …if it ships it fits. Just a small contribution to the national debt, and all that. Codgers could sent them corn cobs.

No One Could Have Known

Shiver me tweeters

Companies are now able to search and analyse up to two years of Twitter updates for market research purposes.

Firms can search tweets back to January 2010 in order to plan marketing campaigns, target influential users or even try to predict certain events.

I’m sure it will only be used to sell you and your followers peas and such.

Wherein I Agree With Greenspan

You bet,

Weiss produces a gem from The New York Times Book Review from 1957. Greenspan was defending his idol after her most famous work, Atlas Shrugged, had been thrashed in multiple reviews. Greenspan dutifully makes his case in Randian-speak: “Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness,” he wrote. “Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”

I joyfully await the perishing of the parasites Mr. Greenspan enabled. Actually Ayn Rand’s influence on the Tea Party and conservative GOP is hilariously exposed in the first third of the essay. I doubt the sons of light will read it though.

I would imagine most of you will want to avoid this, and this as well.

Like everything else in foreign policy, but especially the Middle-East, if you have an emotional attachment to one side or another it is extremely difficult to read POVs from the other side of any issue. I understand that, However I don’t have any such attachments myself. I stand with what is in America’s interest, and so the security of Israel goes hand in glove with a viable Palestinian state, and the right of Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear power goes hand in glove with Israel’s right to do so as well, provided they sign the NPT. So I agree with former President Bush, that sometimes circumstances override ideology, as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The first four or five years of this blog I admit I hung back a little and waited on the top tier to set the agenda and tone of my position. Things change. I have become in Col Lang’s words a hard hearted empathetic, more realist than I was years gone by. I do not believe we will see the world we wish to see, any more than I intend on being bullshitted into policies that create worlds that others wish to see. I understand Gerson’s point that the grand Poobahs know things that we do not, many of them not because we shouldn’t know some of those things, but because they couldn’t manipulate public opinion if those things were known. That very much ties in with the AIPAC lobby, which long time readers will recall I have also defended on occasion or two.

If from time to time I get things wrong, well so be it. I won’t apologize for the effort I make either in gathering facts or interpreting them if I’ve made the best effort to do so with American interests first and foremost in the equation, and will not apologize for erring on the side of my country above all others, even if that means disagreeing with my own government, and popular opinion. If that doesn’t suit you, well, too bad. To that end I find that supporting the self determination of other peoples in their own lands to be strategically in America’s best self interests, even if in the short run it makes our lives, or those of our allies, a little more difficult.