Monday, March 31, 2008

Interesting Amateur Ad

From Hot Air via Conservative Grapevine here's an amateur mash up ad that's choppy, but still conveys an interesting contrast between Barack Obama and John McCain:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Self-Sorting: A Sordid Story of Sorts

Surely to the surprise of many an angst ridden college student it appears the United States is not the only country in the world where people are sometimes discriminated against because they are different.

Across Mexico giganté street rumbles are brewing and they're not over turf, drugs, or even soccer. No, the coming clash is about music. Specifically the "Metalheads", "Punks", "Rockabillies" and the "Gangsters" want to run the "Emo" kids out of town (info on "Emo"). One particular city saw over a thousand people go on an Emo beating spree while riot police had to be called in.

Aside from the obvious pointlessness of the violence, I find this worth commenting on because I often get the impression that people think harmony, togetherness, and general uniformity among people is the natural order of things. When our workplaces, college campuses, etc. don't look like we imagine them because one gender is better represented in a certain field or different ethnic groups have different test scores there's no shortage of people clamoring for a "solution".

Good luck. People have been separating themselves for as long as we've been around and for as many reasons as there are stars. Not only is every person different, but every little difference leads to different prospects. Thomas Sowell pointed out way back in 1984 that "A whole industry exists to determine the statistical profile of people who view given television programs..". Given that, we shouldn't be surprised when distinction like race, gender, or even musical preference occasionally put people at odds.

March Madness By the Dollars

Here's an interesting link that uses the NCAA tournament bracket to compare schools by the median income of their graduates. It goes to show just how much education does pay off. My Boilermakers make it to the Sweet 16, but then have the misfortune of running up against Duke. That's okay. Hey Blue Devils: All the money in the world can't buy you your reputation back after your faculty and President sold out the Lacrosse team in front of the whole country before the evidence was in.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is All Fair For The Fairer Sex?

In my new April '08 issue of Fast Company magazine a particular statistic jumped out at me and sparked some questions. It was: "Women make over 80% of all purchasing decisions across every brand category."

Now I'm familiar with laws of the cosmos like women love to shop, dogs chase cats, socialism is unsustainable, etc. but an 80-20 split between the sexes far exceeds what would have been my estimate (probably 60-40). So anyways a few questions it raised for me were:

1."Can women really be considered disadvantaged or submissive yet still control the vast majority of consumption?"

2. "Though the 'women make 78 cents for every dollar men make' claim is terribly misleading, wouldn't that even further widen the 80-20 gap between spouses in terms of an input vs. consumption ratio? (For instance a couple with yearly budget expenditures of $40,000 would hypothetically have roughly $22,470 of that contributed by the man and $17,530 contributed by the woman? The 80-20 split would dictate that she decides how $32,000 is spent while he only decides on $8,000. So she controls 183% of the amount she contributes while he controls only 36% of what he contributes. It ends up working out then to a 84-16 split.)

3.How can "gender equity feminists" sleep at night?

I realize there's a ton of factors to consider here and my point isn't to argue that women have it made or anything. I will however, argue that these statistics suggest at the very least that women today aren't victims of society in any general sense despite what many a liberal will have you believe. This isn't an unimportant point to make considering that women are covered under affirmative action and therefore entitled to preferential treatment. Just saying....

UPDATE: Check out this great article somewhat on the subject.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Top 15 Favorite Blogs

The hardest working man in blogging, John Hawkins, listed his top 40 blogs this morning. Here's a top 15 list I threw together.

15. Mises Economics Blog
14. The Dartmouth Review
13. Ace of Spades HQ
12. Free Market Cure
11. IMAO
10. Hot Air
9. Boots and Sabers
8. Iowahawk
7. Redstate
6. The Corner (National Review)
5. Rachel Lucas
4. Scrappleface
3. Instapundit
2. Right Wing News
1. Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can We Say We Told You So?

Via Conservative Grapevine this story in the Washington Times is a big one that will predictably be buried.

Since the Vietnam War, where we won on the ground yet lost the battle of public opinion, many conservatives have claimed defeatist news coverage emboldens our enemies to fight longer and harder.

It would appear now that our logic has been verified by Harvard researchers in a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research. Turns out there are measurable increases (7 to 10 %) in attacks on civilians and U.S. troops in Iraq following measurable increases in both negative U.S. media coverage of the war and negative statements by politicians. Further bolstering these findings is the fact that attacks increase more sharply in areas with higher exposure to international news.

I don't expect you'll hear a whole lot more about this story so why not pass it on and make sure it makes the rounds.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Absolutely Pointless Activism

Here's some anti-war protesters in all their strange glory.

That link goes to a story about some anti-war protesters in Illinois who ran through a church on Easter Sunday squirting fake blood on themselves and attendees.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when some of these genius plans are hatched:

Lefty: Dude, you doin anything with your family over Easter?

Moonbeam: How many times do I have to tell you, the family is just a construct of the ruling elite to prop up the whole patriarchal machine.

Lefty: I guess that's a "no".

Moonbeam: I'm dropping by to get my laundry, but after that I'm outtie dude. I don't care about their stupid God or their commercial holiday. Baaaaaaaa baaaa! Idiots.

Lefty: So what are we gonna do?

Moonbeam: Let's really show 'em man. Let's wake some people up to what's really happenin dude. Let's hit 'em in their comfort zone.

Lefty: Huh?

Moonbeam: In church dude, in church! They can't ignore us when we've got them all together. This is our chance to show them how right we are.

Lefty: Dude church is like early and you haven't been up before noon since you graduated.

Moonbeam: This is different man. This is important. We can squirt water with red food coloring all over them so they think about blood and war and stuff. They can't turn away, can't deny it. It'll be brilliant.

Left: I've got some Halloween masks we could wear to hide our faces.

Moonbeam: Are you stupid? We don't wanna marginalize ourselves.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Should The Government Withhold Your Mortgage From Your Paycheck?

First take a moment to read this article by Professor Walter Williams. I dug it up from 2003, but the theme is just as pertinent if not more today.

He brings up a hypothetical situation where the government begins withholding your mortgage from your paycheck so you don't mess up and get foreclosed on. After all, if us taxpayers are going to bail out people who can't live within their means, we've gotta make sure they can't do it again right?

Such an idea might find a lot of supporters today as foreclosures hog the news. If you're anything like me though you'd say, "It could probably help a lot of people, but it's none of the government's business." Professor Williams agrees and notes that the constitution simply doesn't grant such a power.

Some people can't wrap their head around that kind of thinking though. They're of the impression that the mere possibility of helping people trumps all other concerns. Slap those people if you see them. If they complain tell them it was for their own good, and then they're stuck. After all if they say "Who are you to decide what's good for me?" then you've made your point.

Again hypothetically, Prof. Williams raises the prospect of government mandated exercise. There's no question that exercise is good for you so a mandate would just spread the good right?

This one really hits home because I own a gym. How big of a boon would it be for me if say everybody was mandated to have a gym membership? I'd be rolling in it, just ask a corn farmer. It may sound nice, but these pesky things called principles lead me to again say "It's none of the government's business." and of course it's not.

The "general welfare", the "common good" or the interstate commerce clause in this case all made perfect sense in their original contexts, but have since been perverted beyond recognition.

Perhaps one of the most compelling cases for conservatives and libertarians to hold their noses and vote for John McCain is that the Roberts court appears to want to clarify some very big issues of contention. Right now it's the right of individuals to bear arms, but if we're lucky who knows, maybe we can clear up "general welfare" and "interstate commerce" before they sneak in every nook and cranny of our lives. A strong conservative majority on the court would make that much more realistic.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Tide Is Changing (And it's colder)

From one of the most unlikely places (the left-leaning NPR) we hear that ocean temperatures are actually cooling . One of those things you'd think we'd want to know about before enacting legislation to put American industry at a huge competetive disadvantage with other countries who will ignore any emissions caps.

NASA scientist Josh Willis reports the findings, but predictably downplays any conclusions that may be drawn from it: "There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," he says. "Global warming doesn't mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming."

WAIT A MINUTE. I thought the whole man-made global warming argument hinged on the notion that growing carbon buildup (still only 38 parts per 100,000)is creating a greenhouse effect that traps heat on the Earth's surface. If carbon dioxide is the key factor and MORE CARBON = MORE BUILDUP = MORE HEAT TRAPPED, then how is it possible to have one year be cooler than the last, particularly when we know conclusively that man's annual carbon output is growing every year?

It would seem to me that this necessarily proves carbon isn't in itself enough to effect the climate. Is my logic off?

Obviously I'm not a scientist, but I am a realist and it's clearer every day that people are rushing to judgement on the global warming issue. And speaking of rushing to judgement watch the video in the post below, you'll see what I mean...

Hilarious Commercials I'd Never Seen

Here's five funny Ameriquest commercials that I'm pretty sure I've never seen on TV. Anybody else seen them?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Admits That Welfare May Have Worsened Erosion of Black Family

In his morning speech, Barack Obama made a statement that has been historically considered sacreligious among Democrats. Here's what he said:

"A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened."

The belief that welfare equals compassion and is the height of morality has been taken as gospel among Democrats since the 1960's. He didn't make this a theme, but nonetheless I'm glad he let it slip. Considering that he's proposing $800 billion in new spending (much on social programs), it will be interesting to hear him reconcile the two stances.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Perspective on the Invective: Global Warming Firebrands Must Contend With Inconvenient Facts

Pretend you're playing a game of Red Rover with 100,000 of your closest friends or rushing the field after a big Michigan football win. Now envision 38 people trying to stop either crowd in their mad dash. How do you think they'd do?

Why this exercise? Turns out carbon dioxide, the alleged culprit behind global warming and such annoying additions to today's daily language as "carbon footprint" and "carbon neutral", makes up only 38 out of every 100,000 particles in the atmosphere.

But this carbon is supposedly trapping heat near the Earth that would otherwise disperse into space right? That's what they say, but think about it and tell me if that doesn't sound ridiculous. There's a lot of climate scientists who think so too.

Just last month they held the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York, where hundreds of climate scientists skeptical of the hysteria gathered to compare evidence that we're barking up the wrong tree.

The founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, has actually suggested suing Al Gore and his travelers for duping the public, specifically by advocating the purchase of carbon credits (from a company he is a part of).

Wisconsin's very own Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, has also come out strongly against those who take man-made global warming as religion. Bryson says: “...there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We’ve been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It’s been warming up a long time.”

I'm not a climate scientist, but it seems to me that until people are as familiar with statistics like the 38 parts per 100,000 as they are with stories about castaway polar bears, we can't honestly say "the debate is over".

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The "Obama's Preacher" Video

Sure you've probably already seen it or will soon on TV, but for those of you who haven't here go:
It's the minister (Jeremiah Wright) at Obama's church giving a sermon that is not only over the top, but also demonstrably contrary to reality in some cases. For instance he makes the claim that Obama's not rich (he lives in a $1.3 million house), that he's not privileged (he graduated from Harvard and married a Princeton grad), and that he's not white (technically he's as white as he is black).

The greater issue however, in my mind, is the fact that Obama would choose to belong to a church like this for some 20 years without leaving. Intelligent people of any color could find a handful of things in this clip alone to tune this guy out for good.

Some have opined that since Obama was raised by a white mother and followed a course few blacks relate to(Ivy League), that membership in this church is his attempt to re-connect with his "blackness". That is all well and good for the first month or maybe even the first couple years, but 20 years suggests that he has either bought into this church's viewpoint or has been afraid to walk away from it. Both of those options are problematic, particularly when you hope to become the most powerful person in the world.

Was I off?

Mr. Smith's Money Goes to Washington (and suburbs)

Four of the top five fastest income and job growing counties are suburbs of Washington D.C.. Anybody want to venture a guess why?

Forbes has an article this morning listing the "5 Best Places to Get Ahead" in the U.S.. They decided this by figuring together both recent income and job growth in the respective cities while excluding any cities with median incomes below $75,000 (pretty steep in my mind).

Anyways, though they didn't comment on it really, I found it very telling that four of the top five best places to get ahead were in the Washington D.C. metro area.

Stafford County, VA., Calvert County, MA., Loudoun County, VA., and Charles County, MA.. are the four in that order.

When you have a $3 trillion federal budget running through Washington it's inevitable that a lot of government employees, contractors and lobbyists will benefit handsomely from that largess. But it runs contrary to common sense that it would be booming while the rest of the country is in an economic slowdown.

Keep that in mind next time you hear politicians discussing rolling back the across the board tax cuts now in place.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An Interesting Cartoon From the Past

This short cartoon is from 1948 and it was made to explain the superiority of America and capitalism over other forms of government. It features a snake-oil salesman named Dr. Utopia who comes to town offering different "isms" in a bottle. The moral of the story is that people shouldn't let themselves be taken in by people offering "utopia" via communism, socialism, fascism, etc. and should resist people who push class warfare. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wayyyyy Over the Top Public School Moonbattery in Illinois

Via Rachel Lucas this story is almost hard to believe, but sadly the direction we're heading. Deerfield is only about 45 minutes away from my little corner of the world (Kenosha,WI)

Read this and tell me that public schools haven't gone way past inclusiveness right to anything goes moonbat advocacy.

Earth Day Hypocrisy

I found it kind of funny that in yesterday's mail I received an Earth Day product catalog. It was made up of 38 pages of innocent tree and included products like the 10 Reasons to Plant a Tree bookmark. One reason that didn't make the top 10 was: "So we can send out tens of thousands of unsolicited 38 page catalogs filled with non-biodegradable plastic trinkets and paper goods without conscience." (The number one reason was: "Trees provide shade to keep us cool". Seriously)

Monday, March 10, 2008

The log in their eye

Free speech has always been conditional on the left and here's an ironic example .

The link is to an article on the Daily Kos criticizing what they call "progressive" blogs apparently banning posts by Hillary supporters. The post includes a poll in which Kos kids can vote on whether they agree with such practices or not. The irony is that up until 3:45 (when I voted) a full 41% of Kos readers actually agreed with the Hillary supporters being banned. They're not as "forward thinking" as they imagine themselves I guess.

Here's just one of the Kos kids' comments to this blasphemous article:

She, and all her supporters, should be banned. If she loves McCain so much she should aske for a spot as his VP and get the hell out of the Democratic party.

by nisleib on Mon Mar 10, 2008 at 06:51:13 AM PDT

Friday, March 7, 2008

California: Perhaps the sun is getting to their heads

If you're ever trying to coax a friend from the emotional bonds of liberalism it's good to start by referencing California.

The term "Parisian Determinism" has been used to describe the phenomenon in which ideas (always bad) fashionable in Paris become fashionable in the United States roughly twelve years later. But Paris is far away and twelve years isn't soon enough to get people riled up. Instead I think we should concentrate more on "Californian Determinism".

While just as shortsighted as French logic, bad ideas from California run the risk of spreading through the states faster than you can say "veggieburgers".

Of particular interest today is the unanimous ruling by a California appeals court that threatens to outlaw homeschooling in the state and criminalize parents who resist.

The ruling in effect bars any homeschooling not done directly by a certified teacher. A whopping 160,000 students stand to lose out if this is upheld. One of the judges was quoted as saying parents could be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply.

Wisconsinites should take particular notice of this as our courts recently shut down a successful e-school network after a similar challenge. California's move will no doubt embolden WEAC to set their sights on Wisconsin homeschoolers as a whole.

Do we really want to be in the same boat as California? This is the same California which a few months back passed a bill ridding future textbooks of any references to "mom and dad" or "husband and wife" lest non-traditional families be discomforted. It was also ordered that students be allowed to use the bathroom and locker facilities of whichever gender they "identify" with.

You can't make this stuff up. What you can do though is let people you know in on these little reported developments and ask them to do the same. As much as people in Wisconsin may be split on politics, I think we can all agree that California is the last place we should be emulating.

A Show of Republican Strength?

Seems that the conventional wisdom about Republicans getting steamrolled in November has at least one exception to contend with.

The New York Times is reporting that the Democratic National Committee is only $700,000 in the black while the Republican National Committee has a hefty $25 million cash on hand.

While I'm at odds with McCain, it does appear that having a set nominee this early has given us this particular advantage.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hollywood: You wouldn't leave your kids with them, but you're supposed to take their political advice?

Okay, now it's getting weird. Watch this new ad in support of Barack Obama and tell me this whole thing hasn't crossed over into La-la land.

Monday, March 3, 2008

We "Know" So Much That Isn't So

The straight facts on the charge of "Tax cuts for the rich!" right from the tax foundation via the IRS:



*Single making 30K - tax $8,400

*Single making 50K - tax $14,000

*Single making 75K - tax $23,250

*Married making 60K - tax $16,800

*Married making 75K - tax $21,000

*Married making 125K - tax $38,750


*Single making 30K - tax $4,500

*Single making 50K - tax $12,500

*Single making 75K - tax $18,750

*Married making 60K- tax $9,000

*Married making 75K - tax $18,750

*Married making 125K - tax $31,250

As you can see, everybody who pays taxes has recieved a cut as of late. Bush may be open to other reasonable criticisms, but "ruining" the economy or only caring about the rich isn't one of them.

The Wall Street Journal also has this to add: "In 1980, when the top income tax rate was 70%, the richest 1% paid only 19% of all income taxes; now, with a top rate of 35%, they pay more than double that share."

So next time you hear someone say "tax cuts for the rich" pull out these hard facts and tell them to start looking elsewhere for their news.