Stil Alive, Just Busy

•July 18, 2009 • Comments Off

I’m still coblogging at Ace of Spade HQ. I just haven’t had as much time for blogging, which means I haven’t been double-posting over here.

To be honest, once you miss the first three or four it becomes easier to let the next dozen go. I’ll try to do better this week, but definitely click over to the HQ to see my latest stuff.

Cap and Tax: How Much Will It Cost Us?

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off

Earlier today I wrote that the President told an outright lie and failed Econ 101 when he claimed that only polluters would be paying the energy tax. Now, via PowerLineBlog comes this map showing how much the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill will cost:

Click for a larger image.

Consumers and taxpayers will be on the hook for millions of dollars under Waxman-Markey’s allowance formula. Except in places like California (which incidentally emits the most greenhouse gases of any state), where folks will see a benefit. I’m gonna enjoy having you guys paying my electric bills, chumps!

John from PowerLine gets it mostly right:

Waxman-Markey would be a very stupid bill even if it were true that 1) the earth is getting warmer, 2) human activity is mostly responsible for climate changes, and 3) a warmer earth would be a bad thing. Given that all three of these premises are false–we cannot, in fact, control the weather–Waxman-Markey is a suicidal monument to human folly.

More than that, there is no evidence that Waxman-Markey will alter emissions levels enough to even be noticeable globally. While U.S. emissions are not tiny, they are a drop in a bucket compared to natural source emissions of greenhouse gases. Cap-and-tax does nothing except hamstring our economy and make environmentalists feel good. Honestly, I’d rather spend millions doing the opposite.

More: And if you’re into this kinda thing, Newt Gingrich talked about cap and tax on the Hugh Hewitt show today. You can catch a stream or a podcast here.

Obama Press Conference Follow-up

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off

I managed to watch most of the presser online and just wanted to highlight a few outright lies.

(1) When the President claims that cap and tax will be paid for only by polluters, implying that it will not have an impact on the economy, he fails Economics 101. Polluters, aka producers of goods and services, aren’t going to magic up the money to pay for cap and trade out of nowhere. That money will be felt by consumers (and by every entity in the chain of commerce between the first cap-and-taxed company and the consumer). Prices will rise. The President’s intimation that they won’t is an outright lie.

(2) Obama stated that healthcare is “the primary driver of federal deficits.” This is an outright lie. In fact, in 2008, the federal government spent $600,121,000,000 on healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid). That’s 20.4% of the $2.93 trillion spent last year. By contrast, the government spent $615,256,000,000–20.9%–on social security. The government spent $607,863,000,000–20.7%–on national defense.

Perhaps the President meant that healthcare will become the primary driver of federal deficits if Congress passes his $1 trillion plan (although, the spendulus gives it stiff competition, counting interest payments).

(3) As I expected, the President tried to claim that he had not reversed himself on Iran by adopting a firmer stance. It’s true that he is trying to have it both ways–condemning violence for us, but hoping that Ahmadinejad will see his tepid response for what it is. As expected, Obama used his favorite phrase “As I said last week” to claim that he hasn’t changed his stance in response to criticism. The fact is, his statement “last week” came on Saturday–long after most of the Western world had already condemned the Iranian government and long after Congress and many Americans had condemned the President for being chill with brutal dictatorship.

(4) This last is just because I’m a little punchy. But Obama claimed once again to be a “former smoker.” That must be a new euphemism for “one who smokes not every day and not around family” because that’s what he said immediately after claiming to be a former smoker.

Aside from Obama’s lies, he engaged in typical political exagerations throughout. It was especially egregious when he feigned ignorance about the effect a public healthcare option would have on private insurers.

The only other noteworthy moment I saw was during the last question when he talked about Iran failing to live up to “international norms of freedom of speech; freedom of expression.” Helen Thomas, Harpy-emeritus of the White House Press Corp, screeched from off camera and off mic: “What about the Iraq photos?!?!” I assume that she’s referring to photographs of dead troops and abuses at Abu Ghraib, which the Obama Administration (like Bush 43) has been loath to release.

Oh yeah: His Arrogance Obama, First of His Name, Master of All He Surveys and Muncher of Fine Arugula snotted that “Congress can do what it’s going to do” but that “I’m the President, and I’m going to run my office the way I see fit.” He was responding to quoted criticism from John McCain. It was a reprise of his earlier sneering “I won” delivered, apparently, whenever McCain’s or Bush 43′s names come up.

Obama to Hold Emergency Press Conference

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off

When I say “emergency” I mean this wasn’t exactly planned. The President knows he’s slipping and tomorrow’s infommercial might not be enough to rally support for more big spending. So he’s going to loosen the lid today:

President Barack Obama will throw his weight behind legislative bids to reform healthcare and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions on Tuesday in his fourth White House press conference since taking office.Obama, who has focused his first five months as president on trying to end the recession, is likely to discuss his plans to create jobs and stem unemployment, which economists expect will hit 10 percent in coming months.

The presser starts at 12:30 Eastern. Obama is expected to talk for a bit and then answer questions for an hour.

Here’s what I expect we’ll see:

1. “Healthcare is a crisis.”
2. “Global climate change is a crisis.”
3. “We must reach out to Iran, but as I said last week I support peaceful protests and condemn violence.”
4. Teleprompter.

Note that he didn’t actually say #3 last week–not ’til Saturday, anyway–but he’s very fond of re-writing his own speeches. As for the teleprompter, at his last presser he was mighty embarrassed to be caught using one not just for the speech, but also to answer questions. Will he be brave enough to go without his binkie?

Stick with the HQ, we’ll have more later.

The Objection to Sotomayor Is Not About Affirmative Action

•June 1, 2009 • Comments Off

Megan McArdle is a smart journalist. She’s great on many economic issues. And she should be; she went to the right schools. But she’s also a libertarian. And like many libertarians–especially libertarian journalists–she’s always eager to show off how much she is not a Republican to all the Lefty friends she made in those schools. She does this usually by misrepresenting the Republican positions or just outright lying about them.

I’ll be honest, I stopped reading Megan back in September of last year when she embraced Trig Trutherism and wrote how impressed she was that Governor Palin relieved her daughter of the “burden” of raising Trig. So I wouldn’t have seen Megan’s post on Judge Sotomayor except that Instapundit linked it. I’m glad I saw it though because I expect it reflects the next stage of the Democrats’ defense of Sotomayor’s race- and gender-biased attitude.

Megan entitles the post “The Problem with Affirmative Action.” As expected, she entirely misses the point of our objection to Judge Sotomayor. And for extra Lefty cred, she implies that we’re all racists at the same time. She writes (and the italics are all hers):

HL Mencken once defined Fundamentalism as “the terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun“. I’ve been thinking of this a lot watching some of the attacks on Sotomayor, but I’d frame the critics as suffering from the terrible, pervasive fear that some brown person, somewhere, is getting away with something.

Posit that everything the critics say about Sotomayor is true; that indeed, everything they say about affirmative action is true. Is this the biggest problem facing America? Is this the biggest problem facing America from Sonia Sotomayor?

…Making race, or racial politics, the central complaint, makes it seem like your biggest policy priority is making sure that not one minority in the land gets anything they don’t deserve. But hey, we all get things we don’t deserve. I’ll go further: almost all of us get something we don’t deserve as a result of our race, including white people. Perhaps even especially white people.

If you don’t believe it, ask yourself why repeated studies show that resumes with identifiably black names get fewer interview offers than identical white resumes. Being identifiably black hurts your chances worse than having a felony conviction. Even if you want to argue that an identifiably black name is a socio-economic marker for a certain kind of parenting, an argument I find pretty dubious, are you really willing to argue that black kids should be permanently barred from employment because their parents have dubious taste in names? Well, go ahead, I guess, but I’m going to find it hard to take you seriously when you complain about affirmative action because it undermines our fantabulous American meritocracy.

Sonia Sotomayor is not manifestly unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, so focusing on affirmative action is completely irrelevant. You can argue with her politics or her legal judgement, and hey, I’m all ears. But the affirmative action complaints aren’t advancing our quest to find out whether or not she’d be a good justice. They’re just alienating the people you want to convince.

I’m not sure which people Megan thinks we are alienating and I’m not particularly interested in why an affirmative action complaint we aren’t making is alienating them. Perhaps if Megan would stop repeating misrepresentations of Republican objections people would stop being alienated by them.

I’ll tell you what Megan’s real problem is. She has the terrible, pervasive fear that some Republican, somewhere, is giving a “brown person” a hard time. It never even occurs to her that there might be a reason for that aside from skin color. That’s how Judge Sotomayor’s race becomes a shield from scrutiny as Megan goes off on Republicans and affirmative action instead of the real issue.

Do I believe that Judge Sotomayor was picked because of her gender and ethnicity? Absolutely yes and so does every other person on the Left and the Right that’s written about it. Am I objecting to her nomination because of her gender or her ethnicity? Of course not. Her gender and ethnicity have nothing to do with whether she will make a good justice, but Obama is hardly the first to have made his selection on grounds other than merit.

So I’m going to repeat this for people like Megan who think that the fuss is because a “brown person, somewhere, is getting away with something.” That’s not it. The problem is that Judge Sotomayor appears to have the bigoted belief that some ethnicities and genders are better suited to judging than others. And that bigoted belief would be inappropriate in a Supreme Court justice no matter the ethnicity or gender of the person who holds it.

It’s not that there will be more diversity on the bench. Whatever it is that diversity brings–alternate modes of analysis or unique foundational assumptions or whatever–difference qua difference is okay. But that’s not what Judge Sotomayor said. She didn’t just say that we need Latina judges because there are differences in the conclusions reached by a wise Latina and wise white man. Rather, she said that she thinks we need more Latina judges because the wise Latina’s conclusions will be better than the white man’s. That’s bigotry.

If a male judge had said we need more men judges because they make better decisions than women judges, we would rightly call it sexism. And we would question whether that judge can set aside his sexism behind the bench. We would wonder if his sexism extends not just to the the role of judges, but to other situations including any case which comes into his court. The objection to that judge being elevated to the Supreme Court would have nothing to do with his sex, but everything to do with his sexist beliefs.

Like I said, Megan McArdle is a smart journalist. But she’s wrong about this. The “problem of affirmative action” is not the problem Republicans are worried about when it comes to Sonia Sotomayor. Megan would do better to address our objections than to shoot down strawmen of her own creation. She says she’s “all ears” if we’d just argue with Sotomayor’s legal judgment. Well, here it is: I think Sotomayor’s belief that a a wise Latina will, by virtue of her gender and ethnicity, come to better conclusions than a wise white man is a fundamental flaw in her judgment which should disqualify her from nomination to the Supreme Court.

Granholm Visits White House, Stirs Supreme Court Rumors

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off

God help us, the fact that Jennifer Granholm’s name can even be mentioned in the same breath as other potential Supreme Court nominees is a bad joke. But, somehow she’s on the list and she’ll be at the White House tomorrow, which is leading some to wonder since TOTUS said he wanted to make the announcement this week or next.

Allah eeyores:

Granholm has distinct weaknesses as a nominee, but probably no fatal ones. She has no prior judicial experience. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) withdrew his support for her, though one would expect him to back her if Obama actually nominated her. Moreover, Granholm has had tax problems, though at this juncture that seems more like a prerequisite for Obama than a disqualification. Besides, with the Senate Republicans already lowering expectations that they are planning any major political fight, Obama has a relatively free hand.

She’s a graduate of Harvard law and former Michigan A.G. Her most well-known job, however, has been Grand Destructor of the State of Michigan. She’s been governor there for the state’s precipitous slide into poverty and ruin.

Honda Insight Panned

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off

For your lunchtime reading enjoyment, how about a snarky review of Honda’s newest hybrid?

Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

It gets better. Some of the comments are good too.

Thanks to alexthechick.

Incidentally: I have nothing against hybrids so long as they work well. And aren’t subsidized out the wazoo. And aren’t driving like grandma in front of me all the damn time. Also, hybrid drivers appear to be much more prone to putting retarded stickers all over the back.

But I don’t have anything against hybrids. In fact, if I could afford the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, I’d get one. (I have a thing for SUVs since one saved my life once.) Since I can barely afford my monthly metro pass, however, I’ll just admire from a distance.

And in related news: Obama will announce new emissions standards for cars tomorrow. The new standards will “harmonize” (read: replace?) CAFE standards with the EPA’s greenhouse gas standards. Or something. The Governator will be on hand for the announcement, hopefully while weeping over the failure of his budget props out here.

While I’m thinking about the props: Someone asked me how I planned to vote. There are no difficult choices here:

  • Prop 1A — State Budget. Changes California Budget Process. Limits State Spending. — No; it requires a tax increase.
  • Prop 1B — Education Funding. Payment Plan. — No; requires increased spending.
  • Prop 1C — Lottery Modernization Act. — Yes; I have nothing against idiots buying more lottery tickets and no problem dedicating that money to paying down debt rather than schools.
  • Prop 1D — Protects Children’s Services Funding. — Yes; this is simply moving money around, but will help balance the budget (this year) without a tax increase.
  • Prop 1E — Mental Health Services Funding. Temporary Reallocation. — Same.
  • Prop 1F — Elected Officials’ Salaries. — Very very yes; prevents salary increases for certain elected officials when there is a budget deficit.
 
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