Saturday, February 23, 2013

The #SeekRenters

The sequester debate isn't about spending cuts, it's about a tiny slowing in the rate of increase of funds transferred to Federal rent seekers. Noted in the Wall Street Journal: The Unscary Sequester
In Mr. Obama's first two years, while private businesses and households were spending less and deleveraging, federal domestic discretionary spending soared by 84% with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets.

... from 2008-2013 federal discretionary spending has climbed to $1.062 trillion from $933 billion—an increase of 13.9%. Domestic programs grew by 16.6%, much faster than the 11.6% for national security.

Transportation funding alone climbed to $69.5 billion in 2010 with the stimulus from $10.7 billion in 2008, and in 2013 the budget is still $17.9 billion, or about 67% higher. Education spending more than doubled in Mr. Obama's first two years and is up 18.6% to $68.1 billion from 2008-2013.

... total discretionary domestic spending is up closer to 30% from 2008-2013. The sequester would claw that back by all of about 5%.

... The sequester will surely require worker furloughs and cutbacks in certain nonpriority services. But most of those layoffs will happen in the Washington, D.C. area, the recession-free region that has boomed during the Obama era.
If Mr. Obama were really serious about improving the equality of income distribution, he might consider that a positive. According to Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, about
"...15 cents of every dollar from the entire federal procurement budget stays in or around the government's hometown. ..."We're seeing an enormous transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the Washington economy," said Fuller."
Upton Sinclair was a socialist, but when he said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it," he was on to something; though he did neglect to mention the mendacity of politicians in fostering said ignorance. The threats issuing forth from the Obama administration - to prioritize cutting baby food and meat inspection rather than not funding the next Solyndra or ending high speed rail boondoggles; and putting slashing veterans benefits ahead of cancelling the DOD's "green" projects - show a cynical disregard for taxpayers and reveal the deep hypocrisy of the president's purported compassion.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning

A paper to be published in March in BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” is discussed here. The article is relatively long, but that's because there are a lot of examples of a call to totalitarianism from people who claim to be "scientists." They are anything but. They believe their opinions are not subject to the basic requirement of scientific method: the possibility of falsification.
This entire publication is a clear and unmistakable sign that a scientific dictatorship is emerging under the pretext of environmentalism. More government control through regulations and fines combined with a proactive scientific community, brainwashing people into accepting this increasing governmental control where they would otherwise reject it.
That is not an exaggeration, based on the paper's content. It is a call to abandon Constitutional government in the United States in favor of the UN. The group of scientists involved include two Nobel Prize winners. They have Nobels in economy and political science. One wonders why there's no Peace Prize winner. Perhaps Mr. Obama was too busy hobnobbing with Tiger Woods. And Yasser Arafat, of course, is dead.

I thought the scientific dictatorship had actually emerged a long time ago, when the "consensus" of scientists was supposed to make us stop asking any questions about global warming/climate change - or whatever they're calling it today. The effrontery of publishing this indicates the current political environment is encouraging to these statists, and that their privilege blinds them to their hubris.

As to consensus, no such thing must be tolerated from the citizens in a democratic republic if it disagrees with these ivory tower savants. This totalitarian impulse is not new, it is a foundational principle of the eugenicists and the core idea of socialism.

Aldous Huxley wrote about it in 1931. In the introduction to the 1946 edition of Brave New World, he said this:
Unless we choose to decentralize and to use applied science...as the means to producing a race of free individuals, we have only two alternatives to choose from: either a number of national, militarized totalitarianisms, having as their root the terror of the atomic bomb...or else one supra-national totalitarianism, called into existence by the social chaos...and developing, under the need for efficiency and stability, into the welfare-tyranny of Utopia.

All things considered, it looks as though Utopia were far closer to us than anyone, only fifteen years ago could have imagined. Today [in 1946] it seems quite possible that the horror may be upon us in a single century.
By the time he wrote Brave New World Revisited in 1958, he had though more on the subject of a world governing scientific dictatorship:
The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough cir­cuses, enough miracles and mysteries. Nor did they possess a really effective system of mind-manipulation. In the past, free-thinkers and revolutionaries were often the products of the most piously orthodox educa­tion. This is not surprising. The methods employed by orthodox educators were and still are extremely inefficient. Under a scientific dictator education will really work - with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown.
That appears to be the plan.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creative Accounting

Reuters reports "U.S. posts $3 billion budget surplus for January". They fail to note that from December through January US debt rose by $137 billion.

This "surplus" is as if you counted a $500 per month raise as extra cash, while calling the $20,000 you borrowed and spend at the race track "long term debt."

Preferring a government of men, not of laws.

Jennifer Granholm speaks to the NYT on the president's drone strike policies:
“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”
Right. Jennifer sees due process as a presidential whim, not as a legal principle. The 5th Amendment is optional.

It's saying a lot, but I've never been more ashamed of her.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Duh

A Washington Post editorial today begins with the sentence, "ONE UNSETTLING result of the debate over gun violence has been a spike in firearm purchases."

Actually: One predictable result of government threats to force gun owners to buy special liability insurance, place confiscatory taxes on ammunition, ban firearms because of their appearance and limit the sale of normal capacity magazines has been more citizens exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

There, fixed that for you, WaPo.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Detroit Charter Schools 47, Detroit Public Schools 0

A Stanford University study suggests attending Charter Schools in Detroit results in significantly better educational achievement than attending government schools. Stanford University study finds charter pupils gain an extra three months of learning
Detroit school children are learning at a rate of an extra three months in school a year when in charter public schools compared to similar counterparts in conventional Detroit Public Schools, according to the findings of a Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) study done by Stanford University on students in the Detroit area.
It isn't perfect, of course,
"While on average the Detroit charter students have higher learning gains than their traditional school counterparts, when we look at the school results, only about half of the Detroit charter schools perform significantly better than their local alternative," said Dev Davis, research manager for CREDO at Stanford University.
It isn't certain what a comparison of the Bell curves for non-Charter vs Charter schools' performance in Detroit would be from that statement, but here is a crude example which I think satisfies all the criteria Ms Davis specifies. Blue is the Detroit Public School System, green is the Detriot Charter schools.

Which curve would you prefer for your child?

Ms Davis seems to be soft pedaling the Charter story, at least for the Detroit study. I find it interesting that she does not mention a number important to this study; How many Charters are doing worse? CREDO generally does look at that:
A Credo study in 2009 of charter schools in 16 American states found almost half of the schools were no better than public schools; 17 per cent performed significantly better, while 37 per cent performed worse.
In fact, the CREDO report states that 47% of Charter schools in Detroit perform "better than their market," and "Slightly more than half of Detroit charter schools were not significantly different from their market." So none are performing worse than government schools.

That's not the end of Charter advantages, though. I am fairly certain that no weight was given to the reduction in anti-capitalist, blame America first propaganda to which students are exposed. And, while I'll agree that some Charters probably surpass even government schools in such polemics, at least the parents are choosing the slant they want. I would also contend that the improved educational outcomes are positively correlated with less time spent on social justice indoctrination and more on math and reading.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Women now safe on Super Bowl Sunday

Early each year, I experience heightened sensitivity to feminist foibles. The month of January brings the anniversary of the Big Lie that Super Bowl Sunday is the annual high-water mark for the beating of American women by their husbands and boyfriends. On Super Bowl Sunday testosterone-besotted men celebrate the violence of professional football by assaulting females. Feminists find this oppression of women to be self-evident. This is necessary for their argument, because there is no actual evidence for it now, nor was there in 1993 when they kicked it off.

The Super Bowl Hoax was initially perpetrated on January 28, 1993. The perps were FAIR, an organization allegedly dedicated to "Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,” along with several women's groups. They called a press conference in Pasadena, California, promoting an unexceptional 30-second Super Bowl public service announcement opposing domestic violence.

Did I mention the PSA wasn't hyperbolic? So, during the press conference it became necessary for FAIR associate Linda Mitchell to go over the top. "Many women's shelters report as much as a 40 percent increase in calls for help on Super Bowl Sunday," she said. The press ran with it - AP Wire 1/28/93. No reporter even said, "Name one."

To be sure, this whopper wasn't entirely Ms Mitchell's invention, FAIR had previously mailed to its activists a letter stating, "women's shelters report a 40 percent increase in calls for help during Super Bowl Sunday" (American Journalism Review, 5/93).

The principal study cited to support this claim was conducted by Virginia’s Old Dominion University in 1988-89. This study was claimed to have found a 40 percent increase in beatings and hospital admissions after games won by the Redskins.

But Ken Ringle of the Washington Post was skeptical. He took the time to check the sources. He spoke with one of the principal authors of the Old Dominion study, Janet Katz. She said: “That’s not what we found at all.” Instead, she told Ringle, they had found that an increase in emergency room admissions “was not associated with the occurrence of football games in general.”

Ringle followed up on other “studies” referenced and found that none supported (or that they did not exist) the claims of increased violence against women on Super Bowl Sunday. His story was published on the front page of the Washington Post on January 31st.

Steve Rendall, FAIR's "Senior Analyst," was asked by a reporter from the Boston Globe about the 40 percent claim. Rendall admitted, "It should not have gone out in FAIR materials." (Boston Globe 2/2/93) Where did FAIR get the figure? According to Rendall, it came from a book of photo essays called "Living with the Enemy." So much for "accuracy” and “fairness” in reporting.

In the ensuing 20 years no one has established a link between the Super Bowl and violence against women. And now US News & World Report tells us that the idea of a huge spike in wife beating on Super Bowl Sunday is known to be an “urban myth.”
"Urban myths rarely have a useful purpose other than to confound, outrage, and frighten people into passing them along. But there's a silver lining to this one—the idea that Super Bowl Sunday is linked to the highest incidences of domestic abuse in the country.

While experts in the field dismiss that theory, they value the increased attention paid to domestic violence on the occasion.

"The Super Bowl does not cause domestic violence, and it doesn't increase domestic violence, but it does increase the public's awareness of the issue, which will help victims learn about help and resources," says Cindy Southworth, vice president of development and innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence."
Nice. It takes 20 years for a propagandist lie to comfortably transform into something akin to a story about alligators in the New York City sewer system. It's all good because it keeps the curious from wandering around the sewers, or wondering if we really need a Violence Against Women Act. No alligators were harmed in the making of either myth, but a misandrist agenda was advanced by one of them.

They're defending 20 years of cultural poisoning, of course, but it is amazing they're even finally admitting the lie. US News & World Report just matter-of-factly announces that feminists have been lying about domestic violence for decades. Their conclusion, apparently, “What difference does it make?”

It's OK because the ends justify the means.  The gratuitous male bashing, the whining about VAWA; It's all good. Not to have lied would have been the evil.

I have news: Lying in support of your moral superiority damages your moral status.

The Super Bowl Hoax is not an urban legend with benign consequences. It's a lie that has damaged our culture, our polity, feminism's credibility and, most egregiously, the actual victims of domestic violence for 364 days out of 365.