Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Republicans take back the House

Nice to see Steve Chabot back in Cincinnati representing. I have high hopes for John Kasich as Gov, especially when it comes to expanding the Ohio EdChoice school voucher program. I am still committed to vouchers with my heart and soul. Things go slowly but over generations if we take back our schools we can really take back our freedom. So much of the Culture war comes from the government monopoly in education. As long as we have that we will always have the culture wars. It is the belly of the beast as far as I am concerned.

Here is a quote I grabbed from the Corner about Wisconsin Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson:

Ron Johnson is explicit about this. “The reason we’re here,” he says near the end of his speech, in one of his signature lines, “is that we think we’re losing America and we’re a group of people who refuse to let America go without a knock-down fight.” The crowd waves its flags and chants “USA!”

I was a avid Tea Party participant. I went to rallies and even took the family to Washington DC. It has been a great run so far. Now the real challenge begins. Can the people we are sending to Washington carry out the message without getting swallowed by the coruption?

I am not always optimistic about that. But like Ron Johnson I too feel like we are losing America. And if they great lady should fall let it not be said that we let her go down without a fight. And fight we must.

In the name of John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight!

In command of Ranger in 1777 and 1778, he operated in British home waters and made audacious raids on England’s shore.In recognition of his exploits, he was placed in command of five French and American vessels. Aboard his flagship, the Bonhomme Richard, Jones led his small squadron in the capture of seven merchantmen off of the Scottish coast. On September 23, 1779, Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command.

Long Live The Tea Party Revolution! Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diversity, Sustainability ~ Campus Ideology

Things I read on the web today:

Jay P. Greene directs us to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

From Diversity to Sustainability: How Campus Ideology Is Born

Here is the money shot as quoted by Greene:

I view this changing of the ideological guard with wariness. Diversity was pretty bad; sustainability may be even worse. Both movements subtract from the better purposes of higher education. Diversity authorizes double standards in admissions and hiring, breeds a campus culture of hypocrisy, mismatches students to educational opportunities, fosters ethnic resentments, elevates group identity over individual achievement, and trivializes the curriculum. Of course, those punishments were something that had to be accepted in the spirit of atoning for the original sin of racism.

But for its part, sustainability has the logic of a stampede. We all must run in the same direction for fear of some rumored and largely invisible threat. The real threat is the stampede itself. Sustainability numbers among its advocates some scrupulous scientists and quite a few sober facilities managers who simply want to trim utility bills. But in the main, sustainability is the triumph of hypothesis over evidence. Its scientific grounding is mostly a matter of models and extrapolations and appeals to authority. Evoking imminent and planet-destroying catastrophe, sustainatopians call for radical changes in economic arrangements and social patterns. Higher education is summoned to set aside whatever it is doing to help make this revolution in production, distribution, and consumption a reality.

Sustainability combines some astonishingly radical ideas with mere wackiness. Many sustainability advocates want to replace free markets (a source, as they see it, of unsustainable growth and exploitation) with some kind of pan-national rule with little scope for private property rights. On the other hand, sustainatopians also busy themselves with eliminating trays from cafeterias and attacking the threat of plastic soda straws. Sustainability thus unites vaunting political ambition and comic burlesque. Both are at odds with patient and open-minded intellectual inquiry.

The diversity movement has always been rife with contradictions. Seeking to promote racial equality, it evolved into a system that perpetuates inequalities. But whatever else it is, the diversity movement thirsts to be part of mainstream America. Its ultimate goal is to make diversity a principle of the same standing as freedom and equality in our national life. The sustainability movement, by contrast, has no such affection for the larger culture or loyalty to the American experiment. It dismisses the comforts of American life, including our political freedom, as unworthy extravagance. Sustainability summons us to a supposedly higher good. Personal security, national prosperity, and individual freedom may just have to go as we press on to our low-impact, carbon-free new order. In this sense, it goes beyond promising to redeem us from social iniquity to redeeming us from human nature itself.

Many campus adherents to sustainability may eventually tire of its puritanical preachiness and its unfulfilled prophecies, but for the moment, sustainability has cachet. Diversity, meanwhile, has aged into a static bureaucracy, and diversicrats increasingly spend their energy polishing the spoons…

Unrelated to this post but still amusing is this from Greg Mankiw's Blog:

Barney Frank, Then and Now

You can tell the man has been playing at the highest level of politics for quite a long time. If Barney Frank claims to love his mother, check it out.

David Brooks on some of the real costs of the State Pension Crisis: (H/T Cafe Hayek)

The Paralysis of the State

Over the past few decades, governments have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct it toward unproductive ones.

New Jersey can’t afford to build its tunnel, but benefits packages for the state’s employees are 41 percent more expensive than those offered by the average Fortune 500 company. These benefits costs are rising by 16 percent a year.

New York City has to strain to finance its schools but must support 10,000 former cops who have retired before age 50.

California can’t afford new water projects, but state cops often receive 90 percent of their salaries when they retire at 50. The average corrections officer there makes $70,000 a year in base salary and $100,000 with overtime (California spends more on its prison system than on its schools).

States across the nation will be paralyzed for the rest of our lives because they face unfunded pension obligations that, if counted accurately, amount to $2 trillion — or $87,000 per plan participant.

All in all, governments can’t promote future prosperity because they are strangling on their own self-indulgence.

New study: State pensions in dire situation

Cincinnati is on the list. The pain is to come:

A new study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Rochester shows that in the not-too-distant future several state-sponsored pensions will fail to provide promised benefits to pension holders.

Five major cities have current pension assets that can only pay for promised benefits through 2020: Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Jacksonville, Fla.; and St. Paul. An additional 18 cities and counties, including New York City; Cook County, Ill.; and Orange County, Calif., will be solvent through 2020 but not past 2025.

Philadelphia has the most immediate cause for concern, as the city can pay existing promises with existing assets through 2015, less than five years from now, the study states.

The study also states that state and local governments are not far from the point where pension promises will impact governments' ability to operate. Once the funds are liquidated, promised pension payments will compete with other programs and erode a large portion of many municipal budgets.

"The fact that there is such a large burden of public employee pensions concentrated in urban metropolitan areas threatens the long-run economic viability of these cites, as residents can potentially move elsewhere to escape the situation," said professor Rauh, associate professor of finance at the Kellogg School who helped author the study, in prepared remarks.

Rauh estimates each household already owes an average of about $14,000 to current and former municipal public employees in the 50 cities and counties that were studied. This figure only represents the unfunded portion of benefits that have already been promised — not future promises. In New York City, San Francisco and Boston, the total is more than $30,000 per household. In Chicago, the total is more than $40,000 per household.

Can't say we didn't see it coming...


What I have been thinking lately:

I should put a post together on this but I am lazy on my little undiscovered blog.

I have a theory of Democrats accusing Republicans of everything that they do.

Lately it is foreign donations, but that is exactly what Obama did when he eased online credit card donations during his campaign. Clinton took the Chinese money as well. I think Democrats accuse Republicans of things because they know they do them so they assume Republicans do them too.

Think about Astroturf. That phrase comes from the left, but who invented it and perfected it? They call the tea party Astroturf and "fake grass roots" because so much of their blather is all faked and they have been doing it for years.

They accuse Republicans or wanting to raid the Social Security trust fund that is already and emptied from their big government spending. They tell people that Republicans want to cut Medicare while passing Obamacare which is destined to cut Medicare. It seems like everything they accuse people of is something that they already have on their own agenda.

I am going to get more examples of this and I encourage anyone to suggest more. Just a passing thought. Sphere: Related Content

Bring Michelle Rhee to Cincinnati!

From the Washington Post: Michelle Rhee resigns as D.C. schools chancellor

She is going to be out of a job. She did good work in Washington DC. Cincinnati Public Schools have been looking for a good leader for years, and they need someone who can take back education from the teachers unions and give it back to the children.

Start the campaign to bring Michelle Rhee to Cincinnati today! Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Entitlement Mentality ~ Obama's Aunt Edition

Malkin: Obama’s Aunt Update: ‘The System Took Advantage of Me’


"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen."

"I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me."

Onyango came to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004.

She stayed in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing, where she remains to this day. She also currently receives $700 per month in disability benefits.

She was granted asylum earlier this year by the same judge who said she could be in danger if she returned to her homeland because of her relationship with the president.

"It's a great country," she said of the U.S. "It's nice to live here. You can do whatever you want when you live here."

"To me, America's dream became America's worst nightmare,"

It's a great country! Hell to the yeah it is compared to Kenya. In Kenya the per capita GDP is $1,000 a year. In America she lives in Boston Public Housing and gets an additional disability check for $700 a month. The disability total is $8,400 a year. The free rent total has to be at least that much subsidy in a big city like Boston. The average rent for a one bedroom in Boston is $1,000. $12,000 in rent and $8,400 in disablity checks is $20,400 per year. The cost of living in Boston is 240% the national average. I bet she gets $400+ per month in foodstamps. That should take us up to $25,000 a year.

But it doesn't end there. She also gets free medical care and somebody paid for her lawyer too. And sending her to trial multiple times had to cost a pretty penny, those resources are not free.

"She was paralyzed for more than three months because of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome and had to learn to walk again".

Wonder how much three months in the hospital costs? I bet she racked up over $100,000 in hospital bills.

I would estimate that we have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her in the form of one subsidy or another. Housing, Government Checks, Food Stamps, Health Care and Legal services add up. And I doubt she has ever paid a penny in federal taxes.

The worst part is she isn't even gracious about it. We have some sort of duty to her to giver her all this stuff. She doesn't thank the taxpayer for her "American Nightmare". Talk about the entitlement mentality.

It is enough to make me vomit.


Update: The costs in the United States related to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been estimated as $110,000 for direct health care

This rental estimate for Boston Housing indicates 1 bedrooms rent in a range between $1,200 & $1,600 per month ($14,400 - $19,200 a year)

And it looks like I was a bit high on the food stamps. She probably gets something in a range of $150 - $200 a month. Who knows what other social services (both public and private) she also takes advantage of.

~ Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Drug Pipeline and the FDA

No RefillsBy Megan McArdle

Over time, critics say, high-profile disasters like Fen-Phen and Vioxx, which killed or seriously harmed some of the people who took them, have encouraged ever-more-stringent review. The number of clinical trials required to support a new-drug application has more than doubled since 1980, while the number of patients needed in each trial has almost tripled. As a result of these and many other factors, the clinical-trial stage now costs more than four times as much, even after adjusting for inflation.


This means that clinical trials have unwanted side effects. Because of their astronomical expense, one drug with a huge market is more commercially desirable than 25 drugs that each treat a less common disease, because only one set of trials is necessary. If you’re targeting a disease that affects relatively few people, one of two things will happen: the drug will be very expensive, or the drug will be shelved because it’s unlikely to earn back its R&D investment.

Tougher safety and efficacy standards may also be keeping good drugs out of the public’s hands. Most people agree that today’s FDA would not have approved aspirin; even penicillin, the miracle drug that helped dramatically extend the human lifespan when introduced in the early 1940s, is questionable. Allergic reactions to penicillin kill a higher percentage of its takers than Vioxx ever did, while the gastrointestinal bleeding produced by aspirin means it probably would have flunked while still in animal testing.

Interesting stuff. We are killing ourselves with regulation.

Here is Milton Friedman on the FDA:

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism


ROBINSON The Food and Drug Administration which regulates everything from the drugs that pharmaceutical companies may put on the market to the ingredients in items we purchase off the grocery store shelves. Let me give you an example- Thalidomide [FRIEDMAN Everybody's favorite example...] Well I may be leading with my chin on this one but I'm going to lead with it anyway. 50's and 60's it is marketed in Europe as a drug to help women get through the nausea that they sometimes experience during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration said it had been inadequately tested in the United States and forbade it to be marketed in this country with the result that thousands of children were born with horrible birth defects in Europe to mothers who had used Thalidomide but that didn't happen to American children, because the FDA had intervened and kept that drug off the market. Thank god for the FDA, right?

FRIEDMAN Wrong [ROBINSON Alright, why?] this is a case in which they did save lives, this was a good case, but suppose they are equally slow in adopting a drug which turns out to be very good and beneficial. How would you ever see the lives that are lost because of that? You're an FDA official, you have a question of whether to approve or disapprove a new drug. If you approve it and it turns out to be a bad drug like Thalidomide, you're in the soup, your name is going to be on every front page [ROBINSON cost me my job, I get hauled up to Congress to testify..] right. On the other hand if you disapprove it, but it turns out to be good, well then later on you approve it four or five years later, nobody's going to complain about the fact that you didn't approve it earlier except those greedy pharmaceutical companies that want make profits at the expense of the public, as everybody will say. So the result is that the pressure on the FDA is always to be late in approving. And there's enormous evidence that they have caused more deaths by late approvals than they have saved by early approval.

ROBINSON So your view is abolish the FDA..

FRIEDMAN Absolutely [ROBINSON And what comes up in its place?] what comes up? It's in the self-interest of pharmaceutical companies not to have these bad things. Do you think the manufacturer of Thalidomide made a profit out of Thalidomide or lost? [ROBINSON I see, ok.] And you have to have..people should be responsible for harm that they do. It should've been possible...[ROBINSON So tort law takes care of a lot of this.] Absolutely, absolutely..
Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bankrupt California Paying Lifeguards $150k a Year In Retirement

A Tsunami Approaches: The Beginning of the Great Deconstruction
by Robert J. Cristiano 09/05/2010, New Geography

By 2010, the general public received a series of shocks. The first shock was the jobless recovery of the Great Recession that cost 8 million jobs. Most of the job losses occurred in the private sector yet the majority of the $800 billion Stimulus Bill went to “save and create” public sector employment. The second shock was learning that civil servants earned twice that of private workers. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Federal workers received average pay and benefits of $123,049 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation. The third shock was revelation of incredible retirement plans doled out by politicians since 1999. In 2002, California passed SB 183 that allowed police and safety workers to retire after 30 years on the job with 3% of salary for each year of service, or 90% of their last year’s pay. During the Great Recession, fireman began retiring with $150,000 pensions at age 52 despite a life expectancy approaching 80. In Orange County CA, lifeguards, deemed safety workers, retired with $147,000 annual pensions. The Orange County sheriff, recently convicted of witness tampering, will receive $215,000 annually while in jail. Bob Citron, the Treasurer of Orange County who pushed the county into bankruptcy in the 1990s, receives a pension of $150,000 per year. A tsunami of anger and resentment is building.

New Geography is a great site with lots of interesting material on the front page and in the archives. Highly recommmended. Read the whole thing here.

I wish I was a retired lifeguard making $150,000 a year. When California goes before the judge and asks for a federal bailout we are going to have to all pay for that lifeguard's lavish retirement.

I will do whatever I can to fight bailing them out for that type of spending. When you read the numbers it blows your mind. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bed Bug News ~ Use Malathion!

From the AP:

US grapples with bedbugs, misuse of pesticides

The problem has gotten so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency warned this month against the indoor use of chemicals meant for the outside. The agency also warned of an increase in pest control companies and others making "unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost."

The Agency may be warning against it, but if you have bedbugs that is exactly what you should be doing. Buy some Malathion. They still sell it. It was used for years against bed bugs indooors. It is still recommended by the World Health Organization. See this.

Ohio authorities, struggling against widespread infestations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and other cities, are pleading with EPA to approve the indoor use of the pesticide propoxur, which the agency considers a probable carcinogen and banned for in-home use in 2007. About 25 other states are supporting Ohio's request for an emergency exemption.

The Federal Government is to blame for Bed Bugs coming back, and they won't let you do anything about it. A majority of states support teh repeal of the EPA ban of propoxur, but it doesn't matter to the EPA. So buy some Malathion instead. Get some at Lowes or the Home Depot.

Here is an article from Jonathan Strong at the Daily Caller:

Is the EPA to blame for the bed bug ‘epidemic’?
By Jonathan Strong - The Daily Caller

Eradication can take months and cost thousands of dollars. There’s also the stigma — many high-end New York residences, for instance, keep their bed bug infestations secret to avoid embarrassment.

But why are bed bugs back? Though they’ve been sucking humans’ blood since at least ancient Greece, bed bugs became virtually extinct in America following the invention of pesticide DDT.

There were almost no bed bugs in the United States between World War II and the mid-1990s.

Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers.

The debate isn’t over long-banned DDT, since modern bed bugs have developed a tolerance for that chemical. But in the pre-1996 regime, experts say, bed bugs were “collateral damage” from broader and more aggressive use of now-banned pesticides like Malathion and Propoxur.

And now that we have banned our most effective course of action, Bed Bugs are becoming more resistant to the remaining available pesticides:

the economic impact to victims can be severe. In many cases, victims discard most or all of their furniture and other belongings in a desperate push to rid themselves of the problem. There are extermination costs and expensive preventative measures like mattress encasements as well.

Compounding the spread of bed bugs are several factors other than EPA regulations, including the increased levels of travel and growing resistance in wild bed bug populations to the pesticides that are still allowed by the government.

According to research at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, academic headquarters for studying the six-legged beast, some strains of bed bugs can survive, zombie-like, for up to 16 days after being directly sprayed with currently used pesticides.

Do yourself a favor and break out the Malathion! Don't listen to the government!

If you consider that in most instances insects are intended to die shortly after coming into brief contact with pesticide residue, that’s pretty dramatic.

Meanwhile, tests at the University of Kentucky show the EPA-banned pesticides are still deadly effective at bed bug mass murder.

Notably, pest controllers can still rid your house or apartment building of bed bugs. It’s just way more expensive and time consuming since they’re using nerf guns instead of nukes.

Malathion is still deadly effective at bed bug mass murder! You can buy it at the hardware store for outside use. It is better than anything your exterminator is allowed to use. Call an exterminator and expect to pay hundreds or dollars for multiple treatments with a nerf gun, or just pay $8 for some Malathion at Lowes and kill them all in one application. It really is that simple.

Previously on the Cesspool:

Malathion Will Kill Your Bed Bugs!

Cincinnati ~ Bedbug Capital of the World! ~ Blame the EPA!

. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Spank Your Kids and they could be much better off.

American "Islamophobia" -- the MSM/left-liberal contribution - Sometime Powerline hits it just right. It was the first blog I ever read and I still read it today.

If the mainstream media promoted moderate Muslims, Americans would be thinking Muslims are moderate. When they trot out people who say that America was to blame for 9/11 and treat them as moderate, then Americans could skew their opinion.

One Liberal Voice Dares to Say, Cut the Budget

This shocked me coming from the New York Times:

The coalition bases its case on the idea that Social Security is actually in fine fiscal shape, since it has amassed a pile of Treasury Bills — often referred to as i.o.u.’s — in a dedicated trust fund. This is true enough, except that the only way for the government to actually make good on these i.o.u.’s is to issue mountains of new debt or to take the money from elsewhere in the federal budget, or perhaps impose significant tax increases — none of which seem like especially practical options for the long term. So this is sort of like saying that you’re rich because your friend has promised to give you 10 million bucks just as soon as he wins the lottery.

Amen to Matt Bai on that. Sphere: Related Content

Health Insurance is a Human Right!

From Cato:

Making a Joke of Human Rights
Posted by Michael F. Cannon

Earlier this year, Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama signed legislation that threatens U.S. residents with prison if they fail to purchase health insurance.

This week, his administration told the United Nations that this legislation shows the United States is making progress on human rights.

Now that is progress. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Malathion Will Kill Your Bed Bugs!

I would like to preface this post with a disclaimer: Using Malathion indoors is not allowed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. I don't want to advocate breaking US Law in a way that could get me into trouble. So this post is for all of my readers who live outside of the United States. For those readers, I would advocate that thy buy some Malathion and use it to kill their bed bugs.


I bought some today that looks like this:

Ortho makes some that looks like this:

Malathion is BETTER THAN DDT!

Here is a Scientific Study of Malathion & Bedbugs. It compares Malathion to DDT.
The conclusion? Malathion will kill all of your Bedbugs!

The World Health Organization advocates using Malathion against Bedbugs.

Table 4.1
Residual insecticides for use against bedbugs
Insecticide Concentration in spray (%)
malathion 2.0
fenitrothion 0.5–1.0
propoxur 2.0
carbaryl 1.0
diazinon 0.5
bendiocarb 0.2–0.3
fenchlorvos 1.0
pirimiphos methyl 1.0
propetamphos 0.5–1.0
permethrin 0.5
cyfluthrin 0.01
deltamethrin 0.005
lambdacyhalothrin 0.005

On May 12th, of 2000, The New York Times reported that the E.P.A. Finds Malathion Poses Low Risk

Here is a letter to the Editor to the New York Times from Gilbert L. Ross,ROSS, M.D.

It is dated May 16, 2000 and it notes that Gilbert Ross is "medical director of the American Council on Science and Health".

As a public health scientist, I applaud you for pointing out that malathion poses ''no health threat to people'' (news article, May 12).

In its new report, the Environmental Protection Agency, generally no friend to pesticides, agrees with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence. While malathion is possibly a threat to mice at very high doses, the trace levels to which New Yorkers would be exposed via spraying should cause no alarm.

Why then do we still hesitate to use our most potent weapon to prevent the recurrence of a potentially lethal mosquito-borne epidemic? Could it be because of pressure from activist groups, whose agendas are based on unfounded fear, not science?


New York, May 12, 2000

The writer is medical director of the American Council on Science and Health.

More Times Articles:

Pesticide Spray Is Said to Pose Almost No Risk To Humans (1999)

Malathion, a pesticide commonly used in mosquito control programs, is the compound that the city Department of Health is using in aerial spraying to stop the spread of encephalitis. First registered in the United States in 1956, malathion is one of the most widely used home and garden pesticides and is also used to control pests in agriculture, according to reports from the Internet site of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr. Neal L. Cohen, the city's Health Commissioner, released a prepared statement yesterday that said that the spraying ''poses virtually no health risk to humans or pets.''

THE BIG CITY; Public Beliefs, Global Politics And Pesticides

How about this one from 1986?

Q&A (1986)

Q. Is the jingle ''Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!'' just a silly rhyme, or do bed bugs really exist?

A. Dr. Stanley G. Green, an entomologist with the Pennsylvania State University Extension Service, said there is an entire family of insects called bed bugs that feed on the blood of birds and animals. These insects are oval, chestnut brown in color, flattened from top to bottom, and about one-fourth of an inch in length. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., attacks man. Bed bugs are active only at night, usually just before dawn, Dr. Green said. When only a few bed bugs are present, they live close to human sleeping areas, he said, but when numerous they can be found in many rooms of the house. Their bite produces irritating itching and burning sensations. The insects feed rapidly, becoming engorged in less than 10 minutes. The act of biting is not usually felt, but later there is an allergic reaction to the protein found in the bed bug's saliva. A colorless lump develops at the bite location. Discomfort from bed bug bites may last a week or more. To get rid of them, Dr. Green suggests using malathion or pyrethrin insecticide in upholstered furniture, cracks and crevices in floors, walls, baseboards, in the seams of mattresses and bed coils, and behind wall pictures and loose wallpaper.

Not only does Dr. Green suggest using Malathion, he suggests spraying it all over the place...cracks and crevices, on your furniture, on the floors and walls, on your mattress! Dr. Green wants you to spray the holy hell out of your place with Malathion and you will be just fine.

Malathion was banned in 1996 for INDOOR use. It is still used outdoors and it is still available for purchase at Lowes, The Home Depot, other department stores, and even on the internet. I do not sell Malathion, nor do I own stock in any company that makes or sells Malathion.

To recap:

Malathion was developed in the 1950s and used for decades.

Malathion is more effective than DDT against Bed Bugs. It is probably the most effective chemical pesticide against Bed Bugs that we have.

The Who Health Organization recommends Malathion against Bed Bugs.



. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cincinnati ~ Bedbug Capital of the World! ~ Blame the EPA!

I don't know if it is Bed Bug or Bedbug, but I do know that our fair city has some new citizens in the last few years.

Time Magazine:

For reasons still unknown, bedbugs really seem to like the state of Ohio. The problem is so dire in Cincinnati that some people with infested apartments have resorted to sleeping on the streets.

Cincinnati created a Bedbug Remediation Commission in 2007 and, like other local and national governments around the world, the city is trying to mobilize strategies to control infestations of the resilient insects, which can hide in almost any crack or crevice and can go a year or more without eating. On Aug. 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a consumer alert about off-label bedbug treatments, warning in particular of the dangers of using outdoor pesticides in homes. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has mounted a more unusual response to the crisis: it petitioned the EPA for an exemption to allow in-home use of propoxur, a pesticide and neurotoxin banned in the 1990s out of concern for its effects on children.

The EPA doesn't want people using off label products, or products that the EPA has already banned. The fact that the EPA has banned our most effective pesticides is something at the heart of the problem. The Ohio Department of Agriculture realizes this, so they petitioned the EPA to remove the ban. The EPA refused.

This is how the article finishes:

For home infestations, the EPA recommends reducing clutter, sealing cracks and crevices, vacuuming often, drying infested clothes at high heat and using a special mattress cover so you can sleep tight without letting the bedbugs bite. Travelers should inspect hotel mattresses, box springs and headboards for the pests and the inklike streaks of their droppings.

In other words, a dose of vigilance — if not outright paranoia — is the best preventive.

"We are looking at what we did a hundred years ago," says entomologist Miller. "We need to develop an individual consciousness, like we had then. You should think twice about leaving your purse on a seat in the movie theater and storing your kids' college furniture in the basement when they come home. We need to be conscious that anybody from a group-living situation may come back with bedbugs."

What a great forward-thinking solution. We need to look at we did 100 years ago! That is quite telling. Also, don't trust other people or other families! That is just great. Bedbugs hit the black population harder than the white population, so make sure if you are white not to let you kids play with black kids, let alone a sleep over. I can see this is going to go over real well. Why not just give the mostly poor people with bed bug infestations the proper chemicals and advice on how to use them?

Some more articles:

Bed Bug Battle Escalates
Crisis Meeting Held In Cincinnati

Many experts said the U.S. EPA has the ultimate weapon by bringing back insecticides, like DDT, that got rid of the problem decades ago, but were banned due to environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati created a bedbug remediation commission three years ago that's overseeing all crisis meetings with federal officials as they hope to come up with a solution.

That article talks about infested hotels in Cincinnati. The headline should be "DON'T TRAVEL TO CINCINNATI!!!!" Meanwhile, Cincinnati created a commission on bedbugs three years ago and nothing has been accomplished. That doesn't surprise me. If you have bedbugs you have to get rid of them yourself. I will teach you how later.

Interesting that the article brought up the EPA's banning of pesticides, which is the real reason that bedbugs are back.

Bedbugs becoming major U.S. nuisance

A plague of bedbugs spreading across the United States prompted a federal conference and calls for vigilance by the hotel industry.

The nation's worst cities for bedbugs are Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Denver and Detroit, according to data from Orkin Pest Control reported by the Detroit Free Press.

It is great to be a leader in something. I hate being on any list that involves Detroit.

From ABC News: Eeek! Are Bedbugs Becoming National Security Issue?

At least five states have called on the Department of Defense pleading for money to get rid of the pesky bloodsuckers.

Cincinnati is the latest city forced to deal with the tiny reddish-brown insects that are mostly found near one's bed in cracks and crevices. These scratch-inducing pests can even live without feeding for 18 months.

"Hopefully, we're going to see more resources devoted to things such as educational things, resources to perhaps to help pay for treatment," said Camille Jones, assistant health commissioner for the Cincinnati Health Department.

The state of Ohio was so desperate that it petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to allow in-home use of a pesticide called propoxur, which was banned out of concern for its effect on children. That request was denied.

On Wednesday, the EPA, decided the problem was serious enough to warrant hosting a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, today to conjure up a solution. And while bedbugs are not yet a national security issue, the meeting did include representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

The bugs were eradicated from the U.S. around the end of World War II, but in the last decade have been making a comeback.

Why and how were the bugs eradicated from the US? I know why. Pesticides! Then the EPA banned the pesticides and now we have the bugs back. If you want to get rid of the bugs, give us back the pesticides!

Do we really need the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, The Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency? Do we really need a increase in Federal Funding? Is that always the answer? Think about the salaries of all these people on the taxpayer dole sitting around on their commissions. I bet they don't have bedbugs. What a waste of time and our tax dollars. Just give us back the ammo for the gun. For the love of God, release the Lions!

Bedbugs have forced people out of their apartments in Lexington, Ky.

In Fort Worth, Texas, the city housing authority spent half a million dollars in an unsuccessful attempt to rid an apartment building of the pests.

Also, in Seattle, calls to exterminators are up 70 percent in the last two years.

But it seems as though the Big Apple has seen the brunt of the bedbug attack, with the city receiving nearly 11,000 complaints last year.

Just this week, one of the largest movie theatres in New York City, AMC Empire 25 in Times Square, announced that it was closing its doors to deal with an infestation problem. It since has reopened.

Look at all the taxpayer money they are spending with no credible results. Pesticides are cheap. Give us the pesticides and then go away and bother somebody else on the public dole.

Homeowners also can choose extermination, but it's a process that easily could cost anywhere from $800 to $1,200.

No it won't, not if you have cheap and effective pesticides. What happened to Dursban? What happened to Diazinon? Those two products were banned in the last decade. DDT was banned by the EPA in 1972. The EPA came into existence and opened its doors on December 2nd, 1970. The first thing they did was go after pesticides and they have been doing it ever since. Now that the evidence is in I am sure we have gone way too far. It is time for them to back off. People are suffering because of the EPA. I am not even going to go into the millions in Africa that die of Malaria (more than AIDS). This is about common sense policy for suffering Americans.

Here is local News 5 on the story as well:

Time Dubs Cincinnati 'Bedbug Capital Of U.S.'
DOD Experts Called To Ohio To Help Combat Problem

I am going to put together a post on how to deal with Bedbugs. You can kill them and it is easier than you think.

.. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forbes 535 v. the US Congress

This post is a blast from the past. I remember reading it and thinking about it and from time to time it crosses my mind. So I thought I would just put it out there.

This post is stolen from Robert Lawson, Bengals Fan, and Econ professor at Auburn. WHO DEY! It was posted at the Division of Labor blog on October 1st, 2008.

Forbes 535 v. the US Congress

Comparing the concentration of financial power in the hands of the 535 members of the United States Congress with the concentration of financial power of the 535 richest people in the United States.

According to Forbes, the 400 richest people had a combined net worth of $1.57 trillion. Let's simply assume the next 135 richest people had the same net worth, though they surely didn't, as the 400th person--$1.3 billion each. That brings our estimate of the combined net wealth of the richest 535 Americans to $1.75 trillion.

But wait, this is net worth, which is a stock, not income, which is a flow. So let's figure the annual income flow from the ownership of $1.75 trillion to be 10% of that amount. (I don't know if this number is high or low. On the one hand really rich folks probably are good at making high rates of return. On the other hand much of that $1.75 in net worth is likely to be speculative, consumptive, and/or illiquid assets like real estate, yachts, artwork, etc where the return is difficult to determine without selling the item. It turns out, you could double or triple this estimated return and still make the point I'm going to make.) Our estimate therefore is that the richest 535 Americans have about $175 billion (10% of $1.75 trillion) to spend on an annual basis.

Ok, let's compare this group with the 535 members of the US Congress. According to the latest Economic Report of the President, the annual outlays of the federal government amounted to $2.73 trillion in fiscal year 2007.

So I estimate that the 535 members of the US Congress enjoy over 15 times the financial power of the 535 richest Americans.

But do note how charitable I am being here. Unlike the 535 richest Americans, the US Congress also reserves the right to regulate the hell out of practically ever aspect of our lives. Furthermore, unlilke the 535 richest Americans, who hardly know each other and who certainly never hold meetings to coordinate their decisions, the US Congress does in fact meet regularly to decide exactly how this vast financial power is to be spent. Furthermore, I have failed to say anything about the various state legislatures in the land who annually spend an additional $1.9 trillion.

Why do we worry so much about the supposed concentration of economic power in the hands of "the rich", a group of strangers who don't coordinate their actions in any way, but care so little about the vastly greater concentration of economic power in the hands of Congress?

Brilliant. I extend a thank you and a WHO DEY! to Robert Lawson, who provided today's blast from the past... Sphere: Related Content

Retirement Risk by Arnold Kling

King Kling!

Retirement Risk

Money Shot:

For any given level of output, more consumption by one group (say, people over 65) is going to reduce what can be consumed by everyone else. As the ratio of people over 65 to everyone else goes up, this increases the ratio of state-confiscated income to total income required to keep Social Security and Medicare going. Perhaps to Cohn, this higher confiscation rate represents a kinder and gentler society. But it may not feel kind and gentle to those who earn incomes and have them confiscated.

Don't know how you get around it. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Hope?

Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century
by Amy Wax

What Hope?
A book review by John McWhorter

What this means, Wax points out, is that scrupulous recountings of the historical reasons for black problems are of no significant use in finding solutions. She notes:

The black family was far more stable 50 years ago, when conditions for blacks were far worse than they are today. Black out-of-wedlock births started to climb and marriage rates to fall around 1960, long after slavery was abolished and just as the civil rights movement gained momentum. Perhaps a more nuanced explanation for the recent deterioration is that the legacy of slavery made the black family more vulnerable to the cultural subversions of the 1960s. But what does this tell us that is useful today? The answer is: nothing.

One of the most sobering observations made by Wax comes in the form of a disarmingly simple calculus presented first by Isabel Sawhill and Christopher Jencks. If you finish high school and keep a job without having children before marriage, you will almost certainly not be poor. Period. I have repeatedly felt the air go out of the room upon putting this to black audiences. No one of any political stripe can deny it. It is human truth on view. In 2004, the poverty rate among blacks who followed that formula was less than 6 percent, as opposed to the overall rate of 24.7 percent. Even after hearing the earnest musings about employers who are less interested in people with names like Tomika, no one can gainsay the simple truth of that advice. Crucially, neither bigotry nor even structural racism can explain why an individual does not live up to it.

This data should be taught in every public school. Everyone can choose not be poor, you simply have to follow life's little guidelines. Graduate high school. Everyone can do that if they apply themselves. Don't have kids before you get married. Get a job and keep it. These are not impossible things for any American to do. It isn't that hard when you play by the rules. Sphere: Related Content

Bankrupt Nation

U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don't Even Know: Laurence Kotlikoff

How can the fiscal gap be so enormous?

Simple. We have 78 million baby boomers who, when fully retired, will collect benefits from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that, on average, exceed per-capita GDP. The annual costs of these entitlements will total about $4 trillion in today’s dollars. Yes, our economy will be bigger in 20 years, but not big enough to handle this size load year after year.

This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck.

Herb Stein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under U.S. President Richard Nixon, coined an oft-repeated phrase: “Something that can’t go on, will stop.” True enough. Uncle Sam’s Ponzi scheme will stop. But it will stop too late.

And it will stop in a very nasty manner. The first possibility is massive benefit cuts visited on the baby boomers in retirement. The second is astronomical tax increases that leave the young with little incentive to work and save. And the third is the government simply printing vast quantities of money to cover its bills.

Worse Than Greece

Most likely we will see a combination of all three responses with dramatic increases in poverty, tax, interest rates and consumer prices. This is an awful, downhill road to follow, but it’s the one we are on. And bond traders will kick us miles down our road once they wake up and realize the U.S. is in worse fiscal shape than Greece.

and this

Not In 25 Years, Social Security Is Bankrupt Now

For the first time in its history the Social Security program will pay out more money than it takes in. This watershed event will occur this year, to the tune of $41 Billion dollars. Under any rational accounting standards this makes the Social Security program bankrupt. And that's right now, not in 25 years when the so-called Trust Fund becomes insolvent.

You see, most pension programs hold income producing assets in their Trust Funds. Stocks, bonds, real estate, oil and gas partnerships, that sort of thing. A fully funded pension program owns enough of those assets to pay its liabilities even if the company closes its doors and not a penny more of new money comes in from current employees.

Social Security plays by a different set of rules enshrined under the New Deal and Great Society programs. These are the same rules that landed Bernie Madoff in jail. Although the Social Security system has been regularly taking in billions for decades and socking it into its Trust Fund just like a normal pension plan, Congress has just as regularly been draining the money out for current spending. All of the money collected from every American's paycheck throughout all of our careers is now gone. In its place are not stocks, bonds, real estate, and oil and gas partnership. In its place are IOUs from Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, and Barney Frank. $2.5 Trillion dollars worth of IOUs.

Speaking of Bankrupt, lets look at the Chicago Way (thanks to Gordon Gekko):

Illinois owes nearly 2,000 organizations $100,000 or more.

I think I read somewhere that Illinois is paying bills at around 255 days. They don't have the money so they keep pushing paying bills on time. At some point the whole system is going to bust.

Illinois’ total bill backlog was $4.2 billion as of Friday. The state also must repay $2.25 billion, plus interest, in short-term loans it took out in May and August, Knowles said.

The loans are due starting in March and must be fully repaid by early June, putting the state’s total backlog at more than $6 billion.

“We (the comptroller’s office) have tried to work closely with those who are owed money across the state to address payment emergencies, but when a bill backlog exists that is as large as the state of Illinois’, it makes it very difficult to address even emergency situations,” Knowles said.

“We would love to pay every bill as soon as it arrives at the office, but unfortunately the revenues do not exist to be able to do that. We are doing our best to pay bills with the limited resources we have.”

The collapse is going to be spectacular.

The American way of life is about to change. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Proud Racist History of Labor Unions

David Henderson at EconLog quotes Morgan Reynolds today:

I do have an answer to this positive question: what is the origin of national origin labels? In the United States, it's labor union racism. Here's what Morgan Reynolds wrote in his Concise Encyclopedia of Economics article, "Labor Unions":

Economist Ray Marshall, although a prounion secretary of labor under President Jimmy Carter, made his academic reputation by documenting how unions excluded blacks from membership in the 1930s and 1940s. Marshall also wrote of incidents in which union members assaulted black workers hired to replace them during strikes. During the 1911 strike against the Illinois Central, noted Marshall, whites killed two black strikebreakers and wounded three others at McComb, Mississippi. He also noted that white strikers killed ten black firemen in 1911 because the New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railroad had granted them equal seniority. Not surprisingly, therefore, black leader Booker T. Washington opposed unions all his life, and W. E. B. DuBois called unions the greatest enemy of the black working class. Another interesting fact: the "union label" was started in the 1880s to proclaim that a product was made by white rather than yellow (Chinese) hands.

As Jonah Goldberg has noted, people on the left have a short memory. They are also usually the first ones to claim racism. Sphere: Related Content

Around the horn

Across Texas, 60,000 babies of noncitizens get U.S. birthright

Between 2001 and 2009, births to illegal immigrant women totaled 542,152 in Texas alone.

Illegal aliens account for 13 percent of DUI arrests in Prince William County, Va.

That is just Virginia

How public worker pensions are too rich for New York's - and America's - blood

That is a story that bears repeating, and repeating, and repeating....

Minorities will be New American Majority by 2050

"More of the country is going to be like California," said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. Minorities make up 57% of the population in California.

"In California, minorities make up 72% of those under age 15."

I wonder if much of the country will also be bankrupt like California...

Compare that to the 1960 Census Numbers:

California 1960 Census Totals

White Population: 14,455,280 (92.0%)

Black Population: 883,861 (5.6%)

Other Races: 378,133 (2.4%)

Demographics is destiny. How will this country change during your life when the rest of the country starts looking like California?

I was born in the 1960s. A state that was 92% white now has 72% minorities in the under 15 demographic. During one persons lifetime is not a gradual change, that is more like a radical change. We talk about immigrants assimilating over generations, but so much happens so fast. If you come from Mexico to California today you can live in a hispanic community and speak Spannish your whole life. The odds are you won't feel out of place or out of your culture at all, but the white people would. Sphere: Related Content

Michael P. Fleischer is not hiring.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Why I'm Not Hiring
When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally's pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits.

Meet Sally (not her real name; details changed to preserve privacy). Sally is a terrific employee, and she happens to be the median person in terms of base pay among the 83 people at my little company in New Jersey, where we provide audio systems for use in educational, commercial and industrial settings. She's been with us for over 15 years. She's a high school graduate with some specialized training. She makes $59,000 a year—on paper. In reality, she makes only $44,000 a year because $15,000 is taken from her thanks to various deductions and taxes, all of which form the steep, sad slope between gross and net pay.

Before that money hits her bank, it is reduced by the $2,376 she pays as her share of the medical and dental insurance that my company provides. And then the government takes its due. She pays $126 for state unemployment insurance, $149 for disability insurance and $856 for Medicare. That's the small stuff. New Jersey takes $1,893 in income taxes. The federal government gets $3,661 for Social Security and another $6,250 for income tax withholding. The roughly $13,000 taken from her by various government entities means that some 22% of her gross pay goes to Washington or Trenton. She's lucky she doesn't live in New York City, where the toll would be even higher.

Employing Sally costs plenty too. My company has to write checks for $74,000 so Sally can receive her nominal $59,000 in base pay. Health insurance is a big, added cost: While Sally pays nearly $2,400 for coverage, my company pays the rest—$9,561 for employee/spouse medical and dental. We also provide company-paid life and other insurance premiums amounting to $153. Altogether, company-paid benefits add $9,714 to the cost of employing Sally.

Then the federal and state governments want a little something extra. They take $56 for federal unemployment coverage, $149 for disability insurance, $300 for workers' comp and $505 for state unemployment insurance. Finally, the feds make me pay $856 for Sally's Medicare and $3,661 for her Social Security.

When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally's pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally's job each year.

Because my company has been conscripted by the government and forced to serve as a tax collector, we have lost control of a big chunk of our cost structure. Tax increases, whether cloaked as changes in unemployment or disability insurance, Medicare increases or in any other form can dramatically alter our financial situation. With government spending and deficits growing as fast as they have been, you know that more tax increases are coming—for my company, and even for Sally too.

I love it when an employer breaks down the actual costs of doing business and explains it to the masses. Sometimes just a simply explanation of the facts can tell you a lot.

I am a big supporter of the Fair Tax, which is a proposed plan to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, scrap the income tax and fund this country with a progressive consumption tax.

I haven't argued here much about the Fair Tax because I think our main problem is spending anyway, not taxes. Any political party can raise or lower taxes, neither political party has had the balls to cut the size and scope of government. I would like to free Michael P. Fleicher from having to worry about all those government regulations and tax laws and free him to just concentrate on running his business.

He also makes a great point about employer provided health insurance:

Companies have also been pressed into serving as providers of health insurance. In a saner world, health insurance would be something that individuals buy for themselves and their families, just as they do with auto insurance. Now, adding to the insanity, there is ObamaCare.

Every year, we negotiate a renewal to our health coverage. This year, our provider demanded a 28% increase in premiums—for a lesser plan. This is in part a tax increase that the federal government has co-opted insurance providers to collect. We had never faced an increase anywhere near this large; in each of the last two years, the increase was under 10%.

We really do need to create a more free markter for insurance by doing away with employer provided health care. It shouldn't be a burden on every business to do this and it takes them away from their core competancy. If 300,000,000 Americans had to find their own insurance the insurance market would be a lot more competative. That doesn't even address the level of service. When you have a loved one in the hospital it is hard to get good service or answers to your questions. The doctors like to make rounds at 5:00 in the morning when patients are asleep and nobody is there to ask questions. Hospitals are big bureaucracies and they don't really have to answer to you. Do you know one reason why? You aren't paying the bill. Every see a doctor talk down to someone who asks a question? That probably wouldn't happen if he was on your dime.

Things I would like:

1) Cut the size and scope of government.
2) Sever the tie between employment and health care.
3) Abolish the IRS, income taxes, and all taxes on business
4) Institute the Fair Tax, a progressive consumption tax that encourages conservation and saving.

Free the People. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No More Bailouts!

From The Nation:

The AIG Bailout Scandal

The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

Three governmental investigative bodies have now pored through the AIG wreckage and turned up disturbing facts—the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which will make its report at year’s end; and the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which issued its report on AIG in June.

The five-member COP, chaired by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, has produced the most devastating and comprehensive account so far. Unanimously adopted by its bipartisan members, it provides alarming insights that should be fodder for the larger debate many citizens long to hear—why Washington rushed to forgive the very interests that produced this mess, while innocent others were made to suffer the consequences. The Congressional panel’s critique helps explain why bankers and their Washington allies do not want Elizabeth Warren to chair the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The report concludes that the Federal Reserve Board’s intimate relations with the leading powers of Wall Street—the same banks that benefited most from the government’s massive bailout—influenced its strategic decisions on AIG. The panel accuses the Fed and the Treasury Department of brushing aside alternative approaches that would have saved tens of billions in public funds by making these same banks “share the pain.”

Bailing out AIG effectively meant rescuing Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (as well as a dozens of European banks) from huge losses. Those financial institutions played the derivatives game with AIG, the esoteric practice of placing financial bets on future events. AIG lost its bets, which led to its collapse. But other gamblers—the counterparties in AIG’s derivative deals—were made whole on their bets, paid off 100 cents on the dollar. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill.

“The AIG rescue demonstrated that Treasury and the Federal Reserve would commit taxpayers to pay any price and bear any burden to prevent the collapse of America’s largest financial institutions,” the COP report said. This could have been avoided, the report argues, if the Fed had listened to disinterested advisers with a less parochial understanding of the public interest.

I would have passed a one sentence bill to regulate Wall Street. As opposed to the 2300+ pages that Congress just passed, I would have given just this: "No More Bailouts!"

the AIG story raises real doubts and suspicions about how the government will respond next time. Or whether the new financial reform legislation actually corrects government’s deference to the pinnacles of private financial power.

We bailout the financial industry once a decade. They have come to expect it. We need to tell them in advance: "No More Bailouts!"

The AIG rescue was done in ways that had “poisonous effects” on the financial marketplace and public opinion, the report concluded. Cynical expectations were confirmed, both for citizens and financial players. Some financial firms are simply “too big to fail,” it seems; Washington will not let them collapse, no matter what the president claims.

The most troubling revelation in this story is the astonishing weakness of the Federal Reserve and its incompetence as a faithful defender of the public interest. In the lore of central banking, the Fed is awesomely powerful and intimidating. As regulator of the banking system, it has life-and-death influence over banks. As manager of the economy, it has open-ended authority to intervene in the financial system to restore stability, as the central bank did massively during the crisis.

Yet the Fed was strangely passive and compliant when it came to demanding cooperation and sacrifice from the largest financial institutions. Timothy Geithner was then president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, the lead regulator of Wall Street’s largest banks. He briefly insisted they must accept the burden of rescuing AIG. But the bankers called his bluff and blew him off—and Geithner deferred to their wishes. The taxpayer bailout followed. The episode is relevant to the future, because Geithner is now Obama’s Treasury Secretary and in charge of preventing the next taxpayer bailout.

Makes me think of how this all relates to the "Country Class" vs "The Ruling Class". We bailout out the fatcats on Wall Street. We have welfare for the rich anc connected as well as welfare for the poor. The rest of us just have to turn around and bend over.

No More Bailouts! Sphere: Related Content

New York Times on Pensions

Battle Looms Over Huge Costs of Public Pensions

There’s a class war coming to the world of government pensions.

The haves are retirees who were once state or municipal workers. Their seemingly guaranteed and ever-escalating monthly pension benefits are breaking budgets nationwide.

The have-nots are taxpayers who don’t have generous pensions. Their 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts have taken a real beating in recent years and are not guaranteed. And soon, many of those people will be paying higher taxes or getting fewer state services as their states put more money aside to cover those pension checks.

At stake is at least $1 trillion. That’s trillion, with a “t,” as in titanic and terrifying.

The figure comes from a study by the Pew Center on the States that came out in February. Pew estimated a $1 trillion gap as of fiscal 2008 between what states had promised workers in the way of retiree pension, health care and other benefits and the money they currently had to pay for it all. And some economists say that Pew is too conservative and the problem is two or three times as large.

So a question of extraordinary financial, political, legal and moral complexity emerges, something that every one of us will be taking into town meetings and voting booths for years to come: Given how wrong past pension projections were, who should pay to fill the 13-figure financing gap?

This is a war that has been brewing for a very long time.

I still don't like government employee unions. Labor negotiations used to be with the Union and Management. The Union knew that if it asked for too much it would kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Managment knew that it had to keep it's workers happy and on the line working but still make a profit. When Government Unions sit down at the table with Government Management, they often both sit at the same side of the table. No profit exists to pay the workers, only higher and higher taxes. Administrators have long wanted to give Unions higher and higher future benefits instead of other compensation because the costs can be masked in the short term and they won't have to raise taxes. In this process taxpayers get sold down the river with future obligations they never wanted.

Another valuable lesson here is to not trust your government. This state workers worked their whole careers and were promised a deal. Now that they have retired the government is going to come along and change the terms of it. The same thing is going to happen with Social Security. You can't trust the Government, and people should be clueing into that by now. Sphere: Related Content

Free The People - State Marriage Edition

From the talented David Harsanyi of the Denver Post: Time for a divorce

In the 1500s, a pestering theologian instituted something called the Marriage Ordinance in Geneva, which made "state registration and church consecration" a dual requirement of matrimony.

We have yet to get over this mistake. But isn't it about time we freed marriage from the state?

Imagine if government had no interest in the definition of marriage. Individuals could commit to each other, head to the local priest or rabbi or shaman — or no one at all — and enter into contractual agreements, call their blissful union whatever they felt it should be called and go about the business of their lives.

I certainly don't believe that gay marriage will trigger societal instability or undermine traditional marriage — we already have that covered — but mostly I believe your private relationships are none of my business. And without any government role in the institution, it wouldn't be the business of the 9th Circuit Court, either.

As the debate stands now, we have two activist groups trying to force their own ethical construction of marriage on the rest of us. And to enforce it, they have been using the power of the state — one via majority rule and the other using the judiciary (subject to change with the vagaries of public opinion).

I think the state should get out of the marriage business. What an easy solution to erase that battlefield from the culture war.

The great thing is that everyone could finally STFU. I don't need once side grandstanding on the sanctity of marriage while another talks about civil rights. Enough of the preaching and get to the governing and making this country competative. When I got married I made a vow both to my wife and to God, to death do us part. I didn't kneel at the alter of the State. I don't need the State in my bedroom or yours. Free the People. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jim Webb in the WSJ

Jim Webb is one of my favorite Democrats. I still haven't read his book on Nam but I hear it is well worth the time. I need to do that.

OPINION JULY 22, 2010 Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege
America still owes a debt to its black citizens, but government programs to help all 'people of color' are unfair. They should end.

I am not sure how the Federal Government can make amends to black people. I think of the law of unintended consequenses and I know it will all go wrong. Webb points out that people from Africa come to this country today and take advantage of our affirmative action programs. I read once that a large proportion of Ivy League blacks are African and not American.

On a side note, Obama admitted that he benefitted from Afirmative Action. His dad was from Kenya and didn't have an American slave legacy. His mom was white. He was raised by his white grandparents and he went to an exclusive prep school in Hawaii, which isn't a "white dominated" state exactly. He then got into Columbia and was even a legacy at Harvard since his dad attended. In many ways Barack is whiter than I am. Webb is arguing that Barack shouldn't have gotten an edge, though he doesn't mention Obama and I doubt it crossed his mind.

Thomas Sowell has made similar arguments in distiction about white people. White people are not all the same. The Highlanders from rural Scottland and the urban dwellers of London have vastly different historical outcomes in income and education, but we lump them all together when they come to the USA. If the Highlanders were a shade apart maybe they could particpate in government programs to and show studies of disparte impact. You just can't legislate equal outcomes.


Update: From Roger Clegg at The Corner

Consider, in any event, those African Americans who were born in, say, 1992 — the birth year of those now getting college-admissions preferences. Those students are not slaves or former slaves, were not alive under Jim Crow and have never been victims of government discrimination, and were born over a quarter-century after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to protect them from public and private discrimination. Additionally, the African Americans who get these preferences at the more selective universities come overwhelmingly from middle- and upper-class backgrounds, not from impoverished farms or ghettos.

So two cheers for Senator Webb, reserving the third for when he acknowledges that the time has come to end racial preferences for all groups, rather than for all but one.
Sphere: Related Content

Tom Tancredo: Impeach Obama

TANCREDO: The case for impeachment
Obama has violated his oath of office over immigration

Mr. Obama's most egregious and brazen betrayal of our Constitution was his statement to Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, that the administration will not enforce security on our southern border because that would remove Republicans' desire to negotiate a "comprehensive" immigration bill. That is, to put it plainly, a decision that by any reasonable standard constitutes an impeachable offense against the Constitution. For partisan political advantage, he is willfully disregarding his obligation under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution to protect states from foreign invasion.

There is no higher duty of the federal government and our elected representatives than to protect our nation from invasion. Multiple reports and testimony before Congress by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have stated that a porous border with Mexico is "a path" terrorists will use if they can. Some would-be terrorists, including at least one associated with Hezbollah, already have. Recent reports of contacts between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels make it all but certain that terrorists intent on destroying us will come across our southwestern border. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the administration to do everything in its power to keep Americans safe. Our safety is not a bargaining chip for another amnesty - or for any other political objective whatsoever.

What to do with Tom Tancredo? Once he left office he started speaking his mind. I remember when he came out for drug legalization. I remember thinking that I wish he would have said something in office.

His point about Jon Kyl is well taken. But...

Republicans don't have the numbers to impeach, and talking impeachment plays into Democrat hands. It is crazy talk that could rally their base, especially with the black population that goes 90+% for Obama. Blacks may largely sit out this election according to some prognostications. Could rumblings of impeachment change that? I don't know. I saw a recent poll that 90% of black people think Obama is doing well as President. I am not surprised given that he is the first black President. We have had plenty of white dopes in office during our history. I would probably give him the benefit of the doubt too less than two years in if I was black and a Democrat. I honestly don't know. I didn't care for Shirley Sharrod calling Tea Partiers racist either but if the Klan killed my dad I would probably wouldn't be half as charitable as she. That doesn't make me like her marxist views, and I hate that she can call me a racist for being in the tea party but still get sympathy when someone calls her a racist.

I didn't like it when they impeached Clinton. I think Republicans could have spent better use of their time than chasing a President around with a stained blue dress. Osama was plotting his attacks, and we were talking about consensual sex. I don't give Clinton a pass for his behavior, but I don't give Republicans a pass either. Too often they are waving the bloody flag, be it a blue dress or a campaign against gay marriage when other more substantive problems affect our nation. If this country goes bankrupt, nobody will really give a damn about what was on that dress or what those guys down the street do in their own bedroom.

I have to say I am against impeachment, but I am in agreement with Tancredo that using our borders as a political pawn is despicable. I think Tancredo will be written off as a kook. He surely has at least some kook in him (which isn't always bad). He certainly does amuse, and some of his points are valid in my humble opinion.

I don't know how we can argue we even have much of a Constitution when the government can seize the auto and health care industries and force people to buy health insurance. During the lame duck session they will probably seize the energy sector and put through card check as Special K points out.

During the Bush regime all the liberals talked about W trashing the Constitution. Now we have Obama in power conservatives are doing the same thing. I think some of it is justified on both sides (I think Obama is worse). To the disinterested observer though it has to sound a lot like the boy who cried wolf. Most normal people don't pay too much attention to politics, they mind their own business. After all, it pays to mind your own business because that is what you can control. We expect politicians to lie and break promises. When you point out that Obama lied or broke promises it doesn't surprise people, it is more like the boy who cried wolf. The problem is not the crying, it is when the wolf actually shows up and everyone is so disenchanted with politics to get out of bed and see what all the noise is about.

It doesn't help that when Republicans had the Presidency, the House and and Senate that they acted like self serving Democrats. The reason to vote Republican hasn't been because they are so swell, it is because electing Democrats is worse. It is like the choices are dumb and dumber. I am sick of that bs.

I don't know Obama personally. I bet he is a great dad. I bet George Bush really is a fine and decent man. I don't like Obama's spending and love for big government. I didn't like Bush's spending or big government. Government crowds out the private sector in every way. The more government you have the less freedom you have. Albert Nock said that you have social power and you have state power. For the state to gain power it has to come at the expense of social power.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." - Gerald Ford

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson


Update: DaTechGuy supported the Clinton impeachment but doesn't support this. I don't support either, but I think Tancredo's case is stronger. Border safety for American Citizens that live near it is far more consequential than Monica Lewinsky. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Sort Of Tea Party Manifesto

Angelo M. Codevilla

From The American Spectator:

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution
By Angelo M. Codevilla from the July 2010 - August 2010 issue

It is a long essay. I agree with a lot of what it has to say. Not the first time I have cited Codevilla on the cesspool either. I have to confess I am a big fan at this point.

Hat tip to Left Coast Rebel.

Dan Riehl has more:

The so called conservative pundit class that is actually DC-centric punditry in new media is not our true ally. It functions more as a filter, or governor of our beliefs and desires as regards politics, than our enabler. And that will remain true until more people stop being nice to it, or fawning over it, simply because it has power and is purported to be wise. Its more truly Reaganesque thinking has long been corrupted by money, influence, access and power, just as has the GOP establishment.

It is hard to make sweeping generalizations about America and Americans. Not everyone is going to fit into a little box. But a lot of what Codevilla says hits close to my heart. As I was reading it I thought of it as my very own Tea Party Manifesto.

When I have attended Tea Party events I have taken my wife and children. They are family events. I have never seen any rascim, bad behavior or even anyone littering. Most of the people there are with their families. My family went to one with my brother and his family and another with my in laws. In every one of those cases nobody from our group had ever attended a political rally in their lives until the Tea Party. And you meet people there that will tell you the same thing. Those people have finally gotten to a point where enough is enough. I think of the people that I attended with and the people that I met there and it really gets my goat when people start calling us racist.

I liked so much of Codevilla's article and it is so long I can't quote much to do it justice. Here is one part other bloggers I have checked out haven't quoted yet for a teaser:

To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose privileged interlocutors, representing those in society whom they find most amenable. In America ever more since the 1930s -- elsewhere in the world this practice is ubiquitous and long-standing -- government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each of society's sectors as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules for those sectors. The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector's true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class.

Thus in 2009-10 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported the new medical care law, which the administration touted as having the support of "the doctors" even though the vast majority of America's 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA's officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes tamps down rebellion in the doctor ranks. When the administration wanted to bolster its case that the state of Arizona's enforcement of federal immigration laws was offensive to Hispanics, the National Association of Chiefs of Police -- whose officials depend on the administration for their salaries -- issued a statement that the laws would endanger all Americans by raising Hispanics' animosity. This reflected conversations with the administration rather than a vote of the nation's police chiefs.

Similarly, modern labor unions are ever less bunches of workers banding together and ever more bundled under the aegis of an organization chosen jointly by employers and government. Prototypical is the Service Employees International Union, which grew spectacularly by persuading managers of government agencies as well as of publicly funded private entities that placing their employees in the SEIU would relieve them of responsibility. Not by being elected by workers' secret ballots did the SEIU conquer workplace after workplace, but rather by such deals, or by the union presenting what it claims are cards from workers approving of representation. The union gets 2 percent of the workers' pay, which it recycles as contributions to the Democratic Party, which it recycles in greater power over public employees. The union's leadership is part of the ruling class's beating heart.

We have a sea of non-profits and government experts that are like wolves in sheeps clothing. The AMA is more an arm of the government than it is a representation of the doctors. The climate science industry is funded by big government FOR big government. Many non-profits take money from the government and use that money expressly TO LOBBY the very government who just gave them your tax dollars.

Imagine that. It is a great system I guess if you agree with the goals (and good work if you can get it!). But imagine if you oppose the measures. The government takes property from you to give to your opponents, who use that money to lobby the government against you.

Pease read the whole thing.

Update: Rasmussen Reports: 68% Say Political Class Doesn’t Care What Most Americans Think

Those numbers dovetail quite nicely with Angelo M. Codevilla

. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just The Facts, Mam

How facts backfire
Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains
By Joe Keohane, The Boston Globe
July 11, 2010

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

The problem is that Bredan Nyhan has apparently conducted a study where the facts don't matter, to prove that facts don't matter:

On its own, this might not be a problem: People ignorant of the facts could simply choose not to vote. But instead, it appears that misinformed people often have some of the strongest political opinions. A striking recent example was a study done in the year 2000, led by James Kuklinski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He led an influential experiment in which more than 1,000 Illinois residents were asked questions about welfare — the percentage of the federal budget spent on welfare, the number of people enrolled in the program, the percentage of enrollees who are black, and the average payout. More than half indicated that they were confident that their answers were correct — but in fact only 3 percent of the people got more than half of the questions right. Perhaps more disturbingly, the ones who were the most confident they were right were by and large the ones who knew the least about the topic. (Most of these participants expressed views that suggested a strong antiwelfare bias.)

Studies by other researchers have observed similar phenomena when addressing education, health care reform, immigration, affirmative action, gun control, and other issues that tend to attract strong partisan opinion. Kuklinski calls this sort of response the “I know I’m right” syndrome, and considers it a “potentially formidable problem” in a democratic system. “It implies not only that most people will resist correcting their factual beliefs,” he wrote, “but also that the very people who most need to correct them will be least likely to do so.”

What was the "fact" on welfare spending? The article goes on to tell us...

There are also some cases where directness works. Kuklinski’s welfare study suggested that people will actually update their beliefs if you hit them “between the eyes” with bluntly presented, objective facts that contradict their preconceived ideas. He asked one group of participants what percentage of its budget they believed the federal government spent on welfare, and what percentage they believed the government should spend. Another group was given the same questions, but the second group was immediately told the correct percentage the government spends on welfare (1 percent).

The government spends 1% on welfare? That is the correct percentage?

From Kiki Bradley and Robert Rector at The Heritage Institute:

Confronting the Unsustainable Growth of Welfare Entitlements: Principles of Reform and the Next Steps
Published on June 24, 2010
by Kiki Bradley and Robert Rector Backgrounder

Here is the abstract:

Abstract: The growth of welfare spending is unsustainable and will drive the United States into bankruptcy if allowed to continue. President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request would increase total welfare spending to $953 billion—a 42 percent increase over welfare spending in FY 2008, the last full year of the Bush Administration. To bring welfare spending under control, Congress should reduce welfare spending to pre-recession levels after the recession ends and then limit future growth to the rate of inflation. Congress should also restore work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and apply them to other federal welfare programs.

Is that 1%?


The federal government runs over 70 different means-tested anti-poverty programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons. These means-tested programs—including food stamps, public housing, low-income energy assistance, and Medicaid—pay the bills and meet the physical needs of tens of millions of low-income families. However, these programs do not help the recipients move from a position of dependence on the government to being able to provide for themselves.

Over 70 means tested programs? I wonder which ones Brendan Nyhan included when coming up with his figures? I also wonder why Joe Keohane doesn't fact check when writting these articles. Talk about putting politics into science and "facts".


The Need for Reform

When President Lyndon Johnson announced the War on Poverty in 1964, he created large-scale national programs to help the poor and needy. Spending on these programs has grown to alarmingly high levels. In 1964, programs for the poor consumed 1.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964 and consumes over 5 percent of GDP. Spending per poor person in 2008 amounted to around $16,800 in programmatic benefits.

The Obama Administration has worked rapidly to expand the welfare state further. President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget would continue this trend, further increasing spending on programs for the poor to 42 percent above levels in FY 2008, President George W. Bush’s last full year in office. By 2011, total welfare spending (including the state portion) would rise to $953 billion.[5] (See Chart 1.)

Isn't it amazing that liberal political scientists think conservatives "Can't handle the truth" about things such as welfare spending and to demonstrate it they have to lie about actual welfare spending? Maybe the researchers are confirming their own study. They seem to come to conclusions without looking at the actual facts about welfare spending. Aren't they also prone to be victims of this very same human behavior that they are talking about?

Should we rely on left leaning media and leftist academics to give us facts? Is it any surprise that left leaning people more readily accept other leftys "facts". Is it any surprise that conservatives don't buy the whole ball of crap wholesale? Sphere: Related Content