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The self-appointed 99%

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:52 pm - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Dishonest Democrats,Occupy Wall Street,Unhinged Liberals

It turns out that they were predominantly rich – and white.

This will come as no surprise to those familiar with the hypocrisy of the Left and of the media, and as well, the role that the ‘rent-seeking’ (i.e., lazy) type of rich person has always played on the Left.

Obama team blames others for economic contraction

On March 19, 2009, President Obama told Jay Leno that ‘one of the things’ he was ‘trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.‘”

The recent Yahoo! headlines suggest that his team is not heeding that advice:

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With news that Q$ GOP, expected to increase by just over 1%, has dropped 0.1%, the Democrat’s team, as the outset of Obama’s second term is, well, looking for someone else to blame:

The White House on Wednesday blamed the devastation from Superstorm Sandy and disruptions from deep scheduled spending cuts for the surprise 0.1 percent drop in gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2012. It was the first such contraction since early 2009 when the country was in the grips of the Great Recession.

Republicans need to both press the Democrat to articulate his plans for economic growth–and present their own alternative as well.

Betting on Illegal Immigration

President Obama was in Las Vegas yesterday, pitching his plan for “comprehensive immigration reform” and claiming credit for Monday’s “bipartisan” proposals on that matter.  Although it cost a fortune for him to make what is essentially a campaign stop in Nevada just to make a speech that he could have made in Washington, the implications of the speech having been given in Las Vegas, a city best known for gambling, were not lost on me.

The more I think about it, the whole idea of “comprehensive immigration reform” as a way of addressing the problem of illegal immigration is really the consequence of a number of bets made by members of both political parties and by the illegal immigrants themselves.

Here’s a summary of a few of them, along with a quick assessment of some of the odds involved in each.

Obama is betting that he can snooker enough Republicans into going along with what is essentially a ploy to secure a large voting bloc for the Democrats, a bloc that will partake of many government services and will continue to vote for the expansion of government power.  He is betting that with enough illegal immigrants rewarded with legal status and placed on a path to citizenship, he will be able to turn “swing states” such as Nevada and Florida into reliable states for Democrats and that he may even be able to chip away at Republican margins in strongholds such as Arizona and Texas.   And if he gets everything he’s asking for (and the way the current reports sound, he just might), his odds of achieving all of those things seem pretty good, indeed.

He is also betting, though, that if he doesn’t get everything he wants, or even if he gets some of it, he and the Democrats will have another issue with which to bludgeon the Republicans.  The odds of this happening are excellent.  Any Republican attempts to oppose his proposals will be branded as racist and xenophobic, and Democrats and their allies in the media will be able to attack Republicans over this issue for years and years to come.  In fact, I’d say that the president has already won this side of the issue, just by getting a few Republican lawmakers to come to any sort of “bi-partisan” agreement concerning immigration reform.

Then there are those Republican lawmakers who were part of this agreement.  Their motives are mixed, but at least a few of them are betting that if the “bi-partisan” proposal passes both houses of Congress and illegal immigrants are granted some form of amnesty and some are put on a path to citizenship, then suddenly, out of the blue, a large block of these new voters will start voting Republican for reasons that no logical or well-informed person could rationally believe.  Furthermore, some of them appear to believe that if Republicans compromise with Obama and enact “bi-partisan immigration reform,” then suddenly the Democrats and the media will stop saying so many bad things about Republicans.

Do I even need to explain why both of these are bad bets and why any Republican who goes along with any “bi-partisan” “comprehensive immigration” proposal endorsed by Obama is going to regret it down the line?

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Finally, there are the illegal immigrants themselves.

A few years back, I rented a film called The Visitor on DVD. The film is intended to be a parable about illegal immigration. A college professor from Connecticut goes to his apartment in New York to find an illegal immigrant couple squatting there without his knowledge. At first he asks them to leave, but then when he realizes they have nowhere to go, he invites them to stay.

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Why don’t advocates of global warming making weather forecasts?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:15 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Climate Change (Global Warming)

As we shiver here in Los Angeles with unseasonably cold temperatures which seem to have spread beyond the Southland, I wonder again where is all the global warming the the various environmentalists around town have promised.

It seems that whenever I ask them if there’s a formula to forecast the weather for the coming years, they hem and haw and promise that it will be warmer, but few offer actual temperature ranges.  Last week on Powerline, John Hinderaker posted a piece suggesting why this may be.

John cited a number of failed predictions of the past, notably those made by Paul R. Ehrlich, asking whether the Stanford biologist was the most consistently wrong man in history.  in 1968, Ehrlich made many predictions, forecasting, for example, mass starvation in the 1970s and depletion of the world’s resources in the 1980s.  Those of us who survived those decades know just how wrong he was.

In an update to his post, John quips, “Note that the global warming hoaxers have learned from their forebears: they generally avoid making predictions that are falsifiable in a time frame that would cut off their gravy train.”  So that’s why they don’t offer such predictions; they don’t want to provide data which might allow skeptics to question their science.

Big government means more chain stores

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:30 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,LA Stories

Monday night when returning from our Meatless Mondays Steak Dinner, I asked a reader who had traveled with me to there event if he noticed that there were more chain stores opening up across LA.  On the way back from Burbank (to West Hollywood), within fewer than five minutes, we passed a new Walgreen’s and two Rite-Aids, one of them new.

There do seem to be more such drug stores opening up across LA, not to mention fast food restaurants, with a Chipotle replacing a flower shop on Melrose and La Brea and what appears to be an Old Navy moving into space on Beverly vacated by an independent furniture store.

Given that big companies have large staffs to help them maneuver through regulatory hoops — and making the cost of compliance (through economies of scale) cheaper per storefront than for an independent operation, it seems that big government makes it easier for the big guys and more challenging for individual entrepreneurs.

Ironic that more often than not, those who lament the increasing presence of chain stores tend to vote for the politicians whose policies serve to give a competitive advantage to those chain stores.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  David Boaz suspects

. . . there might be two things going on. Chain stores probably have efficiencies of scale, bigger marketing budgets spread over more stores, more research on what consumers like, etc. But yes, it is also often argued that compliance is easier for larger companies. They have lawyers, HR departments, and so on. Charles Murray — maybe in his book “In Pursuit” — has argued that increasing complexity requiring verbal and paperwork skills benefits educated people — the sort of people who write regulations and get hired by big companies. Small business folks may be less likely to be college-educated and proficient at navigating bureaucracies.

David’s book Libertarianism: A Primer is quite a good read — and highly recommended.

Can you measure happiness?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:37 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Happiness,Random Thoughts

When a friend linked an article recently on the world’s happiness countries, I wondered about the study’s metrics.  Can people in one country really be happier than those in another, provided each allow its citizens an adequate amount of freedom — and security?

That study linked Ireland and number 10, yet when I traveled in Europe, the Irish were clearly happier than the Swiss (ranked ninth) and those in Finland and the Scandinavian countries, all nations ranked higher than the Emerald Isle.  And the Portuguese (not on the list) seemed almost as happy as the Irish.

This article, interestingly, did link happiness to the free market:

Happiness means having opportunity – to get an education, to be an entrepreneur. What’s more satisfying than having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?

It does seem there is a link between hard work and happiness.  I find that the days I work the hardest, particularly on a project I enjoy, are the days I am the happiest.

On Sunday, on blog talk radio, blogress Amy Alkon featured Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, who has just published a book, The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does.  It does sometimes seem that what we think will make us happy doesn’t, but what shouldn’t does.

There is a definitely a link between work which leads to accomplishment and/or reward and happiness.  And some lazy people I know do seem very unhappy.