Monday, February 01, 2010

The Conservative Corrections Alpaca

Here's a correction that Retracto the conservative corrections alpaca won't bother with.

From the American Spectator:

Their goal was to check to see if the phone system in the office was working. The men, under the leadership of a young media impresario named James O'Keefe, were querying why constituents of Sen. Landrieu had been unable to register negative feelings about Obamacare on the Senator's phone line. They had been told that perhaps the phones were out of order.

Nobody has claimed this was their real goal. They did not disguise themselves as phone repairmen to ask an innocent question. Some have suggested they wanted to sabotage the phones to see how the staff reacted when they were really out of order. Others that they thought it would be funny to pretend to think the phones were really out of order.

And the only source I've seen that they didn't actually try to bug the phones is one anonymous law enforcement source. I wonder what his political leanings are?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Corporate funded protests

Instapundit was rather impressed by this Bureaucrash protest. We have entered a new era - the grassroots rent-a-protester!

Yes, Bureaucrash calls themselves 'guerilla activists', but they are funded by the Competetive Enterprise Institute, which is funded by Exxon and other large corporations, as well as some other think tanks.

I wonder how much the protest cost? Check, Visa, or Mastercard?

Friday, July 10, 2009


Well, the Senate is going to vote this bill down, and it's a good thing. Both Greenpeace and James Hansen consider this attempt to regulate global warming worse than useless.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Post Modern Libertarianism

Now Instapundit is talking about going 'Hank Rearden'. I don't know if this is any different from going John Galt - google didn't turn up any other uses of the phrase.

Rebekah Allen of Concord came to Market Basket yesterday to do her shopping, and planned to look for the new trash bags required by the city’s pay-as-you-throw system. The bags were not there.

Market Basket, alone among Concord’s major supermarkets, has decided not to stock the trash bags. Their logic is simple: Why sell an item for which the store gets no profit?

Allen, when told of the decision, said she would still shop at Market Basket, and she did not mind going to another store for trash bags.

“I think it’s a bad program anyway,” Allen said of pay-as-you-throw. “I agree with (Market Basket).”

The city wants people to pay for their garbage collection - if they don't take it to the dump themselves. Sounds more libertarian than taxing people equally for garbage disposal regardless of how much or little they create.

This says something about the latest generation of 'going John Galt' libertarians in my opinion.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Color Scheme

Alas, I don't seem to be getting many complaints about setting the world on fire. They all seem to involve the layout. I rather like my color scheme. I actually find the black restful. It seems everyone else disagrees with me. Anyone want to say something nice about my color scheme before I start fooling with the blogger layout?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

If a statistic sounds like it can't be true

[Post edited. Although there has been much talk of layoffs now and in the past, I believe public concerns about long lines may have averted the set of layoffs referred to in the last link.]

Via Instapundit, I read on Chicago Boyz that California could not possibly lay off government employees, since :

California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers and ~18.6 million civilians. With so many people organized with a laser-like focus on increasing taxes and spending, the private working citizens of California find it nearly impossible to prevent government workers from voting their own paychecks.


Of course no one is being whipped, but in effect an ordinary citizen of California cannot get their desires for reduced state spending implemented due to the disproportionate power of the State’s employees and allied interest. It appears now that the government unions will not accept any solution to California’s budget crisis except increased taxes in a declining economy. Ordinary citizens have no choice but to either emigrate or just lie there and take it.

Shannon Love hasn't forgotten that 18.6 million is more than 2.3 million, it's just that the 2.3 million are much more focused on keeping their salaries than the rest are on cutting them.

When I questioned this statistic in the comment section, I didn't get a reference, but the 'clarification' does sound a little more plausible. (I forgot to fill out the top part of the comment section, so I'm anonymous.)

# Anonymous Says:
January 23rd, 2009 at 10:55 pm

California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers?

I’m just curious where you got this figure. It sounds extraordinary. I take it you only include workers for the state of California, since employees for other levels of government would be happy to cut state workers and save on their taxes.


# Shannon Love Says:
January 23rd, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Anonymous 10:55 pm,

California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers? I’m just curious where you got this figure

California has 2.3 million state and local government workers. Most 90% are in one union or another. Teachers, police, fire, corrections officers, highway workers, office workers etc all belong to unions which to my knowledge are compulsory. The unions way in heavily on political issues. They are especially noted for spending millions on advertising campaigns. They collect those millions from union dues. So, even if 49% of government worker oppose an issue the other 51% can force the union to support it.

Do all these groups vote to support each other at all times? Here's a possible answer from a few months ago. Is it really only the state employees who think they are providing a service?

Of 9,017 DMV employees statewide, 1,345 — or 15 percent — could be gone by Friday after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs an executive order to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis.

The department also has 751 contractors who could be terminated. And that won’t be good news for customers, said Amber Carlson, who would lose her $14.75-an-hour part-time job answering phones and processing paperwork at the DMV’s Sacramento headquarters.

“People aren’t going to get their licenses back as quick. There’s going to be more people on hold trying to get their questions answered,” said Carlson, 25. “He (Schwarzenegger) is trying to push people, and he’s pushing the wrong people.”

Schwarzenegger is expected to sign the executive order Thursday, the first day of the August pay period.

About 22,000 temporary, part-time and contract state workers face layoffs. That could mean fewer food safety inspections and cutbacks in the programs that stock fish in the state’s rivers and lakes, among many consequences.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to Break a Terrorist

I just finished reading How to Break a Terrorist by Matthew Alexander. It's one of the most important books I've ever read. I'm not sure if anyone knows how to fix the world economy in the long term, but this man might be able to fix Afghanistan if he were given free rein.

When people talk about our giving up torture, one of the first things you'll hear about is a 'ticking time bomb', a hypothetical bomb which can only be disarmed if a terrorist tells you how - quickly. Usually the teller means this as an example of who torture cannot be ruled out, but Matthew Alexander dealt with similar situations - when abuse didn't work.

This is the story of the interrogation team which managed to help locate and kill Zarqawi. The plot hums along like a thriller, with conflicts between interrogators and prisoners, between different interrogators, and between interrogators and their superiors. In between there is time for a few light and humorous moments, and we learn a lot about both personalities and interrogation techniques.

Can we really help fix Afghanistan? This would be only the first step. New interrogation would have to lead to new nation building.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fox News Discovers an 'Environmental Group'!

The headline doesn't say it all, but it's a start:

Environmental Group Begrudges Inaugural Show as Mammoth Polluter

The Institute for Liberty says if environmentalists really want to honor President-elect Obama, they will stay home rather than contribute millions of pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

You have to read the fine print to discover this group is a conservative think tank. So is this think tank focused on the environment, from a conservative perspective?

This is from the home page of the Institute for Liberty:


Welcome to the online home of the Institute for Liberty and the Institute for Liberty Research and Education Foundation. IFL is an advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Originally founded as a public policy center focusing on technology issues, the organization is now dedicated to small business and entrepreneurship, acting as an agent for holding back the incursion of costly regulatory regimes that burden American business.

Specifically, we fight against the “petty tyrannies” of government—the incremental diminutions in individual rights that lead to wholesale destruction of liberties. While IFL will direct much of its effort towards the federal executive branch, it will also advocate on congressional attempts to erode the rights of small business owners and frustrate entrepreneurship in America.

This doesn't sound like any environmental group to me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At Last!

Protein Wisdom has gotten around to repeating the inaccurate information being circulated by the 'liberal' media. You can follow the rumor back through their hat tip if you like, its been circulating awhile.

Of course, the MSM thought a bit differently about the $40 million 2004 inauguration

Don’t they know there is a war on? [...]

To many Democrats, images of Republicans in sequined gowns and designer tuxedos nibbling roast quail and twirling the Texas two-step in last week’s $40 million-plus inaugural extravaganza seemed inappropriate, unseemly, even unpatriotic, when American soldiers are dying in Iraq.

“Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime,” Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, chided in a letter to President Bush. Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s austere fourth inaugural in 1945, Mr. Weiner suggested that the money would have been better spent on armored Humvees and pay bonuses for the troops.

But for an incoming President with a $850 Billion stimulus package slush fund to reward political allies, what’s a mere $160 Million Party on the Mall?

Two errors. The stimulus package isn't paying for the inauguration, nor is the government. Almost all the money is being raised privately.

And the amount is wrong also, as Media Matters explains:

Here's why using the $160 million number and comparing it with Bush's 2005 costs represented a classic apples-and-oranges assessment: For years, the press routinely referred to the cost of presidential inaugurations by calculating how much money was spent on the swearing-in and the social activities surrounding that. The cost of the inauguration's security was virtually never factored into the final tab, as reported by the press. For instance, here's The Washington Post from January 20, 2005, addressing the Bush bash:

The $40 million does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment.

For decades, that represented the norm in terms of calculating inauguration costs: Federal dollars spent on security were not part of the commonly referred-to cost. (The cost of Obama's inauguration, minus the security costs? Approximately $45 million.) What's happening this year: The cost of the Obama inauguration and the cost of the security are being combined by some in order to come up with the much larger tab. Then, that number is being compared with the cost of the Bush inauguration in 2005, minus the money spent on security.

In other words, it's the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama's inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush's.

That's why the right-wing site confidently reported that Obama's swearing-in would cost "nearly four times what George Bush's inauguration cost four years ago." So did Flopping Aces, a shining light of the right-wing blogosphere:

It may look like I quoted a whole post, but if you click through you'll see there's a lot more there.