Friday, September 28, 2007

Albert Gore, Jr. is afraid to debate

Why won't Albert Gore, Jr. debate his opponents on global warming? Because he know he will lose. It already happened last March. A big loss! TCS Daily
Gore's reluctance to go toe-to-toe with global warming skeptics may have something to do with the - from the standpoint of climate change alarmists - unfortunate outcome of a global warming debate in New York last March. In the debate, a team of global warming skeptics composed of MIT scientist Richard Lindzen, University of London emeritus professor of biogeology Philip Stott, and physician-turned novelist/filmmaker Michael Crichton handily defeated a team of climate alarmists headed by NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt. Before the start of the nearly two-hour debate, the audience of several thousand polled 57.3 percent to 29.9 percent in favor of the proposition that global warming is a "crisis." At the end of the debate, the numbers had changed dramatically, with 46.2 percent favoring the skeptical point of view and 42.2 percent siding with the alarmists.
Here is the debate itself. You can download and read the transcript or listen: Intelligence Squared

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hillary telling the truth too early

If elected she won't withdraw troops from Iraq. Now she is saying "pull out right now." She is telling the left nutroots what they want to hear. But she was caught telling the truth. Rush Limbaugh figured this out - he says months ago. But I heard him predict it before she said it. Patrick Ruffini at Hugh Hewitt's blog

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Valuable real estate in Bangkok, Thailand

We will be happy to return to Bangkok for another visit. Beach and Elephants - Bangkok and River Kwai - Military Rule But we missed this. Real estate is so valuable that a market is set up on the railroad tracks.

A train runs through it.

Candidates - Huckabee's economic record is poor

Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has a record showing his policy values. What does it show us? Huckabee raises taxes and raises spending. Year after year. The Club for Growth gives the years, particular taxes, programs and numbers. Taxes
By the end of his ten-year tenure, Governor Huckabee was responsible for a 37% higher sales tax in Arkansas, 16% higher motor fuel taxes, and 103% higher cigarette taxes according to Americans for Tax Reform (01/07/07), garnering a lifetime grade of D from the free-market Cato Institute. While he is on record supporting making the Bush tax cuts permanent, he joined Democrats in criticizing the Republican Party for tilting its tax policies "toward the people at the top end of the economic scale" (Washington Examiner 09/13/06), even though objective evidence demonstrates that the Bush tax cuts have actually shifted the tax burden to higher income taxpayers. Finally, Governor Huckabee opposed further tax cuts at a 2005 gathering of Iowa conservatives (AP 09/17/05). On January 28, 2007, Governor Huckabee refused to pledge not to raise taxes if elected President, first on Meet the Press and then at the National Review Conservative Summit. The evidence suggests that his commitment to protecting taxpayers evidenced in his early gubernatorial years may be a thing of the past.
Under Governor Huckabee's watch, state spending increased a whopping 65.3% from 1996 to 2004, three times the rate of inflation (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07). The number of state government workers rose 20% during his tenure (Arkansas Leader 04/15/06), and the state's general obligation debt shot up by almost $1 billion, according to Americans for Tax Reform. The massive increase in government spending is due in part to the number of new programs and expansion of already existing programs initiated by Governor Huckabee, including ARKids First, a multimillion-dollar government program to provide health coverage for thousands of Arkansas' children (Arkansas News Bureau 04/13/06).
Trade Governor Huckabee's record on trade is limited, but positive. In 2003, he pushed for free trade with Mexico, calling for a "strong market of the Americas" and supporting NAFTA (AP 10/03/03). In 2006, he signed an agreement between Arkansas and a South Korea trade group, calling for increased commerce between the southern state and South Korea (AP 06/23/06). Entitlement Reform
In 2005, Governor Huckabee defended President Bush's proposal for personal Social Security accounts. Unfortunately, however, Governor Huckabee qualified his support, saying, "I don't think anyone pretends it solves the long-term issue of solvency. It's trying to address methods to improve the system and broaden the base of how it is funded" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 02/04/05). More disturbing is Governor Huckabee's support for the 2003 Republican-initiated Medicare prescription drug plan, a huge unfunded liability shouldered by taxpayers across America ( 02/28/06). The specific details of his position on Social Security reform and his positions on other entitlement programs remain unclear.
Governor Huckabee has consistently supported and initiated measures that increase government's interference in markets, thereby impeding economic growth. He told the Washington Times he supports "empowering people to make their own decisions," but many of his key proposals have done just the opposite (Washington Times 03/01/05).
School Choice
Governor Huckabee's record on school choice is mixed. On the one hand, he fought hard to protect the rights of parents to home school their children and was a vocal proponent of charter schools (Arkansas Time 09/22/05). In 1997, he supported a proposal that would expand charter school eligibility to include public and private universities, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations (AP 02/12/97). He signed legislation in 1999 that allowed for as many as 12 charter schools to be established in Arkansas, an important achievement given the state's onerous laws governing charter schools (Time 07/10/00). On the other hand, Governor Huckabee is on record opposing the most important element of genuine school choice-voucher programs that allow poor students in failing public schools to attend private schools and inject much needed competition into a decrepit public education system-because of a concern about government control of parochial schools (Arkansas Times 09/22/05). He also called No Child Left Behind "the greatest education reform effort by the federal government in my lifetime," (Washington Times 03/01/05) a program that stripped schools of local control and increased federal spending on education by 48% over three years ( 11/09/06).
Political Free Speech
Governor Huckabee is on record criticizing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, though the majority of his criticism has focused on discriminatory measures that allows senators to transfer money from Senate committees to presidential runs, but deny governors the same freedom to move state funds into federal accounts. While he called for less restrictions and more disclosure regarding campaign contributions (The Hill 11/29/06) and okayed unlimited soft money provided full disclosure (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 03/10/00), Governor Huckabee is also on record favoring limiting individual, PAC, corporate, and political party contributions to state candidates ( 2002).
A mixed record. Tort Reform
In his 2003 State of the State speech, Governor Huckabee called for "action immediately to limit the abuse of malpractice litigation" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 01/15/03) and followed up a year later, signing the Civil Justice Reform Act which set a $1 million limit on punitive damages in civil cases in Arkansas. He rightly hailed the measure as an important step towards achieving "affordable health care and help[ing] the state attract and keep businesses" (AP 04/20/04).
It would be hard for me to support a tax and spender like Huckabee.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

HIllary makes false promises in health care

See update at bottom HIllary Clinton cares about everyone. She is generous with other people's money - with yours. She now proposes to provide health care to everyone. She is promising something she can't deliver. Why not? It's Human nature. It happens like this: When you make something "free to everyone" then everyone demands the best care, at the time of their choosing... "Now!" So the cost of delivering care rises - due to both expecting the best care and the timing. When the cost rises, then the government has to cut back - they ration care. Loving bureaucrats decide who gets chemotherapy for the cancer and who doesn't. This now happens with insurance companies, but it is decentralized. When one bureaucrat in Washington, DC is making all the decisions he will do it without information about each patient. He will be even more arbitrary than the insurance company people. She is promising first-class care to everyone. She can't deliver on that promise. But she doesn't intend to. She intends to get elected due to her good intentions. She knows how to blame others for her failures. We call this a "perfectly predicable surprise."
For the first time, the word "no" would come into our system. Do you need open heart surgery? Are you a poor risk because of smoking or diabetes or age? No longer would the bureaucrat at the other end of the phone say "we won't pay for it" or "you don't need it" or "we can't fit you in at our facility." The answer would simply be no — even if you pay for it yourself, you may not have one. It is this type of coercion that drives Canadians over the border to the U.S. in search of medical options denied them at home under their socialized medical structure. Now it would operate on both sides of the border.
Quoting Dick Morris. Canadians drive here and pay out of their own pockets when they are denied care. Where will we have to go? Not Mexico. Next he addresses illegals:
In her program, she speaks of how health care is the right of every "American" — but she has a rather expansive definition of "American." In 2005, Hillary co-sponsored legislation in the United States Senate to offer free health insurance, under the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to the children of illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years. So, those who have dodged the immigration cops for five years successfully would be rewarded not only with legal status and a path to citizenship, but with immediate free health care for their children. Indeed, when Democrats and liberals speak of the 50,000,000 uninsured Americans, more than one fifth of those are illegal immigrants. Thus, about one in five of the beneficiaries of her program for universal health insurance are illegal aliens. (Illegal immigrants are a disproportionately large segment of the uninsured population because legal immigrants and citizens who live in poverty are eligible for Medicaid, but illegal immigrants are not.) Would Americans like to reward those whose only connection to our country is that they flouted our laws to come here with free health insurance for themselves and their children? Doubtless Hillary knows the answer is no, so she is determined to hide that aspect of her plan from the public.
And forcing the healthy to get insurance they don't now buy because they don't need it:
Hillary speaks of the importance of stopping health insurance companies from raising premiums on those who are sick. But she does not mention the inevitable flip side of her proposal — to raise premiums on those who are well. On the one hand, she would cover all those with chronic conditions with low cost health insurance and, on the other, would stop insurance companies from "cherry picking" healthy and young people for their insurance plans. The net effect would be a major increase in health insurance premiums for the vast majority of Americans. In effect, her plan would turn "insurance" into "subsidy." The concept of insurance is that one pays a relatively low premium to guard against catastrophic expenses that are outside of our ability to meet financially. But Hillary's program would really be nothing more than a cash transfer from the healthy to the sick, not an insurance program at all. Hillary says that her program would provide "universal" coverage for all. In order to achieve universality, one must make the program compulsory. The bulk of the uninsured do not want to have to pay for insurance. They are healthy and don't want the added burden of health insurance. That is why about half of those who are eligible for free or low cost insurance under the State Child Health Insurance Program have not signed up. Their parents don't want to. So Hillary's program, as she freely admits, would require health insurance as a pre-condition of employment. Not having health insurance would be a violation just as driving a car without automobile insurance is illegal. The resulting coercion would force millions to pay for coverage they do not want and feel they don't need. But to pay for her national program, Hillary needs everyone to be covered so she can use their revenues to subsidize the coverage of those who are ill.
Good job, Dick. Update. It's been tried, but won't get passed. Gov. Schawarzenegger in California proposed the same plan; he got it from the same advisers - Laurie Rubiner, who directed health-care issues at the liberal New America Foundation. It is the same sort of top-heavy plan disguised. But the Republicans won't support it because the cost will require large tax increases. The Democrats won't support it because it isn't interventionist enough! See more at Wall Street Journal (free link).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wind energy approved despite enviros

Environmentalists insist we can do everything green. Renewable energy? "It will be better for the earth and cheaper." But when you try to follow their advice they fight you tooth and nail. In Washington a wind-energy farm was proposed near Ellensburg. Yes, they fought it. Our governor Christine Gregoire had to make a decision. She did the right thing and approved it. Seattle Times:
Gregoire's decision to allow the Kittitas Valley Wind Power project means as many as 65 towering wind turbines could line hillsides northwest of Ellensburg, despite a vote against the project by the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners. The case was closely watched by environmentalists, energy companies and local governments as a sign of whether wind projects near populated areas would be allowed in Washington, and whether the state would flex its muscles to force a project past local objections. "The concern was renewable-energy developers would just throw up their hands and say, 'Washington is making it tough.' Thankfully, this long saga appears to be at an end," said Marc Krasnowsky, spokesman for the environmental group NW Energy Coalition.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good business news. Blame Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch is going to take the focus off the bad news. Variety Magazine:
"They [CNBC - the business channel] dwell too much on failures and scandals and politics," Murdoch said of CNBC. "We want to spend a lot of time on innovation, successes and people who are making money."
So he is starting a new channel:
Rupert Murdoch vowed that News Corp.'s upcoming Fox Business Network would take a very different approach to business news than CNBC, casting the upcoming battle as Wall Street vs. Main Street. "It's going to be different from CNBC, just as Fox News is different from CNN," Murdoch told Wall Streeters at the Goldman Sachs-sponsored conference Tuesday. "CNBC is a financial channel for Wall Street; we're for Main Street." CNBC has had little competition, short of Bloomberg TV, since CNN shuttered CNNfn in late 2004. Fox Business Network is set to launch in 34 million homes on Oct. 15.
The lame-strem media love to hate Rupert Murdoch. Another reason to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chemical weapons in Syria

Syria suffered a set back in its chemical weapons on July 23. An explosion occurred while mating a chemical warhead to a rocket, killing "dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers." Jerusalem Post: ... the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

China's one-child policy might benefit us

China might have benefitted from its cruel policy of allowing only one child and forcing abortion or infanticide for violators - benefitted from the limit on its population. But we have already seen evidence of a shortage of workers - higher pay, positions unfilled. And the Chinese much prefer a boy over a girl if they can only have one. Thomas PM Barnett hits another home run. He observes that the shortage of brides - already happening, but growing in the future - will not result in Chinese men sitting in corners. They will adapt; they will go find women - and workers. When this happened in Korea the men went to Viet Nam. The Chinese will almost certainly allow immigration of the needed women. And that's where the good news is. This will connect China to other countries and require them to have relations - the countries! At Barnett's blog:
Honestly, these things get presented all the time by social scientists as inexorable tragedies, as though humans aren't adaptable whatsoever. Hell, you give me the choice between no woman and a racially different woman and guess which choice I "suddenly and very rapidly" make? Or take a gander at Ireland with its "sudden and very rapid" influx of immigrant black Africans? Inconceivable I tell you! Until necessity makes it happen
Barnett is a favorite source for insightful comment, but his politics leads him to strange places. A couple months ago he preferred the foreign relations midget Barack Hussein Obama for President.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wal-Mart saves every family $2,500 per year

Wal-Mart saves you money, even if you never set foot there. Wal-Mart continuously drives prices down. This requires their competitors to find ways to lower prices also. At the same time the quality has to stay good. The result is lower prices for every one. CNS News
A study released by Wal-Mart on Wednesday indicates the world's largest retailer now saves American families an average of $2,500 a year, up 7.3 percent from 2004... "From the family vacation to a daughter's wedding, the savings American families realize at Wal-Mart bring the good things in life a good deal closer," said Stephen Quinn, Wal-Mart's chief marketing officer, in a news release on Wednesday.
The big factors:
  • Price leadership. By continuously rolling back prices on thousands of products, Wal-Mart is helping millions of Americans manage high gas prices and rising interest rates, with 20 percent more rollbacks than last year;
  • $4 prescription drugs. Wal-Mart has lowered the price of more than 100 generic prescriptions to $4. By providing access to drugs for 90 percent of all therapeutic categories, the company has saved customers $350 million since it launched the program; and
  • Money centers. With Wal-Mart's everyday low pricing on money services - including check cashing, money orders, bill payment and money transfers - customers can save 25 to 50 percent over what other leading money service providers charge and save $450 each year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

US manufacturing leads the world

The United States with 4% of the world's population produces almost a quarter of the world's manufacturing. Our manufacturing output is now the highest it has ever been. The US is the largest manufacturer by far. Second place Japan is dropping back. One of my favorite Algore lies was in 1992 when he accused Vice President Dan Quayle of paying to send American jobs overseas. There has to be an element of truth for a lie to work, Al. Manufacturing in the US is healthy and growing. It is not growing as a percentage of our economy, but it is growing. Daniel Ikenson at covers it: Reports of the death of U.S. manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated. Since the depth of the manufacturing recession in 2002, the sector as a whole has experienced robust and sustained output, revenue, and profit growth. The year 2006 was a record year for output, revenues, profits, profit rates, and return on investment in the manufacturing sector. And despite all the stories about the erosion of U.S. manufacturing primacy, the United States remains the world's most prolific manufacturer--producing two and a half times more output than those vaunted Chinese factories in 2006. The Washington Post tells the same news in the story of a mill town in North Carolina. The textile mill employed 200, but closed in the late 1950s. Now the same building houses Biolex Therapeutics. 90 people produce a drug for a liver ailment. And their process uses duck weed from a local pond!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Honoring 9-11 Victims and Responders

Six years ago the United States was attacked, an act of war. 3,000 people died at the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 in western Pennsylvania. Everyday people were attacked while going about their own business. And policemen, firemen, medical people, etc. rushed toward the flames, rather than away. Hundreds of them are among the dead. And everyday people risked or gave their lives to help others. Today we remember both victims and heroes. And the war is not over. While young men and women are voluntarily going into harm's way to take down the extremist Islam that is attacking us US senators wearing suits in comfort are disdaining the. Senator Chuck Schumer is aiding our enemies by declaring our defeat. He even declared our military to be incompetent. How can he face people today who risk their lives to protect his? See Senator Chuck speak his cowardly words at Hugh Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez accelerates the downward rush by insulting Petraeus to his face. And Move showed the Democratics colors by taking out a full-page ad in a New York newspaper "General Petraeus or General Betray Us."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ignore history and "find" worst warming ever - update

Polar bears drowning due to ice melting? Wake up, Albert Gore, Jr. The Northwest Passage in the north of Canada has been navigated multiple times - in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Boats/ships sailed in water - through ice, yes - but in water.
Built for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force to serve as a supply ship for isolated, far-flung Arctic RCMP detachments, St. Roch was also designed to serve when frozen in for the winter, as a floating detachment, with its constables mounting dog sled patrols from the ship. Between 1929 and 1939 St. Roch made three voyages to the Arctic. Between 1940 and 1942 St. Roch navigated the Northwest Passage, arriving in Halifax harbor on October 11, 1942. St. Roch was the second ship to make the passage, and the first to travel the passage from west to east. In 1944, St. Roch returned to Vancouver via the more northerly route of the Northwest Passage, making her run in 86 days. The epic voyages of St. Roch demonstrated Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic during the difficult wartime years, and extended Canadian control over its vast northern territories
More at Newsbusters 13 Sept 2007 The Wall Street Journal has an article today - subscription required And this great Flash graphic/show. Check each tab. First crossing in one season was the Canadian ship St. Roche in 1944.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Now "Sir Jim" doesn't represent me

My Congressman Jim McDermott doesn't represent me. He supports every far-left cause and bigger government. Now he has been knighted by Lesotho. KNDO in Yakima:
Congressman Jim McDermott has been named a knight by the African nation of Lesotho. The knighthood was bestowed recently (August 22nd) by King Letsie III at the Royal Palace in Maseru, Lesotho, a landlocked country surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. The liberal Democrat from Seattle was recognized for his leadership on the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has enabled Lesotho to become a top African exporter of apparel to the United States. McDermott co-sponsored the 2000 law, which his office said has helped create 50,000 jobs in Lesotho. Former President Bill Clinton was similarly honored by Lesotho.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Feinstein Pork for Beverly Hills

It takes hard work to come up with an earmark more egregious than that infamous Alaskan bridge, but California's Dianne Feinstein is an industrious gal. Her latest pork--let's call it Rambo's View--deserves to be the poster child for everything wrong with today's greedy earmark process. The senator's $4 billion handout (yes, you read that right) to wealthy West L.A. (yes, you read that right, too) is the ultimate example of how powerful members use earmarks to put their own parochial interests above national ones--in this case the needs of veterans. Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hillary fundraiser Hsu is fugitive from the law

Hillary Clinton's fundraiser Norman Hsu is on the run from the law again. It was discovered a few weeks ago that he had been convicted in California 15 years ago, but had not completed his sentence; he was a fugitive. Hsu appeared in court a week or two ago and posted bail of $2,000,000; no longer a fugitive; good. He was required to appear in court again yesterday. He did not appear. He is a fugitive from the law again. He is one of Hillary's top fund raisers. New York Times:
Since the 2004 election cycle, Mr. Hsu personally contributed $600,000 to Democrats around the country and raised hundreds of thousands more, frequently holding fund-raising parties and getting his picture taken with prominent politicians.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

DSL speed test - Updated

This is the speed test for my DSL internet access at It's just about what I was promised. September 1 September 16 - Big problem