Friday, September 30, 2005

Rodney King arrested...again

Rodney King was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening his daughter and ex-girlfriend with a toy handgun. Police arrived on the scene after his daughter called 911. Officers reported that when they began arrest procedures, that King said, "Aren't you gonna hit me at least once or twice? My three million is almost gone, and I sure could use some more. What does a guy have to do to get bashed up a bit?"

Video captured by King's current girlfriend verify the officers account of the incident.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political witch hunts

Travis Country District Attorney Ronald Earle is the prosecutor who obtained the indictment against House Speaker Tom DeLay yesterday.

Two months ago, Ronald Earle spoke and a Democrat Party fundraiser. He got the biggest ovation of the night when he said "I am the man who is going to bring down Tom DeLay."

And back in May, he was the featured speaker in Dallas for the Texas Values in Action Coalition, a Democratic political action committee. The prosecutor talked about his investigation into Republican corporate contributions and mentioned Mr. DeLay. "This case is not just about Tom DeLay," he told the audience. "If it isn't this Tom DeLay, it'll be another one, just like one bully replaces the one before."

Political analysts said Earle's appearance left him open to questions about his motives.

"It may help Tom DeLay establish his case that Ronnie Earle's investigation is a partisan witch hunt," said Richard Murray, a political scientist with the University of Houston.

"It clearly fuels the perception that his investigation is politically motivated. It was probably not a wise move," said Larry Noble, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer who heads the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Attorneys who have studied the indictment say that there is no claim of any specific criminal act by Tom DeLay. In fact, the financial exchange which is at the center of the alleged conspiracy was completely legal. The indictment is a partisan political attack, intended to let Democrats throw around words like "conspiracy" and "money laundering."

This is not the first time that Ronald Earle has used his position to launch baseless political attacks. Three times he tried to indict Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Each time he was laughed out of court. And this is Earle's sixth attempt to indict DeLay.

I predict an acquittal and complete exoneration for Tom DeLay.

Danish Air Force compensates Santa

[Reuters, Sept 29, 7:07 AM ET]
The Danish Air Force said Thursday it paid 31,175 kroner ($5,032) in compensation to a part-time Santa Claus whose reindeer died of heart failure when two fighter jets roared over his farm.

The animal, named Rudolf, was grazing peacefully at the central Denmark farm of Olavi Nikkanoff, when the screaming F-16 jets passed overhead at low altitude in February.

The reindeer collapsed and died, leaving Nikkanoff with the prospect of only one animal pulling his sleigh next Christmas.

He complained to the air force, which agreed to compensate him for the cost of the reindeer and veterinary expenses.

"We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously," said air force spokesman, Capt. Morten Jensen.

The air force checked flight data and veterinary reports and concluded the planes likely caused the animal's death.

"We're more than happy to pay if it means that children around the world will get their presents," Jensen said.

Nikkanoff said he was satisfied with the compensation and would use it to buy a new reindeer before Christmas.

Editorial comment: I understand that Islamofascists feel the same way about our F-16s as this poor reindeer.

A better way to reduce pollution

The other day I wrote about the economics of buying a Prius to save gas.

I wanted to figure out how much it really costs to reduce pollution, if it is done in the most cost effective manner. I am certain that big companies know how to reduce pollution for the smallest possible price. Companies must buy pollution vouchers. A limited number are auctioned off every year, so the price of the vouchers must reflect industries best estimate of what it costs to reduce pollution. If they could do it cheaper, they would not pay that much for the vouchers, and if it cost more to reduce pollution, the auction price would be higher. There is a web site for people who feel guilty about their car emissions. They can pay for some of these vouchers, which reduces pollution from other sources equal to what their car generates. I believe that this reflects the most cost-effective way to reduce total pollution.

As I said in my blog, the Prius sells for $4,400 more than is economically justified. This premium can only be explained as buying the feel-good illusion that you are doing something good for the environment. But how much CO2 production are you preventing, and what is the cost per pound? The terrapass site says that a Prius produces about 6,000 pounds of CO2 a year, and an average car produces 12,000 pounds. The difference is 6,000 pounds per year. If you drive the car for 8 years, you have reduced emissions by 48,000 pounds. The cost per pound is about 9 cents.

But what if I took that $4,400 and bought vouchers? Currently a voucher for a metric ton of CO2 costs $1.91. Instead of 48,000 of CO2 reduction, I could buy vouchers for 1,754,756 pounds of CO2, at a much better price of 0.08 cents per pound. Instead of eliminating half the emissions of one car, I have eliminated the emissions of 11 full-sized SUVs.

However, I have an even better idea. Buy a Camry instead of a Prius. If you are concerned about the environment, buy one TerraPass. Then put the remaining $4,350 in a retirement account invested in an S&P500 index fund. Put your money to work for you in the greatest wealth-generating machine that ever existed. The benefits will last much longer than any car.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why rebuild New Orleans?

Louisana's Senators are asking for $250 billion in Federal taxpayers money to rebuild in Louisana. Roughly $40 billion of that is to build better levies and floodgates around New Orleans. All told, almost $200 billion of it goes to the New Orleans area. On a per-capita basis, it works out to $650,000 per New Orleans resident.

I have a few questions about the concept here.

First, where does the insurance settlement money figure into this equation? One would hope that most of the people whose homes and businesses were destroyed have insurance which will pay for the damage. Does the $200 billion only cover the property which was not insured? If so, is that a good idea? People should be encouraged to insure their property, and if the taxpayers are going to bail out those who don't insure their property, why should anyone carry insurance? Living in a flood plain on the coast, below sea level, in the most active hurricane region in the world and not carrying flood or hurricane insurance is not the smartest course of action I can imagine, and I am firmly against requiring responsible taxpayers to pay for the stupidity of irresponsible people.

Secondly, who is going to oversee the use of this money? A vast government handout such as this will invariably draw a large amount of fraud, waste, and corruption. I want to see tight accounting on this money, and extensive crosschecks into the validity of every request for funds. The proposed system looks more like a huge pork distribution than a relief effort. The organization which is slated to manage the money does not include any Federal oversite of the Federal money, and it does not appear to have the resources to prevent abuse. This must be resolved before the first dollar goes out. Otherwise, five years from now the taxpayers will be out a quarter of a trillion dollars with nothing to show for it.

Now we get to the real point of this article. Why are taxpayers in Texas, California, New York, Montana, Illinois, and so forth being asked to pay to rebuild New Orleans? Perhaps we should learn from this disaster that building a city below sea level in the path of repeated hurricanes is a bad idea. If someone wants to build there, by all means, go for it. But don't ask those of us with the good sense to build our house above sea level to pay for the predictable rebuilding and re-rebuilding. Certainly, paying $650,000 per person is not reasonable. Why not pay $200,000 per person, with the stipulation that they build elsewhere?

Skeletons in the closet

Everyone has their own skeleton in the closet. You know what I am talking about. Its that dark secret from your past that you hope to take to the grave with you. It is the thing you would never tell even your closest friends, because you are sure they would recoil in disgust and never speak to you again. It is the thing that they dig up when you decide to run for public office to ruin your chances of being elected.

Everyone has one, and right here on this blog, I am going to share mine with you. I am not really sure why I chose to reveal myself in such a public way. Perhaps I hope that the catharsis will purge my soul of the burden of this awful truth. Maybe I just want to defuse the story so that when the media gets ahold of it, it will not ruin my presidential bid. Or could it be that I hope that you will learn from my tale of woe, and change your ways before it is too late for you.

Consider yourself warned. What follows is of a highly offensive and explicit nature. If you are squeamish, read no further. If you don't wish to have your opinion of me shaken, stop now. You have been warned.

And now, without further ado, the skeleton in my closet, the dark undisclosed secret from my past now brought out into the light, the most shameful episode from the hidden recesses of my memory: I went to highschool with two members of the Dixie Chicks.

There. I said it. It is out in the open. If you no longer wish to associate with me, I completely understand. But I feel so much better. They say that confession is good for the soul.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Saving gas

With gas prices well above $2/gallon, many people are understandably looking at ways to use less gas. One result is that hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius are now selling at well above MSRP. I had to wonder if buying a Prius is cost effective.

Let's compare the cost of buying and operating a Prius to the cost of Toyota's other economy car, the Echo. According to Edmunds, the current selling price for a typically equipped Prius is $24,650, or about $5k over invoice. The EPA says that they get 51 miles per gallon in the city and 60 on the highway. Real results are not quite so good in most cases, but we'll use the EPA numbers to be generous. The Toyota Echo, without the pricy hybrid technology, is much cheaper, selling for $13,861 with typical equipment. The EPA says it gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway. For our comparision, we will assume a mix of city and highway driving, giving the Prius 55 mpg and the Echo 36 mpg. A very heavy driver who puts twenty-five thousand miles on the car each year will use 454 gallons of gas in the Prius or 694 gallons in the Echo. To be generous, let's say that gas is selling for $3/gallon. The 240 gallons saved by the Prius is worth $721. Edmunds shows that the Echo costs $87 more to insure each year than the Prius, and the Prius costs $258 more to maintain and repair than the Echo.

The important question is: how long does it take the Prius owner to recoup his greater initial expenditure through the better gas mileage? The time value of money is an important consideration. If the Echo driver kept the $11,437 that he didn't spend on the Prius in the bank earning a measly 3% and used it instead to pay for the higher yearly cost of gasoline, how long would it last?

According to my analysis, it would take 32 years for the Prius to become cost effective for someone who drives 25 thousand miles a year. By this time, the car would have 800,000 miles on it. Realistically, it will never last half that long. For an average driver who drives 15 thousand miles a year, it will never be cost effective. The interest cost is greater than the gas savings, and he can never catch up. So how much do you have to drive to make it worthwhile in a reasonable time frame of 5 years? To just break even, the answer is 90,157 miles per year, or more than four hours a day at highway speed. Regardless of how much you drive, most cars will never last enough miles for the Prius to be cost-effective.

One might argue that the Echo is a step down from the Prius in comfort. To make it fair, let's compare the Prius against a car which is a step up from the Prius, a Camry LE. I used the actual price that I paid for my Camry in July, along with the EPA gas mileage figures and Edmunds cost to own. If I drove 25,000 miles a year, which I don't, it would take me 11 years to recoup the extra cost of the Prius. At a more realistic 14,000 miles per year, the Prius never catches up.

With the price of gas on the increase, perhaps the higher future price would make the Prius more cost effective. How high does the price of gas need to rise before a Prius become cost-effective in a reasonable amount of time? The price of a gallon of gas would have to be $9.21 to justify the extra cost of a Prius in eight years.

There is a price at which buying a Prius makes sense. To estimate how much the price would have to come down to reach that point, I looked for the sale price of a Prius at which an average driver who drives 15,000 each year would break even after 8 years, compared to a Toyota Camry selling for $18,000. That break even point is $20,240. The current sale price of the Prius would have to come down by $4,400 before it would be more economical than a Camry over an 8-year lifetime.

So why are people lined up to buy their Prius at a price well above MSRP? Economically it makes no sense. It is a feel-good thing. They are buying the warm fuzzy feeling they get from the illusion that they are helping the environment. The reality is that buying a Prius is one of the most expensive ways to reduce emissions.

Excuses to expand Federal power

Liberal political opportunists are using natural disasters and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people to expand the authority, power, and budget of the Federal government, even though this level of government is the least effective first response to such disasters.

The first and most obvious reason for the attempt to blame President Bush for Katrina was to deflect criticism from the state and local officials, and to instead inflict political damage on President Bush. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has the primary responsibility for the city of New Orleans, but his response to the hurricane in the days before and immediately after was highly ineffective. Similarly, the Governor Blanco was much more concerned about who to blame than about actually doing her job. But it is the local government who can most effectively respond to a crisis in a timely manner. They have access to the resources which are already there, and they are on the scene to coordinate efforts. If done competently, this is sure to be more effective than direction from Washington DC.

The Constitution, that quaint document that we don't pay attention to any more, delimits the authority and responsibilities of the Federal Government. The Federal Government has absolutely no responsibility to act as a first responder to natural disasters, and even if they wanted to, they don't have the authority except at the request of the affected state. There are very good reasons for this limit of power on the Federal government -- reasons which separate our Republic from dictatorships. It is ironic that the same liberals who accuse President Bush of being a dictator now attack him for not acting like one.

Crisis situations serve as a convenient excuse for brushing aside Constitutional protections of our freedom in the name of relief, and expanding the power of the Federal Government. This expansion can be seen in the Federal response to Rita. Eager to avoid the criticism that they received after Katrina, FEMA established operations bases with hundreds of trucks loaded with food, water, and other relief supplies in the Dallas and San Antonio area. Navy ships loaded with supplies followed Rita to shore, ready to deliver these items. Federal agencies were involved in the evacuation effort, and National Guard troops were on the scene before the hurricane arrived. Fortunately, Rita did not strike a heavily populated area in which local authorities had ignored thirty years of warnings that the flood control system was inadequate to handle a major hurricane. But it is clear that Katrina was used to raise the political expectation for the Federal government to fix our problems.

What bothers me is the President Bush seems to be buying into this shift in responsibility from individuals and local authorities to the Federal Government. After writing a check for a quarter of a trillion dollars (That is trillion with a T) for Katrina recovery, not only did he give a speech in which he accepted responsibility for not doing what he had no responsibility or authority to do, but he is now exceeding his authority in preparing for Rita. I am very aware that even being familiar with the contents of the Unite States Constitution is out of style these days. Liberals like to call it "a living document" which is meant to change and adapt to the times. They always say this right before they trample all over the Constitution. It is true that the Constitution can change and adapt. That is why it defines an amendment process, but liberals don't want to go through the ratification with all that pesky voting, when it is more convenient to just ignore the whole bothersome thing. After all, they know better than the rabble what is good for us. So today, a few liberal poltician's attempt to shift blame for their incompetence is resulting in a huge power grab by the Federal government, which will result in a bigger Federal budget and more Federal taxes, the primary source of power for liberal politicians.

Government expansion is always cloaked in compassion and excused by crisis and urgency, but if it is allow to progress unchecked, it leads us away from the principles which made America free, great, and prosperous.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bush response too slow, again!

Congressional Democrats today voiced outrage at the slow response of the Bush administration to a fire in a bus transporting elderly evacuees from Hurricane Rita. Congresswoman Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said, "People were dying in that bus, and where was President Bush? Where was FEMA? He should have been there carrying people off that bus. Have we learned nothing from Katrina?"

Representative Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, "If we can't count on our President for leadership in times such as these, perhaps we need another Congressional investigation."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "If the people on that bus had been white, you can bet that President Bush would have been right there, ready to help them."

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) raised some tough questions: "How many of the people who survived this explosion were Bush campaign contributors? And how many of those who died were not? We are not getting answers to these critical questions from the White House."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Sky is Falling!

(09-21-2005) The earth is on the brink of a cataclysm unlike any ever seen before, and humans are the cause of it.

When people walk, jump, or run, they push on the earth.

In the daytime, people tend to walk, jump, and run more than at night. Therefore, there is an imbalance in the force that people exert on the earth. We push more on the side towards the sun than the side away from the sun. Therefore, we are pushing the earth away from the sun. Wealthy capitalist countries contribute 50% more thrust than underdeveloped countries, so America is the leading culprit in this looming crisis.

I have undertaken significant scientific study to verify that human ambulation is indeed pushing the earth into a larger orbit. I created a computer model which simulates the effect. The computer model, running on a very powerful supercomputer, indicates that by the year 2025, the earth will be 120 million miles further from the sun than it is today. Precise measurements of the distance from the earth to the sun found that today the earth is 3 million miles further from the sun than it was six months ago. Extrapolating this finding for 20 years indicates that by 2025, the earth will be 215 million miles from the sun. Increasing the earth's distance from the sun from 98 million miles to 215 million miles will cause the amount of sunlight received by the earth to be reduced by 79%, plunging the earth into a deep ice age from which it will never recover. The surface temperature will drop to fifty degrees below zero Fahrenheit. All water on the surface of the planet will freeze, including the oceans. All plants will die, and animal life including humans will soon either freeze to death or starve.

I propose the following steps be taken to avert disaster. First, because economic activity is behind much of the daytime ambulation, send money to support left-wing anti-capitalist groups and politicians, such as Earth First, The Sierra Club, The New York Times, Save Our Wetlands, CBS, and the DNC. Second, we must immediately create an international treaty which rations daytime walking in capitalist countries so that it equals nighttime walking. Third, Americans must be forbidden from wearing shoes, as the extra springiness in the soles of shoes increases the thrust of walking. Finally, a walking tax must be levied on American companies to pay for the impact of their employees walking.

If we don't immediately act on these recommendations, life as we know it will be obliterated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This time they really mean it

Shortly after Bill Clinton became president, evidence was produced to show that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il was secretly violating the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

In typical Bill Clinton style, he proceeded to pretend like the problem didn't exist for two years.

Then in a move of true strength, he put Jimmy Carter in charge of negotiating an arms control agreement with North Korea. Figuring that unilateral concessions were the best way to get results, Carter and Clinton agreed to give North Korea two nuclear reactors and billions of dollars of oil in return for a promise they would be used for power generation, not for weapons. Apparently, Kim Jong-Il didn't mention that he was crossing his fingers when he made that promise. Bill Clinton spent the remaining six years in the White House hoping that he hadn't been played for a sucker. Surely Kim Jong-Il's refusal to admit inspectors was a good sign that he was trustworthy, right?

In 2002 North Korea shocked the world by admitting that they had suckerpunched us all. They now have multiple warheads and missiles to deliver them. How could we have been so gullible?

The jaded skeptic could look at this most recent tentative agreement as a ploy to get more international handouts. Money, oil, maybe another reactor or two? Hey, it worked before. Those of us who are more trusting and believe in the inherent goodness of mankind see it as a significant step towards peace and happiness. Hollywood actor Richard Gere, noted authority on international arms control and diplomacy, said it best: "I am Richard Gere and I am speaking for the entire world when I say how relieved I am to know that we are now safe from the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons which the reckless, tyrannical regime of George Bush might provoke into a justifiable defensive use against my mansion in California."

They fibbed when they signed the Nonproliferation Treaty.
They didn't really mean it when they promised to be good with the reactors Clinton gave them.
They made the exact same promises years ago, and then promptly violated them.
But this time they really, really mean it. Cross their hearts.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Mr. President, what happened to limited government?

Thomas Jefferson said, "That government is best which governs least."

This is the principle on which the Conservative revolution was built. It was the principle which made Ronald Reagan the greatest president of the 20th century. It was this principle that Americans voted for in droves in 1994, to sweep Republicans to a majority in the House and Senate for the first time in a generation. It was the principle which led a handful of freshmen Representatives in the House to reign in runaway spending and balance the budget, in spite of the efforts of a liberal president to expand government.

With liberals controlling the White House and Congress we expected government spending as a solution to every problem. Now we have a "conservative" president and solid Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. So what on earth has happened to the Conservative Revolution? Reduced taxes are only half of the equation. Without reduced spending, the whole thing fails to work. Five years into the Bush presidency, why is spending up sharply in nearly every category? The budget deficit is not caused by Bush's tax cuts. It is caused by Bush's failure to control spending. Nothing fundamental has changed. The government still acts as a nanny state, throwing federal tax money at every problem and subsidizing irresponsible behavior instead of promoting independence, self-reliance, and accountability. Nothing illustrates this better than the response to Hurricane Katrina. People seriously expected that the government would be there to fix everything within 24 hours of the storm. When these expectations were not met, they became angry and disillusioned, and blamed President Bush for failing to meet these unrealistic expectations. This response should be expected from those who have been conditioned to be wards of the State and dependent on government to meet their every need. However, there is no excuse for politicians, up to and including the president, accepting this response as valid, rather than pointing out that throwing huge amounts of federal money at the problem may not be the best solution. In five years, Bush has done nothing to change this mode of thinking. Entitlement spending and the resulting dependency has only grown in those five years.

Conservatives should be enraged that this great opportunity is being wasted. It is time to take action to get the Conservative Revolution back on track and on message. Write letters. Make phone calls. Contact the White House, Congress, and your newspaper editorial board. Let our elected officials know that they need to get spending under control or face the repercussions at the ballot box next year.


In financial terms, risk means uncertainty of outcome. There is risk when I invest in the stock market, because the value of my investment may go up 50% or it may go down 50%. The upside is the kind of risk I don't mind, while the downside risk is the kind I hate. However, to have a chance at the upside risk, I must accept the possibility of the downside risk.

I am looking at my annual Social Security statement, which estimates my future benefits when I reach retirement age in 30 years. With the help of an Excel spreadsheet I determined that, if nothing changes, the effective rate of return I am getting over those 30 years is 1%. In other words, I would do just as well to put the money in the bank earning 1% and withdraw it when I retire. One dollar paid in social security payroll tax today translates into $1.35 in 2036. Assuming that inflation continues at an average rate, that $1 in today's money will buy 42 cents worth of groceries in 2036. This is the upside of social security. For every dollar they take today, I get back 42 cents in todays money thirty years from now. If that is the upside, what could the downside be? They have already told us that they can't keep the current system in place forever. Before I retire they will either have to cut the benefits or increase the tax. Or both. The downside is that Congress may decide, any time in the next thirty years, that 42 cents on the dollar is too much, and they will only give me 30 cents. Or 20. Or nothing at all. This "safe, secure" retirement program is not only subject to purchasing power risk, it is also subject to Congress risk -- the risk that Congress won't be able to keep their hands off of that money. This is a very real risk, because Congress has a very hard time keeping their hands off of any money.

If the upside of social security is a 58% real loss, and the downside is a 100% loss, how does that compare to the "risky" stock market?

The average real return of the stock market over a 130-year period from 1870 to present was 6.3%. At that rate, one dollar invested for 30 years would grow to $6.25 (all figures are in today's dollars). The upside is that in some periods the stock market returned as much as 8.8% over 30 years, meaning that our dollar would be worth $12.57, or double the average amount. The downside is that in other 30 year periods the real return of the stock market was only 4.3%. Our dollar would have only grown to $3.54.

The best case for social security: we lose half
The worst case for the stock market: we triple our money

So the worst case for the stock market is six times better than the best case for social security.

You tell me which one is risky.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Good taste in movies

One of the most important things to come out of the Congressional Grandstanding session officially known as the confirmation hearing of Judge Roberts, is that Roberts has impeccable taste in movies. He mentioned North by Northwest and Doctor Zhivago as his two favorite movies. North by Northwest is an all-time favorite of mine. Personally, I would have put Lawrence of Arabia ahead of Doctor Zhivago. However, a movie about a man leading a bunch of Arabs who today would probably be considered terrorists might not be politically expedient in a confirmation hearing. Double Indemnity would also be a good choice. Given that he is a candidate for the Supreme Court, perhaps a courtroom drama such as A Witness for the Prosecution would be appropriate.

It is interesting that no movies less than 30 years old make the list. Perhaps its because Hollywood has substituted special effects and action sequences in place of plot and character development. What director is there today who can hold a candle to Alfred Hitchcock? And what actor is in the same league as Cary Grant, James Stewart, Humphery Bogart, or Audrey Hepburn? If you are looking for a really good movie, check out anything on this list of my personal favorites:

Lawrence of Arabia
North by Northwest
Dial "M" for Murder
Dr. Strangelove
Shawshank Redemption
The Maltese Falcon
The Sting
Bringing up Baby

Monday, September 12, 2005

Business opportunity

The Fort Worth Star Telegram printed a story on Friday, reporting the results of a study which found that minorities pay significantly higher than average interest rates for home mortgages.

There is clearly a huge business opportunity here. I am seriously considering quitting my job and starting a mortgage company which would take advantage of this racism-motivated injustice. The article was a bit unclear about the size of the disparity in mortgage interest rates, but for the sake of illustration, let's say that it is 3%. If a white person could get a mortgage at a 7% interest rate, a black person with the same income and credit score would pay 10%. I plan to operate my mortgage company according to a few very simple principles. I will not consider race in my mortgage approval process. I will consider only the applicant's ability to repay the loan based on their available income and credit history. Regardless of race, everyone will pay 2% more than the market rate. This means that any white person who compares rates will finance with someone else. And it means that any minority who compares rates will finance with me, because my rate will be 1% lower than what they can get elsewhere. My clients will be stupid white people and smart minorities. Mainly the latter. Not only will I make millions of dollars by financing thousands of clients at higher-than-market rates, I will also feel good knowing that I have not discriminated based on race like everyone else.

Meet the responsible party

In 1977, Save Our Wetlands sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of a flood control project which would have protected New Orleans from the flood surge of a category 5 hurricane. They claimed that this project would damage wetlands in the Mississippi river delta region.

The irony in the statement of Judge Schwartz is staggering: “It is the opinion of the Court that plaintiffs herein have demonstrated that they, and in fact all persons in this area, will be irreparably harmed if the barrier project based upon the August, 1974 FEIS [federal environmental impact statement] is allowed to continue.”

Now the "Save Our Wetlands" web site is trying to deny responsibility for blocking this project which could have saved many lives, spared thousands of family's homes from destruction, and prevented billions of dollars of damage. Their statement also attempts to avoid the "environmentalist" label from being applied to their organization, claiming that they are just a bunch of commercial fishermen and crabmen. However, their web page contains the following links, betraying their true environmental wacko status:, Carbusters Magazine, Auto-Free New York, World of Biopower, Biomass, Green Building, Green Energy, Green Living, Green Peace, Sierra Club, TheOzoneHole, United Naitons Environment Program, , Vote Hemp, Hemp Industries Association, Hemp Lobby, Global Hemp, Hemp Car, and many more. The news section is full of the standard alarmist nonsence about melting polar ice caps, global warming, and greenhouse gases as well as liberal political opinions relating to Iraq, the last presidential election, 9/11, and even an article suggesting that the tsunami last December was caused by President Bush. No fishing or crabing links at all.

Twenty eight years ago, Save Our Wetlands prevented the Army Corps of Engineers to build a project which would have prevented much of the devastation we see today in Lousiana. In good liberal fashion, they valued wetlands above humans and protected marshes rather than families. Capitalism is seen as the ultimate evil, and nature is the ultimate good.

But Save Our Wetlands puts it best on their own web site. Meet the people responsible for the destruction of New Orleans:

"We call ourselves culture jammers. We are a loose global network of artists, activists, writers, environmentalists, ecological economists, media literacy teachers, green entrepreneurs, reborn Lefties, ecofeminists, downshifters, highschool shit disturbers, campus rabble rousers, dropouts, incorrigibles, poets and philisophers. We are idealists, anarchists, guerrila tacticians, hoaxters, pranksters, neo-Luddites, malcontents and punks. Our aim is to topple exisitng power structures and forge major adjustments to the way we will live in the 21st century."

Friday, September 09, 2005

A random thought

Perhaps we should get the Israeli army to help with the "evacuation" of New Orleans.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

President response to flare too slow

More than twenty-four hours after a huge solar flare erupted from the surface of the sun, federal aid has not yet arrived on the scene. While some politicians have been seen posing for photo-ops with the devastated sun in the background, the Space Shuttle is still on the ground, and no supplies or troops have been dispatched. Congressional hearings on this failure by the Bush administration are set to begin Friday.

Katrina caused by global warming?

The environmental wackos are trying to convince people that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming, which in turn was caused by humans living their lives, which in turn was caused by President Bush not forcing the Kyoto Protocol on us.

Let's do a quick fact check.

Global warming has supposedly happened over the past 50 years. However, the year which still holds the record for the most named storms was 1933, well before human-caused global warming supposedly started. The most deadly hurricane was way back in 1900. Katrina struck a much more densely populated region, but the death toll is likely to be smaller than the 1900 storm which struck Galveston. There have been major storms just as powerful as Katrina every year for as long as we have records. In other years we were just more fortunate about where they struck.

There is no evidence to show that human activity has caused any change to the global temperature, or that any change is outside of the normal cyclical variation.

Sorry tree huggers, your story isn't holding up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Time to get UN-United Nationed

The Iraq Oil-For-Food profiteering was just the tip of the corruption iceberg at the United Nations. Last week, Vladimir Kuznetsov, the Russian head of the U.N. Budget Oversight Committee, was arrested on charges of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes he received in return for securing lucrative contracts for various companies. In August, another Russian U.N. Procurement Department officer, Alexander Yakovlev pleaded guilty to federal charges of corruption, wire fraud, and money laundering. The list of criminal misconduct in the U.N. is ever growing: sexual abuse of minors by "peacekeepers" in West Africa, conflicts of interest involving the son of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Cotecna Inspection Corporation, a company hired by Yakovlev to inspect the Oil-For-Food program.

Perhaps this wide-spread corruption could be dealt with and the organization saved if only the United Nations was such a consistent force for good that it was worth saving. However, that does not seem to be the case. The United Nations gives legitimacy to tyrants and dangerous, aggressive nations. Not only are such nations granted membership, but in 2003 Libya was made the head of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The irony here is amazing, as the Qaddafi regime is guilty of every human rights abuse you can think of, from summary executions and execution of political prisoners to torture including application of corkscrews to the back, suffocation with plastic bags, and attack by trained dogs. The Qaddafi regime also has a long history of support of terrorism.

Not only does the U.N. prop up totalitarian governments, they also stand by and do nothing when dangerous rogue states violate international law, human rights conventions, and the U.N.'s own resolutions. For years, the U.N. did nothing about Saddam Hussein, besides make speeches expressing their dismay that he was defying their resolutions. It took our President acting without U.N. support to topple the ruthless dictator and begin the process of establishing freedom and democracy in Iraq.

The U.N. had the opportunity to be a global force for peace, democracy, and freedom. Instead they became a corrupt bunch of profiteers, socialists, and tyrants. The United Nations is obsolete, and we should get out of it.

Marriage rights already equal

The California Legislature just passed a bill allowing same-sex marriages. The bill is likely to be vetoed by the Governor, or struck down by the courts, but I'm still going to disect the reasoning of the bill's supporters. They say that they want equal rights for homosexuals to marry.

I got married ten years ago, so my memory of the trip to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license is a bit hazy. So I stopped by the desk of a co-worker who got married recently to make sure that I was not forgetting anything about the application process. I asked him if they asked about his sexual orientation when he applied for a marriage license. He assured me that they did not. Apparently my memory served me well, and they have not surreptitiously slipped that question into the application in recent years. It seems that they decide who will and who will not get a marriage license without knowing the sexual orientation of either person. This means that the rules are exactly the same for homosexual people as for heterosexual people. Anyone is permitted to marry a member of the opposite sex, without regard for sexual orientation. No one is permitted to marry a member of the same sex. So where is the inequality? The real problem that the homosexual political lobby has is with the definition of marriage. Marriage is a life-long covenant relationship between one man and one woman, witnessed by family and friends and sealed by God. It was created this way by God and is not open for redefinition.

Actor supports election in Egypt

Hollywood actor Richard Gere, who based on his experience of appearing in movies is qualified to speak for the entire world on any topic at hand, filmed a commercial to encourage Egyptian citizens to exercise their right to vote in a sham election. He said "I am very encouraged to see Democracy spreading throughout Middle Eastern countries such as Palestine and Egypt."

In the commercial, which began airing on Monday, Richard Gere said "I am Richard Gere, and I am speaking for the entire world when I say that you should exercise your right to vote for Hosni Mubarak, or we can not assure the safety of your family members."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina aftermath a failure of the welfare state

I don't usually repost other people's articles, but this one by Robert Tracinski in The Intellectual Activist really nails it on the head.


Democrats don't want balance anymore

When Sandra Day O'Conner resigned from the Supreme Court, Democratic Senators demanded that President Bush nominate someone who matches O'Conner's ideology and judicial philosophy. They insisted that maintaining "balance" on the Court was more important than anything. More important than reason, ideology, or the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

So where are these Senators now? Why has "balance" suddenly become so much less important? Why are they not demanding that President Bush nominate someone who matches Justice Rehnquist's ideology? If maintaining balance is really so important to them, they should insist just as loudly as they did after O'Conner's resignation that Bush nominate a conservative justice who will interpret the Constitution as it is written.

I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina is a diversion tactic

(9-2-2005) Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee today issued a stinging rebuke to President George Bush for orchestrating Hurricane Katrina in order to divert attention from Cindy Sheehan. "We have heard about President Clinton wagging the dog by bombing aspirin factories to divert attention from his impeachment, but this is a new low," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) added, "What we have here is a desperate President who will go to any length to distract us from what really matters: a woman camping out in Crawford Texas."

A top-secret memo leaked to several media outlets contained Democrat talking points relating to President Bush's motivation for causing the hurricane. Among the major reasons were diverting attention from the bothersome Crawford protest, and providing financial benefit to Bush's oil cronies by inflating the price of gasoline.

The only comment from the press corps attending the news conference was from New York Times reporter Fred Jenkins who said, "The seriousness of this allegation demands immediate and thorough investigation."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The power of an armed citizenry

When Hitler invaded Poland, he immediately banned all civilians from owning weapons. All privately owned firearms were seized, and hash punishment was instituted for anyone found to be in possession of a firearm. A few individuals defied this ban and hid away their guns.

In 1942, German troops occupying Poland deported about 350,000 Jews from Warsaw to Treblinka, a Nazi death camp. When word of the mass murder leaked back to Warsaw, a handful of Jewish civilians decided to resist future deportations. Between them, they had two handguns, a rifle, and about one hundred rounds of ammunition. The resistance began with a series of surprise attacks on small groups of German soldiers. The main purpose of these attacks was to secure more weapons to arm the resistance. In January of 1943, resistance fighters staged the first large-scale attack, firing on German solders as they tried to round up Jews and force them into box cars for deportation. After several days of fighting, the Germans retreated. Emboldened by this victory, the resistance grew, and by April there were 750 armed fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto resistance.

On April 19, 1943 German troops entered the Warsaw Ghetto to remove the remaining residents. The resistance fought hard, and inflicted heavy losses on the German army. Although they were vastly outnumbered by the heavily armed and well trained Germans, the resistance held off the German attack for 27 days. In the end, the Germans were forced to burn large parts of the Ghetto to the ground and commit a large portion of their forces to crush the resistance of these brave Jews who stood up against one of the most evil and powerful aggressors in history. In the end, 56,000 Jews were captured in the Ghetto. 7,000 of them were shot on the spot, and the rest were sent to Nazi death camps or concentration camps. However, thousands were able to escape as a result of the resistance.

It is remarkable that a few civilians with three guns were able to hold off the German army for longer than the entire Polish military. It took just 26 days for the Nazis to invade and capture the entire country of Poland, but the Ghetto resistance held out against a full-scale assault for 27 days. One has to wonder how history would have been altered if people by the hundreds of thousands had defied Hitler's attempt to disarm them, and had instead taken up arms against him. It also makes me wonder why people today are so happy to have their right to keep and bear arms stripped away, rendering us unable to resist whatever tyranny attempts to rob us of our freedom.