Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

News & Views

Several news articles caught my attention this morning.

Michelle Obama as pop culture

In yet another article about content providers raising rates for the cable TV companies to continue running their shows, the NY Times reports millions of viewers complained at having missed a particular Iron Chef show which featured… drum roll please… Michelle Obama and the White House Chef.

I enjoy Iron Chef. I don’t enjoy a President and his family acting as though they are pop-culture icons. There is real America, lived by you and me and represented by a President. And then there is entertainment America, where we go to escape at times.

The President and his family do not necessarily belong in pop culture the same way actors and other people who haven’t actually contributed much to the nation. Or maybe that’s why this President and his family go on such shows…

Will latest jobs bill really produce jobs?

Asks ABC News implying that previous ones haven’t.

Oh, and the answer, as before, is no.

The reason, in case you didn’t already know, is that the government doesn’t produce jobs, businesses do.

Government spending costs more, has unintended consequences

The Wall Street Journal reports that government stimulus programs encouraged states to spend more instead of tightening their belts for these lean times. So now there are more, bigger programs, and less money to pay for them with.

And we’re surprised why?

Settled climate science not so settled after all

The Daily News Online on the climate emails:

It has been written that “there is room for legitimate civilized disagreement as to the role of human activity in climate change,” and that is correct. But that is not how the climate zealots see it. On Nov. 19, 2008, the president said, “The Science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” Actually, how the earth’s climate works is the most complex question scientists have ever addressed, any conclusions that can be drawn now are “highly speculative.”

The government doesn’t like accountability

The TSA is apparently more concerned that the new media (bloggers) have found out information about their processes and procedures than they are about yours and my security at the airport and in air travel.

Thankfully cooler heads prevailed after the new media (bloggers) showed just how good they were at raising a stink.

The new media (bloggers) are read by people who care. The old media are viewed passively by people who couldn’t care less. That’s where the real power of blogging and the internet comes through.

Government-Run Business, Epic Fail

As I’ve said before, several times, government involvement and control of business is a recipe for failure, disaster, loss, pain, hurt, evilness, etc.

In the Wall Street Journal, John Steele Gordon:

In 1913, for instance, thinking it was being overcharged by the steel companies for armor plate for warships, the federal government decided to build its own plant. It estimated that a plant with a 10,000-ton annual capacity could produce armor plate for only 70% of what the steel companies charged.

When the plant was finally finished, however — three years after World War I had ended — it was millions over budget and able to produce armor plate only at twice what the steel companies charged. It produced one batch and then shut down, never to reopen.

But epic failures on the Government’s part aren’t relegated to such ancient history.

Medicare is a prime example of government-run medical care:

Last year the Government Accountability Office estimated that no less than one-third of all Medicare disbursements for durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds, were improper or fraudulent. Medicare was so lax in its oversight that it was approving orthopedic shoes for amputees.

And such failures through the history of government are not aberrations, they’re inherent to the system. John Gordon argues there are at least seven reasons government failure is the rule and not the exception when it comes to running things:

  1. Governments are run by politicians, not businessmen
  2. Politicians need headlines
  3. Governments use other people’s money
  4. Government does not tolerate competition
  5. Government enterprises are almost always monopolies
  6. Government is regulated by government

John Gordon ends his argument admitting that Capitalism isn’t necessarily pretty or perfect:

Indeed, to paraphrase Winston Churchill’s famous description of democracy, it’s the worst economic system except for all the others. But the inescapable fact is that only the profit motive and competition keep enterprises lean, efficient, innovative and customer-oriented.

In other words, Government hurts and harms. Damage and destruction are in it’s nature. Why else is government the best at war?

And private enterprise is the best there is at alleviating suffering and maximizing wealth to the most people most effectively and efficiently.

Read John Gordon’s whole article.

Republican Politics

In the race for the Republican nomination, there’s something for everyone.

There’s a liberal who’s principled and experienced but still liberal.

There’s a populist who tickles ears and yet is Christian, courageous, and popular.

There’s a fiscal conservative with serious experience and a very public track-record who wore a dress (once, on camera), supports homosexual marriage, and is not in favor of criminalizing mothers who have abortions (a slight but significant difference from actually being pro-choice).

There’s some dude with two first names and some good ideas, but with serious inconsistency, and serious stupidity concerning international affairs and national security harking back to pre-WWII Republican isolationism.

There’s a conservative business leader and governor with a funny first name and movie-star looks who’s been consistent, if not amazing.

And there’s a movie star without the looks who’s been amazing, if not consistent. If only he acted like he wanted to win.

There are others, but they are also-ran’s or sometimer’s and not worth consideration at this stage in the game.

I don’t much care for the liberal, the populist, the fiscal, or Mr. Two Names. Though I could stomach the fiscal, were he to, by some stretch of imagination, win the nomination. The others I abhor for various reasons.

The liberal is neither a man of honor nor a man of principle. He has convenient and far-sighted-sounding reasons for his liberal attachments and accomplishments, but his willingness to sell the farm, ideologically speaking, is not the measure of a man. Personally, I admire and honor his courage in his past. But I fear to many years within the beltway, and those who have spent those years with him not recommending him in the droves we’d expect, are very indicative of a lack of character and ability.

The populist is just that. He uses his sincere (and I do not doubt, genuine) Christianity to excuse and/or support and champion decidedly non-Christian policies. God did not institute a welfare state (for individuals or corporations) in Theocratic Israel. Instead He instituted laws and policies which protected individuals from each other’s harm and sin. Claiming that “green” science is correct in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary does not lead me to believe he is either “wise as a serpent” or “harmless as a dove”. In fact, I would submit the populist is the inverse: He is wise as a dove and harmless as a serpent (taken ironically, of course).

Mr. Two Name needs no rebuttal as he is his own best revealing mirror. Dismissed out of hand is the best response to the majority of his supporters.

I’d like the movie star to catch a fire, but his lack of consistency heretofore is troubling, and I believe, more accurately indicative of who he’d be in office that what he’d be if he did catch a fire.

The man I voted for in my last election (for some time at least) in California is the leader. A realization I came to after considering what he does when there’s not supposed to be a camera around.

Here are a few articles from across the web which seem to me to be particularly salient and and appropriate to the candidates in this race.

  •  The Trouble With McCain
    Jay Cost, Wall Street Journal

    Thirty-four Republicans have endorsed Mr. Romney, while just 24 have endorsed Mr. McCain. Furthermore, Mr. Romney’s supporters are more in line with conservative opinion. Their average 2006 ACU rating was 84.1, and 26 of them come from states Bush won in 2004. Meanwhile, the average 2006 ACU rating for Mr. McCain’s supporters is 70.7, and just 12 of them come from Bush states. In light of Mr. McCain’s résumé, this is consequential. He should have locked up most members of the Republican caucus, but he has not.

  • Hillary And MLK
    John McWhorter, Wall Street Journal

    …[T]here she was on “Meet the Press” Sunday, having to defend herself for simply saying that while King laid the groundwork (which she acknowledged), another part of the civil rights revolution was Lyndon B. Johnson’s masterful stewardship of the relevant legislation through Congress. She was arguing that she is more experienced in getting laws passed in Washington than is Barack Obama — which is true.

  • Barak Obama And Israel
    Ed Lasky, American Thinker

    One seemingly consistent them running throughout Barack Obama’s career is his comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates. This ease around Israel animus has taken various forms. As Obama has continued his political ascent, he has moved up the prestige scale in terms of his associates. Early on in his career he chose a church headed by a former Black Muslim who is a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-Semitism.

  • Where They Stand
    Pete Du Pont, Wall Street Journal

    …[T]he political ups and downs of the candidates and the electricity of the campaign–“I am promising change!”–matter much less than the substantive policies the next president would implement regarding the five most important challenges facing our country.

Medical Myths

These were no surprise to me, and most of them should be well and truly disproven for most people, but it still surprises me that we have so little understanding of our own bodies and yet claim to have such great knowledge of things outside ourselves.

Some of the myths debunked in this article are:

Daily Fluid Intake

There is no evidence to support the need to drink eight glasses of water a day…

The myths’s origin may have been a recommendation in 1945 which said 2.5 litres was a suitable fluid intake for adults and that most of this comes in prepared food. If the last part of the recommendation is omitted, it could imply the fluid intake should be in addition to normal food, suggested the researchers.

Eating Turkey

…Many experts say that the effect of tryptophan in turkey is probably reduced by the fact it’s eaten with other foods. The more likely explanation is that turkey is often eaten as part of a large solid meal, for instance at Christmas with stuffing, sausages and various other foods, and followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Add to this the probability that wine is often consumed at the same time and it is not surprising that the myth has caught on. Eating a large solid meal like this decreases oxygen to the brain which can lead to drowsiness said the authors.

And a favored bugbear of ludites the world ’round:

Mobile Phones in Hospitals

…[The researchers] found scant evidence to substantiate the myth that mobile phones cause substantial interference with hospital equipment. They tracked down one journal article that listed 100 reports of suspected electromagnetic interference in medical equipment from mobile phones before 1993, which the Wall Street Journal made into front page news, after which hospitals banned the use of mobile phones.

But there is little evidence to support this policy said the researchers. In the UK early studies showed mobile phones interfered with as few as 4 per cent of the equipment and only when within one metre, while less than 0.1 per cent showed serious effects. Rigourous testing at a number of other laboratories and medical centres have also come up with very small percentages and again only when within 1 metre of the equipment.

A more recent study carried out this year found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms, and in contrast the authors give an account of a survey of medical staff where use of mobile phones to stay in touch with each other was linked to reductions in risk of medical errors and injury resulting from delays in communication.

Technology has always been and will continue to be a favorite scapegoat and target for fear-mongers. What we don’t understand, we tend to fear.

In many ways, though we consider ourselves to be far beyond those dreary days we know as the Medieval times, the Dark Ages, we are still as profoundly ignorant and fearful as ever.

There really is nothing new under the sun, including mankind’s self-delusions of enlightened grandeur and his reality of befuddled fear.

The good news is that the mortality rate is still 100%. It has never wavered more or less. When we remember there is no promise of tomorrow and that to pin our hopes on that lustrous sunrise is to exercise maddening futility. We ought to appreciate each moment while living in such a way as to be prepared for tomorrow, should it come. Then we can live a life free of fear and deep with rich fulfillment.

Read the original article here.