Thursday, September 28, 2017

I'm a raaaacist! (Wot?)

Since I'm a white male (gasp) I am by definition racist, at least per some people's definition. After thinking about this for awhile, I'm afraid I agree somewhat. I may well be racist by their definition, but not for the normally applied reasons.

Consider my dilemma: I supported Herman Cain for president (before his campaign imploded). The first time I sent money to a campaign was to Cain's. I supported Ben Carson for president. One of my favorite pundits has been economist Dr. Thomas Sowell. Another of my favorite pundits (and again an economist) is Prof. Walter Williams of George Mason University. I've bought books by Larry Elder and Justice Clarence Thomas. As a science-oriented child, I had George Washington Carver as one of my heroes. I could go on.

Why do I support and like these people? I liked Cain's energy and ideas. I have always been impressed with Dr. Carson. Sowell is brilliant. Dr. Sowell is excellent as a pundit and he and Prof. Williams are quite good at translating complex economic ideas into understandable, actionable tactics. Larry Elder is up my alley as a pundit. Justice Thomas seems a clear-headed, honorable man who is well placed on the Supreme Court. And stories of George Washington Carver's scholarship, research and humility (as depicted in the biographies I read) formed some of who I am today.

My problem? Nowhere in the above did I mention skin color. Since the people mentioned above made their way on their own merits (and some are known conservatives), they aren't obliged to the grievance racketeers. My support and appreciation of them is therefore prima facie evidence of my raaacism.

C'mon folks. It's about time we started celebrating people for who they are, not their pigmentation.

The NFL, knees and Democrat-driven monopoly

After a bit of reading, it appears we're all being played -- mostly by ESPN, the NFL, and the team owners.

Did you know that the NFL, due originally to Democrat support, was a nonprofit until 2015? Roger Godell was paid $44 million one year, the highest paid head of a nonprofit. Special-purpose legislation can be traced through a string of Democrats back to slimeball Senator (but I repeat myself) Huey Long, whose son, Russell Long almost literally inherited his father's seat -- passed first to his mother, then to him.

Sen. Russell Long sat on the legislation until the NFL commissioner assured him that New Orleans would get a franchise. Now the Saints have a stadium paid for by a billion in taxpayer money.

In case you didn't notice, most of the money comes from lower- and middle-class folks who buy tickets and cable TV, and pay property taxes.

Did you know that even if you don't watch football, you're still paying taxes to pay for their stadiums, which are financed via municipal bonds. And this doesn't even get into the property tax exemptions and tax rebating...

ESPN has a monopolistic contract with the NFL. The NFL has been allowed to eliminate competition (remember the AFL? USFL?) in an illegal trust.

Ultimately, the NFL will lean to the Democrat line because that's how they continue monopolistic behavior unabated, and get such sweet deals on stadiums.

So their overpaid players take a knee to protest continuing racism in the country. I consider "continuing racism" debatable, but that probably varies on your sensitivity to the subject. Even so, their choice. I would prefer they protest in a manner that doesn't instantly alienate half the country. Again, their choice, but that's OK with me--their protest alienates paying customers, lowers viewership, cuts gate and TV revenue, and shortens the continuance of anti-competitive monopolies as people like me follow the money.

They could, as an alternative, protest against the fatherless situation of children in the black community and the country. That would make much more of positive impact on the nation, and would only madden those shirking their duty as fathers.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Austin subsidizes urban chickens

Filed under news of the ridiculous: The City of Austin will train you in chicken-keeping and subsidize your coop. Why? Since this comes under the purview of Austin Resource Recovery (aka recycling), this may be a substitute for the much-hated proposal to require Austin residents to compost food scraps, a stinky solution to a non-problem.

I admit to being curious as to whether any new positions were created in the city bureaucracy to start and expand the chicken programs. I await clarification from the head of Austin Resource Recovery's Department of Chicken-Keeping, or perhaps the head of city chicken advocacy. Will the program expand into goat-keeping as well?

Austin has been run by a plague of liberal do-gooders for ages, normally just working out 'better' ways to grab and spend citizens' money. Often this is just ironically pathetic -- for instance the more than $700 million bond package for mobility which actually reduces the number of lanes available in major streets. This time, though, the city has gone completely into self-mockery mode.

You really can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Obamacare! Unexpectedly!

Obamacare is becoming the poster child for leftist solutions: Those wise, smarter-than-thou central planners came up with what they believed was a logical, obviously brilliant and wonderful solution to the "health care crisis," better in all ways than our then-current fractured system.

In nearly all ways, it has failed and met the expectations of its harshest critics.

The Obama administration claimed a "vibrant" marketplace would emerge with increased competition. Instead, we got mass mergers with decreased competition: Healthcare insurers merged to stem losses. Pharmaceutical companies are merging and acquiring each other. Doctors are banding together, joining hospital group practices, or retiring. Hospitals are merging. We are left with fewer, larger organizations, less choice, less competition. Premiums in 2016 were up over 10% in almost half the states; twelve states had premium increases over 20%. United Healthcare is exiting most of the state Obamacare exchanges.  In 2017, things are no better: the average increase will be around 9%. But things are much worse in certain spots: Blue Cross Blue Shield is proposing to hammer Alabama with a 40% increase and Texas with 60%!

In a nutshell: Young people are taking the penalty rather than signing up. The ill and/or poor are signing up in greater numbers than expected (but, many that sign up don't follow through and pay, even with subsidized costs). Very few participating insurers are making a profit. The 'risk corridors' don't work. Very little in this works, and none of it is sustainable.

Unexpectedly! (Unless you listened to any of the people arguing against this.)

The president continues to represent the Affordable Care Act as "working". Are Democrats merely disingenuous, or just flat lying liars? Whichever, this is a continuing theme with leftist solutions: Seriously wrong answers to the big problems, which are never admitted to be failures. Start with the "obviously correct" answer, sell it as if it were Gospel Truth, and attack any disagreement as being from troglodyte idiots. (Unless the troglodyte lobby has been donating to the Clinton Foundation.)

Obama's signature legislation is failing. It seems, so far, that 46% of Obamacare co-ops have failed. According to at least one survey, most people think Obamacare has been a failure, and 45% say they are paying more for health insurance, as opposed to seeing the promised $2500 per year reduction. And keep in mind that Obamacare still hasn't been fully implemented, since the Democrats pushed implementation of many of the more objectionable portions into the future.

Remember: This is what liberals do, on their road to turn the USA into Venezuela. The health care market is now a war zone where prices can only rise and innovation will be squelched, and the answer is always more taxation and bigger government. This too will fail.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blue city blues

I had been collecting information in preparation for writing a post about the destruction of large American cities by way of the election of Democrat officials.

I stopped. Couldn't pick it up again. Too damned depressing. (And I never use the word 'damned', but here it seems quite appropriate.) Too many destroyed cities, too many hopeless people...

Today I saw this, which thankfully saves me from continuing to research the topic. Please take a look, and keep in mind, as the video mentions, that this pattern seems to be repeating itself in every large American city.

There is something fundamentally wrong here: the combination of Democrat politics, public sector unions, and corruption. They go together. California, going bankrupt. Puerto Rico, bankrupt. Detroit, bankrupt. Chicago, not yet bankrupt, but working on it. Washington D.C. All with bad schools, high murder rates, corrupt officials.

If you live in a majority-Democrat large city and are not employed by a public union, you know in your bones what is going on. Just please remember when you vote.

Mentioned in the video is a pamphlet, The New Shame of the Cities. If you're interested in the sordid details for many majority-Democrat cities, it seems Front Page magazine published the text.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Republican deathmatch

I prefer to pick on the Democrat candidates: Bernie is just hilarious. Hillary, on the other hand, is possibly the most unlikeable, baggage-laden candidate ever. Sooo easy to take substantive pot shots at these folks.

On the Republican side are some of the best candidates in decades, and one clown. Carson is a great man, but having a hard time convincing people that he can be president, and that's a shame. Rubio has been anointed by the Republican establishment as "their guy" after Jeb crashed and burned, so I'm not all that enamored of him. Being that I'm a naturalized Texan, I find Cruz the most compelling of the group. I like the fact he's got enemies in all the right places. He's principled, very bright, and sticks to his guns (in multiple senses), all of which I like.

Then there's the gold-plated dumpster fire, Trump. He has both the most loyal core, apparently, at about 30%, but also the strongest unfavorables, as in 60% of Republicans are in the "never Trump" category.

So the Republican side has some good candidates plus one raging dumpster fire. Unfortunately, all the decent candidates are splitting the level-headed vote, and if some of those candidates don't stand down, NOW, the clown will be the nominee.

And for those who believe they like Trump: He is not the person he seems.

The Donald is a deal maker, co-author of The Art of the Deal. He is now in "deal maker" mode, trying to seal the deal with Republican voters. He will do and say whatever is necessary to make the deal work. What we're seeing now is the most Republican, most conservative, most Christian-ish that The Donald will ever be. Because once the deal is done, he no longer needs the conservatives, the Christians, the 2nd Amendment folks, etc., that he's now sucking up to. The "make America great" and "send all the illegals home" rhetoric is just what he thinks it takes to make the deal. Historically, Trump seems to be a mildly-right-of-center Democrat, willing to donate to anyone who can give him an edge.

As president, Bernie would be a sincere disaster. Hillary would be a Clinton. 'Nuff said. And Trump would be out to continue to promote Trump, which would also be a disaster.

Ah, but Cruz would be a dangerous disaster as well, right? Yes! But my kind of a disaster! As Robert Reich points out in the best unintentional campaign ad for Cruz EVAH!

Wonderful endorsement, Mr. Reich.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The End of Civilization, or the Earth, or Whatever

Paul Erhlich wrote The Population Bomb in 1968. I read it then as an impressionable kid. It was totally wrong then and moreso now. He predicted mass starvation by the 1970s. The world's population was 3.5 billion in 1968. The world's population is now about 7.4 billion, and the fraction of undernourished people has dropped by half, from 33% to 16%, since 1968. For the math-challenged, that works out to about the same number of malnourished people then as now, but the total population of the planet has doubled. You should be impressed. I am.

From Wikipedia's article on the book:
Famine has not been eliminated, but its root cause has been political instability, not global food shortage.[19] The Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner, Amartya Sen, has argued that nations with democracy and a free press have virtually never suffered from extended famines.[20]
In other words, if you want to complete the war on starvation you need African governments to get out of the way of democracy and freedoms. It wouldn't hurt if we had more of that here, too.

But what started this massive increase in the ability to feed people? Agri-tech. Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution, plant improvement programs which allowed people to more easily feed themselves with disease resistant, higher yielding plants.

Ehrlich has left the land of Soylent Green and is writing eco-catastrophe books, which I'm sure are every bit as accurate as The Population Bomb.

A very similar story can be told about "peak oil" and dire predictions of millions freezing in the dark, versus our current situation with inexpensive oil and natural gas, with huge and increasing proven reserves. Petroleum engineering produced effective hydraulic fracturing technology seemingly at the best chosen of times. Why?

When someone believes money can be made by producing something more efficiently, more abundantly, more inexpensively, they start looking for solutions. Some start looking because of altruism, and good on them. But altruism won't put together the millions of dollars of investments needed to find huge amounts of new oil, or provide massive amounts of fertilizer and machinery needed to produce good and inexpensive food.

What about... scarce metals? scarce rare earth elements? scarce water? I'm worried more about scarce brains, but I can guarantee there are people now thinking about how to make a buck supplying more or better replacements of every scarce item you and I can think of. For instance, scarce water becomes a non-issue if someone develops a sufficiently low-cost and efficient desalination method. (The solution may be close.) Good grief: the planet is covered in water!

Which brings me back to the humanitarian, Bono: "Capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid." Not just poverty, brother, but thirst, and hunger...

As we wander into the political chaos season, please keep in mind the elements that foster abundance for the world: freedom, democracy, capitalism.