Quick Roundup 147

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Biden on Obama

I see that Senator Joe Biden made The Drudge Report yesterday for the following remarks (specifically, the ones in bold) about fellow presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama:

Mr. Biden is equally skeptical -- albeit in a slightly more backhanded way -- about Mr. Obama. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

But -- and the "but" was clearly inevitable -- he doubts whether American voters are going to elect "a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate," and added: "I don't recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic."

(After the interview with Mr. Biden and shortly before press time, Mr. Obama proposed legislation that would require all American combat brigades to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of March 2008.) [bold added]
Predictably, this is causing conservatives to wish the leftist media would pounce on Biden in the same way they would had a Republican likewise said something that -- ripped from its context -- implied that most blacks are not "bright and clean".

This is understandable on one level, but absurd on another. As Jonah Goldberg makes clear, Biden was really guilty only of the same thing Republicans are most of the time the press pounces on them: putting a point badly. "[E]veryone knows what the guy meant to say. He's simply missing 'candidate,' or 'presidential candidate' to be more accurate, after African-American. ... [I]f you read him as saying Obama's the first mainstream black Presidential candidate, Biden's right."

What I find frustrating about this is that we are seeing, for the umpteenth time, the conservatives tacitly admitting that they either have no ideas of their own or no confidence in them. Biden actually has made a good point -- one which the conservatives are probably afraid to make: Aside from Obama's support being due mainly to the fact that so little is known about him, it is partly due to the fact that as a black, he is something of a novelty. If anything, the Republicans should thank Biden for pointing this out and opening the door to attacking Obama on issues. But Instead, I guess the plagiarist is such a fearsome candidate that the Republicans must single him out from all the other pandering Democrats as a faux racist! And pass up the opportunity to begin to attack Obama on substantive grounds.

Well, okay. I won't pass up the plagiarism joke.... Buck up guys! Sooner or later, some bureaucrat is going to realize that two "Barack Obamas" have filed to run for President and the Biden juggernaut will have taken care of itself anyway!

California to Ban the Incandescent Bulb?

Reading some news stories is as good as banging your head against a wall. Like this one:
A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California's groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act" would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
As if this weren't ridiculous enough, the "reporter" has to give his two cents' worth:
If passed, it would be another pioneering environmental effort in California, the most populous U.S. state. It became the first state to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, targeting a 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2020. [bold added]
Pioneering? In the sense of driving your Conestoga Wagon right over a cliff, it is.

The article then goes into excruciating detail about the minutiae of how much energy incandescent bulbs use versus an expensive new type (whose performance is apparently not yet up to the task of mass replacement).

Not once was it mentioned that the motivation for this bill -- the assumption that global warming occurs due to human activity -- is still controversial. Nor was the issue of whether the government really has any business -- even if such grounds were valid -- telling individuals what to screw into a light socket even brought up.

Instead, a piece of legislation that would blatantly violate individual rights and could ruin California's economy is treated like a long-awaited miracle cure! And after the advertising blurb, anyone out there with a brain is numbed to sleep with blather about nonessentials. If you don't believe that modern journalists are at war with rational public debate, this is a prime example.

Final Harry Potter Due in Summer!

July 21, to be precise. More here.

Two Good Ones via Noodle Food

Greg Perkins discusses the whirlwind tour of Ayn Rand and Objectivism written by Greg Salmieri and Alan Gotthelf for a philosophy dictionary and posted at the web site of the Ayn Rand Society.

Also, I rather belatedly followed Diana Hsieh's advice to read Mike's demolition job of the common smear about Objectivism as "ignoring children".
I find this criticism especially annoying. If you think about it, it is a disguised "Ayn Rand eats babies" attack. The motivation is very clear; it is an attempt to show Objectivism as callous and incapable of providing practical guidance. It does this by preying on ignorance about Objectivism and common misconceptions about egoism.
Quite the opposite is true, as a matter of fact. Read it all, if you haven't already.

Support Objectivism Online!

Here's how. They're all pretty easy, too.

-- CAV


Today: (1) Revised first section. (2) Corrected link at "plagiarist".


Galileo Blogs said...

Re: light bulbs

I tried replacing several incandescent bulbs in my apartment with the "mini" fluorescent bulbs. Some wouldn't fit into my overhead fixture. Others, I discovered, will not work if you have a dimmer switch. Overall, my success rate was 0 for 5 in installing these bulbs.

I guess I'll start filling out my paperwork for a "needs-based exemption" from this new law. Now, if I can only dust off an old wheelchair for the personal photo part of the application...

Gus Van Horn said...

Your application will be denied on the grounds of Mother Earth's greater "need".

The Dems have found the perfect "special interest group" in global warming hysteria. No more having to placate pesky humans!

Anonymous said...

Although I agree that this shouldn't be a law, I personally have CFLs installed throughout my house. Not only do they reduce my electric bills, they fuse a lot less and come out cheaper in the long run than ordinary bulbs. (However, they do cost around 10-15x as much as ordinary bulbs here).

I've had none of the problems described by "Galileo Blogs". They work with the dimmers in my house (just not at low levels), and they have no problem fitting in the bulb sockets.

Gus Van Horn said...

By "fuse", do you mean "burn out"?

I have seen these on sale at Wal-Mart and considered trying them, but am put off by the notion of having nothing but fluorescent lighting at home.

You do indirectly bring up a good point. Many who dislike this law, but do not appreciate the value of basing arguments on principles, will focus on how expensive the bulbs are or whatever problems they might have. This concedes (or appears to concede) the premise that this law is okay, and too easily appears to agree that once any remaining technological hurdles are overcome, California (and everyone else) should encact such laws.

One can't hide behind the level of development of a technology (or problems implementing terrible legislation generally) and expect to win the day.

Galileo Blogs said...

I found that the bulbs are actually larger than an incandescent bulb, so they would not fit into my lighting fixture, which was designed to (barely) hold an incandescent bulb. They did, however, screw into the socket.

I seem to recall that the packaging on my bulb said it it would not work with dimmers. In any case, it did not work with my dimmers.

I like the idea of saving money, but the bulbs clearly have some additional drawbacks compared to regular bulbs. This includes the type of light emitted which, no matter how close to an incandescent, is different and can be unpleasant in certain uses for certain people.

In any case, I find it beyond appalling that the intrusiveness of government is reaching this level. Of course, it is not really that much of an extension of government power already deployed.

The whole thing makes me want to get drunk, smoke five packs of cigarettes, power up a smelly old car with a broken catalytic converter and missing seat belts, eat a trans-fat-sodden donut (after eating my cholesterol-laden steak), get high on marijuana, take illegal diet pills... and park my smelly _ _ _ in the halls of Congress as a registered lobbyist.

I think these thoughts while I buckle up my seat belt, never drive while drunk, watch my caloric intake. Ugh! Independence is the real rebellion.

Gus Van Horn said...

Except for the bit about being a mere lobbyist, your fantasy of pseudo-rebellion makes me think of Ted Kennedy, whose deterioration over the years seems an apt metaphor for that of the Left.

Inspector said...

I have two of those bulb things. They came in a pack of three. Corkscrew-looking dealies.

Why do I have two? Because the third one snapped in my hand as I screwed it into the socket. Probably poisoning me with who knows what. Guess I won't make up the purchase price with "efficiency" after all.


I've got four of the nine on your list covered.