Quick Roundup 418

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Video Fest

In no particular order ...

... courtesy of this morning's news forage.

NY 20 Update

The GOP, by failing to offer a real alternative to the voters in upstate New York, achieved a well-deserved and familiar-sounding result in yesterday's special congressional election.
Democrat Scott Murphy led Republican Jim Tedisco by a scant 65 votes out of more than 154,000 cast Tuesday.

After the count of machine votes in 610 voting precincts spread over the mostly rural, 10-county district, the unofficial count was 77,344 for Murphy to 77,279 for Tedisco. That puts the focus on the more than 10,000 absentee ballots mailed to voters who are registered in the district but were unable to vote in person on Tuesday.[links dropped]
Memo to the GOP: So long as you and the Democrats are two sides of the same debased coin, every election will be a toss-up.

Orchid Time!

I always enjoy it when Amit Ghate posts photos of his orchids. Today, it's Cymbidium.

I Have Rights, But You Don't

Brian Phillips comments on a story I saw Sunday, I believe, in the Houston Chronicle.
The neighborhoods of Center City, Southampton, and Boulevard Oaks are supporting legislation that will remove the ability of the Medical Center to use eminent domain to seize property. The Medical Center has possessed this power for fifty years, and in recent years has used it to condemn numerous houses and thereby violate the property rights of the owners of those homes. Home owners in the area fear that they could be next.

For more than a year, two of these neighborhoods -- Southampton and Boulevard Oaks -- have fought to stop Buckhead Development from constructing the Ashby High Rise. The neighborhoods have enlisted the help of City Hall to delay the project, and thereby have violated the property rights of the developers.
Yes. The same idiots who have been on a full-court press against property rights in Houston for over a year have suddenly started paying lip-service to property rights.

I wish these were April Fool's Day jokes!

Yesterday, I told C. August that I have found blogging somewhat more difficult since Obama took office just because of the sheer volume of things he's doing wrong. Here are just three from the headlines today:

Obama accepts invitations to visit China, Russia
The two countries also agreed to form a U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The White House says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would represent the United States during those talks.
God help us! Without even existing, He'd do better than these clowns.

Financial Rescue Nears GDP as Pledges Top $12.8 Trillion
The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s.

New pledges from the Fed, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. include $1 trillion for the Public-Private Investment Program, designed to help investors buy distressed loans and other assets from U.S. banks. The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation's gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008. [bold added, links dropped]
Does this sound familiar?

Senate Legislation Would Federalize Cybersecurity
Addressing what intelligence officials describe as a gaping vulnerability, the legislation also calls for the appointment of a White House cybersecurity "czar" with unprecedented authority to shut down computer networks, including private ones, if a cyberattack is underway, the officials said. [bold added]
I saved the worst for last. Who needs the "Fairness" Doctrine when the government can just shut down any computer network it wants in the name of "security?"

Back to the Economy

Interestingly enough, as I linked to Titanic Deck Chairs, I noticed that the newest post brings up one of the points I saw Yaron Brook elaborate upon last night, namely the "Broken Window Fallacy."

The federal "stimulus" -- which not only breaks every window made in America last year, but every thing, tangible or not (see "Financial Rescue" above) -- is a massive, government-enforced application of this elementary economic mistake. Because the government is an agent of coercive force, we are all being forced to learn on our own hides what Obama refuses to see.

And so far, the GOP has shown no indication that it will offer us anything different.

-- CAV


Paul Hsieh said...

How was Yaron Brook's talk at Rice? Were you planning on posting a summary/review?

Gus Van Horn said...

It was quite good, but I had not planned to review it, mainly out of force of the habit of normally not blogging local events that I developed during my "anonymous period". (The HR 676 hearing was so bad I made an exception.)

My very short take on the virtues of the talk is that Brook opened by immediately demolishing the whole myth that capitalism was even around TO fail to cause the crisis. Later, he moved seamlessly into explaining -- taking the lack of fire in the belly for capitalism on the part of most of its "defenders" as his point of departure -- why the fight for capitalism is a fight for selfishness.

He was on offense the whole time.

Thanks for asking that question. That talk improved my mood, and you helped me figure out why.

C. August said...

"Yesterday, I told C. August that I have found blogging somewhat more difficult since Obama took office just because of the sheer volume of things he's doing wrong. "

What did I do? I didn't think I was doing that many things wrong. I mean, my wife sometimes gets mad at me, but I didn't think I broke the whole economy...

Gus Van Horn said...

Hah! Maybe Obama'll name you "National Scapegoat." The cool thing is that if he does, it'll really be MY fault!

But I'll pin the blame for THAT on you, too. Bwahahah!

Doug Reich said...

I disagree that the volume of Obama's horrendous policies is making blogging more difficult. In some ways it makes it easier. It forces us to be intellectual "wholesalers" rather than "retailers" as AR once said. In other words, you can't possibly take these issues on one at a time. It forces us to abstract the wider principles involved. Then, since there is a new concrete everyday, you can cite the new example as further evidence! I think the long run effect of what's happening could be positive if we can get people to think in principle. This is forcing many people to search for a more abstract answer - and we have it. If we don't lose free speech, I think we will see this as a watershed moment in history.

Gus Van Horn said...

Speaking for myself only, I find that I'm having to get past feeling overwhelmed.

Yes, you do have multiple concretes from which to abstract wider principles. That's certainly true, but you still DO have to start SOMEWHERE when commenting on the events of the say.

That said, much of what Obama is doing really isn't all that different from what Bush did, but perhaps it stands out more to me as someone for whom the errors of conservatives took time to grasp. New mental habits take time to form, and past errors take time to fully uproot. I'm still sorting that out.

In my case, I have less time to blog nowadays, too, so I am trying to figure out whether that is part or all of the source of that feeling for me.

C. August said...

You're right, Doug, but at the same time, when the shells are falling all around you, it's sometimes not as easy to do the abstracting. Last week was particularly bad. As I said in an email to friends today, "Obama couldn't be doing more damage to the country if he tried."

But I like your outlook on things. And you are very right about the threats to free speech. We lose that, and ...

Gus Van Horn said...

Are you sure that he hasn't effectively outlawed it already?

By the time he's done, he'll have deemed the energy you used to speak anything not at his behest a waste of federal resources and the carbon dioxide in each word a pollutant.

Matt said...

I didn't know you were at Yaron Brook's talk. I didn't notice anyone who looked like your "Bitchy Blogger" masthead. Of course, I wasn't really looking.

Gus Van Horn said...

Gotta keep a sharp eye out! Of course, the goatee is so common in Houston that that wouldn't necessarily help you. (On a past visit, one of my brothers noticed this and coined the phrase, "standard Houston goatee.")

I did meet someone else who follows the blog yesterday, though.