Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yet another "green" disaster

In July, the National Park Service proudly announced the completion of a solar energy system at Yosemite. From the National Park Service press release:
Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher led a ribbon cutting ceremony today, July 27, to dedicate the El Portal Photovoltaic Project. Neubacher was joined by representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Congressman Jeff Denham (R-19th), Mariposa County Supervisor Lee Stetson, contractors, and National Park Service staff. The event dedicated the largest grid-connected photovoltaic system within the National Park Service (NPS).

. . . . The park estimates saving approximately $50,000 per year on electricity purchased off the grid . . . .

. . . . The project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment act and cost $5.8 million. . . .
It costs $5.8 million and only saves $50 thousand per year! Not counting interest costs, that means is pays for itself in 5,800,000/50,000 = 116 years, on the unlikely assumption that it lasts that long. No business would touch such a bad deal. It was paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (A/K/A Porkulus) funds and various "rebates".

Hat tip: Don Surber and Coach.

Liberal policies collide with liberal regulations

The Obama administration came into office with the dream that "green" jobs would lift the economy out of its slowdown. One problem with "green" jobs is that they don't make economic sense. Another one is that they conflict with not just left-wing union and protectionist rules (Davis-Bacon Act, Buy America Act) but also with environmental rules (National Environmental Policy Act). Investor's Business Daily reports (hat tip: Instapundit and National Review):
President Obama's green jobs agenda has become a victim of its own red tape. Several internal reports show that state-level projects have stalled for years due to federal regulations favored by labor and green groups — big boosters of the green jobs push.

The reports offer a peek into the dysfunction within the White House's green jobs initiative. In 2009, Obama dedicated $7.2 billion of stimulus funds to build "clean tech" jobs. He vowed to create 5 million jobs over the next decade.

So far, that effort has "created or retained" just 7,140 jobs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That's about $1 million per job. The number is actually down from last year, when the EPA claimed 16,605 green jobs.

Audit reports by the Energy Department's Inspector General Of fice offer some clues as to why: Trying to comply with federal regulations such as the Davis-Bacon Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Buy American Act has stalled many projects. [Emph. added]

US rewards tax avoidance more than innovation

In a free enterprise system, companies are rewarded for making products that people want to buy. In a liberal/progressive system, companies are rewarded instead for their skills at manipulating complex government rules and regulations. A new study from the Institute for Policy Studies finds that the US has the latter system. The New York Times reports:

The authors of the study, which examined the regulatory filings of the 100 companies with the best-paid chief executives, said that their findings suggested that current United States policy was rewarding tax avoidance rather than innovation.

“We have no evidence that C.E.O.’s are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises,” the study concluded. “On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.” [Emph. added]

The self-contradictions of the last paragraph above shows the left/liberal bias of the Institute for Policy Studies.  (Reducing unnecessary costs, such as taxes, does in fact make an enterprise "more effective and efficient.")  It is interesting that, despite this bias, they still understand that our left/liberal tax system is sapping American productivity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jane Jamison, RIP

One of the San Francisco Bay Area's finest bloggers has passed away. She wrote under the pen name Jane Jamison and was the founder of the very successful blog and, more recently, a contributor at Right Wing News.

In a recent post, she described some of the perils of being a conservative in the San Francisco Bay Area:
I have written for years and worked radio for years under a pen name. I do so because in the past when I used my real name for my broadcast and written work, I have had my car vandalized, my home vandalized, phone threats, death threats and my children were approached by strangers at their sports activities.

Liberals can be very dangerous people, especially here in the bay area, where I have had my tires flattened and my car windows broken when I attended counterprotests against liberal groups. They have pushed, shoved and threatened me with violence at their protests over the years when I would show up with counter protest signs or question their activities. I unfortunately, have to do work with liberals in the San Francisco bay area who undoubtedly would fire me or not hire me due to my political beliefs, so I keep my professional writing persona and my personal life “separate” for my safety. [Emph. added]

(It is wise to remember that liberals are not "tolerant.")

Although I never met Ms. Jamison in person, she was a long-time friend of this blog. Examples of our shared interest in SF Bay Area protests are here and here. At Uncoverage, she did impressive original investigative work exposing the scandals that the local media preferred to ignore. Her contribution to the cause of freedom will not be forgotten.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Voting with their feet: Student edition

The Associated Press reports:
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were recently on the brink of closing.

It is a scenario public school advocates have long feared: Students fleeing local districts in large numbers, taking with them vital tax dollars that often end up at parochial schools. Opponents say the practice violates the separation of church and state.

In at least one district, public school principals have been pleading with parents not to move their children.

Hat tip: Instapundit and American Glob.

PREVIOUSLY on foot-voting:
Americans flee Blue states

Life in a government monopoly

The Washington Post reports that the US Postal Service pays workers to do nothing:
Long-standing labor agreements with two major postal unions prohibit the Postal Service from laying off or reassigning workers because of broken equipment or periods of low mail volume. Instead, idled employees show up for work, sit in a break room or cafeteria and do nothing.

Standby time totaled 170,666 hours in the first six months of 2011, costing the Postal Service $4.3 million, according to an audit by the Postal Service inspector general’s office. In 2009, 1.2 million hours were billed at a cost of $30.9 million.

Voting with their feet

People always want better lives for themselves and their families. Whether they are fleeing by boat from communist Cuba or Vietnam or climbing the Berlin wall, the better life has always been on the side that offers individual economic freedom. Traveling within the United States does not require such heriocs but people still migrate. In the Beast, Michael Medved writes (hat tip: Instapundit) on Americans migrating:
New Census numbers show citizens fleeing by the millions from liberal states and flocking in comparable numbers to bastions of right-wing sentiment. Call it the Great Political Migration.

Between 2009 and 2010 the five biggest losers in terms of “residents lost to other states” were all prominent redoubts of progressivism: California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey. Meanwhile, the five biggest winners in the relocation sweepstakes are all commonly identified as red states in which Republicans generally dominate local politics: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia. Expanding the review to a 10-year span, the biggest population gainers (in percentage terms) have been even more conservative than last year’s winners: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Texas, in that order.

For the migrants who are Democrats, there must be some cognitive dissonance as they flee the results of their policies.

PREVOUSLY on the failure of liberal economic theories:
Survey of CEOs: Obamanomics is still the problem
A CEO explains how Obama's policies damage the economy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are Obama's deficits helping the economy?

Pres. Obama and the Democrats claim that deficit spending "stimulates" the economy. This is the Keynesian school of economics. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Robert J. Barro, Professor of Economics at Harvard, explains the problems with this theory:

[I]n true Keynesian spirit, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said recently that food stamps were an "economic stimulus" and that "every dollar of benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity." Many observers may see how this idea—that one can magically get back more than one puts in—conflicts with what I will call "regular economics." What few know is that there is no meaningful theoretical or empirical support for the Keynesian position.

The overall prediction from regular economics is that an expansion of transfers, such as food stamps, decreases employment and, hence, gross domestic product (GDP). In regular economics, the central ideas involve incentives as the drivers of economic activity. Additional transfers to people with earnings below designated levels motivate less work effort by reducing the reward from working.

In addition, the financing of a transfer program requires more taxes—today or in the future in the case of deficit financing. These added levies likely further reduce work effort—in this instance by taxpayers expected to finance the transfer—and also lower investment because the return after taxes is diminished.

In short, deficit spending, such as on welfare, distorts incentives, reducing both work and investment. So much for theory. What does the empirical evidence say? Prof. Barro continues:

Theorizing aside, Keynesian policy conclusions, such as the wisdom of additional stimulus geared to money transfers, should come down to empirical evidence. And there is zero evidence that deficit-financed transfers raise GDP and employment—not to mention evidence for a multiplier of two. [Emph. added]

Hat tip: JustOneMinute.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics:
Survey of CEOs: Obamanomics is still the problem
A CEO explains how Obama's policies damage the economy
CEO: businesses are "frightened to death" of Obamacare and Obama's regulatory overreach
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How to lie with statistics
3M: “Politicians forget that business has choice"
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Obama 0, Germany 1:
Medical insurance prices rising due to ObamaCare
Laws of Economics 1; Obama 0
Why Liberal economics fails: redistribution does not create wealth (Illustrated)
Obamacare endangers student health
Why business isn't hiring
Dodd-Frank finance "reform" bill stops bond market cold
Why unemployment insurance must be extended (illustrated)
Obamanomics still failing, Washington Post discovers
Russia goes supply-side
Study: Liberals are economically illiterate

Monday, August 22, 2011

College graduates are more religious than high school grads who are more religious than high school dropouts

President Obama ("bitter clingers") and Democrats would like to associate religion with lack of education and sophistication. The facts are otherwise says W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. He and his colleagues have looked at the relationship between education and church attendance and found, as US News reports:
In the past decade, 23 percent of the least-educated whites attended religious services monthly or more often, compared with 37 percent of moderately educated whites and 46 percent of college-educated whites, the researchers said.
In other words, college grads are twice as likely (46% vs. 23%) to attend church regularly as compared to high school dropouts.

This work was presented last Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in Las Vegas.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The New York Times prints left-wing propaganda

Politicized science at the EPA

A new study shows that the "peer review" that the EPA uses when deciding on endangered species status is phony.  Granting of "endangered species" status can come with a huge economic cost.

CEO survey says Obamanomics is still the problem

Chief Executive magazine updated its CEO Confidence survey and executives continue to report that they'll be more willing to hire when Obamanomics (Obamacare, regulations, protectionism, high taxes, and trillion-dollar deficits) is repealed or scaled back:
The ranking of hiring-inducing priorities that were ranked “important to extremely important” were as follows:

  1. Backlog of work or increased revenue — 88.2 percent
  2. Evidence of economic expansion — 77.2 percent
  3. Repeal of Health Care Reform or eliminate uncertainty over its provisions — 71.6 percent
  4. Reduction in government regulation of business — 62 percent
  5. Government holds line on debt ceiling — 56.3
  6. Reduced corporate tax rate to OECD average — 54.3
  7. Balanced federal budget — 53.9
  8. Gov’t passes all free trade agreements without delay — 48.8
  9. Repeal Dodd-Frank or eliminate uncertainty over its provisions — 48.2
Hat tip: LegalInsurrection.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics:
A CEO explains how Obama's policies damage the economy
CEO: businesses are "frightened to death" of Obamacare and Obama's regulatory overreach
Obamanomics and the prolonged recession
How to lie with statistics
3M: “Politicians forget that business has choice"
Obamacare: Corporatism in action
Obama 0, Germany 1:
Medical insurance prices rising due to ObamaCare
Laws of Economics 1; Obama 0
Why Liberal economics fails: redistribution does not create wealth (Illustrated)
Obamacare endangers student health
Why business isn't hiring
Dodd-Frank finance "reform" bill stops bond market cold
Why unemployment insurance must be extended (illustrated)
Obamanomics still failing, Washington Post discovers
Russia goes supply-side
Study: Liberals are economically illiterate

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Noam Chomsky and his imaginary world

In his early career, Noam Chomsky was a brilliant linguist. Currently he is best known as a leading leftist intellectual. Here is what passes for leftist intellectual thought:

Let me highlight what this brilliant scholar says, starting at about 1:07 in the video:
Christian Right has something else in mind. They are looking forward to Armageddon. There is a whole belief system. Probably Geo. Bush number 2 probably believed in this. If you have Armageddon, then the souls that are saved rise to heaven. Jesus Christ comes for a thousand years of peace and the whole story. Fine. The pro-Israel christian right are the most anti-semitic people in the world. They want all the Jews in the world to be exterminated except for the 144,000 who are somehow converted.
The man is completely delusional.

Hat tip: TheBlaze.

PREVIOUSLY on the liberals and anti-semitism:
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Unintended consequences

Is morality innate?

According to an LA Times Op-Ed, even infants have a sense of morality:
Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom notes that "it is often beneficial for humans to work together … which means it would have been adaptive to evaluate the niceness and nastiness of other individuals." In groundbreaking research, he and his team found that infants in their first year of life demonstrate aspects of an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even fair and unfair. When shown a puppet climbing a mountain, either helped or hindered by a second puppet, the babies oriented toward the helpful puppet. They were able to make an evaluative social judgment, in a sense a moral response.
Or, maybe the infants were just hoping that the 'helpful puppet" would give them a free lunch?

Friday, August 12, 2011

More ethics problems among Global Warming "scientists"

Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth featured the claim that polar bears were drowning due to global warming.  That claim was based on the work of two government scientists, both of whom are now in ethical trouble.  Human Events reports:
Special agents from the Interior Department’s inspector general's office are questioning the two government scientists about the paper they wrote on drowned polar bears, suggesting mistakes were made in the math and as to how the bears actually died, and the department is eyeing another study currently underway on bear populations.

Biologist Charles Monnett, the lead scientist on the paper, was placed on administrative leave July 18.  Fellow biologist Jeffrey Gleason, who also contributed to the study, is being questioned, but has not been suspended.
Special agents don't normally investigate math errors.  There is likely some larger malfeasance here, possibly involving awarding of large contracts.

PREVIOUSLY on global warming:
Global warmists propose mass killing of animals
Democrat: Global Warming will destroy Washington DC by the year 2000
Earth Day: environmentalism and the test of science
The collapse of the UN IPCC's credibility
Yet another UN IPCC Glacier-gate scandal
UN IPCC claims of melting Himalayan glaciers exposed as fraud
Environmentalists at war with environmentalists over green energy
EPA's new global warming rules, illustrated
California global warming rules backfire
France's carbon tax ruled unconstitutional
UN IPCC responds to Climategate with wild accusations
Surprise: EU's carbon trading riddled with fraud
Global warming and the test of science, III
Global warming and the test of science, II
Global warming and the test of science, I
141 scientists wrote letter to UN challenging global warming hysteria.
Ma'am Sen. Boxer for and against climate whistleblowers.
BBC propaganda on global warming
Climate alarmist Phil Jones to step down pending review
Why Penn State's investigation of its global warmist will go nowhere
Former boss calls James Hansen call an embarrassment to NASA
NASA's global warming scientists caught hyping false data
The resemblance of global warming true-believers to Islamists
James Hansen "muzzled" by Bush White House?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

CEO: Obama's policies damage the economy

David Farr, the CEO of Emerson Electric, explains how Obama's policies limit employment and hamstring growth:
GDP in the U.S. grew in the first half less than 1%. . . . It's not new news. We have to deal with it. We have a tradition in the company to deal with those things.

Then we have a government situation, their inability to deal with the real gut issues of excess spending and debt. All we hear out of government is, we're going to raise taxes. We don't like corporate planes. We're going to sue Boeing, one of the most strategic companies we have in this country, for building a new plant in South Carolina. We have no desire to really go after corporate tax reform, which would (finally) change this country and encourage people to invest and reinvest and create jobs in this country, but rather demagogue and go after people that actually create those jobs, be it corporations [or] people that are successful. . . .

So, as I look at what [is] coming at us in the second half of this year, I do not see the catalysts that would say that [the] economy will be fundamentally different in the second half than we saw in the first half. . . . Fundamentally, there's nothing going on in the U.S. right now that would encourage corporations to ignore the excessive regulations coming at us. . . . You look at the new health-care bill. You look at the last week. We decided in Washington to raise the CAFE standards for the second time within three years on the day that we announced less than 1% first-half GDP growth in the U.S. economy. I would say Washington is arranging the chairs on the Titanic.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics:
CEO: businesses are "frightened to death" of Obamacare and Obama's regulatory overreach
Obamanomics and the prolonged recession
How to lie with statistics
3M: “Politicians forget that business has choice"
Obamacare: Corporatism in action
Obama 0, Germany 1:
Medical insurance prices rising due to ObamaCare
Laws of Economics 1; Obama 0
Why Liberal economics fails: redistribution does not create wealth (Illustrated)
Obamacare endangers student health
Why business isn't hiring
Dodd-Frank finance "reform" bill stops bond market cold
Why unemployment insurance must be extended (illustrated)
Obamanomics still failing, Washington Post discovers
Russia goes supply-side
Study: Liberals are economically illiterate

Our narcissist-in-chief

How smart does President Obama think he is? At the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens reviews the record:
"I think I'm a better speech writer than my speech writers," [Barack Obama] reportedly told an aide in 2008. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director."

On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game."

There is wisdom in knowing one's limitations.  Obama doesn't.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of narcissism:
Obama and his failure "to communicate"
Hybrid cars and narcissism
Narcissist-in-Chief (with cartoon and photo)
Study: Environmentalists more likely to "cheat" and "steal"
Obama: "I want you to understand: this is not about me!"
Obama: it's all about me!
Confusing Compassion with Narcissism
Obama's narcissism and the Chicago Olympics bid
Environmentalism and Narcissism, II
John Stewart analyzes the Narcissist-in-Chief
From OpenLeft: Is liberalism narcissism?
Environmentalism and Narcissism,
The side-effects of good intentions

The Federal budget problem, clearly explained

(Warning: contains vulgar language)

Hat tip: Greg.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Study: teacher's unions are bad for education

From Nashville's NewsChannel5 (Hat tip: Instapundit):
The AP discovered school systems without teachers' collective bargaining rights performed slightly better than those with negotiated contracts. Thirty-eight school districts don't have collective bargaining rights, and the AP found those systems averaged a higher percentage of students who earned proficient or advanced scores.
PREVIOUSLY on the subject of education:
Study: sexist women teachers stunt learning of girl students
Black students, harassed for "acting white," get $150,000
Teaching self-esteem backfires
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LA pays teachers not to teach
What teachers learn in teacher's ed.
Obama promises to throw money at schools
How to get a job teaching in California even if you are illiterate

Monday, August 08, 2011

President Obama: the Movie

From Rush, Obamageddon and Barackalypse Now:
From Instapundit, Downgrade (which apparently features a sinking ship):

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sharia Law practiced in Australia

According to this TV report, women's rights are disappearing as Sharia Law is being practiced in cities across Austrialia:
Some clerics have defied government bans to establish their own courts to decide divorce cases, child custody issues, and financial disputes. Brian Seymore reports that's just the start as Muslim leaders call for traditional Islamic Law to be fully adopted in Australia.

Hat tip: Leonard

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Islam
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The philosophy that shall not be named
Turkey wants to try Pope for insulting Islam
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