Friday, November 30, 2012

Science versus the UN: 125 scientists expose UN's fraudulent claims

In an open letter to H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, over 125-plus scientists call him to account for his false climate claims such as that “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal" and that tropical storm Sandy shows "the reality of climate change." The scientists reply:
We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions.
Read their whole letter here. Just to pick one point that they make:
The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years....   The NOAA “State of the Climate in 2008” report asserted that 15 years or more without any statistically-significant warming would indicate a discrepancy between observation and prediction. Sixteen years without warming have therefore now proven that the models are wrong by their creators’ own criterion.
CO2 is a greenhouse and human-caused emissions of it should cause warmer temperatures.  Global warmists, however, take that a step further and claim that man-made CO2 has a dominating effect on the environment.  There is no evidence to support that claim.

Scientists who signed this letter include such notables as William M. Gray, who is often referred to as the father of seasonal hurricane forecasting, and Princeton Physics Professor William Happer.

Bill Whittle for President

If you watch this 15 minute video, it is clear that Mr. Whittle will not be our next president but that America would be a better country if he was:

Hat tip: Leonard.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to raise money by email: one of the things Obama did right

When you look at how full your spam folder is and how many canned emails you likely delete without reading it may surprise you that, according to Businessweek (hat tip: Larry), "[m]ost of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails."  What makes people open and respond to mass emails?  The Obama campaign apparently studied the issue in great detail.  They sent out emails to test groups changing subject lines and formatting and carefully studying how which emails generated the most cash. 
It would be interesting to have a comparable table for Romney emails but I don't have one.

The subject lines "I will be outspent" and "some scary numbers" were the big winners, generating five times as much cash as "the one thing the polls got right..."  The above table seems to lead to the conclusion that Democrats respond much more strongly to appeals to anxiety ("scary numbers") than to appeals to reason.

It is important to know your audience.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obamacare as a bureaucratic nightmare

Many businesses have started to deal with the reality of Obamacare.  Managers at Applebees, Papa John's Pizza, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Denny's have announced plans to freeze hiring, reduce hours, layoff employees, or increase prices all because of Obamacare.  But that is just one aspect of Obamacare.  Another is what it does to physicians. Peter Weiss M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is the Director and Founder of The Rodeo Drive Women's Health Center.  Writing at PJmedia, he explains the bureaucratic nightmare that it creates for both physicians and patients:
I wish I had the chutzpah of the people who wrote Obamacare. What they did not tell you, and I am, is that it covers absolutely nothing more than the bare minimum.

I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.
Nonsense like this used to be something that only Europeans had to put up with.  Thanks to Obama, it is moving to America.

Obamacare gets still more intrusive:
[D]octors will be obligated — that’s right, obligated — to talk to you about things you may have no interest or need to talk about.

You may just want to have a pap smear or check your cholesterol. However, I am now mandated by the government to talk to you about your weight, exercise, family life, smoking, sexual abuse(!), and even to ask if you wear seat belts. And I am mandated to record your answers.

I am a physician. But I need to tell you to wear a seat belt and then record your answer.
Big Brother has come to America

Hat tip: Instapundit and Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamacare:
How Obama bought support for Obamacare from the big Pharmaceutical companies
How to get health care in a socialist country: Swedish man fakes stroke to get approved for an X-ray
AstroTurf for Obamacare
Preview of Obamacare: Medicare loses $375 million to fraudulent billings by a single physician
Obama Admin defunds a piece of Obamacare
Government health care is something to die for
AP: Obamacare increasingly unpopular
Obamacare forcing Boeing to cut back employee healthcare coverage
Special privileges: McDonald's and 29 other companies get waivers from Obamacare
Obamacare threatens health coverage for fast-food workers
ObamaCare threatens child-only insurance
Medical insurance prices rising due to ObamaCare
Obamacare endangers student health
Obama's health care and economic policies explained
Obamacare may raise insurance costs by 54%
Harvard economist explains why Obamacare will raise premiums
HHS says Obamacare will cause costs to go up and cause employers to drop coverage
The dawning of the reality of Obamacare
Consumers outsmart Massachusetts' version of Obamacare
Obamacare threatens high tech jobs
Obamacare and trillions of dollars of unfunded mandates
The fraud of Obamacare, as seen from the left
Pelosi: Pass Obamacare so artists can quit their day jobs
Britain's Obamacare: Hospital patient dies of thirst as nurses ignore his pleas for water
Nobel Laureate economist explains why socialized medicine always fails
Rep. Ryan explains the dishonesty of Obamacare economics

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's a paradox! Homelessness in San Francisco

This is a couple years old but it is a worthy addition to my "it's a paradox" collection.  A news article in the San Francisco Weekly reports:
Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's. 
"Despite"?  Only a liberal would think that the generous handouts that the city provides would be a reason for homeless to move elsewhere.  Homeless settle in San Francisco because of, not despite, the city's generosity.

Hat tip: Ed Driscoll.

 PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex liberal minds:
Paradox: gun sales up despite politicians' threats to ban gun sales
Paradox: student test scores improve despite school funding decrease
News report: Gun crime down "despite" increase in gun sales
It's a paradox: Congress unpopular "despite record"
"Ironically," conservatives and their children are happier
It's a paradox!: Crime down when criminals are in jail.
Paradox: crime is down (again)
Paradox: few fraudulent voters if voters are required to have IDs

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How much will Sequestration reduce the US Federal deficit?

Unless the lame duck Congress acts, a series of automatic budget cuts, part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) and called "sequestration," will go into effect.  The (left-wing) Center for American Progress calls these budget cuts "draconian."  Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta calls the sequestration cuts "devastating."

One might think that such devastating and draconian cuts would solve the problem of skyrocketing US debt.  No such luck.  Using numbers from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Veronique de Rugy has plotted what the publicly-held Federal debt, as a percent of GDP, would look like, both without ("pre-BCA") and with ("post-BCA") sequestration.  The difference is not large:

The dotted lines in red mark when the publicly-held Federal debt reaches the danger level of 100% of GDP.  Sequestration delays that mark by just two years.

The underlying problem, of course, is that sequestration does nothing to fix the entitlement mess.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WSJ: Business investment stalling

Obamanomics is still not working.  According to a Wall Street Journal survey, business investment is declining:
Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.
 PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics and how it differs from economics:
Germany moves to the supply side
The Obama first term debt: $70,000 per family
Obamanomics: maximize the uncertainty
Obamanomics: its intellectual foundations explained
Strangling business is no way to create jobs
CEOs to Obama: Get out of the way!
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

Obama says: come to the USA, go on welfare

Do you want to come to the USA because it is the land of opportunity? Obama would prefer if you came here for the welfare. The official US government website, has a page devoted to explaining the welfare benefits that immigrants or naturalized citizens can receive:

On the right hand side above, you can see help for becoming a naturalized citizen.  In the center of the page is a list of welfare programs that you might be able to qualify for.  Don't speak English?  No problem.  Just click on their link to get a full list of welfare programs written in Spanish.

If you have a hard time reading the screenshot above, the text in the center column, with links, reads as follows:
Depending on your immigration status, length of time in the United States, and income, you may be eligible for some federal benefit programs. Government assistance programs can be critically important to the well-being of some immigrants and their families. Frequently, however, there is a lack of information about how to access such benefits. Benefit programs can be complicated and you may be given misleading information about how they operate.
The links below will lead you to official government websites describing a range of assistance programs.
Another page on the website advertises "free public education" for immigrants.

Most American citizens have ancestors who were immigrants.  They, however, came here (1) legally and (2) not because the US advertised generous welfare.

PREVIOUSLY on immigration, legal and illegal:
Tax fraud and illegal immigrants
How profitable is it to be an illegal?
California Supreme Court rules: Illegals get in-state tuition
Illegal immigration, Asian style
Minutemen vs. May Day protesters in San Francisco; Two arrested
Obama policy: give citizenship to convicted terrorists
Feds cede border to smugglers. Warn citizens to stay away
Obama administration overturns rule of law on immigration
Amazing: NY Times editors thought illegal immigration was legal
California pays for schooling of Mexicans who live in Mexico and only cross the border to go to school
Political bias on Spanish-language TV network Univision
British pop star denied visa to US. Should she have tried to get in illegally instead?
Sex slave ring arrested. Pro-illegal advocates object.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The 'urban cocoon' and the delusions of Democrats

Princeton Professor Robert J. Vanderbei has updated the red-blue map of America for the 2012 election:

Looked at by area, the blue portion is only a tiny fraction of the US.  This is deceptive because the blue (Democrat) area represents about half the population.  By area, it appears small only because Democrats mostly live in high-density urban areas.

So, why are urban areas so overwhelmingly Democratic?  Writing in Forbes, Mark Hendrickson examines (hat tip: Instapundit) this issue:
One obvious explanation for the overwhelming Democratic majorities in big cities is the Curley effect with the corresponding concentration of Democratic constituencies like welfare recipients and unions, but there is more to it than that. The Curley effect has turned once-vibrant cities into economic basket cases, but what, then, can explain the perennial dominance of Democrats in such thriving, prosperous cities as Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco? Why do affluent, white-collar, highly educated citizens in these cities tend to be liberal and vote Democratic?

Sociologists could have a field day with this question, but the explanation could be something as simple as the fact that people who live in cities are relatively insulated from how difficult and challenging it can be to produce the food, energy, equipment, devices, etc., that comprise the affluence that urbanites enjoy. In their urban cocoons, city-dwellers take for granted the abundance and availability of the economic goods that they consume.
I think that he is on to something here.  It is easy for city dwellers to live isolated lives.  Renters in a big city such as New York, for example, likely have never met a landlord personally, let alone had a chance to listen seriously to him talk about the difficulty of doing business in the city.  If the only people one knows are renters, one might easily think that "rent control" was a good idea.

For conservatives/libertarians, the key challenge is finding an effective method for combating the popular delusions of urban dwellers.

 PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and their childlike delusions:
Democrats "stand up" to imaginary bullies
A Democrat's inner child
Obama's childlike view of the world
CNN: Thinking of states like they are the federal Gov.'s children
Soldier objects to liberal infantilization: we are not your "sons and daughters"
Seeing the US president as your father
US Government as "parent"
Economic policy by analogy to "standing up" to a bully
Thinking of an industry as an overindulged "child"
Dr. Helen Smith on Democrats and their lack of good father figures

Saturday, November 17, 2012

“They’re starting to realize white people are human beings just like us.”

Racial divisions are quite strong in the US.   Pastor Joseph Lowery, a favorite of Obama, says that all whites will go to Hell.  Churches that subscribe to Black Liberation Theology, such as Obama's old church in Chicago, take it a step further: they preach that whites are demonic.

Occasionally there are small points of hope.  In New York, volunteers are lending a helping hand to those who live in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.  The New York Times sent a reporter to one such devastated area, the housing project in Brooklyn known as Red Hook Houses.  This (hat tip: Instapundit) is what she found:
Stung not only by pervasive income inequality, but also by the steady march of gentrification in this once-derelict area, some here found it hard to accept aid from the same apple-cheeked young people pricing out longtime residents of the neighborhood. 

But realizing that this demographic group, long held up as the villain in the tale of life in the projects, could care, was just as hard for some residents. 

“They’ve been talking about white people as bad for so long, they feel shaky, embarrassed,” Al Pagan, 46, who lives in the Red Hook Houses, said as he watched the volunteers help his neighbors. “They’re starting to realize white people are human beings just like us.” [Emph. added]
That is a small step forward.  Imagine how much progress could be made if America had a post-racial President.

PREVIOUSLY on racism:
Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom says all whites will go to Hell
Former Mayor Marion Barry declares that Asians are "dirty"
Dem. Rep. says Rep. Allen West resembles a hyena
Is it racist to require a photo ID to buy drain cleaner?
NY Times: Midwesterners have low-sloping foreheads
Don't understand what was said? Then it must be racist!
California offers student tutoring but only for students belonging to the right races
For liberals, "affirmative action" means "keep the Asians out"
Occupy Portland protesters hurl racist taunts at an African American
Democrat: "Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men"
The subtleties of White Privilege
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Feds: at what point do we get to call them insane?

All sides seem to agree that the current economic malaise is the result of the mortgage meltdown. The cause of the mortgage meltdown was giving mortgages to people who couldn't afford them. In rational times, we would have learned our lesson. The Obama administration, however, is busy making the same mistake all over again. The LA Times reports:
After two foreclosures and two bankruptcies, Hermes Maldonado is as surprised as anyone that he's getting a third shot at homeownership.

The 61-year-old machine operator at a plastics factory bought a $170,000 house in Moreno Valley this summer that boasts laminate-wood floors and squeaky clean appliances. He got the four-bedroom, two-story house despite a pockmarked credit history.

The last time he owned a home, Maldonado refinanced four times and took on a second mortgage. He put a Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz C300W in the driveway and racked up about $45,000 in credit card bills and other debts. His debt-fueled lifestyle ended only when he was forced into bankruptcy.

His reentry into homeownership three years later came courtesy of the Federal Housing Administration.
The Federal Housing Administration is insuring Mr. Maldonado's loan along with those of many other high risk borrowers.  If those loans go bad, the US taxpayer is on the hook for the losses.

Today,  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) reports that FHA will be asking for a bailout.   Bloomberg News reports:
The agency is “burning through” its last $600 million and FHA officials have briefed him that they will need a financial backstop within a month, the Alabama Republican said during a press conference in Washington….

FHA insures a portfolio of about $1.1 trillion in home loans and now backs 15 percent of U.S. mortgages for home purchases.
This will be the first time in the FHA's 78-year history that it has asked for a bailout.

Would it really be so bad if Mr. Maldonado simply rented?

PREVIOUSLY on the housing bubble/mortgage crisis:
Pres. Clinton and the origins of the housing bubble
Occupy movement demands banks provide free money
Rep. Speier rewrites history on mortgage regulations
Financial crisis in review
Barney Frank and the collapse of housing prices
How we got in this economic mess
Those who do not learn from history

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama is watching you

Technology Review reports:
The search and ads company today released figures revealing that it was asked to hand over user data 7,969 times by US agencies in the first six months of 2012 - an increase of 26 percent over the previous six months. That continues a long established trend in the figures released in Google's twice-yearly transparency report…. The 7,969 requests asked for data from a total of 16,281 user accounts, and ninety percent of the requests were complied with.
The government is undoubtedly getting information from other companies but, unlike Google, they typically do not discuss it publicly.

Having your data online is convenient but not private.

Hat tip: Instapundit

PREVIOUSLY on privacy:
Can the government snoop on your e-mail? 
How important is your e-mail password?
Trial starts of Obama supporter who allegedly hacked Palin e-mail
Internet privacy law update
Privacy and your electronic medical and financial records
Expect no privacy during hard disk repairs
e-mail is not private
ACLU argues for right to privacy for those who have sex in public bathrooms

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A liberal's take on why Romney lost

Joe Trippi was worked on the presidential campaigns of six Democrats.  Fox News teamed him with Karl Rove to monitor this year's campaign.   At no time this year did either Trippi or Rove think that Ohio, a critical state, ever leaned toward Romney.  Trippi explains exactly when it became clear to him that Romney would surely lose Ohio and therefore the Presidency as well:
Sometime before the conventions I was doing some focus groups in Ohio when I saw the dam break against Mitt Romney among undecided voters. They were undecided but when you asked them why they were not voting for Romney they would volunteer that they were worried about Bain Capital or didn’t like him hiding his tax returns, or that Romney wanted the auto industry to go bankrupt – fair or not – the unanswered negatives on Romney had taken hold – and I knew in my gut Ohio was over – Romney would never win it.
In other words, Obama's concentrated negative campaigning in Ohio over the summer worked.  Subsequent polling showed that, in Ohio, Romney never recovered.

ASIDE:  Why was Ohio a critical "must win" state?  What makes it so special?  The answer comes from ranking the states from the easiest for Romney to win to the most difficult.  As Karl Rove calculated it, the easiest for Romney were the ones that McCain won in 2008.  The next easiest were the three states: Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.  But, winning all those was still not enough.  Romney had to win several of the seven toss-up states.  Of those seven, however, Florida and Ohio were the biggest (most electoral votes).  Unless Romney won both Florida and Ohio, it was hard to see any other way for Romney to get the needed 270 electoral votes.  That made Florida and Ohio "must win" states.  In the end, Romney lost both Florida and Ohio.

Peggy Noonan's take on why Romney lost

The status quo election

They used to say that presidential elections were "about the economy, stupid."  If this last one was, why didn't Obama suffer an historic defeat?  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan cites two focus groups to explain the anomaly:
Many things would have propelled Mr. Obama to victory, but one would be a simple bias toward stability, toward what already is. People are anxious, not as hopeful as they were. Two memories. One was a late-summer focus group of mothers who shop at Wal-Mart WMT +0.24% . One asked, paraphrasing, "If we pick Romney, does that mean we have to start over again?" Meaning, we've had all this drama since 2008, will that mean we're back at the beginning of the crash and have to dig out all over again? The other is a young working mother in Brooklyn, a member of an evangelical church, who told me 10 days ago her friends had just started going for Mr. Obama. Why? "People are afraid of change right now." [Emph. added]
In other words, the election was in fact about the economy and the voters thought that Obama was the safer choice.  In the midst of the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, this indicates a massive failure on the part of the Romney campaign to get its message out.  This might be because, at every step along the way, the Romney campaign seemed to speak in tepid focus-group-tested phrases.  They didn't inspire voters.  In the end, 1.3 million fewer people voted for Romney than for McCain.  If Republicans are going to win next time, the candidate will need to be able to articulate a reason to vote for him that is both simpler and clearer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What is Obama's second term agenda?


The above graphic, created 3 years ago by a left-wing Kucinich supporter, still summarizes Obama's goals as well as any other single graphic.

PREVIOUSLY on liberal misinterpretations of the Obama-Joker meme:
SF Chronicle confuses clown make-up with "watermelon juice."

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lost electrical power? The storm may be the immediate cause but the blame lies with the environmentalists

According to CNN, Hurricane Sandy has left 4.8 million people without power now and millions will continue to lack power into the weekend.  Why can't we transfer power from other parts of the electrical grid to help restore power to those in need of heat or hot water?  That is where the environmentalists come into it.  Back in 2002, the Department of Energy released a National Transmission Grid Study detailing what needed to be done to create a reliable power network.  Environmentalists immediately opposed it.  How strongly did Democrats oppose Bush era energy policies?  The LA Times reported on Sen. Reid's reaction back in 2001:
Even before it has been released, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the Bush energy plan a "recipe for disaster" and stressed that "Democrats will throw themselves on the train tracks" to stop it.
Years later, in 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers summarized the situation and still placed the blame for slow progress on politics:
Some progress in grid reinforcement has been made since 2005, but public and government opposition, difficult permitting processes, and environmental requirements are often restricting the much-needed modernization.
The situation will change only when we find a way to hold environmentalists responsible for the damage that their policies cause.
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