Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is VW Ad is “like blackface with voices”?

The VW ad that features a happy white man with a Jamaican accent has the racial grievance industry is out in full force.  On CNN, columnist Charles Blow declared that the ad was “like blackface with voices. I don’t like that.”
"It's pretty horrific," says Ricki Fairley-Brown, president of the multicultural marketing agency Dove Marketing. "Why do they have a white guy from Minnesota faking a Jamaican accent?"

Even more troubled by the spot is Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief hispanic marketing strategist at Walton Isaacson, an African-American, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanic agency. "What happens in this ad is that the culture becomes a punch line, and that is offensive."

Pop cultural guru Barbara Lippert is not amused, either. "It made me uncomfortable to see all of those white people in an office setting doing this," she says. "I found it offensive." [Emph. added]
Before becoming outraged by the racism, none of the worthies quoted above seems to have asked the Jamaicans for their opinion.  USA Today did:
Wykeham McNeill [is] Jamaica's minister of tourism and entertainment. "We view it as a compliment," says McNeill. "People should get into their inner Jamaica and get happy." He's even negotiating with VW for some sort of co-branding. {Emph. added]
So, Jamaica likes it and the grievance mongers have beclowned themselves again.

Here is the ad so you can make your own mind:

Hat tip: BotW.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Democrat says Republicans use hateful language; Then she calls them "crazy crackers"

Karen Finney, former Director of Communications at the Democrat National Committee, was on MSNBC and, speaking of Republicans, declared:
“Those crazy crackers on the right, like if they start with their very hateful language…”
It must not have occurred to her that "crazy crackers" is itself hateful language and that she was the one using it.

Some say the phrase "crazy crackers" goes beyond hateful; they say "cracker" is racist.  For that, Ms. Finney apologized, as Fox News reports:

As long as hateful rhetoric is such a convenient substitute for rational argument, I don't expect politics ever to become more civil.

A more complete video of Ms. Finney's MSNBC appearance, showing the context of her remarks, is here. Ms. Finney is not a marginal figure. In addition to being a former Director of Communications for the DNC, Ms. Finney is columnist for The Hill and a commentator for Politico, MSNBC and The Huffington Post.

Why liberals can never be "unbiased" reporters

An "unbiased" reporter should be able to represent both sides or, better yet, all sides fairly. The legacy news media vociferously claims to be "unbiased" but their product shows otherwise. Consider, for example, this AP News story:
[Texas Gov. Scott Perry] has for weeks called on the Legislature to cut taxes and continue to hold down government spending -- even though Texas' economy is booming. [Emph. added]

To non-liberals, the AP's twisted logic is jarring.  The Texas economy is "booming" very likely because of, not despite, Perry's efforts to keep taxes low and government limited.  Liberals, such as the reporter who wrote this unsigned story, are so steeped in their government-centered Keynesian viewpoint that they likely have no clue that what they write inspires laughter.

Along the same line, consider this headline from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Chick-fil-A Keeps Growing Despite Uproar
Or, consider this lead paragraph from a New York Times story written by Reed Abelson:
Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. [Emph. added]
Free market economists would instantly recognize the health insurance costs are raising in part because of not despite the regulations and mandates in Obamacare.  Reporters at the New York Times, imbued with liberalism, don't recognize the bias in what they write even when it is so obvious as to provoke laughter.

Their claims to the contrary notwithstanding, reporters simply cannot report both sides fairly if they don't understand what the other side is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's a paradox!

Here are two more of the paradoxes that seem to vex the minds of journalists.  First, in USA Today, there appears this headline:
Prices are up, but homes are in short supply [Emph. added]
That should be 'prices are up because homes are in short supply.'

Second, in The New Yorker, Alex Koppelman writes:
And, of course, [the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre] offered what he said was the “only” solution: “a good guy with a gun.”

This attitude has played a large role in the surge in popularity of military-style weapons marketed specifically for home defense, and brought companies like Weatherby into that niche. And it has persisted even as the crime rate in the U.S. has plummeted. [Emph. added]
The relationship between criminals and armed citizens that seems to escape Mr. Koppelman is well illustrated by Henry Christensen:

Hat tip: James Taranto.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A hundred turn out to support Drakes Bay Oyster Farm against th Obama shutdown threat

People from all across the political spectrum gathered at the Oakland Courthouse last Friday to support Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in it battle against U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar:
(Src: Facebook)

(Src: Facebook)

Based on allegedly faulty science, Salazar has ordered Drakes Bay to close.  Such a closure will cause 31 employees, many of whom are Hispanic, to lose their jobs.  It would also cause Point Reyes to lose one of its popular tourist destinations.  Further, many environmentalist claim that oysters are good for the environment, and that Drakes Bay is run in a "sustainable" and environmentally-friendly manner.

In the hearing, Drakes Bay asked U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to temporarily halt Salazar's closure order while the legal questions are resolved.  Appearing to side with the Obama Administration, the judge, an Obama nominee, asked at one point: "How can the court overturn a discretionary decision of the secretary not to act?"  The decision is expected in a matter of weeks.

In the national scene, Drakes Bay Oyster Company may seem like a small issue.  In the midst of one of the country's longest running economic slowdowns, however, it is emblematic of the Obama administrations wanton destruction of jobs.

Friday, January 25, 2013

In lawsuit against TSA, free speech wins one round

Aaron Tobey
In 2010, Aaron Tobey was standing in the security line at the Richmond Airport, when, in a somewhat bizarre protest, he stripped to his shorts displaying on his chest text from the Fourth Amendment about the prohibition against unreasonable searches.  Despite posing no security risk, Tobey was promptly arrested, handcuffed, questioned for 90 minutes, and cited for disorderly conduct.  The citation was dropped but he, with help from the Rutherford Institute, sued the TSA, claiming violation of his First Amendment free speech rights.

Today, in a small step forward, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the TSA's request to dismiss the suit (full text here, PDF).

We used to say "it's a free country."  We don't anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Liberals and religion hypocrisy

Since we are used to liberals demanding that government subsidize the mocking or defilement of religion, it is jarring to hear them invoke the name of God when it suits them.  For example:
  1. Today at their gun-grabbing press conference Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) invited Dean of the National Cathedral Rev. Canon Gary Hall to offer a prayer.
  2. On Monday, Obama declared that God has "commanded" us to fund green energy.  Even the liberal media has noted that Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush. 
If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

Does the left support free speech?

Two recent news items:
Liberals talk support freedom of speech when it is their speech. When someone else is speaking, they are likely instead to support its opposite: freedom from offense.

PREVIOUSLY on liberal opposition to free speech:
Justice Breyer looking to overturn the First Amendment
Obama administration: free speech does not include the right to criticize Obamacare
Obama sells out free speech
Physicians' group to sue Obama administration over suppression of dissent
Canada's liberals oppose free speech
Free speech and its enemies
University upset at free speech
The Right of Free Speech, Selectively Applied
Tolerating free speech, IV
Tolerating free speech, III
More on tolerating free speech
Those who cannot tolerate free speech

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Environmentalism, profit, and crime

Is "green energy" just a scam? Apparently, yes.  The Italian police have uncovered close links between organized crime and the wind and solar energy sector. The Washington Post reports:
In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.

The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.
How extensive was mafia involvement with "green energy"?
Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses; corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs.
Hat tip: Instapundit.

 PREVIOUSLY on "green energy":
Stimulus bill-funded 'green' disaster
Wind turbines pose threat to songbirds
Victims say clean energy is making life "unbearable" and destroying their property values
Alternative energy meets reality in NYC
Environmentalists and corporate welfare

Saturday, January 19, 2013

San Francisco's Gun Appreciation Day

In defense of a basic constitutional right, San Francisco's KSFO-560 organized a "gun appreciation day" rally.  Over a thousand people showed up today in support (click on any picture to enlarge):

America is unique as a nation because it was founded on the idea of natural law. Natural law gives us the rights to free speech and fair trials. Every bit as basic as those two rights is the right to self-defense.  This large crowd is testament to the fact that people instinctively understand that a citizen has the right to defend himself, his family, and his possessions:

This man sees through Eric Holder's shenanigans:

The crowd was filled with unapologetic American patriots:
An organization called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) produced the sign below which reads "all in favor of 'gun control' raise your right hand":

The woman in the red jacket below lost her son.  He was 15 at the time and working in a gas station when robbers brutally killed him with a knife.  She was sure that if her son had had access to a gun then, he would be alive today.

About 20 people showed up for a counter rally:

One counter-protester held a sign that read "mothers are grieving everywhere."   He had no interest in talking to the actual grieving mother who spoke at the rally.

The legacy news media were out in force and, naturally, focused their attention on the few pro-gun-control protesters:
The newsman in the foreground above, shown interviewing a gun-control advocate, is from the local CBS News team at KPIX.  In contrast to the friendly treatment that the left received, Bay Area Patriots leader Sally Zelikovsky reported on her encounter with the same news team:
Had one cameraman from Channel 5 who was not interested in the answers to his questions and whenever I said what he didn't like he'd pull the mic away from me and start to leave.

Below is a woman holding a sign that reads "ban assault weapons":
When an attendee asked her what an assault weapon was, she said "you tell me."   Since she was the one who wanted to ban them, the attendee asked, shouldn't she know what they are?  She had no answer beyond stating that she supported President Obama's proposals, whatever they were.  In other words, she seemed to bring the JPFO sign to life.

The KSFO Morning Show hosts, Brian Sussman,  Melanie Morgan, and Katie Green were masters of ceremonies.  This rally had the support of many local tea party groups including the Bay Area Patriots and MyLiberty.

WELCOME to readers of BookwormRoom.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It is never too cold for a Climate Crisis Rally

You think that you had a bad day? It could have been worse. You could have been freezing your rear end off at a `global warming' rally like these people on the steps of the Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington:

The Bellingham Herald reported on the freezing-cold weather which greeted the "Climate Crisis Rally":
Freezing weather with light snow flurries greeted about 200 climate activists gathered on the steps of the state Capitol noon Monday to demand the state Legislature get serious about climate change.
The above photos of the shivering crowd were captured from this video taken at the event.  More about the rally can be found here and here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Third party payer systems are expensive

The Atlantic provides this chart (hat tip: Instapundit) comparing inflation of college textbooks, medical care, and new homes with the general consumer price index:

While professors are responsible for selecting college textbooks, they are not responsible for paying for them.  The students are.  Under normal circumstances, a professor will never even see the price tag on the book he selects.  The result is rapid inflation.

Medical care is similar.  Physicians and patients may select treatments or tests but, under the current system, neither pays for them.  The insurance company does.  The result is rapid inflation.

In other words, incentives matter.

This is a fact that seems to be obvious to everyone except liberals.

PREVIOUSLY on liberal thought as it relates to economics:
Centuries pass but liberalism is unchanged
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Given a choice between working and free money, people choose free money
Higher taxes yield less revenue
Homeless flock to city with generous benefits
Student test scores improve despite school funding decrease

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Paradox: Rather than work, people accept free money!

Bloomberg reports on a "puzzle":
The steady rise in disability claims presents something of a puzzle. Medicine has improved substantially. Far fewer of us labor in dangerous industrial jobs like the ones that originally motivated disability insurance. The rate of deaths due to injuries has plummeted. Behavior that can cause disability, such as alcohol use and smoking, has declined substantially. American age-adjusted mortality rates are far lower than in the past. [Emph. added]
The government gives away free money and people take it.  What a puzzle! 
Later on in the article, it is explained that the government no longer requires disability recipients to have any "easily verifiable ailment."
The economists say the most important cause of the increasing number of recipients is the loosening of eligibility criteria. In 1984, Congress “shifted the criteria for DI eligibility from a list of specific impairments to a more general consideration of a person’s medical condition and ability to work.” As a result, the typical disability recipient today is far less likely to have an easily verifiable ailment.

PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex liberal minds:
Paradox: Higher taxes yield less revenue
Paradox: "Despite" having the most generous benefits for homelessness, homeless flock to San Francisco
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 despite criminals being in prison
Paradox: few fraudulent voters if voters are required to have IDs

Monday, January 07, 2013

Obama in deep denial: claims US does not have a spending problem

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore reports on Boehner's take on his negotiations with the President:
The president's insistence that Washington doesn't have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called "a health-care problem." Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—"They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system"—he replied: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem." He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that."
Below is a graph showing how Federal spending skyrocketed after Obama's "stimulus" bill in January 2009:

Obama's crony capitalism

In the Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney explains how Pres. Obama's gun control initiative may boil down to favored treatment for big corporations:
The gun-control debate gives us Obamanomics in a nutshell.

Government regulation of commerce is often expanded to the benefit of – and with the cooperation of – the biggest business in the industry being regulation.

The Washington Post reports on Obama’s efforts to regulate the sale of guns:
One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.
If you make it harder for people to buy guns in private-party sales, you drive more business to Wal-Mart.
For Democrats, it is all about corruption.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

How does the DoJ wins cases? By abuse of power.

Writing in Forbes, Harvey Silvergate, a lawyer and author, explains (hat tip: Instapundit) how the Feds win cases:
In order to prevent a defendant from retaining a defense team of his choice, federal prosecutors will first freeze his assets, even though a jury has yet to find them to have been illegally obtained. They then bring prosecutions of almost unimaginable complexity, assuring that the financially hobbled defendant’s diminished legal team (or, as is often the case, his court-appointed lawyer) will be too overwhelmed to mount an adequate defense.
When corporate executives are involved, the DoJ took an additional step: they forbid the corporation from helping with its employee's defense even though legally obligated to help:
When corporate executives are investigated and charged, the Department of Justice has been known to pressure their employer corporations to refuse to live up to contractual agreements to pay attorneys’ fees for indicted executives. This practice was immortalized in a series of Department of Justice directives, one of which, signed June 16, 1999, is known as the “Holder Memorandum in honor of its drafter, the current attorney general, at that time the deputy attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division at the DOJ.
The Supreme Court has since declared Holder's tactic unconstitutional.  Court cases are pending on other DoJ tactics for depriving well-heeled clients of an effective defense.  None of these cases, however, will help the less-than-wealthy targets charged with cases of "almost unimaginable complexity" by money-no-object Federal lawyers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A lesson in economics: Latvia succeeds where Greece and Obama have failed

Like the rest of the world, Latvia suffered under the economic collapse of 2008. Unlike much of the world, however, it responded by cutting back on the dead weight of government. The Latvian government, for example, "laid off a third of its civil servants."   The result was an economic boom. The NY Times reports:
Hardship has long been common here — and still is. But in just four years, the country has gone from the European Union’s worst economic disaster zone to a model of what the International Monetary Fund hails as the healing properties of deep budget cuts. Latvia’s economy, after shriveling by more than 20 percent from its peak, grew by about 5 percent last year, making it the best performer in the 27-nation European Union. Its budget deficit is down sharply and exports are soaring. 

“We are here to celebrate your achievements,” Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, told a conference in Riga, the capital, this past summer.
RECENTLY on the failure of Obamanomics:
It's a paradox! Higher taxes yield less revenue
Obamacare as a bureaucratic nightmare

Does Boehner has more backbone than we give him credit for?

Reid, Boehner
CNN reports:
A Democratic source familiar with one particular exchange told CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were sitting on a sofa in the White House.

House Speaker John Boehner breezed in and his first words to Reid were "Go f*** yourself."

Boehner's comment came after Reid took to the Senate floor on Thursday and characterized the House speaker's handling of his chamber as a "dictatorship."

Reid responded to Boehner's confrontational tone by laughing, the Democratic source said, though a GOP source who was there said he didn't think Reid was all that happy.

"The exchange continued, and it didn't get any better for Reid," the GOP source said.
Sen. McConnell also tried to negotiate with Reid.  He gave up and asked VP Biden to step in on the Democrat side.  Reid might benefit from reading some Dale Carnegie books.

It is too bad Sharron Angle was not a stronger candidate.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

It's a paradox! Higher taxes yield less revenue

Regarding Portugal's current economic crisis, the Financial Times reports:
Income from value added tax, the government’s biggest source of tax revenue representing about 36 per cent of the total, has been falling since 2008, despite a sharp increase in the rate
Income from the tax "has been falling ... despite[!] a sharp increase in the rate"?  Those familiar with the Laffer Curve know that, at high rates of taxation, that should be "because" not "despite."

Daniel J. Mitchell (Ph.D in Economics from Geo. Mason University) has helpfully collected examples of Laffer Curve effects from Europe, including Portugal, Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, France, Italy, the United Kingdom.

In the US, Pres. Obama is trying the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex liberal minds:
Paradox: Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, San Francisco's homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's
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
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