People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Alternative?

Steve Huff, Roanoke Times columnist, pooh-poohs the idea that we should "drill here, drill now." His most recent column ("Leave the oil in the ground") is tedious and rather puerile (did we need to be provided with a definition of the word "baby"?) so I'll pull only a few sentences from his tiresome and nearly interminable musing - a few sentences that he could have submitted for approval to the editorial board of the Times, skipped the rest, and saved the planet a few trees:

Drill here, drill now. Drill, baby, drill. I suppose I ought to get used to it. With such a slimy coat of greed and deception dripping from every word, the phrases are hard to swallow.

Hope remains: ANWR is still protected and anti-drilling legislation will re-emerge next session. Oil is putting America and the world in peril. Let's leave it in the ground.

"Leave it in the ground." Oil.

And what do we do to keep civilization from ending up in rags and living in caves again when the standard of living of humankind comes crashing down, a standard that is directly attributable to the development of the petroleum industry and its many, many offshoots?

Uhhhhhhh ... Solar?

As long as his lifestyle is not threatened, he'll not give two squirts. Oil is bad. Leave it in the ground.

For the love of God.


It's generally accepted these days that the financial crisis that has now been stopped in its tracks by that government bailout last week ... ahem ... was caused by government meddling in the mortgage sector, requiring that lending institutions write loans to individuals - by the millions - who hadn't a prayer of meeting their obligation of repaying them (there was no need of course; Fannie and Freddie were there to protect them ... ahem ... ahem ...).

But Sebastian Mallaby, writing in the Washington Post, has a different opinion. One I've not read elsewhere. One that seems to make sense:

The real roots of the crisis lie in a flawed response to China. Starting in the 1990s, the flood of cheap products from China kept global inflation low, allowing central banks to operate relatively loose monetary policies. But the flip side of China's export surplus was that China had a capital surplus, too. Chinese savings sloshed into asset markets 'round the world, driving up the price of everything from Florida condos to Latin American stocks.

That gave central bankers a choice: Should they carry on targeting regular consumer inflation, which Chinese exports had pushed down, or should they restrain asset inflation, which Chinese savings had pushed upward? Alan Greenspan's Fed chose to stand aside as asset prices rose; it preferred to deal with bubbles after they popped by cutting interest rates rather than by preventing those bubbles from inflating. After the dot-com bubble, this clean-up-later policy worked fine. With the real estate bubble, it has proved disastrous. (link)

With its spectacular economic achievements in the last decade, and with a whole lot of investment capital at its disposal, China now owns much of the western world. And it paid dearly for the assets it purchased. Mallaby's theory seems to have merit.

CNN Is Better Than The Daily Show For Laughs

Who needs Jon Stewart when you've got news anchor Soledad O'Brien? I laughed out loud when I watched this clip.

Where do they find these people?

Shaking Things Up

The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women has endorsed Sarah Palin's candidacy for vice president. Watch the video. Shelly Mandel and Sarah Palin rock the house at a recent Carson, California campaign event.

Odd that I didn't read about this in the New York Times ...

Those Loopy Notions About Gun Show Loopholes

A new study released by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland provide some interesting ammunition to those who argue that governments around the country (including that of Virginia) that are working to adopt measures to "close the gun show loophole" are wasting their time. The NRA brings us the news:
New Gun Show Study Obliterates Anti-Gunners' Claims

A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland has found “no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or suicides. In addition, tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths.” The study- “The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas (www.closup.umich.edu/research/workingpapers/papers/gunshows-sept08-final.pdf) compared gun deaths between 1994-2004 in two states with large numbers of gun shows annually: California, which has the greatest restrictions on gun shows, and Texas, which has none.

For years, anti-gunners have fallaciously misrepresented gun shows, characterizing them as totally unregulated arms bazaars. They would have the public believe that gun shows are scary, lawless, and dangerous to attend—something akin to visiting a shady, back-room arms market in a remote Pakistani village.

Not so, according to the California v. Texas study. It found “no evidence to suggest that gun shows increased the number of homicides in California,” and in Texas “there are approximately 16 fewer gun homicides resulting from the 200 gun shows in the average year.” That finding corresponds to the relative trends in the murder rates of the two states. (link)
It's unfortunate that it required a study to provide us with conclusions that we already knew to be the case. But if it makes those who cling to the idea that controlling guns is controlling crime pause and reflect, then it was probably worth it.

Is This What They Meant ...

... by "unconscious racism"? If so, those who believe such idiocy are out of their minds:
Analysis: Palin's words carry racial tinge
By Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press Writer*

Washington (AP) - By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.

And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret. (link)
Got your attention?

You're probably asking yourself about now: What does Palin having accused Obama of hanging with a white, long-haired, 60's, radically dope-smoking hippie revolutionary - the kind that the rest of us found to be detached morons living in their own distorted drug-altered counterculture universe at the time (albeit sometimes dangerous morons), have to do with racism?

You ain't gonna believe it:

Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

This is stupid on its face.

"Subtext"? Is that another way of saying she used "code words" that only racism sentries can decipher?

Palin's words are racist because some goofball who writes for the Associated Press might interpret them that way, even though the thought never crossed her mind? That's this guy's definition of racism? And when she refers to Obama's terrorist pal, people jump to the conclusion that she's referring to a dark-skinned radical Muslim? (Rather than to a guy who is whiter than me - much to Ayres's dismay, I'm sure). Might they not be interested in finding out the particulars? Can they not pick up a paper and learn the truth? Mightn't this fool have spent some of his time dispelling such a notion if he thought that possibility actually existed?

I don't know if this writer is a black fella or not, but I'm guessing my disagreeing with him makes me a racist too, regardless. A burden I'll have to bear.

What I refuse to bear though is insufferable fools. Go away, dude, you're spoiling my morning Wheaties.

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* Since when does the Associated Press, a news gathering organization, have op/ed columnists?

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I wonder if Douglass Daniel has a problem with people viewing Obama's skin color favorably? We'll call this the Geraldine Ferraro Effect:
Does Race Really Matter?
By Michael A. Cohen, The New York Times

With the first ever African-American presidential candidate, race is certainly the great unknown of the 2008 campaign, but there is significant empirical evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama’s skin color may be far less consequential than some believe — and may even benefit him. (link)
Ah, but that's positive racism, and that's okay.

For the love of God.