Archive for January 24th, 2009

January 24, 2009

You can’t fool the market forever

Matthew Parris in the Times of London:

This recession is not a failure of market economics. It is a reassertion of market economics after a decade in which we paid ourselves more than we were producing, and funded it precariously and temporarily by complicated credit instruments that it took a while for the market to rumble. Now a prosperity that always baffled ordinary citizens has collapsed. The collapse of confidence is not irrational; it’s the correction to a long run of irrational confidence.

Or, as Michelle Malkin put it back in September, the fundamentals suck. Parris rightly warns against heeding those who promise a “new economic model.” As for the neo-Keynesian reaction, Glenn Reynolds says:

This is not so much a stimulus, as a massive transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected.

Mark Steyn has more. You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of St. Hopey telling me that “the creation of a clean energy economy” is going to mean X-number of new jobs. OK, Mr. Harvard Law, riddle me this: “Who’s buying?”

An economy implies supply and demand, so where is the demand side of this equation? There isn’t any. Except for nuclear power, none of those “alternative sources of energy” you keep yammering about is commercially viable in the marketplace. Build all the wind farms and ethanol plants you want, they still produce energy less efficiently than coal or petroleum, and if it weren’t for subsidies and regulations, nobody would even bother with that crap. But you and your buddy Al Gore and the other green freaks have ginned up a phony “crisis” that supposedly justifies all this, and you’re deaf to reason.

“Investments,” my ass. It’s a goddamned swindle, is what it is. In the midst of a desperate economic situation, you’re going to throw away billions and billions of dollars of borrowed money to subsidize non-efficient rackets — and subsidize them permanently, since there is no way they could ever be fully viable in a market economy. It’s an entitlement, in other words — corporate welfare — and if you ever told the truth about it, nobody would support it.

Borrowing money to subsidize the production of goods and services that nobody actually wants — or at least, that they don’t want enough to pay for themselves — is a “clean energy economy” only if you count bullshit as a biofuel. It won’t work.

January 24, 2009

Strange death of a Brazilian beauty

Urinary-tract infection leads to septic shock, necrosis, amputation, organ failure and death:

Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, whose hands and feet were amputated in a bid to save her from a deadly and little-known illness, died early Saturday, two friends of the model told CNN. . . .
Da Costa, 20, had fought a pernicious disease that has ravaged her body and forced doctors to perform the amputations and extract part of her stomach as well as both kidneys. . . .
Da Costa suffered from necrosis, or the fast deadening of tissue, caused by septicemia. Septicemia, triggered by a bacterial infection, causes insufficient blood flow that can lead to organ failure.

(Via Ann Althouse.)

January 24, 2009

‘Oceania was always at war with Eurasia’

Moe Lane gives it to the “anti-war” Left, and gives it to ’em good. Who’s your daddy, Code Pink?

January 24, 2009

End of the college ‘bubble’?

A column by Donald Downs (via News Alert) on the possibility of a meltdown in college enrollment prompts Glenn Reynolds to remark sarcastically:

It’s not like prices have outrun inflation because of easy credit that people can’t afford anymore. That’s what it takes to have a bubble. So, no worries.

Will UT Law suffer in the meltdown? To some extent, I’m sure, although you’re unlikely to spot Professor Reynolds standing by a freeway interchange with a cardboard sign, “Will Blog for Food.” Expect that a drop in enrollment will cause state schools to cut back on adjuncts, institute pay and hiring freezes, offer some early retirements, and scale back their incidental budgets. But tenure is tenure, and the flagship state schools are likely to weather the storm with relatively minor damage, as are the elite private schools — the Ivys, Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, etc.

Where will the meltdown hit hardest? The smaller private liberal arts colleges will get the worst of it. Kenyon, Colby, Wheaton — I cite them as examples of a category, without knowing anything about their enrollments or financial situations, so please no angry e-mails from Colby administrators proclaiming how rosy the scenario is. I’m just saying that this general category of school — private, relatively expensive, but not Princeton/Stanford in terms of national prestige — is likely to suffer the most from a deteriorating financial picture for higher education.

Another category likely to be hard-hit will be second-tier state schools. Unlike the flagship state universities, the second-tier state schools (and my own alma mater, Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, fits this category) don’t have the same level of alumni support as the flagships. JSU graduates are more likely to become teachers or middle managers than heart surgeons or Fortune 500 CEOs. And the second-tier schools are also underrepresented in state legislatures, so when it’s time to tighten the belts, the pain is going to be felt more at JSU than at Auburn.

But you know who’s really going to suffer in this crunch? The commercial trade schools. This week I noted a story in Forbes about how Sallie Mae had been hurt by making student loans to “kids and parents with poor credit who are at the wrong schools.” Even if Obama’s “stimulus” includes more money for education, it’s unlikely SLMA will continue doling out cash to prop up enrollment at fly-by-night schools that don’t provide marketable credentials.

The Forbes story was also blogged by Marc Scheer, author of No Sucker Left Behind: Avoiding the Great College Rip-Off, a book that he says “blows the lid off colleges’ scandalous price-gouging schemes.”

American higher education has become horribly bloated over the past three or four decades, operating on a growth strategy fueled by hyping the idea that almost anyone can benefit from attending college. The result is that you have lots of mediocre students enrolling as freshmen who have no real possibility of making it past their sophomore years. (The eye-opening account of “Professor X” is worth reading, if you don’t understand this phenomenon.)

What we have now is a cargo-cult of credentialization — a “Doctor of Thinkology” for the Scarecrow in Oz — that has been made possible by government subsidies in one form or another. And if a global financial crisis can force educators to re-examine their naive faith in the transformative power of education qua education, thank God for the crisis.

January 24, 2009

Dick Cavett’s tears of Hope

Move over, George Stephanopoulos, make room for another choked-up media liberal:

I had neither planned nor expected to cry.
I was amazed at how many times, watching the all-day spectacle, I lost it. . . .
“Historic” and “historic moment” and “historic day” were repeated mercilessly, but remained true. Only a zombie could fail to feel the truth of it.

While I don’t claim to speak for all zombies, I’m reminded of Matthew Archbold’s comment on Stephanopoulos: “[W]e’re supposed to believe that he’s objective. I’m not sure I can get there unless he cried when Clarence Thomas was sworn onto the Supreme Court.”

Hey, BTW, Dick, does it bother you that Pinch Sulzberger is rumored to be schtupping Caroline Kennedy?

January 24, 2009

Green: The color of doom

Jules Crittenden reads a global-warming gloom-and-doomer, so you don’t have to. Also, he’s got a picture of a hot chick named Gaia in a bikini, which makes for a nice palate-cleanser.

January 24, 2009

The woman who created Obama

Ask your Democratic friends if they’ve been thoughtful enough to send a thank-you note to Jeri Lynn Zimmerman, the woman most responsible for the presidency of Barack Obama.

Never heard of Jeri Lynn Zimmerman? Yeah, well, Jack Ryan wishes he never heard of her, either.
January 24, 2009

A ticket to Utopia

Sir Thomas More titled his 16th-century book Utopia, a coinage meaning “nowhere.” And as Andrew Sargus Klein discovered, a ticket to Obama’s inauguration was kind of like that:

I was one of thousands of people who did not make it in to the Inauguration despite the fact that we were holding tickets — well-made, embossed, beautiful tickets, complete with a little map on the back telling us where to go (in theory).

Heh. I could have told you where to go, Andrew. But I think Obama will get us there soon enough.

Meanwhile, Mariah Carey’s complaining that her VIP seat wasn’t VIP enough. Well, when every narcissistic celebrity on the planet wants a ticket, what’s a diva to do?

January 24, 2009

Obama, patron saint?

Of fatherless boys:

Barack Obama is many things to many people. Among the groups claiming a special resonance with him are mothers like me. . . . Obama says that his mother “was the single constant in my life” and that “what is best in me I owe to her.” She brought him up largely on her own.
This is significant for me as an unmarried mother of a preteen son, and it surely resonates for other mothers raising their children without dads. Growing up without a father, my son has at times struggled to feel “normal.” . . .
For my son, the issue is fatherlessness. Not having a father has been an impediment to “fitting in.” . . . [I]n some intangible way he carries an invisible burden on his little shoulders. . . .
For these young people, the election to the presidency of a man who grew up without a dad signifies a seismic shift. . . . For my son, Obama’s inauguration this week felt like a personal embrace.

Excuse me, how did Washington lawyer Susan Benda become a mother? Have police apprehended and prosecuted the rapist? Or did Benda’s husband die tragically? Because she writes as if the “invisible burden” of fatherlessness on her son’s “little shoulders” was the result of her being victimized in some way. Benda (a former ACLU lawyer) omits from her narrative any reference to the circumstances that resulted in her son’s fatherless, but if we may assume that she is neither a rape victim nor a widow — surely she would have mentioned that — then she was in some way responsible for her son’s plight.

Benda avoids any discussion of why her son is fatherless, because once you raise that question, it destroys the image she wants to create of herself as the heroic single mother. This is the very point that Ann Coulter makes in the second chapter of her new book, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America. Even if Benda consciously chose fatherlessness for her son (by artificial insemination), she would still insist on being seen as heroic. “Single mother” is a category that automatically confers heroic victimhood, as Coulter shows. Look at this bizarre passage in Benda’s column:

For example, my son’s tae kwon do teacher had the habit of talking to the students about their “moms and dads.” I took him aside one day and suggested that the term “parents” might do the trick, with no child left behind. But there is a limit to how much a mother can protect her son from the word “dad.” A mother can repeat to her child that there is no model “normal” family, but the world reflected and projected by television tells another story.

The very word “dad” is a menace from which Benda feels obligated to “protect” the boy? And note the hostility to tradition evidenced by her scare-quotes around “normal.” Contrary to Benda’s assertion, there very much is a “model ‘normal’ family,” a father, mother and their children having been recognized as such throughout human history, no matter how much modern revisionists try to tell us otherwise.

Regardless of exactly how Benda acquired her son (adoption? artificial insemination?) she cannot avoid the reality that fatherlessness is a bad thing. And so she seizes on the Obama presidency as validation, with Obama as the national father who can fill the role-model void in her son’s life. And if you see it otherwise, you’re just a hater!

UPDATE: Coulter’s point about liberal “victims” could have been extended to include a couple of other “mascot” groups: The homeless and gays. But I’m guessing her publisher figured that one category of saints was enough for her to attack.

January 24, 2009

Obama vs. Rush Limbaugh

Democrats never learn, do they?

President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
“There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats,” the official said. “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”

I remember when Bill Clinton used to try this tactic of demonizing Limbaugh. It doesn’t work. Given the choice of listening to Obama or listening to Rush, any Republican in Congress who needs to think twice is useless and doomed.

“Hey, maybe he can get an Air America gig if this president thing doesn’t work out.” As they say, “Heh.”

UPDATE: Kathy Shaidle on “Teleprompter Jesus.” MacsMind: “Obama ain’t worthy to tie Rush Limbaugh’s shoes.”

Meanwhile, Ann Althouse visits the (nearly empty) Obama bookstore shrine.