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The Boring Made Dull

Your Official Magazine of Online Ennui An Akron magazine on politics, current events,and Bouviers des Flandres "A blog with an untouchable name" - Jill Miller Zimon "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making of many blogs there is

Updated: 2018-03-02T11:06:03.715-05:00


Thinking about


crawling into the saddle again.

Professor says Rob Portman was off base with his criticism of her study


According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

What was she supposed to say? I took $350k and went to Vegas?

And who in Academia is going to say she was fleecing the public, and put their own grants at risk?

It's commonly held that the "private sector" is a bunch of corrupt rent seekers, but Diogenes and his Lamp* would not likely find any more in a University, either. 

* That's a historical / philosophical reference that you "Liberal Arts" critical thinking majors should get. If you had to go to wikipedia, you should consider suing your school for consumer fraud. 


Apparently, There are no Economists Associated with the ”Union of Concerned Scientists”


Given the overall quality of this article, no intelligent life forms either.  I was going to mock this piece, but Kevin Williamson has already opened up a 55 gallon drum of toxic ridicule and dumped it all over this alleged analysis. Still, this exhibition of ignorance has to make you wonder about the quality of the rest of the tripe analysis that the Union of Concerned “Scientists” is pushing.  [...]

Here’s a Head Scratcher –


Apparently, Time Warner Cable is going to heroically stop carrying advertisements for semi-automatic weapons, or ads that feature guns pointed at people. Civilization Triumphs! Violence in World Ends! Except that no mention is made of when they are going to stop carrying shows where guns are pointed at people. Not exactly a surprise, they wouldn’t have much to show other than HGTV. Still, one wonders what happens when the next big ultra-violent action flick comes out and the ads feature lots of guys firing automatic weapons at, well, everything. I don’t think that you have to be Carnak The All-Seeing to predict, that somehow, someway, those ads will make it through to your living room. [...]

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Crazy Hooker Maria?


Apparently, according to Elizabeth Wurtzel, the answer is to place a hysterical phone call to David Boies.  Problem solved. Don’t try this at home kids; one of America’s top litigators isn’t likely to take your call. Of course, this woman who played the “powerful man will rescue me” card included this passage in the same essay: “I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes, that is that, and I am heartbroken to live through a time where Wall Street money means these women are not treated with due disdain.”Oh, and then there’s this gem: “For a while after my first book came out, I went home with a different man every night and did heroin every day—which showed my good sense, because the rest of the time I was completely out of control.”And so stay at home moms are prostitutes to be treated with disdain? Apparently, Crazy Hooker Maria isn’t the only, or perhaps even the primary, Crazy Hooker in this story.Certainly, there’s more room for extensive mockage of Ms. Wurtzel. And it would certainly be justified. She’s not unintelligent, can write a bit (though if her only genre is ‘poor little me’, that vein is probably tapped out), and is connected enough to land a good job with Boies’ firm, but chooses to harness the forces of nuclear energy in pimping false humility. Reflect a bit about this passage and the one above about after her book launched: “I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund—I don’t even have a savings account. It’s not that I have not planned for the future; I have not planned for the present.”Ms. Wurtzel will always be poor. Sure, she has the capacity to generate a high income. But she will always be poor. Because poverty isn’t about cash flow, it’s about having a planning horizon that lasts longer than an ADHD 7tth  grader confronted with a box of twinkies, an Xbox, and searching YouTube for wardrobe malfunctions. There are lots of financially broke people who aren’t poor, because they can set goals and work to attain them. Her “I live specifically, with intent” protest aside, her essay suggests that she simply follows the path of least resistance for whatever situation she is in. Ms. Wurtzel is simply following the siren song of “If it feels good, do it”. Or more unfortunately, “to thine own self be true”.If you have a lousy, undisciplined self, this is probably not the motto to follow. [...]

Amazon Categories Are Not Infallible.


A singularly unparalleled collection of dreck. Taking a quick look at the top 20, both paid and free:Just a thought – if the title of the book features phrases containing any of these: “selected quotes”, “heart advice”, “dating”, “positive thinking”, “great lessons from”, “mindfulness”, “superheroes”, “close your eyes”, or  (especially) “Tuesdays with Morrie”, no philosophy is occurring.  None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Move along; no thinking is occurring here. It’s the philosophy version of Mad Libs - fill in the blanks on your three | seven | twelve step program to smuggery.Of the others,“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. Really? People are paying for this? As the ESPN guys used to say, C’ome on, Man! The Communist Manifesto.  While a work of great practical import, Marx, as an economist, has been largely discredited since, ohhhh, Eugen Böhm von Bawerk started writing about him in the 1880’s.  Which is probably why most academic Marxists can survive only in America’s teacher’s colleges. Sort of explains the country’s Stalinist 5 year plan approach to education, as well as the not entirely unexpected pitiful results. Clue for Parents: If you hear one of your kid’s teachers use the phrase “social justice”, it explains why your kid isn’t learning math | science | history | English | fill in subject matter here.Of the rest, Plato, Hayek, Aquinas, Sun Tzu, Kant, and to some degree, Hume, are all well worth spending time with. Paine, Rousseau, and Nietzsche less so.  And looking at this list, where are our chief problems, the pragmatists? (William James, John Dewey, Charles Pierce)? Or, for that matter, the existentialists, or the positivists | logicians?You have to go further down the list to hit Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, and Locke. But, unfortunately, the ratio of dreck to worthwhile remains pretty high. [...]

Apparently, There are no Facts Associated with Politifact Ohio.


The gang at Politifact rates Josh Mandel as a “Pants on Fire” liar: “Mandel issued a statement on the day of the decision asserting that Brown had voted "for what will likely go down as the biggest tax increase in history."“What will likely go down…”. That’s tentative language about a future projection. It’s not a hard statement like “is the largest”. Technically, the numbers don’t even have to support it for it to be true – as long as the public perception is that it is the largest. Unfortunately for the Politifact gang, this statement cannot be categorized as a lie. It’s an estimate, or projection, if you will, about a future result. The unfortunate thing about guessing about the future is that it takes a long time to figure out who is right. And even then, there’s a difference between a liar and a bad estimate. Business Insider notes that the Obama Administration projected unemployment to be around 6% or so if we passed the stimulus bill. Current result? 8.2% plus or minus a couple of ticks. Is Politifact calling Obama a “Pants on Fire Liar”? Even now that the facts are in? Politifact attempts to cover their behinds by listing detailed projections / estimates that Mandel’s projection is not correct. However, these are just estimates as well. Given their best case, we’ll have to wait until 2020 or so to see who’s right on this one. They are even forced to concede this “And they cited a chart from showing the Affordable Care Act producing the largest tax increase since 1968 in raw dollars. In the article the chart accompanied, however, called raw dollars a "rather useless yardstick" and "a poor way to measure the size of a tax increase," because it makes no adjustment for inflation and takes no account of a population that is steadily rising.” So, it is, possibly, the largest tax increase in history.  Just not by measures that Politifact likes. Given that a) costs of any Government intervention in the economy are likely extremely underestimated at time of proposal, and b) the increasingly likely chance that GDP growth will not match up to official projections, it is far from certain that Mandel is that far off the mark, let alone a “pants on fire” liar. What was the last major government entitlement program that came in under budget for any serious length of time?There’s certainly a lot of argument to be made that Mandel’s statement is not in line with other estimates.  One could argue that it’s more pessimistic than “expert” opinion. There are legitimate criticisms to be made about who has the better guess about future results. “Pants on Fire Liar” isn’t one of them. Next up, if Nancy Pelosi says that 2+2= 22, Politifact will rate it as “Mostly True”, because “actual numbers were involved. [...]

Does Your Business Have Too Many Customers? Need to Drive Them Away?


Then just follow the example of Barre Cleveland; they’ve apparently provided a textbook case concerning using combining hubris, ignorance of the web, hyper sensitivity, emetically bad PR and marketing with an extremely shaky, and potentially expensive lack of knowledge of the legal system.
So what happened?.

A simple, oft repeated story. Local blogger receives interwebs discount coupon for a workout class at Barre Cleveland. The blogger, Alana of The Dawg’s Dish, rounds up some cronies and heads over for the trial class. Returns home, and blogs about her experience in a mild, but mixed review. On the plus side, she liked it as a change of pace from her regular workout. On the negatives, it wasn’t to her personal taste for a regular part of her program, was too far from her home, and she deemed it too expensive at $25 a session.

As a business, there’s gold to be mined from this kind of review. One potentially positive course of action would be to link to the review on your site and Facebook, pulling out some positive comment, but alluding to her concerns (“gosh, it’s a shame that we’re 45 minutes away on the east side, thanks for your comments, appreciate the fact that you would consider more visits to vary your workout, etc.”). If your classes are full, don’t budge off of the $25 price. if you are at 50% capacity (or some “low” number), offer a 6 month trial at $15 per session. Turn this into a win and a positive for your business.

Especially for a blogger. Even though in these benighted times you can hardly swing a cat* without hitting a self-described “social media professional”, to your business, these people are either gold or kryptonite. In this case, Barre Cleveland got to choose.

They chose kryptonite. Actually, that’s a poor metaphor, since they seem to bear very little resemblance to Superman. The response was more like pulling a pin out of a grenade and dropping it at your feet, just to see what would happen.

So, what did they do? Threaten said blogger with criminal action for “theft of services” for complaining about the prices. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up; even satire has a lower limit.
What happens next? To no ones surprise, (other than to the folks at Barre Cleveland), another website, The Consumerist, picks up the scent. Who’da thunk it?

But it gets worse for Barre Cleveland. The Blog Father, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, posts a link to The Consumerist post. Instalanches have been known to take down servers; even a secondary link probably drove a couple thousand readers to the Dawg’s Dish. None of this crowd will have a positive view of Barre Cleveland.

Oh, and The Dawg’s Dish response is here.

One hopes for Barre Cleveland's sake that they are not a franchise, because if they are, the franchisor is going to have something to say  about this, and it's not going to be pretty. 

* Don’t blame me, it’s a Mark Twain reference (The Innocents Abroad).

Sally Quinn, Disenfranchised 1%-er.


This is a remarkable piece. Consistently whiny, with an almost overpowering nose of bitterness, and a strong aftertaste of self delusion.

If you are going to produce a 1,400 + word diatribe on how the moneychangers have corrupted the temple of politics, you would do better than to make catty remarks about being stuck at a table with the Gingriches and the Kardashians at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. 

Neither the Gingriches or the Kardashians have any money in any real sense. (Not that they aren't doing better than me, but that's a very low bar to clear.) Newt's 'celebrity' is based on the fact that he tosses off more interesting ideas in 10 minutes than the average faculty of a run of the mill Ivy league university faculty. Sure, some are contradictory, and there's a non-trivial portion that are incandescently stupid, but at least they are ideas.

The Kardashians, on the other hand, are a will-o-the-wisp group whose upside will be less significant than that of the Gabor Sisters. The Mitford Sisters would have taken their lunch money, kicked sand in their faces, and told them to mix in a salad. 

Cynically, one suspects that's what's really bugging Ms. Quinn is the fact that a) the Kardashians likely didn't know that she was anyone "important", and b) the Gingriches know that the Post really doesn't matter that much anymore. 

Irrelevance really stinks. 

Culture of Corruption: Bob Etheridge (D-SC)


Apparently, it's poor form to ask Congressmen questions on the street. Nevermind that 60 Minutes has been doing this since Methuselah was a pup. Here's what's billed as the raw video of Etheridge's assault on his questioners: Now, as assaults go, this is pretty minor stuff, no doubt contained by the presence of the second video camera. Memo to the thug Etheridge: next time, bring some folk from the SEIU to dole out the Ken Gladney treatment. The Christian Science Monitor asks “Bob Etheridge Incident: What Does He Have to Apologize For?” Beyond general rudeness, swatting at the camera, grabbing the questioner, putting him in a headlock, and general thuggery, I'm not sure. One can only suspect that without the second camera present, he would have behaved even worse. In fairness to the CSM, the article isn't as clueless as the headline implies. What we don't know pretty much boils down to the identity of the “students” taking the video. As the video shows, this is not an extraordinarily hostile confrontation. Is it a setup? Does it matter? Even assuming that these are operatives in the pay of the vast right wing conspiracy, all the thug Etheridge has to do is say something like “No, not completely” or “No Comment”, or “Not right now boys, I have to get to a meeting, so call my office”, or some such non-committal drivel. Any one of those responses is so bland that it wouldn't go viral in a bowl of vanilla pudding. Nobody in the media seemed to care if George Allen's “Macaca” moment was a set up, least of all the Washington Post, but that's all that they will likely care about with this clip. Thug Etheridge's “apology” can be found here. Certainly reads more like one of those “I'm sorry I got caught” moments than anything substantial. According to the AP, he'd just had a long day. I'm sure that that excuse would have worked for George Allen, and the WaPo would have forgiven all. Well, they would have, if he had been a Democrat. It's only a matter of time before some Democrat introduces legislation to make video cameras illegal outside of government sanctioned media outlets. Oh, wait – the FTC is getting ready to put this camel's nose inside the tent.... [...]

Greece Reject Moody's “Junk” Bond Rating


Can't believe that they are too surprised; perhaps they were holding out for the coveted “rotting carcass” status.

Mixed Nuts: Bruce Patterson*


The esteemed Mr. Patterson, a Michigan state senator (R-7 MI), is on his way to the Mixed Nuts Hall of Fame. Not for nothing does this dude sport a Snidely Whiplash mustache (though to be fair to Snidely, Mr. Patterson doesn't exactly sport Snidely's trim physique). It seems State Sen. Patterson is deeply troubled by the fact that there are people reporting on Michigan state politics who he hasn't heard of. Worse yet, they work for publications he hasn't heard of! The Horror!Solution? Why, a State of Michigan “ Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for journalists!!! That way, the people will know who has the official approval of Michigan's government for their dose of propaganda! Double Plus Un-Good!**This probably goes beyond the scope of the Mixed Nuts grab bag. Most of our honorees are simply stupid folk doing stupid things, usually with minimal threat to the body politic. Mr. Patterson's buffoonery, however, is something more than a zit on the buttock of the body politic, he's actively advocating the introduction of carcinoma.And what might be the esteemed Mr. Patterson's requirements for his seal of approval? Here's the list:“ According to the bill, reporters must provide the licensing board proof of: --"Good moral character” and demonstrate they have industry “ethics standards acceptable to the board.” --Possession of a degree in journalism or other degree substantially equivalent. --Not less than 3 years experience as a reporter or any other relevant background information. --Awards or recognition related to being a reporter. --Three or more writing samples. Reporters will also have to pay an application and registration fee.” Let's translate: “ Good Moral Character”: Never criticize the licensing board, or Michigan government in general.“ Degree in Journalism”: Reliably liberal, but with no real knowledge of any particular subject matter relevant to government.“ Not less than 3 years experience in something or other”: see “good moral character”.“ Awards or recognition”: be really, really, reliably liberal, never criticize Michigan's government, and remain steadfastly ignorant and incurious about the affairs of state.“ Three or more writing samples”: Be able to cut and paste official part press releases into “news” articles. I think that that about sums up this petty fascist's proposal, don't you? After all, if Mr. Patterson gets his way, pieces like this will get the thumbs down from Michigan's new state censorship board. Of course, his operative assumption is that people who think like he does will always be in control of the “ licensing” board. One wonders what happens when they are not? What happens when control of the board passes to the ACORN / SEIU? The Truthers? The Birthers? The Tea Party? Insert your favorite boogey man here... Thats's why a free country steers away from government endorsement of “approved” media. * Just to be fair, having played “Name That Party” on other MSM posts, one should note that the Fox piece doesn't point out that bozo here is a Republican. ** To make this clear to the meanest intelligence, and I allude to Mr. Patterson's, this is a reference to Orwell's classic, 1984. Perhaps he should read it sometime. Assuming he can.[...]

Mixed Nuts: Eileen Campo


Who is Eileen Campo? Just part of a group of parasites that expects other electric utility customers to subsidize her heating bill. Even worse, she pulled her kids out of school to fight for the right to have other people pay her bills.

Ms. Campo has been getting the welfare treatment on her electric bills – paid for by the rest of First Energy's customers – since 1992, and is grumpy that the gravy train is coming to a halt. For some reason, we're supposed to be upset that she's going to have to start paying her own bills.

I'd offer her a nickel to buy a clue, but it's apparent that it would just be another instance of throwing good money after bad. Especially after all of us First Energy customers have been chipping in on her utility bills for years.

Still, if you look to the “Citizens for keeping the all-electric promise” (CKAP) manifesto, as published by the Beacon, you'll get a glimpse of why the United States is headed the way of Greece:

  • “A permanent rate differential for all-electric homes that can be passed on to new buyers of the home.

  • Rate relief for homes built after 2007, which did not receive discounts or relief under recent PUCO action.

  • Refunds of overcharges from May 2009 to now.

  • A commitment that FirstEnergy, not other rate payers, should pay for the 'breach of promise.'”


  • I demand that the rest of First Energy's customers pay my bills.

  • I demand that the rest of First Energy's customers pay the bills for those who never got the discount

  • I demand that the rest of First Energy's customers send my money.

  • I believe that the rest of First Energy's customers are too stupid to realize that they are paying for my tantrums.

For some reason, I'm unimpressed with the fierce moral urgency to fork over my cash to pay Ms. Campo's bills. I'm even less impressed with her inculcating her kids into the notion that they should be expecting handouts from the rest of us.

Really, is she so ignorant that she believes that there are fairies sprinkling pixie dust over First Energy's bank accounts so that the rest of the customers are not going to pick up the tab for her foolishness?

Memo to Ms. Campo: There is no magical pot of money that doesn't come from other First Energy customers. First Energy gave you a discount – at my and others' expense – for a number of years. Man up, shut your trap, buy a gas / oil / propane furnace, and stop teaching your kids that they can prey on their neighbors to pay their bills.

Fear the Boom and Bust


The now famous Keynes v Hayek rap:

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Should be required watching in Washington. Sadly, the bulk of Keynes' reputation is based on telling politicians exactly what they want to hear. Kinda like the IPCC on global warming....

“Ohioans Wonder Whether New Rail Line Will Be Too Slow, Underutilized”


According to the Plain Dealer.

Fortunately, I have a master's degree in the obvious, so I can lay this disquiet to rest.

  1. The trains will be too slow. Topping out at 79 MPH? I've seen cars on 71 moving well into the 80s. Additionally, you have the added time of travel to the train station, waiting to board, travel from the station to where ever you are going. This adds aggravation as well as time to your journey.

  2. They will be underutilized. Cleveland – Columbus – Dayton – Cincinnati. On a daily basis, I can't see these things selling 80-90% of seats. Will there be multiple departures per day? If not, that adds to the travel time & inconvenience factor noted in #1. However, with multiple departures, you have more capacity to sell. Without multiple departures, car travel becomes even more competitive.

As a bonus, let's consider two additional factors.

  1. The actual cost will far exceed the $400 million in “ stimulus” money. There aren't many government projects that come in either on time or at / below budget. Just wait until every county commissioner's relative scores a payday on this boondoggle.

  2. Given the high level of price and convenience competition from automobiles, prices will have to be set low to generate ridership. That spells endless subsidies. I suspect that Amtrack hasn't earned profit dollar one, and if you can't make it on the DC-Balt-Phil-NYC-Boston corridor, what makes you think that Cleveland to Cincinnati is going to make a buck? Answer: it won't. This will be a millstone around the taxpayer's neck until it is shut down. And pols never shut down things that waste the taxpayer's money.

Economic competitiveness and future growth does not depend on herding people into uneconomic activities that only provide photo ops for politicians, along with untold millions in taxpayer subsidies.

Why Air America Failed


Air America was always more of a partisan political operation, rather than a business. Explicitly built to counter the nefarious influences of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc., they never understood the nature of their real competition. Revenge isn't usually a viable business model.

NPR. Established pretty much everywhere, with the benefits of tax subsidies, university alliances, etc., NPR has already cornered the market for liberal leaning talk radio commentary, and for the most part, still carries a patina of a non-political operation.

The other main factor leading to Air America's demise – beyond their shady finances – if we look at the broader market for left wing commentary, it's already saturated. By the NY Times, Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, etc. There just wasn't that much unmet demand for their product.

WSJ Satirist Thomas Frank


Provides today's liberal revenge fantasy has the treasury selling off it's gold stock, for the simple expedient of financially ruining the wingnuts. Let's go after the goldbugs by having the Treasury sell it's estimated 261 million ounces of gold!

That will fix those wingnuts! Drive the price down from today's about $ 1,100 per ounce to.. ?

Given the tremendous ad and news push running up gold, there's always the risk of a popped bubble as more folks sell. Prices move both ways (as I learned at great personal expense during the Nelson Bunker Hunt silver run in, I recall, the 80's. So, can gold go down? Can the government, at least in the short run, supress the price by selling off it's supply?


Technically, the U.S. Government's gold stock does not underpin the value of the dollar. Practically, I'm not sure that the Chinese – or others holding large amounts of U.S. Dollar denominated debt – would see it the same way.

So, what happens when we decide to spite the goldbugs? The international markets drop their dollar denominated holdings for the gold that the Treasury is selling.

Temporary gold price drop. Long term hit to Treasury securities, and U. S. Government borrowing costs.

And the goldbugs? Most are diversified, and will will perversely benefit in the long run from the collapse that Tom's suggesting.

Nice work Tom. Glad you're only the WSJ's court jester.

Dictator du Jour: Hugo Chavez


Seems like headlines like this only happen in one party states: “... blackouts from bad planning, drought”. So, where is it? Well, Venezuela, of course. (Though California or Michigan wouldn't be that far fetched...)

Drought, blackouts, and poor planning always seem to happen when the government is too involved in the economy. Venezuela is a textbook example of a country, rich in oil and other natural resources, that is destined to be forever poor, thanks to the efforts of folks like Hugo Chavez.

And speaking of Venezuela, is anyone surprised that Goodyear is going to take a huge haircut on their operations there? Anybody?

Note to Mr. Robert Keegan: If you have people on the ground in Venezuela, get them out. Yesterday would have been soon enough. It's only a matter of time unil Chavez has them up on spying / profiteering charges. It's bad enough that you're just lost millions in Venezuela; but that's just money. You don't want to go to bed at night thinking about your former employees as guests of the maximum caudillo's Hotel Greybar.

The only question left about Venezuela is whether or not Mubabe's Zimbabwe will be fend off their challenge for the worst run economy in the world.

President Obama Vacations in Hawaii


Don't get me wrong; I have no beef with Presidential “vacations” as such; mostly, because as President, there really are no vacations, no matter where you are. You are always on call. (Still, if GWB had tried this..)

That said, Hawaii's an awfully expensive, exotic touch, when millions of Americans are unemployed, and the nation will struggle to pay for the ever increasing scope of Bailoutistan, as well as the eventuall bill for nationalizing healthcare.

Secondly, I don't want to see any more global warming / climate change hipocracy from a guy who flies his family, a major security detail, a gobble of staffers, and attendant press sycophants a kazillion miles to Hawaii.

If global warming due to man made CO2 is a crisis, why don't our politicians act like it's a crisis?

I'd like to take my family to Hawaii for a vacation, but it seems that in the future, only the friends of Obama will be priveleged to do so.

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright


One hesitates to comment on the whole Tiger Woods fiasco; after all, even satire has a lower limit. One that Tiger has easily eclipsed, with the floozie index headed well into double digits, cash losses, a likely divorce, and now one of his doctors headed to le Hotel Greybar.

No doubt more revelations to come; I doubt that even Tiger has enough hush money to prevent these women from selling their stories. Perhaps we'll be treated to a made for TV movie. All the principle parts are in place:

  1. Rich celebrity philandering husband;

  2. Beautiful wronged wife;

  3. A harem that seems largely drawn from a 'Cops' episode shot in America's trailer parks;

  4. A shady doctor;

  5. A potential flight to Sweden for Mom & kids.

The mob hasn't made an appearance yet, but as the bimbo list continues to expand, it's only a matter of time.

About the only thing that could further impair what's left of his reputation would be to become a deadbeat dad. Which, if present trends continue, is starting to sound far less fetched than it should.

I wonder how many male sports stars are now having to face unpleasant and embarrassing requests from their wives for cell phone logs, expense accounting, etc.?

“ But honey, we're just friends, honest... just because she works in the adult entertainment industry doesn't mean that there's anything going on... well, there was that one time. Well, and another with her cousin... Ok, maybe the sponsorship and personal appearances at the Vegas Strippers & Lap Dancer's Booty Shake Off looks bad... but the St Bernard wasn't my idea, honest!”

Robbing The Poor


To give to enlightened, progressive, artists. It's well known that cigarette smokers are more likely to have lower incomes and educational levels than non-smokers, so essentially this represents the worst sort of regressive taxation.The “Arts Community” is in favor of a tax on the poor to benefit themselves. Surprised? Me neither.Progressives, of course, despise smokers more than any other group in American society. Well, technically, the most despised group is Sarah Palin, but she's only one woman, so that's not much of a group.A couple of quick points: The Beacon piece nicely points out that one Michael J. Mikula, who says that “'investing in the arts community is smart money,''', primarily because he scored $20,000 of taxpayer money. Yup, if you've fleeced the taxpayers out of $20 g's for glassware, you're entitled to think of them as stupid.Secondly, one can argue that the arts are important. However, in Akron, we're busy laying off cops and firefighters – two professions of much more value to the community than some dude turning out glassware.I'm not sure that we actually have to raise taxes – as long as we are subsidizing professional softball, the downtown athletic club, and probably the inventors' hall of fame, and a kazillion deputy mayors, one could argue that noone in Akron's political class really thinks that there's a budget crisis – but if we have to, cops, firefighter, and sanitation work should go to the head of the line.Granted, the position of the Arts Community is all about greed. After all, it's far easier to con some government into giving you a living than producing a product anyone wants to by. Still, this comment from one Thomas B. Schorgi gives one pause for the sheer concentration of industrial strength stupidity:“ 'If the arts and cultural groups go away tomorrow, there would be people who now come into Summit County who would go elsewhere,'' said Thomas B. Schorgl, president and chief executive of the Cleveland-based Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. ''And when they come into Summit County, they are clearly spending dollars from outside the county. There is a true economic impact.'''Generally speaking, if you have to subsidize something in order for it to be produced, that's a sign of economic inefficiency. If there was sufficient demand, there would be no need for the subsidy. Note to Mr. Schorgi: you can't make a community better off by producing things that can't be sold for more than the costs of production. That's just a cold, hard fact.Mr. Schorgi's argument, if one could call it that, that a positive economic impact will be generated boils down to the assumption that the amount spent by out of towners on art will exceed the amount of the tax. After all, anyone buying a pack of cigarettes will have $0.34 less to spend on other things, so if the out of town spend on art is less, the community is a net loser. .Now, you can argue that the arts produce a value that is unrecognized by the market. That's a different argument. To argue that point is to argue that subsidizing the arts is an economic loser, but that the intrinsic value (an externality or unrecognized community benefit) exceeds the economic costs.But that would be a quality of life impact, not an economic one. Oh, sure, it's of economic value to the artists enjoying life on the taxpayer's tit, and one for art fans (likely upper class and upper income) who benefit as consumers from the subsidy, but as a net for the community, it's an economic negative.Memo to the 'Artis[...]

Culture of Corruption: The Max Baucus Edition


Sen. Max Baucus nominates his shack up honey for U.S. Attorney* job.

The only known qualifications for this bimbo Melodee Haynes** – other than Max's comment that she gets everything “up and up” – certainly seem to be pretty thin. Still, Baucus' connections were good enough to get her a “top official in the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention”. Spare me the blather about the independent and non-political nature of this gig; If a key Democratic senator' shack up honey is up for a job, she's getting it, qualification would just be a bonus.

It probably doesn't help much that the supposedly independent “third party reviewer” was a Baucus contributor.

* It's also interesting that Bernstein's post suggests that this isn't the first time that Ms. Haynes has had domestically related career “ issues”, or that her c.v. also sounds dodgy.

** Geez, her parents couldn't even spell “Melody” correctly. Strikes one as a sign that she was destined to be a shack up honey.

Iran Searches for the West's Backbone


And keeps coming up empty. Add 10 more uranium enrichment facilities to build nuclear weapons? We may, upon due consideration, at some point in the future, decide to use harsh language, as long as no one would be unduly offended by said language.

Accuse 5 sailors in a disabled racing sailboat of spying?

Ahmadinejad and cronies have to be wondering if there's anything we'll stand up to.

Government Motors


Don't count on getting your $50 billion back anytime soon. Not that I was all that enthralled with Fritz Henderson as CEO (Just how was a 28 year GM employee supposed to radically change the culture?), but there's going to be a loss of focus associated with uncertainty at the top.

Plus, GM is at least 3 years behind Ford in attempting to get their house in order.

Which brings us to an unsung hero of the American auto industry – Bill Ford. At some point, Ford looked at the hard truth of where his company was, realized that he couldn't fix it, and went out to find someone who could.

Lots of people talk about recognizing the grim reality, but fewer manage to do anything about it.

Climategate / Climatequiddick


This is now starting to look serious. At first, the leaked emails seemed too good to be true – admissions of data rigging, attempts to game the publication system, and efforts to conceal information from Freedom of Information Act requests.

About what one would expect from people with so much money and power at stake. About the only thing missing was receipts from payoffs from George Soros and Al Gore.

However, now we're into the territory where they've been destroying the raw data, essentially preventing anyone from being able to duplicate their results.

That, my friends, is cheating of a high order.

And then there's this bit:

“ Professor Trevor Davies, the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement, said yesterday: "CRU's full data will be published in the interests of research transparency when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

'We are grateful for the necessary support of the Met Office in requesting the permissions for releasing the information but understand that responses may take several months and that some countries may refuse permission due to the economic value of the data.'”

The effective translation: “We're going to stall and hope this goes away”.

It's also an admission of the fact that this alliance between “scientists” and bureaucrats is an economic enterprise, dedicated to taking money and freedom from citizens, and lining their own pockets.

If you believe that the “Exxon” folks were dishonest because of taking corporate money, how much more crooked are the supposedly “disinterested” scientists paid by governments? Exxon only wants to make money by selling you gas to run your car, and oil to heat your home. The government wants an excuse to take your money and your freedom as well. And they won't give you anything in return.