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Copernicus-Goldwyn-Mayer

When the sound stages and backlots of Hollywood were not enough to tell their stories, movie producers found they could simulate most of the world somewhere in southern California:

Map of scenic substitute locations in California

This map, found on the site Strange Maps, is from 1927:

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Unicorns and the Glue Factory

Non-libertarians want cheap government health care, but they don't want the government to deny them care or euthanize them when their health care threatens to become expensive.

Quoted from: Vox Day

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Thank You, Soldier.

Who is largest holder of America’s debt? Soldiers. [cartoon]

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Our Borrowers are Retiring

Theo Spark posts about the U.S. housing market:

There are 140 million personal residences in the United States today.

  • Zillow says 20 million owners 'plan' to sell their homes if there is any improvement in price.

  • Four million existing homes are currently on the market.

  • Lennar, Pulte, et al have one million new homes for sale.

  • There are one million bank-owned properties.

  • Eight million mortgages are late on their payments.

Not very good numbers.

Now consider that the 80 million baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, many wanting or needing to downsize residences as they age.

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Tomorrow Was Thirty Years Ago

Cobb sees the apocalypse on the horizon. And it’s wearing a cardigan:

These days I'm trying to think back to a time when America had little faith in itself. Back to the days of Billy Jack and the Feral Motorcycle Movie, when inflation was reality, when Iron Eyes Cody cried on the side of the road and when Richard Nixon ran his White House like Russian Roulette. I remember when we used to say that we were going to see the day when we'd have to buy clean air, back when rivers caught fire and women expected to get raped after dark in Times Square. I remember when suddenly we had to drive 55 and the President told us to keep the thermostat at 68. I remember gas lines and people who stole gasoline out of your tank and Pep Boys started selling locking gas caps.

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Recovery Prayer

From a story about the person who led the search for human remains after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans:

With fire axes and shovels, the team would then fan out across a vast grid of destroyed homes and overturned cars, seeking the unburied. Cadaver dogs joined the search, ominously sniffing through the rubble for the storm’s departed.

“A good day is when we can ‘clear’ homes and actually let families (know) …  for sure that this person was here – or not here,” Glynn told Online NewsHour in March 2006. “I mean … that’s about the best that this mission gets.”

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Barry Thinks Truckers are Morons

The Failed Obama Administration™ has issued another absurdity:

President Barack Obama is getting behind a national policy to boost fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse-gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Obama said Friday he's asking the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department to come up with what would be a first-ever policy for such trucks in model years 2014-2018.

Such a move, he said, will bring down the cost of transporting goods, reduce pollution and spur growth in the clean-energy sector. The government will also work with the public and private sectors to develop technology for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, Obama said.

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No Ticket, No Laundry

A census worker knocking doors in NRR’s territory offered an insight into the minds of the people who are counting the people.

The doorknockers set their own schedules. Every day they work, they are expected to turn in a time sheet. Due to scheduling difficulties—for many, census work is a second job—some time sheets don’t get in every day.

If a time sheet is not in by the end of a pay period, pay for that day of work will be delayed until the next pay period. There’s no question that the pay is due, it’s just a timing issue. That’s standard practice in the non-government world.

Some census workers who can’t get their time sheets turned in when due have been upset when their paychecks are less than expected. But, instead of trying to get their sheets in on time, what are they doing? Calling their Congressperson about delayed pay.

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The Discretion Factor

Americans will respect your beliefs if you just keep them private.

Quoted from: Bill O’Reilly

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Gulf Spill Birdy Count

It has been more than three weeks since the Deepwater Horizon exploded. We’ve endured twenty-four days of storytelling meant to tickle anxieties and promote panic.

Legislatively, this might become an enduring disaster. But the actual harm to nature has been minimal. Fishing areas are re-opening. And fears of oil-drenched sea birds appear to have been overblown:

An oiled brown pelican was found on the rocks along Bayou Rigaud at Grand Isle on Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

Wildlife and Fisheries biologists caught the bird and brought it to Fort Jackson, where veterinarians are rehabbing oiled birds.

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Nothing But Net

From the Facebook page for Deepwater Horizon Response
(post at 7:08pm, May 6th):

To help stop the flow of oil from the source, BP intends to drill two relief wells. The first well was started on May 2 and proceeding as expected. This process usually takes 2-3 months and involves going 5,000 feet to the seabed, drilling an additional 18,000 feet, and reaching a target the size of a basketball.

That’s a mile of seawater, then three miles of earth. By remote control. In hurricane season. Accurate within fifteen inches.

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Adoptar Una Serie

TJIC sets some immigration policy directives I can support:

[T]he current disaster is the worst of all worlds: it incents folks to cross the border illegally … and then stay underground. It incents crime. It incents growth of government. It incents corruption. It casually considers thousands of dead Mexicans a year a rounding error. It (further) creates contempt for the law.

We need to build a tall and deep wall.

We need to vastly simplify the laws.

We need to create a clear and simple pathway for folks who want to come here to work, to build the future, and to become Americans.

We need to tell foreigners, employers, and constituents one, and only one, story.

It is often difficult to do the right thing. But it is usually easy to explain what the right thing is.

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Smokey Bear Wouldn’t Even Get Out of Bed

With the current President finally on the scene of the Transocean Horizon oil spill, expect increased hysteria from Big Media. Like this story from Christian Science Monitor (from last week when the explosion was breaking news):

Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion shows new risks

The dramatic oil rig explosion and fire aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast illustrates the growing risk for oil companies as they drill ever deeper into the earth's crust to satisfy domestic and international demand for fuel.

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A New Way to Run a Railroad

This ad from the 1970s (spotted on NRR’s “Vintage Ads” siding) shows big business working toward improving service to its customers:

Southern Railroad cargo-tracking ad from 1970s

The 70s were not a good time for railroads. But the Southern was certainly still a huge and powerful corporation. And we’ve heard so often about how evil corporations exist to screw people.

How does that narrative square with this ad copy (signed by Southern’s Chairman):

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Follow the Pea

GM’s repayment of Federal loans is a shell game:

You may have seen the announcement yesterday by GM’s CEO that it was paying back a portion of the money it had been loaned by the taxpayers (who borrowed it to loan it) to keep the company from going under and providing it the room for the government to own 61%.

Jamie Dupree brings us the rest of the story:

The issue came up yesterday at a hearing with the special watchdog on the Wall Street Bailout, Neil Barofsky, who was asked several times about the GM repayment by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), who was looking for answers on how much money the feds might make from the controversial Wall Street Bailout.

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Welcome to the Fatherland

Back in late 2008, when Congress passed the TARP bank bailout, I posted about the proper term to describe the developing relationship between government and industry:

Pundits speaking for the huge popular majority opposed to the plan seem to have decided to call it socialism, or a nationalization of banking and real estate. There is a political philosophy which combines those terms. National Socialism. Or, in a word, fascism.

Now that Barry has been elected and enjoyed a kindred Congress, I am more convinced that his vision for society is not properly called socialism. An article at The Freeman takes up the question, “Is Obama a socialist?

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Your Government Gassed Babies

We heard a lot about evil Republicans and their willingness to use torture to protect Americans against terrorism. It seems many have forgotten that the same government, under Democrat leadership, used terrorism and tortured American children near Waco in 1993:

CS gas was used at the compound, in order, as senior White House adviser George Stephanopoulos said, echoing senior Justice Department statements, to “try and pressure” those in the compound. It was hoped, he said, that as this “pressure was increased, the maternal instincts of the mothers might take over and they might try to leave with their kids” (Washington Times, April 23, 1995).

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Treason

The current President has decided his government can kill U.S. Citizens without trial:

The Obama administration has authorized operations to capture or kill a U.S.-born Muslim cleric based in Yemen, who is described by a key lawmaker as America's top terrorist threat, officials said on Tuesday.

The decision to add Anwar al-Awlaki, of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to the target list followed a National Security Council review prompted by his status as a U.S. citizen.

Officials said Awlaki directly threatened the United States. "Awlaki is a proven threat," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's being targeted."

The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates:

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Understanding Everything, Knowing Nothing

The current President seems to have a flexible relationship with truth. And in that statement, I display a kinship with his philosophy.

The word at the crux is “seem”. I have made it a habit to qualify many of my perceptions with words like “seem” or “appear”. This habit was cultivated, in part, to recognize that as only one mind, I cannot embrace all that is true. I can only know what I know, which is not necessarily all that exists.

But I diverge from the President in my conclusion that there is an absolute truth. What seems true to me, or to him, or to anyone, is rooted in fixed concepts. Barry denies (appears to deny?) there is any fixed truth underlying each person’s perception. Everything is relative.

And nothing is real without someone to perceive it, and put that perception into linguistic terms. There are no absolutes. This is what is called “post-modernism”:

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Pharaoh -> Caesar -> Obama -> Pawlenty -> Rybak

Arnold Kling goes Old Testament:

Pharoah created jobs for us. Moses led us away from those jobs. Even though those jobs helped to complete public infrastructure. Even though they were green jobs, where we used our muscles and our backs instead of fossil fuels.

Moses could have been part of the ruling class in Egypt. He chose freedom instead. Those of us who followed Moses also chose freedom. Freedom brings risks. But we preferred the risks of freedom to the security of bondage.

Do not confuse government with G-d. Government cannot miraculously provide us with manna--or health care. When we look at government, we should not see G-d. We should see Pharoah. Government-worship is Pharoah-worship.

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