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State of the President

Neo-neocon didn’t have the stomach to watch last night’s State of the Union address. I endured the whole thing. Setting aside the particulars of the implicitly contradictory wish list Barry set forth, I think the current President is cracking up.

He has lost his slickness, even with the teleprompter. His demeanor struck me as similar to the Seinfeld character George Costanza when caught in his own web of lies. Barry would make a joking jab, then smile a bit too big, as if he was looking for approval. His speaking style, when not in full campaign mode, is full of odd pauses. Last night, what was odd became awkward.

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Brown Wins!

So much will be said about Scott Brown’s victory, I’ll wait for both the conventional wisdom and the actual truths to become clear before making any grand declarations of my own.

But, I love Rush Limbaugh’s first reaction:

This one's for you, Mary Jo.

Let’s hope the Maine ladies find some integrity and sustain the filibuster against Unicorn Care.

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Bathroom Scales Get a Break

Americans have stopped getting fatter:

The numbers indicate that obesity rates have remained constant for at least five years among men and for closer to 10 years among women and children — long enough for experts to say the percentage of very overweight people has leveled off.

The article points out that, by the national average, we’re still obese. But applying the same rhetoric used for economic conditions, we have “turned the corner” and “stabilized our national caloric imbalance”. There is “still a long way to go”. And although “the road to healthier living may be bumpy”, we must “forge ahead” because our eating habits “will bankrupt the country through increased costs of caring for the fatties”.

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Is Palin Using Jiu-jutsu?

In my speculations about breaking the 60-vote Senate majority, I suggested Sarah Palin may offer some stealth support to Republican underdog Scott Brown. If she’s helping, it is so stealthy that nobody has noticed. But even by her absence, Palin is a factor in the Massachusettes Senate race:

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No-Fault Banking

We now have a financial system that is completely based on moral hazard.

Quoted from: Simon Johnson

Via: Naked Capitalism

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You Are What Your Outfit Says You Are

Cobb remarks on fashion:

T Shirts have been making statements since way back to I'm With Stupid. But before that it was a smiley face or a peace sign. I mean after you burned your draft card or your bra, you had to wear something besides your long hair to signify the seriousness of your rebellion from the standards of beauty and propriety of your racist pig parents, right?

I have long thought that shirts with slogans are mild arrogance. Why would you think I care about your opinion of, well, anything? But I respect the argument that holds such fashion—or almost all intentional fashion—is social signaling.

It’s not about the cause so much as about showing that the wearer cares about something. Or that the wearer has bought—and sometimes even earned—a worldview that is branded with alligators or polo players.

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Tariffs are Breaks in the Line

Bastiat’s concept of a negative railroad involved unneccessary breaks in the line that would provide employment to porters and baggage handlers. The same principle applies to duties and tariffs imposed at borders:

Just think how many jobs Congress could create by encouraging states to erect their own tariff walls? High-taxing and heavily regulating states would then be able to protect their workers from states with lower taxes and less-burdensome regulations. California wineries would never again lose market share to rivals in Oregon and Washington state. Michigan autoworkers would never again be displaced from their jobs by workers in Tennessee and South Carolina.

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Powerful Microscope or Willful Blindness

The current President said:

job losses have diminished substantially since the depths of the recession when the economy was hemorrhaging jobs a rate of 700,000 a month.

"It is true that we, as a country, are in a very different place than we were when 2009 began," Obama said, saying there was evidence of a "positive trend" in the November employment report released on Friday.

Here’s what he’s accomplished in his first year:

Graph of Private Wage Jobs Obama Highlighted

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Landlord Stifles Bill of Rights

Citizens in the U.S. are supposed to be protected from the government interfering with peaceable assemblies. We’re also supposed to be able to petition our government for redress. But a crafty landlord can use property law to nullify those principles:

The Jefferson Area Tea Party has been officially banned from the area around Congressman Tom Perriello’s office. The landlord of the building where Perriello’s office is located, Lisa Murphy, has convince the local officials that recent protests outside the office is negatively affecting the other tenants in the building.

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Here’s $4 Trillion, Just to Tide You Over

The headlines say the worst is over. The $700B TARP program, for example, stabilized the financial industry.

How does this square with that picture?

Hunkering down by the fire, I snuggled up with H.R. 4173, the financial-reform legislation passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives.

It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for “no-more-bailouts” talk.

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Policy by Playskool

Good craftsmanship depends on good tools. The orthodox conception of economics holds that government can craft better outcomes than we would have if the rabble were left to their own devices.

Tools can be divided into two broad classes: working tools and measuring tools. First (and second, if you follow the maxim) the craftsman must measure. Then he cuts. Without good measurements, the quality of the working tools and the skill of the craftsman are moot.

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Counting Backward from Sixty

I’ve read much speculation about Senator Reid’s motivation to rush voting on the health bill by Christmas. One idea I haven’t seen was that the lefties’ 60-vote majority could vanish on January 19th, 2010. That’s when Massachusetts votes to fill Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat.

If the Republican candidate pulls off an upset, righty filibusters will stand (until Reid buys off one of the Maine ladies again, anyway). Congress reconvenes on the 5th of January. There would be procedural delays associated with reconvening, and the righties’ parliamentary delaying tactics would start with a fresh clock.

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Who Will Pray for Gary?

Governments at all levels are in financial trouble. Colonel Obama says the Federal government is facing a wall. The Governator has been zig-zagging California toward a cliff. Visits to Detroit’s decay are a regular feature on NRR. But the City of the Century may beat them all in the race to failure:

Abandoned Church in Gary, Indiana

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A Genuine Phony

A significant part of the public, perhaps a majority, has made diversity a fetish. The differences observed and celebrated are superficial. This example lifted from Facebook:

I was assisted in un-sticking my car from a lake of slush by: the guy from Hershfield's with the old-tymey mustache, a whisper-thin Somalian woman, and a Mexican couple. I love my neighborhood!!!

Why is it better that aid was rendered by a rainbow of faces? If this person had been helped by a trio of Nuns as wan and pasty as the writer, would the charity and neighborliness be tainted?

One might legitimately presume from skin, grooming and garb that these Samaritans operated in different subcultures. Their cooperation might be valuable as a study of how those of different traditions found means to work together. I doubt this is what happened. The event was pushing a car out of snow, not a philosophical roundtable, or even a small matter of local politics.

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To Arms!

It is no longer a fringe view, I think, to say that Congress prefers to ignore both the Constitution and the will of the people. And if executive over-reach is a fringe view, it is found on every edge of the political cloth, dependent on which team occupies the Oval Office.

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Where Unicorns Grow

Lefties, Greenies, and the current President tout a new “green” economy as a solution to today’s dysfunction. Escaping the carbon cycle will save the polar bears. Eliminating fossil fuels will clear the air and cut the legs out from under “evil regimes” that “don’t like us very much”.

We’re being manipulated and coerced into spending huge sums of borrowed money on a raft of unproven ideas aimed at taking the U.S. toward a vision of blue skies and unicorns.

It sounds beautiful. Until you look into the details behind the technology that will drive the Clean Energy Economy:

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Pay No Attention to What’s Behind the TARP

Keeping in form, the Failed Obama Administration™ touts benefits while ignoring costs:

Both Obama and the Treasury Department keep talking up the TARP as if it is a money maker for taxpayers, when nothing could be further from the truth. Obama tried this stunt in his anniversary of Lehman speech, and the Treasury continues with the theme, of implying that results for the firms that paid back are representative of what the final results would be.

If this logic were generally true, that would mean subprime bonds were a good investment too. After all, most borrowers did make good on their mortgages. A late September Moodys mortgage survey that a reader sent me estimated that total losses on subprime RMBS will be about 26%, which means that 74% were money good.

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Next Float in the Parade of Lies: Government Motors

Recall that the FOA™ promised it wasn’t going to interfere with GM’s operations. More lies:

The WSJ reports:

Starting Jan. 4, General Motors Co. plans to do something unprecedented in the U.S. car industry: It will run its assembly line here around the clock on a permanent basis.

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Power to the Palmetto!

South Carolina is again leading the fight for State sovereignty:

Looks like the steadily growing list of constitutional, ethical and political outrages that constitute the Harry Reid version of Obamacare is sparking a rebellion in the states, as AP reports South Carolina's attorney general plans to investigate the vote-buying that surrounded the proposal in the Senate majority leader's office.

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One of Us Must Be Crazy

Most Leftists of my acquaintance, or whose words I have read, seem to live in a world entirely made of emotional images, not facts, not reality, not reason, and whatever the loudest or most alluring emotional images is that persists in their brains, that is how they deem reality (to them, a flexible and plaint substance, like clay) can be molded.

The act is symbolic: none of them have read the bill, not even the people who voted for it. I suspect each part was written by a lobbyist in the pay of the Insurance company concerned with whatever particular advantaged them--and even they did not read the entirety. Passing this bill is merely voodoo, like sticking a pin in a wax doll, an action done to satisfy an emotional image, nor a reasoned response to an alleged political economic inequity.

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