For no particular reason (other than the fact that we are less than two weeks, officially, into winter), I bring you the following video reminder that the laws of physics have not been repealed (HT: Get In Emily’s Head):
Like most humorists, Dave Barry can be an acquired taste. Suffice it to say that I’ve acquired it. I find his commentary to be both humorous and remarkably evenhanded. More than I can say for another humorist named Dave. Anyway, Dave has compiled his retrospective on 2008, which can be found here. Following are a few excerpts which I particularly appreciate:
There were a few days there in October when you could not completely rule out the possibility that the next Treasury secretary would be Joe the Plumber.
Abroad, Fidel Castro steps down after 49 years as president of Cuba, explaining that he wants to spend more time decomposing. In selecting his successor, the Cuban national assembly, after conducting an exhaustive nationwide search, selects Fidel’s brother, Raul, who narrowly edges out Dennis Kucinich.
the International Atomic Energy Agency releases a report stating that Iran is actively developing nuclear warheads. In response, Iran issues a statement asserting that (1) it absolutely is not developing nuclear warheads, and (2) these are peaceful warheads. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China convene an emergency meeting, during which they manage, in heated negotiations, to talk France out of surrendering.
Congress passes, and Technically Still President Bush signs, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and everyone heaves a sigh of relief as the economy stabilizes for approximately 2.7 seconds, after which it resumes going down the toilet. As world financial markets collapse like fraternity pledges at a keg party and banks fail around the world, the International Monetary Fund implements an emergency program under which anybody who opens a checking account anywhere on earth gets a free developing nation. But it is not enough; the financial system is in utter chaos. At one point, a teenage girl in Worcester, Mass., attempts to withdraw $25 from an ATM and winds up acquiring Wells Fargo.
But the economy remains the dominant issue, with retailers reporting weak holiday sales as many shoppers pass up pricier gifts such as jewelry and big-screen TVs in favor of toilet paper and jerky. As the year draws to a close, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers warns that the current recession “could spiral downward into a full-blown depression,” leaving the United States with “no viable economic option but to declare war on Japan.”
There are many many more things worth reading in Mr. Barry’s article. Go there and find your own favorites (or remind yourself why Dave is an acquired taste–it’s entirely up to you).
South Dakota Watch has poll results up for the best 2008 Non-MSM SD Political Blog. Constant Conservative came in tied for last. I’d like to thank both of you who voted. Next year, my friends, next year.
Perhaps for future polls it would be more equitable to compare single-author blogs with other single-author blogs (rather than throwing everyone in the pot together). Hmm. Two polls for the end of next year?
In a bit of good news, it appears as though South Dakota will soon (relatively speaking) have a new power-generation facility.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative of Bismarck, N.D., is moving ahead with plans for a $405 million plant near Brookings that will use natural gas and steam to produce electricity.
Based on current supply (and demand) for electricity, I’m thinking that quite a bit of the power from this facility may end up going out of state, but that’s not a bad thing. South Dakota struggles at times with exporting products outside of agricultural ones.
I do wonder where they will be getting the natural gas necessary to heat the water into steam. Right now, some power-generation facilities are required to switch from natural gas to diesel over the winter months because residential customers get first priority for natural gas (since it is essential to heating).
South Dakota is home to more than 62,000 descendants of its earliest settlers, known today as American Indians (of the Sioux tribes). Because of past wrongs, the governments of the United States and South Dakota provide millions of dollars every year to subsidize food, housing, medical expenses, education, etc for many of these residents. Despite this, (or because of it) the needs, particularly of those who live on the tribal lands continue to be great.
A related tribe in Minnesota is giving $4 million in casino revenues to help out. I’m sure there is irony in here somewhere, but I cannot see it right now. Unfortunately, it would seem as though the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota is working from the same set of rules as the federal government: pour money into bad situations and it will somehow magically make things better.
Money, despite those who regulary misquote the verse in the New Testament, is not inherently evil. The love of it is. One evidence, in my opinion, of a love of money is the belief that with enough money, everything can be better.
When are we going to learn that it doesn’t matter if we are talking about American Indians, auto manufacturers, investment banks or simply those who defaulted on their ajustable-rate mortgages, more money does not change foundational flaws in humans or the entities which they create?
In these days of nearly instant communication, where everyone (and I include myself at times) is trying to put together news/commentary with the briefest examination of the source material it is critical that we remain careful readers. Careful reading is even more critical when it comes to matters of the law.
This is pointed out very nicely by the David Kopel by way of Reason w/regards to a recent ruling of the US Supreme Court:
Justice Stevens’ dissent in Heller cited a 2006 article by historian Saul Cornell. That article stated that Tucker’s 1791-92 lecture notes described the Second Amendment as relating only to the militia.
David Hardy’s article reviews Tucker’s lecture notes, as they involve various freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights….
As for the Second Amendment, Hardy finds that Cornell’s article, and therefore Justice Stevens’ opinion, contains a major factual error: the militia language which Cornell quoted was not from Tucker’s description of the Second Amendment. The language was from Tucker’s explanation of Article I’s grant of militia powers to Congress. Tucker’s description of the Second Amendment comes 20 pages later in the 1791-92 lecture notes, and is nearly a verbatim match with the text Tucker’s 1803 book, unambiguously describing the Second Amendment as encompassing a personal right for a variety of purposes, not just for militia service.
It is not unheard of for a justice (or you or me, for that matter) to make up his/her mind and then seek out sources which would support the foregone conclusion. This is, however, a remarkably dangerous approach to law. If one more justice had joined with Steven’s dissent, Heller vs DC might well be an enduring black mark on the history of American jurisprudence.
My health, as far as I know, is quite good for someone of my advanced age. I trust that my health (and that of my dependent family members) will remain good for the indefinite future. I know, however, that such conditions cannot continue indefinitely, thanks to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
With that in mind, I must concur with the sentiment expressed in the following piece by Brian Scwartz in the Rock Mountain News:
At the recent Colorado Health Care Summit, Barack Obama’s Cabinet pick Tom Daschle said his boss’s “commitment to changing the health-care system remains strong and focused.” But in the wrong direction.
Obama has stated that “capitalism is great for consumers” when they have “many alternatives,” when customers, “not government bureaucrats … are the judges of what best serves their needs.” Obama’s health insurance proposals fail these standards and would fail patients.
Obama would further empower government bureaucrats to judge what insurance is best for you. By increasing private premium costs, new controls would drive patients to Obama’s proposed “new public plan.”
Obama would subject all insurance to new national mandates, letting government bureaucrats decide what insurance is good for you. The result? Look at Massachusetts, where the average family plan costs almost $17,000, compared to $5,400 in Colorado and $3,000 in Wisconsin, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans. The Boston Globe reports that “mandates are helping to drive up costs, making coverage unaffordable.” Residents with policies that don’t meet “minimum standards set by state regulators could face a hefty tax penalty.”
Seventeen thousand dollars for the average family health insurance plan for those living in Massachusetts. That’s the sort of change in which I simply cannot believe. How about you?
On the subject of global warming as caused by human beings, much has been written. I’ve no doubt that much more remains to be written. However, one of the best pieces I’ve read in some time may be found at PowerLine. An couple excerpts follow:
[Physicist and mathematician Frank Tipler says, in part] I no longer trust “scientists” to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We’ve seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September’s temperatures for Russia rather than October’s. I’m not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.
This is why I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job…
Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Why can’t Newt Gingrich understand this? Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government funding for science.
Such a simple statement, but so spot on: “We had better science and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science.”
I do not agree within anyone on everything (in fact, I don’t even entirely agree with the me from 5 or 10 years ago) but I find more to like with regards to Milton Friedman the more I read. What chance, however, do you think that such a proposal would have today? Hold on, I think I can see a snowball . . . . Sorry, I believe it just melted. Must be global warming.
For the recently closed weather poll, which asked “What will the next 10 years bring, in terms of weather?” (which not many of you participated in between opening presents and stuffing yourselves on turkey) we have the following results:
- 12.5% said “Global warming”
- 0.0% said “Global cooling”
- 87.5% said “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter”
- 0.0% said “Forget the next 10 years. I’d just like to be warm again.”
Apparently, humor does not mix well with cranberry sauce and sweet gherkins. Thank you.
New poll in the sidebar. Enjoy.