This is from Gallup today. Notice what’s happened since the 47 percent “gaffe”.
Also, this is registered voters. Likely voters probably favors Romney.
Something has been puzzling me for a very long time, it seems.
First, we had the announcement that Obama had presided over the smallest increase in spending of any President since Eisenhower. When closely examined, we find that this is only true if all spending in 2009 is attributed to George Bush.
Earlier this week, President Obama insisted “Fast and Furious” started under President Bush. “Fast and Furious” started with a DoJ teleconference on October 29, 2009.
On Friday, Chris Matthews (on Bill Maher HBO show) said “Unemployment was well past 10 percent” when Obama took office; it turns out that unemployment only reached 10 percent once, in October 2009. (And it’s not been “well past 10 percent” since 1982-83.)
I think the evidence is accumulating: Barack Obama didn’t actually take office until sometime around Thanksgiving 2009.
As Andrew Klavan said the other day, if Romney keeps screwing up, he could win in a landslide.
Foreign Policy’s diplomatic blog The Cable reports:
The Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was in fact “a terrorist attack” and the U.S. government has indications that members of al Qaeda were directly involved, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday morning.
“I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in response to questioning from Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) about the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Sen. Susan Collins said further that based on what she’s heard from a classified briefing, she believed it was pre-planned:
“First, I will tell you that based on the briefings I have had, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion and agree with the president of Libya that this was a premeditated, planned attack that was associated with the date of 9/11, the anniversary of 9/11,” she said. “I just don’t think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity — and they are many — with the Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was premeditated.”
Sometimes just a couple words makes all the difference. Here’s how the Huffington Post just reported something Romney said recently:
BOSTON (AP) — Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans.
But how does he define “middle-income”? The Republican presidential nominee defined it as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year.
Romney commented during an interview broadcast Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
…. The definition of “middle income” or the “middle class” is politically charged. Both presidential candidates are fighting to win over working-class voters.
President Barack Obama has defined “middle class” as income up to $250,000 a year.
Now, let’s look at how it was reported elsewhere:
But how does he define “middle-income”? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less.
The definition of “middle income” or the “middle class” is politically charged as Romney and President Barack Obama fight to win over working-class voters. Romney would be among the wealthiest presidents, if elected, and Democrats have repeatedly painted him as out of touch with average people.
Obama also has set his definition for “middle class” as families with income of up to $250,000 a year.
I’ve bolded a few inconvenient words. Observe: the HuffPo reports “$200-$250″; the AP story elsewhere says $200K-$250K and less. Add the “and less” and suddenly Romney is saying the same limits as Obama — and the other bolded words make clear.
By the way, this is first in a series of Romney Rumors; it’s become clear that we need to capture these things just as we did with Palin. If you see anything you think needs to be debunked, pass it along.
Obama is famous — or notorious — for his high opinion of his own capabilities. He was quoted as saying
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
So, as Mark Theissen points out, it’s probably not a surprise that he also doesn’t figure he needs intelligence briefings, preferring instead to read the Presidential Daily Brief.
Well, I was involved in the Intelligence Community for a good while. I was more involved in collection and then computer security than analysis, but I know analysts. Here’s how the business is done:
People out at the collection end collect raw intelligence (never you mind how) and transmit it to CIA, where the main analysis shop is. This being the government, it’s not really that simple — there are independent analysis shops at State and in DoD, and some of the analysis, especially heavily technical analysis, is partly done at the front end, but for simplicity, we’ll say it goes to CIA. There, it’s stored — you can think of it as if each little piece is copied to a 5×8 card, which is really how it was done at the dawn of time — with various techniques available to sort it and sift it. At that point, an analyst — someone with a degree in something like history or political science or even psychology — looks at the new stuff, sorts through it, and summarizes it. Basically, they write a term paper every day. These term papers are further summarized by an area specialist, summartied again, and eventually make it to a document (or data base) called a National intelligence Estimate. That is in turn summarized into a document called the Presidential Daily Brief, which is the document that Obama claims to read in the morning. These used to be in the hands of the Director of Central Intelligence, who was the President’s direct line to the Intelligence Community. Now it’s the Director of National Intelligence, as the Congress in its infinite wisdom decided that the solution to a politicized and fragile system was to put another layer of management over it in another agency. So now the Director of the CIA is sending this stuff to the DNI, who is responsible to the President.
Now, I’ve never seen a PDB or NIE except in declassified form, but George Washington University has some examples online. Have a look at them: they are a page or two of bullet points on each topic, and I can tell you what that means is this torrent, this firehose of information, has been summarized in a way which guarantees:
that it mentions a lot of possibilities;
that it says nothing that can be certainly disproven, and;
that everything it says matches exactly what the DNI thinks is politically advantageous to the DNI.
What the PDB is supposed to be is basically a powerpoint of the important things that have happened; they send along a briefer, who is a top-level analyst who spends all day every day becoming an expert in the topics covered, and then if something exciting is happening, they may bring an area expert who is an even more rigorous expert in a more narrowly constrained topic. These experts can answer questions, and take new direction on areas of interest; they’re there to be the President’s (and the National Security Councils’) brains. As you can see from the examples I linked, the PDB itself is basically a USA Today level of detail at best. The briefer expands that and works with the President’s staff to make sure the details are getting through.
What Mark Thiessen is telling us is that Obama prefers to read the USA Today summary instead of talking to an expert and asking questions.
A major theme of the various hot actresses speeches at the DNC was how they, as wealthy people, should pay more taxes. Warren buffet was famous for that one as well.
Of course, while arguing for higher taxes, Warren Buffet is suing the IRS to reduce his taxes, and could easily reorganize his finances so he was paid a salary instead of capital gains and dividends, which would mean paying the highest tax rate instead of the current 15 percent, or he could even write a check and send it to
Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782
But, see, this isn’t about people really thinking they should pay more.
I already put this up as a headline: after Romney announced he was visiting New Orleans, Obama announced plans to visit on Monday.
When the story got around, Jay Carney announced that really, it had been planned all along. They thought of it first.
The only problem? In the story linked above, Politco notes that …
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told POLITICO earlier Friday that the president had no plans yet to visit the Gulf state and review damage from Hurricane Isaac, even though Mitt Romney announced plans to visit Friday.
Vante of Tucson, AZ Regrets Actions of Former CFO
Employee Has Left the Company
TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwire – Aug 2, 2012) – The following is a statement from Vante:
Vante regrets the unfortunate events that transpired yesterday in Tucson between our former CFO/Treasurer Adam Smith and an employee at Chick-fil-A. Effective immediately, Mr. Smith is no longer an employee of our company.
The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions. We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions, however, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others.
We hope that the general population does not hold Mr. Smith’s actions against Vante and its employees.
A statement from the University of Arizona:
UA Statement Regarding Former Adjunct Lecturer Adam Smith
University of Arizona | August 2, 2012
Adam Smith held an appointment as an Adjunct Lecturer, Finance (non-tenure eligible) in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona from January 2, 2012, to May 20, 2012. He presently holds no appointment with the University.
The University of Arizona strives to provide an environment where a free and respectful exchange of ideas is valued and encouraged. We strive to have a workforce that is diverse and respectful of different viewpoints and where opinions are respected.
I’ve learned a whole bunch of new things recently. Let’s see –
We’ve learned that if Romney — a guy who ran a successful Olympics — says it’s “disconcerting” that there are reports the security company has lost control, and that the ticketing isn’t working, and that there are going to be strikes to disrupt the games — even when the London papers have been reporting the problems with security, tickets, and strikes — that’s a gaffe.
And that Obama has been to Israel over and over again as President, although no one remembers him going.
And that when Obama says “you didn’t build that” on tape, it’s out of context, even though looking more closely at what he said seems to just reinforce his point. And besides, when he said it, he was affecting a black dialect, so noticing what he said is racist.
And when Romney goes to Poland — that’s racist. And when Romney speaks at the NAACP — that’s racist. And when Romney points out that the differences between the Palestinian kleptocracy — which is stealing its own people blind while siphoning off literal billions of dollars in aid, while its people live in squalor — and the Israelis, with whom they live cheek-to-jowl on the same chunk of desert, but who are rich, have an expanding economy, a vital, working democracy, and beautiful cities filled with beautiful people — is primarily cultural, that’s racist.
And white people shouldn’t think they can vote against Obama, without that being racist.
And referring to the “Anglo-Saxon” heritage from which we draw our language, our common law, our and even our names for farm animals as opposed to their meats, is racist.
And interrupting Obama during a press event is unacceptable, but reporters shouting questions during a solemn ceremony at a foreign memorial to victims of the Nazis is perfectly ordinary, and objecting to it is horribly impolite at best, and, yes, a gaffe.
You know, I think I’m seeing a pattern here.
At Bloomberg, Josh Barro has an excellent essay about why “you didn’t build that” is a problem. I’ll commend to you all the whole essay, but in the middle of it, he quotes from a scene in the second season of The West Wing:
The president’s speech calls to mind a second-season West Wing episode, in which speechwriter Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) explains to the staff of some liberal house members why he won’t insert a line in President Bartlet’s upcoming speech. They want the president to attack Republican tax cut proposals as financing “private jets and swimming pools” for the wealthy. As Seaborn argues:
Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, “It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share,” I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I’m happy to ’cause that’s the only way it’s gonna work, and it’s in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don’t get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn’t come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn’t come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying.
When Barack Obama has made an argument for progressive taxation that even Aaron Sorkinfinds distasteful, he has erred. That’s not a problem that has anything to do with the president being black.
(Via Watts Up With That) It turns out that the papers Richard Mueller has been pushing with his New York Times publicity blitz (aided by, among others, Joe Romm at Think Progress) were actually rejected for publication — with some misstatements so egregious that Ross McKittrick has published his reviews, saying that the publicity blitz can’t go unanswered. Here’s what he had to say (I can’t find a way to get a permalink to the statement, so scroll down if you need to):
BERKELEY EARTH STUDY REFEREE REPORTS: On September 8 2011 I was asked by Journal of Geophysical Research to be a reviewer for a paper by Charlotte Wickham et al. presenting the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (“BEST”) analysis of the effect of urbanization on land surface temperatures. This work is mainly associated with Richard Muller and his various coauthors. I submitted my review just before the end of September 2011, outlining what I saw were serious shortcomings in their methods and arguing that their analysis does not establish valid grounds for the conclusions they assert. I suggested the authors be asked to undertake a major revision.
In October 2011, despite the papers not being accepted, Richard Muller launched a major international publicity blitz announcing the results of the “BEST” project. I wrote to him and his coauthor Judy Curry objecting to the promotional initiative since the critical comments of people like me were locked up under confidentiality rules, and the papers had not been accepted for publication. Richard stated that he felt there was no alternative since the studies would be picked up by the press anyway. Later, when the journal turned the paper down and asked for major revisions, I sought permission from Richard to release my review. He requested that I post it without indicating I was a reviewer for JGR. Since that was not feasible I simply kept it confidential.
On March 8 2012 I was asked by JGR to review a revised version of the Wickham et al. paper. I submitted my review at the end of March. The authors had made very few changes and had not addressed any of the methodological problems, so I recommended the paper not be published. I do not know what the journal’s decision was, but it is 4 months later and I can find no evidence on the BEST website that this or any other BEST project paper has been accepted for publication.
On July 29 2012 Richard Muller launched another publicity blitz (e.g. here and here) claiming, among other things, that “In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects [including those related to urbanization and land surface changes] unduly biased our conclusions.” Their failure to provide a proper demonstration of this point had led me to recommend against publishing their paper. This places me in an awkward position since I made an undertaking to JGR to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, but I have reason to believe Muller et al.’s analysis does not support the conclusions he is now asserting in the press.
I take the journal peer review process seriously and I dislike being placed in the position of having to break a commitment I made to JGR, but the “BEST” team’s decision to launch another publicity blitz effectively nullifies any right they might have had to confidentiality in this matter. So I am herewith releasing my referee reports. The first, from September 2011, is here and the second, from March 2012 is here.
The story is up at Daily Caller. Quote:
“President Obama’s greatest success was actually his greatest failure,” Miniter told The Daily Caller Friday. ”Leading From Behind,“ he said, traces the arc of six key Obama administration decisions, and shows how the president made them — and, often, failed to make them.
[Headline corrected. Sigh.]
Yesterday, Richard Mueller of UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project published an op-ed in the New York Times headlined “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic.” In it, he says:
Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
Today, Anthony Watts of the Watts Up With That website announced and provided a paper (figures and tables here) in pre-print titled “An area and distance weighted analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends.”
Watts is listed as lead author, with co-authors Evan Jones of New York; Stephen McIntyre of Toronto, Canada; and Dr. John R. Christy from the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville. In it, they demonstrate a systematic bias of about 0.15 degrees Celsius per decade in the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) temperature estimates.
That is, they show that according to their methods, which are drawn from new UN World Meteorological Organization guidelines, the total warming in USHCN data are overstated — in fact, nearly doubled.
(For our more excitable commenters: “systematic bias” aren’t the words of Watts et. al., and they don’t mean a purposeful bias. “Systematic bias” is a term in statistics for any procedure that leads to “systematic error,” a procedural error that moves an observed statistic consistently in one direction. Go read the Wikipedia article linked and restrain yourselves from conspiracy theories.)
From pancreatic cancer.
It was revealed in her official obituary that Ride was a lesbian, and is survived by her lifetime partner, Dr Tam O’Shaughnessy. We extend our sympathies to Dr. O’Shaughnessy.
Okay, here’s some advice. Go ahead and scream, but try to keep your throat relaxed and open. Otherwise you’ll hurt your vocal cords.
Now, let’s calm down and look at what the SCOTUS really decided.
First, it decided that the individual mandate could be justified, but only as a tax. Well, we knew that. From the first, the Republicans were saying “this is a tax and a big tax, and a big tax that affects the poor and middle class disproportionately.” We also knew that the Federal Government could tax us to pay for health care. The only limits on the government’s power to tax us pretty much ended with the 13th Amendment in 1913. The notion that it wasn’t a tax was a fig leaf the Democrats came up with to keep from admitting Obama was setting up a big tax.
So what the decision has done is say “if it walks like a tax and talks like a tax, it’s a tax.” Of course, that does mean it’s incumbent on us to brag on how the SCOTUS agreed with the Republicans on that point, and to hammer home the point that Obama broke his tax promise.
By the way, the fact that it wasn’t advertised as a tax meant the Anti-Injunction Act didn’t apply. In other words, the Democrats were too clever by half — if they’d have called it a tax, the Court couldn’t have considered it at all. By not calling it a tax, they ensured the decision would come before the election.
Second, the decision says that the governments power under the Commerce Clause is limited. It may seem like a Pyrrhic victory right now, but this is still a good thing. Again, we already knew the Federal Government could tax us for pretty much any reason it pleased, and they already impose taxes for not choosing to buy certain things. (Consider, eg: if you have a million dollars in a savings account, the income is taxable. If you have it in a stock that pays dividends, the income is currently taxed at a lower rate. And if you have it in municipal bonds, it’s not taxable.) So this establishes a good thing, and only affirms something else that was already true. No loss there.
Third, it says that the Federal Government can’t force states to pay for Federally-mandated programs, at least under some conditions. It will be interesting to see if that is called on in the future.
So, as I say, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world, and actually establishes a couple of good precedents.
Here’s a couple, and I suspect this post will grow:
First, as far as I can tell, while this said Congress was limited under the Commerce Act, you can get the same effect through power of taxation. In other words, they can’t make you buy broccoli, but they can tax you for not buying broccoli.
Second, while the Left is crowing about Obamacare surviving, the mandate survives as a tax. As a tax, since it applies to everyone equally, and is most likely to hit low-paid workers since they are least likely to have insurance. That means the Democratic Congress passed, and Obama signed, a massive new tax on those least able to pay.
I’d not read Political Math in quite a while, so I looked this morning and was rewarded with this this story: The Republican Brain (or How Liberal Journalists Distort Science To Confirm Their Biases).
Remember the stories about how being conservative indicated brain problems? Well, the article provides a convenient little infographic, with references:
(Photo: Messy Cupcakes Photography Boulder, click image for larger formats.)
Former Denver Mayor and Obama National Campaign Co-chair Federico Peña has a résumé surprisingly similar to Mitt Romney’s.
President Obama continues to hammer presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on his record with Bain Capital. In a fundraiser on Wednesday in Denver, the President continued to push the “Venture Capital Vampire” theme saying, “What Gov. Romney doesn’t seem to get is that a healthy economy doesn’t just mean a few folks maximizing their profits through massive layoffs or busting unions.” ….
Peña has been a partner at venture capital firm Vestar Capital since 2000. And while President Obama has been giving private equity a bad name, both Peña and Vestar managing director James Kelley have made recent contributions to Obama’s re-election efforts.
Visitors to Denver may recall driving down Peña Boulevard, named for Peña, who pushed through the new Denver Airport construction project during his time as Denver’s Mayor. DIA was budgeted for $1.7 billion but eventually cost $4.8 billion, was conspicuously over schedule, and eventually opened with an automated baggage handling system that didn’t work at the time, and never worked, finally being abandoned.
About four years ago, I wrote a piece for PJM on the possibility that evidence was building up for life on Mars.
The evidence I mentioned in that article is the way that there is an unexplained amount of methane, CH4, in Mars’ atmosphere. More suspiciously, it seems to vary with the seasons, which makes it seem more likely to be biological in origin. At the same time, I noted that the original Viking landers had had two experiments that appeared to indicate life, and one that was equivocal — leading to the conclusion that there was no life.
This week, a new paper has been published, doing a mathematical analysis of the original Viking data. That link will lead you to the abstract, which summarized says that they performed a more sophisticated mathematical analysis on the data, and have determined that the experiment “acted like” a biological source, and not like a non-biological phenomenon.
From the Wisconsin State Journal:
UW School of Medicine and Public Health disciplined 20 doctors for writing questionable sick notes for protesters last year, newly released records show, with three doctors getting the harshest penalty: fines of up to $4,000 and loss of leadership positions for four months.
“One of the problems is that virtually none of those involved acknowledge that they did anything wrong,” wrote Dr. Norm Fost, head of a medical school investigatory committee that found the doctors seemed to be acting dishonestly, didn’t provide competent care and failed to protect patient privacy.
These, of course, would be the doctors who stood at anti-Scott Walker protests giving “doctor’s notes” to protesting teachers who had cut school for the protest.
Or at least one name. And it starts with O:
But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung. Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family. He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.” (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)
If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you. After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager. That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.
Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you. Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women. You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.
My colleague J Christian Adams posted about the controversy over the priest in Washington DC who is said to have denied an area woman, Barbara Johnson, communion because she is a Buddhist.
The actual facts of the matter are rather different.
Barbara Johnson wasn’t denied Communion because she “was a Buddhist” but because she was an open and out lesbian. The story about her being a Buddhist and that being part of the issue came up days later, after Rod Dreher publicized a LifeSiteNews story on an academic paper in which she said she was a Buddhist. Even those stories, in their very first paragraphs, say:
(Dreher)The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has suspended the Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, the priest who declined to give an open lesbian communion at her mother’s funeral. In a letter read to parishioners yesterday, an archdiocesan official said that the suspension has nothing to do with the lesbian communion incident, but rather for “engaging in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.” The church’s pastor added that it had to do with unspecified things Fr. Guarnizo is supposed to have done over the last couple of weeks.
(LSN)Barbara Johnson created a national feeding frenzy after alerting the media that Fr. Marcel Guarnizo had refused to give her the Eucharist because she is a sexually active homosexual.
Emphasis mine, in both. Now, look back at the emphasized phrases: “declined to give an open lesbian communion”; “because she is a sexually active homosexual.”
See where it says “because she is a Buddhist”? No? That’s because it wasn’t about her being a Buddhist.
Now look: I am a Buddhist. I’ve never been a Catholic so my knowledge of these things largely comes from reading The Shoes of the Fisherman when I was about 14, and for that reason I haven’t the veriest clue about when it is or is not appropriate to deny Communion to anyone. (Frankly, to me it all seems like a lot of fuss over a piece of matzoh.) I suspect, however, that the Buddhist thing got picked up because the Legacy Media realizes that an awful lot of people would answer the statement “DC area lesbian denied Communion” with “Uh, yeah? And?”
I mean, my understanding is that het couples who are “living in sin” can be denied Communion too. Is it a surprise that a lesbian in an open partnership without marriage would be?
Does the name “Sandra Fluke” ring a bell? You know, the “Georgetown co-ed” who was “denied birth control by her Catholic university” and who turned out to be a thirty year old activist who was telling a fairly implausible and unsourced story about someone she knows who was denied a particular formulation of hormone pills to treat her ovarian cysts — but who turned a religious freedom question into a controversy over contraception?
The whole Buddhist thing is a media red herring, no doubt because it’s more sympathetic somehow to deny her Communion over her Buddhism than over her lesbianism.
Unfortunately, the conservative blogosphere has run baying after the red herring, not the hare.
So, as gas prices in the rest of America head for $5 a gallon, it’s interesting to look at the news.
Especially in Colorado, where gas prices are second-lowest in the country, apparently because we’ve already got a pipeline to North Dakota and Alberta, and natural gas prices are plummeting because we’ve got immense in-state production assisted by a governor who, while a Democrat, is also a geologist and has come down very much on the side of fracking.
“Obviously, what we want to do is to get gas prices as low as we can, as quickly as we can, but the most important thing in order to do that is to reduce our demand on oil,” Obama told WFTV. ….
As for Republicans calling for increased drilling, the president said they are not telling the truth.
“The issue here is not that we’re not drilling enough. The problem is we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves and we use 20 percent of the world’s oil,” he said.
Now, at the same time, he’s pushing various “green” initiatives which he says will help with oil prices by reducing the demand for foreign oil. And now, he’s planning to release oil from the strategic oil reserve to keep prices down.
So, if I’ve got this right, cutting demand will bring down prices, but adding supply won’t, and drilling or building pipelines to add more production won’t help, but taking oil out of the strategic oil reserve will.
You know, I just don’t think I’ve got the high-level approach.
Long ago and far away, my undergraduate major — one of them, at least — was Philosophy. Based on having watched too much Star Trek, I took a course in logic. Now, on Star Trek, Spock’s logic was basically a sort of inchoate Stoicism with a lot of “I like what will make the next gag work”, but as I was exposed to real logic, I was hooked. Eventually that led me to mathematical logic, which turned computer programming from a handy job I was good at into an intellectual obsession, which made me the cranky old hermit I am today — but that’s another story.
But my first Philosophy course was on Rhetoric and Logic, and that was what made me change my major. There were actual rules for arguments, and they were rules that had clear reasons behind them. Even better, there was a catalogue of common flawed arguments, or fallacies, and seeing those rules made it easier to pick out flawed arguments.
For me, it was a life-changing experience. (Don’t judge.)
One of those fallacies has been much bandied about this week. The classical name for it is tu quoque, which is the Latin for “and you’re another.” (Really.) The problem is, people are misusing it.
Here’s a paraphrase of an argument I’ve seen over and over again, all week, on the Rush Limbaugh thing.
“We shouldn’t bring up the things liberal talkers say about conservative women. What Rush said was indefensible and anyway, just because they say it doesn’t make it right for us to say it.”
Sometimes people explicitly call out the tu quoque making this argument, but in any case the point is to claim it’s tu quoque to defend Rush by pointing out the offenses of the liberal talkers. The flaw is that tu quoque is to claim “It’s okay that I did this Bad Thing, because those others were doing it too.” However, I don’t know of anyone who’s defending Rush calling Fluke a slut — not even Rush.
Saying “If it’s bad when someone on our side does it, then it’s bad when someone on the other side does it too” is perfectly valid — and very unpopular.
Shameful, embarrassing, and again the question goes unanswered: where was the media four years ago? Why didn’t PBS air the entire footage, uninterrupted, without overdubbing so as to actually hear the remarks? If the video was “nothing,” why did Olgetree hide it? Why now, when the video is presented, does the media feel it has to run defense for President Obama? Why can’t we ask about the relationship between the two men? Why can’t we ask about Bell’s radical thoughts on Critical Race Theory and his filmabout white Americans selling blacks into slavery to alleviate the national debt while Jews stand by? If the footage is “nothing,” then why are they all pushing back so hard?
Philosophically, I’m not a big fan of the current state of antitrust law, but this is interesting. The DoJ is threatening Apple and several major publishers with an anti-trust suit. Wired says:
The DoJ is reportedly concerned that agency pricing — and its uniform adoption by five of the big six publishers, timed with the launch and rollout of Apple’s iBooks — has reduced competition in the industry, with the overall effect of raising e-book prices for consumers. A federal class-action lawsuit filed in August against Apple and the same group of publishers (HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, Penguin Group Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc.) raised similar concerns, pointing to higher e-book prices as a result of the defendants’ actions. A settlement or lawsuit could either restructure agency pricing or eliminate it altogether.
So what’s agency pricing? When the Kindle first came out, Amazon uniformly priced them at $9.95, but when Apple started selling e-books, they introduced a model of pricing called “agency pricing”. Steve Jobs said:
We told the publishers, “We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…” They went to Amazon and said, “You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.”
(The quote is from Walter Issacson’s biography of Jobs and is stolen bodily from Wired. Yay cut and paste.)
We talked about e-book pricing just recently, so I’m going to refer you to that discussion for details, but the main point is that when a publisher — Penguin in particular is notorious for this — charges as much or more for an e-book as for their physical book,they’re charging far in excess of their costs; their claim that it costs just as much to produce an e-book as a physical book is nonsense.
Normally, the market would take care of that, and the current flood of indie books is part of the market’s reaction — when an indie published book can make the author more money while costing the reader less, the market is going to naturally more that direction.
Sarah Hoyt writes a very good essay:
Why would that identification with current – for any time – political parties/affiliations blunt art?
Because humans are tribal creatures. …. Humans are tribal creatures and as such are predisposed to identify ours/not ours. Writers are human. …. If you start using labels and use the labels you identify with, you exclude other people. Writing from the point of view of the label means, by definition, that the book is going to deal in caricatures. Caricatures are very well in their place, but the Mona Lisa is not a caricature, nor is every portrait ever painted supposed to be a caricature. In the same way, though one or two books one reads and likes (when it pulls for one’s side, at least) can be caricatures, we don’t always want to read caricatures.