Greed

This video builds upon the theme of my last post, I think:

The businessman who works eighty hours a week because he wants to earn as much money as possible is no more greedy than is the public school teacher who fakes sick to agitate for “free” (or heavily subsidized) health insurance. Indeed, I would say that in many cases, the businessman is a much better person. If you work in business, you see, you often make money by producing things people want. Those so-called “robber barons,” for example? They made things like oil and automobiles much cheaper, thereby enabling the development of a consumer culture that improved living conditions for millions of people. The public school teacher, on the other hand, frequently doesn’t deliver a quality product at good prices (see also: the NAEP stats) — and yet she is demanding that Other People – i.e., the tax-payers – foot the bill for her medical care. The businessman depends upon voluntary exchange; no one forces you to buy Apple products or shop at Walmart. The public school teacher depends upon political coercion. So yeah — let’s not entertain this fantasy that teachers are somehow nobler than men like the late Steve Jobs.

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The Two Americas

Some time ago – around when the protests in Wisconsin were the top news story – I got into an argument with a Facebook acquaintance regarding public sector unions and whether or not they should exist and/or be granted collective bargaining rights. Eventually, after I had pointed out the vast demographic differences between a southern state like Texas and a northern state like Wisconsin and thereby shot down his claim that “right to work” states are the poorest performers academically, my opponent – who happens to be a public employee – came back with the following:

“Well, I certainly deserve a taxpayer-funded retirement plan more than a corporate CEO deserves his private jet.”

At that point, I was sorely tempted to ask, “Why?” I didn’t, of course, because I didn’t want to touch off a screaming match, but I think my question is a valid one. Why is it better to reach into someone else’s pocket so that you may have a worry-free retirement than it is to reach into your own pocket to pay for a jet? Why are you more “deserving” than the aforementioned CEO? Can you give me an itemized list comparing your contributions to society to that of our jet-setting businessman?

You see, I hail from an entirely different milieu than does my Facebook acquaintance. My concept of what people “deserve” by “right” is pretty limited. As far as I’m concerned, if you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your back, and access to healthcare (and I deliberately did not say “health insurance” for that last one, as access is the real issue), then you’ve already gotten what you “deserve”. Retirement plans and other benefits of that nature are, in my view, luxuries; that you work in the public sector doesn’t give you the right to demand a free ride on the backs of private sector workers who, oh by the way, may already be contributing 100% to their own 401K’s.

Facebook conversations like the one above highlight for me where the front really is in our culture war. There are two Americas, but we are not divided into the “rich” and the “poor,” the “haves” and “have-nots,” or the “99%” and the “1%”. No — I would draw the line between those who are illegitimately holding their hands out and those who aren’t.

The hand-out class cannot be delineated according to traditional socioeconomic categories. It includes the women Mom saw years ago at the Office of Housing and Community Development who came in with perfectly manicured nails and perfectly coiffed hair to beg for rental assistance. It includes upper-middle-class “hipster” college students who’ve applied for SNAP cards to pay for their high-end organic produce instead of getting part-time jobs. It includes middle-class families who freely signed up for bad mortgages and are now pleading for rescue. It includes school teachers who throw public tantrums in the lobbies of their state houses whenever anyone suggests, mildly, that perhaps they should tighten their belts like everyone else. It includes rich folks who’ve built vacation homes in hurricane-prone areas and have consequently received multiple disaster pay-outs from the federal government. It includes the corporate welfare queens who lobby the government for subsidies, tax breaks, and bailouts. It includes all those bureaucrats in Washington who get richer and richer the more government grows. In short, the hand-out class includes anyone who is able-bodied yet feels entitled to a share of Other People’s Money. (Note: It doesn’t include wounded vets, the mentally disabled, or the gravely ill, who are in fact genuinely needy.)

On the other side of the line, meanwhile, are those who worked their butts off and played by the rules to get what they want. They were prudent enough to wait until they had the down-payment and the credit score necessary to secure a thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage. When they were younger – or when times were tough – they took jobs they hated to keep food on the table. So far, they’ve never looked to the government for a hand to hold; so far, they’ve preferred to solve their own problems in their own way. But sadly, these people are beginning to feel like chumps. They’ve done everything right, and yet they get to watch the profligate get rescued by Uncle Sam time and time again. As Charles Sykes observes in his recently published book, A Nation of Moochers, we’re eventually going to reach the tipping point — the point at which many responsible folks will throw up their hands and say, “Screw it. Being good is getting us nothing.” And when that time comes, we’ll really be up crap creek without a paddle.

The hand-out class and the coastal elite – two groups that are certainly not mutually exclusive – make up Obama’s constituency — and that’s why his actions seem so contradictory. That’s why he can preach “jobs, jobs, jobs” and yet nix a job-creating pipeline for the benefit of his cronies. That’s why he castigates “millionaires and billionaires” — from whom he receives handsome campaign donations. He’s trying to play to a motley crew whose only shared trait is their willingness to cadge for government green — and that’s yet another reason why we need to vote him and his cadre out of office. The more we indulge the entitlement mentality, the worse off we’ll be.

Politically Incorrect Lyrics – How Far We’ve Come

Now that I’ve written a novel on the state of the union address…time to have a little fun at the expense of Matchbox 20.  For legal purposes, I don’t own the original song, “How Far We’ve Come” – they belong to Matchbox 20…but under Fair Use…I’m allowed to parody them to make my own point.

It’s a great song BTW – really pumps me up when I hear it.  Give it a listen and try singing along with some politically incorrect lyrics for a change of mood. 🙂

Hello! Hello! Hello!

We’re waking up at the start of the end of the west,
Clock is ticking like the freedom-loving heart in my chest,
Now I wonder how the world is gonna be when it’s gone.

The debt is mounting like a half a billion dollars a day,
Not even trying here, it’s only paper aa-anyway.
Can we remember what we fought for so long ago in Yorktown?

I believe the world is burning to the ground,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna find out.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

I believe it all is coming to an end,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna pretend.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

I look around at the faces of the hopelessly lost,
Sold our souls, Hollywood grows, to steep a cost.
I start to cry and I cannot stop myself,
I could run, but there’s nowhere to run to.
Last door on the right by the steeple bells,
Only place to go when you know the world is headed for hell.
Find your inner strength if you’ve got any left – this is your fight!

I believe the world is burning to the ground,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna find out.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

I believe it all is coming to an end,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna pretend.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

Gone! Gone! Babe, the money is gone.
There’s no one left to save you if you won’t save yourself.
Dream is dead! Dead! If we think it’s cool.
It will be over for me, and for you as well.

Gone! Gone! Babe, the money is gone.
There’s no one left to save you if you won’t save yourself.
Dream is dead! Dead! If we think it’s cool.
It will be over for me, and for you as well.

I believe the world is burning to the ground,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna find out.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

I believe it all is coming to an end,
Oh well.  I guess…we’re gonna pretend.
Let’s see how far we’ve come!
Let’s see how far we’ve come!

State of the Union Address – Study in Contrasts

I’m not going to do a point-by-point deconstruction of Obama’s State of the Union Address…that would take me a whole week to draft.  I will, however, do two things.  I will point out how the speech contradicts itself and how it contradicts Obama’s actions while in office.  And of course…I will also refer you to Mitch Daniels’ Republican response (here).  You can also find the full text of the speech (here) so we all know what was actually said.  I’d hate to be accused of misleading the readers of this blog.

Let me give you the executive summary of what was in Obama’s speech so you can skip the endless applause and self-aggrandizing.

POINT 1) I killed Bin Laden.  The military personnel did a good job under tough circumstances and are coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq.  Al Qaeda is largely defeated thanks to years of sacrifice and struggle by our proud military.  HOO-RAH!

Informed Response: Obama attempted to take credit for both winning a war that he claimed could not be won AND killing the entire Al Qaeda leadership singlehandedly.  You can’t start your presidency claiming the war is a bad thing…follow your predecessor’s exact playbook for ending it…and then take credit for all of the positives from it despite the fact that you ran on a platform claiming there WERE no positives.  Bush started the war on Al Qaeda.  Bush’s strategy killed 100,000 jihadis and led, ultimately, to the neutering of OBL, whether or not you were the one who gave the final order to terminate him.

POINT 2) I have spent the second half of my presidency doing battle with an intransigent, uncooperative GOP-controlled House of Representatives who don’t want to be team players – they could learn something from our men in uniform about setting aside their differences to work for the greater good.

Informed Response: Who was it, again, who refused to pass budgets, blocked constructive GOP proposals for controlling government spending and reducing the debt while protecting the safety net, and refused to meet with leaders of his political opposition?  Oh yeah…that was YOU!

POINT 3) I believe America can be rebuilt with a government-directed strong focus on the green-energy economy and in general on energy independence.

Informed Response: Let’s see…you vetoed the Keystone Pipeline, vetoed offshore drilling, vetoed proposals to expand clean coal energy, spent millions upon millions on green energy technologies that had no chance of being market-viable and said – through your Energy Secretary – that your goal was to make energy prices skyrocket to force people to get away from oil.  See…to a Republican, energy independence means using all of the means we have for producing home-grown energy.  To you, it means ONLY renewable energies…and you continue to believe you can force us to buy into technologies that normal people simply cannot afford and do not want.  How’d that work for us the last three years?

POINT 4) In order to get back to the strength of our economy from the 50s, we need to continue in the direction I’ve laid out for us…we’ve gained jobs for 22 straight months (at an anemic pace, but still!).  I’ll need the help of entrepeneurs everywhere in America – you have to bring your jobs back to America or else you’re an evil outsourcing bastard.

Informed Response: You know…there’s a reason companies started outsourcing to China.  It might…JUST MIGHT…have something to do with bloated corporate taxes…rates set by DEMOCRATS.  Corporations have a responsibility to make money for their investors and live in a global community, not an isolated United Socialist States, Barack.  If it’s cheaper to do business abroad…they’ll do business abroad.

POINT 5) I inherited this bad economy from an unregulated Bush administration and we passed tough regulations to protect people from bad mortgage lending.

Informed Response: There is ZERO evidence that the deregulation of credit agencies (allowing them to enter the realm of personal finance and things like mortgage lending) had anything to do with the home mortgage bubble.  In fact, that bubble began during the CLINTON administration, when he ordered the state-controlled “big six” lenders to give sub-prime mortgages because he felt he could force the market to provide less fortunate Americans with homes.  The businesses that declared bankruptcy were, for all intents and purposes entirely those related to big government mortgage intervention, NOT creditors like Bank of America who benefited from deregulation.  But setting aside that point, there’s also ZERO evidence that the folks responsible for our mortgage crisis and the subsequent economic collapse have been punished.  The big six were expressly exempt from Dodd-Frank regulations and then handed a big wad of money in the stimulus.

POINT 6) Our tax code rewards businesses that ship employment overseas (because we have a huge corporate tax and payroll tax for the employees that makes us uncompetitive, so it’s better to do business abroad)…my plan is to add a tax to multinational companies for every overseas job and use that money to pay for some increased subsidies for companies who bring in jobs – expecially high-tech jobs.

Informed response: You say that our tax code is too complicated and makes no sense several times in your speech, yet your solution to outsourcing troubles is to add a new type of tax to punish multinational corporations for following common sense business practices and then to add more loopholes for corporations that behave the way you want them to.  Sounds like more of the same to me.

POINT 7) China isn’t playing by the rules – so I’m creating yet another unelected (appointed) olegarchy to look into how to stop unfair trade practices by China.

Informed Response: Or…you could lead by placing tariffs on Chinese products and crippling their economic influence elsewhere through diplomatic channels.  But…naaaaah.  We’ll just “solve” this problem by throwing another blue-ribbon panel at it.

POINT 8) Our education system needs a lot of work, but I want to be clear that the problem is not the teachers unions.  They pay for my re-election, so it’s not their fault we’re myred in stagnation.  No no…it’s No Child Left Behind making teachers teach to a test…it’s evil GOPers cutting budgets and laying off good teachers, and it’s a lack of support from the states to commit to improving standards.  My solution involves the creation of (a) a centralized big government job-training website to simplify the process of hooking up with a job when getting unemployment benefits (b) pouring more money into the teachers’ unions (c) repealing no child left behind (d) doing…some kind of deal…not real clear on how this will work exactly, but it involves agreeing that bad teachers should get fired and those funds should be used to get good teachers and…um…paying for better equipment…or something?  Maybe I’ll convince the teachers unions to fire a few bad apples that we identify…somehow…though we’ll have no way of doing that identifying without any tests…in exchange for a ton of extra money.  Yeah…that’s it.

Informed Response: Unions are your most powerful lobbyists come election time.  Your job is to promise them lots of money and power and hand-wave their actual responsibilities.  Daniels was too nice to you…he gave you credit for tackling our education crisis…you have a couple of decent ideas, but your basic agenda remains the same.  Blame everyone but the ones doing the teaching.  It can’t be their fault one iota.

POINT 9) I’ll make it illegal to drop out of high school for any reason and push for laws requiring every student to take the SATs and apply to college.

Informed Response: Next, he’ll be clamoring to make it illegal not to go to college…and then it’ll be illegal not to work…and then (you get the picture).  There are legitimate reasons not to finish high school.  I get that it’s usually better for most kids to get their diploma, but we don’t need laws to force the issue…we need practical solutions targeted at the source of those drop-outs.

POINT 10) I know there’s a huge higher education bubble – my solution is…to get states to pay for it more somehow…with magic money?…and hope that colleges find ways to reduce cost.  Though I have no idea how that will happen.

Informed Response: It’s nice to see Obama admit that we can’t just keep throwing money at tuition – he admits we’ll go bankrupt trying to keep up with the inflating cost of college…but he doesn’t see that the source of the runaway inflation is the very federal spending spree he mentions in this admission and he doesn’t get that a big part of the cost is regulations that require colleges to have a host of services they never needed prior to 1960.  Administrative costs eat up 52% of the total operating cost of colleges now…more than the cost of hiring professors.  That ratio has been skyrocketing since the advent of FAFSA and the conversion of colleges from places of higher learning to daycare centers.

POINT 11) We need immigration reform centered on a combination of attracting skilled workers and border enforcement…and a bit of amnesty for those who are already here.

Informed Response: Yes, Barack…I agree with pretty much all of this.  Except that your own Justice Department is suing states that try to defend their own borders while you refuse to provide them the resources they need from a Federal level.  The drop in illegal border crossings is not caused by better border enforcement…Arizona isn’t mad as hell about nothing, sir.  The drop is caused by a combination of our weakening economy and the shear danger in crossing the border while drug-runners shoot at each other with guns provided to them by your Justice Department.  Sorry…I don’t see any evidence that you have any intention of doing something rational about illegal immigration.

POINT 12) This must be quoted to be believed:

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.

Informed Response: I don’t think even the hardest-line Republicans disagree with your comment regarding women – the thing is…pay is typical uneven because women don’t do precisely equal work.  They take time away from the company to have children and they tend to retire slightly earlier than men.  But that’s just a side-point…he through that line in to keep the liberal women’s vote strong, but the bulk of his point is that the GOP has been right all along – that regulation that favors larger corporations in the name of safety and financial oversight (written into law by Democrat controlled Congresses for years) is killing innovation.  He admits that most of our new jobs come from start-ups, small to medium-sized businesses and personal innovation.  The GOP has been saying this for decades.  Though, of course, he claims both parties now miraculously agree.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Deregulation powers economies.  Period.  It must be done carefully and hopefully while avoiding collateral damage, but it’s nice to Barack getting on board.  If he really means what he says.

POINT 13) Keep high levels of funding for Federal scientific research – that is what got us the internet, the microchip, and the atom bomb.

Informed Response: And it’s also what allowed scientists to proliferate – what made innovation and academia reachable for more Americans.  He’ll get no argument from me.  I just don’t want to see that Federal money squandered chasing politically-motivated causes like AGW.  I also think that Federal research dollars should be spent on preliminary and testing-phase research…not on product development.  He invested in Solyndra and it bombed…why?  Because the testing stuff was already done and had proven to be financially untenable…he was investing in a product…not a scientific idea.

POINT 14) Research has given us good, environmentally friendly ways of extracting natural gas from shale sands.  This Federally funded research will make possible the development of 600,000 new jobs and lower energy costs fro all of us.

Informed Response: Extracting natural gas from shale was doable a decade ago.  We could have avoided this recession entirely if the EPA got the hell out of the way and allowed us to start digging during the Bush administration.

POINT 15) Shale was a public partnership for research and development – the same success we’re about to have with that will eventually come from research in alternative energies!

Informed Response: So…if you’d left Shale in the hands of the private sector, we’d have been drilling in half the time and for less taxpayer cost…and you’re calling this a good thing?  I guess we can expect the alternative energy market to improve in about 2045 then…awesome.

POINT 16) The way to spur growth in these industries is to make even more tax loopholes for alternative energy investments.

Informed Response: *sigh* That’s working REALLY well…

POINT 17) The Congress doesn’t like my ideas regarding clean energy and global climate change…so I’m doing it by fiat.  The DoD will now start wasting massive amounts of money to develop clean energy instead of building ships and tanks and bombs.

Informed Response: Take it subspike77!! (seriously…he would know more about this than I would…but I’m guessing this will seriously compromise the Navy’s ability to do work on things related to its mandate…like…um…blowing up bad guys)

POINT 18) More tax write-offs for clean energy and efficiency products for businesses!  I’ll invent a number out of my ass (100 billion in savings!!) and write that into the budget to erase that national debt I refuse to mention in this speech.

Informed Response: Is the only thing a lefty knows how to do handing out money?  Seriously…WTF??

POINT 19) More goodies for unions!!!  Infrastructure rebuilding just for the hell of it, baby!!

Informed Response: The new deal did not stop the depression…WWII did.  Not that there weren’t benefits to the new deal.  At the time, we actually had a significant market demand for massive infrastructure projects.  The TVA (bringing power to middle America), the Interstate Highway system and all of those dams and bridges (bringing freedom of movement to all of America)…those are things that have paid for themselves long term.  But…what Obama is now proposing is the revitalization of infrastructure that is still getting the job done.  There is no gain in economic health unless what the government is doing will actually stimulate new private sector activity.  They built roads and it forged an automotive GIANT.  They got power to the remotest of places and it modernized the workforce and created demand for electric appliances galore.  The built bridges and tunnels and all manner of rail and runway and it allowed cities to grow.  What are any of Obama’s infrastructure projects going to do to replicate this success?  Show me that America has a market demand for something and I’ll get behind building it.

POINT 20) Let’s charge the banks a fee to give millions of Americans a chance to refinance their mortgages at low interest rates through the Federal Government directly.

Informed Response: We will now put the government directly in control of mortgage lending practices?  Am I the only one who finds this terrifying?!?!

POINT 21) I agree that some regulations are outdated and we have ordered the regulators to stop enforcing some of them.  In fact in my first three years i office, I’ve added fewer regulations than my predecessor did in his first three years.

Informed Response: But you signed into law hundreds of new bits of regulation specifically targeted to penalize the economic sector…Bush was passing regulatory reform to allow the government to do better surveillance and getting its agencies to work together more efficiently (in theory).  His regulatory agenda was far from perfect, but yours is an assault on freedom.

POINT 22) I’m establishing another bureaucrat panel to deal with the bastards who wrecked the home market (lenders…not Clinton…he was a God).

Informed Response: I’ll believe this will have any positive effect when I see it.

POINT 23) I’m also creating a new financial crimes unit in my Justice Department who will look into cases of financial fraud.

Informed Response: While the rest of my Justice Department is engaged in encouraging voter fraud and gun trafficking.

POINT 24) I’ve approved 2 trillion dollars of new spending cuts.

Informed Response: Where the hell did you get THAT number?  Seriously…please show me what spending CUTS you’ve actually approved.

POINT 25) I want to repeal the Bush tax cuts because they allowed Warren Buffet to pay less in taxes than his secretary.

Informed Response: You lying sack of dog shit!  (sorry folks…but this lie that he keeps telling really REALLY pisses me ofrf)  First…the Bush tax cuts were aimed primarily at the MIDDLE class…those making between 40 and 250 thousand dollars.  Second…your proposed tax structure was aimed primarily at hurting the wealthy (which you have self-identified as 250 grand and up).  Third…Warren Buffet paid less in INCOME TAX than his secretary…but Warren Buffet didn’t have INCOME.  He has capital gains.  And he paid a buttload in Capital Gains taxes.  He also paid taxes to keep his businesses running and was taxed on good and services he exchanged.  That’s how it works.  This Buffet vs. his secretary bullshit has GOT to STOP.  Stop LYING to America, Obama…if you have to tell baldfaced lies to make your agenda make sense…your agenda doesn’t make sense.  And you KNOW that.

POINT 26) Millionaires shouldn’t get government benefits.

Informed Response: Strongly agreed on this one.  The GOP does too.

POINT 27) Republicans tried to force the government to shut down to make me look bad.

Informed Response: We’re in full fledged liar mode now, aren’t we!  Republicans don’t want to add to the massive debt!  That debate was an attempt you to confront entitlement spending, sir.  You completely failed to lead on the issue and nothing got done.  Nice work.

POINT 28) Money + Politics = Corruption.  My plan for fixing this is to ban insider trading in Congress, and pass rules preventing anyone who gathers money for elections from lobbying Congress.

Informed Response: Yes…money + politics = corruption.  That’s a time-honored formula.  Insider trading is not the source of that corruption, though I see no reason to opposed rules preventing it.  Lobbyists and PACs are the source of that corruption.  One of the issues that has come up in the GOP primary this year has been campaign finance.  McCain/Feingold was an attempt to stop advertising wars funded by the war chests of the candidates themselves (an attempt to stop personal wealth from being a major deciding factor in elections)…but what that did is put the power of the vote in the hands of superPACs who get all of those campaign contributions that would have gone to the candidates themselves and then make up crap however they like to influence the election.  Regulations that attempt to force public servants to play fair and take money out of politics invariably lead to even more corruption than before.  So it will be here…if you ban PACs from lobbying Congress, they will simply lobby the American people directly with massive TV ad campaigns and propaganda wars.  Rather than banning PACs from lobbying Congress, we might consider…um…banning PACs.  Just a thought.

POINT 29) Arab Spring uprisings show that my strategy is working abroad.

Informed Response: Not if you don’t take a leadership role in those uprisings.  Instead, we’ll get a new Islamic Caliphate run by extremists because those are the ones helping the people on the street to overthrow their dictators.

*sigh*

There is more I could say…but it sounds like the same old Obama to me.  He’s in campaign mode and this was a stump speech (maybe even a better one than his Greek Cathedral speech in Denver in 2008.  Great speech…but the President says one thing and does another…his administration is just now getting to proposing a gazillion new things he’s finding time to mention tonight?  I think not.  I think he is calling a mulligan on his first term and trying to prove he has the wherewithal to lead while he campaigns against a weak GOP field.  The politics of envy and blame continue.  And the two-faced obfuscations and double-talk of the Obama administration show no signs of coalescing around a single true platform.

Obama is nothing if not shrewd, BTW – he reads the same polling data that you and I do…he knows what Americans are worried about…you can see that he tended to give much more focused addresses that Bush did in the beginning of this decade (see this scary ass chart of the year, to steal from the repertoire of Stephen Green (a.k.a. VodkaPundit)) He has an almost obsessive need to say the word jobs as ofted as possible.

Global Warming Propaganda at Stony Brook

It’s no secret that I am an atmospheric scientist at Stony Brook University.  I felt it prudent at this time, despite this opening up a bit of risk to my career in academia (not that I intend to stay in academia, but there you go) to forward for your reading pleasure this bit of propaganda I just received from a member of my faculty in my work e-mail box:

As reported in The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/Ah5hb3), our Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has been launched (http://climatesciencedefensefund.org) to let scientific colleagues and the public directly help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks. The project is being supported and developed under the umbrella of the non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).In addition to its core mission of legal defense, CSLDF will –• Educate researchers about their legal rights and responsibilities on issues surrounding their work;• Serve as a clearinghouse for information related to legal actions taken against scientists; and• Recruit and assist lawyers representing these scientists.Please spread the word far and wide so that we can increase our support.  We will be adding a Face Book page and a Twitter account soon so you can follow our progress.Thank you,……………………………………………………………………………
Scott A. MandiaProfessor – Physical Sciences, Asst. ChairT-202 Smithtown Science Bldg.Suffolk County Community College


Look at that wording!  There’s nothing at face value wrong with scientists becoming better informed on legal matters related to their craft…but listen to the first line…”industry funded legal attacks”…REALLY?  There have been about a dozen FOIA requests made of AGW-driven scientific organizations in this country…ZERO of them have come from a corporation.  TEN of them have come from think tanks and non-profits like the Heritage Foundation and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.  Two came from INDIVIDUAL private-sector skeptics (McIntyre and McKintruck of SurfaceStations.org and WattsUpWithThat.com fame and Willie Soon…a SCIENTIST who disagrees with the orthodox position on climate change.

To distract from the reality that climate scientists are themselves acting in a particular political interest and being backed by powerful legal arms and governmental assistance, not to mention a huge media slant in their favor, they characterize any legal action by the opposition as “industry funded.”  I suppose you could make the case that the Heritage Foundation is industry funded…but certainly, no one industry told the Heritage Foundation to file a FOIA request against NASA GISS…they have autonomy to do whatever they want with the money that gets donated by industry leaders and grassroots conservatives.  And even if the entire resistance to AGW-orthodoxy came directly from oil companies (which is ridiculous in the extreme)…they would still be funded at about 1% of the level of funding AGW proponents get from big governments and international organizations like the UN to push their version of the truth on the world.

But the biggest problem…the most unsettling part of this for me…is that a professor in my department (who shall remain nameless for his own sake) received this e-mail and happily forwarded it to EVERYONE in my department on our work-related e-mail listserv.  Scientists are not advocates…this man has no right to cram propaganda advertising down our throat.  This…in a nutshell is everything that is wrong with climate science today…it’s became fanatical advocacy on both sides and not an honest search for the truth.

Damned Dirty GOP Elitists

I just need to get this off my chest.

CONSERVATIVE INTELLECTUALS – please stop alienating the vast majority of constituents by bloviating endlessly about how the rubes (you don’t call them that, but it’s strongly implied) watching the debates during this primary season just want political theater or worse – a reality show called “American President.” Stop assuming you know what motivates common conservatives throughout the country.

The National Review Online is a solid publication generally, but WE GET IT ALREADY…you don’t like Newt Gingrich. STOP CAMPAIGNING…you hate the liberal media for doing this…your pieces are no better in the realm of journalism than all of the puff pieces written about Obama’s golden-boy status in 2008. You even went so far as to ask your readers to rule out candidates while stumping for others you preferred. And…as much as I don’t like Ron Paul, your decision to cut him out of every poll you take on debate performance just because you don’t like that Paul supporters own the web because they’re young is…really two-faced and just plain wrong. You are supposed to be journalists with an identified slant…not muckrakers for Romney.

In the last month, I’ve seen articles calling Newt everything from an irrational reactionary to a leftwing big-government crony to a generally despicable human being (yes really)…on YOUR WEBSITE, NRO. THOSE ARE THINGS OBAMA WILL SAY!! To be clear, there are elements of Gingrich’s past that I find problematic, but he’s clearly not a left wing big government fan, clearly not purely evil, clearly not irrational (sometimes he gets too lost in his own head, but he’s not irrational). And to return to the earlier charge…that the only reason Newt won South Carolina was because people like being entertained during debates as though they took politics as lightly as they take American Idol…WAKE UP AND SMELL THE RAGE. This country is not backing Newt today because we find him amusing…we’re backing Newt because Romney is a glass-jawed wuss while Gingrich will stand up to the media and blow up their rationalizations and their lies and their biased questions and will do the same to Obama. We’re PISSED…and Newt taps into that energy.

That is all.

1000 Days

Obama and his Democrat allies are feverishly working to pin the blame for our country’s current struggles on the Republican House, but let’s try to remember who the real lazy asses are.

Gingrich Is Not a Racist, Nor Is He Using "Dog-Whistles"

Here is some information on the full history of the “food stamp president” saga, as reported by Politico (hardly a right-wing media organ):

A reporter on the trail notes that Gingrich frequently says in his stump speeches that he would urge people to demand paychecks instead of food stamps — a talking point that it is not usually met with great alarm by the media. He also frequently says that he would go to the NAACP convention if it invited him. On Thursday morning, the two points came together when he said he would go to the NAACP convention and explain “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

Slate’s Dave Weigel tweeted a slightly altered version of Gingrich’s quote at 9:34 a.m., and Talking Points Memo put it up less than 20 minutes later with the headline, “Newt: African Americans Should Get Off Food Stamps; Demand Paychecks.” An hour after that, The Daily Beast ran its story with the headline, “Gingrich to African-Americans: Get Off of Food Stamps.” By the end of the day, the AP was comparing the quote to a remark made by Rick Santorum that the president of the National Urban League criticized as pandering to racist elements in the GOP. (Emphasis mine.)

And while we’re at it, here’s the full transcript of Gingrich’s statement:

The fact is if I become your nominee we will make the key test very simple — food stamps versus paychecks. Obama is the best food stamp president in American history. More people are on food stamps today because of Obama’s policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.

Now there’s no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks, you wouldn’t end up with a majority saying they’d rather have a paycheck.

And so I’m prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps. And I’ll go to them and explain a brand new Social Security opportunity for young people, which would be particularly good for African-American males because they are the group that gets the smallest return on social security because they have the shortest life span. (Again, emphasis mine.)

So let’s summarize, shall we? Gingrich has been saying for ages that Obama is “the food stamp president” — a characterization that, for the most part, is factually true. The number of food stamp recipients and the average individual benefit have both increased markedly during Obama’s term in office. Yes, this is partially because of the recession that Obama “inherited,” but if Obama were actually a competent leader (instead of a cipher), our bounce back would not be so anemic. But anyway, to continue: Gingrich has been criticizing Obama’s food stamp record all along, and he’s done so without mentioning race. Mentioning race, after all, would be silly, as the majority of food stamp recipients are white, a fact of which I’m sure Gingrich is aware.

Gingrich has also repeatedly stated that he would speak to the NAACP if he were invited, which in my opinion shows a laudable willingness to reach out to voter blocks that the GOP has unfortunately written off as “beyond hope.” Gingrich, it appears, feels that the GOP platform is universal and should be preached to everyone. So what does he really mean when he says that he would tell the African-American community at the NAACP convention to demand paychecks instead of food stamps? What he’s saying, essentially, is this: “I believe that everyone should demand gainful employment instead of welfare — and yes, ‘everyone’ includes the African-American community. Why shouldn’t it? In my experience, every American, regardless of race, would prefer a paycheck to the dole.” He’s not saying that only African-Americans receive food stamps, or that African-Americans are disproportionally represented among food stamp recipients. He’s not saying that the African-American community should be singled out for special censure on this issue. He’s saying that African-Americans also stand to benefit from a Republican presidency and consequently need to hear his message.

So who really brought race into this discussion of our welfare system? Left-wing pundits, who evidently lack some very basic comprehension and internet research skills. In typical left-idiot fashion, they are reading penumbras and emanations into Gingrich’s remarks that simply do not exist.

After Action Report: The 2012 Mass for Life

So — remember how I ended up on the crypt level last year and had to watch the Mass for Life on a big screen TV? Well, this time around, I did get a seat in the Upper Church, but it was in the very back row. I consequently learned a very valuable lesson: Unless you get there by the noon mass and are able to save a seat in the front section, getting into the Upper Church isn’t really worth the additional time required. You really can’t see anything in the very back because people keep standing and clogging up the aisles to take pictures.

But hey — even though the Mass for Life was strictly an auditory experience for me, I’m still glad I went. Number one, I can’t participate in the March for Life this year because I have to work, so the preliminary mass is the only way I can express my support for the pro-life movement. Number two, Cardinal DiNardo is a very good preacher. I loved his interpretation of the Book of Jonah, for example. He basically declared – hilariously – that Jonah was one of the worst prophets ever (because of his attempts to flee God’s calling), pointed out that Nineveh was a pagan city, and finally proposed that the Book of Jonah was really written as a reminder to the Jews that God’s salvation will eventually be universal. The cardinal then segued rather beautifully into his message to the pro-life movement: Like Jonah, we too go into hostile territory when we come to Washington to push for pro-life policy. Like Jonah, we need to be clear in our message to the greater culture — but we also need to treat our opponents with compassion and never discount the possibility that, like the citizens of Nineveh, they too might one day be converted.

Foremost on Cardinal DiNardo’s mind tonight was the recent HHS announcement regarding the contraception mandate. I haven’t really talked about that here, but I should, because the Obama administration’s decision on this is absolutely outrageous. First of all, what is this nonsense about classifying contraception and sterilization as “preventative health care for women”? What does the birth control pill “prevent,” exactly? Pregnancy? Pregnancy is not a disease. It is not something that requires a cure — and by the way, if you really must avoid it, you can do so by other means. Acne? Cry me a river. I have acne on occasion, but you’ll never hear me complain about it. PMS? Okay, yes — that’s occasionally crippling. I’ll grant that there are some women who take hormonal birth control or are sterilized for grave medical reasons (like endometriosis or uterine cancer), but the Catholic Church allows for that in its principle of “double effect” — and at any rate, there is, to my knowledge, no evidence that a majority of women who use contraception fall into this category. Actually, the reality is very far removed from that Planned Parenthood fantasy, so let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the primary purpose of contraception is anything other than what it is.

Secondly, there’s a little thing in the Constitution called the First Amendment, and its intent was, in part, to protect our freedom of conscience. The Obama Administration has basically told every Catholic hospital in America to provide contraception or else limit their patient pool to practicing Catholics — and there’s no way that said hospitals can possibly accept the latter stricture because, of course, their mission is to serve the entire community. We Catholics are not a tribal people; we don’t just care for our own. Jesus commanded us to bring his mercy to everyone. But as far as Obama and Ms. Sebelius are concerned, the many other services we Catholics offer in our medical centers – which often provide care for the indigent – don’t matter just because we’ve (rightly, in my view) refused to offer artificial birth control. It is a twisted worldview indeed that is willing to sacrifice a large segment of our health care sector on the altar of one particular service that is largely elective. It’s also a deeply unconstitutional worldview that refuses to allow for any diversity of opinion on the matter.

The aforementioned constitutional dimension to the birth control issue was covered by Cardinal DiNardo — and the mostly young audience responded quite enthusiastically. As I was hobbling back to the Metro (the Mass for Life is really hard on someone with rheumatoid arthritis, let me tell you), I heard a huge crowd of teenagers practicing their chants for the march tomorrow. “B. E. Pro-Life!” they shouted. Or: “We love babies – yes, we do! We love babies – how ’bout you?” They were pretty loud — and that’s good, I think. We need that youthful energy to drive our movement.

ELECTION NEWS, PART WHATEVER: Gingrich Wins South Carolina

And by a pretty large margin, it looks like. So whatever you do, resist the narrative. This race is definitely not locked up for any one candidate.

By the way, an interesting factoid: A solid majority of voters in South Carolina told exit pollsters today that the debates were an “important” factor guiding their choices. That probably explains why Gingrich won so handily, as he tends to crush the competition (and the silly moderators) rather thoroughly in said debates. Does that mean he’ll make a good president? Ehhh — it depends on whether he can “grow up” (to use Roger L. Simon’s phrase) and restrain his more Napoleonic impulses.

(Also, a quick scheduling note: I’m going to the Annual Mass for Life tomorrow, and I hope to get a few pictures while I’m there. Watch for my report late tomorrow night!)