Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Anti-Science Smear - By Jonah Goldberg


Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for “science”? Why can’t the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain? Or the distribution of cognitive abilities among the sexes at the extreme right tail of the bell curve? Or if that’s too upsetting, how about dividing the line between those who are pro- and anti-science along the lines of support for geoengineering? Or — coming soon — the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation? Why not make it about support for nuclear power? Or Yucca Mountain? Why not deride the idiots who oppose genetically modified crops, even when they might prevent blindness in children?

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Sun Causes Climate Change Shock


This is exactly what has happened with <a href="http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/25/some-reactions-to-the-cloud-experiment/

George Monbiot – The Lairds of Learning

Academic publisher's charge outrageous fees to universities and effectively deprive the general public of access to knowledge.  It's about time that the internet routed around them.


The publishers claim that they have to charge these fees as a result of the costs of production and distribution, and that they add value (in Springer’s words) because they “develop journal brands and maintain and improve the digital infrastructure which has revolutionized scientific communication in the past 15 years.”(10) But an analysis by Deutsche Bank reaches different conclusions. “We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process … if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn’t be available.”(11) Far from assisting the dissemination of research, the big publishers impede it, as their long turnaround times can delay the release of findings by a year or more(12).

What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning.

It’s bad enough for academics, it’s worse for the laity. I refer readers to peer-reviewed papers, on the principle that claims should be followed to their sources. The readers tell me that they can’t afford to judge for themselves whether or not I have represented the research fairly. Independent researchers who try to inform themselves about important scientific issues have to fork out thousands(12). This is a tax on education, a stifling of the public mind. It appears to contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that “everyone has the right freely to … share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”(13)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rubio speech at Reagan Library

Marco Rubio gave a great speech at the Reagan Library.

Watch the video at the link:


> He said that “poverty does not create our social problems; our social problems create our poverty.”

> "The free enterprise system has lifted more people out of poverty than all the government anti-poverty programs combined"

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Epstein: How Is Warren Buffett Like the Pope?

They are both dead wrong on economic policy.


The great advantage of competition in markets is that it exhausts all gains from trade, which thus allows individuals to attain higher levels of welfare. These win/win propositions may not reach the perfect endpoint, but they will avoid the woes that are now consuming once prosperous economies. Understanding the win/win concept would have taken the Pope away from his false condemnation of markets. It might have led him to examine more closely Spain’s profligate policies, where high guaranteed public benefits and extensive workplace regulation have led to an unholy mix of soaring public debt and an unemployment rate of 20 percent. It is a tragic irony that papal economics mimic those of the Church’s socialist opponents. The Pope’s powerful but misdirected words will only complicate the task of meaningful fiscal and regulatory reform in Spain and the rest of Europe. False claims for social justice come at a very high price.

On this logic, lower capital gains rates generate more tax revenue for the federal government. Yet Buffett doesn’t grasp the point when he writes:

In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

I’d take 2008 any day. In 1992, the country’s top 400 earners paid a total of $4.9 billion in taxes, which is a nifty sum to come from so few. But 16 years later, that amount rose to about $19.55 billion, leaving those most successful investors with an extra $71 billion in cash to invest in new ventures that could promise greater returns. This is win/win with a vengeance.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

The Secret Language Code: Scientific American


> PENNEBAKER: Almost everything you think you know is probably wrong. Take this little test. Who uses the following words more, women or men?
>> > 1st person singular (I, me, my)
> > 1st person plural (we, us our)
> > articles (a, an, the)
> > emotion words (e.g., happy, sad, love, hate)
> > cognitive words (e.g., because, reason, think, believe)
> > social words (e.g., he, she, friend, cousin)
>> Most people assume that men use I-words and cognitive words more than women and that women use we-words, emotions, and social words more than men. Bad news. You were right if you guessed that women use social words more. However, women use I-words and cognitive words at far higher rates than men. There are no reliable differences between men and women for use of we-words or emotion words (OK, those were trick questions). And men use articles more than women, when you might guess there’d be no difference.

> Men and women use language differently because they negotiate their worlds differently. Across dozens and dozens of studies, women tend to talk more about other human beings. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in concrete objects and things. To talk about human relationships requires social and cognitive words. To talk about concrete objects, you need concrete nouns which typically demand the use of articles.

> One of the most interesting results was part of a study my students and I conducted dealing with status in email correspondence. Basically, we discovered that in any interaction, the person with the higher status uses I-words less (yes, less) than people who are low in status.

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The Terrible Cost Of Patents


Patents were originally conceived to protect inventors—people and companies who contribute to the advancement of society by creating new products. But in the past decade, something went horribly wrong. Patents are increasingly became nothing more than financial and legal weapons, to be amassed in portfolios by “non-practicing entities” (i.e. patent trolls) and used to extort protection money from economically productive companies.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Michael Barone: The Fall of the Midwest Economic Model - WSJ.com


Michigan is an extreme example of what has afflicted the industrial Midwest. Big corporations were replaced by big government as the leading employer, and public-employee unions replaced industrial unions as the chief financiers of the Democratic Party. In effect, public-employee unions have been a mechanism by which taxpayer money, in the form of union dues, permanently finances a lobby with a vested interest in higher spending and less accountability. It's a lobby that's benefited from the Democratic Party loyalties of black voters, of Latinos in Chicago (the only large Hispanic presence in the Midwest) and of culturally liberal suburbanites.

This Midwestern model is unraveling before our eyes. The Midwest has not been hit as hard by foreclosures or unemployment as some other places, with Michigan an exception on both counts, but you have to look hard for green shoots of growth. They may be most evident in North Dakota, where low costs and light regulation have produced booms in energy and high tech.

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

IRS: Not enough rich to cover the deficit « Don Surber


A report from the Internal Revenue Service found that the rich — 8,274 people with incomes of $10 million per year or more — earned a total of $240 billion in 2009.

Even of you confiscated every dime they earned, you would barely have enough money to cover government spending for 24 days.

Of course, about a quarter of that money already goes to the federal government for federal income. So make that 18 days.

Read the whole thing.

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Obama partisans ignore facts when bashing Bush - Byron York


The debt stood at $10.6 trillion when Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Now, it's about $14.4 trillion. The president has increased the national debt nearly $4 trillion in his first two and a half years in office. By the time Obama finishes his first term, he will have increased the national debt by somewhere in the $5 trillion-to-$6 trillion range -- more than Bush did in two terms.

None of this is to say that George W. Bush had a good record on spending. He didn't, and he's fair game for criticism. But is it honest to condemn reckless spending in "eight years of Republican rule" when Democrats controlled the Senate for four of those years and the House for two? Is it honest to talk about the "cost" of the Bush tax cuts when federal revenues increased significantly while they were in effect? And is it honest to refer to Bush's ballooning deficits when deficits actually trended down for much of his presidency -- at least before Democrats won control of Congress?

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Downgrade shows DeMint was right


DeMint predicted ahead of time that none of the debt deals on the table except for "Cut, Cap and Balance"would prevent a downgrade. He has been vindicated.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Strategic analysis of the Budget Control Act - Keith Hennessey


$2 trillion of spending cuts is big for Congress but small relative to our underlying fiscal problems. If this bill becomes law and if the fall Joint Committee process is successful, the remaining spending problem will be more than an order of magnitude larger than this accomplishment. If you think this summer has been painful or dread the battle of this fall, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait until Congress wrestles with the big stuff.

Three times in the past year Congressional Republicans have played brinksmanship with the President and come out ahead:  the December 2010 tax rate fight, the Spring 2011 CR fight, and now the Summer 2011 debt limit fight. They have a game plan that has delivered multiple incremental wins so far, and a playing field that favors them for the Fall 2011 Joint Committee fight. In a balanced Washington they have successfully leveraged a debt limit increase to cut spending and not raise taxes.

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We either save this country or we do not. And to save it, we must seek solutions

An excellent speech by Macro Rubio.  He could make a fine president some day.


“Compromise without solutions is a waste of time,” Marco Rubio said on the Senate floor today. Here is the video — be sure to catch his exchange with John Kerry: 

video at the link.

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