Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: April 2012


Polar bears refuse to cooperate in doomsday predictions for their species

One of the most appealing, albeit disingenuous pictures that the climate alarmists used to push their agenda was that of a polar bear on a small bit of melting ice.  With that they claimed that global warming was melting the bear’s habitat and that they were close to extinction.

 

Melting-ice-polar-bear

 

Wrong:

The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing.

The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.

So in the most critical of polar bear habitats, the polar bear population is 66% higher than what the alarmists said it would be with the increase in temperatures.

But we’re supposed to give their doomsday prophecies credibility?

Of course other researchers disagree.  Interestingly the Inuit communities disagree with the alarmist researchers.

By the way,  as an aside, we never see pictures like this when the alarmists want to make us empathize with those cuddly little white bears do we?

 

images (6)

 

Heh …

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Quote of the Day: But remember, blacks can’t be racist edition

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – blacks can’t be "racists". Supposedly its because they "don’t have the power" to be racist. A key redefinition of a word that in reality has zip to do with who holds power.  It’s an attitude.  A belief in the superiority of one race over the other.  But that’s now how many try to define it today.

So, given the new definition of racism,  what former DC mayor and present DC Council person Marion Barry says here isn’t racist or racially motivated … got it?  You can ask Al Sharpton, he’ll back him up.

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said in remarks first reported by WRC-TV. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

Celebrate diversity and racial healing, ya’ll.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 5 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Initial jobless claims were 357,000 last week, down 6,000 from a revised 363,000 in the prior week.

Challenger’s job cut report shows a layoff count of 37,880 in March vs. 51,728 in February and 41,528 in March, 2011.

Chain stores are reporting retail sales numbers today. In general, sales are looking a little stronger than expectations.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -31.4 in the April 1 week, up from from -34.7 the prior week. That’s a pretty negative number, but it’s still the highest in four years, which tells you more about how bad the last four years have been, rather than how good it is now.

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Dale Franks
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Tolerance is not a one-way street

Apparently T-shirts are a “human right” now (via The American Conservative):

The owner of “Hands On Originals,” a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to print the shirts for the city’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) because it would conflict with their Christian convictions.

The privately owned company is now accused of violating Lexington’s Fairness Act – which protects people and organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund who is representing the T-shirt company says:

“No business owner should be forced to violate his conscience simply because someone demands it,” he said. “The Constitution absolutely supports the rights of business owners to decline a request to support a message that conflicts with their deeply held convictions.”

But the city says:

“Hands On Originals” will be “required by law to participate in the investigation.”

“We have subpoena power and have the backing of the law,” he said. “We are a law enforcement agency and people have to comply.”

Should the company be found guilty of discriminating against the homosexuals Sexton said they could be subjected to fines.

Yes, friends, a city has a “human rights commission” which is considered a “law enforcement agency” that can force compliance with a law that would do precisely what the ADF lawyer claims it shouldn’t have the power to do.

You’d think there’d be a solution that could be reached well before this is escalated to the use of government coercion, doesn’t it?  That is if all the GLSO wanted to do was buy T-shirts.

And, a solution was offered:

GLSO wanted “Hands On Original” to print shirts for the city’s fifth annual Lexington Pride Festival. The store offered to find another company that would honor its price – but that wasn’t good enough for the GLSO.

“Our feeling on that is, separate but equal wasn’t okay during the civil rights movement and it’s not okay now,” Aaron Baker told the television station. Baker is board president of GLSO.

That’s right, it is agenda time.  This isn’t about T-shirts at all.  It’s about forcing their one-way version of tolerance on someone.  The irony is that GLSO appears to have absolutely no tolerance for the principles of the owners of the T-shirt company.

Which set me to wondering.  Here’s a hypothetical for you.  What if the owner of the T-shirt company was gay?  And what if Westboro Baptist Church placed an order for 10 dozen T-shirts which said “God hates faggots” on them? What if the T-shirt shop owner refused the order because of his principles?

Same reaction?

I’d guess no.  In fact, I’d guess precisely the opposite reaction.

The T-shirt company owner wrote an op-ed for the paper explaining his point of view:

“I decided to pass on the opportunity because, as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions,” Adamson wrote in the op-ed.

Adamson, who has been in business for more than 20 years, wrote that he “does not expect, or even ask, people to agree with my view.”

“All I ask for people is to respect my right as an owner to not produce a product that is contrary to my principles,” he wrote.

Adamson called on people to stand up for the rights of small business owners not “to be forced into producing a product with a message that conflicts with their beliefs and consciences.”

The reaction was anything but tolerant or understanding of a differing view:

“Hands On Originals” has faced a barrage of attacks since the accusations were made public. More than 2,000 people have joined a boycott movement on Facebook. Another group is trying to buy the company’s mortgage so they can be evicted.

The Fayette County public school system placed a temporary hold on buying t-shirts from the company until the issue is resolved. The University of Kentucky is also reviewing its future business with the t-shirt maker.

Even Lexington’s openly gay mayor has condemned the privately-owned t-shirt company, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader “People don’t have patience for this sort of attitude today.”

“I’m against discrimination, period,” Gray said in a statement released to television station WKYT. “It’s bad for business and bad for the city. I support the Human Rights Commission in a full and thorough investigation.”

Real tolerance is apparently unacceptable.  The hypocrisy of GLSO is palpable.  And trying to use the coercive power of government is disgusting.

Tolerance isn’t a one-sided principle.  If  one wants people to tolerate their beliefs and lifestyle, it is incumbent upon them to do the same for others.  If they actually believe in true tolerance, that is.

What is clear here is GLSO doesn’t. 

More disgusting, at least to me, is the inclusion of this ridiculous city level “human rights commission” as a law enforcement agency and it’s obvious intent to force “compliance” against the conscience and principles of the owner. 

There was a problem (GLSO wanted T-shirts, T-shirt company refused due to conscience), an offered solution (T-shirt company offers to find another producer at same price) which was reasonable and a rejection of that solution because the group has an political agenda and wishes to force the company to violate its principles and conscience.  And which side does government take?

The side that wants to use its coercive power to force that violation.

Let freedom ring.

HT: papajj

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


How good is Obama’s foreign relations record really?

One of the supposed areas in which President Obama has done well is in the area of foreign relations.  And, of course, the press has dutifully helped create the myth of success.

But have foreign relations really been a success for him?

Don’t forget, this is the man who thinks he was responsible for “Arab Spring”.  In both Egypt and Libya, radical islamists have begun to take charge.  And this morning, a rocket launched from Egypt hit Israel.

Of course relations with our staunchest ally in the region – Israel – are terrible. 

Then there is Russia.  They way they’ve treated the US Ambassador to Russia is indicative of their belief that Obama is weak:

The Kremlin sees the Obama administration as weak and indecisive, making it a perfect, nonthreatening partner that can be bullied and provoked using the same tools Moscow routinely employs against opposition leaders and civil and human rights activists at home. This was the approach that the Kremlin used against the Estonian ambassador to protest the relocation of a monument to Soviet soldiers from downtown Tallinn. By Moscow’s reasoning, if such tactics are permissible when dealing with "weak" Estonia, why not use the same methods against a "weak" United States? Why should Putin and his cohorts show respect for the U.S. ambassador? On the contrary, it is better to put him in his place.

And they have used a “Kremlin-sponsored media campaign aimed at discrediting, pressuring, provoking and defaming him.”

Nice reset.

Of course in the anarchy of world politics, weakness is something to be exploited, and Russia sees the opportunity to do exactly that.

You’d think, in the midst of all this failure, he could at least maintain good relationships with his allies.  But Israel would beg to differ.  And, surprisingly, so would Canada and Mexico.  But you won’t read about it in the US press.

Investors.com reports:

Obama’s neglect of our nearest neighbors and biggest trade partners has created deteriorating relations, a sign of a president who’s out of touch with reality. Problems are emerging that aren’t being reported.

Fortunately, the Canadian and Mexican press told the real story. Canada’s National Post quoted former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson as saying the North American Free Trade Agreement and the three-nation alliance it has fostered since 1994 have been so neglected they’re "on life support."

Energy has become a searing rift between the U.S. and Canada and threatens to leave the U.S. without its top energy supplier.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Obama the U.S. will have to pay market prices for its Canadian oil after Obama’s de facto veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is preparing to sell its oil to China.

Until now, NAFTA had shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That’s about to change.

I talked about that yesterday when I noted the ultimate cost of Obama’s fit of pique that led to him disapproving the Keystone XL pipeline.

And Mexico?  Is it as bad as Canada?

Things were even worse, if you read the Mexican press accounts of the meeting.

Excelsior of Mexico City reported that President Felipe Calderon bitterly brought up Operation Fast and Furious, a U.S. government operation that permitted Mexican drug cartels to smuggle thousands of weapons into drug-war-torn Mexico. This blunder has wrought mayhem on Mexico and cost thousands of lives.

The mainstream U.S. press has kept those questions out of the official press conferences, while Obama has feigned ignorance to the Mexicans and hasn’t even apologized.

As usual, we’re poorly served by our media which somehow seems to have managed to miss all the points the Canadian and Mexican press have noted.

Yes, this president has a record he has to run on finally and it seems his foreign relations record isn’t, in reality, much better than his domestic one.

Of course it will be up to the GOP to point that out since obviously, the US press isn’t going too.

Bottom line for the Obama record? 

#FAIL

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 4 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Mortgage applications rose 4.8$ last week, with purchases up 7.2% and refis up 4%, as buyers purchased ahead of a scheduled FHA mortgage insurance premium increase.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index continues to rise, increasing by 0.3% to 94.14 in March.

Non-manufacturing growth slowed slightly last month, with the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index falling to 56 from 57.3 last month.

~
Dale Franks
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New York Time editorial declares war on GOP [update]

I sometimes wonder what world the editorial board of the New York Times calls home.  It certainly isn’t the one the rest of us live in.  But I guess it is necessary to live in an alternative world to be able to push narratives like it pushes in an editorial today.  The NY Times has decided, to use a poker term, to go “all in” on Obama’s “right-wing extremism” and “dishonesty” meme. 

Referencing the Obama speech yesterday, the editorial board says:

Mr. Obama provided a powerful signal on Tuesday that he intends to make this election about the Republican Party’s failure to confront, what he called, “the defining issue of our time”: restoring a sense of economic security while giving everyone a fair shot, rather than enabling only a shrinking number of people to do exceedingly well. His remarks promise a tough-minded campaign that will call extremism and dishonesty by name.

Remember Obama, who’s answer to the “defining issue of our time”, submitted each of the two years (I’m talking about his budgets) has gone a collective 0-511.  That’s right, the two budgets he’s submitted to address the “defining issue of our time” hasn’t garnered a single vote in two years.  

Why?  Primarily because neither of the budgets convinced a single legislator of either party, to include the President’s own, that they addressed that issue at all.

Yet he presumes to lecture the GOP on the failure to confront this issue?  And the NYT somehow manages to buy into that nonsense?

The GOP budget at least passed the House.  The NYT presumes that no negotiations are possible because, again, it buys into the Obama claim that the GOP won’t compromise.   Nonsense.  Compromise doesn’t mean wholesale capitulation.  In an negotiation or compromise there are lines drawn over which the two parties won’t give in.  Each side has them.  The NYT and Obama, naturally, want to characterize the lack of movement as GOP intransigence.  But the Democrats are equally intransigent.  They want more money in taxes.  The GOP continues to point out that taxes aren’t the problem.  The problem is spending.

Says the NYT:

Mr. Obama has, in recent months, urged Republicans to put aside their destructive agenda. But, in this speech, he finally conceded that the party has demonstrated no interest in the values of compromise and realism. Even Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes in multiple budget deals, “could not get through a Republican primary today,” Mr. Obama said. While Democrats have repeatedly shown a willingness to cut entitlements and have agreed to trillions in domestic spending cuts, he said, Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases and, in fact, want to shower the rich with even more tax cuts.

Ronald Regan agreed to raising taxes in return for what from the Democrats?

Spending cuts.  In fact as I recall, his deal was 1 1/2 to 2 times the spending cuts to the tax increases.  Guess what never happened?

That’s right – spending cuts.

So call it a lesson learned.  What the GOP is pointing out that until the spending cuts are implemented and take effect, there is no reason to discuss revenue increases.

That’s a common sense approach that best safeguards the citizenry’s money and is based on a history that says the Democrats don’t keep their word about spending cuts.

I don’t blame the GOP for refusing to compromise on taxes.

Finally, and I’ve flipped the paragraph order in the editorial, consider the NYT lede:

President Obama’s fruitless three-year search for compromise with the Republicans ended in a thunderclap of a speech on Tuesday, as he denounced the party and its presidential candidates for cruelty and extremism. He accused his opponents of imposing on the country a “radical vision” that “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”

There has been no search for compromise with President “I won”.  None.  And it is amazing to see smaller and less intrusive government being characterized as a “radical vision” that is “antithetical to our entire history”.  It is the basis of our entire history up until the welfare state came into being.

“The land of opportunity” was such because of a lack of government interference, not because of it.  Obama and the left continue to attempt to rewrite history in a manner in which they redefine the words and key phrases that characterized our nation differently than they’d like prior to the institution of the welfare state.

The radical vision is that which Obama, the NYT  and the Democrats continue to push, not the GOP.  They don’t seem to understand that the majority of the American people have come to understand that we just can’t afford their radical vision and that government control of more and more of our lives is not a “good thing”. 

If there is anyone out of touch with the American people it is Mr. 0-511. He hasn’t a clue.

And neither does the New York Times editorial board.

UPDATE: A further thought sparked by a comment by The Shark.  If compromise is what Obama and the Democrats really want, they’ve had two opportunities to actually force that or at least make the argument they attempted it.  For two years the GOP House has passed a budget.   The way the Congress works is the Senate then passes its version of the budget and the two houses of Congress get together and hash out the differences (known commonly as “compromise). 

Except the Democratically controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1000 days.  So who isn’t interested in compromise, Mr. President?  And why aren’t you exerting a little leadership and confronting the Senate about its dereliction of duty?  If “compromise” is so all fired important to you, why are you neglecting the easiest way of forcing it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


How Obama’s Keystone XL tantrum will cost the US

Not that President Obama will much care. 

As you know, if you’ve followed the news, a few months back, President Obama stopped the building of a critical oil pipeline from Canada’s oil sands in a fit of pique at the GOP for demanding a decision sooner rather than later.  His excuse was it hadn’t been studied enough even though his own State Department had unofficially announced they were satisfied with Trans Canada’s application and environmental studies and prepared to okay the project.

A huge outcry ensued and as he usually does, Obama tried to blame his decision on someone else.  The result of his decision, of course, was to further delay the transport of up to 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to our Gulf Coast refineries.  He essentially turned down an increase in safe and secure oil that is strategic to our economic growth and national security.

But it has had even more profound effect for the long term.  Most people are pretty sure that the pipeline will eventually be built.  However the sweet deal it offered us prior to the President’s turn down is no longer available.  It is because the refusal pointed out that Canada couldn’t depend on the US to be a reliable trading partner:

In a public one-on-one interview here with Jane Harman, head of the Wilson Centre think-tank, [Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen] Harper said Obama’s rejection of the controversial pipeline — even temporarily — stressed Canada’s need to find other buyers for oilsands crude.

And that wouldn’t change even if the president’s mind did.

“Look, the very fact that a ‘no’ could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets,” Harper told Harman in front of a live audience of businesspeople, scholars, diplomats, and journalists.

“We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one and, in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position.”

Of course there’s no particular problem finding new customers.  China, naturally, was waiting in the wings for us to shoot ourselves in the foot and when we obliged them, they stepped right in.

That, of course, has another effect:

Harper also told Harman that Canada has been selling its oil to the United States at a discounted price.

So not only will America be able to buy less Canadian oil even if Keystone is eventually approved, the U.S. will also have to pay more for it because the market for oilsands crude will be more competitive.

That’s right, we get less and it will cost more. 

We have taken a significant price hit by virtue of the fact that we are a captive supplier and that just does not make sense in terms of the broader interests of the Canadian economy," Harper said. "We’re still going to be a major supplier of the United States. It will be a long time, if ever, before the United States isn’t our number one export market, but for us the United States cannot be our only export market.

"That is not in our interest, either commercially or in terms of pricing."

Congratulations Mr. President, with your childish fit of pique you’ve managed to again do something that will help achieve your goal of seeing energy prices “skyrocket”.

And the people you profess to be looking out for, the poor and middle class, are those who will pay the most for your tantrum.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 3 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Factory orders bounced back from a -1.1% decline in January with a 1.3% increase in February.

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales did well last week, with a 3.8% rise for the week, which is a 4.2% from last year. Redbook also reports a strong 4.6% year-on-year same-store sales increase.

Auto sales are due out, with the figures released throughout the day.

UPDATE: The Big 3 have reported Auto sales so far today. Overall Sales for GM were up 14.2% in march from the same period in 2011. Chrysler reports a 34% increase from last year, for its best monthly sales in 4 years. Ford’s sales gain was a much more modest 5%, but was still the best monthly sales rate since 2007, and suffers from the comparison to Mar, 2011, when Ford led all US auto sales for the first time in 13 years.

Also reporting in are Nissan, reporting their best sales ever, and Toyota, reporting the best sales since March 2008.

Dodge also announced that the reborn Dart will be hitting sales floors this June. I suspect the new Dart, which will take up a spot in the small-car lineup, will be somewhat less performance-based than the 318ci V-8 powered ’71 Dart I had as a High School Senior.

~
Dale Franks
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Wonder why health care insurance costs so much?

Well, how about government mandates?

 

 

If government wants to lower the cost of health care, there’s an immediate means of doing so.  Health insurance should be like a Chinese restaurant menu – pick one from column A and two from column B.  But if you don’t want acupuncture coverage or massage therapy or, in fact, have a uterus, why in the world should you forced to buy coverage for all of that?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO