Apparently PBS planned to air a few minutes with climate skeptic Anthony Watts, which they previewed in a blog post. This caused a major freak out among its viewers, who are not used to being confronted with views that don't comfortably align with those of their peer group. Apparently PBS viewers distrust their own judgement so much that they can't let themselves even view skeptical material, I suppose because it is like that alien on Star Trek that drove anyone who looked at it insane.
PBS is apologizing like crazy, and felt the need to link nine past shows and articles where it has totally conformed to the climate gospel, so there is absolutely no cause to question their ideological purity.
Hawaii 5-0? Star Trek? I Dream of Jeannie?
Jeannie, fresh as a daisy/Just love how she obeys me/She does things that amaze me so...
The Star Trek lyrics are awful, but you have to do a search to find them all. The Leave it to Beaver lyrics are just ... bizarre. Some pre-1960s hallucinogens or something.
If you can get over the cognitive dissonance of seeing Spock feel up Uhura, this is a very solid movie. Much like Casino Royale did for the Bond franchise, it tore the franchise down and rebuilt it very well, creating something that is both familiar and true to the original yet less campy and more up-to-date. My son, who has never seen any of the original series (yeah, I know, major parenting failure) really enjoyed it as well. Interestingly, there were almost more references back to The Wrath of Khan as there were to the original series.
How many "A's" do you put in "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" ??
Wow, that has to be the hardest to punctuate sentence I have ever written. Is there even a right way to punctuate that?
Update: This is also an interesting study in the Heisenberg principle (which, generalized from its quantum mechanics roots, posits that you can't study a process without altering it). The very act of posting the results is changing future Google searches, so the original results will be invalid.
Update #2: There needs to be one of those web sites that do textual analysis of web content called the geek-o-meter. I would suppose that by dropping a Heisenberg and a Star Trek reference in the same post, I have shot up there on any presumptive scale. All I need is a D&D reference, which I actually came frighteningly close to in the last post when I wanted to say "it's like Obama dropped all his character creation points into charisma and didn't have any left over for wisdom."
Sometimes industries get nationalized, and they seem to do OK, at least for a while. Sometimes when countries go socialist, and they appear to function well, at least at first (Sweden, for example, was held up as a model for a while). I had a couple of thoughts on this topic as we seem to be at the precipice of nationalizing the health care industry in this country:
- Among some, the work ethic dies hard. Medicine is a great example. Because of how difficult it is to become a doctor in this country, the medical profession attracts very few people with poor work ethics. One can see these folks continuing to work hard, even under socialized medicine where many of the incentives to do so have been taken away. It can take a whole generation for socialism to kill the work ethic in an industry, but when it finally does so, the effect is dramatic. For example, doctors in the US see 60% more patients in a day than doctors in countries with socialized medicine (ie everywhere else). Eventually, though, the highest talent, most motivated people move on to other industries or occupations where their hard work is rewarded, and are replaced by a new generation of workers who are attracted to a job where only attendance (and sometimes not even that) is required.
- Incentives can work quickly, or they can take a while to operate. Some incentives can work quickly -- for example, if on any given day, the government were to decide to cap gasoline prices twenty percent below the market level, we would see gasoline lines in less than a week. On the other hand, the welfare program of the late 1960's provided incentives for out-of-wedlock births that took 20+ years to reach its peak. Beyond the moral failures of socialism, one** of its practical failures revolves around incentives. Customers get subsidized products or services, forgetting that that this will cause people to use more than is available. Employees don't get rewarded for merit or hard work, but the system is constructed such that it won't work without these.
- Assets and capital equipment act like a storage battery. Businesses that are purely human, like a restaurant, you can screw up in a week. I think everyone has had the experience of going to a service business under new management and being really disappointed. Capital-intensive businesses, particularly extractive ones, can be looted for decades by kleptocratic governments. Even so, the game can't go on forever.
What drives me most crazy is when socialism's advocates answer criticisms about socialism's consistently dismal long-term results by saying "but it will work if only we can get the right people in charge" (usually this means the speaker and his/her cronies). If you are a Star Trek fan, you will understand why I call this the "John Gill Fallacy." As I wrote before:
Technocratic idealists ALWAYS lose control of the game. It may feel
good at first when the trains start running on time, but the
technocrats are soon swept away by the thugs, and the patina of
idealism is swept away, and only fascism is left. Interestingly, the
technocrats always cry "our only mistake was letting those other guys
take control". No, the mistake was accepting the right to use force on
another man. Everything after that was inevitable.
** Other failures of socialism include this. And this:
You can't make better decisions for other people, even if you are
smarter, because every person has different wants, needs, values, etc.,
and thus make trade-offs differently. Tedy Bruschi of the Patriots is willing to take post-stroke risks by playing pro football again I would never take, but that doesn't mean its a incorrect decision for him.
David Boaz of Cato makes this comment in the context of an article on suppressing speech in modern South Africa:
In the last days of apartheid, some libertarians pointed out to South
Africa's rulers that if they left a government broadcasting operation
in place, they would one day regret the way a different government
would use it. Looks like that day has come.
This is a point I make time and time again. When statists push their policies, it is always with the assumption that they themselves will be in control of the government machinery they create. In contrast, the miracle of the US Constitution was that the government was constituted with the assumption that rogues and scoundrels would take control, and the founders put protections in place to limit the damage these scoundrels could do to our individual liberties.
As I said previously:
I am reminded of all this because the technocrats that built our
regulatory state are starting to see the danger of what they created.
A public school system was great as long as it was teaching the right
things and its indoctrinational excesses were in a leftish direction.
Now, however, we can see the panic. The left is freaked that some red
state school districts may start teaching creationism or intelligent
design. And you can hear the lament - how did we let Bush and these
conservative idiots take control of the beautiful machine we built? My
answer is that you shouldn't have built the machine in the first place
- it always falls into the wrong hands. Maybe its time for me to again invite the left to reconsider school choice.
Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter.
And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was
political, based on a conservative administration's opposition to
abortion. And again the technocrats on the left are freaked. Well,
what did you expect? You applauded the Clinton FDA's politically
motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial
establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the
principal, contradictory to the left's own stand on abortion, that the
government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for
their own body (other thoughts here).
Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these
conservative yahoos took over. No, it wasn't. It was unjust to scheme
to control other people's lives, and just plain stupid to expect that
the machinery of control you created would never fall into your
political enemy's hands.
As I concluded before, even Star Trek figured out this whole technocrat losing control of the fascist state thing 40 years ago.
I got a call today from Mono County, California. They require us to charge our visitors a 12% lodging tax on campground stays in any of the 11 campgrounds we operate in our county, which we report on a single quarterly filing. Today, the County has suddenly decided that they need a separate sales tax report filed each period for each campground, so instead of 1 we need to file 11. If every taxing authority tried to pull a Mono County on us, we would
have to file at least 250 separate sales tax reports each month.
In case you miss the implication of this, consider if the state of California did this for sales tax. It would mean, say, that Unocal would have to file a separate sales tax report for every single gas station in the state - ie thousands of them each month Of course, even California does not have the guts to require something so absurd. We, like Unocal, register all of our separate locations with California but report all their sales and sales taxes in one unified report.
So why can't Mono County be satisfied with the same approach? Well, apparently a couple of their auditors had to spend some extra time trying to figure out which campgrounds belonged with which permits in a recent audit. In order to save their auditors a few minutes of time in the future, they want to require me and others to spend many extra hours with these additional filings. This is typical of government bureaucracies, which in doing cost-benefit analysis put enormous value on their own time but value taxpayers time at $0 an hour. If all the reports I file had to be justified while valuing taxpayer's time at even $50 an hour, I would have a lot less feeding of the government to do. More on my efforts to feed Vol (gratuitous Star Trek reference) here.
Welcome to the 125th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities. Many thanks to Silflay Hraka for starting the Carnival to showcase smaller blogs to a wider readership. Look for future Carnivals at these sites:
February 16th - Soccer Dad
February 23rd - Pundit Guy
March 2nd - Belief Seeking Understanding
March 9th - Solomonia
March 16th - Bird's Eye View
March 23rd - CodeBlueBlog
March 30th - Eric Berlin
April 6th - Incite
April 13th - Yea, Whatever
Future dates are open to anyone interested in hosting. While you're here, feel free to look around -- this post will tell you more about what I do here.
OK, enough of the introduction, on with the show. As is traditional, we have taken all comers regardless of their point of view. I have exercised my editorial license only in selecting the first post:
Continue reading ‘125th Carnival of the Vanities’ »
Here is a quick scorecard of the Convenience Store convention today.
Scope: B decent mix of vendors but repetitious in some odd categories
Relevance to me: C- unfortunately, not many vendors of the type I was looking for
Venue: C Las Vegas convention hall, been there, done that. Positive of new Star Trek show next door offset by the fact the monorail was broken and traffic, as usual, sucked.
Food and Bev: A+ Awesome. This is basically 60% a snack food show and everyone had samples. Plus, all the beer manufacturers there in the middle pouring cold ones
Booth Babes: B- Kind of disappointing -- couldn't hold a candle to the consumer electronics or even better, the auto shows. Would have been a C+ but presence of vendor booths for Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler staffed, uh, how you might think they would be staffed, brought up the score.
Other: B+ Got two good autographs, one from Raleigh Fingers (sp?) and one from Ed McCaffery. Skipped on the centerfold and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader autograph lines (which, interestingly enough, were filled with women waiting for autgraphs).
Feet are killing me.