Dec 272009

This is an interesting leftwing switcheroo. Usually they don’t like it when people take action to protect themselves or each other.

“One thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked,” Napolitano said. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. —URL

Note how this contrasts with the snide remarks they made about the heroics on Flight 93, or the tut-tutting they emit when someone takes matters into her own hands and tackles an armed robber, or their attitude toward concealed carry.

If this is a permanent change, it’s a welcome one. In any case, I presume Janet Napolitano would join me in honoring the passengers and crew with a Leviathan Ankle-Biter award.

Dec 272009

The following is the comment I posted on the Battle Creek Enquirer site in response to the article, “Nigerian charged in airline attack.” In the print edition, it is the lead story on the front page.

Subheadline: “Near-terror at Detroit airport shakes area.”

I question how your reporters and headline writers could possibly know that. Did they do a psychological survey of the population to determine how shaken people were? Did they do an opinion poll?

Of course not. I bet they just made it up, maybe after talking to their drinking buddies in the bar after work. I just made that up, too, of course, but it’s as good a guess as what the Enquirer put on the front page.

It’s a little thing, but it forms bad habits among newspaper people to make up even little stuff like that sub-headline.

Dec 232009

Democrats are in a mad rush to enact a health care plan that people don’t want. The more people learn about it, the less they like it, and the harder the Democrats work to get an even worse one enacted, even if it means violating the peace and harmony of the Christmas season.

I don’t quite understand that behavior. Yes, I understand that they want to subjugate the American people. That’s a natural and common human behavior, albeit an unlovely one. But I don’t understand the self-destructive mania by which they redouble their efforts.

Unfortunately, the only parallel I could think of is one involving Nazis and extermination camps. That seems a little extreme, even for what the Democrats are doing. Even to mention it is likely to draw reactions like “How dare you compare health care with the holocaust!” instead of leading to a dispassionate analysis of the features that the two instances do and don’t have in common. But that’s all I had, so here is the way I explained it on a political e-mailing list:

I have a little different take on it, but I need to invoke St. Godwin to explain it. Well, I can’t really explain it, but I can think of an analogy that might help us look for an explanation.

The Democrats are like the Nazis in the closing days of WWII. The Nazis were in retreat and knew they were losing. Yet instead of rethinking their ideology and trying to reform their ways before having to face the victors, they only increased the ferocity and rate at which they sent Jews to the gas chambers. Similarly, the Democrats know they are losing, but this only increases the ferocity of their attacks on the health of the American people. They have no time to lose!

I have never understood the psychology by which the Nazis did what they did, but it’s interesting that it seems not to have been a one-off phenomenon.

But then one of the other members of the list came to my rescue and gave us another example. It turns out that what we’re seeing in Congress may not be quite such a rare human phenomenon, after all.

When one of our daughters was about 2 years old, we were looking for her one day, and saw a lump underneath one of the curtains in the kitchen. We could see crumbs on the floor beneath her, and knew she was eating cookies that she had nabbed and sneaked off with. When we lifted the curtain, and she knew she was discovered, what did she do? She upshifted, and started cramming cookies into her mouth twice as fast.

Incidentally, though I am as wary of St. Godwin’s law as anyone else, I think it should be repealed. We all have the same DNA and the same temptations as the Nazis. They are an extreme example of how bad people can be, but they were not outside the human species. Bringing them into a discussion should be the beginning of the conversation, not the end of it.

Dec 222009

Here’s why there should not be a playoff system for college football like there is for basketball. It’s a comment from the Live Glog for the MSU-Texas game at CBS Sports. It was made well into the first half, when the teams were neck and neck.

Agreed, texas looks great. Both these teams i think are going to go deep in the tournament.

So in a well-fought game that is almost becoming a traditional rivalry, instead of enjoying the athleticism of the players and the drama of the contest, people are instead thinking about the tournament.

Well, in basketball that’s OK. There are a lot of games so the individual contests don’t count for as much. But for football it would be a great loss.

Dec 212009

It’s not often that you see the word “control” used this way in the news -especially in an article about a public meeting:

Residents have expressed concern over seeing coyotes on the south side of Marshall, but City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz cautioned against worry because the animals are afraid of people. No injuries have been reported, and he said the city is not attempting to trap or control them.

We need more of that — more of political entities not trying to control everything in sight. For his good example, the Marshall City Manager gets a Leviathan Ankle-Biter Award.

Battle Creek Enquirer url here.

Dec 212009

As a former Nebraskan, I figured it was my duty to send a contribution to It’s bad enough that Reid’s bill is majorly counterproductive, but then to start the corruption right off the bat by striking a special deal for Nebraska at the expense of other states… Ben Nelson needs to go, so I sent a contribution to help make it happen.

At least Nebraska’s Governor Heineman has some principles other than the almighty dollar. AP story here.

Dec 192009

Remember how people said the financial crisis meant we needed more regulation? Recently there have been reports like this one in the WSJ.

There also has been in-fighting among different bank regulators, with each debating the health of giant financial institutions, say people familiar with the matter.

Sounds like banks and other businesses had better spend less time trying to figure out what their customers want, and more time trying to figure out what regulators want.

Dec 182009

4101369272 8ec8bc73ff

If ever there was any doubt that those who are trying to impose nationalized health care on us care about something other than peoples’ health care…

This is not Ann Coulter’s or Jonah Goldberg’s explanation of the goals of the left. This is how they explain themselves to each other. There was a contest at a web site called Public Option, Please, and this is the poster that won.

Makes one long for the good old days when the worst we had to fear from the left was Stalinism.

H/T to Joshua Claybourn at In The Agora. My favorite comment at that site: “Can we get bypass surgery?”

Dec 142009

Once upon a time ecologists tried to explain the complexities of ecosystems in a similar fashion, while pointing to the dangers of trying to replace them with monocultures. Don Boudreaux explains it so well this time that I’m quoting and linking it here for future reference.

Our world is full of complexities that defy human engineering. Can Congress engineer winter snow away from Minnesota or summer hurricanes away from the Gulf Coast? Of course not, and any attempts Congress might make to do so would be seen immediately to be hubris of the highest and most hazardous sort.

Attempts to consciously re-design the health-care industry are equally hubristic and hazardous. That industry is one of billions of unique, often personal, relationships, each of which is part of countless long chains of efforts to transform raw materials and human effort into life-improving and life-saving drugs and treatments. Like weather, these long chains of human relationships weren’t designed by anyone. Like weather, they change and evolve. And like weather, their all-important details are beyond the comprehension of would-be re-designers. These long chains of human relationships cannot be undone and reassembled at will by politicians and ‘experts’ without risking enormous unintended catastrophe.

Want proof? Look no further than your own lament that the very ‘engineers’ – the members of Congress – who are now attempting to redesign the details of the health-care industry cannot as much as read and grasp all of the words on the bill that they’re debating.