Category Archives: News

CRISIS! Is Obama shutting down Chrysler dealerships owned by Republicans?!

Have we elected a worst left-wing fascist than Stalin? Time will tell.

Gateway Pundit has multiple stories.

First story excerpt:

Are we looking at the biggest political scandal since Watergate?

Big Dem Donor Group allowed to keep all 6 Chrysler dealerships open…. Local competitors eliminated by Obama’s task force!!

Earlier it was reported that the Obama Administration may have targeted GOP donors in deciding which Chrysler dealerships would have to close their doors.

Now there’s this…
RLJ-McLarty-Landers is owned by three men.
One was the former Chief of Staff for President Clinton.
One is the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a huge Obama supporter.
All 6 of their Chrysler dealerships will remain open.
And, get this… Their local competitors have been eliminated!

Second story excerpt:

But, so far in the shutdown list there is an extremely high correlation between dealers closing and congressional districts BHO lost.

Texas is getting killed and Blue States are sliding by. Florida is also taking major hits and nearly all are in Republican Congressional Districts.

Little West Virginia is getting hammered

UPDATE: Here is a list of the closings— Notice all of the Texas and Florida closings.

Last story excerpt:

Now this…Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) lost his Chrysler dealership in Florida.

Again… It was Obama’s task force who made the decision about which dealerships would close and which would stay open.

Leave your suggestion for the name of this fiasco in the comments. I’ll start: Chrysler-gate. Serfdom-gate. Union-gate. Commie-gate. Banana-Republic-gate.

The most productive taxpayers flee higher tax rates

UPDATE: Welcome readers from Pursuing Holiness! Thanks for the link, Laura! Laura knows about this from experience – she runs her own information technology business, and is scaling it back. Go read her post, too!

A few days back, I posted on the Cato Institute’s story about the New York businessman who shifted his residence to Florida to avoid paying confiscatory tax rates to the greedy socialists in Albany.

Well, that’s not the only place where this is happening. There is a reason why freedom-hating atheists had to build Gulags and walls to keep people from escaping their communist prison. When tax rates go up, the most productive citizens either stop working or they leave entirely!

Here is a story from the UK Times Online about the exodus of British taxpayers from Gordon Brown’s corrupt socialist regime.

Excerpt:

SOL ZAKAY, the billionaire property tycoon, is the latest entrepreneur to quit Britain after the introduction of a 50% tax rate on high earners.

…Zakay joins a growing list of businessmen and City financiers disenchanted at the new tax rate as well as the proposed changes to EU regulation of private-equity and hedge funds.

And here is a story from the Wall Street Journal about Maryland taxpayers fleeing their left-wing state’s tax hikes.

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

When the most productive taxpayers stop producing, they take your jobs with them. It’s called the Laffer curve. Maybe you progressives should read about it. Think about the way the world actually works in reality. And then ask yourself a very important question. A question that you never heard answered in Harvard Law School.

Who is John Galt?

UPDATE: Hot Air notes that IRS revenues are dropping rapidly. Gateway Pundit adds: 16K jobs lost PER DAY since stimulus passed. Gateway Pundit reports Democrats consider national sales tax (hurts the poor disproportionately, just like cap and trade), and China has warned democrats about printing more money.

CRISIS! British politicians caught abusing expense accounts

I remember when Stephen Harper took over from the corrupt left-wing Liberal party in Canada, the first thing he did was to pass the Federal Accountability Act, which requires all expense claims to posted on government web sites for the public to see. Conservative MPs could be seen having business meetings at Subway, while Liberals bilked the public for thousands for various junkets. I was so happy for the Canadians.

But the Conservative Party isn’t running things in secular socialist Britain…

Muddling Towards Maturity posted on the whole sordid story, which appeared in the National Review.

David Pryce-Jones writes:

It turns out that the Blair-Brown Labour government could not bring itself to raise salaries for MPs, but instead set up “the system” of allowances that were privileged and kept secret. An MP could claim thousands of pounds more or less on his own say-so, with shaky receipts for dubious expenditure, and the result is that some have built property portfolios worth a million pounds or more.

Supervising this milking of “the system” was Michael Martin, the Speaker. In the early days of Tony Blair, this man was press-ganged into a job for which he was unfit. An old hardline socialist and trade-union man, he saw himself as defender of entitlements rather than liberty and proper government. He put in outrageous claims for himself and his wife. He did his very best to suppress information about the embezzling and spivery going on under him, in the classic manner of a trade unionist getting whatever he could for his comrades.

READ. THE. WHOLE. THING.

And Muddling also linked to this updated story in the New York Post, entitled “The Mother of All British Scandals”.

…A government minister, one of the richest men in the House of Commons, claimed $150,000 from the taxpayer to finance the mortgage on a “second home.” (He already had seven.) A leading Tory repaired the moat around his stately home on expenses.

Sometimes, the claims were trivial and comically embarrassing: tampons, diapers, the repair of leaky pipes, ice-cube trays ($2.50), hair straighteners ($150) and Scotch eggs ($1.25). Taxpayers unknowingly rented two pornographic movies for the husband of another Cabinet minister. A Tory spokesman on “skills and education” hired an electrician to change his light bulbs. (Cost to the taxpayer? About $225.)

The worst claims bordered on the fraudulent — and some stepped over that border. One MP claimed mortgage-interest payments of about $17,000 on a house that had no mortgage. Another took $55,000 in expenses on a necessary “second home” near Parliament, when his primary home was only a few hundred yards away.

Many MPs “flipped” — i.e., changed their homes from primary to secondary in order to receive second-home allowances. One MP flipped three times and got more than $150,000 of public money.

…Prime Minister Gordon Brown claimed $8,000 to pay for his brother to clean his London apartment. My favorite example, though, is the case of Sinn Fein MPs from Northern Ireland who claimed about $750,000 in expenses to attend a Parliament that they refuse to attend on principle.

This is absolutely amazing. Read the whole thing!

Ed West has more on this story. First of all, the British government hands out taxpayer money to lobbying firms, in order to be lobbied for policies they really want to enact anyway. And here, he talks more about solutions to the problem of government entitlements.

Everything you need to know about the SCOTUS pick

If you haven’t already bookmarked Verum Serum, now is the time to do it.

Verum Serum’s May 3rd post discussed Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Sonia Sotomayor.

The post features this video of the nominee from a Duke University panel in 2005.

Quote from the video: (H/T Heritage Foundation via Commenter ECM)

“All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don’t ‘make law,’ I know. [Laughter from audience] Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it. I’m, you know. [More laughter] Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application.

Verum Serum’s May 5th post has some quotes from a speech she gave at UC Berkeley, at a conference sponsored by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.

Here’s one of the quotes from Verum Serum:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases…I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor [Martha] Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life. (emphasis added)

Nice Deb comments: “Imagine the hue and cry if a white male had said that about a Hispanic female.”

And one more from Verum Serum:

I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies, and prejudices are appropriate.

There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering. We…must continue individually and in voices united in organizations that have supported this conference, to think about these questions and to figure out how we go about creating the opportunity for there to be more women and people of color on the bench so we can finally have statistically significant numbers to measure the differences we will and are making.

You need to click through and read the rest of the quotes. Heritage Foundation has more quotes from the same speech, and some other quotes from her published papers.

Here’s one of the additional quotes from her published work:

The constant development of unprecedented problems requires a legal system capable of fluidity and pliancy. Our society would be strait-jacketed were not the courts, with the able assistance of the lawyers, constantly overhauling the law and adapting it to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions; although changes cannot be made lightly, yet law must be more or less impermanent, experimental and therefore not nicely calculable. Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.

The Heritage Foundation has more here, on their rapid response page.

And what about her judicial temperament, which is of critical importance?

John Lott has this quote on his blog from the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary:

Sotomayor can be tough on lawyers, according to those interviewed. “She is a terror on the bench.” “She is very outspoken.” “She can be difficult.” “She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry.” “She is overly aggressive–not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament.” “She abuses lawyers.” “She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts.” “She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn’t understand their role in the system–as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like.”

And how smart is she?

Here’s Eric Posner writing on the Volokh Conspiracy blog:

The most complete effort so far to evaluate federal appellate judges is this paper by Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati. Choi and Gulati use data from Lexis to measure three aspects of the judge’s performance—productivity, opinion quality, and independence.

…To determine how Sotomayor would do in the ranking, I had some research assistants collect her data for the years 1999-2001. To address the “freshman effect” (the possibility that her statistics are worse for her earliest years because of inexperience), we also looked at her data from 2006.

Productivity. Judges write opinions, which provide guidance to lawyers and the public. All else equal, a judge who writes more opinions is more productive, and provides a greater social benefit. Over the three year period from 1998 to 2000, the most productive judge published 269 opinions, the least productive judge published 38 opinions, and the mean was 98.1. For the comparable period from 1999-2001, Judge Sotomayor published 73 opinions. She would have ranked 68th out of 98.

Quality (1). Choi and Gulati measure quality by counting citations to a judge’s top twenty opinions… The range is 96 to 734, with a mean of 277.9. Judge Sotomayor’s statistic is 231, which would place her 59th.

Quality (2). Judge Sotomayor’s opinions from 1999-2001 were cited 289 times in law reviews and other legal periodicals through May 31, 2004… Sotomayor would have ranked 65th.

Quality (3). Choi and Gulati also check what they call “invocations”—the frequency with which opinions written by other judges refer to the judge in question by name… Invocations range from 0 to 175 (excluding two outliers, the highest is 23), with a mean of 32. Judge Sotomayor was invoked 0 times (tied for last).

Independence. Judges should decide cases in a non-partisan way… A score of 0 means that a judge is just as likely to disagree as agree with a co-partisan (or opposite-partisan). Negative scores mean that a judge is more likely to agree with co-partisans. Judge Sotomayor’s score is -0.153 …which would have placed her 55th.

And how liberal is she?

Wendy Long at Bench Memos has that angle covered.

Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.

Isn’t there are word to describe a person that discriminates against people based on their race?

Verum Serum has a video of the White House and left-wing media responses to these shocking challenges to the pick. Charles Shumer warns the GOP not to oppose her in this video at Hot Air. Michelle Malkin and Gateway Pundit go over her liberal credentials in detail.

How religious faith drives the delusion of Darwinism

Commenter ECM alerted me to Cornelius Hunter’s new blog “Darwin’s God”. Cornelius is a software engineer like me who rose up the ranks of the firm through “sweat equity”, and was able to eventually pursue a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Illinois. I have his first book “Darwin’s God” and I read it. His thesis is basically that theological beliefs about what God would and would not do are the driving force behind evolution.

Evolution and the problem of evil

Here is his latest post about a debate that occured at Westminster Abbey between an atheistic evolutionist and a theistic evolutionist.

Here’s what the theistic evolutionist said:

Alexander is a theist and Jones an atheist. But they both agree that God would not have created what we find in this world. Everything from programmed cell death to the extinction of so many species and the food chain points to a massive economy of death in nature. With this sort of evidence, “What kind of a designer,” asks Alexander, “are you going to end up believing in?

…According to Alexander, this problem of death and evil does not leave much room for a divine creator. Alexander concludes that God did not create the details of the world. He is thus absolved of the world’s many evils. He implemented a framework of sorts, but let unguided processes do the rest.

And here’s what the atheist evolutionist said:

As with Alexander, Jones also finds that biology does not meet with his expectations of divine creation. “The feeblest of designer,” Jones has written, could improve the design of the human eye. This and other examples, says Jones, shows that complex organs are “not the work of some great composer but of an insensible drudge: an instrument, like all others, built by a tinkerer [i.e., the evolutionary process] rather than by a trained engineer.” As with Alexander, Jones’ religious sentiment mandates some sort of evolution to be true.

So let’s think about what causes people to become evolutionists, beyond the normal answers of peer-pressure, career preservation, wanting to be thought of as smart, wanting to rebel against parents, wanting to have sex and drink alcohol, etc. Is it about science? No. It’s about knowing what God would do and observing that the world does not correspond to these ideas of what atheists think God would do.

Remember that post I wrote a while back about Christopher Hitchens’ case against God. None of his arguments against God were based on evidence, but only on his personal preferences. God wouldn’t have done it that way. God should have done it this way. I don’t like this theology. I don’t like that feature of the universe. It’s just a long-running temper tantrum against any kind of authority, regardless of the evidence.

Here’s Dawkins explaining how unobservable aliens must ave evolved, even if Dawkins doesn’t have any evidence:

He doesn’t even need to see the evidence that we evolved. He knows that God wouldn’t have created the life this way, and so the evidence is irrelevant.

Evolution and the problem of sub-optimal design

Another way that assume that evolution is true, other than childhood trauma and the desire to be morally evil, is by assuming that if material forces did not do the creating, then the design must be optimal. Now I am a software engineer, with undergraduate and graduate degrees, a published paper that I presented at the IEEE and a patent in wireless technology. My specialty is architecture. So I will tell you.

There is no such thing as an optimal design.

As part of my graduate course work, I had to study the work done at the Software Engineering Institute at the Carnegie-Mellon University. They have invented an entire methodology for designing software based on analyzing trade-offs between alternative architectural candidates. They use use case scenarios, disaster scenarios, maintenance scenarios and other scenarios in order to evaluate how well each architecture performs.

All of the architectures can satisfy the so-called “functional requirements”. But the architectures differ in their ability to satisfy non-functional requirements, the “-ilities”. These can include performance, maintainability, security, extensibility, testability, simplicity, re-usability. This is the bread and butter that software engineers like me have to deal with every day.

Here’s an excerpt from a related post from Uncommon Descent:

It is simply impossible for one architecture to have all the “ilities” because many conflict. For instance, if I want high “security” I am going to have to give up a good deal of “interoperability”. A large part of architecture is actually deciding what you are going to give up, which incidentally affects how the architecture can change in the future (i.e. usually it cannot “evolve” to conform to different “ilities”). This is all still fairly new, but we are now able to judge architectures in terms of the “ilities” they match and the “ilities” they do not match. A better understanding of the conflicts between certain “ilities” is gradually developing.

When I worked in the embedded space on operating systems like VxWorks, we regularly traded-off memory against speed. It’s the nature of the engineering business. And make no mistake – God is a software engineer. He writes code.

Conclusion

Hunter’s article concludes with this:

Have the theists sold out? Have the theists been duped? Are they afraid to stand up for themselves? Are the atheists taking over? No, no, no, and no. The theists and atheists are united in their religious beliefs about God and how he would interact with the world. They may have their differences, but regarding evolution those differences are irrelevant. Their shared religious convictions mandate evolution. Religion drives science and it matters.

I have an idea. Let’s keep religion out of science and decide how we really got here, no holds barred. Instead of blocking debates and persecuting dissent, let’s actually have a debate about origins, and not rule intelligent causes out before we look at the evidence.

Further study

Atheist responses to scientific arguments for theism are fun to understand. Atheists attribute the beginning of the universe to untestable theories and the fine-tuning to an unobservable multiverse. (And don’t forget their lame responses to galactic, stellar and planetary habitability arguments)