Archive for April, 2011

New Deal or Raw Deal?

April 29, 2011

Any unbiased analysis of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal must come to the conclusion that it was a failure. It was a failure in the sense that although many people were aided by the various programs, the New Deal failed to end the Great Depression. The US economy was essentially in the same state in 1940 as it was in 1932. There is good reason to suspect that the New Deal actually prolonged the depression.

Unfortunately, the Roosevelt myth has prevented many historians from making such an unbiased analysis. To this day, I sometimes see comments such as Roosevelt saved the economy from the excesses of free-market capitalism. To make matters worse, many of the same mistaken ideas that FDR used to plan the New Deal are still widely believed, such as the notion that only massive government spending can get a country out of a recession. President Obama used such ideas in his stimulus package, which worked no better than the New Deal.

Burton W. Folsom has provided us with the necessary and long overdue analysis of the New Deal in his book “New Deal or Raw Deal“. To Folsom’s mind, there is no question that FDR’s policies were a raw deal. He examines in detail the misallocation of resources that Roosevelt’s planners causes, the crony capitalism of the NRA, Roosevelt’s destructive vendettas against businessmen  who objected to policies that threatened to put them out of business. Folsom records Roosevelt’s use of WPA funds as political patronage to assist him in getting reelected in 1936 and the abuse of powers that culminated in his infamous court-packing scheme.

All in all, Folsom makes a powerful case that the New Deal was indeed a raw deal, whose ill effects are being felt in our economy and politics to this day.

Superman Renounces His US Citizenship

April 29, 2011

I first heard about this on Rush yesterday. It seems that everyone has picked it up and I don’t suppose that I have anything new to add. I think, though, that it is a little sad that some people feel the need to include political indoctrination everywhere. Now, they’ve ruined Superman.

The Royal Wedding

April 29, 2011

I understand that there has been a wedding over there across the pond.

I hope they are luckier than the previous generation of Windsors

I also hope they didn’t invite Mr. Bean.

Of course he has had run-ins with the royals before

The Birth Certificate

April 28, 2011

I note that Barak Obama has finally produced his birth certificate. he could have done that two years ago and saved himself a lot of trouble. I imagine he felt that all the birthers running around helped to discredit his opponents as loons. I suppose it is too much to expect the birthers to shut up now.

Indigenous Cases of Leprosy Found in the United States

April 28, 2011

Everything I know about Leprosy, I got from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. Thomas Covenant, the protagonist of the fantasy series suffers from leprosy and Stephen Donaldson, the author, had to go into a certain amount of detail about the disease to establish the character’s background. Since the books were written back in the late 1970’s, it is no surprise that my information is out of date. So I was interested to read this article.

In the Chronicles, Covenant’s doctors told him that the method of transmission was unknown. It seems that they have established that leprosy is transmitted from person to person and even from armadillos. Covenant was also told that there was no cure, only treatments to halt the spread of the disease. According to the article, leprosy can be cured with antibiotics and the patient, Jose Ramirez is disease free.

Science and the EPA Administrator

April 27, 2011

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson spoke at the Power Shift 2011 conference. She had this to say about the role of science in her administration;

Let’s take a minute to look at a little bit of the road over the past two years. We restored science to its rightful place as the backbone of everything the Environmental Protection Agency does. And that includes the science of climate change. We are using that science to take action on climate change.

No, no, no. Like so many on the Left, Ms. Jackson is using science as an Authority for political action. The problem is that science is not an infallible Authority, but rather is a method for asking the questions. Anyone who states that the science is settled is either misinformed or being deceptive. the science is never settled and any hypothesis in only as good as the last experiment or observation. In this light, I would like to quote the late, great Richard Feynman. At his 1974 Caltech Commencement address he referred to “cargo cult science” and had this to say;

But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition. In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

If Ms. Jackson were really interested in bringing science to the EPA, she would adopt this skeptical attitude and insist on the most rigorous testing of every assumption or hypothesis that the EPA uses to formulate policy. I don’t see that happening.

I Predict…

April 27, 2011

I am going to use my awesome psychic powers to see into the future. I predict that in the 2012 election, anything Barak Obama’s opponent says or does will be called racist. Any attempt to discuss his record will be considered racist. Any suggestion that he has been less than a wonderful president will be considered racist.

And, if Obama is not reelected, then there will be hundreds of editorials written about how the United States is an irredeemably racist nation.

Pawns Are Sacrificed

April 27, 2011

I wish that the people who profess to be for peace in the Middle East and concern about the plight of the Palestinians would hold the Palestinians to the same standards of behavior as they do the Israelis. By this, I mean that every act of terrorism, violence and barbarism Hamas and the Palestinian Authority should be condemned without reservation, that calling for the destruction of Israel not be tolerated, and the  antisemitic propaganda taught to children and shown on their media be ended. If the people who claim to speak for world opinion and human rights would do this they would be doing both sides in that conflict a favor.

If it were made abundantly clear, that violence on the part of any Palestinian leaders would not be tolerated and that they have no choice but to learn to live with Israel, instead of the encouragement they now get, then perhaps those leaders might decide to try a different, less reprehensible strategy to get what they want. Or, failing that, perhaps the Palestinian people would work to choose new leaders. Maybe they might become more peaceful and develop their country instead of hating.

This won’t happen though. The tragedy of the Palestinians is that they are pawns, and pawns are sacrificed.

Last Typewriter Factory in the World Closes

April 26, 2011

From the Daily Mail, I read that  the last typewriter factory has closed. Godrej and Boyce still had one factory left in Mumbai (Bombay) India but even in India the typewriter has become obsolete. It’s the end of an era.

I think that is must have been at least fifteen years since I have used a typewriter. It was just after I graduated from Indiana University and I needed to make up a resume. I think it was a Brother electric typewriter. I used it in college. They had computers, even way back then, but this was before Windows, so I was yet proficient at using them. I could never write a first draft on a typewriter, though. The clicking of the keys distracted me and I made too many typos. I had to write out papers in long hand and then type them out, hoping I didn’t make too many mistakes, when I was ready to turn them in. This was not a very good system since my hand got cramped after writing a few paragraphs.

It was a relief when I finally did begin to use a computer to write. I learned to use one of the Apples on the campus, remember this was before Windows. It was so easy. The words just appeared as I thought them, and I could correct my typos.

Progress is good, but I do miss the old ways sometimes.

A Tail is a Leg

April 26, 2011

Abraham Lincoln once asked his cabinet, “How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?”

Everyone in his cabinet replied, “Five”.

“Wrong”, said Lincoln, “The dog has four legs. If you call its tail a leg, that doesn’t make it a leg.”

That is exactly how I feel about the subject of same-sex or gay marriage. They can call such unions marriages as much as they might want however that does not change the facts. By definition a marriage is “The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.” This isn’t just a matter of the dictionary definition. Marriage as it has always been practiced has always been a relationship between a man and a woman. This is not arbitrary, there are reasons for this. If I may quote scripture:

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam[h] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[i] and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[j] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,[k]
for she was taken out of man.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:19-24.

One of the stranger delusions of the Left is that gender is irrelevant, that men and women are completely equal and can be exchange without any differences. This is, of course, foolishness, as anyone who has ever watched little boys and little girls in a playground can attest. Like most of the Left’s delusions, it can only be believed by completely ignoring any real-world experience. The simple truth is that men and women are not equal and cannot be equal. That is not to say,of course, that one is superior to the other, rather that each gender is equally important but different. They are meant to complement each other; the man’s strengths and weaknesses balancing the woman’s strengths and weaknesses. I really don’t see how the dynamics of a same-sex relationship could be stable, unless one man were very effeminate or one woman were very masculine. And in fact, homosexual relationships do not appear to be especially stable or long lasting.

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