Tuesday, 21 June 2011

In Passing

Charred pizza

Double Your Standards, Double the Fun  Dept
Ann Althouse reacts to a New York Times pizza recipe:
If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten...
If the Times really believed there is a global warming crisis, they’d abolish their print edition.


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Monday, 20 June 2011

Dear Diary...

Rainy day Monday...

Just sittin’ here watchin’ the rain comin’ down...

...that, and bailing ½" of water out of the basement.

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Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Press

Filling in the blanks

James Taranto:

When news organizations evade facts that fit what they see as undesirable stereotypes, they train news consumers to fill in the blanks even when the stereotypes do not apply.
...and to always be asking, "what else aren’t they telling us.”


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Thursday, 16 June 2011

In Passing

More climate corruption

Mark Lynas[1]:

Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder.
But instead, it was Greenpeace that "intervened”:
In a nutshell, the IPCC [press release] made yet another inflated claim that:
…80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century…
Unfortunately, it has been revealed that this claim is similar to the Himalayan glacier melt by 2035 fiasco, with nothing independent to back it up.  Worse, it isn’t the opinion of the IPCC per se, but rather that of Greenpeace.
Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre has unpacked the process, concluding:
The basis for this claim is a Greenpeace scenario.  The Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario was the same Greenpeace employee who had prepared the Greenpeace scenarios...

The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future.  It expects more from IPCC WG3 than a karaoke version of Greenpeace scenario.
Those feeling fretful about putative rise of anti-intellectualism might begin by investigating the strong odor of rotten fish wafting from the "climate science” establishment and its intellectual” supporters.

Another Report (added 110618 17:32):
LATER, Related:
[1] A warmingist who nonetheless qualifies for today’s Diogenes Award:
...This in no way undermines my commitment to phasing out fossil fuels in order to urgently tackle global warming.  Indeed, my upcoming book argues for a ‘planetary boundary’ of 350ppm – which is going further than most green groups would.  It is precisely because I am concerned to protect the integrity of the IPCC and climate science in particular that I worry about any involvement of vested interests from any side – whether from campaigning NGOs or industry – in what should be an unimpeachably neutral body.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Clipfile - June 15, 2011

"I’m greatly troubled by the 4-3 vote.  This means that 3 justices, liberals all, I’m sure, were willing to rule to uphold what was an unashamed, barely-disguised instance of the worst form of partisan judicial activism.

Which further suggests that liberal justices cannot be counted on to do more than simply work back[ward] from the decision that want to reach...

One vote stands between the rule of law and tyranny backed by a compliant, partisan judiciary.” - Jeff Goldstein

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In Passing

Republicans fail again

Investors Business Daily:

How is it that the party loudly proclaiming how the government shouldn't "pick winners and losers” could only manage to get 34 senators to oppose one of the most egregious examples of federal industrial policy?
Because they’re a bunch of weasels?
On Tuesday, the Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to end the $6 billion in tax subsidies plus the import tariffs that have given rise to Big Ethanol.  The measure got just 40 votes, six of them from Democrats.

The list (Republicans voting against cloture, for the subsidies):
Blunt (R-MO)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lugar (R-IN)
Moran (R-KS)
Portman (R-OH)
Roberts (R-KS)
Thune (R-SD)
Wicker (R-MS)

Unsurprisingly, Indiana’s Bobbsey Twins are right there, front-n-center.

RedState:  Dozens of Republicans Vote for Handouts to Big Labor
While everyone was focused on presidential politics, the House passed an amendment forcing government contractors to use labor unions on federal construction projects.  Oh, and like most bad legislation, this amendment passed by one vote, with the help of 27 Republicans.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011


“Marketplace” confuses taxes, expense deductions, and subsidies

Not deliberately, I’m sure.

First we start with an inaccurate headline:

Congressional vote could end ethanol tax
Erm... no. Read your own first paragraph:
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Meanwhile, tomorrow in the Senate, there'll likely be a vote on whether to end federal ethanol subsidies.
(Well, subsidies are just like taxes, right?  The money comes in, the money goes out, the music goes round‘n’round, yo-oh-oh-oh...)
The 45 cent a gallon tax credit for ethanol, the blended mixture of gasoline and corn, cost the federal government nearly $5.5 billion last year.  And the sponsor of the ethanol-scrapping amendment,
Quibble: Not "scrapping” ethanol, just the subsidy.

But we get the idea.  Onward!
...Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, says that money is needed to help balance the budget.  But some conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, headed by Grover Norquist, say ending the subsidies is like raising taxes.
Oh, come on.  This is totally disingenuous! The ATR wants to maintain subsidies?  Right!  Here’s what they actually have to say about ethanol:
...ATR is pleased to support Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment which ... fills in the gaps left by Senator Tom Coburn’s ethanol amendment...

The government’s mandate of ethanol usage distorts energy markets and raises prices for consumers.  In order to fully repeal the government’s unfair, anti-free market support of ethanol, all three policies must be eliminated—the mandate, the tax credit, and the tariff.  Only the combination of the Coburn and DeMint amendments completely kills the government’s support of the ethanol regime.

The DeMint amendment... insures that repealing the ethanol tax credit is done in a way that prevents additional money from flowing to the appropriations committees.  ATR has always opposed all forms of government support of ethanol.  Our goal has been to repeal the ethanol tax credit, tariffs and the mandate totally…without raising taxes.  The Coburn amendment, combined with the DeMint Amendment, accomplishes this longstanding goal.
Unpacking the verbiage, what the ATR seems to be worried about is any reduction in subsidy that is made without a corresponding tax cut.  But while ending subsidies alone may be "like” increasing taxes[1], that doesn’t mean that ATR opposes ending subsidies.  To imply such is to tell less than the whole truth.[2]

Now, back to our program:
Senator Coburn is with us on the phone to talk about the legislation. Good morning sir.

TOM COBURN: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Why end the ethanol subsidy?

COBURN: Well first of all, we can’t afford it -- number one.  For the $6 billion that we will have paid out this year, we will have borrowed $2.5 billion from the Chinese to pay it.  Number two is we’re subsidizing the blending of ethanol.  We have a federal law that mandates they have to blend it anyway.  And oh by the way, they don
’t want the money.  We have a letter from all the blenders saying, "We don’t need this money.”

CHIOTAKIS: So what’s been keeping the subsidy in place then?

COBURN: The farm belt legislators.

CHIOTAKIS: And this is all a political game do you think?

COBURN: Well, I don't know it's a political game.  You know, 40 percent of our corn is going to be used to make ethanol this year and yet, the price of food is skyrocketing.  And so we've created a false demand for this.  What we really need to do is utilize our own resources and [while] I’m not against ethanol, I just don't think we ought to necessarily incentivize it with our tax dollars.

CHIOTAKIS: And speaking of incentives, though, what about the subsidies that go to oil and gas producers as well.
"Subsidies” like allowed deductions for business expenses?  Exactly alike, right?  The money comes in, the money goes out, the music goes round‘n’round, yo-oh-oh-oh... and when the music stops, those eeevil corporations wind up with more than they deserve. No difference whatever!
COBURN: I think that's a legitimate point to raise, but there is no actual subsidy.
(See, he gets it.)
What there is tax expenditures that are not tax credits.
(Hold on, Senator, you’re borrowing Democrat rhetoric. And you shouldn’t. Repeat after me: "Letting taxpayers keep their own money is not an expenditure.” Once more: "Letting taxpayers keep their own money is not an expenditure.” Got it? Okay, now go and sin no more...)
We certainly shouldn’t subsidize with direct tax payer money to cause somebody to do something.  We don’t do that at all in the oil and gas industry.

CHIOTAKIS: Would you be in favor of re-looking at some of those oil and gas --

COBURN: What I want to do is look at the whole tax code because what we
’ve done is we’ve misdirected capital in the tax code. And if in fact we change those things, what we'll see is we can lower tax rates and actually get more revenue for the federal government.

CHIOTAKIS: What about the critics who say, and by critics I’m talking about obviously Grover Norquist, saying the end of the ethanol subsidy is akin to a tax increase.
Ridiculous!  Even The Huffington Post managed to report Norquist’s position accurately, and that was back on March 29th!  What’s your problem?
COBURN: I don’t think anybody in America is going to believe that.  When we go borrow money to pay the largest oil companies in the country to blend ethanol into gasoline, that’s just not spending money that we could save.  And so I don’t think it has anything to do with being a tax increase.

CHIOTAKIS: Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, Senator thank you.

COBURN: You're welcome.

[1]  This curious language doesn’t help with understanding ATR’s position; even The Economist got confused:  See this post and its updates.

[2]  The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait offers an interesting take - just ignore all the "tax cuts for the rich” rhetoric - on the politics in motion here, specifically the interaction between Coburn and Norquist.  (HT: The Mello Guy)

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Monday, 13 June 2011

In Passing

Entirely TOO clever?

Glenn Reynolds:

ON FACEBOOK, Virginia Postrel writes that she thinks "there’s no chance the Republicans will even seriously try to repeal the light bulb ban, which would require actually bringing a bill to the floor (or at least having committee hearings).  They want the benefits of public anger without actually addressing it–even on this easy issue. Needless to say the budget is much harder.”
Careful guys: Excessive cleverness (as opposed to genuine results) can be hazardous for your careers.
If Republicans can’t understand the appeal of sparing Americans from the light bulb police, what are they good for? - The Wall Street Journal, editorial, June 7, 2011: "The Light Bulb Police” [link no longer available]

Jeff Goldstein’s to-do list.  Not much progress so far... eh?
Haven’t quite "got it” yet.  In D.C., tinkering always trumps clarity.

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In Passing

If Richard Mourdock has any smarts...

He’ll get out front of this right away...

(110613, 20:45):  Too late?

Another UPDATE (110614 17:18): Moe Lane weighs in:
Let us say that rebelpundit was in fact a tracker - which is to say, that he was a guy with a camera whose job it was to make someone from the Other Side look bad by getting some embarrassing video footage.  Guess what?  If that had been true, then Mission Freaking Accomplished: and directly because of Holdren’s actions. ... That it happened here demonstrates a lack of training that is in some ways more worrisome than the assault itself.

Via:  Jim Hoft via Insty.

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

In Passing

Meaning we can scratch HIM off the list...

Peggy Noonan (remember her?) comes out for Mitt Romney.

(As if we didn’t have enough reasons already.)

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 22:08:02 GMT | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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