Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why has the West declined?

Whiskey has an answer, and it is an interesting one, combining economics, demographics, and human sexuality. I'm not so sure about his argument, but I think he missed out on an major opportunity when he didn't have his post ready in time for Valentine's Day:

But these cultural Marxists don't have magical powers of "evil." If people find their ideas deeply attractive, something must be deep at work all over the West, to transform society so clearly and completely in less than fifty years.

Rather than some magical powers of persuasion, unstoppable, or deep conspiracy, or anything of that nature, what has happened all over the West, from Japan and Coastal China to Italy to Norway to the United States, is a broad set of changes, mostly demographic, that have tilted the West towards Multiculturalism, political correctness, and general weakness in all areas along with a general cultural collapse in music, arts, entertainment, and morals.

These broad trends are:
--A huge increase in wealth, through global manufacturing, spurring a global consumer environment
--The collapse of manufacturing in the West
--The so-called "Gentry" of Western nations becoming impossibly rich, and therefore influential outside their limited numbers
--The decline of the middle and working classes in the West
--The Pill, Condom, increased female earning, and anonymous urban living, leading to the death of the nuclear family
--The fragmentation of unifying mass communication institutions and media
--Consumerism, advertising, marketing, and mass media becoming a gay and female ghetto
--Lack of "affordable family formation" leading to hedonism instead of old Western cultural values

Let us examine these factors, and see how they created the decline of the West by undermining the West's fundamental advantage: how people cooperate, in high-trust networks, stemming from widespread nuclear families. Since the secret of the West's advance for nearly a thousand years, from 1000 AD to 1965 or so, is the story of the spreading and deepening of the nuclear family and the resulting cooperation among people in nation-states, driving ever greater increases in wealth, technology, and military, social, and cultural power.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's in the Porkulus Monster?

Here's Some of What's in The So-Called "Stimulus" (A complete breakdown here):
$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children welfare program
$300 million for grants to combat "violence against women"
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion added to Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for "youths"
$1 billion for community-development block grants
$4.2 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities" (funds for ACORN and other radical groups)
$650 million for digital-TV coupons
$90 million to educate "vulnerable populations" (more money for radical activists non-profits, such as ACORN)
$83 billion for the earned income credit (which are just "tax refund" payments to people who don't pay taxes)
$150 million for the Smithsonian
$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
$88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
$448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
$450 million for NASA (for "climate-research missions")
$600 million for NOAA (for "climate modeling")
$1 billion for the Census Bureau
$89 billion for Medicaid
$30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
$20 billion for food stamps
$850 million for Amtrak
$87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
$1.7 billion for the National Park System
$55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
$7.6 billion for "rural community advancement programs"
$150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
$150 million for "producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish"
$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million of which is for global-warming research)
$2 billion for a "clean coal" power plant in Illinois
$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
$200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
$300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
$1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
$1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
$8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$4.5 billion for electricity grid
$79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

Adding all of the above up, that's just $420 billion, 926 million of it.

This will not help the economy. This will further destroy our economy. This is a massive transfer of wealth from citizens and businesses to government, labor unions, and far-left non-profit organizations. The legislation also effectively repeals welfare reform, the single most successful domestic policy of the 1990s.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

US Troops Are Getting Too Fat!

So says liberal jackass Gregg Zoroya in USA Today.

The number of troops diagnosed as overweight or obese has more than doubled since the start of the Iraq war, yet another example of stress and strains of continuing combat deployments, according to a recent Pentagon study.

Let me see if I have this right....Obesity is in large part a product of inactivity. Being deployed in a war zone entails many hazards, but becoming a couch potato is not one of them. If servicemen really are packing on the pounds while deployed in Iraq, it doesn't mean they're too stressed out, but that they don't have enough to do over there.

As it turns out, however, Zoroya's story is remarkably thin (bad pun, I know). Just for starters, the headline is wrong in declaring that obesity has doubled. Here's what the piece actually says:

From 1998 to 2002, the number of servicemembers diagnosed as overweight remained steady at about one or two out of 100. But those numbers increased after 2003, according to the study, and today nearly one in 20 are diagnosed as clinically

Zoroya's lead paragraph combines "overweight" and "obese," which are two *different* levels of weight, and the headline writer settled on the latter, which is inaccurate, although obviously both more sensational and a shorter word. But all the study finds is that the percentage of overweight servicemen has increased, to 5% from 1% or 2%. Wow. Big deal.

The military has physical-fitness requirements, so that the likelihood of a soldier being *obese* is quite slim.

By contrast, Zoroya writes, "one in five Americans between ages 18 to 34 is obese, the study says." In other words, by the study's numbers, a young American adult not in the service is four times as likely to be *obese* as a military man is to be merely *overweight*, which is a lower weight level.

And even then, some obvious questions need to be asked:

1) Are the numbers adjusted for age? If not, it may be that the expanding number of overweight soldiers is a function of the average soldier's being older, as a result of higher re-enlistment and the deployment of reserve and National Guard units into active duty.

2) Are servicemen--and especially older servicemen--more likely to be examined by military physicians during wartime than peacetime?

The most amusing flaw in this story, though, is that Zoroya quotes the study as saying the exact opposite of what the reporter claims it says:

"Stress and return from deployment were the most frequently cited reasons" for gaining weight, the study said.

Not deployment--return from deployment. This makes perfect sense: On coming home after months in a war zone to the land of McDonald's, home cooking and alcohol, who wouldn't indulge enough to put on some pounds?

There is a reason for this new liberal media tack. They have realized that they can't smear our brave troops as monsters and baby-killers anymore, so now they fall over themselves to portray them as victims, unfortunates, and otherwise losers. The media depiction of vets as victims is obviously superior to its depiction of them as monsters, but it is full of its own condescension.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Health Care now means someone else decides.

The bill will allow HHS to decide who is worth spending money on for medical care.

Feeling old? Just die and save the feds from making the decision for you.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Only In San Fransicko

San Francisco officials seek toilet torcher

Investigators are puzzled by wave of potty pyromania

SAN FRANCISCO - Construction workers are anxious and investigators are puzzled. Someone has been sending San Francisco's portable toilets up in flames in a wave of potty pyromania.

"It's an outrage," said Scott Johnson, a 57-year-old contractor who has been working on apartment building renovations on Russian Hill, the elegant neighborhood that is home to famously crooked Lombard Street and has had most of the fires.

Since November, at least 20 of the ubiquitous construction site toilets have been set afire in the city, creating a trail of malodorous wreckage and causing an estimated $50,000 in property damage, according to fire officials.

Most fires set at night

Investigators have little to go on. Most of the fires have been set at night, although one portable potty burst into flames during a recent afternoon.

"Somebody's getting very bold," said Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge. It's not unheard of for vandals to strike the portable restrooms but "this is unusual," she said.

Contractors have been trying to foil the attacks by securing or camouflaging their industrial outhouses. A walk around Russian Hill last week found almost none of the familiar bright blue toilets, save for one lashed to a large metal trash bin and another tucked discreetly behind folds of black material.

Theories vary on who is responsible.

"Kids would be my guess," said Johnson.

Restroom arson claims units

Alex Rodriguez, president of Concord-based Far West Sanitation & Storage Containers, thinks whoever is doing it is motivated by the thrill of lawlessness, "trying to play catch-and-seek with the police." His company has lost a couple of units to the restroom arson.

The loss of a portable toilet can amount to several hundred dollars.

Plus, there is the unenviable job of cleaning up a disgusting mess, and there is the threat that a fire could spread.

"It kind of worries me and worries everybody that I talk to," Rodriguez said. "These people, I don't think they're criminals, but they are kind of out of their minds to do that."