Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It Gets Worse

An article here on Pajamas Media details the extent of the murderous destruction that was planned by Ayers and his colleagues. Once again, the only reason that the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil prior to Oklahoma City was averted was that a few of the scumbags planning it did the universe a favor and blew themselves up.

Here, this video shows what these rat bastard commies were really planning. They were planning to take over the nation and create a system of reeducation camps. Anyone who was a die-hard capitalist would simply be eliminated. They estimated about 25,000,000.

I cannot stress this enough. Ayers said that he felt they didn't do enough. He has never given up his radicalism. In fact, his entire work as an "educator" has been to push his radicalism into schools.

And now over 3000 dipsticks have written in support of this jackhole.

They were right about one thing, however. Some people simply can't be rehabilitated.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a hot topic these days. There are large numbers of Americans who are without health insurance of any kind. We always hear about the large numbers who can't afford health insurance, the single mothers, the young children. What no one ever talks about are the numbers of those who are uninsured by choice. Most of them are in their 20s and 30s. They have jobs and if they wanted to make it a priority they could buy health insurance. Some have even turned down coverage from work. It's hard to get an accurate number of who is uninsured and for what reason. Many of the numbers counting the uninsured also include in their counts people who have a brief gap in coverage when they change jobs or age out of their parents plans and switch to coverage via their school.

It is a problem that there are people who want medical coverage and don't have it, and we need to do something for them. We do have options out there and a number of these people don't exercise their option.

Reason TV has a good video about those without healthcare by choice:

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Friday, October 17, 2008

"Spreading the Wealth"

It amazes me how many in this country are ignorant of basic economics.

I can understand it amongst college students. College students are heavy on idealism and emotion, while still being fairly short on actual knowledge. Experimenting with socialism is to be expected from those types of people.

One would think, however, that after some basic economics education, they would know better. Instead, you have large portions of the population who think that it's the government's job to redistribute income.

Marxism was tried in a number of nations during the 20th century. The result was was a ton of economic misery, and approximately 100 million dead, dwarfing the number murdered even by the Nazis.

There is also the moral issue. As economist Walter Williams never tires of pointing out, taking money from one person to give to another is nothing short of legalized theft. Charity is giving your own money to the needy. Giving someone else's is theft.

Next, we have a legal issue. Nowhere in the United States Constitution is the federal government granted the power to redistribute income. Therefore, by the 10th Amendment, the government is prohibited from doing it. The same is true about education and several other hot-button issues, but that is an argument for another day. And don't get me started on those legal nimrods who think the absence of the word "expressly" in that amendment means the government can do whatever it wants.

More than anything, however, we have the practical issue. Consider, for a moment, the example of a person who makes a lot of money. What will the person do with this money?

Will they simply put it in a box under their pillow? In that case, the money is wasted and not helping anyone.

Suppose the person puts it in the bank. That gives the bank more money to lend to people to buy homes, start businesses, or whatever else they need to do. Their wealth is helping people.

Suppose they invest it. This money is invested in businesses that provide goods and services and create jobs. Again, their wealth is helping people.

Suppose instead, however, the wealthy person decides to spend it on themselves. They could buy a yacht. People need to build that yacht. People need to maintain it. People need to fuel it. If it's big enough, there will be a need for a crew. It will need all manner of supplies and furnishings. This provides a large number of opportunities for other people to get their hands on that wealthy person's money.

The best thing about each of those scenarios is that people get their hands on the wealthy person's money by doing something productive. They provide material goods or services. Those who provide these goods and services well have the opportunity to become wealthy themselves. And the wealthy person receives a benefit themselves from investing in this manner. This provides incentive for the person to continue to earn money so that they can continue to receive benefits. All this is completely leaving aside any jobs or benefits provided by the wealthy person's livelihood in the first place.

The socialist model, however, is to simply take the money earned by the wealthy person. The first problem is that this person receives no benefit from the earned money. Why bother working hard if you have no benefit? This is one of the primary reasons communism doesn't work.

Now, lets look at what happens to this money. The government provides a bureaucracy to handle this money. This costs a large amount of the money. Then the government hands it out to people who haven't earned it. Some are facing temporary hard times. Others have squandered opportunities handed to them. The government sets up a system in which the benefits of staying on the dole are significantly higher than anything they could hope to see in their first few years off the dole. This provides a severe disincentive to ever improve oneself.

A large amount of this money, however, goes to people who don't need it. Even the yeoman's work done by Citizens Against Government Waste only tells part of the story. The number of people who are employed by the government simply to handle the consequences of the byzantine bureaucracy is one that is probably impossible to measure. How many office workers are needed to handle pork barrel projects? How many field the phone calls or handle the paperwork? How many offices need to be staffed and supported by maintenance crews to handle this crap?

As a general rule of thumb, any time anything is done by the government instead of the private sector you can expect it to cost twice as much and provide half the benefits, with no place else to go if it doesn't work out.

Certainly, this system does "share the wealth." It does so, however, by taking money from those who are productive, and gives it to those who are not. It removes the incentive for people to work hard and provide jobs to benefit people. The money taken from business would have been used to make the businesses more productive. It's used to purchase equipment, which someone else would then get paid to make. It's used to hire people, who then have jobs. If it's taken by the government, it pretty much goes to waste.

Especially in tough economic times it is completely insane to punish people for being successful. High taxes and tariffs were what caused the United States to face a Great Depression, while the rest of the world didn't fare nearly as badly. If you want to get things going, let people do what they do best. The Constitution set up government to handle certain tasks that needed to be centralized: national defense, regulating interstate commerce, etc. For the rest, however, the best thing that government can do is get out of the way.

If it were to do so, everything would be cheaper and easier to do. Those who are hurting would have less of a hurdle to get over. Those who can help them would have many more resources with which to do so. Our worst shape areas right now, health care, housing, etc., are in bad shape for a large part because of government meddling making it impossible to properly do business. The solution is not more government, it is less.

If you want to spread the wealth around, let the people who own it do that themselves. Even if they just let it sit in the bank, it's still being shared with people who are actually productive.

Edited 9:41 AM to fix a typo

Monday, October 13, 2008


Now, I know that the plural of anecdote is not data and that these are just three random people. I'm still frightened by their ignorance about their own candidate's policies. Are there that many uninformed voters out there?

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Willful Ignorance of the Academics

I have already spoken about my first experience with what a large swath of academia has degenerated into. Basically what really annoyed me about the whole situation was that I realized that one could spend an entire career there without accomplishing anything real. I couldn't stand sitting around being judged by a bunch of smug intellectual lightweights who are physically incapable of determining the difference between parody and reality. If your work is indistinguishable from crap, then guess what: it's crap!

The worst part, however, is how academics are increasingly seen to be defending scoundrels. A classic case is the Duke Lacrosse affair; 88 idiots from the faculty jumped on the case to publish an ad decrying the racism and sexism of the Duke community, further exacerbating the railroading of several innocent individuals. Even after it was proven that the students had been framed, most of these jackasses refused to recant. For some reason, they are still employed as professors.

Another example of academics circling the wagons is the Ward Churchill affair. He first became famous for saying something idiotic. Many were offended and demanded that he be fired. Investigations showed that he wasn't just an idiot, but an outright fraud. He was fired for lying about his qualifications (he had none). To this day, he has defenders who believe that he was railroaded politically. His initial attention was definitely political. His firing, however, was not. The unanswered question, however, is how he was hired in the first place.

Next, we have the case of William Ayers. He first came to prominence as a terrorist. As head of the Weatherman, he led a group which declared war on America. They planted bombs at the Capitol, the Pentagon, and several other places. See here for a list of their various despicable acts. Read here an account from a man who was a child when the Weathermen set 3 firebombs and tried to murder his family. Ayers went underground when his friend and his girlfriend encountered karma - that is to say they were blown up by their own nail bomb which they were planning to use on innocents.

It is one thing to believe that your country is on the wrong track and to try to change it. It is another thing entirely to use that as an excuse for murder.

Unfortunately, the police screwed up. They apparently improperly handled the wiretapping. As a result, Ayers walked free. He doesn't appear to have tried to kill anyone for a while. He has never, however, expressed regret for what he did. The money quote, which has been repeated quite a bit recently, is from an interview in the New York Times, published on September 11th, 2001. In it, he says "I don't regret setting bombs, I feel we didn't do enough.''

The terrorists of the Weather Underground belong, at the very least behind bars, if not underground themselves. Such people do not deserve to breathe the free air. Such a person definitely does not belong in a position where he could influence young people. But that is exactly where the University of Illinois at Chicago has him.

He has spent the last few decades attempting to push his radicalism into grade school classrooms. He has never given up his terrorist roots. He takes pride in them. This pride is well documented. It takes willful ignorance for anyone to examine his career and not see this.

Sadly, over 1800 idiots with college jobs have signed a statement professing just this ignorance. They claim that he is being railroaded for his political views.

This discussion on the Core Knowledge Blog captures the opinions of many who are involved in education. The co-signers completely ignore his history of violence, and his continued belief that his violence was justified. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to capture this.

This isn't about political opinions. This is about useful idiots pretending attempted murder never happened, while coddling a brutal radical, and placing him in a position where he might influence children. Apparently if they like someone's opinion, they will be willing to overlook any crime.

Sometimes bad guys get away. That's life. It is those who support him and promote him who really deserve shame.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ethnic Foods Fail

The other day, I received my usual email from Williams-Sonoma, advertising new stuff.

This one had the headline New Ebelskiver Filled-Pancake Pan.

Now, I will leave aside, for the moment the fact that it's made of cast-aluminum and therefore is not capable of retaining nearly enough heat to properly cook them, and that such a pan should really be made of cast-iron, the cookware of the gods.

I will only ask one slightly snarky question. Do we trust Williams-Sonoma to help us make Æbleskiver when the can't even spell it right?

Yes, I know that "Æ" isn't part of the English language, but Ae would work just as well.

For a real demostration of æbleskiver, see this video of ES1 making them.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

No more Anonymous comments

As of now anonymous comments are disabled on this blog.

Read this to see why.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

An Answer

Yesterday, I posted a question asking whether Gwen Iffil could be fair in this debate, given her upcoming book. After watching this debate I am pleased to say, yes she can.

I don't apologize for asking the question and I am thrilled with the answer.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Does this seem fair to you?

A rare political post from me - I generally leave them to Peter.

There is a vice-presidential debate tomorrow. It is being moderated by Gwen Ifill. In theory, a moderator of a debate is supposed to be a neutral party. But I am questioning her ability to do so. She has a book coming out - being published by Random House. The title is "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" . The description on the Random House site describes it as follows:

In THE BREAKTHROUGH, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.

This book is set to be released on January 20, 2009 aka Inauguration Day. Obviously, this book will sell much better if Obama actually wins the election, providing Iffel a financial stake in the outcome. I know that everyone has a personal stake in the election, but how impartial can you be if you will benefit financially from a specific candidate winning?

For the record, I would be against a moderator who had written a McCain book.

Here's a promotional video released on YouTube by Random House.

What do you think? Can Ifill be a neutral party, or does her upcoming book taint the debate and open it up to criticism?

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