Climate Change in Moscow

And to certify you of the weather here, men say, that these three hundred years was never so warm weather in this country at this time of the year.  

From Hakluyt’s Moscow voyages:

 THE LETTER OF MASTER GEORGE KILLINGWORTH, THE COMPANY’S FIRST AGENT IN MUSCOVY,Touching their entertainment in their second voyage.  Anno 1555, the 27th of November, in Moscow. 

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Clinton charities refiling taxes for last five years

Story here.

Yes, they are hypocrites, just like these MSNBC people who didn’t file their taxes properly.

I have no doubt that some of the bad filings are the result of trying to get out of ‘paying their fair share.’

But honestly, mostly (except for Al Sharpton) I think these are illustrations of the fact that the tax code is a complete mess.   It’s hard for even experts with deep pockets to get it right.  We need a simplified tax code.

One thing I’ve noticed in discussing a flat tax with those on the left is that they obviously never ready any flat tax proposals by the people who make them. They prefer their information second hand, from people who have their own anti-flat tax agenda.

There was one discussion I had several years back with a single mom that particularly stands out for me.

She was smart, savvy, open-minded, somewhat left leaning.  She was explaining why she was opposed to flat taxes, a specific plan in particular.  One of the reasons she felt most strongly about is, she said, that all flat taxes had her paying more than she already paid, and as a single mom on a moderate income, she just couldn’t see that happening, and people needed to think more about the impact these sorts of tax plans had on the poor.

The flat tax we were discussing, like most flat taxes I’ve seen, had a threshold.  That is, that nearly all of them set a threshold income level that wasn’t taxed, and then all taxes were computed based only on what you made above that threshold.  For the one we were discussing, the threshold was poverty level.

Say poverty level for her family was 20 thousand (I don’t know, I ‘m just saying)- and she made 30,000 a year.  She’d only be asked to pay taxes on ten thousand.

Now, you may agree or disagree, that’s not my point.  The thing is- she did not know that.  She did the numbers and she would actually owe less with that tax plan than with the one we had in place at the time.  She was kind of sick about not knowing the facts-  the bad information had influenced her vote in a recent election.

Yes, we can she’s a grown up and it’s her job to know, and that’s true.  It’s definitely on her to take the time to get factual, accurate information.  However, a single mom is a very busy person.  We all take short cuts, though, getting some info from sources we trust, taking their honesty for granted.

So there’s the thing that made me feel kind of sick.  The sources she trusted lied to her.  They couldn’t possibly have made a mistake about it; they claimed to have investigated, and the proposed flat tax plan was very simple and very clear.  Either they didn’t investiage or they just didn’t care, but whichever it was, they lied.    They told her a naked lie for their own agenda, deliberately taking advantage of the poor for their own political reasons while posturing as defenders of the poor.  They pushed something on the poor that was actually worse for them, and lied about the alternative.

In politics, whether you are left or right, some of your most dangerous enemies are those claiming to be your advocates.

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The Dangerous Politics of Wishful Thinking

The Chevy Volt is a failure, and it’s the most expensive vehicular failure ever- thanks to government subsidies based on wishful thinking. Convinced that they know better than the markets, government agents determined to funnel our money, taxpayers hard-earned dollars, to support this product. That means each single Volt actually costs around a quarter of a million dollars.

The same sorts of people who think it’s great that the government subsidized Volt (it got more government subsidies than cars in East Germany) talk a lot about why you should not be saving your own hard-earned dollars by buying the cheaper products at Walmart or the grocery store because of ‘hidden costs.’ You should instead shop at more expensive stores because you don’t know the ‘hidden’ costs of the less expensive items in terms of cost to the environment, human costs. Those hidden costs include collapse of local economies (revealing an ignorance of history), increased pollution via excessive production and transportation costs, and so forth.The quarter of a million dollars in government (that is, taxpayer) funding to the Volt is far more loaded with unpleasant hidden costs.

There is a limited amount of money in circulation. I honestly think most of my younger leftist friends genuinely do not understand that. They think the government can just print up whatever paper money it needs, lacking the basic economic knowledge that would allow them to recognize that thus inflation if the fiat money supply actually reduces consumer spending power by making your paper dollars worth less.  It’s  a recipe for economic collapse.

Government has no wealth at all that it did not take from you or me. This private wealth is our personal money that we would have spent elsewhere. So by taking your money and mine and spending it on its pet projects, like the Volt, the government is not just depriving you and me, but also depriving the businesses and charities where we would have spent our money had we been permitted to keep it.

Here’s a small scale example of the unseen consequences: a few years aback a person expressing need came to our church. Three of us contributed money for new winter boots. Another young couple with little financial elasticity bought her a carseat. As it turned out, she was one of those people who make the rounds of churches asking for things. She’d been given a carseat before.  She had no need of the second- she was hoping her sob story would open up wallets.

One way to look at it is to remind everybody that it’s all the Lord’s money and at least everybody’s hearts were in the right place, and it doesn’t matter if somebody was a scam artist or not, all we are supposed to do is give (never mind the verse that says if a man won’t work don’t let him eat, or the many, many verses condemning deceit). That’s one way to look at it, but it’s a cock-eyed and patched way to look at the situation.

Realistically, the money spent on helping that person is money that, once spent, could not be spent any other way that month, because it was gone.  If you spend X over there, you can’t spend X elsewhere.  YOu can spend another, different batch of X, but you cannot respend the one you handed over to Volt makers or carseats or eggs.  It’s not magic, but people act like it is. The hundred dollars for the car seat could have gone to somebody with a genuine need who now won’t be helped because there was already a great sacrifice made by that family to get the money for the carseat.  They didn’t have another hundred dollars to give.  I can speak for them, but I know if it had been me and I had to turn down a subsequent request for help, I’d be rather heartsick that I couldn’t help somebody who really needed it because I’d been scammed by somebody who didn’t.
The money the government took from me to shore up a failing consumer product,the Chevy Volt, is money they took out of taxpayer pockets.  If we had been permitted to keep our own money, rather than forced to hand it over at the point of a government gun, we could have done other things with it that now we can’t.  We could have spent that money at a small local business, shoring up a local business owner. It’s money we could have given to the local homeless shelter, or to the crisis pregnancy center, or used to buy a coat for a child in need, or presents for Angel Tree children with parents in jail, or we could have been selfish and ordered piza- thus contribuing to the wages of the pizza owner and employees. It’s money that could have been used by thousands of consumers to support projects and ideas on the open market that consumers actually wanted, rather than the failed Volt.

Wind Turbines- are a similar educational tale.  Many people get excited when they see wind turbines going up in their area, thinking this will help us wean ourselves from oil dependency.   But most wind turbines are nothing more than a hat trick really, when it comes to weaning us from oil.

Minnesotans for Global Warming reported that in the last 30 years, the United States has had 14,000 wind turbines abandoned. Apparently, once the subsidies and the wind run out, these 20-story high Cuisinarts are de-bladed and retired. This means more bats and migratory birds will live, but it also means that the only reason those giant bird choppers were built is because the government artificially changed the market- temporarily, making bird blenders temporarily cost effective.  But without being propped up by government funds, they aren’t that effective.  .

From Minnesotans for Global Warming: “The symbol of Green renewable energy, our savior from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.”

There really is just no such thing as truly ‘sustainable’ energy, except the kind the greenies hate.

Posted in charity, global warming | 2 Comments

best book lists

Amazon has a list of top 100 books to read.  I was not impressed with their list over all, and I’ve only read 40 0f them.

This is a list of the best 50 books you should read.  I’ve read 35.

NPR’s top 100 fantasy and sci-fi books.  I’ve only read 39 out of a hundred, but I’m a little offended that Andre Norton is not on this list.

I loved this list, which is probably why I’ve read 62 of 100:

“The Big Read was a survey on books carried out by the BBC in the UK in 2003, where over three quarters of a million votes were received from the British public to find the nation’s best-loved novel of all time.”

There’s another book survey based on this one, called ‘The BBC Thinks You’ve Only Read Six of These.”  I had read 64, although I realized later it’s 65- I read all the books in Pullman’s trilogy, but didn’t catch the trilogy when I was skimming.

I’ve only read 26 of Time’s all time best 100 novels- but then there was the small print:

“Welcome to the massive, anguished, exalted undertaking that is the ALL TIME 100 books list. The parameters: English language novels published anywhere in the world since 1923, the year that TIME Magazine began, which, before you ask, means that Ulysses (1922) doesn’t make the cut.”

 

Oh, this one looked fun: “Books that every English Literature student should read. This list is in alphabetical order.  In high school or middle school almost everyone had to read books like Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and The Scarlet Letter.”

60 out of 142

“These are the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990–1999 according the American Library Association.”
I have my quarrel with their standard for ‘challenged.’  I suspect they ignore some challenges and inflate some others that might be more like ‘Can you not put the picture of nearly naked Howard Stern at eye level to my toddler right next to the check out desk?’
I’ve read 35
“A list of the best selling books of all time, fiction and nonfiction best sellers. What are the best selling books of all time? Since religious and political books, such as The Holy Bible, are often given away for free, they have not been included on this list. These top selling books span multiple centuries, covering many genres and original languages. And if you think Harry Potter or Twilight top this list, think again, they’re not even close.”
54 out of 101, which put me in the top 2% of those who took the test.
Catch-22 was on about half the lists, and I didn’t check it off because I am not sure.  I think I read it.  But then I think maybe I just am very familiar with it because it’s such an icon for my generation.  I’ll have to doublecheck.
And I think it’s time for me to read Dune

 

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The Chemistry of Things That Go Bang

This is cool:

And this is even cooler (it’s nearly half an hour long, and some of you will want a slight language warning):

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Printable Memory Verse Cards

Set printer paper to index card, landscape, margins 1.3, then choose print preview to make sure it’s going to work.  Print onto index cards- or print on paper that you cut and tape or glue to the index cards.

Memory verse Proverbs 4 7 wisdom

Memory verse Galatians 6 9 not weary in well doing

Memory verse John 14 2 go to prepare a place

memory verse Proverbs 17 27 knowledgable spare their words

memory verse proverbs 14 29 slow to anger

memory verse proverbs 10 19 multitude of words increases sin

memory verse proverbs foods feed on foolishness

memory verse zechariah 7 vs 9 and 10 oppress not

memory verse Philippians 2 14 15 grumbling and complaining

memory verse proverbs 1 5 wise man hears increases learning

memory verse proverbs 9 9 instruct the wise and they become wiser

memory verse proverbs 14 6 knowledge is for the perceptive

memory verse proverbs 10 8 wise receive commandments

memory verse psalm 100 3 we are sheep of his pasture

memory verse psalm 100 4 enter his gates with thanksgiving

memory verse psalm 100 5 the lord is good mercy everlasting

You’ll find tips on learning memory verses and other Bible study ideas here.

 

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MOre on the Hugo

 

Quick and hasty backstory: Hugo awards for Science Fiction titles are awarded based on votes by members of worldcon, a group of sci fi hobbyists, fans, writers, editors and publishers who share their mutual love of sci-fi by getting together once a year or so.  Only of late, some aver that they share an even greater love of leftwing politics and social justice warrior syndrome, and would never give an award to anybody who violates one of these three conditions:

  1. The author is popular with, or part of, some of the cliques.

  2. The book appeals to the cliques’ politics (which overwhelmingly skew left).

  3. The author has managed to not upset the angriest of all cliques which shall not be named.

Violate one of those rules and you are hosed.

But appeasing political bias and being a good book are not mutually exclusive. Something can satisfy A-C and still be a good book. There have been plenty of good works that still got onto the ballot. Yet you are trying to dismiss our argument that there is bias, by saying look at these good books that satisfy our bias! And meanwhile, we are all like, where are all the works that violated A, B, or C?

 

I have seen zero evidence that refutes this.

So, as you now know, Larry Correia and Brad Torgensen created a Sad Puppies plan, where they nominated works of fiction they thought well-written, but which would not be likely to be nominated because of A, B, or C, and were successful beyond their wildest imaginations and that makes those who created teh A, B, and C plans very angry so they set out to prove they ain’t exclusive by excluding loads of people and working hard to exclude more and change the rules so they can exclude even more later.

All this spewing- And remember- there are only 200 more votes on which books to nominate this year than last- so neither the SP nor the RP really changed the numbers in a meaningful, significant way.  They just showed that the exclusive ,in-club who selected the Hugos was so small and exclusive that a mere 200 votes could turn their world upside down. (heh).

Or maybe the puppies showed that the small, exclusive in-club wasn’t even in posession of the hearts and minds of their own people- as soon as their own people saw there was an alternative, perhaps some of them jumped ship and voted for the other guys.

MOre of Vox’s controversial wickedevilbadthink here, in an interview with somebody who really wanted to know the facts, a pleasant change.

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Home-Made Mother’s Day Present

 

Make Your Own Dry-Erase Board (mine took five minutes)

 

 

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News and Gloom

This is what happens to freedom of speech, and other basic freedoms protected in the first amendment when progressives have control of the tools of force.

Dear Focus on the Family: your stance on vaccines is polarizing, and it is neither biblically nor science based:

Are you aware that there are more than 23 vaccines that contain aborted baby DNA, cellular debris, cells, and protein? These include, Adenovirus, Polio, Dtap/Polio/HiB Combo, Hep A, Hep A/Hep B Combo, MMR, MMRV Pro Quad, Rabies, Varicella, and the Shingles vaccine, and there are more in the pipeline. A lot more.

You know what I find telling?  Those on one side of this issue encourage people to make their own decisions, just be fully informed. They encourage parents to read the package inserts that come with the vaccines, and to read what the CDC says.

And those on the other side mostly encourage parents to do what they are told and not worry their dotty little heads about package inserts and other such complicated matters.

Automakers want people to stop working on their own cars:

“Industry concerns are mounting that modifying these ECUs and the software coding that runs them could lead to vulnerabilities in vehicle safety and cyber security. Imagine an amateur makes a coding mistake that causes brakes to fail and a car crash ensues. Furthermore, automakers say these modifications could render cars non-compliant with environmental laws that regulate emissions.

But exemptions from the DMCA don’t give third parties the right to infringe upon existing copyrights. Nor does an exemption mean consumers don’t have to abide by other laws and rules that govern vehicles passed by the National Highway Traffic Administration, Environmental Protection Agency or U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

“It’s not a new thing to be able to repair and modify cars,” said Kit Walsh, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s actually a new thing to keep people from doing it. There are these specialized agencies that govern what vehicles can lawfully be used for on the road, and they have not seen fit to stop them from repairing cars.”

Aftermarket suppliers and home enthusiasts have been modifying ECUs for years without dire consequences. By tweaking the ECU codes, a process sometimes known as “chipping,” they’ve boosted horsepower, improved fuel efficiency, established performance limits for teen drivers and enhanced countless other features. These innovations have contributed to a “decades-old tradition of mechanical curiosity and self-reliance,” according to the EFF.

Those innovations could be curbed precisely at a time that automakers believe personalization of vehicles is emerging as a significant trend. Software is allowing for all sorts of technology, such as 4G LTE wireless connections, and motorists can use this software to choose from an increasing array of infotainment options. But the car companies, paradoxically, want to be the ones doing the personalizing.”

More at the link.

Testimony to WHO about the persecution of Christians:

http://player.piksel.com/p/o9c8prl7

REfugees on their way from Libya to Italy- muslim refugees mobbed the minority Christians in the group and threw them overboard to die.

The Italian PM lied about it.  Obama is silent.

As Renzi was questioned about the incident, Obama was mute on the killings. He failed to interject any sense of outrage or even tepid concern for the targeting of Christians for their faith. If a Christian mob on a ship bound for Italy threw 12 Muslims to their death for praying to Allah, does anyone think the president would have been so disinterested? When three North Carolina Muslims were gunned down by a virulent atheist, Obama rightly spoke out against the horrifying killings. But he just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or theeradication of Christianity from its birthplace.

Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.

More at the link.

Kirsten Powers suggests Obama stop hectoring Christians and start protecting them.

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25% off books

Better World Books is having an Earth Day sale. Take 25% off used books shipped from bwb with code EARTH25.

You have to buy four or more, but that’s a good discount.  Earth Day Sale.

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