25 April 2010

Government Madates Versus Scientific Retality

Of course, it helps if your scientists aren't already in the bag for The Narrative:
Biofuels such as biodiesel from soy beans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol, according to an EU document released under freedom of information laws. The European Union has set itself a goal of obtaining 10 percent of its road fuels from renewable sources, mostly biofuels, by the end of this decade, but it is now worrying about the unintended environmental impacts.
Unintended impacts - gee politician have never railroaded the citizenry into that before, right?
(B)iofuel production soaks up grain from global commodity markets, forcing up food prices and encouraging farmers to clear tropical forests in the quest for new land. Burning forests releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide and often cancels out many of the climate benefits sought from biofuels. Biodiesel from North American soybeans has an indirect carbon footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule -- four times higher than standard diesel -- said the EU document, an annex that was controversially stripped from a report published in December.
This story not playing anytime soon on American Tee Vee Newz.

10 April 2010

Be Quiet Children, an Adult is Speaking

Now children, I know you've all got spring fever and are already thinking about summer vacation and cannot wait to ride your bicycles all over the paths and hop on the light rail to go to a puppet show and hop off the light rail to get an ice cream cone before Sponge Bob comes on your school-provided laptop via the city-provided wifi system, but if you could just hold your tongues for a minute or two, a grown up is going to explain a problem with the Barista Utopia you've been building:

A new study comparing corporate headquarters costs ranks Minneapolis as the 15th most expensive of 50 U.S. cities, and second only to Chicago among 12 cities in the Midwest. Minneapolis' property taxes were the main reason for its relatively high ranking in the study by the Boyd Co. Inc., a Princeton, N.J.-based corporate relocation consultant.

Q How can Minneapolis become more competitive?

A Hold the line on taxes, especially property taxes. You need to understand that the impact of Minneapolis' high property taxes is compounded by the fact that land and construction costs are also high. The effective property tax rate in Minneapolis is about twice as high as the study's low-cost option, Sioux Falls.

Q Does the trend toward smaller, less expensive cities apply to any type of corporate facility? We're used to seeing companies move manufacturing operations but keep corporate offices here.

A It can be a national, regional or division headquarters. This is the next frontier of corporate cost-cutting. It's now in style for companies to associate themselves with markets that are less expensive. It makes them seem more fiscally responsible to their shareholders.

Perish the thought! Progressives forever tell us that it's the irresistible lure of liberal arts colleges and subsidised art cabals that make Fortune 500 employers beat a path to our frozen wasteland over a climate that's more affordable and usable more than 8 months each year.

Q Aside from costs, what role do amenities play in a company's decision about where to locate? How important are things like proximity to colleges and universities, a highly educated local workforce, cultural attractions, major-league sports teams?

A Historically, those have been very important drivers. Now it's becoming less about those qualitative issues and more about quantitative issues, like the state's business climate and taxes.

Now while the mayor gets his nostrils all flared out about the idea of Bicycle Mecca, he may want to consider, for 5 minutes, who is going to be riding those bicycles around the diseased core of Minneapolis in 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

08 April 2010

She Was In Favor of State's Rights Before She Was Against Them

Alas; party is put before policy once again:
The federal government wants to impose an unprecedented one-size-fits-all approach onto every citizen and force them to buy insurance many of them don’t need. Minnesota’s insurance premiums will definitely rise, as we have seen when the same approach was taken in Maine and Massachusetts. As Swanson wrote less than two years ago, state government is more responsive to the citizenry, and in this case the citizenry can decide for themselves, too.

The only changes between August 2008 and now is that ObamaCare is a much bigger arrogation of power by the federal government than the program Swanson publicly challenged at that time … and a Democrat is in the White House now.
Someone remind me of the benefits from having the Minnesota Attorney General be a partisan, elected position.

07 April 2010

The Fibbing Politicain Soils Opening Day

Once the talking points have run out, the greatest orator of our time is left with nothing; not even the name of a single person, from a span of 109 years, who's ever played for his conveniently favorite team.

05 April 2010

Even Dumber Than the Chairs on Which They Sit

Power + idiocy + ideology = Henry Waxman and so many others:
This became apparent when various large businesses responded to the enactment of Obamacare by taking accounting steps to reflect tax changes brought about by the new health care legislation. The additional costs created by Obamacare, conveniently enough, weren't going to strike until later, after the November elections.

But both Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Securities and Exchange Commission regulations require companies to account for these changes as soon as they learn about them. As the Atlantic's Megan McArdle wrote:

"What AT&T, Caterpillar, et al did was appropriate. It's earnings season, and they offered guidance about , um, their earnings."So once Obamacare passed, massive corporate write-downs were inevitable.

They were also bad publicity for Obamacare, and they seem to have come as an unpleasant shock to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who immediately scheduled congressional hearings for April 21, demanding that the chief executive officers of AT&T, John Deere, and Caterpillar, among others, come and explain themselves.

Obamacare was supposed to provide unicorns and rainbows: How can it possibly be hurting companies and killing jobs? Surely there's some sort of Republican conspiracy.

01 April 2010

The Way of the Coward

To wit:

Cherry-picking solitary slogans he finds offensive out of thousands of posters and blindly accepting charges of racism without a shred of evidence, King indulges in his own bigotry and basks in the hatred of a caricature he has created about an Other he refuses to know.

For not sharing his desire to spend someone else’s money, King libels your friends and neighbors as heirs to a craven ideology.

King’s cowardly refusal to engage anything more substantial than a strawman is a common shortcoming among the would-be intelligentsia. A day earlier in the New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman labeled the majority of Americans opposed to ObamaCare as “right-wingers” and “extremists” dedicated to “eliminationist” rhetoric, obliquely asserting that the controversial legislation was only opposed by would-be terrorists.

Quite purposefully and without shame, he turns a deaf ear to the cacophony of assassination fantasies his compatriots fetishized during the previous eight years.

A friend of mine has taken to mocking the occasionally poor grammar found in some of the signs carried at Tea Party events. I wonder if he'd propose some use-of-language litmus test to precede the granting of First Amendment rights (that was tried about 70 years ago in Germany). God know the SEIU would never stand for use of English as a precursor for individual rights, even for the non-citizens it purports to represent.

Some more from my hero VDH:

For the once-giddy Left, which misinterpreted the causes of the Obama landmark victory, the current pushback is seen as somehow terribly unfair, and thus arise both their own furor and their amnesia about their own past attitudes during the Bush years. I think ultimately many "progressives," adherents to relativism, feel that the past furor over Bush in all its creepy manifestations was justified because of who Bush was; but that a similar methodology (or, in fact, far softer manifestations) of dissent toward Obama is unacceptable because of who Obama is (i.e. one can act rudely toward clearly bad people, but not rudely toward unquestionably "good" people). It is that simple.