Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brazil May Lower Ethanol Percent in Gas to Lower Price and Curb Inflation

Brazil may lower the amount of ethanol in its gas from 25% to 18%. That would reduce the cost to the distributor by 5.1%.

However, the price reduction wouldn't reach the consumer because of gas taxes--now at 57%--as well as distribution and resale costs. But, it would "reduce the impact of rising fuel prices on inflation."

Sarah vs. the Others

Sarah Palin goes after Obamacare and "death panels" gets immediate changes in the bill.

Donald Trump goes after Obama's birth certificate, and finally gets it released.

Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Daniels, etc., go after ?, and get ? done.

Not to mention who campaigned most effectively for not-likely-to-win-but-pulled-off-an-upset candidates in 2010?

Who has already had the biggest impact on your life?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oregon Public Higher Education is a Mess

Victor Davis Hanson writes about California public higher education:
"Black middle-class flight from northern big cities, failing public schools like nearby Fresno City College, where yesterday it was announced that 70 percent of students (the majority of them on some sort of federal and state loan support) fail to receive a two-year AA degree — these are just a few indications that increasing reliance on government subsidies does not eliminate, and may well perpetuate, such ills as illiteracy, poverty, and hunger.

"Here in California, the CSU system — the largest university system in the world — cannot explain why 46 percent of entering freshmen in 2001 needed remediation in math and English, still less why that number has soared to nearly 60 percent after a decade of record spending on campus budgets. Only about half of students graduate within six years, even fewer within five."
As of 2006 California was averaging more than a 60% graduation rate, doing significantly better than Oregon (see bottom chart), but has recently slumped to Oregon's dismal 50% graduation rate.

Chart from Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education
All this despite the fact that higher education costs have way outstripped the cost of living. They've risen about 75% higher even than health care costs--rising an astonishing 439% since 1980 compared to only 251% for health care costs.

The health care system at least shows a longer life expectancy and better health and quality of life generally, especially in later years.

State higher education, on the other hand, shows crashing and burning by almost half of Oregon students who drop out after expending big bucks and a chunk of their life.

Chart from The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
On average only slightly more than half of full-time students at Oregon public 4-year colleges and universities manage to graduate within six years.

Then there's the not so nice future awaiting those who do graduate but whose education leaves them holding massive debt all the while not fitting them for real world work or living.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

I woke up singing this song today, and decided to post Daniel Thornton's rendition.

He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Grace of the Crucifixion

"But supposing God became a man--suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person--then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man. Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence; but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man. That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all."
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:7-10

Jonah Goldberg: Why Obama Is Sad

No more hope and change. He's now against fundamentally changing America. He's carried on the same Bush policies he attacked as evil. He's now the establishment not the political outsider. Great summary by Jonah Goldberg:
One can understand his frustration. The guy who once said to a reporter during the 2008 campaign, “You know, I actually believe my own bulls***” about fundamentally transforming America, is now forced to run as a reactionary, defending “Medicare as we know it” from “radicals” who — gasp! — want to change America. The overrated and inexperienced politician, accustomed to nothing but adulation, who was swept into office thanks to discontent with the incumbent, is now himself the incumbent desperately trying to explain how he’s done nothing wrong.

He demonized George W. Bush as an evil fool, but Obama has been forced to adopt many of the very policies he derided as evil and foolish. The “change” candidate is now the “more of the same” guy.

That’d put anybody in a funk.

But I don’t care. The presidency is not like his Nobel Prize — an award for just being you. If you hate the job, don’t run.

Moreover, I don’t think that’s the whole story. Many of his seemingly self-pitying jokes and asides just don’t seem that innocent to me, never mind endearing.

He may sincerely have wished his awesome job came with a cooler phone (or a Bat Signal perhaps?), and he may honestly feel trapped in a bubble. But he’s also determined to pretend that he is running “against Washington” in 2012. And that is outrageous nonsense for a president who effectively owned the government for two years.

Already his campaign’s messaging is all about recapturing the feeling of insurgency from the first time around. Finish the mission. Complete the work. Remember the feeling. That’s why he’s running his reelection campaign out of Chicago, as if people won’t notice he’s the incumbent.
Jonah's full column here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taranto: The Roe Effect = Killing Off Your Side's Future Voters

Abortion has greatly diminished the number of children of Democrats and liberals. Sure they get some back by proselytizing the children of conservative and moderates through the public school and university/college systems. But, still it's an uphill battle especially as the odds have changed in that news no longer comes in a thin, sifted MSM stream.

Could the defeat for union leaders and liberals in Wisconsin be due to the Roe effect? James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal:
"Here are some Badger State numbers: Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. The Wisconsin Department of Health has statewide figures on the annual number of abortions going back to 1975. Tot up the numbers through 1992, and you come up with 316,457.

"Scott Walker won the governorship last year by a margin of 124,638. That may not be within the margin of abortion; after all, some of the missing 316,457 would have voted Republican had they existed, and many would not have voted.

"But JoAnne Kloppenburg, the left-liberal state Supreme Court candidate who was supposed to save Wisconsin's labor monopolies from Walker's reforms, lost by just 7,316 votes, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (this figure is pending a possible futile recount). It's almost inconceivable that the Roe effect alone is insufficient to account for Justice David Prosser's victory."
And what about 2012? Hispanics still have a strong birth rate, but as they become assimilated and liberalized, will they become victims of legalized, promoted euthanasia like the black community?

Black women are more than five five times as likely as white women to abort their babies. Here's a chart from Black Genocide on the major causes of death in the black community.

When you voluntarily do a mass kill off of your side's future voters, it has an impact.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fight Like a Girl!

From Palin's speech:
"So, to the GOP establishment: if you stand on the platform, if you stand by your pledges, we will stand with you. We will fight with you, GOP. We have your back. Together we will win because America will win!

"We didn’t elect you just to re-arrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. We didn’t elect you to just stand back and watch Obama re-distribute those deck chairs. What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight. Maybe I should ask some of the Badger women’s hockey team—those champions—maybe I should ask them if we should be suggesting to GOP leaders they need to learn how to fight like a girl!"
Fighting like a girl is okay if you're a girl like those on the Badger women's hockey team--or Sarah Palin!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Turns Out the Antiwar Movement Isn't Antiwar

The Antiwar movement is not antiwar but anti-Republican. War is okay as long as Democratic President Barack Obama is waging it--at least for "antiwar" Democrats. Attendance at antiwar rallies has plummeted irrespective of the Afghanistan surge, continued military presence in Iraq, and military intervention (without Congressional approval!) in Libya. And money has dried up. James Taranto:
"Wow, stop the presses! America's 'antiwar movement' has 'dropped off sharply in the past two years,' leading a pair of academics to conclude that it 'may be more anti-Republican than antiwar,' according to a University of Michigan press release:
"'A new study by U-M's Michael Heaney and colleague Fabio Rojas of Indiana University shows that the antiwar movement in the United States demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, first with Congress in 2006 and then with the presidency in 2008.'

"''As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan,' said Heaney, U-M assistant professor of organizational studies and political science. 'The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama's 'betrayal' and reinvigorated its protest activity.''

"''Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the antiwar movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.''
"To reach this stunning conclusion, the academics surveyed 5,400 people at 27 protests in four cities over three years. It might have been easier just to head over to the physics department and sit in on a lecture about Newton's third law of motion."
When Obama won, Democrats stopped attending antiwar rallies and giving support. It turns out Democrats made up the majority in the antiwar movement and only a small group is left with their exodus.

University of Michigan press release here and the study is here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Katie Couric's Inane Question

From the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto:
"A 'High Point' Worthy of Death Valley
"Nobody cares that Katie Couric is leaving the "CBS Evening News," but we got a kick out of this passage in an Associated Press dispatch on her departure:
"'Despite the ratings problems, the 'CBS Evening News' won the Edward R. Murrow Award as best newscast in 2008 and 2009. Couric's interview with then-Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008 was a memorable moment in the campaign after Palin couldn't or wouldn't answer Couric's question about books or magazines she regularly read.'

"'Even with those high points, broadcast news economics had changed markedly since she signed on with CBS.'
"If one of her two "high points" was an interview in which she asked an inane question and failed to elicit an answer, it's a wonder CBS waited this long to show her the door."

Katie Couric is apparently one of the few people who can easily name three main newspapers and magazines from which she gets her worldview and understanding of the world. Couric's award winning questioning:
"Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?"
. . .
"Couric: Can you name a few?"
For a number of years now I've been getting my information and understanding of the world from, oh, 60 or 70 sources--many of them seen on my sidebar (though I don't include financial resources or RSS feeds--that's another 35 to 40). If I had to pare it down, even on a day when I'm sick I go to at least 15 or 20 sources.

Apparently Couric, the Associated Press and the people who give out the Edward R. Murrow Award haven't entered the internet age yet and still depend on a short, easily named, list of sources.