Monday in the dark

| March 30, 2009

Might as well start getting used to it.

Might as well start getting used to it.


ITEM: Hey! Al Gore and I both celebrated Earth Hour with our lights on! We’re buds now! As for Kentucky, heck, they celebrated a whole Earth Week not long ago!

ITEM: Creeping socialism/fascism alert: Obama tells GM CEO to hit the road. For firms and organizations still considering taking government money, there’s a story about a camel sticking its nose into a tent during a sandstorm that’s worth remembering. Ford, at least, appears to have remembered that story. And Darleen Click has some other cautionary observations.

ITEM: Courtesy of

ITEM: Say Anything pretty much sums it up: In 45 Days Obama Administration Has Authorized More Debt Than Reagan Did In 8 Years.

ITEM: Obama is taking an entourage of 500 people for his trip to Europe. I wonder if the media will give that figure coverage equal to that given to Bush a few years back? Particularly the part about local law enforcement? And note that Obama is going to London, not a near-active war zone.

ITEM: A week or two before Glenn Reyonds (Instapundit) first started quoting the Li’l Abner song title, “The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands”, I posted the entire lyrics here at ASIP, thanks to a showing of the movie on TCM, and noted its remarkable timeliness. But Glenn has now gone one better and posted a link to the actual movie clip.

ITEM: Remember my earlier discussion about how “the Greater Fool theory” drives the stock market? Well, investors may be starting to wonder if there are some greater fools running around out there.

ITEM: Caught between Scylla and Charybdis: are we going to end up with inflation or deflation? And if you think deflation sounds good, Woman on Fire Megan McArdle ‘splains it all to you.

ITEM: NY Times article headline states,Anglo-American Capitalism on Trial. To paraphrase Chesterton, it’s not that capitalism has been tried and found wanting; it has been found risky and inequitable, and thus is being abandoned. But however bad capitalism is, to paraphrase Churchill, all the other economic systems are so much worse.

RELATED ITEM: I strongly recommend reading my all-time favorite economic treatise, Eat the Rich by P. J. O’Rourke. Unlike most economists, op-ed columnists, and politicians, O’Rourke actually visited all the countries in question (US, Albania, Sweden, Cuba, Russia, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Singapore), talked to relevant parties, and wrote up his observations. His first chapter is on Wall Street (“Good Capitalism”), but his closing paragraphs for that chapter — written over a decade ago during the bubble — are remarkably prescient on several levels:

Wall Street’s free-market capitalism is doubtless a wonderful thing and a boon to humanity, but it scared me. The free market scared me even when I watched it function under the rule of law. Capitalism scared me despite the fact that I was seeing it operate within a well-defined set of rules understood by all the players. And I liked the players. Capitalists are at least as honest and nice as the people I know who don’t have capital. But I was still scared.

Free-market capitalism was terrifying under the best circumstances. What it was like under the worse circumstances, I couldn’t imagine. And becaue I couldn’t imagine it, I needed to go someplace that had no rules and was full of crooks. I considered Washington D.C., but Albania looked like more fun.

ITEM: More on the time-bomb ticking to the south of us (emphasis mine):

The presence of the informers, some of them former soldiers, highlights a central paradox in Mexico’s ambitious and bloody assault on the drug cartels that have ravaged the country. The nation has launched a war, but it cannot fully rely on the very institutions — the police, customs, the courts, the prisons, even the relatively clean army — most needed to carry it out.

The cartels bring in billions of dollars more than the Mexican government spends to defeat them, and they spend their wealth to bolster their ranks with an untold number of politicians, judges, prison guards and police officers — so many police officers, in fact, that entire forces in cities across Mexico have been disbanded and rebuilt from scratch.

ITEM: David Rothkopf wonders in a WaPo op-ed, “Where are the leaders?”, but places blame everywhere but on Obama. Key quote: “But to paraphrase Roosevelt, Obama can only be as great a president as the people let him be.” Oh, please.

ITEM: Since we’re giving a billion dollars to the terrorists running Gaza, wouldn’t it make sense to give some money to the actual democracy in the region?

ITEM: What a surprise! Sen. Chris Dodd (D-self) pressed AIG for campaign donations even as he gained power in the Senate Banking Committee. And yet the Left and the media are still fixated on Jack Abramoff.

ITEM: We almost lost a third Space Shuttle some 21 years ago during a top-secret satellite mission. Key indicator of government idiocy:

“Their conclusion, which they did not pass back to us, was ‘oh, you know what? That’s not tile damage, those are just lights and shadows we’re seeing in this video.’ So in other words, the resolution on the encrypted video was that bad that they based a conclusion on it that was in gross error. … If I had said hey, I think this is important enough for us to break the encryption and send you guys clear video, oh, it would have been pandemonium down there at DOD. But in hindsight, oh man, that’s what we should have done. Because they were drawing an incorrect conclusion from it and they were not telling us what their conclusion was.”

Translation: the US government would only let the NASA engineers look at low-quality encrypted video to inspect tiles. It turns out that the shuttle was badly damaged and almost had a Columbia-type burn-through.  Read the whole story; hat tip to Ace of Spaces.

Possibly more links later. ..bruce w..

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Category: Avionics, Books, Business, Climate Change, Creeping socialism, Economics, Environment, Geopolitics, History, Journalism, Links roundup, Main, Media, Obama Administration, Space, Stimulus, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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