Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Diminishing returns

So it turns out our neighbors at the United Nations participated in "Earth Hour," Saturday's silly demonstration in which people shut off their lights for an hour to show their concern about some cause or another. Fox News phoned the world body to ask how much it would be saving on its electric bill, and the answer came back $81,000.

But it turns out the estimate was in error: "After the story appeared on FOXNews.com, a spokeswoman called back to say their estimate was incorrect and the savings was $24,000, but then called back a third time to say it was really $102."

We are waiting for the next phone call and/or the next idiotic such stunt.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daniel Hannan

We need a plain-speaker like this here in the U.S. Everything he says applies here.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A good letter to a newspaper

The following was submitted to the Odessa American by a fellow named David Johnson.

A friend of mine, a cowboy in the rancher-philosopher mold, once passed along some equine-related knowledge to me.

"The thing you have to remember about horses," he said, "is they aren't as smart as they think they are, but they're smarter than you think they are."

I reminded him I was much more city slicker than good ol' boy and didn't really run into horses that often. He assured me it was just as applicable to jackasses. I thanked him, and as with all of his advice, I've remembered it and done my best to keep it in mind through all my dealings and relations.

George Carlin, a far smarter man than I, and probably smarter even than I realize, pointed out that when you think about how dumb the average person is, the really scary thing is to realize that half the population is even dumber than that.

Lucky for us, almost everyone is smarter than average. Just ask them.

If I had a poll - heck, I will have a poll. Look over there. Compared to the average newspaper reader, how smart are you?

I can't predict how people are actually going to answer, especially after reading this, but I can practically guarantee how you want to answer: you're at least as smart as the average person and probably a little more intelligent. You know it. I feel the same way about myself, and there's no reason to have false humility about it. And we're right, all of us.

In a purely mathematical sense, we can't be. There must be a slow-witted underclass out there that some of you - not me, you people - are part of and don't realize it. Obviously, we overestimate our own intelligence relative to others. We do the same thing when asked about our sense of humor, ability to get along with people and really anything that can't be quantifiably disproved and shoved in our faces, though we'll deny it even then.

Mainly, we just make sure the criteria for our judgments about ourselves and others work in our favor.

The things we rank as important are the things we care about most.

I'm a smart guy because I will discount all the myriad areas of human understanding I have no part in and value on a weighted scale the few things I do understand. And anyone who doesn't know the same things as I do is a moron. If I don't know anything about music or cars or math, that's because they don't matter, and history or literature do. So I'm smarter than average.

Actually, I'm one of the handful of geniuses that refrains from calling myself such only because I don't want to sound rude.

Which is all tongue-in-cheek, but not much of an exaggeration, or atypical.

One of the reasons I'm terrified of government power is because I know most in government are typical people and full of themselves. They think that because they're smart enough to get elected that they're smart enough to run other people's lives better than those people. And they are gifted, in some area that they value greatly, but not in every area. And we people are dumb at running our lives, but not so dumb as they like to think.

This is what wakes me up in a cold sweat, dreaming of legislators and lobbyists and aides hem-hawing it up, convinced that they're much smarter than they actually are, solving all of our problems.

I only fall back asleep when I remember they aren't as dumb as I think they are.

They can't be.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We have a problem

The editorials from the last few issues of the New York Times have been as critical of the competence of this new administration as I am. Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, and others find this administration and its policies lacking. If all these liberals are coming to the same conclusion of BestView, Obama has a problem.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It is all a matter of semantics

Now that the idiots (of both parties) in the House of Representative have passed an unconstitutional bill of attainder aimed at the bonuses paid to some executives at AIG, the next move by this and other companies who in some cases have been forced to accept TARP funds and now are faced with confiscatory tax rates, is to simply change the name of the money. From now on, the money being paid will be called "commissions" instead of bonuses.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The AIG mess

The question that comes to BestView, as the news that the dems in the House, Senate, and White House rushed through a stimulus package that nobody had time to read actually dictitated the bonuses they now are so outraged by, is whether all those who voted for Obama and his glib campaign rhetoric are smart enough to see through the situation and conclude how terribly serious the situation is?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Take your choice

A few weeks ago Obama's Press Secretary was being questioned about the latest 30 billion for AIG and Jake Tapper of ABC asked if the administration knew where the money was going and he was given firm assurance that Geithner did in fact know. Now Obama is jujst outraged that the money is going to pay bonuses to failed executives. There are two possibilities here:
  1. The administration did know about the millions in bonuses when he doled out the latest billions to AIG, but didn’t bother to raise the matter until it became a matter of public outrage this weekend.
  2. Gibbs protestations of two weeks ago notwithstanding, the administration handed out $30 billion without knowing where the money was going.

Where did the money go?

The public is rightly outraged that the bailout money at AIG went to pay for bonuses for employees who got them into the situation in the first place, but the real crime is that the money largely went to rescue politically connected investment companies like Goldman Sachs (former company of Paulsen) European banks such as Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and France's Societe Generale. We are rapidly reaching the point where everything can be blamed on Bush.

BestView says we should void the contracts of these "indispensible" employees and let them sue. The trials would be interesting.

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