Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Iran once again gives the Obama administration a headache:
"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran test-fired a new advanced missile Wednesday with a range of about 1,200 miles, far enough to strike Israel, southeastern Europe and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The announcement will not reassure the U.S. government, coming just two days after President Barack Obama declared a readiness to seek deeper international sanctions against Iran if it shunned U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program. Obama said he expected a positive response to his outreach for opening a dialogue with Iran by the end of the year."

Hmmm. Yes, we know President Obama "expects" that.
The question now, however, increasingly why he still does.

"A quarter of American cell phone users admit to texting while driving, despite bans in seven U.S. states and several serious accidents recently, according to a report on cell phone use released on Wednesday."
Tell me, is anyone surprised by this? When I'm out, I still can see many drivers talking on their cells while driving. If they're willing to talk, they're probably willing to text, too. Normally, conservatives are all for liberty--but given that you put others in danger when you text and drive and thus become more likely to have an accident, in this case we need to have these laws enforced.

OBAMA UPDATE: National Review's editors point out even more problems with the auto emissions standards the administration announced yesterday...
"Announcing his plan to instate strict caps on auto emissions — a move his own administration says could add around $2,000 to the cost of each new vehicle by 2016 — Obama said, “If you buy a car, your investment in a more fuel-efficient vehicle as a result of this standard will pay off in just three years.” Obama’s hard sell — “This is a winning proposition for folks looking to buy a car” — is premised on some sketchy math. For one thing, experts outside the administration say the added per-vehicle cost could go as high as $8,000. You can’t save money getting more miles to the gallon if you can’t afford the car in the first place. For another, those estimated savings are based on the administration’s ability to predict gas prices seven to ten years into the future. If gas is still as cheap as it is now, savings on better mileage could be minimal. Even if gas prices go up, the savings Obama predicts might not materialize. Cars that are more fuel efficient are cheaper to drive, increasing the likelihood that people will drive more. That wouldn’t just offset the savings — it would also offset promised reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and oil imports, to say nothing of adding to congestion. Then there is the evidence that tighter fuel-economy standards yield auto fleets that are more dangerous in accidents. The easiest way to make a car more fuel efficient is to make it lighter. Researchers from institutions as diverse as the Brookings Institution, the National Research Council, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have shown that after the first federal fuel-economy standards went into effect in the 1970s, cars got lighter and traffic fatalities increased as a result. The National Research Council study found that federal fuel-economy standards contribute to about 2,000 deaths per year."

Gosh, wonder why the administration didn't mention any of that.
Bottom line--when the government intervenes in the economy, as it did here, and predicts all these wonderful things in the future, these are predictions that cannot be made with accuracy. The government cannot know all the economic conditions we'll be facing in years to come, and it cannot have all the information needed to know just how its intervention will affect the economy. Again, this is all as Friedrich von Hayek predicted so long ago...

WHY WE'RE GLAD ARLEN SPECTER LEFT THE GOP DEPT: why? Because now he's defending Nancy Pelosi...
"Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) took the opportunity Wednesday to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has come under fire in recent weeks over a controversy surrounding when she was told of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques being used by the CIA. "The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to — I was about to say 'candid'; that's too mild — to honesty," Specter, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a lunch address to the American Law Institute. He cited misleading information about the agency's involvement in mining harbors in Nicaragua and the Iran-Contra affair."
Never mind that Speaker Pelosi has something like five different versions of her CIA briefing way back when. I suspect Sen. Specter is still worried about winning over Pennsylvania Democrats...

"The federal government is spending $178,000 to better understand why drug-abusing prostitutes in Thailand are at greater risk for HIV infection, an endeavor taxpayer watchdogs are calling a huge waste of American taxpayers' money."
And so it is...

GOP UPDATE: questions of terminology...
"Republican Party leaders are trying to avoid a public confrontation over a GOP-led effort to rename the Democratic Party the "Socialist Democrat" party. The Republican National Committee is slated to vote on several resolutions Wednesday. Leaders already have softened one that would have pointedly criticized Republicans who supported recent billion-dollar bailouts. Party Chairman Michael Steele and others say the party should also drop the renaming resolution and focus on more serious problems."
I tend to think Steele is right here.
We'll never get most in the media to go along with this; instead, this will simply give our enemies more ammo to label us "extreme." Certainly some of what Obama and co. seek to do might fit under the label of socialism; but others are not, and we don't want to destroy the meaning of the word "socialist." Let's just focus on outlining the meanings and likely consequences of Democratic proposals, and not act like labels are the be-all and end-all of politics...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers beat the Rangers last night, 4-0...and the entire story is Dontrelle Willis. Last year, he bombed...he walked 35 men in 24 innings and never won a game. And that after the Tigers depended on him to be one of the anchors of the rotation and give them 15 wins, at least. But there were injuries, an anxiety disorder...but now, perhaps that's all behind him. Last night he looked comfortable, threw strikes (he walked only two in 6 innings plus) and held a red-hot team to 1 hit. A good night for the Tigers. Let's hope the D-Train can keep it up.
The Cubs however lost 3-0 to St. Louis. What can one say, it was a great performance by Cardinal pitcher Joel Pineiro--he threw only 28 balls to the 28 batters he faced. But the Cubs have now lost 2 in a row; they need to stop the slide.

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: the Detroit Red Wings took the Chicago Black Hawks' best shot last night in game 2 of their Western Conference finals series (the Hawks outshot them, 39-38)...but the Wings capitalized on some breaks and Chicago miscues to win again, 3-2 in OT and go up 2-0 in the series. Give credit to the Black Hawks, who played well. But once again the Wings' poise, experience, and ability to transition to an odd-man rush when the other team turns over the puck won the day for them.