Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

04 March 2015

Representative John Sarbanes Replies About Gun Controls


Sadly, people who do not believe in the 2nd Amendment are far too common in American society.  Most of them believe in the ubiquitous use of government force to dictate value choices and to micromanage the lives of individuals unknown to them and about whom they do not care even a smidgeon.

The way of life of a criminal depends upon the ability to initiate the use of force.  Having dangerous weapons is at the center of his profession.  Most Americans are very busy with their careers in the peaceful private sector in which force is not initiated.  We have two major dangers we face.  One is the individual or small gang initiator of force.  The other is the huge gang initiator of force which is Big Government grown well-beyond the scope of its legitimate powers by the constant refusal to recognize its constitutional limits and the guiding philosophy of government expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

The way the state government of Maryland enacts the sentiments of John Sarbanes is to put up many barriers to "dangerous weapons" acquisition and ownership.  The barriers are huge for busy people living peaceful lives, but in need of protection from those who initiate the use of force.  Those barriers are manifestly ineffective in keeping "dangerous weapons" out of the hands of criminals and busybody authoritarian politicians and their government employees. 

In 2013, the murder rate in Maryland was 6.5/ 100,000 people.  In the USA as a whole, it was 4.49/ 100,000 people.  So Maryland's already onerous barriers to "dangerous weapons" are not working, at least not to protect its citizens from murder.  To be sure, this conclusion does rest on the assumption that Marylanders are not just bad people compared to other Americans.  That may be bad people can be argued because they vote pretty consistently for Democrat authoritarians!  In fact, the very time-consuming and onerous barriers to gun ownership is very likely a major contributing cause to the high murder rate in Maryland.

01 March 2015

The Minimum Wage in Maryland

Maryland is a very progressive state with the Progressive Elitists dominating both legislative bodies.  It did just elect a Republican governor, after the last two Democrat governors with the help of the Democrat state legislature enacted 40 straight tax increases, including the tax on rain and one on high income citizens.  The last governor, Martin O'Folley, er.... O'Malley, claims to have done the people of Maryland a favor by mandating that employers will pay a higher minimum wage for their services, if employer's can find a reason to hire them any more at all.

From December 2007 to December 2014, Maryland had a 0.15% increase in the number of jobs in the state even before this state minimum wage was added to the problems of doing business in Maryland.  This wee increase in jobs vastly lagged the population growth.  This was in spite of Maryland doing better than most states in the early years of the Great Recession due to the huge, horrendous increase in federal spending.  Maryland received a much larger fraction of that windfall than did the median state.

Minimum Wage Rates for Employers
$7.25 Until 12/31/14
$8.00 Effective 1/1/15
$8.25 Effective 7/1/15
$8.75 Effective 7/1/16
$9.25 Effective 7/1/17
$10.10 Effective 7/1/18

One of the Ph.D. scientists who works in my laboratory just had jury duty.  He was paid $15 per day.  I am not sure he was in court for exactly 8 hours, but he absolutely could not be at the laboratory for 8 hours.  Effectively, the government paid him $1.875/hour for his services.

Sure, the government would say he was just expected to do his civic duty.  I might respect that argument if the government were acting legitimately to protect every citizen's equal and sovereign rights.  But the governments in Maryland are highly attuned to special interests and rob the majority of the citizens to provide advantages to many special interests and to buy the votes of many low-information and relatively unthinking citizens, the many non-citizens who vote in this state, and the many citizens that vote both in this state and in others.  I absolutely refuse to buy the argument that civic duty to this form of tyrannical government is morally superior to providing materials problem-solving services to companies that are trying to raise the American standard of living with superior goods and services in the private sector.

It is highly hypocritical for Maryland to require private sector businesses to pay a minimum wage of $8.00/hour when it is paying a minimum wage of $1.875/hour.  While my employee will receive his normal pay for those days he was on jury duty, a self-employed person might very well not be able to pay himself for the time he spent on jury duty.  For my laboratory, the loss of our scientist's billable work is a significant loss.  It would help if we could pay him the difference between his usual salary and the amount paid him by the government for that time, but since they paid him so little, making any such correction is more trouble than it is worth.

As usual, we see that Democrat government is a poser without substance at the business of justice.  It cares not the least about interfering with the individual right to earn a living, whether it be to deprive an employer or an employee of that freedom with a minimum wage law or by imposing a duty with far less than what it claims is subsistence pay when it talks to employers.


28 February 2015

Minnesota is Misrepresenting the Effects of Higher Taxes and Minimum Wages

It is being claimed that higher taxes on high income persons and increases in the minimum wage are the key to jobs creation and a fast-growing economy.  The example of Minnesota since Democrat Gov. Dayton took over is being used to "prove" this.

Gov. Dayton certainly benefited relative to Gov. Pawlenty in that he became Gov. in the year that the recovery from the Great Recession began, however meekly. He did not create the 172,000 jobs either. But let us note that 172,000 jobs in two years is just barely a match for an anemic population growth.

The article notes that the Minnesota median income advantage relative to the national average actually fell by $2,000 from 2012-2013 to now. It was not noted that the cost of living in Minnesota relative to the national average is going up as well. The combination of a rising cost of living and a falling median income, both relative to the nation, is not good.

While the minimum wage is to go up to $9.50/hr. for large employers by 2018, it will go up to only $7.75/hr. for small employers who employ most people. There are special provisions for a 90-day training period for workers under 20 years old and for all workers under 18 with a minimum wage of $6.50/hr. There are many states with no such provisions.

Furthermore, the private sector job growth in Minnesota from Q1 of 2013 to Q1 of 2014 showed Minnesota to be dead last in the Midwest in private sector job creation. Its 0.8% increase in private sector jobs was behind the next worst state in the Midwest, Illinois at 1.2%.

Gov. Dayton is probably not claiming that he caused a relative decrease in the median income with an increase in the relative cost of living.  And now that businesses have had time to react to his higher taxes and mandated higher wage costs, he is surely not claiming credit for Minnesota being dead last in private sector jobs creation in the Midwest.

Simple Illustration of the Limits of Alternative Power for the Electric Grid

The Institute for Energy Research has just put out a new report: Assessing Emerging Policy Threats to the U. S. Power Grid by Travis Fisher.  There are two graphs that quickly illustrate some of the critical limits on using solar and wind power generation on the electric power grid.  The first important plot is the daily average power output of the alternative energy sources:


Here one can easily see that the average daily output of electric power generated by solar power is a very small fraction of its peak output at the time of day when the electric power need is at its peak, namely at 5:53 PM.  This plot makes it hard to see whether wind power generation is a good actor.  With wind the time of day average is more of a problem than the above graph makes it appear and the time of year average changes are even worse.  To see this, examine the plot below:


This graph shows that the summer electric power usage greatly exceeds the average annual electric power usage for all hours of the day as shown in the black solid and dashed curves, respectively.  The red dashed curve shows the average annual wind generation percentage by hour of the day.  It has a minimum when the average annual power need has a maximum.  This problem is greatly increased in the summer months because except for a few hours in the night, summer wind power generation is less than the annual average.  That decrease relative to the annual average is the most dramatic during the peak electric power usage hours of the day.  Thus the seasonal peak load is in the summer, while the seasonal minimum in wind availability is also in the summer, creating a catastrophic disconnect.

We must not also forget that there are large variations in the availability of wind at any time of the year.  Wind speeds are often below their average or at speeds in excess of those for safe operation of a wind generator.  As for solar, well cloud cover is highly variable.  These are inherently very unreliable sources of energy.

The technology to store massive amounts of power from solar energy and wind generation inexpensively through the daily cycle for use when needed does not exist.  Of course then it also does not exist to deal with the seasonal changes in electric power use and generation by solar or wind as well.

This will never stop the green socialists from insisting that we stop using reliable and inexpensive fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, which we have in abundance in the U.S.  No, they are very willing to proceed with the destruction of a vital source of our standard of living.  It must be because they wish to condemn mankind to a hell on Earth because their religion holds man to be the murderer of Mother Nature.  No matter how long the surface temperature of the Earth fails to rise in accord with their climate computer models, they will not admit to the failure of their alarmist belief in the claim of catastrophic man-made global warming.  That claim is just too useful to their need for more political power and control of the lives of the People.  It does not matter either that they have no practical alternative source of power for the fossil fuels for which they have an unreasoning hatred. 

23 February 2015

Absurd Claims for Catatrosphic Man-Made Global Warming Never Stop

Absurd claims of catastrophic man-made global warming continue at a mad pace in preparation for the "climate change" conference to be held in Paris later this year.  At that conference, developed nations are supposed to place themselves under energy restrictions so severe that income inequality will be reduced around the world by virtue of decreasing the future standard of living in the developed countries.  In addition, the developed countries are supposed to deliver large sums of cash to underdeveloped and largely poorly governed and corrupt nations to "aid them in adapting to the harm of catastrophic man-made global warming."  The planned economic transformation is massive and will be catastrophic.  Obama claimed catastrophic man-made global warming is mankind's greatest problem, rampant beheadings by Islamists being the small stuff we ought not to sweat.

The U.S. government, the United Nations, and many other developed nations around the world have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into rigged "research" of the causes of catastrophic man-made global warming.  Government funding agencies and the universities dependent upon their research funding have been vicious in destroying or damaging the careers of such research scientists as have had the scientific principles to oppose the agenda mandating that funded research will not shed doubt on the politically essential agenda for catastrophic man-made global warming.  Yet, if any skeptic of this hypothesis receives a piddling amount of money from U.S. industry, from an oil company, or from a limited government think tank that in turn receives a piddling amount of money from an oil company, this is enough to completely discount all of the scientific arguments made by the scientist.

An example of this is a foolish article by a Jay Michaelson called Armageddon for Climate Change Deniers.  He plays the further old game of mocking those who believe the U.S. government has an agenda to acquire more power over the daily lives of Americans and their use of energy and all that implies for economic controls.  He makes the claim that 13,926 of 13,950 peer reviewed papers from 1991 to 9 Nov 2012 agreed with catastrophic man-made global warming.  The "study" [found on an infamously foolish blog] in question actually only counted very strong and explicit claims of falsity of that hypothesis and did not count those cases in which the authors allowed that some doubt was reasonable.  Given the tight controls on who is allowed research money to write journal articles capable of being published in the peer-reviewed journals, with additional journal editorial and peer reviewer (with funding) controls on the orthodoxy, the fact that few authors who want to publish will explicitly say that catastrophic man-made global warming is false, is not surprising.  Scientists who think it is false commonly wait until they have retired before they come out as doubters.  It is amazing how many have done so.

Given my explanations on this blog and by many other scientists elsewhere as to how bad the science theory of CO2-induced catastrophic man-made global warming is, the obvious failure of the highly touted climate models to predict the temperature rise, the heavy-handed alterations of the actually measured surface temperature data record, the recent 18-year constancy of the satellite lower atmosphere temperature record, and the many claims by politicians that bad science explaining the theory should not be allowed to get in the way of the political agenda, there should be many, many scientists who do doubt the hypothesis of man-made global warming.  There are.  Yes, few of them are actively funded by the government for the purposes of climate research.  But many of them are good physicists, chemists, meteorologists, geologists, or engineers.  Over the years because of the great attention the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis has been given as the greatest of all problems facing mankind, many scientists have looked into this hypothesis and evaluated it.  The skepticism is huge.  Very large fractions of the membership of many, many scientific organizations are skeptics.  We scientists are not all fools.  And no, very few of us are receiving any funding from oil companies to support our skepticism.

I am more than a skeptic.  I say the hypothesis is very wrong.  The physics of the hypothesis is horribly wrong.  The empirical evidence has proven the hypothesis wrong.  It is not just that the effect of CO2 on warming is not catastrophic.  It is not even significant.

I have received piddling amounts of funding for my laboratory over the last 19 years from oil companies.  The amount of funding I have received from alternative or so-called green energy companies to solve problems of wind power generation, solar power, or biomass use has been significantly greater than the funding from oil companies.  Many of the oil companies are big and can do most of their own materials problem-solving or have long-established relationships with older laboratories. Oil companies are not clustered near Maryland, though my clients come from across the country.  I am happy to help oil companies and alternative energy companies alike with solving their materials problems.  I strongly prefer that they all operate in a rich and robust private sector with no government meddling, however.

So, advocates such as Michaelson will dismiss all I say because I have received a smidgeon of income from oil companies.  How convenient that they need not address the scientific analyses that I have published on this blog.  How convenient that they dismiss all I say because I am not funded by the government to perform climate research.  How convenient that they can dismiss me because I am not a climate scientist, but merely a physicist who studies materials properties using a range of radiations.

You alarmists are having a bit of trouble convincing Americans and many others around the world that man-made global warming is mankind's greatest problem.  I take comfort in the fact that I have convinced some people to be such skeptics.  I am doing my bit to promulgate what I believe to be the truth.  I am doing my part to uphold the scientific method of free inquiry, careful observation, the use of known scientific principles to understand phenomena, and the idea that an hypothesis has to stand up to empirical testing.  I will not destroy the credibility of science so that politicians can acquire more power and I will not have them buy me off with research grants.


29 January 2015

Employment Growth or Contraction By State Since December 2007

It is very interesting that if one plots the number of jobs created in Texas since 2008 against the change in the number of jobs in all other states combined, one gets an astounding story of job creation in one state that does little to prevent the creation of jobs:



There is no contest.  Texas added jobs without ever dropping below the number of jobs in December 2007 despite the Great Recession.  It has now added 1.44 million jobs, while the remainder of the nation has yet to recover all the jobs lost since December 2007!

But some of those other states did add jobs and some lost a particularly large fraction of the jobs they had in December 2007.  Let us see which states are relative winners and which are relative losers.  I will use BLS seasonally adjusted Establishment Data on non-farm payrolls which excludes public administration.  I am going to break the states into three groups.  The first group is the one that created more jobs over the 7 year period than would be needed to keep up with the average population growth of the country over the 10-year period of the last census.  That population growth rate was about 0.9%, so 7 x 0.9% = 6.3%.  The next group of states managed some kind of job growth, though as we will see that job growth was most commonly pathetic.  The final group of states are those which still have few jobs now than they had in December 2007.  I have simply taken the non-farm non-public administration jobs in December 2014 and divided by the number of such jobs in December 2007.  Thus, North Dakota had 32.24% more such jobs in 2014 than in 2007.

The heroic states with more created jobs than average population growth from Dec 2007 to Dec 2014:


North Dakota, Texas, and Oklahoma certainly benefited from both business-friendly state governments and the shale oil boom.  Alaska benefited from high oil prices.  The District of Columbia benefited from the inexorable growth of the federal government and the many well-paid lobbyists located there.  Gov. Rick Parry of Texas has some real bragging rights in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination due to the record of Texas during his long term as governor.

The states that could not keep up with population growth, but at least did not actually lose jobs:


Massachusetts, New York, and California on this list certainly benefited from the huge out-pouring of Federal Reserve money propping up the largest financial institutions largely located in these states.  Note that the bottom 12 states in this group did not even manage a 1% growth of jobs in 7 years!  Both Virginia and Maryland, despite being benefited by the growth of the federal government by their proximity to DC, managed virtually zero private job growth at 0.6% and 0.15%, respectively.  Six of the bottom 9 states in this group voted for Obama twice, so they deserved no better.  Scott Walker, Republican governor of Wisconsin has little to brag about in terms of job creation in his state in his presidential bid.  Democrat Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland has still less to brag about.

Finally, we have the states that actually lost such jobs in the 7-year period of the Great Recession and its supposed recovery:


Of these 17 job losing states, 11 of them voted for Obama twice.  That is certainly a fair indicator of an anti-business mentality in those states.  Only Idaho, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada on this list appear in many lists of business-friendly states.  Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has only a 3.06% job loss in seven years to talk about.

It is very clear that the federal government and very many of the state and local governments need very badly to become more business-friendly if Americans are ever going to be able to enjoy plentiful and good jobs again.  This does not mean doing things to favor businesses.  It just means they need to get out of the way and let free Americans in the private sector create jobs and provide great products and services.




27 January 2015

CBO Cost Estimate for ObamaCare Implies Cost of $12,780 per Year per Person Insured

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is now estimating the 10-year cost of ObamaCare at $1.993 trillion.  This is $1.093 trillion more than Obama told us it would cost over ten years.  The CBO estimates that ObamaCare will provide health insurance coverage for about 25.5 million by 2025.  It is providing insurance now for about 7.5 million people.  If the growth in the number covered is linear over the next ten years then the average number covered per year is 16.5 million people.  Some of those people will be covered for 10 years, and some for 1 year.  So for $1.993 trillion, ObamaCare provides 156 million person years of coverage.  This comes to a cost per year of coverage of $12,780 per person, all at taxpayers expense.

Given that many of the people covered will be making large contributions to paying for their insurance themselves and given that $12,776 for a private insurance plan for one person should be a Cadillac health insurance plan, which ObamaCare plans are not, one has to wonder at the ability of government to waste our money in such titanic proportions.

And remember that some of the people forced onto ObamaCare plans could perfectly well afford to be self-insured, while others were perfectly happy with plans they completely paid for themselves until ObamaCare forced insurers to cancel the plans they could not keep.

Yes, ObamaCare is a massive train-wreck.  Most of us want to get off that train, but our brutal government is forcing us to stay on it.

21 January 2015

Private Sector? Obama The Great Don't Need No Stinking Private Sector

Obama claimed that the American economy was surging into the future.  He said that 11 million jobs had been created since he became president and that the unemployment rate was the lowest in a very long time.  So how many Americans are employed full-time after six years of his regime?


Is Obama for real?  Is this the record he is claiming is so great and has established a record employment condition in America?  And surely by now most Americans know that the unemployment number is hardly meaningful, given that it is low because so many Americans have given up on finding a job.  The percentage of Americans working full-time is at a record low of 47.7%.  Median household income has fallen in each and every year of the Obama presidency from 2009 - 2012.  There was a small increase in median household income in 2013, but median income is still well below what it was prior to the Obama regime.  As of 2013, median household wealth was only 60% of what it had been in 2007.  This is the Obama legacy.

Obama claimed that energy independence is near.  He deserves credit for this in that he did not succeed in applying the brakes on fossil fuel energy development enough to prevent the private sector from this great achievement.  He did his best to prevent it, but he failed.  We are supposed to give him credit for this failure.

Obama said, "Let's put more money back in the pockets of the middle class."  I say let us leave more money in everyone's pockets and not take it in the first place!  Sending our money to Washington and allowing politicians and bureaucrats to decide who will get a fraction of that money back is hardly the way to improve the lives of most Americans.  It sure does improve the life of politicians and bureaucrats though.  It improves the lives of some special interests who have great influence in Washington also, but this is at the expense of most Americans.

Obama called for equal pay for equal work.  We really need to have government bureaucrats examining every business and determining what the work that contributes to the bottom line is and who is contributing what to that.  I can only imagine such a bureaucrat coming to my laboratory and trying to make this assessment in a rational way.  One brief visit and he will know exactly what each of my employees is worth.  Hot diggity damn.  It is so easy.  Bureaucrats must be the best managers anywhere.  They are truly a miracle.  Oh, and if women are to be paid equally to men, are short people to be paid equally to tall people also?  Are unpleasant people to be paid equally to pleasant people?  Are good analytical report writers to be paid as little as bad report writers?  Is the bureaucrat to make an accurate assessment of each employee's ability to sell our analytical services to a potential client when they call?  Mind you, this bureaucrat is probably not going to take up residence for weeks as required to do this, assuming he has the business and scientific background to do this in any amount of time.  Well, the fact that he works for government probably precludes any likelihood that he has such abilities.

Obama says that employees should have fair wages and be paid well for overtime work.  Somehow he forgot to mention that employers should have fair income and overtime.  Employees should have  paid days off he says, but he says nothing about paid days off for those who risk their investments to create jobs for those employees.  Somehow it is simply assumed that employers can both provide jobs and take on almost any costs related to employing people.  The politician decrees that which will provide him more votes and the employer must deliver.  Or, the employer shuts down his business, which is exactly why every year for the last six years more businesses have gone out of business than were started up.  Not so many people want to start businesses in this environment either.  This is a very important part of Obama's record on the state of the economy.

Obama wants to provide daycare tax credits.  Never mind the national debt and the deficit.  Never mind the fact that with so few people working full-time, many parents are home and able to care for their own children, except they have little income.  Never mind that the burden of paying for the costs of this "free" daycare benefit will fall upon the record small fraction of the people who are employed full-time.  Never mind that once government pays for daycare, it will likely want to regulate and control it even more.  Of course Obama wants to move daycare services out of the private sector into the government sector.  And we can be sure he wants it unionized.

Obama wants more Americans in unions.  Of course, union leaders provide the Democrat Socialist Party with a very large fraction of their campaign contributions.  Americans have plenty of opportunity to choose to be union members now, but in the private sector they have chosen to leave the unions in droves over the years.  But, that free vote by Americans must be overcome by the Great Socialist Leader.

Obama wants to upgrade skills with 2 years of free community college.  Community colleges are nearly free now.  They are also very much like grades 13 and 14 in a government-run education system which is not providing a very good education.  The inflow of money from the federal government for this additional subsidy will surely mean more control of education by the federal government.  This is what we need, more government indoctrination of youth about how many victims we have in our society and how big government is the means to the end of their victimization as it attacks any group that is perceived as better off than some other group.

As tradition demands, the socialist called for more job training on top of the many tens of largely spectacularly unsuccessful training programs created over the years.  Obama wants companies to train employees more and to offer paid apprenticeships at the higher minimum wage he is advocating.  Obama has no concerns whatsoever for the cost of labor to businesses.  In his world, organizations just naturally operate at a deficit forever.  Never mind that the businesses in the private sector cannot do that.

Obama claimed great success in helping veterans get jobs.  The fact that veteran unemployment is much higher than the general unemployment rate was not noted.

Obama does not want a single pipeline, but he wants more infrastructure spending.  How about allowing many pipelines to be built, not just one?  Obama and the Democrats generally have been slowing down pipelines all over the country.  The Bakken shale oil and the Marcellus Shale Oil and Gas formations are supplying more fuel than they are able to transport out through pipelines.

Obama wants more trade authority, but his own party is the primary opposition to new trade agreements.

Obama wants a Precision Medicine Initiative, but I thought he would have already eliminated disease all around the world as he pledged to do in his acceptance speech of the first Democrat Party nomination to run for the presidency.  Apparently, Obama the Great Healer has not yet carried out this pledge.

Obama claimed we are a nation of laws.  He said there is one set of rules for all.  Somehow, he is not one of "the all," given his obvious violations of the ObamaCare and immigration laws.  He is an exempted individual.  The rest of us must surrender our individuality and be blanketed with smothering laws and regulations in his worldview.  But he is the exception, because he swore he do his best to improve America when he became President.  I thought he swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, which is the People's mandate for a very limited government that implicitly recognizes that there are only a few things government can do without infringing upon our individual rights and those individual goals for our personal happiness.  But no, Obama thinks that it is best for America that he ignore the Constitution's limits on his power, on the scope of government power generally, and on the separation of powers.

He claims he wants a free and open Internet, despite his Federal Communications Commission making untiring efforts to gain more control over the Internet.

Obama say that Americans do not mind paying our fair share of taxes.  We need to eliminate loopholes by keeping companies from investing abroad and rewarding those investing here he says.  Well, yes more government control over businesses and their foreign investments is really likely to simplify the tax laws and make them more friendly to business prosperity!  Never mind that much of the increased company investment in overseas operations is due to lower taxes there, less smothering regulations in many cases, no ObamaCare there, and the uncertainties to business investors of the arbitrary and capricious actions of a mad socialist in the White House.

Obama wants to tax accumulated wealth.  So, we are to increase the death tax.  Yes, no one should be able to pass the fruits of a lifetime of productive labor on to his children and grandchildren.  That is just too awful to imagine.  No, such successful businessmen should give up their wealth to politicians and bureaucrats who will, of course, spend that money more wisely than will the progeny of the wealth producer.  Obama is sure of this.  We are not to question this.  We are not to think that many a businessman not able to pass on his wealth will stop creating wealth at an earlier age.  We are not to understand that the individual right to the pursuit of happiness surely includes the right to the happiness of knowing that one has helped ease life for one's children and grandchildren.  Socialists cannot understand this.

Obama wants to eliminate worldwide poverty.  The only way we can help to do that is by creating the example of a nation that lives by the American Principle of limited government dedicated only to protecting the equal, sovereign individual rights to life, liberty, property (wealth), self-ownership (denied by ObamaCare), and the pursuit of personal happiness.  To the degree that nations do this, they prosper.

Obama claimed 14 of the 15 hottest years were in this century.  He had his NOAA and NASA GISS manufacture this data.  Even the manipulated and forged data does not show anything like the increase predicted by the climate computer models that are supposed to be the basis for the claim that mankind is threatened by catastrophic man-made global warming.  In fact, while the temperature is supposed to be rising rapidly, it is stagnant.  Flat.  Going nowhere.  Proving that the computer models based on what Obama has called the "settled science" are simply wrong.  So, the "settled science," we must conclude, is wrong.  So, the rational man does not have the concern Obama does about an impending climate catastrophe.  Unlike Obama, the rational man will not take harmful actions against fossil fuels, those same fuels that have brought us close to the energy independence that Obama claimed was a strong point in our economy in this very speech.

Obama will responsibly shut down Gitmo by sending more of the detainees back to Yemen, whose capital has just fallen to violent, Islam-spreading terrorists.

Similarly, the rest of Obama's claims of success in foreign policy and defense are just too ridiculously inflated to spend further time pricking them with needles.

Obama wants a nation with a hugely dominant and controlling government sector and a weak, groveling private sector.  He wants a nation in which no one has an individual nature.  He does not want individuals choosing their own values.  He does not want lone wolf individuals managing their own lives and pursuing their own happiness.  No, he wants politicians and bureaucrats to tell us what our values must be and to micromanage our lives.  He is sure that self-management is beyond our competence.  He is sure that he and his allied Progressive Elitists will do a better job of managing our lives than we ourselves will.  He is religiously sure of this, even though he does not know any of us.  Can you imagine the unreality that soaks the mind of someone who is sure he is smarter than anyone else and so smart that he can manage the lives of 312 million or so Americans, none of whom he even knows?

19 January 2015

School Choice Programs Produce Better Education Results than More Dollars

Vicki E. Alger of the Independent Institute has a very interesting, article on the lack of correlation of spending with educational results and the scramble to seek more tax money for education.  She points out that school choice programs seem to be a more important factor in improving the education of children in the school lunch program.  Because the most interesting results in her article are buried deep into it, I will quote them here:

Based on public-school results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the average nationwide reading and math performance among low-income eighth grade students was pitiful, with a 48% proficiency rate in both subjects.
The big spenders paid more for worse results. In Nebraska, which spent nearly $8,000 per student, a mere 39% of disadvantaged eighth-graders scored proficient or better in reading and math. For the approximately $7,000 a year Illinois spent on instruction, its low-income eighth-graders did no better than the national averages in reading and math.
States that spent less per pupil tended to have better educational outcomes. More than 45% of low-income students in Idaho—with its relatively puny $4,100 per pupil spending—tested proficient in reading and math. Low-income students in stingy Arizona, which spent $4,200 per pupil on instruction, had 51% proficiency rates in both subjects. And students in penny-pinching Oklahoma, which spent around $4,300 per pupil, achieved a 53% proficiency rate in reading and 52% in math.
 One of the most striking differences between these two sets of states is the availability of parental-choice programs. Unlike Nebraska or Illinois, both higher-scoring Arizona and Oklahoma have parental-choice scholarship programs that enable parents of disadvantaged students to choose the schools they think are best, including private schools. Schools have to compete for students, which forces them to improve their performance.
Congratulations are due to my home state of Oklahoma!  To be sure, it is one of many of my home states, but it is the one where I graduated from high school in a two-year period between moving there and leaving the state for college.  Nonetheless, I have considerable family there.

Nonetheless, I am sure that the educational bar for proficiency is much too low and that in general it is likely to be too generously assessed.  Even so, the results are clearly terrible.  Government-run schools are a disgrace for the most part.  Even when they are good at the basics, they tend to be awful Big Government indoctrination centers.

17 January 2015

Summarizing a Few Spending and Deficit Comparisons for Obama to Bush

The Tuesday, 20 January 2015 issue of Investor's Business Daily offered a few comparisons of George W. Bush's budgets compared to those of Obama in its Issues and Insights Section.  These observations are timely given that Obama's budget for 2016 would increase spending by $68 billion.  Every single year Obama's budget request exceeded that which was approved by Congress, while all but one year under Bush, Congress insisted on spending more than he requested.  Every one of Obama's budgets called for a higher deficit than wound up being approved by Congress.  This spendthrift Democrat Socialist posed as a much more fiscally responsible man than Bush in his first presidential campaign, consistent with his unsurpassed proclivity for the Big Lie.

If Obama's budgets had been approved by Congress, the USA would have a gross national debt $1.8 trillion greater than it is now.  If Congress had only spent as much as Bush requested, the increase in the national debt under Bush would have been $800 billion less.

Under Obama, the gross national debt has grown by $7.5 trillion already and it has nearly two years more to go up, compared to its growth under Bush of $4.9 trillion.  So if Obama had had his way, the national debt would have been $9.3 trillion greater in 6 years, while if Bush had had his way, it would have gone up $4.1 trillion on his 8-year watch.

Yes, the spending, the deficits, and the debt were all handled poorly in Bush's budgets, but they were handled even more recklessly under Obama's budgets.




14 January 2015

The Pre-Conditions for Religious Freedom Unmet by Islam

Religious freedom is a result of the individual right to freedom of conscience and thought.  Religious freedom is a subset of these broader freedoms.  Since religion usually calls on individuals to join with other individuals in activities including joint worship, it is also a result of freedom of association.  Religion commonly calls on people to act in prescribed ways, which they are allowed to do because individuals have a broad freedom of action, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and the freedom to contribute one's time, effort, and wealth to a religious cause.

Note that freedom of religion exists in the context of broad individual rights.  These individual rights enable individuals to survive and flourish in life while preventing others from threatening them with violence and force.  Every individual has equal, sovereign individual rights based on his nature as a rational being who must use his mind and take action to sustain and maintain his life.  Man institutes government for the sole, legitimate function of protecting his and everyone else' individual rights, as properly stated in our Declaration of Independence.  When a highly limited government well-instituted, as by our Constitution, provides this protection, a very robust and choice-rich private sector results in which individuals can revel in their full individual complexity and differentiation, while cooperating for their mutual benefit with others for purposes of their choosing.  Thus men commonly live creative and productive lives in harmony and prosperity.

This understanding of the nature of man and his individual rights was unknown until the Enlightenment developed in Europe.  It mostly developed in England, Scotland, France, and the Netherlands.  These were generally Christian countries.  Christianity, as practiced for at least 1000 years prior to this, had been deeply entwined with government, actively invoking the force of governments to force the people of each country to believe in the religion, or at least to pretend to believe in it and to be constrained in their actions by its tenets.  Christianity during this period was guilty of many terrible acts of evil.  But, Christianity had a key individual at its root, Jesus Christ, who had not advocated the use of force to impose his religious ideas.  He had pointedly refused to interfere with the rule of Rome, admittedly maybe only because that would have been a pretty futile effort at the time.  The fact that Jesus Christ had not preached that Christians take control of government and use it to force people to practice his religious ideas made it feasible to reform Christianity after the Enlightenment to a sufficient degree that religious freedom became broadly possible to extend to the various forms of religions in the Enlightened countries.  The people who were brought up in this tradition came to believe that all religions should be granted freedom of religion.

Unfortunately, few people have a clear understanding of the conditions which must exist for it to be possible to have a broad freedom of religion without undermining the many individual rights that make freedom of religion possible.  It simply is not possible to offer freedom of religion to a religion which embraces the use of force to spread the religion and to subjugate those people who refuse to adopt it.

Islam became known to man through Mohammed in 610 AD in the Arabic peninsula.  The land was very primitive with many contending tribes, some of which were polytheistic and some of which were Jewish.  When Mohammed had few followers, he formed alliances of convenience with Jewish tribes and often proclaimed his desire for peace with at least some other tribal groups.  However, as he became more and more powerful, he became much more ready to use force to suppress any peoples who did not join him as followers and believe in his teachings.  He taught that Islam required Jihad, which generally was implemented by using force to conquer other people.  He developed Islam as an integrated set of religious and political beliefs in which Islam was established by the state through the Sharia Law.  Government was to advance Islam, to suppress non-believers often to the point of killing them, to collect tribute from those who submitted but did not believe, and to conquer new lands and people.  It was also to punish any Muslim who became a non-believer with death.  Basically, the integrated religion and tyrannical government model is not compatible with individual rights.

It will not be possible to extend religious freedom to Islam until and unless it reforms itself to eliminate its political component that uses force to limit greatly many individual rights.  The integrated rights of the individual cannot be in conflict with one another.  Whenever someone proposes a conflict of rights, that person has failed to correctly identify the rights of the individual.  It is very common that people do this and then they commonly say that rights bring with them responsibilities.  Meeting those responsibilities is supposed to reduce the friction, nay the conflict, of one person's rights with those of others.  Those responsibilities commonly include obligations of service to others and out and out self-sacrifice.  This is all nonsense.  Properly identified individual rights allow men to live in harmony, not conflict.

Because those who practice Islam are required to emulate Mohammed, they are essentially required to emulate his use of force to spread and maintain its integrated religious and political system.  Some may choose to emulate his earlier stage of operations when his forces were weak and he was less aggressive.  Others will follow his later actions when his forces were strong and quite ruthless in their conquering sweep across the Arabic peninsula.  People most often acquire their religious and political beliefs from their family and the society into which they are born.  They come to see their realistic choices as limited by their culture and will mostly allow their developed beliefs to vary but little from those common in their culture.  The Muslim cultures strongly discourage a wide range of beliefs within Islam itself in given areas.  Some more substantial variations do exist among Muslims as a whole, such as those between the Sunnis and the Shiites, who often have very nasty wars with each other.  We should realize that some Muslims do try hard to be decent people despite the limitations of Islam.  While we must work and fight to maintain an Enlightenment culture that honors and preserves individual rights, we do not want to be at war with all Muslims.

It is not an abberation when an Islamist uses force to advance Islam, however.  It cannot truthfully be said that the use of force means someone is not practicing Islam.  I understand this representation to be an attempt to discredit such Islamists and to limit the number of followers of Islam with which we have to contend in violent confrontations.  However, this is an attempt to deny the truth.  Islam is not so easily reformed to separate the control of government and the use of force from the religion as was the case with Christianity.  Mohammed was not Jesus Christ.  The brutal Arabic peninsula of 610 AD was not the somewhat civilized Roman Empire of Jesus' time.  The reformation of Islam may well take hundreds of years, given that the easier case of Christianity took hundreds of years.  Violence in the name of Islam may well continue for that entire time.  That violence may be extreme or radical in our Western Civilization context, but it is manifestly not extreme or radical in the context of Islam. 

There are many non-violent Islamists and many who are nice people when we interact with them on a personal basis.  We need not be at war with everyone who believes in Islam.  But, many of the personally peaceful Muslims do believe it is their religious duty to support and contribute to those who use violence to advance their religion.  Many believe that when it becomes possible for them to make Sharia Law the law of the land, they should do so.  This would trample individual rights and with the loss of those rights, a complete loss of freedom of conscience and its subset freedom of religion will result.  Understanding what is at stake in refusing to have our own society taken over by Islam is necessary if we are to maintain our precious individual rights.

It is vital that we also understand that the use of force is a true emulation of Mohammed's acts by present day Islamists and not an abberation despite Obama's and other Progressives' adamant claims that it is.  We must not lose focus on the fact that Islam is an integrated system of religion and government, not just another religion.  Islam is not compatible with individual rights and in its present common forms does not meet the conditions of a belief system that qualifies for religious freedom.  The present common effort to grant it religious freedom undermines religious freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and self-ownership.  Islam is unfortunately a very tyrannical religious and political system.


13 January 2015

Updating an Inadequate List of Global Warming Deniers

I am submitting the name of an opponent of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis to a favorite list of "deniers" kept at a nefarious blog called DeSMOGBLOG.com.  Apparently this blog does not do an adequate job of learning who the alarmists opponents are, so I am trying to help them out through their handy informer submission form.  This is the description of the beast as I submitted it to them:

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D., claims that the hypothesis that man's fossil fuel emissions of CO2 will cause catastrophic man-made global warming is based on bad physics and has been proven wrong by the empirical evidence.  His arguments are laid out in many posts on http://objectivistindividualist.blogspot.com

He is a scientist who signed onto the Senate Minority Report by Senator James Inhofe.  He has stated that the surface temperature records for many areas of the Earth's surface have been tampered with to make it appear that unusual warming has occurred in recent years.  He points out that IR-active gases have about as much cooling effect on the Earth surface temperature as any warming effect, making the net effect very small compared to the 33C warming effect claimed by the alarmists.  While he expects negligible effects on the surface temperature due to CO2 emissions, any warming effect is likely to be beneficial, as is the effect on plant growth of higher CO2 concentrations.

This man is very dangerous to the cause because his arguments are extremely rational.

Update 14 Jan 2015, 0128 hours:

I have a reply from Brendan DeMelle of the DeSMOGBLOG.com:
Are you an illeist?

Nice try, but you have to be relevant to earn a spot in our database. You're no more dangerous than any other angry Ayn Rand obsessive with a blogger account.
Invariably, the catastrophic man-made global warming alarmist refuses to address the science and responds with name-calling.  As I noted in my comments for the Senate Minority Report on AGW:
Observe which side resorts to the most vociferous name-calling and you are likely to have identified the side with the weaker argument and they know it. 
Brendan, you might try reading my posts on the issue and addressing the science.  Many scientists who have read them, including many scientists with extensive experience with infra-red radiation in weapons and detection science and technology, have found my analyses to be correct.  To be sure, with government policy so opposed to the truth and to honest discussion, they are not free to say so publicly without great harm to their careers.  I, however, am always ready to discuss the actual physics and to evaluate the hypotheses, vague and changeable as they usually are, put forth by the claimants that mankind faces a CO2 crisis.

Now as for being angry, I am only angry when someone uses force to violate my sovereign individual rights to life, liberty, property, self-ownership, and the pursuit of my personal happiness.  Yes, I do not submit meekly and willingly to thugs, not even those employed by Big Government.  Generally, I am a very live and let live person, who very much enjoys living my life.

The man-made global warming alarmists commonly angrily reject the need man has to alter and control his environment to survive and flourish on Earth.  Too many of them even advocate drastically lowering the standard of living of mankind and would leave them shivering in winter with inadequate fuel supplies.  Many would push all of mankind into small concentration camps and allow them little to no use of most of the Earth's surface so that what they call Nature would return to its primitive state of prehistoric times.  Some even call for reducing the human population from 7 billion people to 500 million people.  Now that is a very angry group of people.  Such angry people find it a pleasure to call those who do not join their crusade angry names.