Monthly Archives: December 2008

A horrible no good very bad idea

This article by Thomas Friedman was brought to my attention today.  In it, Friedman calls for a gas tax or a carbon emissions tax to force Americans to convert to more energy efficient ways.  This line of thinking is wrongheaded on several fronts.

First, increasing the gas tax (by several dollars, no less) hurts those of low to moderate income the most.  These people are the ones who have to drive to and from work, and cannot afford to get a new car just to be more energy efficient.  The cars on the road today are likely going to last for 15 years, if all the cars that were rolling off the assembly line today ran on hydrogen or solar power or some other “clean” fuel, then you still have to make sure that gasoline cars run for another 10 years – at a minimum.

Second, this relates more to the carbon tax, but our power grid runs on fossil fuels.  We overwhelmingly get our energy from Natural Gas and Coal.  The most promising technologies of the future that don’t run on gas run on electricity.  But the problem is that right now, we’re getting most of our electricity from burning carbon based fuel.  Unless this was coupled by a huge push in building Nuclear Power plants, there’s no way that it’s workable without leaving a lot of people literally in the dark (nevermind in the cold in the winter).  Alternative sources such as solar or wind power simply are not viable at this point in time.

Thirdly, if GM starts rolling Chevrolet Volts of the assembly line tomorrow, and the government gives a tax credit to any person who buys one, and coerces GM into selling it at cost as a term of the bailout, and everybody now has an electric car powered by a new bank of solar cells that were just developed, we still have a problem.  Our infrastructure and agricultural sectors are wholly dependent upon gasoline.  From the tractor that sows the ground, to the combine that harvests the food, to the refrigerated tractor trailer that takes the food to the processing facility, and then on to the supermarket, it all runs on gas.  And a high gas tax is either going to put the farmers, truckers, and railroads out of business, or hit the consumer hard in the wallet when he goes to buy food.

Fourthly, while it is an admirable goal to try to keep American dollars from going to two bit dictators and terrorists, decreasing consumption is not going to decrease their power.  The developing world will gladly buy up every drop of oil that the Saudis wish to pump.  The better solution is to drill in US territory to provide a supply of oil that OPEC doesn’t control and whose funds don’t go to terrorist states.  It even gives us significant leverage over these petrodictators.  “Vladimir, you’d better behave or we’ll flood the world oil markets and you won’t be able to give the stuff away”.  Right now, China is drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of the United States under the auspices of the Cuban government.  It is far better for that oil to be drilled for by US companies under the auspices of US law who will be held accountable in our courts to our standards then to let the Chinese farm it out to the lowest bidder.

Fifthly, and finally, the United States of America is a free country, and we put our faith in the free market (at least we did until our politicians betrayed us).  Meddling in the market is never a good idea.  In the ’70’s, the meddling led to gas shortages that crippled the country.  In the ’90’s, the meddling led to what eventually became the “sub prime mortgage crisis”.  And this sort of meddling in the market will not turn out any better.  I am all for doing things in the most efficient way possible, and the most efficient way of finding the most efficient way is to use the free market to tell you.  Give people the freedom to innovate alternative fuels sources, and alternative forms of transportation, and then let the market decide.  If it really is the best way, I guarantee you that it will win out in the market.

(As seen at Tim’s place)

Merry Christmas

Remember what’s important… and that is that we are celebrating God coming to save us all.

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.

Luke 2:1-20 NASB

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were {some} shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This {will be} a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds {began} saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.n

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Matthew 1:1-2:23

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {Mary} as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard {this,} he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’ ” Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found {Him,} report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over {the place} where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned {by God} in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. {This was} to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.” Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned {by God} in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. {This was} to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

The Economy is Toast

When the Fed is giving money away like they are now with interest rates being effectively zero, you know the economy is toast.

Let it be known that the only thing that is going to save us is limited responsible government.  Well, we definitely won’t be getting that under an Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime.

Bend over, grab your ankles, and hang on tight.  People are about to get schooled in the unpleasantries of the iron law of supply and demand.  When the supply of dollars is insanely high, the value of the dollars drop to being less than toilet paper.

Obama’s plan for massive government stimulus is the absolutely wrong thing to do.  And will somebody please just admit that Paulson is clueless.

Somebody buy the AP an atlas…

updated 12:34 p.m. ET, Mon., Dec. 1, 2008

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama announced former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as his choice for secretary of state Monday and also said he would keep Robert Gates as defense minister as the incoming administration seeks to wind down the U.S. role in Iraq.

The United States does not have a “Defense Minister”  we have a Secretary of the Defense, and anybody reporting on the United States should know that.