Saturday, December 29, 2012

France as the Model

It's nice to see Ayn Rand quoted as the lead in to an editorial, especially when the editorial makes a decent point.

Friday, December 28, 2012

GW, IPCC and the Evidence

Here's a good read on the latest developments on AGW, including this teaser excerpt:
The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC's existing 2°-4.5°C "likely" range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization's record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Effect of Taxes on Investment

A good rebuttal of Buffett's political nonsense.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

ARI and Libertarians

The Ayn Rand Institute has published a new Q&A on their view of, and willingness to work with, libertarians.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Entitlements Lead to Personal Impoverishment

I agree with the gist of this well-written editorial.  Welfare recipients et. al. are actually worse off for not having a job, even if they're given an amount of money equal to what they could make working.  This passage summarizes the broader point:
It is a simple fact that the United States is becoming an entitlement state. The problem with this is not just that it is bankrupting the country. It is that the entitlement state is impoverishing the lives of the growing millions dependent on unearned resources.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maxham on the Spirit of Science

I enjoyed this post on the proper approach to science and how the AGW crowd violates it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Exit Taxes?

I've been predicting something like what's speculated here for a long time.  My guess though is that the first step will be to ensure that anyone receiving pension or other benefits will have to live in the jurisdiction in question (and therefore be subject to its taxes).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Appreciating the Rule of Law

It's sad to see the rampant corruption in Mexico, but as this story helps illustrate, some countries, such as Canada, still benefit from a general rule of law.  Let's hope that that's something we can maintain here in the US as well.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Teachers Teach Class Warfare

As low as my estimation is of the California Teachers' Union, this video still amazes me.  Being forced to (indirectly) fund this scum is a reason for me to consider leaving the state.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Defending Energy Producers

Alex Epstein urges producers to take the moral high ground.

Friday, December 07, 2012

NEOS on Immigration Reform

I agree with this, particularly this point:
The STEM Jobs Bill, if enacted, would represent progress only in superficial terms; on net, more people’s rights would be respected to a greater extent. But on principle, there will be no progress. The STEM students would not be viewed as human beings pursuing their own dreams, but as tools for the use of Americans who judge their political success by the standard of annual GDP growth and the support of minority voting blocs in election seasons. They would be statistically, not morally significant. They would be spared deportation and humiliation for the sake of making America richer, not for the sake of being able to lead more fulfilling lives.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Death Spiral States

Besides needing my capital for trading purposes, I've always been reluctant to buy a house in CA because prices seemed too high here, and I thought that they would have to come down due to 1) the rule of thumb of disposable income to housing costs, 2) that the mortgage interest deduction would eventually disappear (after all anyone who has enough money to own their own house must be rich!), 3) the state and its populace seem very intent on vilifying and penalizing businesses in general, hence the economic prospects long term seem pretty poor.  A recent Forbes article adds a fourth reason (though it's not strictly independent of my reason #3): Don’t buy a house in a state where private sector workers are outnumbered by folks dependent on government.

(I should also note that I've been generally wrong about the housing market, so this isn't a recommendation of any kind, just my personal conclusion.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Revealing Ad from the DOE

My latest at Forbes.  Here's the opening:

Not long ago I heard a shocking radio advertisement from the US Department of Energy and the Ad Council. Convinced that I misheard it, I downloaded the ad from the Ad Council’s website. Here’s my transcription of the opening, including sound effects in brackets { }:
“This is the sound of a brand new outdoor grill being hurled off a 20 storey building {Crash! Bang!}. Now a stylish glass coffee table {Whoosh! Shatter!}. An electric guitar {Boing! Kerplunk!}.
These are the things you could enjoy, all cast into oblivion, because when you throw away money on wasted electricity, you throw away everything you could have bought with it.”
After reading this, you might wonder: “How could this be considered shocking?  Of course money spent on energy is not available for spending on other things.  Indeed, what could be more logical and incontrovertible?”  But if you’ll take a minute to consider both the source and intent of the ad, you might just join me in my consternation.

Read the whole thing.

PS This post's title is the title I'd originally proposed for the article.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Burdened by Solar Power

Even the LA Times is starting to understand that when something's uneconomic, the losses must be borne by someone.

Perhaps even more interesting is the double standard set for productive industries vs. those allowed for political darliings:

Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to "crush" opponents of solar projects. At the launch of a solar farm near Sacramento, the governor pledged: "It's not easy. There are gonna be screw-ups. There are gonna be bankruptcies. There'll be indictments and there'll be deaths. But we're gonna keep going — and nothing's gonna stop me."
Counties have little say because the state controls planning and licensing of large-scale projects. The California Energy Commission issues the permits for utility-scale solar farms, and counties depend on the commission's staff to look out for their interests.
Of course the reverse has been the case for nuclear power ever since its inception.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Useful Info for Business Owners

An interesting interactive graphic showing the various states' friendliness to small businesses.  I wonder how well this would correlate to net tax transfers federally?  (My completely un-researched guess would be that those states unfriendly to business receive net payments while those friendly pay more than they receive.  Of course given our deficits, it's possible that they all receive more than they contribute, in which case I'd guess that the net transfers would be ranked according to these graphs.)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Proudly Defending Values

Though it isn't philosophical -- indeed the whole reason Conservatives don't and can't believe their own philosophy is that morally it's based on the evil and unpracticeable doctrine of altruism -- this Bill Whittle address provides  a good common-sense attempt to defend better values.

(PS I know 'unpracticeable' isn't an accepted word, but it seems to capture the idea that I'm after much more accurately that would the word  'impractical'.)