Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advanced 3-D Printing Technology on the Verge of Making Gun Control 'Impossible'



HaveBlue 3D-printed AR-15

Seems the progs are at it again, not actually accomplishing anything you could call 'progress' re. gun violence while pig-headedly attempting to fix yesterday's problems with solutions that never worked in the first place...

It's a long-running shtick with liberals, where they claim the ability to control the uncontrollable: now they're out to 'control' weapons-possession in the US just as 3D computer technology is making 'printed guns' a reality- a democratization of weaponry they're never going to put the kibosh on, obviously:
Forbes via Doug Ross:

Three months ago, the gunsmiths behind the group known as Defense Distributed announced their intention to create a working, lethal gun anyone can download and 3D-print at home.

Now their experiments with actual 3D-printed firearm components and live ammunition have started. And they’re documenting their progress on video. Over the weekend the project’s founder Cody Wilson posted a YouTube clip of the group testing an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon Defense Distributed assembled with a 3D-printed lower receiver, the highly-regulated component that serves as the body of the gun onto which the barrel, stock, magazine and other elements are attached...

...The result of Defense Distributed’s experiment: Their home-printed AR-15 piece cracked and fell apart after firing just six rounds. But Wilson still considers their first test of a partially-downloadable weapon a successful learning experience...

...A lower receiver has special significance to gun enthusiasts: It’s the central part of the weapon that’s regulated by gun control laws and trackable by serial number. Print your own lower-receiver at home, and in many states all the other parts can be obtained without background checks or even identification...

And did you scheming Obammunist tools at DHS note the 3-D printed guns are made of plastic? MAYBE it's time you all stop putzing-around, fomenting war with the TEA Party and get to work on a way to deal with the undetectable AR-15 clones
Al Qaeda and Hamas operatives are going to have printed-up by the vanload the minute they waltz over the porous Mexican border you intentionally created.


Prices on 3D printers are dropping fast, but one capable of producing the AR-15 lower receiver used in the test above would run in the $10,000-range... not cheap, but hardly prohibitive, either.

For any who scoff at the fact that at the current state-of-the-art, printed guns tend to disintegrate after a few shots, you know that's going to change as the technology advances- something that never seems to take very long these days.

fwiw, in the 1940s the US Army found plenty value in distributing one-shot, throwaway guns to aid the European resistance behind Nazi lines, more here...


FP-45 Liberator handgun

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Obama Has to Fib Even at a Funeral

American Thinker ^ | 12/23/2012 | Jack Cashill

Yes, everything is about Barack Obama. From the beginning, he has built his career on his own personal story, and the funeral service of former Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Cathedral on Friday apparently struck him as an opportune time to remind the world what that story was. In his 1,600-word oration, Obama even managed to work in the fact, as though someone in the universe might not have heard, that he had "a white mom [and] a black father" "and was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."
The problem, however, is not just that Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times in the course of telling his story, but rather that even at a funeral, he could not keep the story straight.
Obama's oration dealt to a large degree with how he came to understand what a U.S. senator is. "Now, even though my mother and grandparents took great pride that they had voted for him," said Barack Obama of Inouye, "I confess that I wasn't paying much attention to the United States Senate at the age of four or five or six. It wasn't until I was 11 years old that I recall even learning what a U.S. senator was, or it registering, at least. It was during my summer vacation with my family -- my first trip to what those of us in Hawaii call the Mainland."
The story of the trip set up the punch line. He told Inouye's mourners that "my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings," and he was forced to watch, too. Of course, the senator who "fascinated" him most was "this man of Japanese descent with one arm,
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Loss of Confidence: Currency Hoarding and the Crash in Homeowner Equity

Confounded Interest ^ | 12/23/2012 | Anthony B. Sanders

As we rapidly approach Christmas and the Holiday Season, it will be interesting to see what happens to checking account and credit card balances after it is over.
It is interesting to note the surge in demand deposits at commercial banks since the end of 2008.
A similar measure, Total Checkable Deposits (TCDSL), has also surged.
Between anemic GDP growth and the rapid growth in bank deposits (at incredibly low deposit rates), it is no wonder that M2 Money Velocity is dead.
Of course, the crash of the housing market and the loss of consumer confidence in the economy may explain the hording of currency at commercial banks.
While it is true that house prices are beginning to rise again in many parts of the country (in large part due to The Fed’s generous monetary stimulus), there seems to be a mentality of hoarding among consumers. Note that consumer confidence remains low after the housing market crash.
Let’s see if Dodd-Frank regulations and Obamacare taxes and healthcare rationing improve America’s mood after January 1st.
(Excerpt) Read more at confoundedinterest.wordpress.com ...

CNN's Piers Morgan upset over White House petition calling for his deportation!

Examiner ^ | December 22, 2012 | Joe Newby

CNN's Piers Morgan is upset over a petition at the White House web site calling for his deportation, Twitchy reported Saturday.
"Ironic U.S. gun rights campaign to deport me for 'attacking 2nd Amendment rights' - is my opinion not protected under 1st Amendment rights?" he tweeted.
The petition, created on Friday, cites his relentless attacks on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
"British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment," the petition reads. "We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."
The petition was started by "Kurt N" of Austin, Tex. and already has over 8,900 signatures. A threshold of 25,000 signatures is required for White House action. The Blaze identified the petition creator as possibly being "Kurt Nimmo of the website infowars.com."
Morgan, who is a British citizen, has repeatedly attacked the NRA and members of the gun lobby since the tragic Newtown school shootings. In a recent exchange, he berated an advocate of gun rights as "stupid."
Twitchy, a web site that dubbed the CNN talk show host "Musket Morgan," said the anti-Second Amendment pundit is "beside himself over this assault on his First Amendment rights."
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...

The Continuing Resistance to ObamaCare!

Principles and Policy ^ | December 22nd, 2012

With President Obama's triumph in November, many political observers sounded the death knell for the "full repeal" movement fighting against ObamaCare. Despite lingering controversy and general unpopularity, the president's victory and a large Democratic majority in the Senate made the law appear safe at last. Is it?
In a sense, it is. Full repeal almost certainly won't happen while President Obama is in office, and attempts to reform the law will struggle to gain traction as long as progressives keep their hold on the Senate. If the law won't be repealed before its true implementation in 2014, and if reform is almost as unlikely as repeal, what recourse is left for the law's opponents?
Well, there's still the lingering question of implementation. This massive law needs a lot of infrastructure in order to function as designed, but by far the most important element is its network of "health care exchanges."These "exchanges" are marketed as a conservative, market-based approach to providing the uninsured with health insurance coverage, but that description is far from reality.
In truth, each "exchange" will only feature government-regulated and approved coverage plans. The private insurance companies who offer plans in this supposed "marketplace" will receive generous federal subsidies to reduce the cost of insurance premiums for consumers. Does this sound like a conservative or market-based solution to health care reform? An exchange-in-name-only that features heavy federal regulation and extensive corporate welfare simply isn't a free market plan.
Those who drafted the law intended for each state to construct its own "exchange." Their purpose was two-fold: 1.) to create the appearance of state-based control and involvement and 2.) to reduce the burden on the federal Department of Health and Human Services. In reality, the states have very little leeway to tinker with the design or function of the "exchanges." Additionally, each state that agrees to start its own "exchange" also agrees to take on the costs of maintaining its day-to-day operations, which will cost tens of millions of dollars annually. The law's designers wanted the labor and expense of building and operating each "exchange" to fall on the states, not the federal government.
The concept of state involvement in these "exchanges" was always a mere facade, but it may have also been a critical mistake by ObamaCare's creators. These "exchanges" are the bedrock of ObamaCare, and they must be in place for the law to function properly. When the individual mandate goes into effect in 2014, Americans who do not receive insurance through their employer and who do not qualify for a federal program such as Medicare are meant to get it through the "exchanges."The "exchanges" are also the mechanism by which the federal government intends to disburse the subsidies to make health insurance affordable for the uninsured.
By refusing to set up an "exchange," a state places the heavy burden of getting one up and running by 2014 on the Department of Health and Human Services. How many states have joined the ObamaCare resistance? Two, three? Maybe four? No, a staggeringtwenty-six states have refused to set up their own "exchange." A majority of states have refused to collaborate with the federal government to implement the unpopular law. It is without question a stunning success for the grassroots resistance to ObamaCare.
Here's a list of states that have decided not to set one up: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. (A 27th state, Utah, set up an exchange that is intentionally non-compliant with federal regulations.)
Interestingly, some policy experts believe that an error made in drafting the actual text of the law may transform this state by state resistance into a mortal blow to ObamaCare. According to a strict reading of the law, the federal government cannot step in to create an "exchange" in a state that has refused to make one itself. That means no state "exchange" and no subsidies for the insurance companies, which removes the basic machinery at the heart of ObamaCare.
Without the "exchanges" or massive federal subsidies in place, the individual mandate and the guaranteed issue/community rating mandates on private insurance companies will be intolerable. The uproar caused by the crashing and burning of ObamaCare could force progressives back to the negotiating table on health care reform, providing conservatives with another chance to push for affordable, consumer-driven, patient-centered health care.
The federal bureaucracy has made it clear that they intend to overlook this mistake and to implement the "exchanges" from the federal level anyway, but the states can then sue the federal government for violating the text of the law. Once again, the fate of ObamaCare's most important provisions will end up in the hands of the judiciary. It's impossible to know how this battle will end, but the fight to resist and to repeal ObamaCare continues on.

Self-important Santa gives lectures to kids who ask for toy or real guns!

Hot Air ^ | December 21, 2012 | Mary Katherine Ham

I can’t wait to see a friendly WaPo write-up on a Santa who lectures little girls who want Tonka trucks and Transformers about how they can only have toys that adhere to traditional gender roles. Political Santas who frown upon your toy choices are great!
Every year, the children ask Santa for dolls, cars, games and puppies. They also ask for guns. Nerf guns, pistols, air rifles, shotguns. Even assault weapons.
And that breaks this 82-year-old Santa’s heart, especially this year…
“You might get a gun from your father or your mother or grandfather, but you won’t get one from me,” he tells kids who request weapons, either real or make-believe, at the Fairfax County nursery. “Guns were put on this earth to take the life of a bird, an animal or a person. Guns were designed to make people cry, to make people die. Now, take a candy and a holy card.”(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...

Blue Cheese May Be Good for Your Health, Study Suggests!

Global Post ^ | December 21, 2012 | Alexander Besant

A study by the UK-based biotech company Lycotec found that blue cheese may have anti-inflammatory properties that protect against many diseases.
Blue cheeses like Roquefort and Bleu d'Auvergne are being credited with helping reduce cardiovascular disease in France.
A studyby the UK-based biotech company Lycotec found that blue cheese may have anti-inflammatory properties that protect against many diseases.
The anti-inflammatory properties increased the longer the cheese was ripened, said the Globe and Mail.
AFP reported that the benefits of the cheese work best in the gut and just underneath the skin, which may help slow signs of aging.
The researchers said that blue cheese may be one factor in explaining the so-called "French paradox," long and healthy lifespans in France despite a high-fat diet.
"We hypothesize that cheese consumption, especially of moulded varieties, may contribute to the occurrence of the 'French paradox.' , the researchers said, according to the French Tribune.
"Moulded cheeses, including Roquefort, may be even more favourable to cardiovascular health."
France is considered to have one of the longest lifespans in Europe and one of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in the developed world.
The study was published in the journal Medical Hypothesis.

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing:

In a large mixer bowl place:
1 c Sour Cream
1/4 lb Blue Cheese crumbles
1 T vinegar
2 T minced sweet onion
Mix with electric mixer until smooth and refrigerate.
Yummy

Question John Kerry long and hard!

Townhall.com ^ | December 23, 2012 | Ken Blackwell

This column was co-authored by Bob Morrison

Sen. John Kerry has a long and dubious record in foreign policy.
In the 1970's, he testified against his fellow Vietnam War veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He charged that they were violating the Geneva Conventions every day in Vietnam. Some POWs were outraged at Kerry's disloyal statements. They said they had been tortured by their Communist captors trying to force them to make such untrue statements.
Worse, Kerry went to Paris in 1971. There, he met with North Vietnamese Communists. We need to see all his notes from those meetings. Any negotiation between a private U.S. citizen and a foreign power is illegal. It violates the Logan Act of 1798. Did Kerry demand of the North Vietnamese Communists that they abide by the Geneva Convention? Or is that only a demand he made of his fellow Americans?
We do not charge Kerry with treason in the statements and actions he engaged in then. Treason consists of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But this country has set a very high bar for conviction for treason--ever since the Burr Treason Trial of 1807. Nonetheless, we do say Kerry's actions and statements then were not those to which America's top diplomat should be linked. What was he thinking?
In the 1980s, Kerry campaigned for the Nuclear Freeze. The Soviet KGB, we now know, was a major funder and promoter of this disastrous idea. The Freezeniks believed that President Carter's promise to send Pershing and Cruise missiles to our NATO allies in Western Europe should be dishonored.
Freezeniks thought that the only thing we should do in response to aggressive Soviet placement of SS-19 and SS-20 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Eastern Europe was to freeze the West into no response. By freezing in terror, we could morally pressure the Soviets into withdrawing their missiles, the naive Freezeniks argued. Harvard's Polish-born Adam Ulam famously punctured this pink balloon: "An' wot will you doo iff they dun't?"
Ulam's common sense response was followed by President Ronald Reagan. Reagan agreed with the democratically elected Socialist President of France, Francois Mitterrand, that NATO would fall apart if we failed to meet this Soviet thrust. The Cruise and Pershing Missiles went forward. And, in good time, Reagan and Mitterand's policy of peace through strength brought the greatest arms reduction treaty in history and it helped bring down the Iron Curtain.
Has John Kerry learned anything from that experience? We need to know.
Then, there is his appalling joke when President George H.W. Bush was elected. He said the Secret Service has instructions, if anything happens to President Bush--"to shoot Dan Quayle."
He got a lot of yuks from the media on that one.
Question 1: Does Sen. Kerry think assassination of the President and Vice President is funny?
Question 2: If John Q. or Jane Q Public makes a joke about murder of the President and Vice President, they get a visit from the Secret Service; why does a United States Senator like Kerry get away with it?
For these and a host of other reasons, John Kerry should be grilled with tough questions. He has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue since 1972. Aren't his failures over four decades something his colleagues should worry about?

There is also his meeting with the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad


A Progressive Priority: Celebrity Gun Buy-Backs

Townhall.com ^ | December 23, 2012 | Austin Hill

It is, perhaps, the ultimate “do as I say, not as I do” scenario: progressive entertainment stars and politicians telling us that we shouldn’t possess firearms.
So now would be a good time for American progressives to rise up and do for their icons, as their icons seek to do for us: it’s time for an entire movement of celebrity gun buy-back events.
Gun buy-back events, if you’re not familiar, have been proliferating nationwide over the past decade or so. They usually involve a local law enforcement agency setting-up a designated time and location where individuals can hand-over their firearms without fear of arrest or prosecution, and receive some sort of “reward” – typically a gift card - in return. The goal is to get guns “off the streets,” and thousands of Americans have willingly and freely participated in these events over the last ten years.
The assumption that undergirds these events is the same one that animates the anti-gun ownership movement generally: “guns kill people.” That is, of course, an illogical assumption; a gun is merely an inanimate object, and is incapable of “doing” anything apart from human instigation. In fact, apart from the God-given intelligence and creativity of human beings who figured out what to do with the raw materials and physical matter, “guns,” as such, wouldn’t exist at all (neither would anything else outside the realm of the natural created order).
But let’s apply this assumption to all of America, and not just to those of us who are thought of as the “unwashed masses.” If one believes that guns kill people, then one should want every American to abandon them – and “every American” should most certainly include New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Last Thursday (less than one week after the Connecticut school massacre), Governor Cuomo announced that he’ll be proposing more gun control legislation for his state next year. "I don't think legitimate huntsman is going to say I need an assault weapon to go hunting,” he noted at a press conference. And, bad grammar aside, we’d also have to conclude that “legitimate Governor” doesn’t need a weapon in order to do his Governor thing, either. So please, Mr. Cuomo, let peace and tranquility begin with you – hand over your guns. And as you make a public disclosure of every weapon that is in your private possession, we’ll ask you to sign a pledge to never allow your security team to carry weaponry either, because – as we all know, Governor – “guns kill people.”
As beloved as Mr. Cuomo is, there are undoubtedly millions of Americans who would willingly make this a true “buy back” experience for him. A $50 gift card to Target or Walmart is probably of little value to the Governor (buy-backs usually involve just such an exchange), but campaign cash is no doubt meaningful. Come on, progressives, this is your moment – offer up a donation to the “Cuomo For President 2016” campaign, once he hands in his personal weapons and signs the “un-armed security pledge.” And while you’re at it, make the same arrangements with Vice President Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Boston Mayor Thom Menino. Weapons for-campaign cash; this should be the ultimate gun buy-back program.
And how about the entertainment stars among us who helped bring the anti-gun ownership government to power? Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Kate Perry and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the rockers who endorsed President Obama’s re-election and the President is now leading the charge on gun bans. And then there’s Beyonce, Conan Obrien, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Anniston who appear in the new “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” video. Yes, the “mayors” claim to support “2nd Amendment Rights,” yet their definition of an illegal gun is kind of whatever they want it to be. So please, progressives, step up and do the right thing: once the celebs hand over their weapons and sign the “unarmed security pledge” make sure to do your part and buy lots of their movie and music downloads.
The thought of applying the flawed logic of progressivism universally is a thought that doesn’t occur to adherents of progressivism. Despite their happy talk about “equality,” progressives have never accepted the Jeffersonian idea that we are all ‘created equal” – on the contrary, progressivism is steeped in a history that believes in the superiority of certain categories of persons, and inferiority of certain others.
I’ll opt for being on the progressives’ “inferior” list, as I exercise my right to protect myself. But progressives, please – follow your own illogic, and demand that your iconic leaders do as well.

Some Overdue Abuse for America’s Native Criminal Class

Townhall.com ^ | December 23, 2012 | Daniel J. Mitchell

I’m not sure what it says about me – or about readers – that the three most-viewed posts on this blog involve humor.
The welfare state drawings weren’t even intended as a joke. I wanted to make an important point about how entitlement programs start small, but then balloon in size as politicians buy more votes and create more dependency.
But whenever I share these drawings as part of Powerpoint presentations, audiences laugh. So there’s obviously something amusing about them, even if only because of dark humor – i.e., in a we’re-doomed-if-we-don’t-reform-entitlements-so-we-may-as-well-laugh kind of way.
Anyhow, political humor seems to be very popular, so several readers have sent nagging emails asking why it’s been over a month since I shared any of the jokes from the late-night comics and talk-show hosts.
My last batch was right before the election, so it has been awhile. So, you ask and I deliver.
Jay Leno
  • As you know, the Mayans said the world will end tomorrow, and like everybody else, they blame Bush.
  • It looks like President Obama is going to pick John Kerry to be our next secretary of state. This is a very strategic move when it comes to foreign policy. Obama plans to use Kerry to bore our enemies to death.

  • A 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck, once owned by President George W. Bush, is going up for auction in a couple of weeks. All the proceeds will go to military families. President Obama should buy this truck because when something goes wrong he can blame it on Bush.
  • In what’s being called a stunning literary find, a Danish historian has discovered the last remaining, unpublished fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen. It’s called “Congress Solves the Fiscal Cliff.”
  • Police are now looking for a man who robbed a bank wearing a Mitt Romney mask. He robbed the bank, fled the area, and then stashed the money somewhere in the Cayman Islands.
  • The Golden Globe nominations were announced yesterday morning, and “Lincoln” got seven nominations. Finally, a Republican who might win something.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a failure to reach a deal for the fiscal cliff will hurt the recovery. The good news is most Americans will not be affected by this because they had no idea there WAS a recovery.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau says that by the year 2043, white people will be in the minority in the United States. By that time, the country will be 15 percent black, 31 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Republican.
  • According to a new study at UCLA, Latinos live longer than non-Latinos. More bad news for Republicans.
  • Today in Washington, President Obama met with leaders of the American Indian tribes and they honored the president by giving him his own Indian name: “Running Deficit.”
  • There was one really awkward moment with the American Indians. In the middle of the meeting, Joe Biden walked in wearing a Redskins jersey.
  • President Clinton and President Obama played a round of golf over the weekend. President Clinton asked Obama what his handicap was, and Obama said, “Joe Biden.”
  • There are now reports that President Obama will name Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to be the next secretary of defense. Apparently this is part of America’s new defense strategy to bore our enemies to death.
  • The economy is so bad, MSNBC had to lay off 300 Obama spokesmen.
  • It was announced today that former General Petraeus has agreed to testify before Congress. I guess he figured, “Why not?” Those questions can’t be any tougher than the ones he’s getting at home right now.
David Letterman
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton collapsed, passed out, banged her head, got a concussion. She is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
  • Christmas is just around the corner. It’s just under two weeks away, and today Santa released 10 years of tax returns.
  • The Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is being put in place this afternoon. They bring it in and hoist it with a crane and steel cables. It’s the same way they get Chris Christie into his pants.
Conan
  • New Jersey Democrats say Republican Governor Chris Christie will be impossible to beat. It’s unclear if they’re talking about the 2013 governor’s race or Coney Island hot dog-eating contest.
  • According to a new poll, most Americans think Santa Claus is a Democrat — which is really odd because when I think of a fat, old white man who hires unskilled labor, I think Republican.
  • Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited the White House. President Obama told him, “I’d invite you to lunch but the deficit is already too high.”
Craig Ferguson
  • New Jersey became a state on this day in 1787. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie celebrated with a giant cake and a bucket of ice cream. Then he remembered today was New Jersey’s birthday.
  • A list of the world’s best cities came out today and the highest-ranking American city is Honolulu at number 28. They got points taken off for bad public transportation, but apparently it’s a great place to get fake birth certificates.
  • To keep this in perspective, the U.S. pays almost a billion dollars to support the first family. Granted, most of that money just goes to making fake birth certificates.
Jimmy Kimmel

  • Christmas is on Tuesday, provided that the world doesn’t end on Friday, which is the end of the Mayan calendar. Some believe there will be massive earthquakes and floods. Others think a planet will collide with the earth. I believe the end of the world will come about in a much stupider way, like Joe Biden spilling a Mountain Dew on the nuclear launch panel.
  • The U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday they are expecting this year’s holiday season to be their busiest ever and also their slowest ever. That’s probably the only business in America that complains about being busy.
Jimmy Fallon
  • There’s a photo going around with President Obama playing with a staffer’s son who’s dressed as Spider-Man. Obama was like, “Shouldn’t you be fighting the Green Goblin?” And the kid was like, “shouldn’t you be working on the fiscal cliff?”
  • The kid was really excited to meet the president, while Joe Biden was real excited to meet Spider-Man.
  • Yesterday, the Senate floor was reserved for farewell speeches from retiring senators. Each senator received a fitting gift: a gold watch that stopped working years ago.
If you want to enjoy previous editions of these one-liners, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Two Pictures that Perfectly Capture the Rise and Fall of the Welfare State


In my speeches, especially when talking about the fiscal crisis in Europe (or the future fiscal crisis in America), I often warn that the welfare state reaches a point-of-no-return when the number of people riding in the wagon begins to outnumber the number of people pulling the wagon.
To be more specific, if more than 50 percent of the population is dependent on government (employed in the bureaucracy, living off welfare, receiving pensions, etc), it becomes rather difficult to form a coalition to fix the mess. This may explain why Greek politicians have resisted significant reforms, even though the nation faces a fiscal death spiral.
But you don’t need me to explain this relationship. One of our Cato interns, Silvia Morandotti, used her artistic skills to create two images (click pictures for better resolution) that show what a welfare state looks like when it first begins and what it eventually becomes.


These images are remarkably accurate. The welfare state starts with small programs targeted at a handful of genuinely needy people. But as politicians figure out the electoral benefits of expanding programs and people figure out the that they can let others work on their behalf, the ratio of producers to consumers begins to worsen.
Eventually, even though the moochers and looters should realize that it is not in their interest to over-burden the people pulling the wagon, the entire system breaks down.
Then things get really interesting. Small nations such as Greece can rely on permanent bailouts from bigger countries and the IMF, but sooner or later, as larger nations begin to go bankrupt, that approach won’t be feasible.
I often conclude my speeches by joking with the audience that it’s time to stock up on canned goods, bottled water, and ammo. Many people, I’m finding, don’t think that line very funny.

Texas, California, and the Tale of the Coyote


January 14, 2011 by Dan Mitchell

I’ve already had a couple of blog posts commenting on how Texas is kicking California’s you-know-what. Being a fiscal policy person, I always point to California’s punitive state income tax as an example of bad policy and highlight the absence of any income tax in Texas to explain the success of that state.
But sometimes it’s just culture and attitude. Here’s a joke comparing the two states, but it’s based on something that actually happened in Texas.
CALIFORNIA: The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out, bites the Governor and attacks his dog.
1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop; the coyote is only doing what is natural.
2. He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
3. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 for testing it for diseases.
4. The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
5. The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is free of dangerous animals.
6. The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds to implement a “coyote awareness” program for residents of the area.
7. The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
8. The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack somehow and for letting the Governor attempt to intervene.
9. Additional cost to State of California: $75,000 to hire and train a new security agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.
10. PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files suit against the State.
TEXAS: The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A Coyote jumps out, bites the Governor’s leather boot, and attacks his dog.
1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his State-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP hollow
point cartridge.
2. The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
And that, boys and girls, is why California is broke………..And, more importantly, why too much government doesn’t work.
Addendum: Welcome Instapundit readers. A few people in the comments are looking for a response to Krugman’s attack on Texas. Kevin Williamson at National Review provides the answer.

So Unhappy

Townhall.com ^ | December 23, 2012 | Charles Payne

Four years ago, there was a sense that America was clearing its last hurdle on race and ideological animosity. There was pride in electing the first black president, even by those that didn't cast their vote for Barack Obama. Fast forward to even before Friday's massacre, and there was a malaise hanging over the nation ripping it apart on so many levels. Americans pitted against fellow Americans. It's not good enough to lose elections anymore, there has to be complete demonization and the absence of any compromise.

God is under attack, traditional values are being abandoned, and capitalism is considered heartless as many romanticized the notion there is a form of socialism that could be nicer. Then last week something happened that, like the election four years ago, could have galvanized the nation, but instead threatens to rip it apart even more. The first line in Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" speaks volumes about where America is these days.

It's very difficult to think or discuss investing and politics in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I haven't felt so empty since 9-11, when unstoppable tears strolled down my face as I tried to navigate crowded roads to reach the schools of my children, all the time looking to the sky wondering when the next plane would crash into a building or fall from the sky. Sadly, what happens next will be another battle that rips apart the nation. While there will be no debate over better mental health testing and surveillance, the idea of going after gun owners is going to be ugly.

Most will agree on changes to so-called assault weapons, but warranted suspicions of ulterior motives will make certain registrations and other legislation is a battle. I don't own a gun, but I think people have the right to own them and to protect themselves, their families, and businesses. In the meantime, a media onslaught has already begun, painting gun owners and folks that visit gun ranges as bad people. Already, I despise how moderately successful people are being painted as greedy and mean-spirited, worthy of scorn and higher taxes; now, more ordinary citizens will be painted as villains.

We are an unhappy country that will only grow sadder. We need help, leadership that finds a way to inspire everyone to do things they may not like but understand it's for a greater good. In the meantime, we can never forget those children in Newtown, Connecticut. How we honor their deaths remains to be seen. This could move us closer as a nation, or this just might move us further apart.

'Leave truth to the police and us; we know the Good;
We build the Perfect City time shall never alter;
Our law shall guard you always like a circle of mountains,
Your ignorance keep off evil like a dangerous sea;
You shall be consummated in the general will,
Your children innocent and charming as the beast'
W.H. Auden

The Never-Ending War
Since the inception of this nation, there has been a never-ending battle for the right balance between a giant central government and smaller local government. and it rages like a wildfire today. The Newtown massacre will fuel that debate just as the fiscal cliff has been its central battlefield. Lost on Friday was an olive branch from Speaker Boehner that was immediately rejected by democrats and hated by conservatives. The offer included higher taxes for those at $1.0 million and pushing the debt ceiling debate off a year.

I must say republicans mishandled this thing from the start, but Boehner has been more than accommodative. Even though there are polls that suggest a vast majority of Americas want give and take, the narrative has been the GOP comes out as the bad guys if we go over the cliff. I would suggest they forget the polls. If the will of almost half of Americans are trampled completely then at this point so be it. I get why President Obama keeps waiting and snubbing the GOP, Boehner keeps negotiating with himself, giving away more and more and still losing his grip.

Feeding the Beast
The American public has given up so much over the last five years even as government spending continues to run amok. I keep hearing politicians talk about how much it costs to run the government, but its rings hollow to people that have made real sacrifices. Outside of student loans, Americans have cut back during the Great Recession. Our government simply will not.

Where to Put Your Money
I mentioned on Friday there is a strange chance that the stock market might be the only game in town for those seeking growth. I think a lot of money will find its way into the housing market, but it's still a long way from being robust as mostly investors are stirring the action. If all the possible taxes go into effect, there is no reason to invest in "safe" dividend stocks. At some point, the bond market will implode and while gold should be in everyone's portfolio the Fed will find a way to manipulate official inflation readings.

Of course, there is the question of how the market and society at large handles yet another impasse in Washington. I think the nation will sink deeper into a depression, mental not economic, although that becomes the risk as well.

In the long run, being part owner of great American companies might be the only economic salvation but, for now, there are a lot of questions.

The only thing we don't have to question is that our unhappy family is unhappy in every way.

Queer Therapy Allowed in CA

Associated Press ^ | Dec 21, 2012 10:15 PM EST | Lisa Leff

A federal appeals court on Friday put the brakes on a first-of-its-kind California law that bans therapy aimed at turning gay minors straight.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order putting the law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the measure’s constitutionality. The law was set to take effect Jan. 1.
Licensed counselors who practice so-called “reparative therapy” and two families who say their teenage sons have benefited from it sought the injunction after a lower court judge refused the request.
The law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this fall, states that therapists and counselors who use “sexual orientation change efforts” on clients under 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards. …
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...

Buck Ofama

Headaches

GM Lemon

Santa Baby

Stuffing

Deck Chair Rearrangment