Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Stolen Corvette Surfaces From Morena Storage Unit 24 Years Later!

San Diego Reader ^ | Dec. 24, 2012 | Gary Cornaglia

A 1989 Chevrolet Corvette that was stolen from a Morena car dealership when new was for sale on an eBay Motors auction this week.

The Corvette was reportedly taken off the C&M Chevrolet lot and kept inside a nearby storage locker for 24 years. Still completely original, the car’s odometer reads 67 miles, and the original sales sticker remains affixed to the glass.

The thief recently came forward, reportedly through an attorney, and was cleared by the San Diego police to sell the car (whether this was due to a statute of limitations expiring is unclear). The thief allegedly paid an estimated $70,000 in storage costs over the years. Comparable used models of the same year vehicle are now valued at less than $10,000.

The “truly amazing find” is now owned by a Sherman Oaks dealer, Corky Rice. Following extensive detailing work to remove a quarter century's worth of dust, the red ragtop is in cherry condition once again and described as “a collector’s dream.”

The eBay no-reserve auction for the car closed at noon on Sunday, receiving over 70 bids. The winner’s closing bid of $39,471 was noted as equal to the car’s original retail sale price.

How Charles Dickens Put Holly Branch Through The Heart Of The Worst Economics Ever

Townhall.com ^ | December 25, 2012 | Jerry Bowyer

Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.” “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.” “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
That phrase–surplus population–is what first tipped me off to Dickens’ philosophical agenda. He’s taking aim at the father of the zero-growth philosophy, Thomas Malthus. Malthus’ ideas were still current in British intellectual life at the time A Christmas Carol was written. Malthus, himself, had joined the surplus generation only nine years before. But his ideas have proved more durable.
What was Dickens really doing when he wrote A Christmas Carol? Answer: He was weighing in on one of the central economic debates of his time, the one that raged between Thomas Malthus and one of the disciples of Adam Smith.
Malthus famously argued that in a world in which economies grew arithmetically and population grew geometrically, mass want would be inevitable. His Essay on Population created a school of thought which continues to this day under the banners of Zero Population Growth and Sustainability. The threat of a “population bomb” under which my generation lived was Paul Ehrlich’s modern rehashing of the Malthusian argument about the inability of productivity to keep pace with, let alone exceed, population growth.
Jean Baptiste Say, Smith’s most influential disciple, argued on the other hand, as had his mentor, that the gains from global population growth, spread over vast expanses of trading, trigger gains from a division of labor which exceed those ever thought possible before the rise of the market order.
Guess whose ideas Charles Dickens put into the mouth of his antagonist Ebenezer Scrooge.
“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation? … If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
Interesting, isn’t it? Later in the story, the Ghost of Christmas Present reminds Scrooge of his earlier words and then adds about Tiny Tim:
“What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! To hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.”
Interesting also, that Ehrlich was not an economist, agronomist or even demographer but rather an etymologist, an expert in insect biology. Malthusianism is, indeed, the philosophy of the bug heap, of man as devouring swarm rather than ennobling angel.
The Ghost of Christmas Present is the key to understanding Dickens’ political and economic philosophy. He is the symbol of abundance. He literally and figuratively holds a cornucopia, a horn of plenty. While he wears a scabbard at his side, it is bereft of sword and neglected in care. Peace and plenty.
When Scrooge asks him how many brothers he has, the ghost replies “More than 1,800.” When Scrooge declares that this is a ‘tremendous family to provide for,” the ghost rises in anger. And then he takes Scrooge where? To the university economics department? To the socialist meeting house? No, he takes Scrooge to the market, and shows him the abundance there, especially the fruits (sometimes literal) of foreign trade:
“There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Friars… There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, … there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, … there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.”
Onions from Spain, grapes from the Mediterranean and citrus from the equatorial regions. How else could one eat oranges in England in winter? At the end of their Christmas feast, the poor Cratchits eat, yes, oranges. How else, other than through international trade, could the poor afford oranges? Surely, Christmas Present, and his creator Mr. Dickens, and his teacher Mr. Say, are true disciples of Mr. Smith.
Ironically, this made Scrooge a much less wealthy man than he could have been. He was a miser, not an entrepreneur, because his economic philosophy was a miserly one, not an entrepreneurial one. Look at Scrooge’s mentor Fezziwig, who had two apprentices and dozens of employees.
By contrast Scrooge, even as an old man, had no apprentices and only one employee, a low wage and low skilled one at that. Where was Scooge’s ambition? What was his plan for expansion?
Michael Dell is reported to have started his dream with an image of a large building filled with employees with a flag pole outside. But Scrooge didn’t even update his Scrooge and Marley sign upon the death of his partner seven years after the event, preferring to let rust simply erase the latter’s name. What entrepreneur thinks that way? Scrooge and Marley is basically a collection agency micro-business, whose proprietor did not even make the Forbes 15 List of Wealthiest Fictional Characters.
When Scrooge’s nephew Fred presses his uncle to reveal the cause of their alienation, Scrooge exclaims “Why did you marry?” This is not a change of subject; it is another bitter fruit of the old man’s anti-natal philosophy. Small wonder then, that after Scrooge’s conversion he spends Christmas day with his nephew’s family and cheerfully watches Topper court Fred’s wife’s “plump sister.”
If Scrooge has modern counterparts, they’re more likely to be found among those sad, self-sterilizing minimizers of carbon footprints than in the circles of supply-side entrepreneurs. Who, after all, could claim to a smaller carbon footprint than the man who tried to heat his office with a single piece of coal?
The debate between Say and Malthus, between Scrooge and the Ghosts, continues to this day. Is the market economy a source of abundance or shortage? Is each new little boy or a girl mostly mouth, or mostly mind? Is it a Say/(Julian) Simon/Forbes/Wanniski/Gilder world, or is it a Keynes/Ehrlich/Krugman/Gore world?
Malthus taught the world to fear new people. An amateur economist, he created a theoretical model which allegedly proved that mass starvation was an inevitable result of population growth. Populations grow, he said, geometrically, but wealth only grows arithmetically. In other words, new people create more new people, but new food doesn’t create new food.
Malthus’ influence, unfortunately, grew geometrically and not arithmetically. His ideas provided fodder for Darwin, and Darwin’s lesser mutations used the model to argue for the value of mass human extinction.
Hitler’s hard eugenics and Sanger’s (founder of Planned Parenthood) softer one, both owed a great debt of gratitude to Thomas Malthus. So do the zero-growth, sustainable-growth, right-to-die, duty-to-die, life boat bio-ethicists who dominate so much of our intellectual discussion. Malthus turned out to be, ironically, right in some sense. His prediction of mass death has taken place; not because he was right, but because he was believed.
In other words Malthusianism is a grizzly form of economic self-fulfilling prophecy. Dickens, I think, saw that first. Ebenezer Scrooge was clearly a Malthusian. When he turns away an opportunity for alms giving, he uses the zero growth rationale. When he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, he reiterates it:
“You have never seen the like of me before!” exclaimed the Spirit.
“Never,” Scrooge made answer to it.
“Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family; meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years?” pursued the Phantom.
“I don’t think I have,” said Scrooge. “I am afraid I have not. Have you had many brothers, Spirit?”
“More than eighteen hundred,” said the Ghost.
“A tremendous family to provide for!” muttered Scrooge.
At this, the Ghost rose in indignation. Scrooge cowers and submits. Then the ghost raises his torch (in the shape of a cornucopia) and leads Scrooge to the public market, brimming with food from all around the world. Dickens especially emphasizes the fruits of trade: almonds, Spanish onions and oranges (in winter, no less). The message is clear: Use your eyes, man, just look around and see that the dirge-ists of the day are wrong. England, even with its poor classes, is a prosperous society. The world is abundant. Rest is possible. So is generosity.
Scrooge’s philosophy is not one based on the evidence; he ignores the evidence. He keeps setting aside the evidence of his senses with reference to the secular philosophy of his time. When he sees a spirit, he says that it’s just a piece of undigested beef causing him to hallucinate. He denies the realm of the spirit until it becomes simply undeniable.
Scrooge is in need of all of this “reclamation” (to quote the Ghost of Christmas Past) partly because he grew up in an atmosphere of want. Dickens makes a point of describing not just the emotional deprivation of Scrooge’s early life (made clear in all of the movies) but also the material deprivation of the boarding school in which he spent his formative years (not portrayed in film versions). “There was an earthy savor in the air, a chilly bareness in the place, which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candlelight, and not too much to eat.” Note that hunger specifically is mentioned.
Already an old man, when the story was set in the first half of the 18th century, Scrooge would have grown up before the triumph of the Smithian ideas and the repeal of the hunger-inducing, protectionist “corn laws.” The psychology of the story is mixed with the economics and history of it.
Scrooge was a man whose present was distorted by his past. The old order, of monopoly and protection and tariff and hunger, gave him a nearly indelible sense of the inherent scarcity of the world. The only thing which rendered Malthus’ ideas plausible to so many people was the shortage associated with command economies. Scrooge, the boy, because a victim of that, believed that want was an ontological necessity, rather than a tragic by-product of state planning.
Scrooge is not following reason; he’s following trauma. His mother died when he was young. He was sent to a boarding home where he and the other children were poorly fed. By the time he was brought back from exile to his home (which his sister said is ‘like heaven’), the damage to his core personality was done.
Dickens’ message is clear enough: The Malthusians of his day did not need evidence (which they ignored every day in the marketplace) or reason. They needed conversion. They needed healing. They needed to be reminded on the day where the world celebrates the birth of a child whom Rome and Herod try to assign to the role of ‘surplus population,’ that the frightened men who rule the world in the name of scarcity should not be followed, but saved.
Post Script: As I put the final touches on the edit of the article above, with my play list running background music, Isaac Watts’ Joy to the World just started playing. Written about a generation before Malthus was born, it captures what Malthus missed, because of his obsessive theological focus on the cursed state of mankind. He was a minister and he built his philosophy on the curse found in the book of Genesis, “cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you…” But the story doesn’t end with a curse, with thorns and thistles. It moves forward to Christmas. This is why a Christmas Carol is a CHRISTMAS carol, why Dickens’ most clear rebuke to Malthus and stagnation is set at Christmas, because Christmas is the reversal of the curse which Malthus could not see past.
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King…
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

California’s Largest Corporation is Headed for the Exit


By Daniel Greenfield 


Chevron is California’s largest corporation, but it seems to be making the move to becoming Texas’ largest corporation instead.
Employees at Chevron’s San Ramon corporate headquarters received an unexpected email yesterday. It notified them that a quarter of their jobs are being moved from California to Texas.
That’s 800 jobs out the door which gives Chevron a larger presence in Texas than it still has in California.
Forbes noted that Comcast shut down its Northern California call centers this year, citing “the high cost of doing business in California.” Some 1,000 workers lost their jobs.
Campbell’s Soup, which padlocked its Sacramento factory, displacing some 700 workers. The company decided to move production to Texas, North Carolina and even Ohio of all places.
Anywhere but California. The new motto is no longer “Go West, Young Man.” That dates back from the days when you could escape over-regulated areas for a fresh start in the West. Now it’s “Go East, Young Man.”
Forbes magazine this month ranked California one of the 10 worst states for business based on six factors: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.
The Mercatus Center, “Freedom in the 50 States,” ranked California’s regulatory climate the fourth worst among the states. California has the fourth-highest tax burden, according to a study by the Tax Foundation. And energy costs here in the Golden State are 33 percent above the national average.
But surely this is another problem that can be solved with more taxes. If we just invest more money in the schools, then the next generation of Californians will be divided between those who stay and collect welfare checks and those who get the hell out.

Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com
URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/californias-largest-corporation-is-headed-for-the-exit/

With Election Over, Americans Find They Were Duped By Democrats And Obama!





IBD ^ | 12/24/12 | editorial

Politics 2012: It hasn´t been two months since Barack Obama won re-election, but already we´re finding out things that were kept from us during the campaign. Expect to hear more in the coming months. lElections are clarifying events, we´re told. But sometimes what they clarify is merely the gap between what we were told during the campaign and the reality on the ground. Often, the two don´t match. That´s certainly true with Obama. How often in recent weeks have we learned that what we heard on the campaign trail from the Obama camp, and which were echoed by

(Excerpt) Read more at news.investors.com ...

Sam Donaldson Tells Tea Partiers 'It's Not Your Country Anymore - It's Our Country'!

NewsBusters ^ | 12/24/2012

SAM DONALDSON: The minorities re-elected president Obama, but I'm going with Katty. It's the Tea Party and thinking of the Tea Party and people like that that are driving the Republicans out of contention as a national party. You cannot win nationally if you don't know something about the way the country's changed, and the Tea Party seems to think the country can go back 25 or 30 years. The greatest slogan that I hated during this last campaign was “We want to take back our country.” Guys, it's not your country anymore - it's our country and you're part of it, but that thinking is going to defeat Republicans nationally if they don't get rid of it.

So Donaldson like so many of his colleagues in the media believe that the movement that led to an historic Republican victory at the polls in 2010 will defeat the GOP if the Party doesn’t purge itself of such people and thinking.

Not surprisingly, the only good Republican in these folks’ view is a moderate one.

A 'dad' is most popular Christmas list request for minority children!

Telegraph ^

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.

But a survey of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting "a dad" instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A "pet horse" was the third most popular choice, with a "car" making a bizarre entry at number four.

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...

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Conservatives urge GOP leaders to be bold, prepare to go over cliff!

The Hill ^ | 12/23/12 06:00 AM ET | Erik Wasson

Conservative activists who helped doom Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “Plan B” say Republicans must be prepared to go over the fiscal cliff to force President Obama to reach a deal that includes no tax hikes. …
“I think Obama is very mindful of his legacy and is horrified of going over the cliff,” said Andy Roth of the Club for Growth. “Going over the cliff might be a signal that needs to be sent to the president, that he needs to play ball.” …
“I think it is certainly better to go over the fiscal cliff than to have the Republican party deny the American people to have one party that stands for lower taxes and another party that doesn’t,” Michael Needham of Heritage Action said last week. …
“The worst thing that Republicans can do is raise taxes,” Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks said Friday. “If Obama wants to raise taxes, he can do that, but Republicans shouldn’t give him cover. If Obama wants to go over the cliff, let him own that.” …
(Excerpt) Read more at thehill.com ...

Does Kerry Still Think Assassination Of The President And V.P. Is Funny?

Cybercast News Service ^ | December 24, 2012 | Ken Blackwell

Sen. John Kerry has a long and dubious record in foreign policy.

In the 1970s, 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. … 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? …

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.” … Does Sen. Kerry think assassination of the President and Vice President is funny? 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? …

(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...

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Bahrain hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet, but its leaders fear Obama is backing Iran!

The World Tribune ^ | December 17, 2012

Relations between Bahrain and the United States have come under increasing strain amid the Shi’ite revolt in the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom, a report said.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said that Bahraini leaders were expressing dismay over what they determined was Washington’s failure to support Manama in the campaign against Shi’ites backed by Iran. The institute cited veiled criticism of the administration of President Barack Obama during the Manama Dialogue in early December.
The United States sees political reform as compatible with maintaining the historical security relationship, while the royal family views Shi’ite leaders with suspicion, believing they are too sympathetic to Iran and determined to change the political status quo,” the report said.
Titled “U.S. Differences with Bahrain Playing Out in Public,” author Simon Henderson said U.S. diplomats were stunned by an address by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to the Manama Dialogue. Salman, long regarded by Washington as the leading lobbyist for reform, failed to mention the United States in the kingdom’s list of allies. Bahrain has hosted the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet for the last 40 years. Instead, the crown prince addressed unidentified countries that criticized Bahrain’s leadership....
(Excerpt) Read more at worthynews.com ...

5 Christmas Traditions Stranger Than Yours

HLN ^ | Mon December 24, 2012 | AJ Willingham

Yay, Christmas is here! Time to brace yourself for the full effect of how crazy your family really is. The holiday household can be a bubbling crucible for the very best and most pungent acts of weirdness, all brought on by proximity and eggnog. But no matter what mean things grandma says when she's had a few or how long your sister's kids can run in circles around the fragile -- kids, FRAGILE! -- Christmas tree, your crazy isn't gonna beat the crazy of these classic holiday traditions from around the world.
Gather 'round the flaming Yule Goat
In certain parts of Scandinavia, nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a giant straw effigy of a goat. The "Yule Goat," (or julbocken, if you're fancy) originated like most Christmas traditions, in that people aren't exactly sure. It has some roots in Norse mythology, wherein the god Thor rode around in a chariot pulled by goats. But in more recent history, the lore plays out more along the lines of the Christian association of goats as demonic creatures. Either way, there are lots of goats. Typically, they manifest as cute little ornaments you put on the tree, but some towns erect giant statues of the goat. And sometimes people set those statues on fire. Adorable.
Someone needs to potty train that log
In Catalonia, Spain, they have this thing that's...well: It's a pooping log. Yeah. The Tio de Nadal (Christmas log) or Caga tio (Google it, we can't print that word here) is like a cross between a Tamagotchi and a pinata. A few days into December, parents gift their kiddies a friendly-looking hollow log for them to care for. Every night, the family "feeds" the log and covers it with a blanket, because logs feel feelings. Then, on Christmas, they sing Log songs and beat the log with sticks, ordering it to eliminate. And eliminate it does -- nuts, dates, candies -- and when it can eliminate no more, its swan song comes in the form of some pungent food like onion or herring.
Hide yo' brooms, hide yo wife
In Norway, they have a pretty solid idea of what witches and evil spirits do and do not like. And man, do those spirits love brooms. They also love Christmas, so on Christmas Eve, people hide their brooms so witches and the like won't hang around. For good measure, a male family member may pop his head out the front door and fire off a few blasts from a shotgun to show those spirits who's boss.
Coal in your stocking? YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY
Kids, meet Krampus. You know how Santa's all cuddly yet strangely omniscient, like the good cop in a movie? Well, Krampus is your bad cop. He looks like a goat who has eaten 20 other goats and then walked through fire. He will threaten you with rusty chains and kidnap you if you've been naughty. Sometimes, he is literally an embodiment of Satan. The same Alpine people who brought you the messed up world of the Brothers Grimm are also responsible for Krampus. In Austria, Croatia and surrounding countries, a guy dressed as Krampus will roam the streets terrifying young children and reminding them that with the sweetness and light of Christmas comes an equal and opposite force of darkness and evil, and if you're a naughty little girl or boy, Krampus will cart you off AND EAT YOU. Sleep tight!
Wanna see my lucky underwear?!
In Italy and parts of Spain, people wear red underwear on New Year's Eve. Normal enough: Red has long been considered an auspicious color, and swaddling your bum in it seems like a decent way to start the New Year off on a good foot. But whenever there's underwear involved, you can count on people to get weird about it. Every year, in the small Spanish town of Font de la Figuera, people take the opportunity to the fullest and run around in their crimson skivvies. And yes, it's usually freezing cold. It's not a Christmas tradition, but you still have time to pick up a pair of Hanes and traumatize the neighbors. You can tell the judge you were just being cultural.