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Gherald got me to thinking about something earlier today and I thought I’d put together a super scientific graph for everyone.  Remember how, during the 2008 election, Clinton supporters and Republicans would sneer at Obama supporters and accuse them of thinking Obama was “The One”, or the Messiah?  Two years in, I think the people who are projecting their irrational characterizations about Obama are certainly no longer the Democrats:
Update: Gherald makes a good observation.  The blue bar would definitely have been a bit higher before the election.  Police-State-Obama probably shrunk the bar over the last couple of years.

Thanks to lockwooddewitt for finding this absolutely perfect Tom Tomorrow cartoon.

 Lessons I should’ve learned by now:

Never tell your mother you’re in the hospital getting something relatively minor checked out (because the office ladies at work told you to), until you’ve gotten the results and know you’re okay!*

* Don’t worry, it turned out to just be some moderate cold/upper respiratory infection that has gone on for like 3 weeks.

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Awesome quote from John Cole at the end of another well-deserved screed against the media:

I’m seriously convinced that the last words uttered before the Republic will explode will be “for a different viewpoint on whether this armageddon device could actually destroy the whole continent…”

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Yet another reason to join Gherald’s crusade to neuter government to the point of fecklessness and get them out of our damn lives! (via JC)

NY Times is full of great news tonight:
Now, Changsha and two adjacent cities are emerging as a center of clean energy manufacturing. They are churning out solar panels for the American and European markets, developing new equipment to manufacture the panels and branching into turbines that generate electricity from wind. By contrast, clean energy companies in the United States and Europe are struggling. Some have started cutting jobs and moving operations to China in ventures with local partners.
The booming Chinese clean energy sector, now more than a million jobs strong, is quickly coming to dominate the production of technologies essential to slowing global warming and other forms of air pollution. Such technologies are needed to assure adequate energy as the world’s population grows by nearly a third, to nine billion people by the middle of the century, while oil and coal reserves dwindle.

But much of China’s clean energy success lies in aggressive government policies that help this crucial export industry in ways most other governments do not. These measures risk breaking international rules to which China and almost all other nations subscribe, according to some trade experts interviewed by The New York Times.

U.S.A.!!! Free, unfettered markets!!!!   We’re number one! …  Er, or number twenty…  or something…    Um….  U.S.A.!!!

Wow, what a shocker.  We now find out that most of the people that are ginned up about the Islamic community center in downtown NYC are primarily driven not by “sensitivity” for the white Christian victims of 9/11, but by blatant anti-Muslim bias:

We now have clear evidence that there’s a direct link between public anti-Islam sentiment and public opposition to the construction of Cordoba House, a.k.a. the “Ground Zero mosque.”

The evidence can be found in the internals of the new Washington Post poll on Islam and the planned center, and it was provided to me by Post polling director Jon Cohen. The numbers directly contradict the claim by opponents that public opposition to the project is not linked to broader anti-Islam sentiment, and is only rooted in a desire to be sensitive to 9/11 families or to respect Ground Zero as hallowed ground.

The poll’s toplines show that 66 percent of Americans oppose the Islamic center. Separately, a plurality, 49 percent, has generally unfavorable views of Islam.
But it’s the intersection of these numbers revealed in the internals that proves the point.

Here’s the rub: According to the internals sent my way, opposition to the “Ground Zero mosque” is overwhelmingly driven by those with an unfavorable view of Islam:

* Fifty-five percent of those who have favorable views of the religion say it should be built.

* Meanwhile, among those who have an unfavorable view of Islam, an overwhelming 87 percent say the project shouldn’t be built, with 74 percent strongly opposed.

As John Cole put it in his “Another Entry From The “No Shit” Department” post:
In other words, bigotry is the motivating force behind the anti-mosque sentiment. I’m shocked to learn this.
But yet the mainstream media will churn on and on in its “all sides have something valid to say” charade.

And the wheel of imperial decline rolls downward, ever downward…

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Nick Gillespie reflects on the folks at the Glenn Beck rally:

For much of the new century, and certainly for all of the past three years, there has been nothing but uncertainty in the economy and a good degree of uncertainty in the political arena. The people we talked to felt something like cogs in a machine whose shape and size they didn’t even understand. They were not rabid xenophobes or racists or even haters in general, but they were pissed off that their individual actions did not seem to mean much. They were not conspiracists (few if any brought up Obama as a Muslim or a foreign national, for instance), but they felt cheated and frustrated that their individual lives seemed to be controlled by larger forces and institutions over which they had little or no control. And to the extent that they talked about government, the focus was generally upon government spending that they assumed threatened to destroy the future, for them and their kids or grandkids.

Conor Friedersdorf explores one cause for their feeling:

[There is a] steady trend toward giving greater power to the federal government at the expense of states and localities. Tell me that my city has done something I don’t like, and I can go speak to the person who cast the deciding vote face to face. In less than a month I can attend a public meeting where I make my case to elected officials and fellow citizens. If that doesn’t help, and it’s an issue I care enough about, I can back a challenger during the next election, or run for office myself. All these remedies are realistically available to every single citizen. And even the citizen who loses on an issue, having exhausted every remedy, doesn’t feel powerless. They feel as though they made their case in the democratic process and lost.

Our states are big enough that it’s much harder to impact the process at that level, compared to something that is decided at the local level. But if California does something that upsets me enough, I can initiate a campaign for a ballot initiative, or run for the state assembly… or I can move elsewhere: Oregon has some nice Pacific coastline, and New Mexico offers lots of sunshine and decent avocados.

Federal legislation is a different beast.

One cannot remain in the country without being subject to it. Getting an audience with one’s senator is unlikely, and even one’s congressperson is often away or else busy with other business. Reversing legislation at the federal level is exceedingly difficult, one cannot speak before the relevant body or even attend its sessions with any ease, its rules are complicated and opaque, and trying to influence it, a single citizen hasn’t a chance (unless he or she can afford a good lobbyist).

Now take an issue where the country is evenly divided. If it is handled at the federal level, half the populace is unhappy. Handling it at the local level affords a chance for a lot higher percentage of people to live under the rule they prefer. [..]

This is a huge and diverse country.  I think it’s safe to say no other nation has as many different cultures and economic and political views represented within itself as does the United States.

The European Union is the most comparable bloc in scope, but few people think Europe would be better off with a stronger central parliament that sets tax rates and health care and welfare policy across the width of the continent.  Why then do so many think 51% majorities in the US Congress should be setting policy for the other 49%?  Why should Washington be setting policies that are uniform from Maine to California, Florida to Alaska?

Progressives are wont to bemoan that California, with 69 times Wyoming’s population, has but an equal voice in the Senate.  And obviously coasties are known to joke about the insignificance of ‘flyover’ country.  But on reflection, how many are so vainglorious as to think representatives from California should be setting economic and social policy in Wyoming?

Conor concludes:

It is vitally important and entirely proper that the federal government protect the constitutional rights of every citizen, and carry out its enumerated functions. Beyond that, however, there are good reasons to decide things at as local a level as is practical, and one of them is the fact that local control empowers Americans to shape the institutions under which they live.

Agreed, and hence why I am pleased by the upcoming return to a divided federal government that will keep itself in check, leaving more to local control.

Plus the economic effect of federal noninterference is astonishing:

Since 1973 [..] real, inflation-adjusted returns for the S&P 500 were a fabulous 15.3 percent gain in “gridlock” years, and a horrible 9.9 percent loss in years with unified government (see chart above). That’s a 25 percentage point difference.

The reason for this difference is simple: Unified governments spend far more, and more quickly, and expand regulation much more than split governments do. Programs sail through, the dollar is jeopardized, and investors seek real assets like gold to counteract the political risks of an activist government.

Based on the data, the ill effects of unified government apply to both Republican (a 7.7 percent loss) and Democrat (a loss of 11.5 percent) unified governments. The best was a split between a Republican Congress and Democratic President Clinton, which produced a whopping 32.8 percent real return.

President Reagan and a split Congress did pretty well too, with a 24.8 percent real return. Both President Reagan and Clinton did their best sustained work with a constraining Congress, or, to be more accurate, those Congresses did their best work with popular Presidents.

When it comes to split government and real returns, the right answer is “divided we stand, united we fall.”

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