Conservation vs Grass Ethanol

In an otherwise great piece of news, this little paragraph caught my eye (Scientific American, emphasis mine):

 The use of native prairie grasses is meant to avoid some of the other risks associated with biofuels such as reduced diversity of local animal life and displacing food crops with fuel crops. “This is an energy crop that can be grown on marginal land,” Vogel argues, such as the more than 35 million acres (14.2 million hectares) of marginal land that farmers are currently paid not to plant under the terms of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program.

Part of the program’s purpose is to reduce soil erosion and protect water supplies.  If the land is being used for a harvested crop, might that put the “environmentally sensitive lands” the program protects at risk?


You Don’t Deserve Health Care

Hello there mendicants.  My name is Yaron Belvidere Brook Ashington Boisonberry the 5th, Esquire Doctor.  I write for the Forbers magazine-paper.  And heavens, here is my latest article:

The Democrats, not surprisingly, are proposing a massive increase in government control, with some even calling for the outright socialism of a single-payer system. Republicans are attacking this “solution.” But although they claim to oppose the expansion of government interference in medicine, Republicans don’t, in fact, have a good track record of fighting it.

Indeed, Republicans have been responsible for major expansions of government health care programs: As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney oversaw the enactment of the nation’s first “universal coverage” plan

::Ruffling through html:: I’m sure I left the point of my article somewhere:

Today, nearly half of all spending on health care in America is government spending. Why, despite their lip service to free markets, have Republicans actually helped fuel the growth of socialized medicine and erode what remains of free-market medicine in this country?

Ah yes, there ’tis!  Free markets my fellow Americans.  We don’t need universal coverage because free markets take care of everyone willing to work.  You see, if you work one, two, or even three jobs, you can afford health care for you and your brood.  Excessive government involvement in health care leads to more coverage and patient rights.  I say, if you have a bad doctor you’d better go get a jolly good one straight away.  The  very same goes for insurers.  If an insurer denies coverage for your daughter and she dies, then other peasants won’t choose that insurer in the first place.  The free market wins again!  And of course families can afford to turn down company administered plans and purchase cheap plans of their own.  In an unregulated markets, health insurers will follow the bold and principled lead of cable companies like Comcast and drastically lower their rates to keep customers happy.

You are free to see a doctor and pay him for his services–no one may forcibly prevent you from doing so. But you do not have a “right” to force the doctor to treat you without charge or to force others to pay for your treatment. The rights of some cannot require the coercion and sacrifice of others.

Precisely.  Everyone knows plans for universal coverage entail not paying doctors a damn penny.  Just look at Norway and other countries with socialized medicine.  Their doctors have to take on second jobs just to obtain income!  Although in retrospect please ignore that last piece: “The rights of some cannot require the coercion and sacrifice of others”.  As a good old conservative, I only apply that dictum to taxation, definitely not to items such as war and human rights.

Pop Pyschology and Hillary: Please Stop the Stupid

I saw this, and the sheer stupidity blew my mind (4Simpsons):

Re. Hillary’s tears: One of my employees is a Certified Fraud Examiner and studies some interesting things.  For what it is worth, he had this to say:

I was watching the Hillary Clinton crying incident on the news last night.

While on vacation I was reading a book on body language and detecting lies and deceit.

If a person looks down and to the right (as you face the subject) it indicates that the subject is creating a physical feeling not experiencing a remembered feeling.

Throughout this entire segment, she was looking down and to the right. This is a tell tale sign that the feeling was a created experience (or better known as a lie) not a real emotion.

Wow.  Some guy read some book on body language and he can tell Hillary is lying.  Brilliant.

Let’s take a look at this pop psychology.  First, down and to the right indicates an internal dialogue according to this guide.  Second, watch the video:

Here eyes are all over the place, often looking at the people she is talking with.  Sometime they linger down and to the right, sometimes down and to the left.  Third, there is of course an internal dialog while one is speaking.  Whether its a conversation in a pub or a speech on the campaign trail, people tend to think out their replies.  Especially old hands at politics.  “Think before you speak” is sage advice for a politician whose every word will be poured over by newspapers, pundits, and opponents.  Fourth a specific behavior like eye movement is not always indicative of one’s internal state even if a guide like this was peer review and reliable.  Which brings me to the final point.  Is there a peer reviewed study showing, reliably, that eye movements can help one detect internal states in a consistent and reliable manner?  Or is this just pop psychology?

Women for Hillary: Myth vs Fact


Women, in particular, responded: Several said they chose to vote for Mrs. Clinton at the last moment because she had shown a human side of herself that they had never seen.

“At first, I thought it was bad that she cried, but then I thought she is a woman, give her a chance,” said Diane Fischel, a tailor and a grandmother, who cited the emotional display for deciding to vote for Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary instead of for Senator John McCain on the Republican side.

The coverage is pretty simple.  Women voted for Hillary because she is a woman.  Because she showed her emotions, and by golly gee don’t women run on emotions rather than reason?  Bullshit.

Elizabeth Dole would not have won NH.  Ann Coulter would not have won.  The only reason the emotional side had any impact whatsoever, was because the media has worked so hard to present Mrs. Clinton as a cold calculating bitch.  She isn’t, and the heavy breathing wingnuts who insist she is are revealing more about themselves than Hillary.

Hillary Clinton won because her message resonated with voters:  “I am committed, I am someone you can trust, and I will fix this country”.  Clinton’s approach is, far more than any other candidate, about finding the middle ground.  She is the mushy centrist to end all mushy centrists.  And that can be damn appealing, especially in a state like New Hampshire.  Whether or not that will carry over to future primaries remains to be seen.

Her display of emotion did have a pretty remarkable effect though.  It showed how patently false the painfully constructed media narrative was.

Making Too Much of Hillary’s Win

Hillary won New Hampshire by 2 percentage points. Its still very much a contested race on the Democratic side, we get that. But from all the coverage one might think that Obama’s Iowa win was a freak accident, and Hillary is back in the number one position. We’ll see where the next few primaries take us, but squeaking out a 2 point win is not cause enough to reboot the “President Hillary is inevitable” media rush.