Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mac fans celebrate Mac's 25th



Mac-mania is alive and well. (I still have a 1984 Mac in good working order.)

See the fabulous 1984 SuperBowl commercial introducing the Mac. (YouTube version.)

And here's Steve introducing the original Mac to a delirious audience.

"Travels" by Michael Crichton - 1

From his book, p. 98:
I was thirty years old. I had graduated from Harvard, taught at Cambridge University, climbed the Great Pyramid, earned a medical degree, married and divorced, been a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute, published two bestselling novels, and now had made a movie [Westworld, which Crichton both wrote and directed]. And I had abruptly run out of goals for myself.

I was stranded within my own life. That was why I broke into a sweat: what was I going to do now?

I had no idea.
More to come.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama's Drones Reportedly Kill Three Children

Where's the great "change" so many voted for? According to a report,
Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven "foreigners" - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said that three children lost their lives.
It's a simple case of collateral damage. An accident. Happens every day. No evil involved. Certainly this doesn't make Obama a murderer.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paying tribute to the new Caesar

A Reuters article states:
"While Americans are hoping for real change in Washington, many deep-pocketed donors are hoping money still buys them access and influence," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan money-in-politics watchdog group.

"If history is any guide, these wealthy individuals, as well as the corporations and industries they represent, may more than recoup their investment in Obama through presidential appointments, favorable legislation and government contracts," Krumholz said.

People with Wall Street ties -- 118 of them -- gave $3.6 million; lawyers gave $2.5 million; and donors from the TV, movie and music businesses gave $1.7 million, the center said.

The center's analysis of inauguration donors was posted on its Web site at www.opensecrets.org.

A government that has the power to dispense favors demands tributes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

No time for a government rescue


Government big-shots are issuing praise for the handling of yesterday's plunge into the Hudson, but according to reports it was the initiative, courage, and competence of private individuals who kept everyone on board safe. Passengers and crew of the U.S. Airways Airbus experienced a life-and-death crisis and had to depend on themselves and the help of strangers to pull through. Such an experience contrasts sharply with the view promulgated by government and its propagandists, that people are helpless, stupid little creatures who need a patronizing government to save them from themselves. Here was a case where the victims involved were truly victims and didn't have time to beg Congress for a "rescue."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Defending capitalism - real capitalism

Laurence M. Vance has an article today on Mises.org that recommends two books on capitalism aimed at the general reader. "These defenses of capitalism are not only vigorous; they are uncompromising, up to date, understandable, and eminently readable. And neither one is a textbook on economics," Vance writes. The two books are Robert P. Murphy's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and Thomas J. DiLorenzo's How Capitalism Saved America.

I've read, reviewed, and given away copies of DiLorenzo's book. Murphy's is still on my wish list.

Why is it that capitalism is always under attack in times of economic crisis but never interventionist schemes such as corporatism, socialism, or fascism? Though the titles of the two books might suggest we live under capitalism, in fact we do not and have not lived under such a system. Vance writes:
Real capitalism — that is, capitalism based on secure private-property rights, sound money, the division of labor, social cooperation, freedom of contract, freedom of association, voluntary exchange, and the absence of government control, oversight, and regulation — is the answer to the current economic crisis.
I agree emphatically, but we've never had "real capitalism." Ayn Rand explained why in the pages of Atlas Shrugged. Ludwig von Mises presented his answer in The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time Magazine's Predictable Call

Isn't it curious that in the age of big government, big government worshippers get away with blaming every crisis that comes along on the severely hampered market, claiming with nauseating tediousness how the free market has once again failed and now it's time for government to step in and save the day? The same mentality views the interventionist Hoover as laissez-faire's hack, a guy who sat back and let markets drive us to the depths of despair, until we got Roosevelt, the king of big government, who saved capitalism by doing everything he could to kill it, who kept us mired in the Depression until he dragged us through a war that killed some 50 - 72 million people - depending on whose figures you believe -- most of them civilians. Conscripting and killing people is certainly one way to solve pesky unemployment.

And now we're about to enter the Age of Obama, whose frenzied supporters are imploring him to lead us through another hyper-interventionist New Deal, this time with tidal waves of green. It is sometimes said government never does anything right. Not true. Government is unsurpassed at selling itself as the remedy for all the misery it creates.

"The people and the economy can only wax fat and prosperous when their government is starved and puny." - Murray Rothbard, Repudiating the National Debt

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What causes global warming?

"[T]he mechanism of global warming is well established," writes Vin Suprynowicz. "It’s primarily solar, and has nothing to do with the tiny amount of 'greenhouse gas' mankind produces. Or were there too many cars and coal-fired generating plants 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age spontaneously melted away? (See the nice charts here.)"

Further on he argues:

"Energy use per capita is a pretty good measure of how far you’re advancing from the stone age, when life expectancy was under 40. There is no energy shortage. God’s and Nature’s challenge to man is to promote life – not to flagellate ourselves over the sin of being alive – to use all the stuff provided to better our lives and those of the generations to come."

"If the Greens choose to use less energy, God bless them. Let them go squat around some jungle fire in a loincloth, eating half-cooked monkey meat. But somehow, this prospect does not appear to please them. Somehow, they will be happy only if they can impose energy-deficient poverty on ME."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

FDA Turns on Asthma Sufferers

In an article this morning on LRC, Vin Suprynowicz reports that as of January 1 asthma sufferers will have new, "environmentally-friendly" inhalers to use. They will have these new inhalers whether they like it or not, because the government has acted in the "public interest" in forcing them to switch; the old ones have been pulled from the shelves. Quite coincidentally, the new inhalers cost some three times more than the previous ones, raising their costs to about $40 apiece. Given that many respiratory sufferers are poor, this is hardly welcome news. Suprynowicz writes:
Why not wait to make the change after generic alternatives become available? Skeptics point out that changing now could mean billions more dollars for the three drug companies that hold patents on the replacement HFA-albuterol inhalers, according to Emily Harrison, writing in the August issue of Scientific American.
For many people the cost of breathing will not only soar, it will be more of a hassle because the approved gadgets need to be primed more often and tend to clog more frequently. With the tripled expense and the additional usage problems, some asthmatics will be less rigorous in applying treatment, and this could mean an increase in avoidable deaths. But who cares about 22.9 million American asthma sufferers when there's a planet to save?

Of course, no one knows for sure that the old inhalers were a threat to our existence, but that's irrelevant. The radical greens treat their computer models as papal decrees and regard inconvenient findings as heresy. Mimicking the greens, Suprynowicz says:
“The debate is over! No time to dilly-dally! By the time we know, it’ll be too late!”

They might be right. By the time they're done working us over, it could be too late.