American Elephants

Honda Creates Robot Controlled by Brainwaves by American Elephant
March 31, 2009, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Humor, News, Science/Technology, Television | Tags: ,

Opening a car door or turning up the heating at home could become just a wish away with Honda’s new technology that connects thoughts inside your brain with a robot.

And all it requires is wearing an enormous dorky Death Star helmet with dozens of brain-sucking sensors protruding from your melon while lugging around a computer the size of a small dumpster.

How convenient!

Certainly far more convenient than these clumsy, obsolete devices already attached to my brain…called hands!

Honda said the technology wasn’t quite ready for a live demonstration because of possible distractions in the person’s thinking.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

Here are amazing pictures from the flooding Red River. by The Elephant's Child
March 29, 2009, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Environment, News | Tags: ,

Not only all the misery of flood water, but icy cold as well.  Good neighbors at work.

Senator Judd Gregg delivers a devastating critique of Obama’s budget. by The Elephant's Child

Judd Gregg, R-NH, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the GOP Weekly Radio Address, and warns that President Obama’s budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. Good address, important warning, devastating facts.

Here is the transcript:

Hello, I’m Judd Gregg, Senator from New Hampshire. We all know these are difficult times. People are worried about keeping their jobs, paying their bills, the value of their homes and the cost of sending their kids to college. It’s hard.

“Thus I appreciate, as do all Americans, the efforts being made by our President and his seriousness about addressing these issues.

“But what concerns many of us are his proposals in the budget he recently sent to the Congress that dramatically grow the size and cost of government and move it to the left.

“It is our opinion that this plan spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

“You may have heard this before that the budget of the President spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

“What do we mean? Well, let me give you a few examples.

“In the next five years, President Obama’s budget will double the national debt; in the next ten years it will triple the national debt.

“To say this another way, if you take all the debt of our country run up by all of our presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush, the total debt over all those 200-plus years since we started as a nation, it is President Obama’s plan to double that debt in just the first five years that he is in office.

“He is also planning to spend more on the government as a percentage of our economy than at any time since World War II.

“His budget assumes the deficit will average $1 trillion dollars every year for the next 10 years and will add well over $9 trillion dollars in new debts to our children’s backs.

“He also is proposing the largest tax increase in history, much of it aimed at taxing small business people who have been, over the years, the best job creators in our economy. And further, he is proposing a massive new national sales tax on your electric bill. So that every time you turn on a light switch in your house, you will be hit with a new tax — and it averages over $3,000 per household.

“These are staggering numbers and represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left.

“The President to his credit is not trying to hide this; in fact he is very forthright in stating that he believes that by greatly expanding the spending, the taxing and the borrowing of our government, this will lead us to prosperity.

“Here of course is where we differ. We believe you create prosperity by having an affordable government that pursues its responsibilities without excessive costs, taxes or debt. That it is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government.

“We believe that you create energy independence not by sticking Americans with a brand new national sales tax on everyone’s electric bill, but by expanding the production of American energy, such as environmentally sound off-shore drilling, nuclear power, wind, solar while also conserving more.

“We also believe you improve everyone’s health care not by nationalizing the health care system and putting the government between you and your doctor, but by assuring that every American has access to quality health insurance and choices in health care.

“We believe that you run a sound and affordable government not by running up the national debt to historic levels and unsustainable levels while over-taxing working Americans and spending as if there is no tomorrow, but rather by working on limiting the growth of government in a manner that is affordable not only today but for the next generation through limiting spending and addressing core issues like the cost of entitlements.

“Our nation has an exceptional history of one generation passing on to the next generation a more prosperous and stronger country, but that tradition is being put at risk. The dramatic move to the left and the massive increase in the size and cost of the government, proposed by the budget of President Obama, will lead to an immense national debt that not only threatens the value of the dollar and puts at risk our ability to borrow money to run the government. But it will also place our children at a huge disadvantage as they inherit this debt which will make their chances of success less than those given to us by our parents. It is not right for one generation to do that to another generation.

“Rather, we believe that if you properly steward the responsibilities of the government, if you do not spend too much, if you do not tax too much, if you do not borrow too much, we can leave our children a better nation where they will have even greater opportunity for prosperity, peace and freedom.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen, and have a great weekend.”

Transcript via Free Republic.

The new fuel-efficiency standards will cost the auto industry $1.5 billion. by The Elephant's Child
March 28, 2009, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

The Transportation Department has released its requirements for the first increase in passenger car fuel efficiency in 25 years — the first step in what will be extensive reform for the nations truck and car fleets.  The standards for model year 2011 passenger cars will have to average 30.2 mpg, and light trucks 24.1 mpg for cars that will hit the showrooms in September of 2010.  Look for more increases to come.

The new fuel efficiency standards are estimated to cost the auto industry $1.5 billion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that price increases as a result will average $64 for passenger cars and $126 for light trucks. Passenger car buyers will be repaid in fuel savings in an average of 4.4 years, or in 7.7 years for pickups, SUVs or minivans.

Do you get the feeling that the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing? This is, I believe, the same auto industry that is receiving bailouts and needs more?

Representative John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said that Obama and his aides “recognize the auto industry is in a period of transition.” I guess you could call it a “transition.”

Representative Ed Markey,D-MA, chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence, praised the regulation.

With gas prices once again on the rise, I am pleased to see the Obama administration taking this historic first step towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil and helping revitalize the domestic auto industry. I look forward to working with the president to ensure that future standards are based on realistic assumptions and sound science.

I do not pretend to understand this.  I guess it all makes sense if you believe that global warming is a vast danger to the earth, that extracting petroleum from American earth is something akin to rape, and that charging the auto industry another billion and a half will fill their empty coffers.  But then I have no idea how to build a car.

The UN admits that the global warming crisis is about redistribution of wealth, not climate change. by The Elephant's Child
March 28, 2009, 2:45 am
Filed under: Europe, Global Warming, News, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Climate realists for years have been warning that the entire global warming myth was politics, not science.  And above all, it was a scheme to redistribute wealth under the guise of saving the planet.

In a document obtained by FOX News, the United Nations has confirmed suspicions, and made it official.  FOX News executive editor George Russell reported Friday:

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations “information note” on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009.[…]

The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.

In typical UN bureaucratic language, the negotiators are known as “the AD Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol”.  The Consequences, if adopted, would be world-changing. The UN is well known for overreaching power grabs, and for utter corruption as well.  Remember “Oil for Food?” That UN scheme was supposed to allow Iraq to sell enough oil to buy food on the world market for their people.  It ended up in the pockets of UN Bureaucrats and Saddam Hussein — millions and millions.

What would this agreement mean if adopted?  Loss of sovereignty, loss of control over trade , manufacturing, energy production and business in general.  Destruction of our economy.  Little things like that.

The problem is that the case for global warming is falling apart, not only because the planet has been cooling for the last decade, but because the UN’s IPCC claims are proving false, one by one.  The climate is always changing.  It has been far warmer in the past — times like the Medieval Warm Period — the best climate ever known, and far colder during periods like the Little Ice Age, and the Dark Ages. This year saw snow in Saudi Arabia for the first time known.

Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, but a colorless, odorless gas that is essential to life. In the atmosphere it is only a trace gas, and the amount produced by human activity is too small to measure. It is, however, a natural fertilizer that makes plants grow. The amount now in the atmosphere is at the low end of what is required by plant life for optimum growth, and as the earth is currently cooling, more CO2 would help.

The EPA is busily trying to regulate CO2 as a pollutant dangerous to man (certainly the amount of hot CO2 exhaled in the chambers of the Capitol building is increasingly dangerous) but the rest of us exhale it every time we breathe.  There is a lot of power grab behind that designation. The EPA has a disgraceful record including the designation of DDT as too dangerous to be used and thereby killed millions of children from preventable malaria by not being allowed to spray their huts with DDT.

Europe is retreating from all the green mandates.  Cap and Trade has been devastating.  Green jobs have not been forthcoming.  Goals of carbon reduction have not been met. Wind has not been reliable in spite of vast subsidies, and colder weather has begun to emphasize the need for more energy to keep warm, while Russia rations supplies of natural gas.

Do read the FOX document linked above.  Be persistent in getting past the bureaucratese, there are details on page 6.  FOX News Blog’s article is here, and Rick Moran’s article from American Thinker is here.  Take the time to read.

If times were normal, we could depend on Congress to reject this whole thing promptly.  But these are strange times, and there are strange and dangerous ideas abroad.

The private sector: Useful for dumping on, attacking, punishing, and paying the bills. by The Elephant's Child
March 26, 2009, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Socialism | Tags: , ,

I have to quote Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal a bit here, because his column reflects (with a lot more insight) on what I’ve been writing about in the last couple of days:

With its vote in the House of Representatives to punish corporate bonus payments, the national Democratic Party has disconnected itself entirely from the private sector.

The public bear-baiting of AIG’s Ed Liddy, and then passage of the bonus bill, gave the nation a good look at the modern Democratic Party freed of constraints.

The current version of the party has largely broken free of any understanding whatsoever of the private sector — how it works or what it needs to function.

True socialists at least think about markets so they can criticize them.  The Democratic Party”s leadership doesn’t stir to even that level of engagement.  In the House, Senate and some corners of the Obama White House, the party is acting as if the marketplace was the world of an alien tribe, which it has to control through intimidation or demands for protective tribute (read:campaign contributions).

This is not true of the entire 90% of self-identified Democrats who voted for Barack Obama.  But Democrats who work in real jobs rather than work for the mothership in Washington must recognize that the party’s obsessions are becoming ever less hospitable to a functioning economy, or Mr. Geithner’s labors to that goal. (…)

Put it this way: Imagine any of this generation’s Democratic establishment taking a job at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a middle-manager responsible for a division of employees and its annual profit and loss.  It is wholly inconceivable.  Or helping an owner of an auto-parts company manage through a real crisis.  They wouldn’t have  a clue.

That anti-bonus bill was not unique.  It is routine.

The attack on the retention bonuses of AIG executives was, of course, designed to distract attention from what was going on in Congress.  The sinners at AIG who caused the financial problems are long gone, and the recipients of retention bonuses, enticed to stick around and help out winding things down, encouraged by the “retention bonuses” not to leave.

So we had the Hate Week from 1984 fully applied and the executives received innumerable vicious death threats, and orders from Congress to return the money at once.  Andrew Cuomo threatened to release all of their names and addresses if the money was not returned instantly. Most have obediently returned the money, but one brave soul donated his bonus in its entirety to charity and quit, publicly, in a letter in the New York Times.

Interestingly the bonuses, though returned, are still taxable.

Daniel Henninger continues:

If the private sector is now largely an abstraction to Democrats in Congress, they will continue to make mistakes, explicit like the bonus bill or just thoughtless errors that constantly disrupt operations for private companies.

This will have a dampening effect on the U.S. growth rate and its ability to create jobs, especially for new, younger entrants.

Do read the whole thing.  It is important to understand these trends, and so hard to spot them.

Can we borrow Mr. Hannan, please? by The Elephant's Child

A little over 24 hours ago, Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament for South East England, stood up in the European Parliament to challenge Prime Minister Gordon Brown. As Mr. Hannan notes on his blog, politics has changed forever. This short video has gone viral on the internet, with Conservatives cheering.

Conservatives here are waiting for someone to take on President Obama in similar fashion. This reckless disregard of fiscal sanity must stop. Feel free to cheer!

British politicians, because of the way their parliament works, learn to speak very well. British schools however are abandoning history, even their own history, so this will probably change.

They don’t even teach about Churchill anymore.

Obama’s Civilian Mandatory “Volunteer” Brownshirt Corps. by The Elephant's Child
March 25, 2009, 3:08 am
Filed under: Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Sweetness & Light has posted the “GIVE Act” from the Library of Congress’ Thomas site:

I am posting the whole thing here because it is important.  The bill has passed the House and is about to be passed by the Senate unless enough people complain.  It is intended to create more Democrat Party foot soldiers in the Saul Alinsky mode.

H.R. 1388 — The GIVE ACT

Title: To reauthorize and reform the national service laws.
Sponsor: Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [MY-4] (introduced 3/9/2009)  Cosponsors (37)
Related Bills: H.RES.250, S.277
Latest Major Action” 3/23/2009  Senate floor actions. Status” Cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 74 – 14. Record Vote Number: 108.
House Reports: 111 – 37


3/9/2009 — Introduced.

Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act or the GIVE Act – Amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NSCA) and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (DVSA) to revise the programs under such Acts and reauthorize appropriations for such programs through FY2014.

Revises under NSCA: (1) the School-Based and Community-Based Service-Learning programs and Higher Education Innovative Programs for Community Service (Learn and Serve programs); 920 National Service Trust programs (AmeriCorps)’ (3) the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC); and (4) the Investment for Quality and Innovation  program.

Eliminates the current Community-Based Learn and Serve programs.

Establishes two new Learn and Serve programs: (1) Campuses of Service, which provides funds to institutions of higher education to develop or disseminate exemplary service-learning programs that assist their students’ pursuit of public service careers; and (2) Innovative Service-learning Programs and Research, which funds community service-learning opportunities for elementary and secondary, college and guraduate students as well as research into service-learning.

Includes among eligible AmeriCorps programs: (1) an Education Corps to address unmet educational needs: (2) a Healthy Futures Corps to address unmet health needs; (3) a Clean Energy Corps to address unmet environmental needs; and (4) a Veterans Corps to address the unmet needs of veterans and their families.

Creates AmeriCorps Opportunity Corps programs that include certain existing programs and new programs to: (1) increase community access to technology; (2) engage citizens in public safety, health, and emergency preparedness services; (3) mentor youth; (4) reduce recidivism by re-engaging court-involved  youth; and (5) support the needs of veterans or active duty service members and their families.

Establishes an Education Awards Only program authorizing the Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation) to provide fixed-amount grants to programs that have approved national service positions, but no AmeriCorps funding.

Sets the National Service educational awards for full-time AmeriCorps, NCCC, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) participants at a level equal to the maximum available Pell Grant available to students under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Includes among needs to be met under the NCCC program, disaster relief, infrastructure improvement, environmental and energy conservation, and urban and rural development.

Requires states to develop comprehensive plans for volunteer and paid service by Baby Boomers and older adults.

Directs the Corporation to plan pilot programs to (1) better target and serve displaced workers; and (2) establish a centralized electronic citizenship verification system which would allow the Corporation to share employment eligibility information with the Department of Education.

Authorizes the Corporation to treat September 11th annually as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Establishes within the Investment for Quality and Innovation program; (1) a ServeAmerica Fellowships program providing fellowships to individuals chosen by states to participate in service projects addressing certain areas of national need: (2) a Silver Scholarship Grant Program providing scholarships to individuals age 55 or older who complete at least 500 hours of service in a year in an area of national need; and (3) an Encore Fellowships program providing one year fellowships to individuals age 55 or older who serve in areas of national need and receive training to transition to public service employment.  Makes ServeAmerica fellows eligible for national service educational awards.

Authorizes the Corporation to provide grants to innovative and model service programs, including those for disadvantaged youth, youth under age 17, and potential recidivists.

Eliminates federal funding for the Points of Light Foundation.

Revises under DVSA: (1) the VISTA program; and (2) the Senior Corps, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer program (RSVP), the Foster Grandparent program, and the Senior Companion program.

Gives priority in VISTA participant selection to disadvantaged youth and retired adults of any profession.

Authorizes new VISTA grant programs of national significance that provide poor and rural communities with: (1) services reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals into society: (2) financial literacy and planning; (3) before-school and after-school services; (4) community economic development initiatives; (5) assistance to veterans and their families; and (6) health and wellness services.  Eliminates the VISTA Literacy Corps, University Year for VISTA, and Literacy Challenge Grant programs.

Raises the minimum and maximum stipend provided to VISTA participants.

Prioritizes RSVP projects in specified areas.

Makes anyone 55 years of age or older eligible as Senior Corps volunteers.

Provides, under the Senior Corps demonstration program incentive matching grants to Senior Corps programs that exceed specified performance measures, enroll most of their volunteers in outcome-based service programs, and increase their enrollment of Baby Boomer volunteers.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the number of AmeriCorps, VISTA, and NCCC participants should reach 250,000 by 2014.

Congressional Commission on Civic Service Act – Establishes a Congressional Commission on Civic Service to provide recommendations to Congress on improving opportunities for individuals to volunteer or perform national service.

See also Protein Wisdom for commentary. America is known for the generous spirit of its citizens. People volunteer their time and money in quantities unknown in other countries.  This is an excellent way to kill off that generosity.  According to Protein Wisdom the program is expected to be funded with an allocation of $6 billion over the next five years.  Obama has referred to it as his “National Civilian Security Force”, an organization as big and well-funded as the U.S. military.

Community service opportunities for elementary school children?  Sounds like fascist indoctrination  to me.  And we have seen that before, to our great sorrow.

Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” by The Elephant's Child

Mark Levin’s new book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, went on sale yesterday and is being snapped up quickly enough that stores are already running out.  It is essential reading on the major issues facing the nation today, exploring the difference between conservatism and statism.  The reviews are outstanding.

In a number of brilliant essays Mr. Levin compares the outlook of the conservative to the outlook of the statist toward the major issues of today.  He supports his arguments with insights from the Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution, as well as lessons from history.  “”Think of it, said one reviewer, “as an outstanding tutorial in applied political philosophy.” He went on:

If you care passionately about America, and worry for its future — and who doesn’t, given the current national leadership? — then you owe it to yourself to buy and devour this marvelous work.  It is an essential antidote to what ails America at the moment.

My copy is waiting for me at the bookstore.  Can’t wait.

When all else fails, laugh! by The Elephant's Child
March 24, 2009, 2:34 am
Filed under: Economy, Entertainment, Humor | Tags: , ,

Sometimes all that is left is laughter.  Here’s a British view of the subprime crisis, as only the Brits could explain it.

This is a strange, strange moment in time. by The Elephant's Child

There are times when it seems as if we have slipped into an alternate universe.  The President of the United States, after an appearance on a late night comedy show,  has gone campaigning.  His campaign organization, Organizing for America, is  collecting signatures on pledges to support Obama’s budget.  Is there something a little strange about ginning-up support for a budget by accosting clueless people on the street or in malls?

The Two-Minute Hate Program managed to rouse numerous people across America to deliver death threats to employees of the AIG financial group.  Never mind that the employees who did the dirty deeds are long gone, and the remaining folk have agreed to stay on to help wind things down only because they were offered a contractual retention bonus to help out.  They were demonized by members of the House of Representatives who devised a special (unconstitutional) retroactive 90% tax on their perfectly legal retention bonuses totaling $165 million, while ignoring the $5 billion in bailout money that the company has already received — that the Democrats hoped no one would notice.  And if that wasn’t enough, ACORN organized bus tours to “look at” the homes of AIG executives.

Since the last CBO budget review in January, Democrats have passed laws that increase spending by $134 billion in the last six months of this fiscal year alone, and $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years — before we have seen the President’s 2010 budget proposals — the ones the volunteers are collecting signature support for.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a plan to set up a new “volunteer corpsand consider whether a “workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people” should be developed.  The legislation refers to “uniforms” that would be worn by the “volunteers” and the “need” for a “public service academy, a 4-year institution” to “focus on training” future “public sector leaders” The training would occur at “campuses.” (h/t protein wisdom) There is just something special about “mandatory volunteerism.” Last year Obama spoke of his “National Civilian Security Force” in which he supported creating an organization  as big and as well-funded as the military.

Liberals believe in their good intentions.  Conservatives care about the consequences.  Who is going to do the volunteering that has formed the backbone of America when you have a paid “mandatory volunteer” uniformed army?

“The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation,” according to the New York Times. The administration could seek to put the changes into effect through regulations rather than through legislation. ( Such a bore, having to vote on things).  Is there the slightest evidence, anywhere, that anyone in Washington has even the slightest clue about what is in the financial interest of a business enterprise, or what causes positive corporate performance?

Democrats are trying to abolish the rights of workers to secret ballots in unionization elections.  The secret ballot is workers’ protection to insure that they are not intimidated into voting for a union that they might otherwise not choose. Last year, Mexico’s highest court unanimously affirmed for Mexicans the right that Democrats want to take from Americans.  Banning the secret ballot in America!

The U.S. Constitution says that treaties, like NAFTA, are the “supreme law of the land.”  With the approval of a president who supposedly taught Constitutional Law, Congress has shredded the North American Free Trade Agreement.  They used the omnibus spending bill to abolish a program that would comply with our obligation to allow Mexican long-haul trucks on U.S. roads.

Mexico, in retaliation, has resorted to tariffs on many U.S. goods, which should send a Smoot-Hawley chill down American backs.

The Democrat Congress is voting to ignore the Constitution’s stipulation that the House shall be composed of members chosen “by the people of the several states,” and is pretending that the District of Columbia is a state.

China has suggested that the dollar should no longer be the world’s reserve currency.  Two long-range Russian bombers buzzed the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis at 500 feet when it was in international waters.   Russia spun the notion that they might base their bombers in Cuba, last week.  The Chinese started harassing an unarmed US Navy exploration vessel, requiring the US to send armed escorts into the international waters of the South China Sea.  North Korea is about to launch an ICBM with a range that reportedly could easily include American territory.

And to finish up the week, Obama appeared on 60 Minutes.  Among other questions in the interview Kroft brought up Dick Cheney’s criticism of closing Guantanamo Bay. Obama said:

After all these years, how many convictions came out of Guantanamo?  How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney?  It hasn’t made us safer.

As John Hawkins said “If Obama believes that the purpose of Gitmo is to get “convictions” of terrorists, you have to question whether he has even the most basic understanding of the war on terror he ‘s currently in charge of fighting.”

Guantanamo is there to hold captured terrorists, to keep them from killing more Americans, and for interrogations that are designed to gain information to keep them from killing more Americans.  Obama seems to think they should be tried in a criminal court.  And released in the US, as the administration may do with some terrorists who cannot be returned to their native country.

We have indeed slipped the bounds of Earth and entered some strange alternate world.  We must have.

Timothy Geithner’s Re-Branding Program. by The Elephant's Child
March 23, 2009, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Economy, Progressivism, Socialism, Taxes | Tags: ,

The contemporary term is “Branding.”  We used to call it “euphemism”, and even those of us who never read Romeo and Juliet associated the term with Juliet’s words: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” We started out with “The Bank Bailout Plan” which by some mysterious change morphed into “The Financial  Stability Plan”, and now the “Public-Private Investment Program”.  That sounds ever so much better.

“The Problem of Bad Mortgages” subtly shape-shifted through something about “toxic assets”  into the current and more manageable “The Challenge of Legacy Assets.” I find this naming or “branding” skill fascinating in its ability to subtly control public opinion. Is there a special Progressive department for “re-branding”, or is it a just a common ability on the Left?  God knows that Republicans do not have that talent.

For example, a headline at American Thinker “Geithner plan for banks leaked — a trillion more down the toilet” may be far more accurate, but it takes real skill to come up with “The Challenge of Legacy Assets.”  (We also have “Legacy Loans” and “Legacy Securities”) Should you choose to wander around in the Public Private Investment Program world of euphemisms, you will find it here.

It is unknown whether the public will want to partner with Wall Street.  Wall Street was pleased today about something or other, but it may not have been about the Geithner plan.  Some economists approve, some do not.  We shall see.

If you have not read George Orwell’s 1984 , this might be a good time to read it, or re-read it.  I think you feel better if you understand that they are attempting to manipulate you, than if you have been had and only wake up later to realize that you were a gullible fool.

Two must reads for today: “American Capitalism Besieged” by Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post, and “Too Clever by Half” by Canadian David Warren at Real Clear Politics.

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