December 30, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 6:00 PM


Big Idea: The Diversity of Conservative Opinion (Peter Lawler, December 30, 2012, Big Think)

If liberals take Douthat's advice, they can be enlightened not only about conservative erudition, but about conservative diversity.  The articles in the "neocon" Weekly Standard are way different from those in the isolationist and traditionalist American Conservative.  For a 10-minute tutorial, GOOGLE what each journal is saying about the possible appointment of Hagel as Secretary of Defense. You will find out immediately that the AC is much more concerned about what "neocons" think about Hagel than what liberals think about him.

GOOGLE  a bit more and you discover that the smart, learned, and well-intentioned authors at the AC and The Front Porch Republic rarely voted for Romney.  Not only that, they're often as hostile to "capitalism" and globalization as the authors who write for the proudly leftist Nation.  

What's the big difference between American conservatives and leftist nationalists? They have different views on how much big government can remedy the excesses of big business.  Another difference concerns their view of the goodness and enduring viability of local institutions and traditional morality.  They actually tend to agree that Marx's description of capitalism  as reducing our freedom to "nothing left to lose" is largely true.  They differ a lot on the goodness and efficacy of some socialist antidote.  From a socialist view, the Front Porchers are agrarian reactionaries.  From a Porcher view, the Marxists are irresponsibly "Gnostic" utopians. 

For paleos the tribe is white Christian men, for neos it's Jews.  On the other hand, conservatism--in its traditional Burkean sense--actually is Christian, so it eschews tribalism.

Posted by orrinj at 2:28 PM


Obama: "One way or another, we'll" solve "fiscal cliff" (AKE MILLER, LINDSEY BOERMA, 12/30/12, CBS NEWS)

Two days before the "fiscal cliff" deadline, lawmakers and aides are working around the clock to cement a deal before across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts land at the start of the New Year.

Most of the players have projected confidence that some form of a deal remains in reach. "One of two things is going to happen when it comes to the fiscal cliff," predicted President Obama today on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Number one, we're going to see an agreement in the next 48 hours, in which case, middle-class taxes will not go up. If that doesn't happen, then Democrats in the Senate will put a bill on the floor of the Senate, and Republicans will have to decide if they're going to block it, which will mean that middle class taxes do go up. I don't think they would want to do that politically, but they may end up doing it."

If all else fails, said Mr. Obama, "then we'll come back with a new Congress on January 4 and the first bill that will be introduced on the floor will be to cut taxes on middle class families."

There's nothing in a deal to avoid the cliff for the GOP.  

Posted by orrinj at 2:16 PM


Laws Are for Little People : And not for David Gregory. (Mark Steyn, 12/28/12, National Review)

David Gregory intended to demonstrate what he regards as the absurdity of America's lax gun laws. Instead, he's demonstrating the ever greater absurdity of America's non-lax laws. His investigation, prosecution, and a sentence of 20-30 years with eligibility for parole after ten (assuming Mothers Against High-Capacity Magazines don't object) would teach a far more useful lesson than whatever he thought he was doing by waving that clip under LaPierre's nose.

To Howard Kurtz & Co., it's "obvious" that Gregory didn't intend to commit a crime. But, in a land choked with laws, "obviousness" is one of the first casualties -- and "obviously" innocent citizens have their "obviously" well-intentioned actions criminalized every minute of the day. Not far away from David Gregory, across the Virginia border, eleven-year-old Skylar Capo made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days. For her pains, a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter accompanied by state troopers descended on her house, charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species, issued her a $535 fine, and made her cry. Why is it so "obvious" that David Gregory deserves to be treated more leniently than a sixth grader? Because he's got a TV show and she hasn't?

Posted by orrinj at 2:08 PM


Electric car charging goes wireless : Wireless charging sales for electric cars will surpass 280,000 by 2020, according to Pike Research. (Antony Ingram,  December 30, 2012, CS Monitor)

[W]hen an electric car parks over the ground pad, it creates an electromagnetic field, converted into electrical current within the car to charge the battery. As the name suggests, no wired connection between the electric car is required, and ground pads can even be installed out of sight under the road surface. 

Pike suggests that convenient charging is becoming a major factor in electric car purchase decisions, and the "park and forget" nature of wireless charging is an attractive concept.

The research group also suggests that the potential for frequent, brief stops where wireless charging is abundant could be a large factor in reducing 'range anxiety'.

Several large carmakers have already formed partnerships with wireless charging companies.

Posted by orrinj at 2:03 PM


Pentagon Readying 800,000 for Rolling Layoffs (DION NISSENBAUM And DAMIAN PALETTA, 12/30/12, WSJ)

The Pentagon is preparing to notify its entire civilian workforce to prepare for furloughs if Congress and President Barack Obama are unable to reach a deal before Jan. 2 to avert automatic spending cuts.

A senior defense official said Sunday that the Pentagon would notify 800,000 civilian workers to brace for furloughs in the new year, meaning the workers would be ordered to take mandatory leave without pay for a certain period.