Thursday, June 24, 2010

Al Gore Has A Problem With Happy Endings

The former veep/perpetual teller of depressing environmental fairy tales seems to have made a Clintonian slip with a masseuse in Oregon in October 2006.

HT to The Other McCain, who's posted on it here, here, and here.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office confirmed today that a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore reported it to police in 2006, and the prosecutor’s office was briefed by the Portland Police Bureau in late 2006 and January 2007.
“We were told the woman was not willing to be interviewed by the Portland Police Bureau and did not want a criminal investigation to proceed,’’ Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk said, in a prepared statement.


The masseuse told investigators about an evening massage session during which Gore allegedly became enraged at times and tried to gain sexual favors from the woman.
“I was shocked and I did not massage beyond what is considered a safe, nonsexual area of the abdomen,” she said. “He further insisted and acted angry, becoming verbally sharp and loud.”

My favorite comment about it so far comes from TOM commenter Paul Mitchell:

Goodness, the entire Clinton administration is guilty of rape. The law dogs better keep a sharp eye on Rahm and Hillary.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thomas Sowell reading recommendations

I’ve been asked by several folks to recommend specific books by Thomas Sowell, since I’ve read about 20 of them in the past year and a half. That number’s not so high because I’m such a voracious reader, but rather because Sowell’s such a phenomenal writer that his books can be read quickly.

The first thing that a new reader of Sowell should be aware of is that though he was trained as an economist, ultimately receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (Milton Friedman was one of his teachers there), he’s written great analysis of many different subjects that aren’t strictly related. This is important for 2 reasons.

First, it shows that possibly more than any other living American writer, he knows how to think. Before our educational institutions were dumbed down with feel-good nonsense unrelated to actual learning, teachers (ideally speaking) considered it more important that their students were able to think using logic and empirical evidence than that they knew particular sets of facts. Sowell’s ability to think has made his books troves of subtle wisdom, and is delightfully contagious as well.

The second, and more obvious reason that you need to care about Sowell’s diversity of writings is that what book you’ll want to read depends on your specific interest. Broadly speaking, his books can be classified in the following categories:

  • Elementary Economics
  • Race/Culture Issues
  • Late Talking Children
  • “Intellectuals”* and decision-making
  • Education
  • Economic Theory

I’ll make some recommendations here by category:

Elementary Economics

This would include Basic Economics, Applied Economics, and Economic Facts and Fallacies. I’d recommend reading Basic Economics thoroughly (as well as testing yourself with the questions Sowell helpfully has provided at the back of the book) if you’ve never read anything on the subject before or taken an econ course. If you’re more advanced in your knowledge of economics, it’s still worth reading through quickly for the specific examples.

Applied Economics and Economic Facts and Fallacies are, as the titles would suggest, a bit more advanced (and Economic Facts and Fallacies in particular gets into some of the other categories of Sowell’s writing).

Race/Culture Issues

I’d start here with Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Affirmative Action Around The World, or Ethnic America. If you’re motivated, you could read through his Race and Culture 3-volume work, each volume of which is between 400 and 500 pages of text. (The specific books are titled Race and Culture, Migrations and Cultures, and Conquests and Cultures, but it’s not necessary to read them in any particular order.)

Late-Talking Children

This includes Late Talking Children as well as The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late (my most recent Sowell read). These are obviously written for a more specific audience, but The Einstein Syndrome has some interesting insight into gifted children in general as well as the education system. Sowell actually started writing about this by chance (his son John was extremely bright but didn’t start talking until after age 3).

“Intellectuals” and decision-making

In this category I’d put The Vision of The Anointed, A Conflict of Visions, Knowledge and Decisions, The Quest For Cosmic Justice and Intellectuals And Society.

The Vision of The Anointed is possibly the best insight into the “thinking” of the intelligent leftist that’s ever been written, and if I absolutely had to pick one book from this post to recommend to everyone, that would be it.

Knowledge And Decisions is a great insight into the technical reasons that collectivism fails.

The others in this category contain many of the same insights, but I’d especially suggest Intellectuals And Society, the most current of Sowell’s books.


Inside American Education is a great summary of many problems with the educational systems prevailing in the US. Choosing The Right College is fairly self-explanatory, and obviously of particular interest to parents of teenagers.

Economic Theory

In this category would be books like Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis, On Classical Economics, and Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. These, particularly Say’s Law, require background knowledge of economic theory and philosophy to be maximally edifying. If that doesn’t describe you, I wouldn’t categorically advise against reading them, but be aware that it won’t be a casual endeavor.

Other Miscellaneous

Sowell’s also published several collections of his syndicated columns, such as Is Reality Optional?, Barbarians Inside The Gates and Ever Wonder Why. Handy just to have them in book form.

The Housing Boom and Bust is good, but again hard to categorize.

Lastly, there are his more personal books: A Personal Odyssey and A Man of Letters.

That’s about all I can think of. Feel free to point out anything I missed, and happy reading!

*I’ve put “intellectuals” in quotes because when Sowell writes, he doesn’t really use the term generically to refer to someone who’s smart, well-educated, or working in an academic setting, but to someone who makes a living from ideas alone. The preface to Intellectuals And Society explains why this distinction matters.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dan Onorato: Working Hard To Replace "Unrealistic" With "Ambitious" Everywhere

I almost feel sorry for the poor staffers who have to come up with these non-achievements. From Allegheny County's website, via Pittsburgh Business Times:

Allegheny County recognizes the importance of reducing our energy consumption and the associated carbon footprint of County Government. We're pleased to publish our first benchmark inventory of our carbon footprint, along with an action plan for reducing our carbon-equivalent emissions and greenhouse gases. The County established reduction goals via the Executive Order decreed in October 2009. These ambitious goals call for:

* Reducing the County’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 20% from their 2008 levels by 2015
* Converting the County fleet vehicles and motorized equipment to technologies with higher efficiency and lower emissions by 5% annually from 2010 through 2014 and
* Improving water efficiency by 20% by 2015, which will also impact regional energy usage and carbon production

I'm reluctantly going to move on to more exciting things, but it's worth sharing the Executive Order as well as the full energy use report (both PDF). They're kind of perversely amusing, being chock-full of grandiose ideas and devoid of action. Though there might be a few new positions created by the Executive Order somewhere amid all the other dry language.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Reason 1,345,247 why I read Sowell so much

His unhesitating willingness to slaughter sacred cows, as exemplified by this quote from page 136 of The Einstein Syndrome:
Too often the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is cited as if it represented scientific certainty, rather than a committee-written compendium with widely varying mixtures of hard facts and fashionable speculations.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bill Maher: I Want Obama To Bust A Cap In The Asses of BP Execs

In case you missed this last week. I did, but Stephen Kruiser and Streiff didn't.

I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — (in black man voice) ‘we’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.

The best part starts around 1:30.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Obama shunned in western PA?

Brian O'Connor thinks so, based on this Trib article. I'd tend to agree, given Obama's reverse Midas touch this year.

WTAE has semi-objective reporting on the presidential visit.

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.