“I Want Some TARP” Satirical Video Clip

TARP.jpg Screen capture from the link cited below.

Today (Weds., 1/21/09) on CNBC, I caught a snippet of a replay of Bill Zucker’s musical video parody of the government’s TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) bailout. It was funny, and mainly on-target.

You can view it on YouTube, at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGfQk9XXm24&feature=pyv&ad=3038287303

Fred Thompson Satirizes Current Economic Bailout Policies

ThompsonFredOnTheEconomyDec2008.jpg Source of image: screen capture from the Fred Thompson video commentary described, and linked-to, below.

My brother Eric alerted me to a wise and witty video commentary by former Senator Fred Thompson satirizing current government bailout policies. The video has been posted to multiple locations. Here is the link to the posting on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKc4XFK0iVY

Company Graveyard Scene from Wattenberg’s “In Search of the Real America”

EdselTombstone.JPG Source of image: screen capture downloaded on 9/3/08 from: http://cgi.ebay.com/PBS-TV-SERIES-IN-SEARCH-OF-THE-REAL-AMERICA-1977_W0QQitemZ330267803398QQihZ014QQcategoryZ63821QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

For years I have been trying to find a copy of Ben Wattenberg’s wonderful opening scene in the episode on big business of his 1970s series “In Search of the Real America.” He stands in a spooky, foggy, graveyard next to several tombstones. When we see the tombstones more closely, they have the names of big business corporate failures.

InSearchOfTheRealAmericaOpeningSlide.JPG Source of image: screen capture downloaded on 9/3/08 from: http://cgi.ebay.com/PBS-TV-SERIES-IN-SEARCH-OF-THE-REAL-AMERICA-1977_W0QQitemZ330267803398QQihZ014QQcategoryZ63821QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

SNL CSPAN Pelosi, Frank Bailout Skit

SNLcspanBailout2008-10-04.jpg Source: screen capture from the NBC video clip mentioned, and linked to below.

Most Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits support liberal causes and politicians, and are critical of those with sympathies for free markets.
There was a wonderful, rare exception aired as the second skit on the 10/04/08 show. The skit pokes fun at the Democrats for their responsibility in creating the mortgage meltdown crisis. Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are shown expressing sympathy for various miscreants who expect the taxpayer to bail them out of their financial responsibilites.
(An interesting sidenote is that NBC pulled the clip from their web site for a about a full day, even though they left up other clips from the same show. Some bloggers suggested that employees of NBC had political motivations for their act of quasi-censorshp.)

The skit was entitled “C-span Bailout” and as of 10/08/08, could be found at:
http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/c-span-bailout/727521/

Post Office Wastes Money on 30,000 Ethanol Capable Vehicles

PostalMinivanCustomizedEthanol.jpg “A General Motors Corp. Chevrolet Uplander flexible fuel vehicle customized for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is shown in this handout photo taken on April 22, 2008. The USPS bought more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans from 1999 to 2005, making it the biggest American buyer of alternative-fuel vehicles.” Source of caption and photo: Bloomberg.com article quoted and cited below.

I saw a great CNN video clip on 8/11/08 showing some of the specially designed Post Office vehicles that were expensive, but that were mainly running on regular gasoline because it was too difficult to fill them with the high-ethanol blend that they were converted to use.
Before I finally found the clip on CNNMoney.com, by searching for it using the TRUVEO video search engine, I discovered that a version of the story had run back in May on Bloomberg.com. I quote from the story below.

May 21 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Postal Service purchased more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans from 1999 to 2005, making it the biggest American buyer of alternative-fuel vehicles. Gasoline consumption jumped by more than 1.5 million gallons as a result.
The trucks, derived from Ford Motor Co.’s Explorer sport- utility vehicle, had bigger engines than Jeeps from the former Chrysler Corp. they replaced. A Postal Service study found the new vehicles got as much as 29 percent fewer miles to the gallon. Mail carriers used the corn-based fuel in just 1,000 of them because there weren’t enough places to buy it.

For the full story, see:
Peter Robison, Alan Ohnsman and Alan Bjerga. “Ethanol Vehicles for Post Office Burn More Gas, Get Fewer Miles.” Last Updated: May 21, 2008 00:01 EDT Downloaded on August 8, 2008 from:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601072&refer=energy&sid=aj.h0coJSkpw

On the CNN Money video clip:
Jason Carroll was the reporter on the CNN Money clip that was added to CNNMoney.com on August 12, 2008, under the title “Snail Mail by Ethanol,” and is viewable at http://money.cnn.com/video/#/video/news/2008/08/12/news.usps.081108.cnnmoney

SnailMailEthanol.jpg Reporter Jason Carroll talks with mail carrier Richard Malik, who says he has never used ethanol in his expensive mail truck that had been specially designed to use ethanol. Source of photo: screen capture from the CNN Money video clip discussed above.

Blacklisting of Voight Urged in Display of Liberal Hollywood McCarthyism

VoightBlackListedByLiberals.jpg
VoightBlacklistedByLiberals2.jpg

Source of the images: screen captures from the CNN report cited below.

With self-righteous indignation, the left often accuses the right of “McCarthyism.”
But many on the left are happy to limit free speech when what is spoken is not to their liking.
Jon Voight’s column in the Washington Times has ignited a firestorm, and caused at least one Hollywood insider to openly advocate blacklisting Voight from the movie business. The CNN story cited and linked below, gives some of the details.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example.
On our campuses, free speech is often violated if the speaker speaks what is not politically correct. For many examples, see some of the cases discussed on the web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Another example is from my own personal experience as a young scholar many decades ago. I had applied to three or four top PhD programs in philosophy and was initially rejected from every one of them, even though I had a nearly perfect GPA, and very high test scores.
I was especially surprised by the rejection from Chicago, because an Associate Dean had visited the Wabash campus the year before and talked with me about applying to Chicago. He had looked at my record and said, ‘with your record, if you score X, or above on the GREs, it is almost certain that you will be accepted.’ (I don’t remember the exact number he said.) Well I scored above X, but was rejected. So I wrote to the Associate Dean, saying I was disappointed and asking if he had any insight about the rejection. He told me that he was dumbfounded and that he would look into it.
Awhile later, I received a letter reversing the decision of the University of Chicago Department of Philosophy. I never learned all the details, but apparently the Dean of Humanities had over-ruled the Department of Philosophy. (This is fairly unusual in academics, and though I do not remember her name, I salute that Dean for taking a stand.)
Years later, the episode came up in a conversation with a member of the philosophy faculty. He said that he had been on the admissions committee the year that I had applied, and that I had been rejected because I had mentioned Ayn Rand in my essay about how I had become interested in philosophy.

For some of the details of the Voight story, see:
Wynter, Kareen. “Bloggers Fire Back at Voight.” CNN Feature, broadcast on CNN, and posted on CNN.com on 8/8/08. Downloaded on 8/8/08 from: http://www.cnn.com/video/?iref=videoglobal
(Note: the clip runs 2 minutes and 27 seconds.)

Voight’s op-ed piece ran in the Washington Times on July 28, 2008 under the title “My Concerns for America” and can be viewed at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/28/voight/

Feds Force Us to Fluoresce, Causing Migraines and Epileptic Seizures

 

   Source:  screen capture from the CNN report cited below.

 

The new energy bill signed into law on Weds., Dec. 19, 2007, included a provision to force us all to fluoresce starting in 2012.  In the CNN report cited below, Dr. Sanjay Gupta summarizes recent research suggesting that fluorescent bulbs cause a significant increase in the number of migraine headaches and epileptic seizures.

 

For the full story, see:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "Eco-bulbs and migraines." CNN Report. Posted online on January 4, 2008.

 

   Source:  screen capture from the CNN report cited above.

 

Hugh Laurie’s Wonderful Protest Song

 

   Source of image:  screen capture from the first link below.

 

Hugh Laurie hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) on a show re-broadcast on Sat., Aug. 11, 2007.  (I am not sure if the original broadcast was in 2006, or earlier in 2007.)

In one hilarious bit, Laurie announces he is going to sing a "protest song" and proceeds to sing one of those earnest-sounding, pompous, self-righteous save-the-world-with-a-cliché songs that were so common in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

The hilarious bit: whenever Laurie gets to the part of the song where he is going to tell us the "answer"—- he mumbles. 

After showing the clip to my principles students, I told them that to fill in the mumbling with something effective, you need to know some economics.

 

Here is a link to the SNL version:

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=3591518

 

The song was apparently first performed as part of a show called "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" that was broadcast in the early 1990s in Britain. Here is a link to the earlier version of the song:

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=14405597

 

Mugabe Prints More Money and Beats Up Shopkeepers, as Inflation Soars: More on Why Africa is Poor

 

     "Inflation made food cost a fortune in Harare this week.  The government imposed controls that required vendors to sell some items below cost."  Source of caption and photo:  online version of the NYT article cited below. 

 

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 — Zimbabwe’s week-old campaign to quell its rampant inflation by forcing merchants to lower prices is edging the nation close to chaos, some economists and merchants say.

As the police and a pro-government youth militia swept into shops and factories, threatening arrest and worse unless prices were rolled back, staple foods vanished from store shelves and some merchants reported huge losses. News reports said that some shopkeepers who had refused to lower prices had been beaten by the youth militia, known as the Green Bombers for the color of their fatigues.

In interviews, merchants said that crowds of people were following the police and militia from shop to shop to buy goods at the government-ordered prices.

“People are losing millions and millions and millions of dollars,” said one merchant in Bulawayo, referring to the Zimbabwean currency, which is becoming worthless given the nation’s inflation, the world’s highest. “Everyone is now running out of stock, and not being able to replace it.”

. . .

Gasoline was reported to be vanishing from stations as the going price, about 180,000 dollars per liter, was slashed by the government to something closer to the officially approved price of 450 dollars per liter. Mr. Mugabe’s government intends to cope with the shortages by subsidizing producers of basic goods. One of the few newspapers not under government control, The Zimbabwe Independent, reported last week that flour, which is controlled entirely by the state, will be sold to bakers for 10 million dollars a ton, half the market price. Similarly, many suppliers of basic goods have been told by the government that they will be allowed to buy gasoline at one tenth the going price, the newspaper reported. The government apparently plans to make up those losses by printing more money. Zimbabwe’s dollar has lost more than half its value in recent weeks because the government has constantly issued new bills to pay its mounting debts.

 

For the full story, see: 

MICHAEL WINES.  "Anti-Inflation Curbs on Prices Create Havoc for Zimbabwe."  The New York Times  (Weds., July 4, 2007):  A8. 

(Note:  ellipsis added.)

 

CNN on 7/10/07 broadcast a great clip from ITN, that had been courageously recorded undercover by Martin Geissler.  See  "Desperation in Zimbabwe":

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/offbeat/2007/06/23/vo.mi.ugly.dogs.ap?DPFPR=true

(Note:  ITN is sometimes also called ITV.  "ITN" stands for the International Television Network.)

 

Postscript:  According to an entry on the ITV web site entitled "Mugabe Battles Economic Crises," Mugabe "has warned he will not be restrained by "bookish economics"."  (He makes a great case for cracking open the books, doesn’t he?  Or at least for opening the window and looking at what is happening outside?)

For the Mugabe quote on bookish economics, see:

http://itn.co.uk/news/a1d7763de3c4778b619a72cbeab24d6d.html

 

Argentine Evidence on Global Warming

 

   Source:  screen capture from the Reuters video clip mentioned below.

 

On July 10, 2007, Reuters and other news sources (including CNN) reported that Buenos Aires had experienced its first snowfall in 80 years.

To see Reuters’ brief video clip on the snow, visit: 

http://www.javno.com/video.php?rbr=4137&l=en

 

ArgentineSnowCoveredTrucks.jpg   "A truck driver makes his way through snow-covered trucks Tuesday in Punta de Vacas, Argentina."  Source of the truck caption and photo:   

"Snow leaves trucks stranded on Argentina-Chile border."  CNN.com POSTED: 3:06 p.m. EDT, June 13, 2007.