Are these critters weird, or what?


They sound weird, and they look like they’re from another planet.

That’s about all I’ve got to say about these things, except to explain that I was happy with the way the autofocus on my camera actually focused on what I wanted it to for a change, so that I could blow this up and still have it look like something.

Also, I figured y’all were tired of looking at that picture from the Sanford press conference, hence the new header…

35 thoughts on “Are these critters weird, or what?

  1. Wes Wolfe

    When I was a kid, my dad told me those things shed their exoskeletons. That kind of ruined me for bugs.

  2. bud

    Those critters are about as evolved as Republicans.

    Seriously folks is there anything more ridiculous than the GOP talking heads trying to claim the cash for klunkers programs is a failure. Best damn piece of legislation congress has passed in decades. For a mere billion dollars (now 3 with congress kicking in an extra 2 billion) the government has single-handidly turned an entire industry around. It’s a stunning success. Plus we’ve removed thousands of gas-guzzlers from the road thereby reducing our dependence on foreign oil AND provided some downward pressure on gasoline prices AND reduced vehicle emissions AND helped reduce unemployment. I was skeptical at first that people would actually be swayed by the relatively small incentives but count this proud liberal as a convert.

    Perhaps we can expand the program to other troubled industries. Is the poultry industry in trouble? If so, a cash for cluckers bill may just do the trick.

  3. Randy E

    Bud, actually serveral pubs were jumping in with praise on the house floor.

    You’re right though, it’s a tremendous success. I had a tea bag buddy post a story about how they were going to suspend the program. His comment was “no surprise another government program fails.” Simplicity is all that some can offer.

  4. Birch Barlow

    Whew! I think I’d rather look at Sanford than that thing.

    Nice camera work, but that is a creepy-looking creature.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Wes, I’m out of town and blogging via Blackberry, but I’ll see about getting you onto the blogroll when I get back. I’m sure there are some other good’uns I’ve missed as well…

  6. bud

    Brad, I’m jealous. I work 2 jobs and I don’t travel nor do I own a Blackberry. What’s the latest on the job search. Any prospects?

  7. doug_ross

    Anyone who thinks the cash for clunkers program is a success has to be willfully ignorant.

    How amazing! The government gives away free money and people line up to take it.

    Did you ener consider where that money comes from? Do you understand it means the cars are overpriced by thousands of dollars due to union wages? What happens when this bubble bursts?

  8. Randy E

    When the middle class exploded in the 50s and 60s, the unions were at their greatest strength. That was no coincident.

    Doug, it’s called STIMULUS. People buy cars and the supply and demand function is catalyzed. Ignorant? LOL, the skyrocketing sales that have resulted from this program blow away your little straw man.

    Fox Noise reported that the recession is ending and specifically cited government spending as a cause. I guess a handful of tea baggers know something the rest of us don’t.

  9. doug_ross


    Please explain to the readers how giving away 4500 stimulates the economy? Where did the money come from? And here is a simple question for you – if giving away 1 billion of magic money is good and giving away 3 billion of future tax dollars is better, then why not just give everyone a free car and pay the dealers out of even more deficit spending?

    It is really amazing how for a math teacher you appear to have zero understanding of economics.

    As long as someone else pays for something by borrowing against future tax dollars, you are all for it.

    And let’s not even mention that every news article that talked about how quickly the first billion ran out also talked about how frustrated car dealers were with all the red tape they are dealing with trying to actually get the money from the government. Wait til all the stories of fraud come out down the line. Car salesmen and the government – a lethal combination!

  10. doug_ross

    Now that we’ve established that car prices appear to be $4500 higher than the public is willing to pay, how will the car dealers convince buyers to pay the normal “welfare free” cost when the stimulus funds run out?

    This is a mini-version of the housing boom caused by bad lending practices of the past few years propped up by government programs to lend money to people who shouldn’t have been able to borrow it.

    Boom, bust, boom, bigger bust… as long as you keep trading tomorrow’s money for instant gratification, the results will be the same.

  11. Birch Barlow


    Your arguments are unclear. At first you seem to be questioning the fact that the Cash For Clunkers program is stimulating the economy. Then you seem to be saying that the Cash For Clunkers program is creating a boom to be followed by a bust.

    If a boom is created, is that not stimulus?

    Are you arguing that these programs (Cash For Clunkers, ARRA, etc.) do not have a stimulus effect or are you arguing that they are not good for the country in the long run?

    I would agree with you on the latter but not the former.

  12. doug_ross


    It’s a fake boom – just like the housing “boom”. Ford is reporting that sales for July are way up. They are up because they were able to get rid of inventory by shifting the discount to the American public.

    What happens next July when they report car sales are down compared to the prior year?

    When the artificial price adjustments are removed, the sales will go away.

    A true stimulus would be creating incentive programs to improve the productivity of American businesses, not offloading excessive costs onto the taxpayers.

    Cash for clunkers doesn’t create jobs, doesn’t create a base from which future growth can be built upon, and trades future resources for current spending.

    There is no such thing as a stimulus. What stimulus effect did all those checks from the government last year have? None.

    The best stimulus would come from removing tax burdens from people and businesses and cutting government spending so that more money can be placed into the hands of people who are efficient at creating real jobs.

  13. doug_ross

    The other point to note is that trying to monkey around with supply and demand by artificially changing prices usually has impacts that are not apparent.

    For example, the Cash For Clunkers may be a good deal for auto dealers trying to clear their lots of overpriced inventory. But consider the other impacts:

    1) Because the “clunkers” must be scrapped versus re-sold, the cost of used parts for those vehicles rises due to the decrease in supply

    2) For consumers who are looking for a cheap used car, the price will go up as the quantity of low end vehicles is cut. Watch for the increase in costs for used small trucks as they have been the bulk of clunkers turned in and scrapped

    3) Sales of vehicles not associated with the clunker rebate will drop as consumers shift their demand to models that qualify

    4) The Cash For Clunkers program doesn’t operate as a charity. There is an overhead cost of tax dollars on top of the rebates to administer the program. A reasonable estimate would be tens of millions of dollars to provide the infrastructure to staff the program. That’s money that could have been spent on other things.

    There will be more unseen impacts coming through over time. It’s never just a simple X + Y = Z equation when it comes to the economics of government spending.

  14. Lee Muller

    The Cash for Clunkers program demonstrates how effective a tax cut is.

    A tax credit for anyone to buy a new car would have a tremendous effect, with very little administrative cost, much less than this convoluted website run by the government.

  15. Lee Muller

    I have had ongoing harbor projects in the SEATAC area, and this net removal has been going on before the Porkulus Spending Act. There was a story about it on television last week.

    I think it is a good thing to clean up this sort of junk, and it creates new jobs for the divers and fishermen who were put out of work by other environmental regulations and legislation, not all of which was very intelligent.

    Blue collar work in Washington and Oregon was hit hard by Clinton and his crowd of whackos, but Obama has already had worse effects. There have been cancellations of orders to Boeing by Fedex directly in response to legislation this year, and at least $1 billion in cancelled construction projects around Seattle the day Obama was elected. Housing prices fell about 65% last year in newer subdivision in King County.

  16. bud

    the Cash For Clunkers may be a good deal for auto dealers trying to clear their lots of overpriced inventory. But consider the other impacts.
    – Doug

    In any human endevour there are going to be unintended consequence and sometimes unintended benifits as well. The history of the automobile is replete with unintended consequences. Millions of people have died, the air has been spoiled and the blight of suburbia are some examples.

    But what I find fascinating are Doug’s examples of so-called “negative” consequences.

    1. Expensive parts for clunkers: Great! Another motivations for getting these polluting monsters off the road.

    2. The cost of small trucks will rise. Again, great! That’s part of the reason for the program, to make the vehicle fleet more efficient. Smaller used cars by comparison will become a more attractive alternative.

    3. Sales not associated with the program will suffer. Those of course are the gas-guzzlers that continue to plague us.

    4. Costs in addition to the money will accrue. Hey, more people put to work. In a recession that’s a good thing.

    Fact is, this is one of the best government programs to come along in a while. For mere pennies it will help end the recession and keep the air cleaner and the motoring environment safer. Whoever thought of this deserves a medal.

  17. bud

    I see that John McCain will vote against the confirmation of Judge Sotomeyer. So much for one of Brad’s reason for supporting McCain in the election. McCain has become nothing but a dottering old GOP hack. He lacks principal just like all the rest of them. It’s high time the Democrats just said to hell with GOP obstructionists and get on with the business of governing. At the end of the day much more will get accomplished and they will benefit from a robust economy, world peace and a sensible health insurance system.

  18. Randy E

    How does providing a $4500 credit for buying a $15000 car provide stimulus? People have greater incentive to buy cars, the dealers sell more cars, the auto plants make more cars, the parts suppliers sell more supplies. This results in more jobs and more tax revenue. The stock market continues to rise. Stimulus.

    “It is really amazing how for a math teacher you appear to have zero understanding of economics.” – Doug

    The last person who needs to to continuously snipe at me is a man who was dead last in an election for school board.

  19. doug_ross

    So, Bud, if people are laid off due to the negative impacts of the cash for clunkers program, you’re okay with that?

    Please tell me how you can honestly believe a short term program to cut the cost of certain automobiles stimulates the economy? How does it work? And how does the stimulus sustain itself once the money runs out?

    Also, if $4500 for a junk car is good, please explain why $14,500 is not better? Why shouldn’t the government just buy up all the inventory the auto makers have and distribute them to poor people? If your “theory” of how a stimulus works is correct, that would be even better, right?

    It’s a welfare program. It’s a wealth distribution program. It’s borrowing tomorrow’s dollars to pay for today. It is not a “stimulus”. The “stimulus” ends as soon as the money stops.

  20. Lee Muller

    Cash for Clunkers is another add-on for the automobile bail out.

    Obama and his czars botched things by shutting down profitable dealerships and creating months of uncertainty about the future of certain models, brands, and even GM and Chrysler altogether. They wrecked what was left of the automobile sales, after Democrats had destroyed credit market last summer, then jobs in the fall.

    Doug is right about it being a short term sugar buzz. Once the inventory is sold, the fundamental problems remain:

    automobile sales rates down 50%
    * 17% unemployment
    * business activity down 25%
    * common stock prices down 50%
    * housing prices continuing to fall
    * no business investment

    * 4,500,000 new home foreclosures looming if jobs don’t materialize, which will set off a new round of bank failures, yet Democrats continue killing jobs.

    * massive payroll taxes threatened on business, which means layoffs, no hiring, and wage cuts to offset the tax costs.

  21. doug_ross

    That leading mouthpiece of radical libertarianism, USA TODAY, has an editorial today that pretty much nails the Cash For Clunkers program for what it is – a handout to the auto industry and nothing what its proponents claim it to be.

    Here’s some key points that I’d love to see someone refute with facts instead of fairy tales about the “stimulus”.

    From USA Today:

    “As economic stimulus the program is bogus as well. The money allocated is enough to generate about 250,000 trade-ins. While that may seem like a lot, about 200,000 would have happened anyway industry experts say.If taxpayers are spending $1 billion for about 50,000 additional car purchases that comes to about $20,000 per car.

    So far the program has actually been de-stimulative to the economy. That’s because people in the market have stalled, in some cases since February when the idea was first floated, waiting to take advantage of the sweet deal from the taxpayer.

    Now, with buyers pouring into showrooms, it has created an enormous spike in demand, stretching the available inventory and removing the need for dealers to offer even the most routine of incentives.

    Cash for clunkers may be good for dealers and good for the Big Three. But for the taxpayer it is little more than a clunker — one with no trade-in value at all.

  22. Lee Muller

    The Cash for Clunkers program only increased Ford’s sales 1.6%, according to Ford.

    GM had no sales increase. Of course, Obama will claim that sales “would have been worse without our program”. How many times have we heard that unprovable assertion about his other failures to stem layoffs and home foreclosures?

    Perfectly good cars which would have been sold to the working poor, to students, and to those just needing a second car, will be crushed and melted, and sold to Red China. The poor will have to walk. The others will have to pay more than $4500 for their next car.

    What this does demonstrate is how incapable politicians are at devising schemes to manage the economy, and how incompetent the bureaucracy is at running anything.

    They botched an ill-conceived $1 billion car sales incentive, now ask for another $2 to $4 billion more to bail it out – and they want to take over the medical industry because they can run it more efficiently than we can ourselves.

  23. Birch Barlow

    thereby reducing our dependence on foreign oil

    Excellent! Now we need to reduce our dependence on foreign grains and metals. Then we’ll really be doing well.*

    *Sarcasm, Bart 😉

  24. Lee Muller

    Obama withholds data on all his programs, because they are all failures.

    Just wait – if the Democrats ram socialized medicine down our throats, they will fudging data, refusing to release results, saying it is too early, blah, blah, blah…, because outcomes will be much worse, waiting times longer, lower cure rates, higher mortality.

    That is why 70% of Europeans polled recently said they would like to scrap their government medical systems and start over with something different.

    Waiting 18 months for surgery, 6 months to see a specialist, and mortality rates which are 2 to 6 times the rates in the USA have not made Europeans very happy.

  25. bud

    Car sales out yesterday show a nice improvement over what we’ve been seeing. And many of the vehicle types don’t qualify for the clunkers deal. Apparently the program was just the nudge needed to take advantage of improving consumer confidence. With the huge pent up demand for cars this may open the floodgates to a booming economy. Let’s just make sure the right cars find their way to the road. Cash for clunkers is a huge success and historians will no doubt regard this as the moment the American and world economy turned around. Given the sharp rise in the DOW it’s getting harder for the naysayers to dispute the effectiveness of the Obama economic desisions. But I’ll stop talking and let them naysay some more.

  26. doug_ross


    You still haven’t explained how $4500 is better than $14500.

    You still haven’t explained how cars that are NOT subsidized by tax dollars will sell once the program ends.

    You still haven’t addressed any of the facts.

    Just pie in the sky Obamanomics…

  27. Lee Muller

    “Clunkers” is a good name for any Democrat program to manipulate markets and subsidize any privileged class of buyers or sellers.

    Just as in all the other ‘economic stimulus’ programs, there was not much thought put into the amount necessary to make X number of buyers trade cars. There were no incentives put in place to benefit American vehicle manufacturers.

    The deal only makes sense for someone who was going to sell that old car and buy a new one anyway. For anyone else, it is dumb to get rid of a working automobile and borrow money to buy a new one that you didn’t need.

    That is why Obama is trying to hide the sales data, because

    * A lot of the vehicles sold were foreign cars

    * The total sales of Ford, Chrysler and GM barely budged – the taxpayers helped pay for cars that were going to be bought anyway.

    * Many of the cars sold were luxury cars.

    * Many of the sales had no benefit to the environment. For example, you could trade an 18 MPG 1998 Jeep Cherokee in on a 19 MPG 2009 Jeep Liberty.

    * The energy required to transport and melt down thousands of good, working old cars produced more air pollution than the cars would have produced if left on the road.


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