I'll see your Harsanyi and basically agree. We're not as far apart as usual. I do see the Arizona law as a rebuke to fed incompetence (heckuva job, Brownie!) and you can image my discomfort with my newfound allies. Sure Shakira is serious, but some of those other celebs appear to be posturing. The Denver Public Schools' boycott of Arizona travel is silly, but I'm glad to know some teachers can find a state that borders us on a map.
Requiring successful enforcement of the current immigration laws before they can be changed is a non sequitur. Its like saying, in 1932, that we cant repeal the nationwide prohibition on alcohol consumption until weve drastically reduced the number of moonshine stills and bootleggers. But Prohibition itself created the conditions for the rise of those underground enterprises, and the repeal of Prohibition was necessary before the government could get control of its unintended consequences.
Ultimately -- and I wish we were not doing this in an election year -- we will get back to this and reach impasse. His comparison to prohibition is more deftly worded than my "relieve pressure" argument. But they are the same. Prosperity and freedom requires more liberal immigration than my pals, brothers, and sisters around here will accede to.
Americans value immigration. They recoil from lawlessness. And frustration over the impotent border enforcement has manifested itself in a flailing overreach. Arizona's law isn't a referendum on Latinos or even immigration itself. It's an unambiguous rebuke of Washington.
But if you, like me, believe it's possible to advocate for a broad-minded immigration policy -- one that creates more expansive guest-worker programs, offers amnesty (though not citizenship) to some immigrants already here and enforces border control -- this administration is not making it easy on you, either.
The uplifting tale of the hard-boiled immigrant, dipping his or her sweaty hands into the well of the American dream, is one thing. Today we find ourselves in an unsustainable and rapidly growing welfare state. Can we afford to allow millions more to partake?
When Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist Milton Friedman was asked about unlimited immigration in 1999, he stated that "it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both."
National Journal's Ronald Brownstein gives dismissive lip-service to violence in Mexico and unemployment in the US before blaming racism and nativism for the "hardening GOP position" on McCain-Kennedy style amnesty. I think he needs to read the Harsanyi piece too - "It's the welfare state, stupid!"
I used the word "zeitgeist" the other day. That's one sign of the apocalypse. But I have never seen any piece of art that captures its time period better than this captures the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress:.
Awesome! Hat-tip: Terri (follow the link for a good post on the writedowns).
Few things make me proud of my alma mater these days, but this is one of them. I recently learned about the existence of the Center for Western Civilization at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The Center for Western Civilization seeks to encourage critical reflection on the distinctive traditions, languages and issues that characterize the cultures of Western civilization, in order to help the citizens of Colorado and the United States understand and appreciate their past in itself and as the basis of a free and creative future.
Apparently they are modeled in some fashion upon Michigan's Hillsdale College. I'm also told that 100 percent of the program's funding is privately sourced. Huzzah!
In addition to the cost, states are worried about the strings attached to the program. In a conference call with state officials last week, HHS officials weren't able to answer specific questions about federal mandates that will be placed on participating states. That's discomforting because HHS will draft the program's rules only after states decide whether to sign up. -- Grace Marie Turner
From a great editorial in the WSJ, looking at States' decision to sign up for high-risk pools that are scheduled to run out of money "next year or in 2012."
Another day, another never-mind ObamaCare moment. Earlier this week, House Democrats concluded that the deluge of corporate writedownsamounting to about $3.4 billion so farwere in fact the result of ObamaCare, not the nefarious CEO conspiracy that the White House repeatedly cited when it was embarrassed soon after the bill's passage.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke rushed to attack AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar and many others reporting losses from a tax increase on retiree drug benefits as "premature and irresponsible." He later took to these pages to denounce those who noticed these writedowns as "disingenuous" and peddling "overheated rhetoric."
Meanwhile, House baron Henry Waxman vowed to summon the offending executives to his committee because their actions "appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs."
Mr. Waxman has since canceled those hearings with much less dudgeon or media fanfare, and the report from his own staffers explains his retreat. "The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the SEC in March and April," -- WSJ Ed Page
Wait -- you mean ObamaCare® really is going to cost these companies billions of dollars? They were following GAAP to disclose this? The only political games were on the supporters' side?
Enjoy it ThreeSourcers. It's one of those great moments that nobody you talk to will ever know it happened. Kind of like ClimateGate or RatherGate™ But we know!
I was going to post this yesterday, then I wasn't.
The segue today is the Cato video a few posts down with its admonition that "Democrats are not always your enemies." I don't know if anybody is going to like this but me, yet I encourage you to consider this counter-intuitive thought from Forbes's Shikha Dalmia:
If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.
I'll concede that Article IV gives legitimacy and consistency to one who supports Constitutional limits on government and strict enforcement on immigration laws. Unlike Tea Partiers who like Medicare and <merlehaggardvoice>Social Security</merlehaggardvoice>, they are on firm Constitutional ground.
But because things are allowed by the Constitution doesn't mean we want a ton of it. We are at war but I really don't have room to billet a dozen soldiers in my condo.
I've kept silent on the Arizona contretemps because I know we will divide along the same old lines (that is, everybody against me) but I think Dalmia is on to something here.
Likewise, a compelling case can be made that the State of Arizona is in an emergency situation with increased violence and increased breakdown in the social order to its South. I actually accept this and have criticized the law only from a Constitutional, civil liberties perspective. I'll look the other way if they need to get rough on the border.
But the other escalation, as mentioned in a comment, is that the the leading candidate to be the GOP Gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Scott McInnis, made headlines last night saying that he would like to sign a similar law in Colorado. We do not face the same situation as Arizona and it is clearly out-of-bounds in Colorado. That he so quickly accedes to such an authoritarian solution does not speak well for his devotion to liberty.
I've been struggling with a private, personal issue, which I feel makes me an outcast in polite society. I long for the day when I can freely express my true nature in public without fear of recrimination or ridicule. Unfortunately, it looks like that day has not yet arrived.
I must "call them as I see them" and I saw enough yesterday to cement my position that I trust the greedy, insufferable, big-eared, Goldman creeps waaaaaay more than the preening Senators who felt their job was to yell at them.
I linked yesterday to Senator Levin. Boy, that guy is one of my faves. It is sad enough that not one out of one hundred of these people has any clue about risk management or how financial instruments operate, but Senator Levin cannot even comprehend business. He felt he had found the smoking gun in the "s*****y deal" email. If he had spent one second in the private sector, he would know that deals and projects and product developments "go s****y" rather frequently.
Once something turns to the dark brown side, you don't just leave it on the P&L. You have to deal with it. In the software realm you might bring in a new team. If you're Goldman, you have to get it sold and off your books.
I don't link to Powerline a lot, but John Hinderaker nails it today. He's a lawyer and does this for a living. And he is astonished at how bad the Senators are.
The process was painful due to the Senators' lack of skill. It's also probably true that the Goldman folks didn't say quite everything that they knew. But, as one who spends much of his life poring over emails and other documents, looking for evidence I can use in depositions, I can say authoritatively that the Goldman emails aren't bad. This is a relatively tame collection on which to try to hang some sort of scandal.
The Senators, seemingly without exception, are embarrassingly ignorant of modern risk management techniques. They really don't seem to understand how and why firms like Goldman Sachs hedge their exposure to various economic trends.
What the TiVo grabbed for Kudlow last night was instead filled with Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's brutal and grilling testimony. Man, no wonder GS gained a buck a share on a day the market tanked.
McCaskill (another favorite of mine) was clearly certainly honestly deeply disturbed and upset at the things that had gone on mind you. She demonstrated that she did not understand what had gone on, but asked the CEO Lloyd Blankfein if he couldn't understand why she and everybody else was so gosh darn upset!
Hinderaker points out the Republicans were no better. I saw a clip of Senator Susan Collins (RINO - ME) this morning and she proudly boasted that she was frustrated just 30 seconds into her question. Damn those pointy head pinstriped bastards upsetting that dear flower so!
No, I am not defending GS again. My point is made particularly well by Hinderaker, in his close:
I'm not a particular fan of either Goldman Sachs or Congress, but today's hearing confirms that, given a choice, I'd rather have Goldman Sachs regulating Congress than Congress regulating Goldman Sachs. Goldman's employees are much smarter, considerably more honest, and far more likely to have my interests at heart.
Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa's Merrill Middle School, organized a large group of students the other day to protest a spending slowdown, and to demonstrate some of the excellent results the Hawkeye state is getting for its $7,419 per pupil:
It is not often that I part ways with James Taranto. His humor and genial outlook are an inspiration to me, as is his ability to engage the other side and hold to principle. (Plus he's had me on BOTW a few times and I am very easily bought!)
But I have to respectfully diverge from "Everybody Burn the Flag." Taranto seriously explores and comes out opposed to "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day:"
The problem with the "in-your-face message" of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others--Muslims--as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world.
I have a few weeks and plan to correspond with a couple of Muslim friends before then. But unless I get a change of heart, tune in May 20 for a respectful -- if badly executed -- image of the Muslim prophet.
Courage is a funny thing. I'm not extremely worried about ritual beheading with our small readership (a whois does provide my infidel address) but it is way out of my comfort zone intentionally to offend innocent people. I don't take that lightly.
But the heart of liberty for me is that none of us is empowered to prevent another from offending us. I'm disturbed by "Milton Friedman, Father of World Poverty" signs but I'm not issuing fatwas. One of the prices of freedom is extending it to others, and this religious group has no standing to tell me what I can and cannot draw.
Had our elites stood up for freedom, I would pass. Rare kudos to Jon Stewart, by the way. He was brave and correct in his defense of his colleagues. But I think it is unfortunately required -- to preserve freedom -- that everybody draw Mohammed.
UPDATE: Taranto posts some thoughtful responses today -- hey I told you he was a swell guy!
Financial-overhaul legislation failed to move to the Senate floor after it failed to garner 60 votes. All Republicans voted against moving forward in the 57-41 vote. Democrats meanwhile agreed on a proposal in the bill to overhaul derivatives rules.
I just don't see the successes of regulatioon that this is meant to build on.
If you don't care for partisan hackery, go somewhere else.
The AP reports on an AP/GfK Poll, that Democrats have blown a nine-point lead in the field "whom do you trust more to handle the economy?" Gee, could that be because of spending? taxes? entitlements? savaging the property rights of preferred debt holders?
Nope, It is another sad effect of George W. Bush's recession.
WASHINGTON Notch one more victim of the recession: With crucial midterm elections nearing, Democrats have lost the advantage they've held for years as the party the public trusts to steer the economy.
The timing could be fortunate for the Republicans. With jobs and the economy dominating voters' concerns, the GOP will wield the issue as a cudgel in the battle to grab control of at least one chamber of Congress this November and weaken President Barack Obama.
Bad luck, Dems! But don't worry -- it was nothing you did.
Or else, taxpaying Americans are going to escape! NYTimes:
WASHINGTON Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship.
What we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years, said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. Before, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.
The Federal Register, the government publication that records such decisions, shows that 502 expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status in the last quarter of 2009. That is a tiny portion of the 5.2 million Americans estimated by the State Department to be living abroad.
Still, 502 was the largest quarterly figure in years, more than twice the total for all of 2008, and it looms larger, given how agonizing the decision can be. There were 235 renunciations in 2008 and 743 last year. Waiting periods to meet with consular officers to formalize renunciations have grown.
An awesome episode of Penn & Teller's B******t, is the one on recycling. In the intro, the hosts admit that "they kinda believe it" but nevertheless, the purveyors of reason must conclude that recycling "is B******t!"
The show is entertaining and informative, of course, but one of the great bits is when they walk serious young LA homeowners through the new system. A man with a clipboard instructs on the proper contents of the eight different color bins. It's hilarious because they cannot get a Californian to complain no matter how bad they make it.
Well, in the land of Orwell, they're bringing this skit to life:
This is from a story in The Daily Mail -- an excitable publication to be sure, but I'm guessing there's a very good chance this is legit.
Doth he protest too much? It's just that most people who stooge for Goldman Sachs get paid -- really well - for it. I'm just disappointed that I'm dong it fer nothin'.
Gordon Crovitz piles in on my side today, defending synthetic CDOs, short positions, and yes even GS. When the housing bubble was about to burst, who knew? Regulators? Condo flippers? Nope: short sellers and one Mister John Paulson.
Beginning in 2006, Mr. Paulson concluded that the end of the bubble was near. Goldman Sachs created special securities to facilitate trading, in this case synthetic collateralized debt obligationssynthetic because this instrument didn't include mortgage-backed securities but was designed to move in line with them. Mr. Paulson thus communicated his wisdom to the market through these securities, which, far from undermining markets are best understood as an efficient information medium for resetting prices.
Thus allocating capital to its best use. Somebody took the other side of the trade with imperfect but reasonable disclosure..
There was no secret about why these securities were created. "All our dealings were through arm's-length transactions with experienced counterparties who had opposing views based on all available information at the time," a spokesman for Mr. Paulson said last week. "We were straightforward in our dislike of these securities, but the vast majority of the people in the market thought we were dead wrong and openly and aggressively purchased the securities we were selling."
I'm going to excerpt Crovitz's ending for those who have yet to knuckle to Rupert's Iron Will:
Do we really want the next bubble to continue even longer before it bursts? Derivatives are more important as a way to trade on information about housing than about many other markets, because houses are not as liquid as, say, shares in companies.
Easy money, easy mortgages, and banks too big to fail were key causes of the credit crisis. It was also Wall Street's greatest information failure in many years. We need more trading, not less, and more signals in the market faster that prices need to be adjusted. The last thing we need is outlawing opportunities for people like Mr. Paulson to bring vital information to market.
I for one am pretty happy to know that the SEC regulators are watching porn all day on my tax dollar. It's when they work that they really screw things up.
Man, I have to take a shower twice a day now that I have taken up defending Goldman Sachs -- but if the ACLU can go to bat for Illinois Nazis (man, I hate Illinois Nazis!), I can keep up the truth telling.
Teri Buhl and John Carney post in the Atlantic that "Goldman's 'Victim' in SEC Case Was a Yield Chaser" (scare quotes in original).
This single-minded pursuit of yield provides an important context for the SEC's case against Goldman. In hindsight, it can appear that Goldman must have been committing some kind of fraud in order to sell subprime CDOs that performed so badly. But at the time, the buyers of these instruments were actively seeking exposure to subprime risk.
So, the "victim" was not some 65 year old woman from Dubuque who lost her retirement savings and now has to eat cat food. It was a German bank "so absorbed in the pursuit of high-yield returns from financial instruments linked to the U.S. housing market that it preferred to lose one of its top executives rather than change course."
The SEC should pick up the flag and let the boys play.
I think ThreeSourcers would enjoy 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs--The Election that Changed the Country by James Chace. It's an interesting mix of politics and philosophy, covering three Presidents and an important labor leader.
Chace does a good job. Of course, he is a historian so he doesn't appreciate anything that ThreeSourcers do. He's very dismissive of President Taft, who played golf instead of working 24 x 7 to remove our freedoms like Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson.
But I've inured to that. Think happy thoughts for me as I begin John Milton Cooper's new bio of Woodrow Wilson.
What Chace does superbly is to contrast Wilson's and TR's Progressivism, and -- as we've discussed -- contextualizing it and tying it to FDR's. I'll give it Four and a half stars for its readable and comprehensive look at a sizeable span of American history as many paths converge on this intriguing election. (Spoiler alert: Wilson wins!)
EE got a condescending letter from a GM PR flack, and in a new post revises and extends his remarks.
What GM has done is use the TARP money that was placed in escrow by the Treasury Department to repay the remaining interest bearing debt of $6.7 billion. Given that this money was not paid for with profits earned by the company it is effectively a debt-for-equity swap not a loan repayment. In other words, the Treasury approved the repayment of the loan with the escrow funds and the government therefore hopes to recover the remainder of their investment by selling common stock after GMs initial public offering that is intended to take place this year. As I stated in my previous post, I am skeptical that the government will be able to fully recoup its initial investment through this process.
But you have to click to read the flack's letter. As a GM owner, you should stay abreast of what they spend your money on.
We're very excited to be hosting our first ever AVA Recognized vaulting competition this weekend (unless we float away like an ark - 2 inches of rain and counting!) It is a regional event and we will have clubs from Colorado, New Mexico and I think Texas here to participate.
Everyone's welcome to come and see the fun. Admission is free. Wear your mud shoes! (Schedule wise I'm informed that johngalt will be vaulting with his daughter at 9:30 am and again at 11:00 am on SUNDAY.)
Click continue reading for more info with, I apologize, very little attention to formatting. I hope the links will work.
What is Equestrian Vaulting?
They do What? ! ? ! ...
on the Back of a Moving Horse!!!
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT EQUESTRIAN VAULTING
Watch our USA Team at the last World Equestrian Games
But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.
It's a worrisome assessment for Democrats.
In particular, concerns about Medicare could become a major political liability in the midterm elections. The report projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, "possibly jeopardizing access" to care for seniors.
Hat-tip: Megan McArdle who asks Who could possibly have predicted this shocking and totally unexpected turn of events?
Now that the world is belatedly waking up to the fact that President Obama lied his face off about the fiscal impacts of health care reform, maybe it's an appropriate time to point out that he's lying his face off about financial reform as well:
Mondo heh. Brother TG sends a link to a funny response to my friends collectivist Facebook paean:
This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock, powered by energy generated solely by Southern California Edison and manufactured by the Sony Corporation.
I then took a shower in my house constructed by Centex Homes, sold to me by a Century 21 real estate agent, and mortgaged by Citibank.
After that, I turned on my Panasonic television which I purchased with a Washington Mutual credit card to a local NBC Corporation affiliate to see what their team of hired meteorologists forecasted the weather to be using their weather radar system.
While watching this, I ate my breakfast of eggs and bacon, both produced by a local farm and sold to me by my local grocery store, and took my prescribed medication manufactured by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Astra-Zeneca, and Novartis.
When my Motorola-manufactured Cable Set Top Box showed the appropriate time, I got into my Toyota-manufactured Prius vehicle and set out to my graphic design workplace and stopped to purchase some gasoline refined by the Royal Dutch Shell company, using my debit card issued to me by Bank of the West. On the way to my workplace, I dropped off a package at the local UPS store for delivery, and dropped my children off at a local private school.
Then, after spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the company-mandated standards enforced at my workplace, I drive back to my house which had not burned down in my absence because of the high manufacturing quality of the products inside and of the company which built my house, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the alarm services provided by Brinks Home Security. I was able to rest easy knowing that even had this happened, I would have an Allstate insurance policy which would cover any damage to my home and anything that was stolen.
I then logged onto the internet, financed and ran in part by various different private corporations such as Google, Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, and posted on the Huffington Post and Daily Kos about how capitalism is the source of all evil in this country.
While President Obama notices whats happening [environment improving], apparently the folks over at government-run TV (PBS) didnt get the memo, offering up this week a two-hour American Experience Earth Day documentary on the inspiring story of the modern environmental movement. Not much inspiration here; to the contrary, the film is so drearily conventional that its about as inspiring as a bad tribute cover band trying to recreate Beatlemania in an Elko, Nevada ballroom. -- Steven F Hayward
The blogosphere continues to do the work that American establishment mass-media won't do - watch government closely and report what it finds to the public.
The IBD Ed page credits BigGovernment.com for finding that the baseline jobs number the O Admin used to sell the Stimulus Bill has been fudged to create an illusion of "2.8 million jobs created or saved."
Without stimulus, we were told, there would be 133.9 million jobs in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2010. That's the baseline. With stimulus, we would have almost 3.7 million more than that.
Today, there are 129.7 million jobs. The folks at BigGovernment.com looked at the data and found that to justify the administration's current claim of 2.8 million jobs saved or created, they had to lower the baseline by 7 million jobs to only 126.9 million.
This is a little like a football team making a first down, not by advancing the ball 10 yards, but by having the referees moving the first-down marker.
Indeed, a chart in the April 14, 2010, report on the stimulus shows that's what the administration has done. It has moved the yard markers by altering and lowering its original baseline projections.
The administration continues paying a shell game with its "saved or created" job claims. First, it went from "creating" jobs to "saving or creating" them. Then it listed jobs saved or created in nonexistent congressional districts and zip codes. Now it's altering its own baseline projections to show progress where there is decline.
Eventually the New York Times will notice, right? Right?
Hey Shameless Self Promotion + bleg today. I am thinking of moving from YouTube to Vimeo. I think this loses me iPhone compatibility. Anybody else have a weird configuration that cannot see this week's video?
In the first of what is sure to be many linked articles from Independent Women's Forum, Nicole Kurokawa cites a Heritage Foundation report explaining how easy it would be to balance the budget with spending cuts-
Instead of finding new ways to take money from American's pockets, government should focus on cutting spending. And there is plenty to cut. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl notes, "Simply bringing real federal spending back to the $21,000 per household average that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s would balance the budget by 2012 without raising a single tax on anyone.
"Never let a crisis go to waste," even if you have to create it yourself.
Nobody wants to be caught defending GS. But I will fight to my last beath defending shorts.
Remember, the long investors could have bought mortgages directly if they wanted to invest in housing. They wanted the more attractive premium stream from insuring mortgages for an investor who was betting they would fail. And only in hindsight has Mr. Paulson become the mastermind who made billions betting against what now is judged to have been a bubble. -- Holman W Jenkins, Jr.
From a great column, "The War on Shorts, Cont. Start with a villain. Find a crime."
Everybody is so worried about air travel in the wake of the awjejwajkjwkejkwa volcano in Iceland.
I remember when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines, we had the year of no summer, and our grapes did not ripen because there was not enough hot weather. It was the one year we got no grapes. And that was between the Philippines and Lafayette, Colorado.
I'm kind of a Southern Hemisphere Shiraz guy (yes, I have seen that South Park!) but it doesn't take much imagination to think that France and Italy could have a cropless year. That seems potentially more devastating than a few weeks of travel.
Damned, extra-marital affairs -- at least the French reaped what they won't sow.
Spirit Airlines claims that bookings have soared since it announced it would add a fee for stowing carry-on luggage in its overhead bins, TheStreet.com reports. That publication writes "Spirit's bookings for after August 1 -- when the policy takes effect -- have risen 50%, said Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza. He said tens of thousands of tickets have been sold as a result of the policy, which was announced April 6."
Baldanza claims sales have been boosted by fare cuts he says the airline instituted along with the new carry-on fees, which top out at $45 per passenger. Fliers who belong to Spirit's subscription "$9 Fare Club" can stow carry-ons for $20. Spirit says it chopped up to $40 off its lowest fares at the same time it announced the carry-on fee.
"Our customers get it," Baldanza tells The Street.com. "The media says they don't like it, but if you are me, you see that the number of people who buy tickets is expanding. I think the outrage is from people who already pay high fares on other carriers. But our customers see the power of a really low fare with the option to choose what else they want."
Huh? Choice? Freedom? Customers "get it?"
To be fair, I must report that FOX31 Good Day Colorado did report this this morning.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm still an Occam's Razor guy and I really don't think they are this smart, but...But we are poised to have a robust recovery, based on the natural resilience of the free world economy, plus an extra secret weapon.
The secret weapon is fear of 2011. The Bush tax cuts expire, more sharp hooks from ObamaCare® set in, more regulation. Better to get while the getting is good. There are serious and silly elements in the list, but they all add up on the same side.
1) Don Luskin offers the biggest and most serious. But sadly, it mostly affects government 2010 will be the last year to convert your standard IRA to a Roth IRA. I will certainly do this. Pay taxes at Bush rates, not whatever happens when the ObamaCare bills come due. This will mean a wash of revenue -- and a bump for brokers, I suppose.
2) Make what you can in Q1 and Q2, then spend Q3-4 assembling a defensive position.
3) We're getting into the silly, but 300 million times a small number can sometimes be a big number. Glenn Reynolds wags "BETTER BUY IT, THEN, BEFORE THEYRE OUTLAWED BY THE FDA: I Really, Really Want A Deep-Fat Fryer!"
4) On the same line, protection of our current lifestyle. I am headed to Home Depot this weekend for some plants (the lovely bride farms our deck) and I had it in mind to buy a case or two of incandescent light bulbs. A Facebook friend was compiling a list of what he was going to buy. Incandescent bulbs, two-stroke oil, salt. It was offered in fun, but when I posted that I was buying incandescents, the comments poured in and several were serious.
Larry Kudlow warns conservatives to "not fight the tape" the recovery is real. After Q3, though, all bets are off.
The voiceover is by US citizen (and spiritual mentor, most recently, to Major Hasan) Ayman al-Awlaki. He is explaining the rationale for killing identified individuals, including the creators of South Park.
Mr al-Awlaki says things like, "Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that."
Maybe hed get a worse press if he were to stop pussyfooting around and explicitly incite violence by saying something openly hateful like "I'm becoming very concerned about federal spending." -- Mark Steyn
I'm guessing y'all have seen this, but I feel compelled to post.
AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a years hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.
Blog Brother ac posts this to Facebook with that light-hearted comment. Me, I'm thinking of baking up a Banquet® Pot-pie and ending it all.
FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons
Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.
The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.
What, you mean that Constitution thingy again? I wish you guys would just shut up about that.
Citizens or Subjects? Today, it's looking like the latter.
Those who question global warming alarmists claims and policy prescriptions have been compared to holocaust deniers. Yet what are we to call environmentalists whose policies have resulted in the deaths of millions and could exacerbate poverty and hunger? The movie title Not Evil, Just Wrong may be too charitable.
Snap! Now that's what I call 'Hope and Change' in the news business. How did this happen? The story was written by Carrie Lukas, VP of Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum (because "All issues are women's issues.") Their mission:
The Independent Women's Forum is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution. Founded in 1992, IWF focuses on issues of concern to women, men, and families. Our mission is to rebuild civil society by advancing economic liberty, personal responsibility, and political freedom. IWF builds support for a greater respect for limited government, equality under the law, property rights, free markets, strong families, and a powerful and effective national defense and foreign policy. IWF is home to some of the nation's most influential scholarswomen who are committed to promoting and defending economic opportunity and political freedom.
OK, sounds good so far. They may have been founded in 1992 but it's hard to believe this has been their mission all along. I think JK'd have linked 'em by now! ;) Better late than never though.
UPDATE: Here's the link to the entire US N&WR entry and not just the excerpt on balanced-ed.org. It's an editorial. Oh well, the flicker of hope felt really good for those few minutes. Still check out iwf.org though.
Now I know what it must be like to see that your favorite niece is starring in a porn flick.
Charisma Carpenter has joined the Butterfinger Defense League. She's in a very classy, artistic commercial with Sir Mix-a-lot, describing the joy of big Butterfingers, and we are told she'll soon have her own video "Sassy Puppies." Joining the ranks of top flight A-list celebrities like Erik Estrada and Lou Ferrigno,
Awesome piece from Gerald P O'Driscoll, Jr. of Cato in todays WSJ. He suggests that a more common-law approach to financial reform might be better than a brand new shiny SarbOx.
The idea that multiplying rules and statutes can protect consumers and investors is surely one of the great intellectual failures of the 20th century. Any static rule will be circumvented or manipulated to evade its application. Better than multiplying rules, financial accounting should be governed by the traditional principle that one has an affirmative duty to present the true condition fairly and accuratelynot withstanding what any rule might otherwise allow. And financial institutions should have a duty of care to their customers. Lawyers tell me that would get us closer to the common law approach to fraud and bad dealing.
We need to delve into financial reform. It is an interesting internecine discussion. My pal, Larry Kudlow, is on board in a big way. He had Senator Dodd on and is convinced that this bill ends "too big to fail."
Less introspective pundits blast the $50Billion fund as a "bailout fund" but it is meant to provide debtor-in-possession funding to wind-down a firm and sell off its assets if it cannot survive.
And yet, the WSJ Ed page -- no populist organ -- has argued that the Dodd bill perpetuated TBTF. When in doubt, I always think less Christopher Dodd Legislation is better than more.
I hope the article is available (I looked a little on Cato.org for an ungated link) for a fascinating subtext. O'Driscoll points out that Crony Capitalism has broken the pricing model, leaving us (my words not his) little better than Communism in the affected industries:
Congressional committees overseeing industries succumb to the allure of campaign contributions, the solicitations of industry lobbyists, and the siren song of experts whose livelihood is beholden to the industry. The interests of industry and government become intertwined and it is regulation that binds those interests together. Business succeeds by getting along with politicians and regulators. And vice-versa through the revolving door.
We call that system not the free-market, but crony capitalism. It owes more to Benito Mussolini than to Adam Smith.
Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek described the price system as an information-transmission mechanism. The interplay of producers and consumers establishes prices that reflect relative valuations of goods and services. Subsidies distort prices and lead to misallocation of resources (judged by the preferences of consumers and the opportunity costs of producers). Prices no longer convey true values but distorted ones.
Hayek's mentor, Ludwig von Mises, predicted in the 1930s that communism would eventually fail because it did not rely on prices to allocate resources. He predicted that the wrong goods would be produced: too many of some, too few of others. He was proven correct.
In the U.S today, we are moving away from reliance on honest pricing. The federal government controls 90% of housing finance. Policies to encourage home ownership remain on the books, and more have been added. Fed policies of low interest rates result in capital being misallocated across time. Low interest rates particularly impact housing because a home is a pre-eminent long-lived asset whose value is enhanced by low interest rates.
On paper, Democrats have a case to support their convictions. Their bill gives regulators new authority to wind down non-bank financial institutions. Tougher new capital and leverage requirements, as well as limits on risky activities, are supposed to make failures much less likely. A $50 billion bank-financed pool would fund resolution costs though this whole idea may yet be dropped.
The trouble is, teetering banks and their creditors might still assume that while not too big to sue as Goldman can attest Uncle Sam would still think them too big and interconnected to fail. And thats the problem for many Republicans. The bill tends to favor discretion over hard and fast rules. While the feds would have the authority to shut down institutions, for instance, they wouldntbe required to do it.
You might recall that British schools have been ordered to run disclaimers when presenting An Inconvenient Truth in the classroom.
The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of 'brainwashing' children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.
Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and 'sentimental mush'.
He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.
Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore's Oscar-winning film does promote 'partisan political views'.
This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.
I think it was Obama with his usual condescension except he ratcheted it up to Code Orange into snootiness where he looks down his nose at the gun-and-god crowd, the lumpenproletariat, as he sees it. And he ridicules them because they're not grateful enough to him.
And look, it's quite obvious what hes talking about. He thinks that they are stupid because they don't recognize that he hasn't raised their taxes. -- Charles Krauthammer
All is lost. Put your Gadsden flag away; shred your clever tea party signs. It is over.
This was on teevee news this morning. I know I'm a little insulated by the rarified air of ThreeSources, but nobody thought that there was anything wrong:
NEW YORK - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday he's trying to get the federal government to prohibit airlines from charging a fee for carry-on baggage, calling it a "slap in the face to travelers."
The New York Democrat is making a personal plea to the Treasury Department to rule that carry-on bags are a necessity for travel, which would make them exempt from a separate fee outside the ticket price.
"Airline passengers have always had the right to bring a carry-on bag without having to worry about getting nickeled and dimed by an airline company," Schumer said. "This latest fee is a slap in the face to travelers"
Not a "dagger in the heart," Senator?
They showed a national news clip, had a local reporter introduce the story from DIA, and all chatted about it at the anchor desk after. Not a contrary word was issued. Thank You, Chuck Schumer for sticking up for us. The intro reporter encouraged us to imagine "young moms' having to pay these outrageous fees." The anchor closed with "they'll go as far as they can until somebody (Brave, Brave, Sir Schummmer!) stops them."
Of course, I am screaming at the TV. Some company, that owns or leases their own goddam planes, is trying a pricing strategy. I used to love Aer Lingus in Ireland. Tickets are about Nine Euros and you pay for pretzels and water. I don't know that Spirit is like that, but if they were it would be a great consumer benefit to have the choice. You don't like it? Fly another airline.
Also no thoughtful mention of the 30 minutes you spend on the ground where everyone who has brought everything they own in a three-axle, 3/4 ton rollaway finds spots in the overhead bins.
Nope, we can't have innovation (as mad as I am I bet it will fail). Senator Schumer and "five Democratic Senators" are going to dictate legal and illegal pricing structures.
That is a slap in the face. And nobody else cares.
My Blog Brother Johngalt has made several dismissive comments about Senator John McCain. And, to be fair, he has a lot of material to work with.
I think blaming him for his offspring's politics is a little too far (cf. Ronnie Reagan) but I would join in a happy thrashing for campaign finance nonsense, opposition to the Bush tax cuts and his general disposition to over-regulation.
But I dropped a fly for a substantive defense of Rep. JD Hayworth's primary challenge and nobody struck. Looking for party purity to principle, I think McCain is better on spending than Hayworth and I am backed by the only decent guy out of 535, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ, Earth, Sky, and Heaven Above).
For all his faults, I was reminded of something I always liked about Senator Crotchety. Yesterday on FOX News Sunday, he was asked about the secret memo that we didn't have a plan for Iran. He flashed his impish grin and said "I didn't need a secret memo to know the Administration had no plan for Iran."
Can't you just tell how absolutely freakin' filthy RICH I must be?? In defense of the NY Times though, I do have a college degree.
The Times also said, "The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45." So what exactly does "tend to be" mean? 50.1% I suppose.
I meet all those requirements, sure enough, and look at all those old white dudes behind me, but then the Times story goes on to quote four TEA Party celebrants. Their names are Elwin, Kathy, Dee and Jodine. If this had been a pro-Obama rally the Times would probably have said "women outnumbered men three to one."
The rally, estimated in the tens of thousands, also displayed a wacky, irreverent spirit that I found endearing. I can't help but smile when paunchy small-business owners aged 50 and older don three-cornered hats and hoist rattlesnake flags in exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. -- Robert McCartney, WaPo
McCartney "differ[s] strenuously with the protesters on about 95 percent of the issues" but gives a pretty fair assesment of the participants.
At last, I have the lowdown on these tea parties you have been hearing so much about. A work friend posts this on Facebook:
Teabaggers (OK, the Tea Party), explained: "What's happening here is that you have a few leaders tapping into a very, very old seated racial resentment. . . . It's about 'those other folks' getting something that would otherwise go to you. That's ancient, and it goes back to reconstruction times. That's not about... information." -- Laura Flanders on Real Time with Bill Maher
There were 44 comments. One guy seemed to have not completely bought in, but the rest were how right she was and thank you for telling us this and...
I broke my no-politics-on-Facebook pledge yet again and there are now 45 comments. Perhaps I need a quota. If I could only pipe up once a month, I could save it up for a good cause.
Again, the poster lives near me, has three kids and a mortgage. This is not some poli-sci major at CU. I assume her laudatory commenters are in a similar class and situation.
UPDATE: Okay, I got me first response. I don't know the sender but she chose to personally engage on an intellectual level:
Head in the sand , head in the sand looking like a fool with your heads in the sand.
I just read back through this entire string and am struck by the single generalization that was made: "disagreeing with the left ALWAYS leads to charges of racism".
You go white people - who else would know better about the end of racism or even what it looks like - I guess I was just being a crazy liberal to listen to people of color on the issue -
I am sure the "birthers" are just concerned Americans worried about the political direction of the country - my bad for doubting.
NO ONE said all Tea Party activists are racist and I would imagine that the geographic location of any rally would be a factor in the characteristics of the participants at said rally. Exchanges like this one are sure leading me to the conclusion that, beyond the overt and covert racial elements of the movement, there are a growing number of Tea Party supporters willing to condone racism by their unwillingness to acknowledge it even exists.
Have I thanked ThreeSourcers lately? Even when there is bloodletting like Perry and TG, it is on topic and thoughtful. Thanks.
Yaron Brook, Tony Blankley, and Terry Jones (Investors.com, not Monty Python) discuss tea partiers, limited government, political pragmatism, and a "once in a lifetime chance."
I don't think "Underdog" is on (dating myself...), check out this on PJTV (17 mins).
Blankley frightens with his reminder to forget the New Deal and Great Society, just the liberty we've lost since 1975 when you could buy a toilet that had as much water in the tank as you wanted.
The whole idea behind income taxes and runaway government spending is a reversal of the original meaning of America. It is a switch from a system of individual rights, a nation of independent individuals, private enterprise, and private property-to a system of subservience to the state.
I didn't think I'd see anything worse than that article-but wouldn't you know it. On Monday, there was a new article in the Boston Globe by somebody named James Carroll, who argues for "the true patriotism of paying taxes." He says that we should show gratitude for paying taxes, because it is our chance to show our dedication to-and this is a real quote-"the sacred treasure we share as a people." That "sacred treasure" is the state. And, he says, "Taxes are its sacrament."
The state as "sacred"? Taxes as a "sacrament"? I've heard it said that the left wants to put the state in the place of God, but I've never heard someone on the left admit it so clearly. Religious folks would view this as sacrilege. I'm secular in my outlook, but I agree-it's a sacrilege against America.
Harking back to the Founders' principles of constitutional limits to government is a very powerful message. It's a message of freedom, especially economic freedom. The tea partiers have delivered an extremely accurate diagnostic of what ails America right now: Government is growing too fast, too much, too expensively and in too many places -- and in the process it is crowding out our cherished economic freedom.
It's as though the tea partiers are saying this great country will never fulfill its long-run potential to prosper, create jobs and lead the world unless constitutional limits to government are restored.
Here's a political platform I can completely support. Comprised from the online votes of over 450,000 Americans are the top ten priorities of those who want to take their country back from the welfare statists. They call it the Contract from America.
1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)
2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nations global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 wordsthe length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitutions meaning. (63.37%)
6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isnt restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)
8. Pass an All-of-the-Above Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)
9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)
10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)
A new book published this month explains how four wealthy progressives transformed Colorado politics from red to blue in a single election cycle. The Blueprint by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager describes the targeted use of massive amounts of cash in close races to essentially buy Colorado politics for the Democrats. If they're smart, Republicans will adopt much of this winning strategy.
I haven't read the book but one or both authors appeared on two different Denver radio shows today. In the morning Rob Witwer was on the Rosen show and both authors were interviewed by KHOW's Craig Silverman in the afternoon. A critical concession mentioned in both venues was agreement by the monied donors from the very beginning that they would not bicker with each other over policy differences. Instead, they all agreed that their solitary goal was election of Democrat candidates.
I'm not sure it's that simple for Republicans. After all, we have McCain and his merry band of big-government do-gooders to be wary of. But I do think the advice is useful when it comes to the fiscal/social conservative divide.
Yesterday Rush Limbaugh cited opinion poll results that have shown consistently, since the question was initiated in 2002, Americans consider themselves "conservative" by a 2-to-1 margin over those who call themselves "liberal." So why are GOP and Democrat registrations nearly equal in the 30 percent range? I guess it's because Republicans aren't "chic."
David Harsanyi gives a more pointed explanation in his observations on yesterday's Tax Day TEA Party at the Denver capitol:
And though tea party supporters are more conservative than the average voter on social issues, as well -- particularly abortion, according to a separate Gallup Poll -- The New York Times reports that 8 in 10 tea party activists believe the movement should focus on economic issues rather than cultural ones.
How long have we been hearing from moderate, sensible, worldly Republican types that if only -- if only -- the right found God on economic issues and lost God on the social ones, there would be an expansion of appeal and support? Apparently, they were right.
The rest of the column gives some good polling info on TEA Party opinions. For example, would you believe that most TEA Party activists believe the taxes they now pay are "fair?"
This is worth parsing because it gets to the heart of what's wrong with Obamanomics. The Summers argument is that increasing unemployment insurance increases aggregate demand and thus reduces unemployment. This is because he and the neo-Keynesians believe that the impact on macroeconomic demand of this jobless spending outweighs the microeconomic harm on individual incentives.
In other words, if government pays people for not working, then more people will work. Subsidize unemployment and you will somehow get less of it. But if this were true, we could lower unemployment even more if we increased jobless benefits to $100,000 a year per person to cause an even greater surge in demand. -- WSJ Ed Page comparing Larry Summers's academic analysis of jobless benefits to his new-found political view.
I was emailing with a friend of ThreeSources about Amazon MP3s. I cede that they lack the selection of iTunes, but purchases are unprotected and in mp3 format, so they will play on any device. Plus they are integrated well enough into iTunes that it is as convenient as Jobs's shop.
They have a "100 albums for $5" every week. I bought the new Jeff Beck last week, and Miles form India today, "a world music fusion record based on compositions by Miles Davis."
Yesterday's Facebook quote, but they're all timeless, right?
City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem--not a political one--and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death. -- Ayn Rand
The Commons Problem and pollution are so often cited as an insuperable need for government and regulation. I feel my friends' twitchy fingers ready to type that corporations would not bother with a technological solution unless government forced them to not dump sewage into the river.
Perhaps it's a fair cop. I'd just remind them that prosperity and affluence provide clean air and water. The Soviet Union had no shortage of government -- yet was not anyone's idea of an ecological paradise.
David Leonhardt at the New York Times has looked at the situation carefully. The right wing blogs (huh?) and talk radio are all abuzz that 47% don't pay any Federal Income Tax. Well, that's true but not really important. The important thing is the clear need to raise taxes on the rich.
The answer is that tax rates almost certainly have to rise more on the affluent than on other groups. Over the last 30 years, rates have fallen more for the wealthy, and especially the very wealthy, than for any other group. At the same time, their incomes have soared, and the incomes of most workers have grown only moderately faster than inflation.
So a much greater share of income is now concentrated at the top of distribution, while each dollar there is taxed less than it once was. It's true that raising taxes on the rich alone can't come close to solving the long-term budget problem. The deficit is simply too big. But if taxes are not increased for the wealthy, the country will be left with two options.
It will have to raise taxes even more than it otherwise would on everybody else. Or it will have to find deep cuts in Medicare, Social Security, military spending and the other large (generally popular) federal programs.
We clearly cannot cut spending on a program that is popular. And we clearly cannot make 47% of the country actually pay taxes. Damn, we're out of options.
Professor Mankiw suggests that Leonhardt is dismissive of the effects of tax rates as incentives or disincentives to the wealthy.
Over the past half century, the top marginal tax rate has fallen from 91 percent in the 1950s and early 1960s to 35 percent today. Thus, the amount a person gets to keep at the margin has risen from 9 percent to 65 percent, that is, by a factor of 7.2. If the elasticity of taxable income with respect to 1-t is one, as some studies find for high-income taxpayers, then the incomes of the rich would have risen by a factor of 7.2 as well. If the elasticity is one-half, then their incomes would have risen by a factor of 2.7. In either case, the change in pretax income attributable to the tax cuts is substantial.
By comparison, the incomes of the superrich (top 0.01 percent), as a share of total income, increased by a factor of about 5 over this period. So, it seems that for plausible elasticities, a significant portion of that increase can potentially be explained by the cuts in the top marginal tax rate.
With tea party sentiment in full swing, I'm thinking that the first principles argument is actually stronger than the Laffer curve argument. You can credibly call that bass-ackwards. With our debt scenario, tax reduction would be a powerful aid to growth and the resulting prosperity would be the best chance to fund the debt.
I just believe that ideals of liberty, real fairness, and anti-confiscatory sentiment are ascendant right now. The better answer to Leonhardt is "No, we don't want to be slaves to the state" rather than "the elasticity might be as high as 1:1."
JK just highlighted the press "discovery" of the impending doctor shortage and treatment delays and degradation under Obamacare. But Obamacare's big selling points were affordability and accessibility. We'll get improvements in those areas by mandating that everyone have coverage, right? Wrong.
In June 2002, Washington Policy Center published a study showing how state-imposed mandates add to the cost of health insurance. Since then state lawmakers have added new mandates, and the cost of insurance has continued to rise.
Yes I realize that the verb 'mandate' acts on different objects in the comparative cases, but the idea is that when government interferes in the marketplace only bad things happen.
Taken together, however, mandates impose significant cost on the health insurance market. State-imposed mandates carry the force of law, and they interfere directly in the voluntary relationship between buyer and seller. Mandates mean people are forced to pay for coverage they may not otherwise choose. This leads to a crowding out effect coverage customers prefer is not available because insurers must offer the mandated benefits instead.
In Washington state, where this report was produced, the state mandates some 57 different conditions, providers, and beneficiaries be included in every health insurance policy. Included among these is "port wine stain removal." Imagine that not being covered. Oh, the humanity!
I don't think they're even factoring in Doctor Galts (Henderson, was it?) But "experts" on the WSJ News pages are discovering what real experts on the WSJ Editorial Page were screaming for months: we won't have enough doctors without ObamaCare®, ObamaCare® makes it worse, and ObamaCare® does nothing positive to alleviate the shortage.
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.
Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
This is so weird. Government controls the price. And then there's a shortage. Somebody should do a study and see if there is some correlation...
The profound crisis of our era is, in essence, the conflict between the Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias, and the disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order. We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results, binding though these are for other purposes, but by other means, including a study of human experience. On this point we are, without reservations, on the conservative side. -- Professor Bainbridge
This is from a great column arguing against Bruce Bartlett's suggestion that we don't sweat government's infringing on liberties because of prosperity. I am guilty of badly paraphrasing Bartlett, but Reason Magazine does much of the same. Sure, taxes and spending have dectupled, but gays are accepted and the Internet is cool.
Maybe liberty in the private sphere is a good reason to not jump off a government bridge, but it is not a good reason to not fight further intrusions. (Four negatives and two split-infinitives in one sentence, but I'm not revising nothing.)
President Obama shows off liberty at his big nuke shindig. Dana Milbank at WaPo:
They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.
In the middle of it all was Obama -- occupant of an office once informally known as "leader of the free world" -- putting on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.
The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama's eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: "I'm going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session."
Reporters for foreign outlets, many operating in repressive countries, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they're cracked up to be.
Heard a radio report today that Jane Norton now intends to petition onto the primary ballot instead of counting on 30% minimum support at the state GOP convention next month. ColoradoPols covers it here. She joins Tom Wiens as one of the candidates who doesn't energize the grassroots activists enough to waste a few weekend mornings supporting her (or him.) Apparently John McCain's PAC money can buy petition signatures more reliably than it can buy energetic supporters.
Related: Heard Dick Morris tell KOA Denver's Mike Rosen yesterday that "Jane Norton has to beat Bennet or Romanoff in November. It's imperative. Hopefully not very many Republicans will flake off and support a weaker candidate." Come on Dick. You'll just have to start helping Buck raise campaign cash after he's OUR nominee.
If you like your plan, you can keep it: Whoops - Congress Eliminates Own Health Care Plan via Obamacare http://bit.ly/c2W08d #tcot #hcr -- @bdomenech (Ben Domenech)
UPDATE: Same topic, diff'rent pundit:
Good luck with that, guys. Are congressmen really going to pass legislation to rectify the harm ObamaCare did to them, while continuing to subject everyone else to this awful, hated law? Leaving the law in place isn't a politically attractive option either, for the reason National Review's Yuval Levin points out: "If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging." The CRS's findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone. -- James Taranto
Durdley was an emergency paramedic for the local county who was at work using a shared computer. When he was done using the shared computer, he forgot to take away the thumb drive had attached to one of the computers USB ports. Later on, a captain of the paramedic team named Johnson, was using the computer and saw the thumb drive attached. Johnson decided to see what was on the thumb drive, so he double-clicked on the my computer icon, double-clicked on the thumb drive icon to see the list of files, and then double-clicked on some files to see what they contained. Johnson found child pornography files on the thumb drive, leading to charges against Durdley.
Now I'm no lawyer, but doesn't this contravene the "Don't-be-a-stupid-moron Clause?" I enjoy the academic nature of Kerr's argument and, again, I appreciate the defense of privacy qua privacy. But I clearly lack the sympathy for the stupid required to pursue this field.
Good thing this new sales tax on software doesn't have any onerous compliance costs:
Q: We have a customer that has a large presence in Boulder. We sold to a group in New Jersey, to be used in Poland, and paid for out of Chicago. But the Boulder facility may (they aren't sure) use the system with our software, but probably running on servers in New Jersey.
Colorado: If the software is sold for multiple points of use, the purchaser is liable to remit the tax, not the vendor. The purchaser should give the vendor a multiple points of use exemption certificate. Tax should be apportioned on the purchase price on the basis of the location of the users that are licensed to use the product at the time of purchase. If those locations are not know, the purchaser should use its best business judgment to identify the number of expected users in Colorado based on the facts as they exist at the time of the sale.
Boulder: A delivery or download address must be established to determine where taxation should occur. If it is not clear, Boulder would tax the use of the software here unless proof could be provided that a legally imposed tax was charged and paid somewhere else.
Both from Cato. I really do need my TV show. "Tonight, on 'Internecine:' two Cato powerhouses smackdown on the legacy of Justice John Paul Stevens!" [theme music swells in background, cut to scene in three...two...one...]
Ilya Somin takes the side I imagine most ThreeSourcers felt (and we'll all remember to our deaths exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news that Justice Stevens was retiring...)
Justice Stevens "grew" from his country-club Republican roots to becoming the Courts liberal lion. While a friend of liberty in certain limited circumstances, he ultimately hangs his hat on supporting government action over the rights of individuals in contexts ranging from property rights (Kelo v. New London) to the Second Amendment (D.C. v. Heller) to free speech (Citizens United and Texas v. Johnson, the flag-burning case) to executive agency power (Chevron). And even on those issues where friends of liberty can disagree in good faith as a matter of policy, such as abortion and the death penalty, Stevens admittedly and unabashedly asserted his own policy preferences instead of following the law.
Timothy J. Lee -- and I read his first -- surprised me with libertarian props for the Ford pick:
Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion in some of the most important high-tech cases of the last four decades. In other cases, he wrote important (and in some cases prescient) dissents. Through it all, he was a consistent voice for freedom of expression and the freedom to innovate. His accomplishments include:
So if you enjoy your iPod and your uncensored Internet access, you have Justice Stevens to thank. Best wishes for a long, comfortable, and well-deserved retirement.
"Thanks for tuning in -- next week, Marty Peretz and Mayor Ed Koch square off: Is Obama Insane? Or does he just hate Jews?"
BTW: Kindle® fans, CATO@liberty is one of the best Kindle blog subscriptions. It's very inexpensive and provides a lot of good content without following links.
Well worth a watch in full, but one statistic in there blew me away. The time spent on tax compliance is equivalent to four million full time workers. How rich would we be with the houses, cars, computers, video games and guitar amplifiers that four million full time workers could produce?
Art is great. Art is powerful. The ideas and emotions it can express in a single image are difficult to ignore. Unfortunately a majority of "artsy" types seem to be of the collectivist bent. Obama used art to perfection in his 2008 election campaign to propogate, as Jon Voight said, "the greatest lie." Since the election heard 'round the world I've been on the lookout for an artist on OUR side. Today, I found him: Bosch Fawstin - artist and author, creator of 'Pigman' the anti-Islamist super-hero and much, much more. For example: AMERICANS: GET UP & FIGHT
"Capitalism is the only truth that keeps the nation healthy and fed."
I happened upon this on FNC's Huckabee show yesterday and have to share it, now and for posterity.
Actor Jon Voight, one year the junior of my 'mad-as-hell over the state of American governance father' uses his interview on the show as a platform for a ranting expose against the sitting President of the United States, except that he isn't ranting - he's sober as a judge and serious as a heart attack.
UPDATE: [12APR 12:38 MDT] I checked google news to see if any other media outlets were talking about the Voight letter. You can see all four related stories here. But you can't see the original story that I HT'ed anymore. Apparently AssociatedContent.com has blackballed it. And earlier today the original author, Marc Schenker, posted another story revealing the censorship. Of course that posting gets "The content you're looking for has been removed" treatment as well. But google saw it before it was yanked.
Is this a genuine case of internet censorship? Anyone know how to access the google cache pages?
AssociatedContent.com "is an open content network. AC's platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers."
Apparently some content is less equal than others.
Mega hat tip: The patriot who youtubed the Huckabee appearance - "DouggieJ." It may only be a matter of hours before youtube blows him away too.
Note: As of this UPDATE, the video has 18,458 views (compared to 196,251 who viewed 'Obama can't name any ChiSox players?')
This post should be a Review Corner. I would give five stars to President Taft for "Our Chief Magistrate and his Powers." It is a series of six lectures given at Princeton, concatenated to create a book. President Cleveland has a similar -- and also good -- one in the genre, but Taft's is Magisterial.
It is free on Google Books. I read them on my SONY eReader®, but you can download the SONY "Reader Library" software for use on a computer. I bet the good folks at Google make the text available as well. I think every ThreeSourcer would dig it. It is somehow very accessible and readable without being watered down. Our most good humored president takes an insightful look at the office after holding it, yet with the dispassion of a future Chief Justice.
He does stoop to take one political shot. And it is a response to the exact quote I shared with you a few weeks ago, He first responds to the jab I highlighted:
I may add that Mr. Roosevelt, by way of illustrating his meaning as to the differing usefulness of Presidents, divides the Presidents into two classes, and designates them as "Lincoln Presidents" and "Buchanan Presidents." In order more fully to illustrate his division of Presidents on their merits, he places himself in the Lincoln class of Presidents, and me in the Buchanan class. The identification of Mr. Roosevelt with Mr. Lincoln might otherwise have escaped notice, because there are many differences between the two, presumably superficial, which would give the impartial student of history a different impression.
It suggests a story which a friend of mine told of his little daughter Mary. As he came walking home after a business day, she ran out from the house to greet him, all aglow with the importance of what she wished to tell him. She said, "Papa, I am the best scholar in the class." The father's heart throbbed with pleasure as he inquired, "Why, Mary, you surprise me. When did the teacher tell you ? This afternoon?" "Oh, no," Mary's reply was, "the teacher didn't tell me I just noticed it myself."
The last chapter is "The Limits of Executive Power" and Taft then takes on TR's assertion that the executive branch should do anything to improve the public weal not explicitly proscribed by the Constitution:
The mainspring of such a view is that the Executive is charged with responsibility for the welfare of all the people in a general way, that he is to play the part of a Universal Providence and set all things right, and that anything that in his judgment will help the people he ought to do, unless he is expressly forbidden not to do it.
He moves on to President Roosevelt's plans to break the Pennsylvania coal strike and nationalize the mines. He provides approbation to TR for his actual handling of the crisis, but opprobrium for the backup plan included in his Autobiography.
Now it is perfectly evident that Mr. Roosevelt thinks he was charged with the duty, not only to suppress disorder in Pennsylvania, but to furnish coal to avoid the coal famine in New York and New England, and therefore he proposed to use the army of the United States to mine the coal which should prevent or relieve the famine. It was his avowed intention to take the coal mines out of the hands of their lawful owners and to mine the coal which belonged to them and sell it in the eastern market, against their objection, without any court proceeding of any kind and without any legal obligation on their part to work the mines at all. It was an advocacy of the higher law and his obligation to execute it which is a little startling in a constitutional republic. It is perfectly evident from his statement that it was not the maintenance of law and order in Pennsylvania and the suppression of insurrection, the only ground upon which he could intervene at all, that actuated him in what he proposed to do.
Read at least the last chapter of this short book.
Tomorrow is the date of the Weld County (Colorado) GOP County Assembly. One of my favorite parts of the caucus process is the vote taken on individual policy planks that have been submitted for consideration by precinct caucus attendees. In this way the ideas and priorities of individual citizens can rise to prominence if they are shared by - ahem - a majority of those voting. I think this is a good and healthy part of self-governance and I am always interested to see where my neighbors take a stand and where they don't.
Click continue reading to see the list of all 29 Resolutions for Consideration, listed in order of the number of precincts that submitted them. Resolution number 1 should be no surprise:
1. The Weld County Republican Party affirms the sanctity of human life and supports the God-given, constitutional right to life of all human beings from conception to natural death and therefore opposes public funding of abortion providers and fetal or embryonic stem cell research. Further, the Party supports the passage of an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to apply the term "person" to every human being from the beginning of their biological development. (53/63.9%)
I assume you all know how I'll be voting on this one.
I'll try to update after Assembly with the results of the ballot.
UPDATE: Dad and I both voted NO on the abortion, immigration, gay marriage, term limits and uranium mining resolutions [numbers 1, 4, 7, 22 and 25.] All 29 resolutions passed anyway. (I tried to vote YES twice on the global warming resolution  but couldn't hack the electronic voting machine with the tools I had with me at the time.) I'd still like to know how many other NO votes there were, of the 300-odd delegates, so I'm going to try calling the County Clerk's office next week. I asked one of the clerks in attendance if results would be posted on the 'net and she didn't know.
*The figures at the end of each resolution represent the number of precincts that submitted the resolution over the percentage of the 83 precincts (or 73.5% of all 113 precincts in Weld County) that submitted resolutions.
NOTE: Resolutions are listed in the order of most often submitted to least often submitted and are in the order that they will appear on the voting machines for your vote at assembly.
2. The Weld County Republican Party resolves to support only Republican candidates and elected officials who oppose all forms of gun control and uphold the right of all law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (37/44.6%)
3. The Weld County Republican Party supports affordable health care but not through national socialized health care legislation and encourages the Colorado Attorney General to use every legal means to resist its mandate. (24/28.9%)
4. The Weld County Republican Party supports fully securing and controlling all U.S. borders to stop illegal immigration and terrorist infiltration. Further, the Party opposes all non-emergency government benefits, amnesty and sanctuary programs for illegal immigrants; supports heavy penalties for employers of illegal immigrants; and supports amending the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to read: "all persons born of U.S. or naturalized citizens in the United States..." (Italicized and underlined words to be added to the existing wording.) (24/28.9%)
5. The Weld County Republican Party supports the rule of law as well as judges who respect and uphold the Constitution and interpret laws as written, rather than overriding the will of the people who make them by legislating from the bench. Therefore, the Party recommends that Colorado Supreme Court Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey not be retained in office. (18/21.7%)
6. The Weld County Republican Party supports limited national government that is fiscally responsible while providing for strong national defense. The Party also supports the free enterprise system, equal protection under the law and individual and private property rights where U.S. citizens have the freedom of expression and exercise individual responsibility with liberty and justice for all. (17/20.5%)
7. The Weld County Republican Party supports Traditional Marriage Amendments to both the Colorado and U.S. Constitutions that legally establish marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (17/20.5%)
8. The Weld County Republican Party supports only English as the national language of the U.S. (15/18.1%)
9. The Weld County Republican Party supports less regulation of the oil and gas industry to encourage reasonable domestic oil and gas production and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign oil. (15/18.1%)
10. The Weld County Republican Party supports private property rights, including legislation prohibiting the use of eminent domain for the benefit of private business or for government revenue enhancement. (15/18.1%)
11. The Weld County Republican Party supports educational excellence through parent involvement, school choice, charter schools, school vouchers, home schooling, and public school and teacher accountability. (14/16.9%)
12. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all non-federal government officials within the State of Colorado assert Colorado's sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution. (14/16.9%)
13. The Weld County Republican Party supports the elimination of income taxes en lieu of a fair tax in the form of either a flat tax or a consumption tax. (13/15.7%)
14. The Weld County Republican Party opposes the implementation of Sharia Islamic law in any form or to any degree anywhere in the U.S. (13/15.7%)
15. The Weld County Republican Party supports strong national defense as well as the War on Terrorism, including current U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, the Party supports, honors and prays for the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families and is committed to providing them with the resources they need to complete their mission. (12/14.5%)
16. The Weld County Republican Party supports primary elections to select Presidential candidates. (12/14.5%)
17. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring Congress to operate the federal government under a balanced budget annually. (12/14.5%)
18. The Weld County Republican Party supports conserving Colorado water through the development of additional water storage projects to supply the needs of Colorado municipalities, industry and agriculture. (11/13.3%)
19. The Weld County Republican Party supports religious freedom in the U.S. as intended by America's founding fathers, including the public expression of religion guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (11/13.3%)
20. The Weld County Republican Party does not support globalism or the concept of a North American Union because they violate the principles of self-governance inherent to the U.S. Constitution. The American republic form of government and its system of checks and balances that operates under the rule of law has no provision for regulation from non-elected, unaccountable, international institutions. (10/12.1%)
21. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Congress make no law that applies to U.S. citizens that does not apply equally to Congress and conversely, that Congress make no law that applies to Congress that does not apply equally to U.S. citizens. (8/9.6%)
22. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment the U.S. Constitution limiting Congressional terms. (8/9.6%)
23. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the immediate, comprehensive and objective Congressional audit of the Federal Reserve banking system in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practices which will be made public upon completion and conducted annually thereafter. (6/7.2%)
24. The Weld County Republican Party supports tort law reform that reduces frivolous and exorbitant lawsuits, especially against medical professionals. (4/4.8%)
25. The Weld County Republican Party does not support uranium mining in WeldCounty. (4/4.8%)
26. The Weld County Republican Party supports limiting all legislation to a single subject that is of reasonable length and understanding, and the prohibition of earmarking. (4/4.8%)
27. The Weld County Republican Party does not recognize global warming and does not support emissions trading also known as Cap and Trade. (4/4.8%)
28. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all government officials should conduct their duties in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and that all documents pertaining to the regulation of U.S. citizens clearly site the Constitutional provisions authorizing such regulation. (4/4.8%)
29. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Congress be limited to receiving the same Social Security retirement and Medicare health benefits as all other U.S. citizens. (4/4.8%)
As Breitbart spoke, [AFL-CIO chief Richard] Trumka said he himself had seen the events in question. "I watched them spit at people, I watched them call John Lewis the n-word," Trumka said. "I witnessed it, I witnessed it. I saw it in person. That's real evidence."
In the 25th comment under JK's "That's Not Me" post lamenting the "God and Values and Country" flavor of the organized TEA Party Express bus tour JK expressed that "giving" a right to individuals which, in turn, takes away the rights of other individuals to "define my own law" is an unusual bargain. Maybe I'm being too cavalier but I believe that's what America has always been about. In the 26th comment I made a layman's case for a supportive Constitutional interpretation:
I contend that our difference of opinion arises from two different interpretations of the Ninth Amendment:"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
I submit that these unenumerated rights are those of individual people. I read you as insisting that what is not explicitly prohibited by the Constitution any majority of people may impose upon all individual people. I say the latter interpretation de facto turns the ninth amendment on its head.
It's an interesting topic worthy of its own post. And the original thread rolled off the page today. Something tells me that commenters aren't yet finished.
UPDATE: An extension of the excerpt from my own comment (in response to jk's first comment below).
The ninth amendment is to protect the rights of individuals, of minorities, from all levels of government, not of states from the Feds. By my reading the tenth amendment does not give the states power to abrogate the right of individual people "to be secure in their persons..."
This is the nature of my "parasite" argument. That clinical term does not imply benefit or harm, but the state of being conjoined as one person in the eyes of the Constitution. No, you won't find this in the text. But you will find numerous prohibitions that threaten Obamacare or "the right to receive uncompensated medical care from my neighbor."
Our abortion discussion is set to roll off the page today. Don't worry: jg, dagny, lisam and I got it pretty much resolved. We also seem to have reached kumbayanistan on immigration (though I suspect the enforcement lovers didn't spend too much time on the Reason "legal immigration" flowchart).
So, there's only one issue which divides us. I supported the first TARP. To reiterate, I think Secretary Paulson looked into the abyss and took dramatic action to avert a potential market Armageddon. We can debate moral hazard, precedent, counter-party versus liquidity risk, actual versus perceived seriousness, and the efficacy of action. All are fair game. And I have admitted that all make me a little queasy as I defend my original support.
Yet, I will not accept the blurring between TARP I, the stimulus, and the auto bailouts. Those have all been lumped together which I find convenient for the Obama Administration to share culpability with the Bush Administration.
TARP I was diverted before execution to provide liquidity beyond the purchase of "troubled assets," the T&A in TARP (not to be confused with the T&A on RNC expense accounts). Even with this, the original relief recipients have done well, paid back the government and, as suggested, the Treasury made profit on some of its investments.
The part that ain't worked, won't work, never will work is the expansion of TARP to include GM and Chrysler. Megan McArdle has some sobering figures on the pension obligations that we now own, But I want to highlight this gem of an admission:
Make no mistake, these companies are still on life support. The CBO expects that the lion's share of the government's losses on TARP will come, not from anything the Bush administration did, but from the Obama administration's decision to bail out the automakers and to a lesser extent, its bailout of homeowners. It seems that a big chunk of our cost may come from picking up the gold plated pensions . . . "Cadillac Plans", if you will . . . of the automakers. And lest you think I'm picking on unions over management, it was management that used the UAW as a prop to extract these gargantuan sums from the pockets of innocent taxpayers.
History is being rewritten for the 2010 and 2012 elections. For those who love intervention, the stimulus saved the economy; for those who hate bailouts, Bush did it.
If you imagine a continuation of Paulson's TARP I without the stimulus or UAW bailouts, you don't get a picture of libertarian utopia, but you get a much better balance sheet. A delimiter is required between President Bush's actions and President Obama's. Luckily, I am here to keep up the fight.
Shikha Dalmia says that neither the time nor the President is right for immigration reform (hmm, something we might all agree on). Dalmia links to one of my favorite charts and -- among many good points -- makes yet another immigration statement that we might all agree with (I said "might):
The fundamental problem with America's immigration system is that it forces Americans to justify to their government why they want to bring someone into the country, instead of requiring the government to justify to them why they can't. Uncle Sam is less gatekeeper, more social engineer. Instead of focusing on keeping out those who pose a genuine security or public health risk-- the only immigration policy consistent with ideals of limited government -- it is driven, among other things, by a need to manage labor market flows and the national demographic makeup.
An excellent article. I only wish Forbes would replace Ms. Dalmia's picture with the small poorly-lit mug shot we expect. Hers is somehow distracting.
If the last great hope is to have a last great hope, we'll need -- not just another 1994 -- but a 1946. Michael Barone explains:
In the off-year election of 1946, Republicans gained 13 seats in the Senate and emerged with a 5145 majority there, the largest majority that they enjoyed between 1930 and 1980. They gained 55 seats in the House, giving them a 246188 majority in that body, the largest majority they have held since 1930.
Of course, the political climate was completely different:
Polls from 1937 to 1940 saw majorities opposing Roosevelts never-enacted Third New Deal and supporting cuts in government spending, favoring curbs in the power of labor unions, and opposing welfare programs.
Democrats in 19451946 were closely allied with labor unions, which were deeply involved in politics and were avidly seeking more members and more bargaining power.
Would an historic GOP landslide be worth anything to liberty lovers? I'd have to say in context, yes. They might booger everything up, but it would be a powerful signal against government expansion.
Some comment chatter about Mister McNabb's trade seems a good segue to plug Galley Slaves.
I don't know how many of you read this blog regularly, but it is a constant gem. The slaves are pro political writers so they rarely get too deep in politics (free milk, cow something or other...). But they are always entertaining on culture, tech, gaming, media -- and Philadelphia sports.
Having a chronic disease, it's easy to get down now and then. I try not to let it last too long, and one of my favorite pick-me-ups is to insist that I have to live long enough to see what the next b******t apocalypse enviro-scare is.
I won't suggest that Bret Stephens of the WSJ Ed Page is hastening my demise with some Simeon-scenario, but I did get a kick out of today's contest to come up with the next one.
Herewith, then, I propose a readers' contest to invent the next panic. It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it. The winner gets a beer and a burger, on me, at the 47th street Pig N' Whistle in New York City. (Nachos for vegetarians.) Happy panicking!
Stephens -- like brother jg -- is pretty sure DAWG is DEAD. I like this kinda talk:
The difference between the two stories has little to do with science: There were plenty of reasons back in October to suspect that the Arctic ice panicbased on data that only goes back to 1979was as implausible as the now debunked claim about disappearing Himalayan glaciers. But thanks to Climategate and the Copenhagen fiasco, the media are now picking up the kinds of stories they previously thought it easier and wiser to ignore.
This is happening internationally. In France, a book titled "L'imposture climatique" is a runaway bestseller: Its author, Claude Allčgre, is one of the country's most acclaimed scientists and a former minister of education in a Socialist government. In Britain, environmentalist patron saint James Lovelock now tells the BBC he suspects climate scientists have "[fudged] the data" and that if the planet is going to be saved, "it will save itself, as it always has done." In Germany, the leftish Der Spiegel devotes 15 pages to a deliciously detailed account of "scientists who want to be politicians," the "curious inconsistencies" in the temperature record, the "sloppy work" of the U.N.'s climate-change panel and sundry other sins of modern climatology.
As for the United States, Gallup reports that global warming now ranks sixth on the list of Americans' top 10 environmental concerns. My wager is that within a few years "climate change" will exercise global nerves about as much as overpopulation, toxic tampons, nuclear winters, ozone holes, killer bees, low sperm counts, genetically modified foods and mad cows do today.
And yet, Cap'n Trade is still on the agenda, none of the warmies are going anywhere, nor is any of the stupid legislation (while you're at the WSJ site, read the editorial on California's AB32 nonsense).
Irst-fay, congratulations to Silence Dogood's alma mater.
Econd-say, what is the deal with the NCAA? Our illustrious 535 sports fans-in-chief will call investigations for steroids or the BCS, but the NCAA cartel is sacrosanct, Ilya Somin:
Most sports fans are currently watching the NCAA basketball championship game. Since my own basketball interests are usually confined to the NBA, I am instead going to take this opportunity to denounce the NCAAs cartel-like effort to use the power of government to keep its members from paying student athletes for their labor.
It really is whacked. Why can't they "fix" that and leave health care alone?
I like Bill Whittle's stuff. Don't know that we agree on everything, but I admired his mix of passion and intellect in his old EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! essays. Now he has brought that to PJTV. Professor Reynolds has been hawking this video as particularly important.
It's short and worth a view in full, but the heart is to meet up with five people at a TEA party, then you and your five each bring five new voters on election day. Drive them to polls. People who would not otherwise vote.
This is like admitting that you don't know what that third pedal on your car does, but here I go:
I don't think I have ever once changed a single vote or generated a vote for a candidate I support. I can hope that my small donations may have been used effectively, and that perhaps as a cog in the GOTV effort, that I may have played a part. But my efforts at direct suasion have all turned up goose eggs.
Working the phones at GOTV, I have annoyed many people but I cannot recall one who said he'd vote or vote for my candidate.
Most of my friends are involved and will vote and will choose their candidate without my sagacious counsel. The squishes I do know seem immune to my suggestions. And I'll rent a bigger car if I must but I don't know anyone who doesn't vote because they need a ride.
Whittle and that Rove fellow make it sound simple, but I have yet to knowingly add one vote beyond mine. Maybe I should find another interest.
"We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations," LaHood said in a statement. "Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."
'Getting the government's hands off our money, our guns, our lives.' The 2008 Grover Norquist book by this name posited a future politics driven by the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" on one side and the "Takings Coalition" on the other. This dovetails nicely with our recent discussion and Norquist apparently addresses the social values schizm toward the end of the book [Craig Matteson review]:
If I disagree with Norquist on anything it is his rough dismissal of social conservative issues towards the end of the book. However, I understand his emphasis on economic issues and their rough correlation with social conservative issues. That is, if you look at all economic conservatives in the Republican party, they will also include almost all of the social conservatives and some of those who are more liberal on social issues. So, we get more voters to help us win our issues with economics. This ignores the reality that for social conservatives, some issues are so vital that sitting home or creating a new party would be better alternatives than letting them slip out of the public debate.
If there is anything that religious leaders can do to help save America and the American way of life it is to disabuse their flocks from keeping social issues in the public political debate. Take them back to the public moral debate where they rightly belong.
If you say to an average person: "What would you rather have: Free health care or an un-trampled Constitution," people are going to pick free health care because people like free stuff. They also like rainbows, puppies and therapeutic massage and, one day, we will all have a right to those too I hope. Which is why we had the Constitution to begin with: To protect us from ourselves. -- Greg Gutfield.
Gutfield is respecting Rep Phil Hare's candor "I give him credit for saying what no one else on his side is saying: This entitlement means more to us than the principles on which our country was founded." We're stupefied hearing him say he doesn't care about the Constitution (and them of course, conflating it with the Declaration -- the depredating that.
But Gutfield is sadly right. My newfound Facebook Communists don't see why some old piece of paper should keep them from getting free stuff.
UPDATE: Heh. Blog Brother ac posts Gutfield's "politically-incorrect" iPad review.
And I am now convinced of what I have long suspected the United States has a president with a serious personality disorder.
Now I admit I am not a professional psychiatrist or psychologist, nor do I see myself even remotely as a paragon of mental health, but I have made a decent living for over thirty years as a fiction writer whose stock in trade is perforce studying people and this is one strange dude. He makes Richard Nixon seem almost normal. -- Roger Simon
Not sure I agree with the man under the hat, but it is a great column...
Obamacare was supposed to provide unicorns and rainbows: How can it possibly be hurting companies and killing jobs? Surely there's some sort of Republican conspiracy going on here!
More like a confederacy of dunces. Waxman and his colleagues in Congress can't possibly understand the health care market well enough to fix it. But what's more striking is that Waxman's outraged reaction revealed that they don't even understand their own area of responsibility - regulation -- well enough to predict the effect of changes in legislation. -- Glenn Reynolds in an Examiner editorial with bonus Hayek references,
While we Jeffersonian tea-partiers whine about the bus, we should probably admit that the Hamiltonian wing is doing a better job with publicity and organization. I forget the exact context, but brother jg's first response to my first complaint was "you could hear." No musician should ever under-appreciate a quality PA run competently.
And, numbers matter. I don't know how many times I learned of a big TEA party rally in Denver -- that happened the day before I heard about it. The bus tour I decried did get me there, as it did to the good folks in Omaha: hundreds expected, thousands attend..
The big traffic problems in Southwest Omaha Thursday night could be blamed on one thing: a political rally. Some people had to park more than a mile away from the event. It's exactly what Tea Party organizers were hoping for.
The Tea Party Express Bus Tour began last weekend in Saturday. "One person does make a difference," says one of the tour speakers.
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom helped organize this stop. "I think a lot of people who haven't got too involved in politics before have really gotten angry and frustrated to the point that they want to get involved in politics now," says Doug Kagan who represents the organization.
Lynn Ewing brought her family to boat ramp/picnic area at Lake Zorinsky. "I think they're being taxed to death and it's not fair."
Organizers were expecting a few hundred at the rally but instead there were an estimated 3,000.
I surely would like to impute some more intellectual and ideological values on the group, but I may have been a bit harsh on some allies. Not very pragmatic of me.
Whoa. What to make of these guys. You may have heard about their letters "sent to 30 governors demanding they step down within 3 days or be removed."
For the record, I used quotes around "extremist" because that is the word being used by government officials and lamestream media to describe them. I think they're likely right, however. Unless of course this is all a government plot to discredit Constitutionalists.
If it is though, it's pretty sophisticated. These guys don't really seem to have much reverence for the Constitution.
The one common belief that ties the American population together is faith in the Constitution. Many Americans are willing to fight and die in its defense even as they blindly trade notes of debt issued by a foreign bank. We decided that restoring, in principle, the Constitutional institutions through December 19, 1860 was the approach MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED (and that's the bottom line, failure being unacceptable). We rejected restoration to 1933, the Articles of Confederation or ancient times as being insufficient (1933) or unworkable, at least in terms of achieving our goals rather than proclaiming our patriot knowledge of history. Of course we recognize that the Constitution was the method for imposing on the States the obligations rejected by the colonies to pay the Revolutionary War debts to the Bank of England. Notwithstanding, we can relieve the suffering of the sovereign People by agreeing with those who choose to glorify a man-made document.
And then they proceed to declare their own man-made document "as a genuine covenant with the Creator in honor of the Law."
Don't worry, the AP suggests you're coming out okay:
WASHINGTON Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars.
The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.
By setting national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, the government hopes to squeeze out more miles per gallon whether you buy a tiny Smart fortwo micro car, a rugged Dodge Ram pickup truck or something in between.
Where do you start with the awfulness of this policy? First principles. Government does not create more fuel efficient cars -- like the minimum wage, it just makes some purchases illegal.
It seems that citizens could choose whether they wanted to pay more for a more fuel efficient car. But as subjects, we are told.
The first TEA party I attended was transformative.
Here were enough people to cover the West lawn of the State Capitol, all of whom believed in limited government and enumerated rights enough to come down to the West lawn of the State Capitol. The people were nice, the signs were clever, the atmosphere festive. Many times since, I have wished I could have shown that to non-believers on the right and left. No, these people are not crazy racists -- and no, these people are not ignorant fools who will let this opportunity slip away. I would have been proud to have brought anyone I know there.
Yesterday, The Tea Party Express bus tour rolled through my hometown. We were again on the West lawn and once again there was a good crowd, bright signage, and general comity. Sadly, this time the event was tarnished by the Tea Party Express. Where I would have longed to share the first experience, this one would have embarrassed me. At times, it felt as if I were watching an SNL portrayal of a Tea Party. What? Tina Fey is not scheduled to appear?
Brother jg and Sister dagny-- after providing most commendable handicapped transportation services -- worked the crowd, politely engaged some counter-protesters, and starred in photos with their clever signage and preternaturally photogenic daughters. My lovely bride and I opted for a secluded opportunity to sit and listen. If you dance every dance, you may not care so much that the band sucks; but if you sit and listen...
The first TEA party had Jon Caldera from the Colorado Independence Institute, a couple State Senators came out of the Capitol and I think Michele Malkin was the "star." The sound was poor and the spontaneousness of the event was apparent. Hayek would have been proud.
While any two or three of yesterday's speakers or performers would have fit in perfectly, the sum total was dispiriting. There was not a single intellectual, philosophical or educational speaker. There was a lengthy series of patriotic songs and poems and speeches supporting the troops. I don't think anyone who has read this blog for more than three days would suggest that I am indifferent to patriotism or to recognition of those who wear the nation's uniform. But we have work to do and what started as sweet (a Gold Star Mom extolling her son's last day with stories and a song she composed) grew kitschy and maudlin. Again, consider the reviewer.
When the theme turned to politics, it was red meat ("Pelosi and Reid and Obama, or as I like to call them 'Lenin, Stalin, and Mao-lite'") and several more novelty songs. Oh-boy. The rap song from the guy from Waco was notable as it was the only time "limited government" was mentioned in the entire rally.
In between, the chatter was condescending and offered no recognition to the more libertarian attendee. It was God and Values and Country. The hand lettered signs were intelligent and bespoke of sophistication and awareness of politics and media. And yet, the speakers talked down "You know, were going to have an ee-lec-shun this year "
To make my experience complete, Rep, Tom Tancredo closed the show. His introduction included a cringe-inducing Strom Thurmond moment of deep regret and sadness that he didn't win the presidency in 2008.
At the end, I asked Brother jg to drop me off at Democratic Party HQ so that I could sign up. Ive calmed down a little since then but if the bus tour folks successfully co-opt the TEA Party, the last great hope for the last great hope has been extinguished.