Monday, June 28, 2010

Eric Holder, call your office

Philadelphia to bar immigration agents from arrest data

So when does the DOJ sue for obstruction of justice and when will Federal bureaucrats boycott Philly?

The "Soul of the Senate"

Senator Robert Byrd died today.  That headline seems to be his obituarial tagline.

I would prefer that a KKK organizer (as an "exalted cyclops" he recruited 150 of his neighbors), Master Looter (he arranged for US taxpayers to ante up 175% of West Virginia's federal tax contribution) and narcissist extraordinaire (all the loot went to build things named "Byrd") would not be considered the Senate's "soul."

On the evidence, however, it is appropriate.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Too smart to say that?

Senator Jon Kyl mentions something President Obama said to him (~3:17) about why Obama won't support secure borders:

The White House denies this, "Senator Kyl knows the president didn't say that." Right. It depends on what the meaning of "the" is.  The White House sub-text is: "Obama's too smart to say that,"  but he has not justified that assumption.  

Many are buying it, nonetheless.  For example, Charles Krauthammer on Fox News tonight (I paraphrase), "The President is too clever and polished to have said that so bluntly." A. B. Stoddard echoed the sentiment. "Obama's too smart for that."

Really? This is the same guy who told us our electricity rates "would necessarily skyrocket" if he were elected.  He's the man who accused Pennsylvanians of "clinging to their guns and religion." He told PBS WBEZ-FM in 2001 that SCOTUS was remiss becuase it never ventured into question of the redistribution of wealth (.43) :

He told Joe the Plumber the same thing 7 years later.  

He told us that his grandmother was a "typical white person."

As President, Barack Obama called Cambridge, Massachusetts police stupid; on national television, from the White House and after admitting he did not have the facts.  President Obama has told us he's looking for whose "ass to kick."

I don't think Obama gets a pass on Senator Kyl's version of events because "he's too smart to say that." He may be smart, but he has proven he isn't circumspect, and that he is a rabid ideologue. I'm quite sure he said something that any reasonable person would interpret exactly as has Senator Kyl.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let's have More regulation!

You will fill out the proper forms!
One of the most frequently heard stories coming out of the Gulf Region over the past two months is the extent to which bureaucracy is standing in the way of efforts to cleanup the oil spill and prevent it from causing further damage to coast areas. The most recent example of that can be seen in the Coast Guard’s order barring ships designed to suck the oil off the water from sailing...
Why the Coast Guard is not the same as the Marine Corps.
... the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.
Lack of initiative.  Lack of a sense of urgency.

Call the people who built the barges? Couldn't they just physically inspect them?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day by Day

Has moved down and right, just below "Topics." Hover over the link there to view.

More energy regulation and subsidies are needed

There's a pipe spewing a gazillion gobs of oil into the gulf, so let's build more windmills
Local gulf coast officials are tearing out their hair trying to comprehend and comply with seventeen (as in seven more than 10) federal agencies falling all over themselves to do The Boss’ bidding and help and impose and superimpose their visions and regulations on what is a war zone with hundreds of ships and some 30,000 people involved, many of them frightened. And all of them inexperienced on a disaster of this scale.
3 Reasons Obama Should Kick His Own Ass
...the federal government is a major player in the problem for at least three reasons:

1. It owns the property on which the oil well is located.
2. It regulates offshore drilling. And
3. In order to protect small players in the drilling industry, it capped economic damages from this sort of spill at just $75 million, a way-too-low cap that encourages risky behavior.

Reason 2 begets reason 4, which would be the regulations that prevent continental shelf or land based drilling, where a spill is relatively easy to plug and clean, and without which the Deep Water Horizon would not have been necessary.

Reasons 5 though 8 would be the protectionist Jones Act, the Fed delay in permits for Louisiana to build barriers, the Feds inability to get miles of boom from warehouses in Maine, and legislators wasting time with BP lobbyists who wanted a cap-and-tax bill. Regulation ad infinitum, and planning more.

Reason 9 would be stopping the burning of the oil because of air pollution concerns. In other words, being unable to make a reasonable risk assessment trade-off.

So, right. We need more regulation. And windmills. Set up just behind Obama's teleprompters. And we need unicorns running constantly on giant, grid-connected hamster-wheels.

Maybe we can't blame Obama for the rig blowing up, but we can blame him for doggedly insisting on his vision of government über alles while lying about being "on top of it since day one." We can blame him for using this disaster for ideological purposes. We can blame him for being a pathological narcissist.

Update: 5:10PM
Read this, all of it:  The latest "crisis" speech 
Finally, he throws out a bunch of legislative and regulatory trial balloons all based on breaking our “addiction to fossil fuels”. Like “raising efficiency standards in our buildings” – straight out of the House bill which would require a federal inspector to OK your house before you could sell it to ensure it meets all fed standards."

Shotgun Sellout

‘Shotgun Sellout’: House Democrats cut special deal with NRA
House Democrats held a shotgun wedding between campaign finance "reformers" and the National Rifle Association today in announcing a carve out for the powerful gun lobby in a bill responding to the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The "Shotgun Sellout" exempts large organizations from the most burdensome regulations of the DISCLOSE Act, "Democratic Incumbents Seek to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections," while pistol whipping genuine grassroots groups. ...

Draft amendment affecting the NRA as part of a "Manager's Amendment" for consideration this week in the House Rules Committee:

Exempt section 501(c)(4) organizations" are also exempt from new reporting requirements. These are organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.
NRA members, especially, should call the NRA at 1-800-672-3888 and ask them why they don't defend the First Amendment as strongly as they do the Second.  They should withdraw their support and urge a vote against the DISCLOSE Act.

May jobs. Net loss of 195,000?

Patrick Heller has a quite interesting analysis of the may jobs report here. Scouring the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report, he finds the headlines we saw, like “Largest Monthly Jobs Gain In Past Decade!”, to be more than misleading.
The point of this column is that people often don’t really understand what is happening just by looking at the headlines. I refer to misleading news headlines, like those for this month’s jobs report as “Things you ‘know’ that just aren’t so!”
It will be interesting to see how the Feds handle this going forward. They already know they are going to see over 500,000 jobs disappear as the Census winds down.

H/T Paladin

Monday, June 14, 2010

The authority of the state

More from Adam Smith:
Commerce and manufactures can seldom flourish long in any state which does not enjoy a regular administration of justice, in which people do not feel themselves secure in the possession of their property, in which the faith of contracts is not supported by law, and in which the authority of the state is not supposed to be regularly employed in enforcing the payment of debts from all those who are able to pay.
From An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Book 5, Chapter 3) - 1776.  The entire text can be found here.  Smith's observations are highly relevant today.

The "regular administration of justice" has been disrupted.  For example, Christopher Coates, the former career head of the Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division was forced out of the DOJ and Voting Section lawyer J. Christian Adams has been told by the DOJ to ignore a subpoena from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Coates spoke about his experience, Adams has been denied the right.

People cannot feel themselves "secure in the possession of their property" because such assets have been confiscated. The "faith of contracts .. supported by law" has been abrogated by the state. I give you the GM and Chrysler bondholders as examples.

"The authority of the state," far from enforcing the payment of debts, is being wielded to force prudent citizens to pay debts they did not incur.

That these actions create uncertainty about the rule of law is even worse than the burdensome taxes and profligate spending which are merely policy implementations of lawlessness in government.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Does this remind you of anyone?

The attention of such persons, however, being always principally directed, not to the standard of ideal, but to that of ordinary perfection, they have little sense of their own weaknesses and imperfections; they have little modesty; are often assuming, arrogant, and presumptuous; great admirers of themselves, and great contemners of other people. Though their characters are in general much less correct, and their merit much inferior to that of the man of real and modest virtue; yet their excessive presumption, founded upon their own excessive self-admiration, dazzles the multitude, and often imposes even upon those who are much superior to the multitude. The frequent, and often wonderful, success of the most ignorant quacks and imposters, both civil and religious, sufficiently demonstrate how easily the multitude are imposed upon by the most extravagant and groundless pretensions.
From The Theory of Moral Sentiments - Adam Smith (1759).

Further thoughts on the question from Mark Steyn: This job, too, is beneath Obama

Update: 3:45PM
I had intended to include a link to this excellent Dorothy Rabinowitz piece: The Alien in the White House

A realistic paraphrase

"I guarantee if you like your current health insurance plan 49% of you can keep it, but it is going to cost you even more than it would have without my guarantee."
- Barack Obama

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Ax may fall on tax break for mortgages
The popular tax break for mortgage interest, once considered untouchable, is falling under the scrutiny of policymakers and economic experts seeking ways to close huge deficits.

Although Congress last year rejected the White House’s proposed cut to the amount wealthier taxpayers can deduct for home mortgage interest payments, the administration included it again in its 2010 budget — saying it could save $208 billion over the next decade.
Frankly, I think this is a good idea. If, IF, it is part of a comprehensive tax reform that eliminates income tax, AND eliminates all the other real estate market distorting subsidies. Of course, the plan is to add taxes, not eliminate or simplify.

And how can it "save" $208 billion? "Save" implies it's the government's money in the first place.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Leave Helen alone

Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas is a graduate of Wayne State University. Her recent revelation that she is a virulent anti-semite has caused the University to reconsider an award it has been handing out in her name in order "to recognize her role in promoting diversity in the media and issues of race in America."

Wayne State may retire name of Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Awards after controversy

Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Lynette Clemetson are the most recent recipients of this honor. There is no word on whether these luminaries have returned their awards. Similarly, there is no word from Ben Burns, a WSU journalism professor who serves as chairman of the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Awards committee.

I think removing Ms Thomas' name from this award would be an overreaction. Why can't they just rename it the "Helen Thomas Spirit of Perversity" award and give the first one posthumously to some German leader who also liked sending Jews to Poland and rural Germany.

Another approach would be to insist that true devotion to diversity would, perforce, include a person who hates Jews. That is a minority position (outside academia and ignoring media bias) and it certainly invokes "issues of race" in America.

Monday, June 07, 2010

D-Day sadness

In south central Michigan many High School graduation ceremonies took place on Sunday. That day was also D-Day, of course.

At one particular graduation ceremony, there was no allegiance pledged nor star spangled banner sung. In keeping with this lack of respect for the ideals of our Republic, this is how the flag was displayed.

It would have been more respectful not to display it at all.

The flag looks forlorn, bedraggled. The creases show it just came out of a package. It was an afterthought; a rote symbol displayed in partial observance of a passé and irrelevant ritual.

I wasn't there, but the standard rhetoric about "leaders of the future" and be "true to your ideals" must have been spoken. One wonders upon what ideals these students will base their leadership, or what ideals they will expect from their leaders.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

66 years

Reprising my June 6, 2006 post. Sadly, I think I was very optimistic about the average person's memory.

I'm not quite as old as D-Day, but I am pretty clear on the story. I heard bits of it from my father. I spent quite a bit of my own time studying it. They didn't teach much about it in public schools in the 60's. I suspect they teach far less now.

I can't help but wonder if in another 62 years the average person won't even remember what
"Sword", "Juno", "Gold", "Utah", and "Omaha" signify. If you get your D-Day history from Saving Private Ryan you've seen a good movie, but you are abysmally ignorant of actual history. You could not have named those beaches.

Here's a D-Day logistics synopsis, amazing on its own, followed by reading recommendations -

Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, 1,200 transport planes and 700 gliders delivered over 23,000 American and British paratroops behind the German coastal defense in Normandy.

At dawn, 4,000 transports and 800 warships, plus innumerable smaller craft, began an amphibious assault that landed 130,000 soldiers at beaches code-named Sword, Juno, Gold, Utah, and Omaha.

These names will live as long as mankind studies military theory.

We are not likely to see anything so audacious, so necessary, and so clearly understood by Western civilization ever again.

In remembrance of the men who died at Sword, Juno, Gold, Utah, and Omaha - the soldiers who died there defending the West against totalitarianism - I offer some further reading:

From Encyclopedia Britannica:

D-Day on the Web

You've already paid for this PBS info, check it out.

D-Day Museum

American D-Day

And happy birthday to my Grandson, who may have less trouble remembering this when he grows up. I'll be working on that.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Things we can learn from Canada...

The least-bad rich-world economy
The lesson? "...neither its financial system nor its housing market magnified the recession."

Canada, for example, did not push banks to lend money to people who had iffy chances of paying it back. Far from it. In Canada, if your mortgage is over 80% of the house value you must buy insurance against default.

Now, they are trying to help out the rest of the world whether we like it or not. Personally, I say - Thank You, Canada!

Canada wins key fight against bank tax
Canada has won a key fight in its high-profile international campaign against a global bank tax as G20 finance ministers Saturday approved a plan that allows countries to manage the issue as they see fit.

Proponents of such a tax ­ including the United States and Europe ­ are free to go it alone, but the new plan allows the rest of the G20 to avoid the controversial idea and find other ways to reduce banking risks.
Guess what path Obama's going to choose.

Later in that story this bit of unintentional humor appeared:
In their final communiqué, G20 finance ministers and central bankers said the financial sector must make a “fair and substantial” contribution to paying for any of the burdens associated with government intervention.
This made me laugh, since the burden of government intervention has been 80% of our problem in the first place. For example, the G20 is concerned about bank capital.
On the complex issue of banking reforms – including a common definition for high-quality capital and the percentage of capital banks should have on hand – the G20 has agreed that a plan will be announced in November when leaders meet in Seoul.
Great idea, we can get Barney Frank to define "high quality capital." He did that for the US, let's have him do it for the world.

Then it's noted that:
Banks generally resist higher capital requirements because it cuts into profits.
In truth, US Banks had higher lending standards before the government started forcing them to give mortgages to people who couldn't pay them back. That's the sort of intervention we should worry about.

DeGaulle's grave: explosion imminent

From the Wall Street Journal:
France's top law-enforcement official was convicted Friday of making racist comments and ordered to pay ... [about 3,000 Euros] ... to an antiracism group. Mr. Hortefeux [Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux] was caught on camera last year making what sounded like anti-Arab remarks

... A video circulating on the Internet showed Mr. Hortefeux at an event last September in southwest France for the governing UMP party, having his picture taken with a young party member of North African origin.

A woman's voice is heard saying "it's our little Arab," and Mr. Hortefeux is heard saying: "We always need one. When there's one, that's all right. It's when there are a lot of them that there are problems."

Mr. Hortefeux's office said later the remark was a reference to the many photos taken at the event. The incident occurred shortly after Mr. Hortefeux suspended a top regional official for racist comments.
Hoist with his own petard. Ironic.

More ironic yet is that the French are a people who practice organized vandalism over the opening of a McDonald's and who pass laws to outlaw the phrase "le hot dog," because those are icons of cultural assimilation; threats to the French way of life. Meanwhile, mentioning the true existential threat of demographic reverse assimilation is, um, verboten.

Where will France's culture take refuge after that process is complete? Then who will sing La Marseillaise? And if anyone does, in what language?

So, where is Charles DeGaulle when he's needed? Spinning in his grave, because if that country of "North African origin" turned out to be Algeria, it would be more than irony can bear.

H/T Paladin

Friday, June 04, 2010

State speech registry

In the spirit of those states criminalizing (see yesterday's post) the videotaping of police, State Senator Bruce Patterson (R-District 7) wants to register journalists: he is not asking, yet, to criminalize those who write without a license, he merely wants to get the list of exceptions in place.

Since Senator Patterson was mentioned for this proposal on Fox News, he's been defending himself on the floor of the Michigan Senate by pointing out the difference between "voluntary registration" and "licensing."

He's right, there is a difference, but there remain some problems with this semantic defense:

1), What responsibility is it of the taxpayers of Michigan to be paying to create and administer such a registry?

2), What business is it of the State of Michigan to put its imprimatur on information or on individuals' speech, flawed or otherwise?

3), Since among other things, the law would require applicants for the State conferred title of "Michigan registered reporter" to possess: a) "Good moral character"; b) a degree in journalism; and c) submit three writing samples: 3a) How does the State make a determination of moral character? 3b), If no degree is required to be a
"Michigan legislator", why should "journalists" have to have one? 3c) Who is going to grade the writing samples; on what basis?

Senator Patterson does not deserve the title "Michigan legislator;" probably could never have achieved it under his rules for "journalists;" and certainly should not be allowed to keep it. Apparently term limits are working in favor of that outcome.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Police states

Police and courts in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are conspiring to prohibit videotaping of police officers publicly performing their official duties. The intent is to stop citizens from documenting official police behavior under any and all circumstances.

It is incompatible with a free society for police officers to even expect privacy in the conduct of their official duties while on public property, much less to have courts explicitly grant that privilege. It is an outrage that simply recording the public conduct of public officials can attract a felony charge. All that is equally true for private property when the person doing the recording has permission to be there.

It is common for corporations to insist that their employees can have no expectation of privacy while using company equipment, for example, to send email. Some public officials in Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland seem to have forgotten by whom they are employed.

One must wonder how much jail time these states would have given to those who videotaped the beating of Rodney King.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Armando Galarraga is perfect

Unfortunately the first base umpire was not perfect. With two out in the 9th, after 26 straight batters were retired, umpire Jim Joyce blew it by calling the 27th out "safe".

Galarraga retired the 28th batter to complete a shut out complete game victory that in God's eyes was a perfect game (plus one).