If this is a recovery, where are the jobs??

October 31, 2010

President Obama (and especially his fawning sycophants in the media) likes to compare himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who lead the nation during the Great Depression. In this brief video essay from Reason.TV, Ted Balaker looks at the current jobless recovery and see other similarities to FDR that Obama might not enjoy:

Balaker and Professor Ohanian blame the uncertainty caused by the raft of new regulations and laws coming from Washington, as well as uncertainty about the effects the progressives’ spend-and-borrow binge may have. Businesses hate uncertainty, because it leaves them with no way to forecast what conditions will be like, hence making them less willing to risk capital on new employees. It is, in fact, a rational response, something FDR never quite got: he wanted to tax retained earnings, solely to punish businesses that wouldn’t spend. The Obama administration has broached a similar idea.

While I agree about the uncertainty created by government intervention in the market, I’d add another factor: policies that are just plain bad, because they make the economic situation worse. In the video, we see one good example: the CEO of Nationwide Support Services wait anxiously to hear the details of a new FTC regulation; depending on how it goes, she may not be able to hire the new people she’d like to hire – or she may have to go out of business altogether.

Really, is this any way to run an economy?

Of course it isn’t. As is becoming increasingly clear as new research is done into the New Deal, the statist, interventionist policies of the Roosevelt administration (and Hoover’s) did not help. Indeed, they prevented a job-creating recovery.

The best thing the government could do would be to quit intervening in the marketplace and stop trying to engineer it. It’s simply much too complex to be controlled by a relatively small number of policy-makers. With minimal intervention and a lightened burden of spending, taxation, and regulation, the market economy will heal itself and create jobs.

Sadly, that’s a wise course we can’t expect from the current crowd, so this Tuesday we take step one in a two-step process of firing and replacing them with people who get it.

Step two comes in 2012.

PS: Yeah, I’ve been tapping Reason.TV a lot today, but, what can I say? They do good stuff. 

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gerrymandering: the legal way to rig an election

October 31, 2010

Why bother stuffing ballot boxes and getting felons to vote when you can just draw the district boundaries to ensure your guy or gal wins? Via Reason.TV, here’s an interview with Bill Mundell on the dangers of gerrymandering:

It may not be the sexiest political issue of our time, but it is of fundamental importance to the health of our democracy. Allowing legislators to draw their own districts creates a tremendous conflict of interest between creating districts that accurately represent a community of interests and thus fairly represent the people of an area, and the self-serving needs of politicians.

This is a particular problem in California, where “safe seat” (or “incumbency gerrymandering,” as Mundell calls it) boundaries almost guarantee the reelection of a state or federal legislator. The problem is so bad that almost every member of California’s congressional delegation gets reelected in election after election, even though Congress has a miserable approval rating. And the situation with our state legislature isn’t much different.

We took a big step to fix the problem in 2008 by passing Proposition 11, which took the power to draw legislative districts away from the legislators and gave it to a citizen’s commission. This year, we aim to finish the job by passing Proposition 20, which would do the same thing for congressional districts. But, you guessed it, the oligarchy has struck back, getting Proposition 27 on the ballot. If passed, this measure will eliminate the citizen’s commission created by Proposition 11. It is nothing less than a swinish attempt by the legislature and their allies in the House to seize power from the people and preserve their hand-drawn fiefdoms.

And you wonder why I call California’s legislature “arrogant.”

For the sake of genuine representative democracy in California, it is essential that Proposition 20 pass and Proposition 27 fail.

Put an end to gerrymandering. Break the oligarchy.

UPDATE: J.E. Dyer at Hot Air’s Green Room has an excellent post on seven votes that may determine California’s future.

UPDATE 2: Also take a look at an article in the LA Weekly about Props 20 and 27 and why you should give a rip. It includes a map of my entry into the California Hall of Shame for Shameless Gerrymandering, CD 23, which is 200 miles long and, at one point, only 100 yards wide.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You are a criminal if you deny global warming

October 31, 2010

Don’t try to weasel out of it. We see you over there, with your doubts and your skepticism, muttering about Medieval Warm Periods and “hiding the decline.” You don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming, do you? You’re a denier, and that makes you a criminal!

And I have that on the authority of two experts in the field: Google CEO Erik “Creepy” Schmidt and director James Cameron:

Here again we see the Green Statists refusing to argue the legitimate doubts about global warming and the serious questions about climate science. Instead, their opponents are likened to Nazi sympathizers, traitors, and defenders of slavery.

And now to doubt is criminal.

So much for intellectual freedom and the spirit of free inquiry.

PS: By the way, James Cameron is a titanic hypocrite.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Founding Fathers and Mudslingers

October 31, 2010

You think modern American political campaigns are vicious, mudslinging affairs in which no smear is too vile to be hurled? Hah! The modern candidates are nothing -nothing!- compared to the men whose dignified portraits grace our history books. Reason.TV presents just one amusing example:

Remember that the next time you hear someone whine about “tone” and “civility” in our election. And it wasn’t just the Founders who got down and dirty; supporters of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams  knew how to sling a slander or two:

John Adams lived long enough to see his son become president in 1825, but he died before John Quincy Adams lost the presidency to Andrew Jackson in 1828. Fortunately, that meant he didn’t have to witness what many historians consider the nastiest contest in American history.

The slurs flew back and forth, with John Quincy Adams being labeled a pimp, and Andrew Jackson’s wife getting called a slut.

As the election progressed, editorials in the American newspapers read more like bathroom graffiti than political commentary. One paper reported that “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterward married a mulatto man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!”

Jackson supporters were riled because Adams won the Presidency in 1824, defeating Jackson by winning in the House of Representatives while losing the popular vote in what has been called “The Corrupt Bargain.” Jackson’s supporters considered the younger Adams to be an illegitimate president and a usurper who stole the office.

Hey, that sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Now where have I heard that before?

Face it, folks: civil, dignified elections are are much more the exception than the rule, here. Now, excuse me while I go get some more mud to sling.

RELATED: The 10 dirtiest campaigns in US history.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sarah Palin vs. the Tyrant Murkowski

October 30, 2010

Last I recall, a Senator of the United States, even one who got her seat as a gift from Daddy, swears the following oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

And that support and defense includes supporting and defending the amendments to said Constitution, including the 1st Amendment, which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Emphases added)

So, when a sitting senator, through her underlings, uses the threat of a federal investigation to drive a critical radio host off the air*, is she not violating that oath six ways from Sunday, in spirit if not in letter?

Sarah Palin thinks so, and it’s made her mad:

Yesterday, Lisa Murkowski’s hired guns threatened radio host Dan Fagan, and more importantly, the station that airs Fagan’s show, with legal action for allegedly illegal “electioneering.” The station, unlike Murkowski, who is flush with millions of dollars from vested corporate interests, does not have a budget for a legal defense. So it did what any small market station would do when threatened by Beltway lawyers charging $500 to $1000 an hour – they pulled Dan Fagan off the air.

Does all this sound heavy handed? It is. It is an interference with Dan Fagan’s constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold onto power? First, she gets the Division of Elections to change its write-in process – a process that Judge Pfiffner correctly determined had been in place without change for 50 years. She is accepting financial support from federal contractors, an act that is highly questionable and now pending before the FEC. And today, she played her last card. She made it clear that if you disagree with her and encourage others to exercise their civic rights, she’ll take you off the air.

The concept of “electioneering” involves several issues, but typically refers to campaigning at the polls, which is appropriately banned. Under federal law, it can also mean paying for advertising on broadcast media during a federal election cycle, and it requires disclosures if done by groups and corporations. Fagan used satire to mock Murkowski’s write-in efforts and encouraged Alaskans to run as write-in candidates. That is not illegal. That is free speech.

(Emphasis added)

With her attitude toward opponents’ free speech, I’m sure Princess Lisa would fit right in with the Obama administration.

Go, ‘Cuda.

*(Yeah, I know the guy who made the complaint is “just” a Murkowski volunteer and the campaign denies any connection. If you believe that, perhaps you’d like to buy this lovely bridge, too.)

LINKS: Ed Morrissey connects this to the debate over the possible return of the Fairness Doctrine.


Bombing plot foiled? – Updated. New: explosives found

October 29, 2010

(Scroll down for updates.)

They’re still trying to kill us:

Authorities were investigating “potentially suspicious items” on Friday on cargo planes that landed at airports in Newark, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, the Transportation Security Administration said.

“Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept,” the TSA said in a statement.

They’re also checking a UPS truck in New York, on which they may have found a bomb.

This may be partly why the terrorist chatter has picked up over the last few weeks.

Updates as they become available.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

UPDATE: More from CNN -

Airports in some of the United States were on high alert Friday after investigators found a suspicious package on a plane in the United Kingdom the night before, a law enforcement source with detailed knowledge of the investigation said.

The suspicious package, which contained a “manipulated” toner cartridge, tested negative for explosive material, the source said, but it led to heightened inspection of arriving cargo flights in Newark, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a UPS truck in New York.

Police also were investigating a suspicious package at the distribution center of an airport in East Midlands, in the United Kingdom, an airport spokesman said. Authorities said they could not immediately connect that investigation to the ones unfolding in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Authorities seemed most focused on inspecting cargo planes.

Investigators were examining two UPS planes that landed at Philadelphia International Airport and another at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, said Mike Mongeot, a UPS spokesman.

Authorities are focusing on flights coming from Yemen into the United States, according to the source.

Note: Anwar al-Awlaki, an American imam who has called for jihad attacks against the US, is hiding in Yemen.

UPDATE 2:  Explosives were found in Dubai on a plane headed for the US:

A suspicious device discovered in an air cargo shipment in Dubai that was headed for the U.S. contained explosive materials, an official UAE security source said Friday.

It was the first confirmation that any of the suspicious packages reported Friday contained explosives.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said late Friday the “explosive device” was found in the last 24 hours in a courier company’s regional hub and originated in a shipment from Yemen.

This looks like a carefully thought-out plan to use several “delivery paths,” some true and some false, in the hope that one or more gets through. Let’s hope we’ve found them all.

UPDATE 3: Synagogues may have been the target. Allahpundit wonders if al Qaeda has switched to mail bombs because getting a person into the US has become too difficult. I doubt it. More like they’re trying every avenue of attack, figuring one will work.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Global warming skeptics support slavery

October 28, 2010

Don’t take my word for it; ask the guy with the PhD. According to Dr. Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan, those of us who don’t support the (increasingly shot full of holes) theory of anthropogenic global warming are the moral equivalent of those who defended slavery:

The American public is still mired in doubt about the science and the economics of climate change, he said, but is ready for the kind of social shift that eventually brought success to the abolition movement of the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Just as few people saw a moral problem with slavery in the 18th century, few people in the 21st century see a moral problem with the burning of fossil fuels,” Professor Hoffman said. “Will people in 100 years look at us with the same incomprehension we feel toward 18th-century defenders of slavery?”

So, let’s see. In recent years, those of us who are skeptical of climate change as anything other than a poorly understood series of natural cycles have been called “deniers,” a deliberate comparison to Holocaust denial; we’ve been labeled traitors to the planet; and it’s been suggested we be put on trial. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Regardless, having resorted all these smear cards, why not deal the “slavery card,” too? It’s an easy way to delegitimize the skeptics, make one feel all warm and superior inside, and keeps Green Statists from having to deal with the actual science.

I could go on a real rant here, but The Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway beat me to it. I’ll give him the final word on our Enlightened Moral Superior:

I don’t know what’s more offensive, the idea that skepticism of global warming is a moral injustice on par with slavery, or the fact that those people pushing global warming think of themselves in such incredibly self-righteous terms where they’re the ones saving humanity from itself. If Environmentalists wonder why their credibility is shot, perhaps they should stop with the doomsday propaganda and come up with a better solution to the global warming problem than making my monthly utility bills cost more than the gross national product of Burkina Faso.

My only disagreement is that there is no global warming problem at all. Other than that, spot on.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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