Monday, March 31, 2008

The White House During "Earth Hour"

Amen, brother! Get those lights on--and I hope none of them are those mercury-filled, expensive, poor-light-quality, eco-fascist ones they've been jamming down our throats lately! Seriously people, turning on a few 100-watt bulbs isn't destroying the planet. I'm glad the folks in the White House haven't completely lost their minds yet...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Goldberg on Obama Race Speech

Jonah Goldberg offers some reality in the race debate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saddam Paid For Dems to Visit Iraq!

Remember when those Democrats kept going over to Iraq in an effort to weaken Bush's hand in shutting down the Iraqi terror machine? It looks like Saddam himself was paying the bills! We can now add Democrats to the list of those being paid off by Saddam, including the leaders of France, Germany and Russia as well as half the UN. Let's see--which countries (and party) opposed our invasion of Iraq? Right...

And please don't try to give me any lines about no WMDs. The intelligence on that stuff was real. If they didn't exist, Saddam could have just let the inspectors do what they pleased rather than go through with a war he had no chance of winning and that would ultimately lead to his execution. Instead, he hindered them, tricked them, lied to them, and threw them out altogether over and over and over again. Innocent people don't act that way. Iraq is much better off now than under Saddam. And so are we.

Food Stamp Follow-Up

Here's a relevant passage from Liberal Fascism on the legacy of Johnson's Great Society:

"Recipients weren't the only ones hooked on the narcotic of 'relief'; the pushers were, too. Like a man determined to pound a square peg into a round hole, establishment liberals kept insisting that just a little more money, a little more effort, would produce the social euphoria of the elusive Great Society. As Mickey Kaus argues in The End of Equality, the liberal response to every setback could be summarized in one word: 'more.' When welfare seemed to cause fathers to abandon their families, liberals responded that payments should be extended to families where the father remains at home. But this in turn encouraged recipients to stay or become unemployed. The answer to that? Give money to employed poor fathers, too. But this in turn created an incentive for families to split up the moment the father moved out of poverty, so they wouldn't lose their benefits. Meanwhile, if you criticized any of this, you were a fascist."

Whenever people's behavior becomes disconnected from the consequences (whether good or bad), productive behavior is discouraged and unproductive or even harmful behavior is encouraged. Government should quit shielding people from experiencing the natural results of their choices. Unfortunately, in our current political environment, politicians who allow their constituents to bear the brunt of bad decisions--who fail to "feel their pain"--end up looking like uncaring jerks and losing their jobs. Like the hapless parent cowed into buying their brat a candy bar at the grocery store checkout line, modern politicians are powerless to resist the childish demands of an American electorate who refuses to grow up and face reality.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ohio First in the Nation!

...in food stamp recipients. An incredible 1 in 10 Ohioans receive food stamps at a cost of $121 million annually and rising. Crazy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some Inconvenient Facts

This recent Australian story on global warming points up new data from NASA's Aqua satellite coupled with the realization that warming has plateaued or decreased over the last ten years despite an increase in carbon emissions. The story goes a bit far in assuming that these inconvenient facts will be acknowledged by the Establishment in any meaningful way. Yet this house of cards will have to fall someday--might as well be sooner than later!

Homeschooling Defended

For those of your interested in homeschooling (or individual liberty), Dana Hanley at Principled Discovery has a great response to the standard objections to homeschooling as stated recently by Stephen Downes of the National Research Council.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bringing Us Together

Barack Obama's recent speech about race has really got me thinking--maybe this blog has not been connecting with minority readers in a meaningful way. So, in the interest of dialogue and a shared understanding, I give you: Stuff White People Like. Very entertaining and surprisingly accurate...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Political Heirs of Hoover

In a piece about how we should be more optimistic about the economy, Larry Kudlow gives out a nice little history lesson about the legacy of Herbert Hoover (and, by association, FDR, who merely extended Hoover's policies in the New Deal).

Home prices must adjust lower to end the housing downturn. And it’s precisely these lower prices that will allow young families to afford new homes. Prices may fall, but homes don’t go away. Markets, not government, are the best way to sort this out.

Bush gets all this. And yet he’s attacked for his free-market moorings. Liberal columnist Maureen Dowd says he’s “plum loco.” She and Sen. Charles Schumer call him the new Herbert Hoover.

But let’s take a closer look.

It was Hoover who signed the Smoot-Hawley trade-protectionism act and overturned the Coolidge-Mellon tax cuts. These disastrous measures — along with monetary contraction from a fledgling Federal Reserve — turned a recession into a depression. FDR didn’t help matters, either. His misbegotten tax hikes on successful earners and businesses, and his alphabet agencies to control the industrial and farming sectors, extended the depression and held unemployment near 20 percent.

Today, it’s the Hill-Bama Democrats who want to raise taxes on successful producers. And they want to turn protectionist by reopening NAFTA and stopping any new open-trade treaties. Schumer himself has spent years bashing China, threatening the nation with huge tariffs if its currency policies don’t conform to demands.

If anyone has resurrected the party of Hoover, it’s today’s Democrats. They’ve adopted pessimism as their national pastime, and want us to believe we’re already in a long and deep recession.

Until the days of the "progressive" Hoover, et al, presidents did nothing to interfere in market downturns. As a result of this do-nothingness, the free market worked out its own kinks. The minute these progressives tried to "fix" the free market, the country got hurled straight into the Great Depression.

Nowadays people expect, even demand, that the president and congress lurch into action when anything goes wrong--especially when it's the economy. While this seems logical and makes people feel better, it really just ends up hurting productive citizens and rewarding unproductive ones. This sort of thing is bad for everyone. We need to support more candidates who pledge to do nothing!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Operation Chaos: Working

McCain is finally benefiting from Democrat in-fighting, polling above either Dem candidate for the first time. Rush's "plan" to throw support to the losing Clinton campaign to undercut Obama seems to be working. However, Obama may be losing his lead due to the influence of Sean Hannity and others who have been harping on Obama's troubled connections to his inflammatory anti-American pastor. The more people hear Rev. Wright's hate-filled race-baiting and the like, the more they wake up from their Obama-induced trance.

This brings us ever closer to the ultimate Republican scenario: Obama wins the popular vote, but Hillary wins the nomination (due to super-delegate turn-around or dirty tricks). This would throw the Democrats into utter chaos and leave the eventual nominee with little chance to campaign for the top job.

Meanwhile, McCain sits back and looks, well...presidential.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Only a very gross substance of concrete conception can make any impression on the minds of the masses. They must get their ideas very absolutely put, and are much readier to receive a half truth which they can promptly understand than a whole truth which has too many sides to be seen all at once. The competent leader of men cares little for the internal niceties of other peoples' characters: he cares much--everything--for the external uses to which they may be put... He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates... It is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader."

Any guesses? Marx? Mussolini? Hitler? Stalin? You're on the right track. This little passage of blatant socialist dogma, written in 1890, comes from Woodrow Wilson (elected president in 1912), whom Jonah Goldberg declares as the "first fascist dictator of the twentieth century."

Goldberg makes this audacious claim, and many others, in his new book, Liberal Fascism. He shatters the cliche, but mistaken, notion that fascism is a product of the political right. It is, in fact, barely more than nationalistic socialism. Because communism is international socialism, fascism gets placed in opposition to it, and, incorrectly, to the right of it, but the two agree on nearly all aspects of economic theory and the role of centralized government over individual freedom.

Wilson suppressed newspapers, jailed political enemies and unleashed gangs of thugs on the American people to keep them in line politically. Imagine if everything liberals accuse Bush of doing and threatening to do in subverting personal freedom were true. Now double that fevered Orwellian vision and you can begin to understand what Wilson actually perpetrated. By the way, Wilson was a Progressive, the very root of today's Democrat Party.

I'm only about 100 pages in, but already Liberal Fascism is the best book I've read this year!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Carnival of Principled Government

Check out this interesting blog carnival. One of our homeschool posts was included. Join the fight against big government!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Decline and Fall of Europe

Here is a very interesting interview of Dr. Bruce Thornton, author of the new book Decline and Fall: Europe's Slow Motion Suicide. He pegs the decline of Christianity as the beginning of the end and sees the rise of the EU (in the face of Islam) as the final blow to traditional democratic European culture.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Future of Health Care

During the current election cycle I have been paying special attention to the debate over health care, specifically that holy grail called "universal coverage." I see many similarities to the debate over prescription drug coverage from 1999-2000. As it was then, the question has become when, not if. Universal health care is coming--it's only a matter of time.

So it was with great interest that I read Michael Tanner's column today at NRO. He points to a small, but significant, twist to the current shape of the discussion. While Hillary still clings to mandatory health insurance, ala 1993, Obama and McCain have focused largely on reducing the overall cost of health care (currently a whopping 17% of GDP).

Obama's plan: "Obama would rely much more on the heavy hand of government. Among other things, he would impose caps on insurance premiums and price controls on drug companies. He would have the government establish national practice standards for doctors. And, he would create a National Health Insurance Exchange as a sort of clearinghouse to make it easier for businesses and individuals to shop for the best insurance."

McCain's plan: "McCain, in contrast, would attempt to promote greater competition among private health insurers. He would allow people to buy insurance plans across state lines, which will help drive down rates. And he would try to shift away from our current employment-based insurance system toward a system where individuals purchase and own their own insurance plans. He would do this by replacing the current tax break for employer-provided insurance with a refundable $2,500 tax credit for individuals, and $5,000 for families. The idea is that once people start to buy their own insurance, they’ll be in a position to insist on lower prices and higher quality — just as they do with every other product they buy."

Obviously, McCain's free market approach would be far better--better, even, than the status quo, where many employees are convinced they have "free" health care courtesy of their benevolent employer. Removed from the pain of high prices, these consumers have little incentive to demand a better deal. Meanwhile, Obama's plan leads us down the same road on which all price control schemes travel--a road that ends in poor quality and scarcity (see Canada, UK, France, etc. for a more detailed picture of these effects).

The larger point is that the debate has shifted (so long as Clinton doesn't rise from the ashes) away from the absolute government health care system we fear most. This is good news for everyone.

Unfortunately, neither candidate has mentioned the single most effective policy to reduce health care costs: medical liability tort reform. Texas capped pain and suffering damages at $250,000. This improved health care almost overnight. The AMA (see link above) notes:

Internists' premiums in states with caps were 17% less than in states without caps. General surgeons' and ob-gyns' rates were 21% and 26% lower, respectively.

A $250,000 award limit in states without effective reforms could result in premium savings of $1.4 billion.

The number of physicians practicing in high-risk specialties is 4% to 7% higher in states with caps.

A 60% increase in medical liability premiums between 2000 and 2003 was linked to a $7.1 billion increase in spending on physician Medicare services.

A 10% increase in claims payments was tied to a 1.5% to 1.8% increase in utilization of diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Conservatives should be fighting hard for market solutions at every turn, but we also need to advocate tort reform. The Democrats will oppose this agenda to their last breath since trial lawyers contribute the most money to Democrat coffers. Nevertheless, this represents the best solution to the problem. Perhaps when more and more consumers have to come face to face with the true cost of health care, the public will be ready to demand real reform. I only hope that government officials have the nerve to refrain from simply enacting more policies to further shield the public from this much needed dose of reality.

Quote of the Day

I saw this on digg: "Saying that Hillary has Executive Branch experience is like saying Yoko Ono was a Beatle."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Homeschooling, Another Point

Karen found this interesting blog post today from Question the Culture. It makes an excellent case against states requiring certification for parents teaching their own children by comparing it to the job of feeding children, something else individuals and states both do.

When the government feeds your child at school, we tend to require a certain level of competence. Is the food healthy? Did the lunch ladies wash their hands before preparing it? If we get any unacceptable answers, phone calls will be made and heads will roll. On what basis do we ask these demanding and probing questions? Schools feed children (and must do it adequately) because we pay them to do it. It's our business to monitor them.

Does it work the other way around? Do state officials have the right to look in your refrigerator and certify that your food is healthy? Do they have a right to check your hands pre- and post-meal? Of course they don't! Even communists don't take it that far. Why does the state not have a similar right to demand and probe? We (well, most of us) pay for our own food. It's really none of their business what we feed our kids, so long as they don't starve to death.

Now, apply all this to the California homeschooling controversy. We require that teachers in government schools be certified because we pay for them. Certification is expected for private school teachers by the parents of their students because they foot the bill. Does it work the other way around? Should the state require certification for parents who only teach their own children? Last time I checked, states aren't very interested in paying my wife to homeschool our children. Who's footing that bill? Us. Whose business is it? Ours and ours alone.

The only way the California stance makes sense is if you switch around the responsibility for the children. If parents are responsible (if they are the parents' kids), parents should get the final say in any matter regarding their children. However, if government is responsible (if they are the government's kids), they should get to call the shots. So whose kids are they anyway?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Homeschooling Curbed in CA

A recent judicial ruling in California severely limits parents' ability to homeschool their children in that state. The San Francisco Chronicle has a fairly descriptive story. However, not all groups are convinced that this decision will have the crushing impact feared by many. Ace of Spades makes some interesting clarifications. See the comments for a lively discussion.

Despite the specifics of this case, it is clear that liberal educrats and teacher unions will use any means available to curtail and/or end homeschooling as an option for American parents. These liberals understand the benefit of shaping the next generation inside the classroom where liberal values (eco-friendliness, anti-capitalism, pro-homosexual, evolution, anti-American, etc.) can be dispensed without the inconvenience of an opposing viewpoint. They see (correctly) that homeschooling poses the greatest threat to their education monopoly.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Major terror attack in Jerusalem

I received an e-mail from David Dolan, an American Christian journalist in Israel just a few minutes ago. His update on the situation in Jerusalem is as of 3:30 ET:

10:30 PM

WE HAVE JUST HAD A MAJOR PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK HERE IN JERUSALEM, JUST HOURS AFTER I SENT OUT THIS EARLIER COMMENTARY TO YOU. IT IS THE FIRST MAJOR TERROR ASSAULT IN THE ISRAELI CAPITOL SINCE A CITY BUS WAS BLOWN UP BY A SUICIDE BOMBER ONE BLOCK FROM MY HOME ON FEBRUARY 22, 2004. THAT ATTACK TOOK EIGHT LIVES. THIS ASSAULT, AT A WELL KNOWN JEWISH RELIGIOUS HIGH SCHOOL LOCATED NEAR THE WESTERN ENTRANCE TO THE CITY, AROUND THE SAME NUMBER. CURRENTLY THE MAIN HIGHWAY FROM TEL AVIV INTO JERUSALEM IS CLOSED AS POLICE CARRY OUT SEARCHES. SPONTANEOUS ISRAELI DEMONSTRATIONS EXPRESSSING ANGER OVER THE PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK ARE TAKING PLACE IN THE CENTER OF THE CITY.

WITH TENSIONS AT A FEVER PITCH IN THE CITY, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE UNTIMELY SLAUGHTER OF SO MANY YOUNG JEWISH MALE STUDENTS WILL PROVOKE A MAJOR ISRAELI MILITARY RESPONSE. EARLIER AT SUNSET, I WATCHED FROM MY ROOF AS SMOKE AROSE FROM SEVERAL PALESTINIAN DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE CITY, APPARENTLY DESIGNED TO COINCIDE WITH THE VISIT OF AMERCIAN SECRETARY OF STATE RICE, WHO IS STILL HERE TONIGHT.

THINGS ARE DEFINITELY HEATING UP HERE TO A SIGINFICANT DEGREE, AND I SUSPECT THIS MONTH WILL NOT ONLY MARK THE BEGINNING OF A NEW VIOLENT HAMAS-LED PALESTINIAN UPRISING, BUT WILL ALSO SIGNAL A MUCH FULLER CONFLICT IN THE REGION, POSSIBLY ENDING UP IN WAR WITH HIZBULLAH, SYRIA AND IRAN. WITH THE CONFLICT SEEMINGLY ESCALATING EVERY DAY, WE DO APPRECIATE YOUR PRAYERS.


More information available from The Jersualem Post, Haaretz, Reuters, AP, AFP.

An Observation

Here's your Dose of Reality for today:

It's over, he's out. Stop whining about it. And it's a long time 'til November so don't burn any bridges.


Thank you, very much.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Is NAFTA Hurting Ohio?

Obama and Hillary both have told us so many times. Fred Barnes reveals the real reason for Ohio's economic woes: being 5th in the nation for high taxes (another foolish tax to help prop up the zoo is passing as I write this). Actually, NAFTA is a good thing (as is all free trade). If two people agree to trade something, they both benefit. This does not change because there is a border in between. The notion of a "trade imbalance" is absurd. And so is Ohio's plan to tax their way into prosperity.

McCain's Freudian Slip

This pretty much sums up why I filled in the box next to Fred Thompson this morning at my friendly neighborhood polling place.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

R U 1337?

From the lighter side: I stumbled onto an interesting expression being used by all the "young people" on the "Internet" (that's the one with...email?). It revolves around the creative use of the "number" 1337. Head over to the Urban Dictionary for the 411. BTW - if you have to do research to figure out what 1337 is, you probably aren't...