Witch’s Will For A Morning In April
I will remain in “mourning” so long as Obama’s unworthy ass sits in the Oval Office.
My Pick of the Litter Today
Burying Bad Regulation: St. Joseph’s Abbey Strikes Blow for Economic Freedom
The monks of St. Joseph Abbey are celebrating. Thanks to a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the brothers can keep selling caskets in Louisiana.
When Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Abbey’s valuable timberland, the monks needed a new source of income. That’s when they started St. Joseph Woodworks, a casket company. For generations, the monks had buried their dead brothers in hand-made wooden caskets. Now, they would produce those same finely crafted caskets for the general public.
There was only one problem: a licensing requirement made it a crime for St. Joseph Woodworks to sell its caskets to Louisiana residents.
No one claimed the caskets were poorly built. They posed no health risks. And certainly the monks weren’t exploiting grieving families; their caskets were in fact less expensive than those carried by local funeral parlors.
Of course, that was the problem.
A state licensing law designed to protect funeral directors from competitive forces barred the monks from selling their caskets. The law required that the intrastate purchase of caskets be made only through state-licensed funeral directors at state-licensed funeral homes. This meant: unless the Abbey built or bought a funeral establishment with a layout parlor, a six-casket display room, an arrangement room, embalming facilities, and hired a full-time funeral director who had completed high school, 30 college credit hours, a one-year apprenticeship, and passed a test … the Abbey could not sell its caskets to customers in Louisiana.
The Fifth Circuit has now declared that law to be unconstitutional.
In St. Joseph Abbey v. Castille, the court ruled that the regulations violated both the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses.
The AP’s Complicated Word-Association Test
In what may be the greatest victory to date for the sophisticatedly asinine organization “No Labels,” the Associated Press has embraced a new policy against “labeling people.” For instance, its widely used and influential style guide is being purged of such terms as “schizophrenic” in favor of “diagnosed with schizophrenia.”
Most of the chatter about the AP’s move has been over its decision to drop the term “illegal immigrant.” AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained that the change on “illegal immigrant” was based on the no-labeling policy. “We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance,” Carroll said.
This was the AP’s first mistake. Consistency is an impossible standard to apply to the English language. I myself wish people would write about a “feckful foreign policy,” or an “ept remark,” or “ert” gasses.
“People of color,” last I checked, is an accepted term to describe non-white minorities. But grammatically and stylistically it is a long-winded way of saying “colored people.” But none save the ignorant or the ill-willed would bend to the demands of consistency and use the latter term unless writing about the anachronistically titled National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The AP advises that, “Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant.” Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”
But if consistency is the AP’s lodestar, what are we to say about “criminal defendants”? Or, for that matter, what to do about jaywalkers, plagiarists or pedophiles? If a schizophrenic must be called a person “diagnosed with schizophrenia,” shall we now refer to everyone as someone whom someone else has described as something? Where does that end?
Context matters. “John Smith, a jaywalker, cured cancer today,” is an idiotic lead. “John Smith was the latest jaywalker to be hit by a bus on Main Street today,” makes more sense.
It’s absolutely true that it is unfair to summarize a person’s life by his status as an illegal immigrant. Illegal immigrants can be fathers, mothers, artists, comedians, scientists, etc. But in a discussion of illegal immigration, it’s hardly preposterous to describe someone as an illegal immigrant.
Activists and others in favor of banning “illegal immigrant” say the term tarnishes all immigrants. As Sergio Martinez, a 25 year-old resident of Detroit and a noncitizen, told the Michigan news site MLive, “I definitely felt like it was very derogatory and created a stigma for immigrants.”
Obama’s insulting salary stunt
by Richard Cohen
I once had a boss who was independently rich, and when I asked him for a raise, he turned me down, adding that he, too, had forsaken a raise that year. A surge of anger, resentment and sheer hatred welled up in me, and were it not that I needed the job, I would have gone for his throat. His unthinking and unthinkable attempt to make common cause with me brought to mind Anatole France’s observation that:
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
Now it brings to mind Barack Obama.
The president yesterday announced that he would return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury Department. This is an effort to make common cause with federal employees who may have to take a similar paycut. This is the way this tone-deaf White House put it:
The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury.
The president makes $400,000 a year. In addition, he is provided living quarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, several limos, a very nice (Rose) garden, an (Oval) office and some very nice bedrooms, one named for a former occupant, the late President Lincoln. The president also gets a $50,000 expense account and an additional $100,000 for travel. The average government worker, I dare say, does not get quite that much for travel and might have to live in his or her own home, invariably not on Pennsylvania Avenue, necessitating a tiring and expensive commute.
This piece is by Richard Cohen which
surprised shocked me. He is usually one of the biggest Obama ass-kissers around. Wha happened?
Responding to Joe Klein on Drug Legalization
Earlier this week I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post opposing drug legalization. In response, TIME magazine’s Joe Klein, who favors it, has written a dissent, critical but serious, which you can read here. Some responses to Klein follow:
1. “Most of [Wehner’s] arguments against dope come from a different era. He assumes a bright line between alcohol and ‘drugs.’ He assumes that marijuana is the entry drug on an inevitable path toward addiction. (He also seems to infer that marijuana is addictive.) Most of these arguments seem ridiculous to anyone who has inhaled.”
What I actually argue is a bit more nuanced and up-to-date than Klein’s characterization, and my claims happen to be true. Marijuana is much more potent than in the past. (In the 1970s, marijuana was at most 2-3 percent tetrahydrocanabinol, or THC. Recent Drug Enforcement Agency seizures were 7-10 percent. In Colorado and California, the marijuana dispensaries go as high as 15-20 percent or more.) Heavy use of marijuana does adversely affect brain development in the young. And the vast majority of people who are addicted to harder drugs start by using marijuana.
2. Does this mean that everyone who uses marijuana will become addicted to drugs like heroin and cocaine? Of course not. But it does mean that most of those who are addicted to cocaine and heroin started out by using marijuana. This hardly seems coincidental. Nor is there any credible evidence that I’m aware of that supports Klein’s sweeping claim that “Those who move on to harder drugs—and the infinitesimal minority who get hooked on harder drugs—would do so if marijuana were legal or not.”
Think about it like this: Some appreciable percentage of the population has a susceptibility to addiction (genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction). Under legalization, the pool of those exposed to marijuana will certainly increase by a significant factor; and the result will be that the number of those at considerable risk of moving to addiction on heroin or cocaine likewise grows.
Government surveys found that of those age 12 and above, 22.5 million were current illicit drug users (18.1 million of whom used marijuana) and 133.4 million were current users of alcohol. More than 20 million of these people suffered from dependence or abuse: 14.1 million for alcohol alone, 3.9 million for drugs alone, and 2.6 million for drugs and alcohol.
What can we reasonably expect the drug problem to look like if we increase the number of illicit drug users to, say, 50-60 million? You will get significantly more addiction–and significantly more shattered lives.
3. We know from Monitoring the Future studies, conducted by the University of Michigan since 1975, that the rate of marijuana use in youths is inversely related to “perceived risk” and “perceived social disapproval.” Legalization would lead to decreased perceived risk and decreased perceived social disapproval; the result would almost certainly be greater drug use. (See Figure 1 from this article by Drs. Herb Kleber and Robert DuPont.) On the flip side, treating drugs as unlawful acts as a deterrent, which is one reason we criminalize behavior in the first place.
4. Many legalizers assume that past efforts to reduce drug use have been failures. But the assumption is flawed. For example, William Bennett was President George H.W. Bush’s director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Under his strong leadership, we saw substantial decreases in overall drug use, adolescent drug use, occasional and frequent cocaine use, and drug-related medical emergencies. Student attitudes toward drug use hardened. In fact, the two-year goals that were laid out in Bennett’s first ONDCP strategy were exceeded in every category.
John Walters, who was President George W. Bush’s “drug czar,” also experienced impressive success during his tenure. Anti-drug policies have shown far more success than, to take just one example, gun control laws. (Two different studies–this one by the Centers for Disease Control, which reviewed 51 published studies about the effectiveness of eight types of gun-control laws, and this one by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine–found that the evidence is insufficient to determine whether firearms laws are effective.)
I spent most of my life hearing about the “war on drugs”. Seems to me that we have now, or about to, do what Colorado has done: I don’t pretend to have the answers to this problem. I even lean towards legalization of marijuana as perhaps a way to get the criminal suppliers out of it. Or maybe not. I just don’t know.
I do know that I know as much or more than a pontificating POS like Joe Klein. Peter Wehner, being a nice man, treats Klein with a respect he doesn’t deserve. I am not “nice” so I don’t have to do that.
Farewell to Hollywood’s Favorite Bureaucrat
Now that it’s almost departure time for Julius Genachowski, Obama’s first chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, The Hill newspaper has noted one important sign of his priorities. In his four years at the helm, the FCC hasn’t issued one fine to Hollywood for indecent content on broadcast television. Now there’s a legacy.
Hollywood sends its gratitude, Mr. Chairman, for an absolutely perfect record of inaction. Who says that in Obama’s America, your campaign contributions can’t buy regulatory paralysis in Washington when needed?
Few media outlets noticed. Communications Daily described Genachowski’s perfect zero as a “restrained approach.” He wasn’t restrained. He was completely inert.
On April 1, a day on which the FCC assumed we were all April Fools, they issued a public notice with the headline
“FCC Reduces Backlog of Broadcast Indecency Complaints by 70 percent (More That One Million Complaints).” They did this by simply — throwing them out. Some had insufficient information, some were outside their regulatory purview (like cable TV), and some were outside the statute of limitations. One excuse after another. After you’ve ignored them for four years, they can conveniently go away — snap! — like that.
The Supreme Court overturned two indecency fines last year, ignoring the nudity and profanity in question because the FCC failed to give the networks “fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent.” Lawyers are funny when they defend their clients as dumber than dirt. It’s like saying “McDonald’s wasn’t given fair notice they weren’t supposed to sell spoiled meat to customers.”
But the second verdict came last June, so to wait another ten months to discuss (lack of) enforcement is a sign that Genachowski was just going to fritter away his last months in office, dragging his feet all the way. See this as the chairman’s goodbye kiss to the entertainment industry and kiss-off of the people who wasted the time to file a complaint to the federal agency mandated by Congress to hear their petitions.
The FCC would like to proceed in a way that is “fully consistent with vital First Amendment principles,” we were told. Thus the freedom of speech of network executives who broadcast profanity, near-pornography and grisly violence at children is protected. Those who write to the nation’s regulators to complain? Well, they have the First Amendment freedom to shove their own complaints into an Internet hole somewhere and have them ignored until the statute of limitations expires. Take a hike, citizens.
What Up With Republicans?
RNC Declares War on Conservative Grassroots
At a meeting of the Ripon Society held in Washington, D.C.’s exclusive Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday, new Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Mike Shields effectively declared war on the conservative grassroots. In a strong attack, Shields coined a new derogatory term, “the professional right,” to refer to groups that have publicly criticized the recent RNC “Autopsy” report.
“It’s a term I’ll be using often in the coming months,” he told the crowd of about 40 Ripon Society members, RNC insiders, and Capitol Hill staffers. But Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, who was not one of those in attendance at the meeting, was quick to note that Shields’s new term had already backfired. “As opposed to what, unprofessional Republicans?” he shot back.
“These attacks on conservatism by the Establishment GOP are reminiscent of those made against Reagan all through the 1960’s and 70’s and even into his presidency,” Shirley added.
Shields, five weeks into his new job as RNC Chief of Staff, applauded the RNC on its “courage” in publicizing its own “Autopsy” report. According to the source, Shields “gloated that not even the Democratic National Committee was critical of the report, while only the ‘professional right’ pounced on it.”
What Stockton’s Bankruptcy Means for the Rest of Us
Odds are that similarly situated cities will go to the Obama administration and ask for free cash.
by Andrew Napolitano
What happens when the government goes bankrupt? This question is one that sounds like a hypothetical exercise in a law school classroom from just a few years ago, where it might have been met with some derision. But today, it is a realistic and terrifying inquiry that many who have financial relationships with governments in America will need to make, and it will be answered with the gnashing of teeth.
Earlier this week, a federal judge accepted the bankruptcy petition of Stockton, Calif., a city of about 300,000 residents northeast of San Francisco, over the objections of those who had loaned money to the city. The lenders — called bondholders — and their insurers saw this coming when the city stopped paying interest on their loans — called bonds. In this connection, a bond is a loan made to a municipality, which pays the lender tax-free interest and returns the principal when it is due. Institutional lenders usually obtain insurance, which guarantees the repayment but puts the insurance carrier on the hook.
The due dates of many of these bonds have come and gone, and the bondholders and their insurers want Stockton to repay the loans. But the city lacks the money with which to make the repayments. It borrowed money from the bondholders during good financial times, when its real estate-generated tax receipts were greater than today, and when its advisers predicted no foreseeable end to the flow of cash to the city. The expected flow of that cash, the natural inclination of those in government to want to give away other people’s money, and the self-serving manipulations of those in power who rewarded their friends and themselves with rich pensions combined to cause the city to make generous pension commitments to its employees.
It is politically easier to offer generous pension payments to municipal employees in the future than it is to raise their salaries today. The promise to pay a pension to qualifying retirees upon their entry into the retirement system, just like the promise to repay bondholders the money they loaned, is a legally enforceable contract.
Obama ripped for Kamala Harris remark
Instead of leaving the Bay Area Thursday after what would have normally been a quiet two-day fundraising trip, President Obama faced some criticism for calling California’s Kamala Harris “the best-looking attorney general in the country.”
Obama’s comments came at the second of two fundraisers in Atherton Thursday and began with praise for Harris’ performance as attorney general.
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” Obama said. “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.”
Reacting to news reports of the event, some critics labeled the remarks insulting. “Obama in need of gender-sensitivity training,” read one blog from New York Magazine.
The reactions took place mostly on Twitter and on blogs, and many commentators took the comment as an opportunity to joke about who they believe are the most attractive attorneys general.
Judge Napolitano: Connecticut Gun Control Law “A Wishlist For Those Who Hate 2nd Amendment”
15 year-old girl leaves anti-gun politicians speechless
The Drug War on Boys
Beware of drug pushers in white coats.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that nearly one-fifth of high school-age boys have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors eventually medicate two-thirds of them. The diagnoses represent a 41 percent increase over the last decade.
The primary gateway drug for teenagers isn’t marijuana or beer. It’s prescription medication. As the New York Times piece breaking this story points out, feeding a child a daily diet of Ritalin increases the chances of dependency, anxiety, and psychosis. Sports once channeled the energy of testosterone-fueled teens. Now our overprotective culture complains of the dangers of sports as it fills children with chemicals.
“First, do no harm,” a med school lesson so basic that even high school dropouts know it, gets tossed down the memory whole by script-happy doctors. As any street pusher will tell you, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Need Proof Obama is a liar? Here’s what he said about Nancy Pelosi…
“She is thoughtful, she’s visionary, she’s as tough as nails. She is practical. She never lets ideology cloud her judgment,” Obama said.
Worth a Read:
The decline and fall of American liberal education
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Advocates Maoist “Collective” Child Raising, America’s “Kids Belong To Their Communities”…
Scarborough: Quentin Tarantino ‘unbelievably insensitive as anybody in the NRA’ after Newtown
QUOTE OF THE DAY: