Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't Squeeze The Charmin!

Many of us fondly remember the kindly grocer, Mr. Whipple, who chided toilet-paper shoppers in countless television commercials, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin!"

Now, environmentalists want to put the squeeze on Charmin and all other soft TP. Why? In the words of one wacko, "Softness equals ecological destruction."

Here's how the "thinking" goes:

The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country's love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public's insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.

"This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council.

"Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution."

Oh come on. Is nothing sacred? What do they want us to use, that first grade filler paper with the chunks of wood in it?

I can't help but laugh at the statement that "future generations" are going to regard TP production "as one of the greatest excesses of our age." This is a joke, right?

It's clear to me that future generations will regard our extraordinary tolerance of every nut who complains about the U.S. to be "one of the greatest excesses of our age." And, if they are really concerned about my TP, they can kiss my delicate, pampered . . . oh never mind.

My, We Are Busy!

According to the House Journal, the Michigan House of Representatives was in session a whopping 1 hour and 25 minutes yesterday, from 1:30 p.m to 2:55 p.m. Whew!

I suppose that we should be grateful they showed up for work at all (except that the Speaker did not), or perhaps we should be grateful that they didn't stay in session any longer, particularly when you consider what was going on.

I've already written about the "Worker Freedom Act," but we shouldn't leave our Republican brothers and sisters out if they distinguish themselves as they did yesterday, when seven of the GOP faithful decided that the burning issue of the day involved ferret security deposits!

No, I'm not kidding.

Seven Republicans introduced an amendment to the Pet Shops, Dog Pounds, and Animal Shelters Act. This Act currently requires a person adopting a dog, cat, or ferret to leave a $25 deposit with the adopting agency as security for the person's promise to have the animal "altered" within a certain period of time. "Alteration" is a "professional sterilization procedure performed by a veterinarian that renders a dog, cat, or ferret incapable of reproducing."

This landmark bill, HB 4465, would waive the deposit if "a dog, cat, or ferret is temporarily transferred, for a period of time not to exceed 90 days, to a person who will provide shelter for the dog, cat, or ferret before it is adopted by that person or another person."

Who are these temporary transferees -- ferret brokers? halfway houses for wayward weasels? And why exactly do they need this exception?

I can't shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, there are more important things to worry about than a $25 refundable deposit to make sure certain animals are sterilized. Perhaps someday, we will ferret out the reason for this bill.

Here We Go Again (Again)

Apparently everything is just peachy here in the Enchanted Mitten, because our state legislators are turning their attention once more to the scourge of employees everywhere -- company meetings!

We've all sat through some boring ones, I'm sure, but that goes with the territory, right? Wrong, if some Democrat representatives get their way.

Yesterday, six House Democrats introduced the "Workers Freedom Act," HB 4467. This bill would prohibit employers from requiring their employees to "attend an employer-sponsored meeting or participate in any communication with the employer or its agent or representative if the primary purpose is to communicate the employer's opinion about religious or political matters."

Getting queasy yet? You will when you realize that the bill defines "political matters" as including "political party affiliation or the decision to join or not join any lawful political, social, or community group or activity or any labor organization."

Thus the real purpose of the bill emerges -- to prevent employers from requiring that employees attend a meeting to discuss union efforts to organize their workplace, a practice that is entirely legal and permitted under the National Labor Relations Act.

Are these legislators psychologically incapable of supporting business in Michigan? Don't they realize the effect such a ridiculous law would have? As Paul Kersey wrote in 2007, the last time this bill was introduced:

But passage of this bill would certainly signal to employers that the state’s lawmakers are determined to protect unions by any method possible, fair or foul, wise or ill-advised. And the legal process of having the law overturned could drag on for months or even years. During that time uncertainty over the lawsuit might make employers even more wary about locating in Michigan.

This law is the brainchild of the National Workrights Institute, which describes itself as follows:

The National Workrights Institute was founded in January 2000 by the former staff of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Taskforce on Civil Liberties in the Workplace. The Institute's creation grew from the belief that the workplace is a critical front in the fight for human rights and the belief that this effort required the creation of a new organization dedicated to human rights in the workplace. The Institute's mission is to be the one human rights organization which commits its entire effort to workplace issues.

What a pedigree.

When this bill was introduced in Michigan in 2007, it passed in the House, but died a deserved death in the Senate. Let's hope the 2009 version meets with the same fate.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Next Target

As if they don't have enough on their plates what with ruining our economy and taking over private enterprise, the Democrats now barricaded in the federal government have something else to do -- they must save union coffers from those conservative types who believe that workers should be able to keep what they earn without it being forcibly siphoned off to support union political activities.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ysursa v Pocatello Ed. Assn. that an Idaho law prohibiting payroll deductions for political activities is constitutional and may be enforced. A group of unions had challenged the law as it applied to county, municipal, school district, and other local public employers. The Supreme Court rejected the challenge, reasoning:

The First Amendment prohibits government from “abridging the freedom of speech”; it does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining funds for expression. Idaho’s law does not restrict political speech, but rather declines to promote that speech by allowing public employee checkoffs for political activities. Such a decision is reasonable in light of the State’s interest in avoiding the appearance that carrying out the public’s business is tainted by partisan political activity. That interest extends to government at the local as well as state level, and nothing in the First Amendment prevents a State from determining that its political subdivisions may not provide payroll deductions for political activities.

Clear and correct. Thank you, Chief Justice Roberts. Surprisingly, even Justice Ginsburg concurred in the decision. Naturally, Justices Breyer, Souter, and Stephens dissented.

So now we will have the hue and cry of the union apologists who, notwithstanding the results of last November's election and the current composition of our federal government, will mourn the loss of union political influence and demand that Congress enact legislation to reverse this decision and "level the playing field."

So many targets, so little time.

Constitution, What Constitution? -- Update

In a previous post, I commented on the unconstitutional effort now underway in the U.S. Senate to give the District of Columbia a voting seat in the House of Representatives.

There is a more authoritative discussion of this issue here, including the following from liberal constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley:

It would be ridiculous to suggest that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention or ratification conventions would have worked out such specific and exacting rules for the composition of Congress, only to give the majority of Congress the right to create a new form of voting members from federal enclaves like the District. It would have constituted the realization of the worst fears for many delegates, particularly Anti-Federalists, to have an open-ended ability of the majority to manipulate the rolls of Congress and to use areas under the exclusive control of the federal government as the source for new voting members.

To the present administration in Washington, the Constitution is not a work to be venerated and obeyed, but rather an obstacle to be overcome or simply ignored.

Hidden Dangers, Part 1

While we (correctly) anguish over the so-called stimulus bill and its current and future lack of any stimulative effect, there are other, not so well known steps being taken to reshape our society into something unrecognizable and dangerous. Today we review one of them, involving the U.S. Census.

Some news reports have focused on the fact that The One has transferred responsibility for the census from the Commerce Department to the White House, where it will be run by hyperpartisan Rahm Emanuel. You might well ask, what's the big deal? It's just counting, right?


The decennial (every ten years) Census is the basis for Congressional redistricting and provides the data on which the government bases spending for everything from roads to schools, and it provides economic data on which businesses rely.

If the data is objectively compiled, no problem. Liberals, however, have been trying to fudge the numbers for years by "sampling," using statistics to bump up the counts for minorities, children, and renters. So far, they have not succeeded and were rebuffed by the Supreme Court in 1999.

So how will they succeed now? It's simple -- there is no one to oppose them. The 1999 Supreme Court decision was in a case where the House of Representatives (controlled by the Republicans) sued Clinton's Department of Commerce over Commerce plans to use sampling. Now, the House and Senate are controlled by the Democrats, as is the Executive Branch. So who will sue? Even if the Supreme Court would reject sampling (after all, that pesky Constitution does say in Article 1, §2, cl. 3, that there must be an "actual Enumeration" of the population every ten years), it can't do so unless a case gets there first, which will take years, by which time the damage may well be done, both to the census and to our Constitution.

Last year, seven former Census directors signed a letter supporting a bill to turn the Census Bureau into an independent agency, reasoning: "It is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau." Senator Gregg withdrew his name as Commerce Secretary-designate, in large measure because of Obama's shenanigans with the Census Bureau.

Will all this have an impact on The One and his minions? Will they truly "restore science to its rightful place in government," as they have promised?

Don't hold your breath.

The Appeasement Years, Day 35

Wasn't it Lenin who said that capitalists would sell you the rope you use to hang them? He might have had something there, only the thought should be applied to the anti-capitalists currently laying siege to our government.

It seems that, under the guise of "rebuilding," the visionaries in Washington are planning to bail out Hamas, Fatah, and the other terrorists in Gaza with nearly a billion dollars. According to Reuters:

The United States plans to offer more than $900 million to help rebuild Gaza after Israel's invasion and to strengthen the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, U.S. officials said on Monday. The money, which needs U.S. congressional approval, will be distributed through U.N. and other bodies and not via the militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza, said one official.

The money won't go to Hamas. Riiiight. It will be distributed through the U.N. -- what could possibly go wrong? I mean, it's not like foreign aid has ever been hijacked by rogue dictators and authoritarian regimes, has it?

What are we trying to accomplish with this bailout? Are we trying to buy some goodwill over there? If that's our goal, we have the most naive and dangerous incompetents running the White House and the State Department since the Clinton and Carter administrations. You can almost hear the Palestinian terrorists laughing about how the U.S. is giving them money that (a) they will use against Israel and the U.S. or (b) will free up other money to be used against Israel and the U.S.

Our beloved visionaries are consistent at least. Just like our "bailout," they have no idea how the Hamas bailout will be spent. Reuters again:

Neither the United States nor Israel have direct contact with the Islamist Hamas movement which runs Gaza and remains formally committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.
The official said the pledge was a mix of money already earmarked for the Palestinians and some new funding. "The package is still shaping up," he said, when asked for specifics over how the money would be spent and a breakdown of old and new funding.

To recap: we are going to send nearly a billion dollars to "rebuild" an area controlled by terrorists committed to our destruction and the destruction of our most steadfast (and only true) ally in the Middle East, although we don't really know what the money is for.

God help us.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Knock it off, Colorado!

First, we had Lemieux's hit on Draper during the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs (beautifully avenged by McCarty the following March!).

Now, we have continuing drivel from some Colorado-based global warming nuts attempting to explain that inaccurate data about Arctic sea ice really isn't that big a deal. It seems that something called "sensor drift" caused "scientists" to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice -- a key factor in global warming alarmism -- by 193,000 square miles, an area the size of California!

You would think this would cause some rethinking. On the contrary, these geniuses are well aware their data is inaccurate:

The [National Snow and Ice Data Center] uses Department of Defense satellites to obtain its Arctic sea ice data rather than more accurate National Aeronautics and Space Administration equipment. That’s because the defense satellites have a longer period of historical data, enabling scientists to draw conclusions about long-term ice melt, the center said. "There is a balance between being as accurate as possible at any given moment and being as consistent as possible through long time-periods," NSIDC said.

So, they forego being accurate in order to be consistently wrong. That's what passes for science these days, I guess.

By the way, the NSIDC is not a government agency. According to its own website:

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Here's how the CIRES describes itself:

CIRES is committed to identifying and pursuing innovative research in Earth System Science and fostering public awareness of these processes to ensure a sustainable future environment.

Loosely translated, CIRES is going to chicken-little all of us until we support some kind of radical environmental agenda, and NSIDC is part of that. What really matters is influencing public policy, not accuracy or fidelity to the scientific method.

Think I'm overstating it? Get this -- in a story linked on its website, CIRES reports on a "pioneering study" that shows "changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped." So, even if we stopped all CO2 emissions completely (which we cannot do as long as there are plants and we are breathing), the alleged climate changes are IRREVERSIBLE FOR MORE THAN 1,000 YEARS!

Even if you believe the CO2-global warming connection (which I don't) and that these climate models are accurate (which they're not), nothing we are being forced to do will make one bit of difference! So why are we trying to destroy our economy and force me to cram myself into a subcompact electric roller skate when it won't help!?

Cut it out, Colorado! If you don't, we'll do to your global warming kooks what McCarty did to Lemieux, and the people will cheer uncontrollably!

Come Home, America

The Detroit News reports today that most of The One's new auto industry secretariat drives -- wait for it -- foreign cars! And, at least a couple of them don't even own a car!

Look, I am all for the free market, and if American companies don't measure up, people should vote with their pocketbooks and go elsewhere. The judgment of the marketplace can be harsh, but it is what it is, and that's what drives improvement.

That said, American cars these days are just as good as the stuff being churned out by foreign competitors. I have never owned anything except an American car and, except for the one that was totaled in an accident, all lasted well in excess of 100,000 miles. So don't tell me that American cars aren't as good as foreign cars, particularly the models in which the auto panel tools around -- e.g., a 1995 Mazda Protege (Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council) or a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback station wagon (Lisa Heinzerling, senior climate policy counsel to the head of the EPA).

The head of the EPA drives a Prius, for crying out loud -- what hope do American manufacturers have?

In some ways, there's a sweet irony here. The UAW has been in bed with the Democrats since dog was a pup, and the Democrats have eagerly courted UAW manpower, votes, and, most importantly, money. When it came time to walk the walk, however, the Democrats headed straight to their local Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru showrooms, rather than buy the products manufactured by their most ardent supporters. Nice, huh?

Can anyone trust the Democrats? They have destroyed countless black families through their misguided social policies; succeeded in keeping us dependent on foreign oil by thwarting any attempt to develop fully America's coal, oil, or nuclear power capabilities; and now shown that they are incapable of even the slightest act of loyalty to the union that is responsible for delivering millions of votes and tens of millions of dollars.

To the UAW, to black families, and to everyone who wants clean, cheap, plentiful energy -- come home. Come home to those of us who believe in personal responsibility and accountability, who value loyalty to America, and who want to build a foundation for freedom and individual innovation and enterprise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


It is always a pleasure to read Ann Coulter, and her most recent column is simply magnificent. Consequently, she will be referred to on these pages as the magnificent Ann Coulter, or TMAC for short.


First, Do No Harm

Liberals just don't get it.

When government does something, it has an impact. Tax something? You get less of it. Subsidize X? You get more of it. Similarly, when government imposes additional costs on an economic activity, the activity dries up or becomes more expensive.

Such is the case with the state legislature here in the Enchanted Mitten. As reported in today's Macomb Daily, House Democrats are drafting a bill that would impose a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures:

"The state legislation would provide a 90-day redemption period for those facing imminent foreclosure. If the homeowner submits to financial counseling offered by state or federal housing experts, they would then enter into negotiations with their lender. The mortgage company would be required to attempt to seek some middle ground — a loan modification that could prevent the impending mortgage default."

Ah, the genius of our elected officials. Take a contract between two willing parties in which one of them is not performing and force the other -- the one who put up the money in the first place! -- not to utilize its contractual remedies for at least 90 days, while the balance due continues to grow. As I said, genius.

Let's say that foreclosure proceedings don't begin until someone has missed two mortgage payments (it's usually longer than that, but, true to our ideology, we are being conservative). After two months, the lender notifies the borrower that it intends to foreclose, at which point the borrower invokes the new 90-day moratorium. Negotiations fail to produce a solution, so the lender commences foreclosure. Under Michigan law, this takes about 6 weeks, so we are now six and a half months since the last payment. After the foreclosure sale, Michigan law already provides for a redemption period, most often six months long. The lender thus waits six months after the foreclosure sale to see if there will be a redemption, which brings us to 12 and 1/2 months now since the last payment. If the lender then wants to recover possession of the property, it must begin summary proceedings in court, which could add a month or more to the waiting period, putting the lender at 13 and 1/2 months since the last payment.

Where is the borrower during this process? Living in the house, of course, without making any payments at all.

Under current law, the borrower would be in the house for about 10 and 1/2 months without a payment, during which time the borrower can always negotiate with the lender. Why add three more months to the process? This question is even more appropriate when you consider the lender is only required to negotiate during those 90 days, not to come to an agreement. The only effect of this law will be to impose additional costs on lenders, which will in turn cause lenders to raise mortgage interest rates or decline marginal borrowers even more frequently.

On a more sinister note, since this is a government-sponsored negotiation program, the government will no doubt keep track of lender negotiation records, visiting all kinds of mischief on those who are deemed intransigent or unwilling to capitulate to borrowers. Might this affect their licensing or other government largesse in the future? Who knows? And what if a borrower claims the lender isn't negotiating in good faith? Does this provide a basis on which to enjoin the foreclosure altogether? We'll see. Never underestimate the creativity of a plaintiff's lawyer and a desperate debtor.

Our hope at this point is that more sensible heads prevail in the Michigan Senate.

Once More Unto The Breach

You have to hand it to North Dakota. On Tuesday, 2-17, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted 51-41 to declare that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person. This means that aborting a fetus could be considered murder.

The bill's sponsor, Dan Ruby (R- Minot) said, "This is the exact language that's required by Roe vs. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that's what this does."

The passage Ruby references is from Justice Harry Blackmun's majority opinion in the Supreme Court's 1973 opinion in Roe:

The appellee [Wade] and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's [Roe's] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States." The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. "Person" is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3;
53 in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.

All this, together with our observation, supra, that throughout the major portion of the 19th century prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word "person," as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.

Rep. Ruby is not an attorney, so he naturally thinks words mean what they say. Not so fast, Dan. If the word "person" as used in the Fourteenth Amendment does not include the unborn, as Justice Blackmun conjured, the North Dakota bill, however well-meaning and correct (in my opinion) will likely be held unconstitutional by a federal court, since it conflicts with old number 14.

Still, after 36 years of laboring under the ridiculous reasoning of Roe, you've got to admire the persistence and courage of pro-lifers. God bless you, Dan, and keep fighting the good fight!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Hero We Need

My son's favorite baseball player used to Mark McGwire. Whoops. So, he switched to Alex Rodriguez. Uh-oh. Now what?

Many people thought of the Ossiah as a hero who can restore America, our faith, and our way of life. Then came the Gitmo shutdown, Cabinet-level tax cheats, and the "stimulus" bill. Yikes!

In these dire times, we must hearken back to a simpler day and age, when our heroes were true blue and the line between right and wrong wasn't dotted, but was solid and straight.

Here is the hero we need today. Enjoy!

Now I've Heard Everything

I was surprised to learn today that the Hells Angels are actually the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of -- wait for it -- California!

Once I recovered from that little gem, it was only a minor shock to see that the HAMC has filed a lawsuit for CYBERPIRACY! Apparently, HAMC claims that one Fawn Meyers has registered various domain names that are protected marks of the HAMC and attempted to auction them on ebay! Can this get any better?

I can't wait for the commentators who point out that our Founding Fathers were once considered criminals and, therefore, we should not judge the Angels too harshly but instead give them an opportunity to show that, as they have done with Ms. Meyers, they really want to work within the system.

From Wikipedia:

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) is a world-wide "one-percenter" motorcycle gang whose members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In the United States and Canada, the Hells Angels are incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada classify the Angels as one of the "big four" outlaw motorcycle gangs, contending that members carry out widespread violence, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods, and extortion. Denmark has banned Hells Angels clubs and motorcycle gangs, detaining and searching known members on sight. Members of the organization itself assert that this is a mischaracterization, and state that they are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who organize social events such as group road trips, fundraisers, parties, and motorcycle rallies.

The Markets Speak -- Is Anyone Listening?

The millions and millions of decisions made hourly by the marketplace produce a consensus that historically has been honored for its wisdom. Since Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations, the collective judgments rendered by the market have been studied, analyzed, and respected.

Not anymore.

Since The One assumed the throne, the DJIA peaked at about 8,400. Since then, the "stimulus" package has been the primary news topic, both during its "debate" and eventual passage and signing. The Dow closed yesterday at about 7,550, a drop of 850 points, or about 10 percent of the index, over the last 3 weeks. Yesterday alone, the market greeted the Denver Surrender with a 300-point freefall. The One's response? We need another stimulus!

"Oh sure," you say, "Use the greedy stock market as a benchmark. They got us into this mess!" Alright, let's talk energy markets. We all want a cheap, clean source of energy that will wean us off of foreign oil. How about solar energy? Here's the problem -- no one wants to buy solar panels, or at least not the solar panels manufactured by companies supported by the stimulus. The New York Times reports today:

Before the signing ceremony, Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. toured a solar-panel installation and visited with officials of Namaste Solar, a Boulder-based company that the White House has singled out in an effort to spotlight the legislation’s clean energy provisions. The company, owned by its staff, has grown quickly, expanding to 60 from three employees over the past three years. The White House says that without the stimulus bill, Namaste expected to lay off as many as half its workers in 2009. The bill will enable the company to hire 20 additional workers, the administration said.

So, without government help, Namaste Solar expanded quickly (too quickly?) -- 2000 percent over the last 3 years -- but was not making it in the marketplace, with perhaps 30 people expected to be laid off in 2009. Now, according to the White House, the stimulus bill will permit Namaste to hire 20 MORE workers. Where is this demand coming from? Not from the private sector, which has already spoken on Namaste. The demand will come from government, but what happens next year? Unless Namaste is permitted to downsize, the government will have to prop it up again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and so on. This is how temporary spending stimuli become permanent and protect businesses that would ordinarily fail.

This complete distortion of the market shows what happens when one decisionmaker -- even the most brilliant person in recorded history -- replaces the collective judgment of millions.

By the way, if you think that our current situation really parallels the New Deal and that FDObama will get us out of our predicament, you need to read Amity Schlaes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scanning the Blogs

Do you remember the introduction to ABC's Wide World of Sports? "Spanning the globe, to bring you the constant variety of sport. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The human drama of athletic competition. This is ABC's Wide World of Sports." Check it out here, with that great theme music:

Today, and periodically in the future, I'll be scanning the blogs, to bring you the constant variety of news. The thrill of freedom and the agony of the left. The human drama of political and legal competition. This is WoL's Wide World of Blogs! (Sorry, no theme music yet).

The incomparable Michelle Malkin has the latest on various protests surrounding porkulus.

Want to know about the goings on at America's biggest law firms? Check out AmLaw Daily.

For great coverage on the Coleman-Franken wrangling, go to Power Line.

Right Michigan is the place to see what's happening in the Enchanted Mitten.

Finally, for you law techies, Jim Calloway's blog is the place for you.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Sometimes, it takes the clarity and simplicity of a child's expression to distill complex issues to their essence. Here is 12-year old "Lia," who fought for the right to give a speech about abortion in a school competition. After you watch the video, you'll understand why she won.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Democratic Party Honor Roll

Today, 7 Democrats joined all of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representative to vote no on the Generational Theft Act, a/k/a the stimulus bill. They should be recognized as the only 7 Democrats to vote no on a bill that none of them read, in a vote that was rushed so Nancy Pelosi could leave the country.

The seven Democrats to vote no are:

Bright, Bobby, Alabama
DeFazio, Peter, Oregon
Griffith, Parker, Alabama
Minnick, Walt, Idaho
Peterson, Collin C., Minnesota
Shuler, Heath, North Carolina
Taylor, Gene, Mississippi

This was a courageous vote for these seven representatives. Take a moment to thank them. Pray they will remain courageous and their example will inspire a few of their lesser colleagues on the left to grow and learn.

And, of course, thank you to ALL of the Republicans who stood strong in the face of this monstrosity.

An Anniversary (of Sorts)

Today is Friday the 13th. Normally considered a bad luck day, it's a good day for me.

23 years and two months ago today, on Friday, December 13, 1985, I had my first date with the woman who eventually became my wife and the mother of my children.

I love you, honey. Thanks for all the years of putting up with me, loving me, and being my best friend.

[Our second date, the next night, included a Jack Kemp for President rally. And still she didn't dump me!]

Constitution? What Constitution?

Does the U.S. Senate know we have a Constitution that is the supreme law of the land? Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 11-1 to give the District of Columbia a full seat in the House of Representatives. The bill now moves on to the full Senate.

One problem with the legislation: it's blatantly unconstitutional.

Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides in part that the House "shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature. No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen. * * * The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies."

You may be asking, "What about D.C.?" Stop asking -- it's not in there! The members of the House come from the states and nowhere else.

The one vote against this measure? John McCain. Frankly, I'm shocked by that, but pleasantly so. It's nice to see him stand up to something that is so popular in the Senate. What a maverick!

The Republicans who voted for it: Susan Collins (Maine) and George V. Voinovich (Ohio). Yes, that Susan Collins, the co-sponsor of the Senate stimulus compromise. The Maine state motto ("Dirigo") is Latin for "I direct" or "I guide." Would someone please guide Susan Collins to a clue? And take Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter along.

[Side note: why do Collins, Specter, and Snowe look like each other?]

What's a Little Fraud Among Friends?

Our County Clerk, who is responsible for conducting elections in the County and is rumored to be interested in running for Secretary of State, which would give her similar responsibilities statewide, wrote a letter to the local paper today in which she stated:

"Now is a good time to enact early voting in Michigan. Early voting would let citizens vote before Election Day if they choose. It would reduce spoiled ballots and increase participation. Citizens who must work on Election Day should get a chance to vote in person on their day off before the election. Early voting recently started in Iraq. We can do it in Michigan. I support Macomb County's legislators who have the chance to consider other election reforms: Online voter registration. [sic] You can pay taxes and register for the Selective Service System online, so you should be able to register to vote online.

"No-reason absentee voting. You don't have to give a reason to pay taxes by mail, so you should not have to give a reason to vote by mail. Macomb County's online absent voter anti-fraud system should be adopted statewide.Macomb County's online reporting of county and local campaign finance reports should be adopted statewide. Clerks should have the option to mail absent voter application forms to qualified citizens. All-mail elections would save money, and it's time to try it in local elections in Michigan.

We have enough voter fraud in this country without creating additional opportunities for fraud to occur. What's next -- turn voting over to ACORN or just let the Democratic Party handle it? What's the difference? Either way, the dead and the ineligible are allowed to vote -- multiple times! -- under the guise of making voting easier and more accessible. Witness the outcry from the left over the incredibly small requirement that people show a picture i.d. to vote -- you would think we had reinstituted the poll tax or a literacy test.

In Ohio during the last election cycle, an Ohio federal court judge ordered the state to allow the homeless to use park benches as their addresses for purposes of voter registration. How could that possibly cause any issue with voter registration verification?

The current nutcases in Washington who are planning to stimulate us into oblivion are a perfect example of what you get when we eliminate standards. Just think how much better it will be if Al Franken gets there!

Detroit, Macomb County, and Michigan are all run by Democrats and have been for years -- look at the shape we're in. You can say the same about nearly every major metropolitan area in the U.S. and a number of states where cash flow covered up a multitude of sins (are you listening, California?)

Nice job, Democrats, keep up the good work! And by all means, let's make more fraud possible!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wake-up Call

As if we needed it, the news of the last couple days should wake up Americans to the Democrats' real agenda -- the massive imposition, in the name of "jobs" and "stimulus" of a social agenda that has never worked and will never work in this or any other country. Even reliably liberal media outlets are starting to get the message.

Much has been and is being written about the agenda-driven items in the so-called stimulus package now being considered by the Senate, but we can't lose touch with our energy woes, which are going to multiply, thanks to Ken Salazar and Jennifer Granholm.

Salazar is the former Colorado senator who is now the U.S. Interior Secretary. He has long opposed oil shale exploration, stating on one occasion:

"Furthermore, energy companies are still years away -- 2015 at the earliest -- from knowing whether this technology can cost-effectively produce oil on a commercial scale."

This, as opposed to the electric car, wind power, and all the other geothermal miracles that are currently available and cost-effective? Who is he trying to kid? [By the way, before Salazar got there, the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management said that a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. But why go there? It might take 6 years to develop!]

Unfortunately, he's not kidding. To prove it, in his new position, Salazar has decided that contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on, "scrapping the lease of dozens of parcels of federal land for oil and gas drilling in Utah's redrock country. * * * Salazar on Wednesday ordered the Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the Interior Department, not to cash checks from winning bidders for the parcels at issue in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups."

The Democrats operating hand-in-hand with those wacky environmentalists? What's next -- collaborating with ACORN?

Not to be outdone, our governess here in the Enchanted Mitten has slapped a freeze on eight coal-fired power plants now in the pipeline for Michigan. You can't really blame her -- why on earth would we need to hire people to construct and operate massive power plants to produce more energy here in our state? Besides, we're going to need those workers because they're going to be hired by -- ta-da! -- a new government agency, the "Michigan Energy Corps" which will be tasked to "put thousands of unemployed Michigan citizens back to work this year,weatherizing homes, schools and other public buildings, installing renewable energy technology,and turning our abundant natural resources into renewable fuels."

You may wonder where the state government is going to get the money to put "thousands" of unemployed persons back to work installing insulation and light bulbs and composting leaves and garbage. Well, keep wondering, because the governess isn't telling. And Michigan currently has about a $1.5 billion budget deficit.

So we will have no new oil leases, no shale exploration, and no new coal plants in Michigan. Why? Simply because these are disfavored energy sources. You can forget about cost-effectiveness, reliability, and availability, since these are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that we find alternative forms of energy approved for inclusion on the Democrats' social agenda.

Monday, February 2, 2009

All is Forgiven, Updated

Since I last posted on the Susan LeFevre saga (see January 29), the Saginaw News reported today:

"Susan M. LeFevre's fate hinged on 45 minutes -- the time it took for the 10 members of the state Department of Corrections Parole Board to consider her past and determine her future.

"Though they unanimously voted to free LeFevre on Tuesday, May 19, board members didn't believe she was truthful, said spokesman Russ Marlan, who attended the meeting. * * *

"'The board members that interviewed her were convinced that she lied numerous times, minimizing or downplaying her role in the '70s,' Marlan said.

"LeFevre accumulated 11 misconduct tickets since her return to Michigan.

"'She's trying to portray herself as a model citizen, yet she goes to prison and gets all these misconducts,' Marlan said.

"'You would expect them to act responsible if they claimed the were a productive member of society for the last 30 years.'

"Though 'her 30 years of living in a community without committing any crimes weighed heavily on the decision for parole,' Marlan said, board members also knew she wasn't exactly crime-free in California.

"'She assumed another person's social security number,' he said, 'but she was never arrested or charged with identity fraud.'"

This is even more sickening than previously known. The parole board knew she was lying to them, but no matter -- "Back to California, young lady, and don't let us catch you again! And this time, we really, really mean it!"

Our governor, asleep at the switch as usual, has not said anything about this -- no press release, no statement, no quote for the press, nothing. Business as usual.

Whither Humility?

Michael Goldhaber posted an article in the 1-30-09 American Lawyer Daily about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which article included the following passage:

"There is little to unify Justice Scalia's various comments on comparative law except his wit--but they nicely capture the contradictions between his temperament and his professed philosophy. Scalia embodies the religious moralizer as preacher of judicial restraint.

"It is quaint to think that Justice Scalia's particular childhood experience, as a devout Catholic in 1940s Queens, reflects the one and true "American tradition" of anything. That Scalia seems to think so would be of limited consequence if he walked the talk on judicial humility. But a number of studies have rated him at or near the top of the judicial activism league, whether measured by his proclivity to strike down federal agency decisions or to strike down federal laws and overturn court precedent."

Based on this, Goldhaber declares that Justice Scalia's religious views are "dangerous."

Goldhaber's article is sheer liberal condescension. What does "judicial humility" have to do with striking down federal agency decisions or federal laws or overturning court precedent? When he became a Supreme Court justice, Scalia swore an oath to "faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States." Interpreting and applying the law is his job! Humility does not enter into it -- he has to do what he thinks is right under the law.

It is always difficult for elitist liberals such as Mr. Goldhaber, who value all that is European and believe that all ethics are situational, to understand someone who has a consistent, coherent philosophy. It further frustrates them that Justice Scalia has the finest mind on the Court and writes the most cogent, readable opinions.

In the article in question, Goldhaber reports on Scalia's reference to "a 2000 ruling by the Strasbourg-based European court, holding that Britain had violated the Convention’s guarantee of privacy when it prosecuted five men for gross indecency based on private group sex. The justice referred to the conduct in A.D.T. v. United Kingdom as a 'five-man homosexual orgy.' Scalia joked: 'The Court didn't say how many people you need [for the conduct to become public]. Presumably it's somewhere between five and the number it takes to fill the Coliseum.'"

Goldhaber dismisses this as a joke. While unquestionably funny (Scalia's wit is well-known), what of the question posed by Scalia -- when does the conduct become public? What is the line between private and public, and how should courts and people distinguish the two? It is this attention to the practical aspects of judicial decisions that distinguishes Scalia from many other judges and should endear him to trial courts and practitioners alike. Liberals, on the other hand, detest drawing bright lines, because it deprives them of the opportunity to create new rules in every case that comes before them.

For over 20 years, Justice Scalia has labored to restore the Constitution to its rightful place in our jurisprudence as a primary source to be followed, not a blank slate on which to chalk up another social or political agenda. His years and his views should be venerated and followed, not denigrated by those who, like Mr. Goldhaber, lack the requisite humility to know when they are wrong.