November 23, 2010
This is what the Obama Administration and politcal correctness has brought our country to
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:05 PM
A few examples as printed in the Daily Mail of the UK.
Excellent Reason TV interview with Prof. Richard Epstein
Posted by George Leef at 2:59 PM
Reason's Nick Gillespie interviews University of Chicago Law School professor Richard Epstein here. Near the beginning of the interview, Epstein explains why he didn't think much of Barack Obama when he was on the faculty at Chicago: Obama isolated himself and his thinking from the rough and tumble academic environment. And that's still true, Epstein says. Obama is "set in concrete," and unable to deviate from his preconceived ideas about the world.
The interview proceeds on to other topics, including the impact of recent legislation including Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.
Professor Epstein delivers his cogent thoughts without the aid of a teleprompter.
Borders pans Skeynesianism
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:21 PM
You've heard of Keynesian economics. You might have heard of B.F. Skinner's behaviorism.
Combine the two in an "unholy" alliance, according to Max Borders, and you get "Skeynesianism":
Skinner thought you could tweak people into ideal behaviors. The mind, brain and the genes could simply be cut away in his methodology. To perfect people would be to stimulate them in the appropriate ways. But that required lobotomizing them in a way. The baby that Skinner threw out with the bathwater -- cognitive neuroscience -- has come a long way since Skinner orphaned it. And, though Skinner has been pretty thoroughly discredited by contemporary science since Beyond Freedom and Dignity, strands of his thinking have re-emerged in the work of some behavioral economists.
Where Skinner discarded the mind, brain and genes at the local level, Keynesian turned individuals and their behavior into aggregates and abstractions at the macro level. Sophisticated mathematical models were enough, it seemed, to limn the important aspects of a deterministic economy. Generally, it doesn’t matter if that economy is made up of thinking, feeling, acting individuals with different predispositions. Circumstances of time and place -- individual actions and local knowledge - are not important from the perspective of expert policymakers.
Skeynesian takes the worst of these two dead traditions. And it's thriving. To qualify for appointment in academy or government these days, you have to be willing both to lobotomize and to abstract people.
Easley hearing update
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:30 AM
12:42 p.m. Easley will pay $1,000 plus court costs. He'll also provide a DNA sample. The court session is over.
12:41 p.m. Smith accepts the plea.
12:40 p.m. Easley has been involved in campaigns since 1982. Campaigns have made errors. The candidate must accept responsibility. The buck stops with him.
12:39 p.m. Easley speaks.
12:38 p.m. Cheshire thanks "good lawyers" on all sides.
12:37 p.m. Judge Smith notes that the flight itself would have led only to a misdemeanor charge.
12:36 p.m. The evidence is "hotly contested."
12:35 p.m. Kennerly says he found no evidence that money was used illegally. Instead there were reporting violations.
12:34 p.m. Kennerly says he did not find any evidence to move forward with issues other than campaign finance issues.
12:32 p.m. On April 17, 2009, in failing to note the October 2006 flight, Easley committed his crime.
12:30 p.m. The case is tied to a flight provided by McQueen Campbell to Easley in October 2006 for a campaign fundraiser for the Bladen/Brunswick/Columbus district attorney. The total value of the flight was $1,600.
12:29 p.m. The case is tied to a 2009 amendment to a 2006 campaign finance report.
12:28 p.m. Kennerly recapping case for Judge Osmond Smith.
12:25 p.m. Easley admits the facts in the case are consistent with an Alford plea.
12:23 p.m. The official charge is certifiying a campaign financial report knowing information in the report was not correct.
12:22 p.m. Easley answers "yes" when asked if he understands he's pleading guilty.
12:21 p.m. Easley is answering the judge's questions.
12:20 p.m. Easley's attorney, Joseph Cheshire, enters the plea.
12:14 p.m. The fine is $1,000.
12:13 p.m. Kennerly confirms Easley's Alford plea to a class I felony for "failure to report" campaign contributions. The date of the offense is April 17, 2009. (Bill Kennerly is the Rowan County district attorney assigned to handle the state case against Easley.)
12:03 p.m. The former governor is chatting with his attorney in Judge Donald Stephens courtroom.
Me to TSA: Please Buy Me a Drink First
Posted by Daren Bakst at 12:26 AM
As I look forward to air travel tomorrow and potential physical assault from the TSA, I have just one simple request for TSA employees: I like to take things slow and before you grope me or see me all my naughty bits (and laugh), could you at least buy me a drink first?
Romance me. A little charming conversation before we move on to you grabbing me in unspeakable ways would go a long way to making me feel better and would improve our relationship. Just so you know what I want in my TSA employee: I like a confident TSA employee who has a lovely sense of humor, knows how to have fun, but also can be serious when called upon.
Now, I recognize that TSA employees are expertly trained (and I'm sure doctors) and would never take pleasure viewing in graphic detail the scans of passengers or groping someone, but I just have to wonder if maybe there could be a better way of going about this security thing.
I don't know, how about using intelligent targeting of passengers based on profile, kind of like Israel does and who knows security 100 times better than us? Yes, it may be politically incorrect, but since when is assaulting people, including children, who obviously pose no risk, more politically correct than asking detailed questions of passengers who fit specific profiles. Actually, the unfortunate answer is it is more politically correct to assault everyone, and that's a sad state of affairs.
The TSA pro-groping/anti-profiling policy also doesn't help much with security. We will politically incorrect ourselves into another terrorist attack, as I have long argued.
Were existing procedures not working? Were there gaping holes in security when TSA wasn't fondling passengers? Aren't there alternatives to what TSA is doing? Will the Obama Administration finally admit it doesn't respect the Fourth Amendment, yet at the same time feels that foreign terrorists should get a trial?
There's something wrong when known foreign terrorists are being provided inappropriate legal protections and American citizens are being subjected to inappropriate searches and seizures. It seems like things may be a tad bit mixed up. That could just be me though.
If I do get groped or scanned tomorrow (without first being romanced), I would hope that the TSA employee would at least remember me in the morning.
Bailing our Ireland (and other profligate governments)
Posted by George Leef at 10:56 AM
National Review's Kevin Williamson has an excellent piece here in which he discusses the bailout of Ireland.
Williamson's money quote: "Politicians fear lots of things -- honest labor, easily understood and headline-friendly scandals, constituents who read Hayek -- but above all they fear having their credit cards taken away. A government that cannot borrow cheaply is a government that cannot pawn off hard decisions on future generations; it is a government that has to govern, with prudence and thrift, rather than merely to enjoy the pleasures of exercising power."
The impact of Bush tax cut changes on state governments
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:41 AM
Much of the debate about potential expiration of the "Bush tax cuts" has focused on the impact on federal revenue and the national economy.
Now the Tax Foundation has released a new report focusing on the impact on state and local budgets. Among the key findings:
• Many state income tax systems piggy-back off the federal income
tax. Due to potential changes in federal taxable income, adjusted gross
income, child tax credits and earned income tax credits, states that are
linked closely to the federal tax code will see an automatic uptick in
revenue if the Bush tax cuts expire.
• The handful of states that allow a deduction for federal income
taxes paid are likely to see a revenue loss if federal income taxes
increase, even after accounting for other revenue-increasing effects.
• "Interactive" effects from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts,
either in January 2011 or some later date after a temporary extension,
include a decrease in the value of the federal deduction for state and
local taxes; a reduction in state revenues due to shrinking income and
sales tax bases; and changes in tax planning by filers.
• If the federal estate tax returns there would be an automatic
return of the estate tax in many states that are linked to the federal
• Congress's actions on the Bush tax cuts could affect the federal
and state budget conditions in the long term. We briefly discuss the
consequences for states of a possible federal value added tax, the
possibility that declining federal credits could hurt the states'
ability to borrow, and the potential macroeconomic impacts of Congress'
handling of the Bush tax cuts.
The TSA policy--progresssivism through and through
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 10:35 AM
Besides politics, there is another reason why, with the exception of the ACLU, there has been no significant opposition from the left to the Obama Administration's blatant violations of our 4th Amendment rights currently occuring at airports around the country. There is absolutely nothing in the ideology of progressivism that provides a foundation for opposing such actions. In fact, I would argue that such actions by the government are a direct implication of progressivism.
Throughout the 20th Century progressive administrations have perpetrated similar offenses against the individual rights of American citizens, particularly when they have had war as a pretense for their actions. It is the progressive movement that gave us the ideology of eugenics and the racist policies that ended up marring the history of states like North Carolina. During WWI, it is the first "great" hero of progressives everywhere, President Woodrow Wilson that gave us the military draft and pursued a policy of censorship and oppression by instituting the Sedition Act of 1918. This act forbade, with punishment for violators, "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United
States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others
to view the American government or its institutions with contempt. The
act also allowed the the Postmaster General to refuse to deliver mail that met those same standards for punishable
speech or opinion.
During WWII, it is the second "great" progressivist president, Franklin Roosevelt, that went so far as to steal the property of Japanese, Italian, and German Americans and non-citizen immigrants and then forced them into internment camps.
Is there any surprise then, that our current president has been nothing short of a hero among progressives. Anyone who even casually studied the history of the progressive movement during the 20th Century could easily have predicted where we are today.
Re: political bias in higher education
Posted by George Leef at 09:06 AM
Ashley Thorne of the National Association of Scholars writes here about a recent incident at LSU where an astronomy prof berated students who didn't go along with his apocalyptic ideas about climate change. Quite revealing.
Thomas Sowell on the TSA
Posted by George Leef at 08:46 AM
Great column by Thomas Sowell today. His subject is not just the latest outrages by the TSA, but the whole mindset of the Obama regime:
"'Security' may be the excuse being offered for the outrageous things done to American air travelers, but the heavy-handed arrogance and contempt for ordinary people that is the hallmark of this administration in other areas is all to painfully apparent in these new and invasive airport procedures."
Precisely. The word for Obama is authoritarian. I decide; you obey.
Smearing those who oppose the Fed
Posted by George Leef at 08:08 AM
Lew Rockwell responds here to a vile LA Times piece that smears opponents of the Federal Reserve. When you don't actually have any arguments but think you must somehow take down people who are fed up with government control, you resort to smears. We should anticipate more of this.
York addresses the president's broken health care promise
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM
Byron York's latest Washington Examiner article contends the president will pay a political price for his "empty promises on health care."
Barack Obama is only halfway through his term, but it's not too early to ask: What is the biggest whopper he has told as president? So far, the hands-down winner is:
"No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."
Obama made that particular pledge in a speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, but he said the same thing, with slight variations, dozens of times during the health care debate. And now, exactly eight months after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, we're seeing just how empty the president's promise was.
The New York Times reports there is a "growing frenzy of mergers" in the health care field in which hospitals and other care providers, pressured by the new law's provisions, are joining forces to save money. "Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve," the paper reports, "by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses."
Why ObamaCare needs to be repealed
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AMIf you have a half hour to spare, libertarian columnist Deroy Murdock’s recent presentation at N.C. State University will give you ample evidence of ObamaCare’s ills.
Don’t have the time to watch Murdock? Well, you also could read the following paragraph from the latest National Review:
The perversities of the law are impressive in number and importance. Obamacare achieves, at best, a small increase in health coverage at enormous cost; addresses the problems of small numbers of people by threatening the arrangements of of everyone; makes employent expensive at a time of high unemployment; adds to public spending when the federal government is already overextended; subsidizes abortion; dramatically increases effective marginal tax rates on most Americans when economic mobility is already threatened. It may well even backfire by reducing the percentage of people who have insurance, since paying the fine for not buying insurance will be cheaper for many Americans than buying the overpriced product the law demands they purchase.
Spending is the problem
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AMIn the latest National Review, Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation covers a theme regular Locker Room readers will recognize: Government overspending is the problem.
Despite liberal claims to the contrary, spending — not declining revenues — drives America’s long-term deficits. Once the economy recovers, revenues are projected to return to their historical average of 18 percent of the economy — even if all tax cuts are extended. Federal spending — rising from its historical average of 20 percent of the economy to a projected 26 percent by the end of the decade — is the moving variable.
Nearly all of this new spending will come from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt. Combined and adjusted for inflation, these annual expenditures will rise from $1.6 trillion to $3 trillion over this decade. Therefore, budget reform must include putting Social Security and Medicare on a fixed long-term budget with a capped growth rate.
New Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Rick Henderson's report on CJ's role in exposing irregularities linked to former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign finances, including unreported campaign flights.
John Hood's Daily Journal offers a simple rule for targeting state programs that deserve to be cut.
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