Thursday, May 20, 2010

Legislative Games

The Times has a great opinion piece today on the games legislatures play, in order to slow or stall bills they don't like.
This is how things are now in Congress as partisans propose mousetrap amendments aimed more at campaign smears than doing good. The pornography stunt was the window dressing on language that would cut the bill’s spending on the National Science Foundation and other agencies.
As Kent Brockman reminds us, Democracy just doesn't work.
Kent: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.
Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --
Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.
Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?
[everyone boos]
Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]
Kent: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
Of course the simpsons was trying to be funny; I don't think our congress critters are shooting for that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Walter Williams Makes Sense

Not my normal position on Walter Williams, but today he's making a bit more sense than normal.
Here's Williams' suggestion in a nutshell. Start strict enforcement of immigration law, as Arizona has begun. Strictly enforce border security. Most importantly, modernize and streamline our cumbersome immigration laws so that people can more easily migrate to our country.
I'd largely agree with that while noting a few standard points. Williams doesn't seem to recognize that Hispanic Americans will be pestered and inconvienced by this new law. He also doesn't spend any time thinking of those businesses that are exploiting this cheap labor. And finally, while I take Williams as sincere when he says he wants to streamline legal immigration, I believe that many if not most of his compatriots on the right do not share that theory, and in fact want to keep immigrants, both legal and illegal, out of America. I could be wrong on that last point; but looking at some of the signs and nastiness, I don't think so.

Monday, May 17, 2010

From the "are you kidding me" column

A teacher in Alabama has been explaining angles and parrallel lines to students using an interesting hypothetical, according to Salon.
"He was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,' " said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.
Lord almighty.

Townhall Reader Compromise

This is nice. A townhall member giving Jessica Colotl a way out of her situation.
I can see that Jessica -being only 10 yrs old at the time- bares no responsibility for the lawlessness of her parents that brought her here illegally. Can we agree that her parents are to blame for Jessica's fix and not the USA? If so, then Jessica can stay IF she turns in her parents to ICE and any siblings who were more than 16 when they broke the law by coming to the USA. Jessica could choose to go back to her parent's home country or remain here with a provisional work visa and start the citizenship process. This way, the parents are NOT rewarded for breaking the law but their blameless daughter, who also happens to be an exemplary person, can remain. Problem: Didn't Jessica become guilty when she became an adult and CHOSE to continue breaking the law?
All she has to do is betray her parents to the authorities and she's welcome here. Great.

There are of course plenty of bloggers arguing that we have all the immigrants we need; legal or illegal. Very depressing.

Allen Hunt writes a good article

Assuming he is sincere. Hard to say though. Basically he notes in the article that a girl in Atlanta named Jessica Colotl who has been here since a child and is about to graduate from high school, might instead be deported as an immigrant.
Self-righteous overreaction describes the stand of those who vehemently insist that Jessica must be deported immediately. They see Jessica as a poster child in their campaign for mass deportation. As if a policy of mass deportation of tens of millions of illegals were even logistically and economically feasible. What was Jessica supposed to do when her parents came here with hope, looking for a better future for their kids? Remain behind in Mexico? Turn 18 and then leave the education and nation she had spent the bulk of her life in? Oh, please.
So good on you Mr. Hunt. He goes on to praise the Arizona law which I have strong doubts about (because of the racial profiling problems) but ends with a straightforward proposal.
Begin an earnest conversation now by first sealing and securing the borders. President Obama's strategy of reducing the numbers of border patrol members is a step in the wrong direction. Second, work to establish a path to citizenship for those here illegally who pass background checks and are willing to pay all back taxes and fines for any contributions evaded. Offer them a legitimate place at the back of the line for legal status here in America. Finally, set forth a cogent strategy for whom we will admit into this country and how we will do so in the future. Back that up with leadership and resources so that immigration becomes what it should be - our lifeline, rather than what it has become, our great volatile vulnerability.
That does seem in general a good approach. I'm not sure about expecting them to pay all back taxes (that might well be essentially a fig-leaf depending on how it was implemented) and Hunt doesn't spare much thought on the exploiters of these people. But in general this is an ok approach, assuming he is sincere in wanting to make it easier for immigrants to come to this country legally.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Freedom and Secularism

Marybeth Hicks has written an article, mostly about public prayer, but she wants to use that discussion to springboard onto a larger issue.
Simply put, a faithful people will resist the intrusion of the government into their lives, while a secular society will embrace government as its supreme authority. That shift is essential to the "remaking" of America now under way.
Interesting premise. I am sure there are some agnostic/atheist libertarians who would take issue with it. Liberal Christians might also take issue with it (although one presumes Hicks would simply deny that liberal Christians are faithful).

There certainly examples of Government Intrusions ito our lives that Conservative Christians seem willing to accept. For example, they don't generally believe in a right of privacy (largely because such a right would prevent them from interfering in peoples sexuality). They also seem willing to accept censorship, so long as the right sorts of people get to be censors.

They are also willing and even eager to embrace economic inequality, even when such inequality condemns individuals to lives of serfdom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why they Hate Us

Patrick Buchannan's latest article is, oddly enough, right on the money. He takes on the competing theories for why Islamic fundamentalists hate us, and suggests that rather than our freedoms or our wickedness, they might actually have a beef with our actions.
By Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Looking at America's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Maj. Hasan, Abdulmutallab and Shahzad decided that what we call the war on terror was in reality a war on Islam.

All decided to use their access to exact retribution for our killing of their fellow Muslims.

We are being attacked over here because we are over there.
I don't know if it follows that we should disengage; we might be pretty well committed at this point. But I think Buchannans's right in saying that our actions are what anger the Islamic World.

Monday, May 10, 2010

False Choices

Posted the title of this post before I wrote the text. Oh well.

My subject is Allen Hunt's latest article in which he invokes ol' Neville Chamberlain to suggest that President Obama is an appeaser.
Relying solely on one's supernatural powers of persuasion usually leads to delusion, failure, or worse, collapse. In fact, this tall task of confronting evil requires a strategy of strength rather than a policy of appeasement. Regrettably, the latter seems to be the bailiwick of Mr. Obama.
This subject has, of course, come up before (Most notably during the run up to the Iraq War). And it always strikes me as a foolish argument; because the argument boils down to any attempt at diplomacy is, essentially, appeasement. Rather than trying to avoid war through negotiation, we should be seeking war - presumably what Hunt means by a strategy of strength. This becomes more apparent when you read through the mistakes he accuses Obama of.
We have now witnessed a supposed “re-booting of America's image” in the Muslim world as inaugurated by President Obama's much ballyhooed Cairo speech. He and the First Lady have treated us to Muslim celebrations and declarations in the White House for Ramadan. The president has hosted an “Entrepreneur Summit” for Muslim leaders. He has issued paeans on the inspiring splendors of Islam, “one of the world's great religions.” Mr. Obama has even gone to great lengths to praise an Islamic cartoonist for creating pretend superheroes skilled in the art of collaboration and peace, skills supposedly rooted in the Koran.
The implication of Mr. Hunts argument is that rather than defending America from Islamic Extremists, Obama is instead choosing to appease them (by treating them as human beings and showing respect to their faith). But of course this is a false choice (indicated by my title). President Obama can fight terrorists while also appealing to the Muslim world.

Unless of course you see Islam as a terrorist religion and really do want us to be at war with it. That may be what Hunt wants; that's not what the President wants. And in this case, I think I stand with the President.

Nothing I can Add

Doug Giles' latest aritcle is about the bombing in Times Square.
Oh well, this column is just pointing out what everyone who can still think freely already knows to be true: Progressives hate America and will always side against those who love this nation and that for which it stands. Personally, I’d like to thank them for their antipathy toward the USA because it’s sure making me a great living as they present an unending supply of stupid crap to talk about on my show and plenty of fodder for my weekly column.

In the meantime I’m going to go celebrate my 40-year-old whiteness.
I'd be interested in how Mr. Giles is going to celebrate his whiteness. Oh and for the record, I am a Progressive and I love America.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Even for Limbaugh this Doesn't Make a Lot of Sense

From yestedays show - Rush takes on Obama's Cinco De Mayo comments.
And yesterday, this is White House Rose Garden, Cinco De Mayo, the president distorting the Arizona law and ripping it to shreds again.

OBAMA: The answer isn't to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation. We can't start singling out people because of who they look like or how they talk or how they dress. We can't turn law-abiding American citizens and law-abiding immigrants into subjects of suspicion and abuse. We can't divide the American people that way. That's not the answer. That's not who we are as the United States of America. And that's why I've instructed my administration to closely monitor the new law in Arizona, to examine the civil rights and other implications that it may have.

RUSH: So once again we have the race card being thrown down. We can't divide the American people that way. Of course, who is dividing America? It's Obama, with comments like this. "The answer isn't to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation. We can't start singling out people because of who they look like."
Yep. Obama is dividing America between those who want to, well, divide America and those who don't. If it weren't for America, America would be united in its desire to divide America.

The way to finesse this, of course, is to consider that Obama doesn't see Hispanics as American (except Conservative Hispanics of course), so dividing them out is fine.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More Townhall Comments on Immigration

From Jacob Sullums article earlier.
Exactly how do we identify the flood of illegal Mexicans flooding this country if we don't in some way identify Mexicans? Your type of political correctness is what will bring this country to it's knees.

Maybe if the legal Latino population were to actively oppose illegals... oh wait, that's like asking "moderate" muslims to oppose their terrorist brethren... silly me!
If those Hispanics would just stop being so Hispanic we'd leave them alone!
I'm so SICK of you pathetic jerk off weasels with your insane ethnic shirk and jerk crews who can't stand a minute of your emotional crap brains being assaulted in the name of your imagined collective governed group you so unashamedly slather the backside of.
I have to admit I don't like pathetic jerk off weasels either.
David Rodriguez was cited for "disobeying a road sign" after he disobeyed a road sign.

He was not arrested, he was not handcuffed, he was not put in a jail cell. He was cited for "Disobeying a road sign" after he disobeyed a road sign.

And the problem is what?
This argument is made many many times. Of course the problem is that white citizens were let off with a warning and Hispanic citizens were punished to the full extent of the law. That's seperate and unequal enforcement of the law. But Townhall readers, I gather, don't have a problem with that.
Does anyone else remember when the term "discriminating individual" was a high compliment, not an indictment for a federal capital crime? "I can discriminate between night and day" - "YOU'RE A GD TIME-IST! - ALL TIMES ARE CREATED EQUAL!"
What a gorgeous non-sequiter. Discriminating is not, as it turns out, a capital crime; a capital crime being one that requires the death penalty.

Someone's Going to Get Yelled At

Jacob Sullum's latest article is about immigration - and he takes the odd approach of arguing that racial profiling is unconstitutional and, well, just plain wrong.
A few years ago, David and Jessica Rodriguez were leaving Arizona's Bartlett Lake with their two children when they accidentally headed down a road that had been closed because of rain damage. They were stopped by deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, who demanded documentation from David Rodriguez, including his Social Security card, and cited him for failing to obey a road sign.

Although several other motorists made the same mistake around the same time, the deputies simply warned them about the washed-out road and let them go. Unlike David and Jessica Rodriguez, who are U.S. citizens of Latino descent, the other drivers were white.
Sullum seems to see harrassing American Citizens for being Latino as a bad thing. Let's see what Townhall Readers have to say.
Middle Americans JUST LIKE YOU have stopped scamnesty so far, but it is an ongoing challenge against moneyed, powerful, organized special interests!

As Mexifornia residents can attest, we risk losing America soon due to the ILLEGAL alien incursion and morphing ineluctably into a third world welfare state as they vote it in.

The left is not waiting for them to become citizens-- why be bothered by that mere technicality?! They load them up in vans and hand them instructions in Espanol on how to vote.

Many RINOS/CINO'S are utter FOOLS to speak of capturing some of their votes because of purported "conservative social values."
Yeah - I don't know. In fairness most of them ignore the question of how racial profiling hurts American Citizens, but that could just be choosing not to argue the unarguable. Or it could be that they don't consider Latino Americans to be real Americans. Let's be charitable and assume it's the former.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nazi Nazis

Dennis Prager's latest aritcle is upset at Naxi analogies, particularly when used by liberal jews. And fair enough; Nazi analogies usually provide more fire than understanding. But then he makes this hilarious point.
Third, when Jews on the Left call conservative Americans Nazis, they mean it in its literal sense -- they really do regard the conservatives they compare to Nazis as racists comparable to Nazi anti-Semites. On the other hand, when conservatives use the term, it is meant to signify non-democratic or dictatorial policies, regimes or individuals -- e.g., Seinfeld's "soup Nazi" or Rush Limbaugh's "feminazis" -- not as potential or likely mass murderers.
Get that? Liberals who throw around Nazi mean it while Conservatives who throw it around are just joking - like on Seinfeld! Hilarious.

In fairness earlier he does note that the tea-partiers seem to mean it, and he takes them to task for the pictures of Obama as Hitler.

Monday, May 03, 2010


Steve Chapman's latest article takes Sarah Palins plan to shrink the Government to task.
Palin's idea, a favorite among small-government advocates, is that the best way to shrink Washington is a permanent regimen of low taxes.
Simple. Dishonest but simple.

Why dishonest? Because it avoids the real question, which is what programs are necessary. An honest discussion would determine if programs like School Lunches or the National Endowment for the Arts or Apache Helicoptors for the Military are necessary (I think they are all useful) and then determining how much money we need to acquire to fund said programs. But that would require Congress-critters and others to actually sit down and think about what programs are useful, and explain to their constituents that if they want this or that program, they need to pay for it.

As it turns out, the plan to starve the beast doesn't even work from a conservative point of view. The government continues to spend money, wracking up large deficits. And the voters are actually pretty happy with this turn of events.
Think of it this way. If you want people to consume more of something, you reduce the price. If you want them to consume less, you raise the price. For most of the last 30 years, federal programs have been on sale, and they've found lots of buyers.
It's not actually sustainable, though.