April 15, 2012
A REPORT FROM TODAY’S San Antonio Tea Party Meetup.
A REPORT FROM TODAY’S San Antonio Tea Party Meetup.
NORTH CAROLINA: Democrat resigns amid sexual harassment stories.
Well, this stuff starts at the top.
UPDATE: A reader points out that Jon Favreau, pictured above, still works for the White House at a salary of $172,200 a year.
CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Democrat Patrick Kennedy: Obama is Running a ‘Quid Pro Quo’ White House. “The entire New York Times story is interesting. Its essential takeaway is that Obama is running a pay-for-play White House despite his promises to keep lobbyists out and clean things up. ‘Drain the swamp’ is how Nancy Pelosi phrased it. But all the Democrats have really done is make sure the swamp is under their management.”
That’s all they ever really wanted.
CAPTAIN’S JOURNAL: Obama And Romney On Gun Control. “Romney has some explaining to do on the campaign trail. But understanding why Romney is speaking before the NRA and Obama is not requires only that one understand the people with whom Obama has surrounded himself. The President cannot pass laws, but the President can do two things that are unique to the office. He can appoint judges, and he can fill positions in the executive branch of government.”
IMPORTANT DATING ADVICE FROM . . . Stacy McCain?
PROF. MARK PERRY: Gas prices are complex, but not mysterious. Also, high.
HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE: Obama 2012 Top Contributors : Higher Education Has 5 of the Top 20 Spots.
#SILENCEISTOXIC: Why isn’t anyone talking about the failure of Obama’s ‘Green Economy?’ “This piece by Andy Sullivan at Reuters is remarkable for how it highlights the monumental gap between President Obama’s promises about how going green will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and begin to transform the economy, and the actual results in the last 3 years. . . . Obama’s promises on green energy in 2008 made him sound modern, forward looking, even cool. But the truth was there for anyone who cared to see it; most of his program – including the $90 billion for green energy in the stim bill – was unrealistic and deceptive. It’s not clear that all that money added a significant amount of renewable electrical generation to the national grid that wouldn’t have been built in the first place, and plenty of evidence that much of it was misdirected (Solyndra and many other loan recipients as well as money for job training gone to waste). For all his promises, Obama’s green plans have utterly failed. The question is: Why isn’t anyone talking about this?”
ERGONOMICS: A COMPUTER MONITOR THAT WORRIES ABOUT YOUR POSTURE. Building ergonomic smarts into gadgets is a good idea, though my own experiene is that it’s more valuable to change positions frequently than it is to try to find the one perfect position.
I should note that Helen wrote her entire book — now basically finished — on this ball chair without lower back pain, though her neck still bothered her some because of her tendency to hunch her shoulders while typing. Still, she considers the chair a big success.
NON-HATE-CRIME UPDATE: Man arrested in Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day beating.
THE NATION SAYS THAT THE REAL HILARY ROSEN SCANDAL is that she’s just another of the many corporate whores who have surrounded Obama:
Per a senior Dem: “Serious Dem operatives are aghast at Hilary Rosen’s misguided attack on Ann Romney’s work history. She and others at PR firm SKD Knickerbocker have represented many clients that have raised hackles with senior White House staff. It’s an open secret in the Dem consultant community that SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment.”
As we’ve reported, SKDKnickerbocker is led by a team of former Democratic operatives and key White House figures. But instead of promoting a progressive agenda, or even an Obama agenda, these consultants score huge contracts by helping corporate interests lobby for policies that are not in line with the public interest. Many SKDKnickerbocker employees, including Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director, are also frequent White House visitors.
We’ve compiled a partial list of SKDKnickerbocker’s clients. Since the firm refuses to register as an ordinary lobbying firm, we don’t know their full roster of clients.
My favorite: “SKDKnickerbocker was hired to push for billions in tax breaks for already profitable corporations.”
Then, of course, there’s her history as an attack dog for the music industry. Well, what do you expect? They don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.
This kind of climate comes down from the top. Related: Why Hilary Rosen visited at the White House. Including 5 meetings with President Goldman Sachs.
WEEKLY STANDARD: The New York Times Speaks Ill—and Falsely—of Andrew Breitbart. “I suspect this parenthesis was added by Times editors who couldn’t stand the notion that innocent people might read Carr’s piece and decide that Andrew’s achievements were, on the whole, admirable.”
Yeah, I saw that earlier and started to link, but decided not to reward them with the traffic.
A CAUTIONARY EXAMPLE for bloggers of all stripes.
REMEMBERING NERVA: “Through most of 1966, it was still reasonable to assume that NASA and the United States might enjoy an expansive post-Apollo future off the Earth. Manned missions beyond the moon were expected to evolve from programs already in place; namely, the Apollo lunar landing program, the joint NASA/Atomic Energy Commission NERVA nuclear-thermal rocket program, and the Apollo Applications Program of advanced lunar missions and Earth-orbiting space stations. . . . The hybrid NERVA/nuclear-ion approach would, the MSFC engineers explained, magnify the benefits and mitigate the drawbacks of both propulsion methods. Efficient ion propulsion would slash the amount of the propellant required to reach and return from Mars. This would in turn reduce the number of costly rockets required to place a hybrid Mars spacecraft into Earth orbit for assembly. Five uprated Saturn V rockets would be sufficient to launch a hybrid spacecraft into Earth orbit, or about half as many as required to launch a Mars spacecraft propelled by NERVA nuclear-thermal rocket engines alone.”
THE END OF RETAIL? Why The Future Of Shopping Doesn’t Need Workers.
This end of retail might have begun in 1997, the year the great jobs race was all tied up.
In that year, there were 14 million people working in retail, 14 million people working in the health & education super-sector, and 14 million people working in professional & business services. So, for a split second, there was virtual tie in the race within service jobs.
Fifteen years later, the tie-game has turned into a blow-out. Health care jobs grew by almost 50%. Professional/business services — a catch-all that includes such wide-ranging jobs as law, software engineering, and waste management — rode the roller-coaster of two recessions and wound up 4 million jobs biggers. And then there’s retail. In 15 years, retail added only 400,000 new workers, or 26,000 jobs a year. In the time that health/education jobs grew by 50%, retail grew by 0.2%. . . . Today, as Brad Stone and David Welch report in Bloomberg Businessweek, the future of retail looks like a wasteland. Even with stores like Circuit City out of business, it might be too late for even the survivors like Best Buy to have a sustained recovery.
Well, Best Buy can’t compete on service. Or, at least, it hasn’t tried. Meanwhile, some thoughts on an alternative approach.
UPDATE: Reader Sean-David Hubbard writes:
I’m finding more and more that I’m being let down by brick and mortar stores in terms of selection. I’m a big guy, 6’4, so finding clothes in my size is an exercise in frustration. A good portion of the clothes I wear now, I purchased off of Amazon. And just this morning, I was looking for a specific frozen food item (Chicken Tandoori with Spinach, in case anyone’s interested) in both Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market and came up empty on both counts. It seems the the range of products available to the consumer are wider than ever, yet the brick and mortar stores only have so much self space. As a result more people are going to have to turn to Amazon, and similar online retailers to find what they’re looking for.
And reader Martin Murcek comments: “Well, it seems the Universe has a quota for disinterested – rude workers. As the need to interface with retail sales people fades, it seems the ‘can’t be bothered’ types smoothly transitioned to jobs in the healthcare sector. I anxiously await the day when everyone but my actual physician is a machine. At least I could forgive a drone for acting like – a drone.”
SOUNDS LIKE AN IMPROVEMENT TO ME: TV Station Accidentally Airs Porn Instead of Good Morning America.
A BAD TV MOMENT for David Axelrod. “Axelrod seems almost at a loss to respond once the talking points are challenged.”
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: “My Mother Won’t Accept My Lesbian Girlfriend.”
HOW GREEN ARE ELECTRIC CARS? Depends On Where You Plug In. More nuclear plants would help!
PROPERTY RIGHTS and disaster recovery.
IN THE MAIL: The Road of Danger.
CHARLIE MARTIN ATTENDED THE WAKE FOR MIKE BLANCHARD, recipient of the greatest obituary ever, and reports.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Obama Goes Negative To Sidestep His Sorry Record. “‘[I]f you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.’ That is what Barack Obama said when he accepted his party’s presidential nomination in 2008. Four years later, it reads like a prophetic description of his re-election campaign.”
THIS KIND OF THING WILL MAKE THE WHOLE INDUSTRY LOOK LIKE A BIG RIPOFF: Execs lent to selves at solar firm. “The executives of Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, a struggling solar-panel manufacturer, began lending themselves company funds the same day the firm received $5 million from a group of Italian investors, internal financial records show.”
UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!
THE HILL: Congress poised to hammer GSA over lavish conference spending. It’s a culture of irresponsibility and entitlement that won’t sit well with voters in an election year. By the way, I believe all the noise we’ve heard so far has been about just one of the GSA’s regions. Is there any reason to think the others are better?
JONAH GOLDBERG: Fantasies of Social Darwinism: Three generations of this imbecilic progressive talking point are enough. “The myth that Social Darwinism was a popular term in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was largely created by the liberal historian Richard Hofstadter, whose 1944 book Social Darwinism in American Thought didn’t merely transform our understanding of the Gilded Age, it largely fabricated an alternative history of it. . . . Simply put, there was no remotely serious intellectual movement—at least not in America or Britain—called Social Darwinism, and the evil views attributed to so-called Social Darwinists were not held by its alleged founders. . . . Also, it’s worth noting that the so-called red-in-tooth-and-claw Gilded Age was a time of massive, historic economic growth. It was when America overtook Britain as the economic powerhouse of the globe. That’s one reason the left has always hated it. When Europe was boldly embracing socialism, America was proving that capitalism was better at generating wealth and lifting people out of poverty.”
THE GREATEST OBITUARY OF ALL TIME: ““Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.”
IT’S FUN TO LAUGH AT THOSE SECRET SERVICE HOOKER ANTICS, especially when it turns out that the whole scandal exploded because of a dispute about 47 bucks, but the truth is, this attitude of irresponsibility and entitlement has been an issue with the Secret Service for a while. Here’s a collection of links from InstaPundit going back several years.
It’s also much worse than an embarrassment. Much of the Secret Service’s actual protective ability has been deterrent — with a reputation for dedication and efficiency, they made an attack on the President seem sufficiently unlikely to succeed that it wasn’t worth trying. That reputation took a big hit with this scandal.
UPDATE: “A culture of corner-cutting.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Rae Leggett emails: “That’s one hell of a plot for an action movie, that would never get made. The Secret Service is always portrayed in movies as above reproach (‘Vantage Point’), except for the one bad apple. What if the whole detail were compromised by blackmail?”
BACK IN THE BLOGOSPHERE: Return Of The Diplomad.
ANN ALTHOUSE: The Hilary Rosen flap shows the way to a new bipartisanship premised on the value of single-earner households. “Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if it turned out feminism served, above all, the interests of commerce and not individual liberation?”
Related item here, from the WSJ.
RADLEY BALKO: THE UNCHECKED CHARGING POWER OF PROSECUTORS.
The power prosecutors have to charge people with crimes is often overlooked. While probable cause is the minimum standard police officers need to make an arrest and the minimum standard to convict is beyond a reasonable doubt, the question is where the power to charge should be between those two extremes.
In the 22 states that require a grand jury indictment before charging, the grand jury standard is a preponderance of the evidence, although grand juries are sometimes notorious for rubber-stamping a prosecutor’s wishes.
But without a grand jury, a prosecutor’s charging power is entirely discretionary.
Once charged, a suspect often needs to hire expensive legal representation or, if he can’t afford it (and there aren’t many people who can pay for representation on a murder charge), request a public defender. It likely means at least temporary incarceration, the posting of bond, and a stigma more damaging than an arrest, but less so than a conviction.
A judge may occasionally dismiss charges due to lack of evidence, but generally speaking, the decision to charge is the prosecutor’s. And while police officers can be sued for a wrongful arrest, prosecutors are protected by absolute immunity, meaning that as long as they’re performing a prosecutor’s duties, they can’t be sued.
That “absolute immunity,” by the way, is entirely a judicial creation and — except, I suppose for absolute judicial immunity — as overweening an example of “judicial activism” as you’ll ever find, though this is seldom noted. If such immunity is to exist, it should be legislatively arrived at, not the product of judicial fiat.
Personally, I think that overcharging should cost prosecutors something. How about this — the state is on the hook for a pro-rata share of defendant’s legal expenses based on the number of offenses charged, but not convicted. Charge with 20 crimes, convict on 2, you pay 90% of the defendant’s legal fees.
Or maybe it should be based on years: Charges adding up to a maximum penalty of 100 years; actual sentence, 1 year. Government pays 99%. What do you think? I think that we need more oversight of prosecutors, and since I have little faith that the legal establishment will provide it, I’m looking for structural ways to give them skin in the game.
UPDATE: Former prosecutor, now criminal-defense lawyer John Steakley emails:
So who pays? If it’s the prosecutor personally, then good luck getting money out of someone earning a little more than a well-paid public school teacher. If it is the county government, then won’t the jurors (and county taxpayers) have a incentive to convict so that they can reduce their indirect liability? I can already hear the prosecutor’s argument: “A vote to convict means more tax dollars available for teachers, cops and cable TV in the jury room!”
And if we are going to make the prosecutor pay for acquittals, how long until we make the defendants reimburse the government for the expense of convicting them? And wouldn’t that create yet another financial incentive for jurors to convict?
Hmm. Would a prosecutor really make that argument to a jury? Would a court permit it? If so, the problem’s bigger than I thought. But I welcome other suggestions for structural reform, because I have no faith in the system’s ability to police itself.
Another reader goes a bit too far on the incentive side:
You bring up the very real point of prosecutorial misconduct. You get what you reward. Our current system incentivizes prosecutors to over charge and the plea bargain. No skin off their nose if it hurts the defendant and the plea bargain makes their life easier. However your solution tends towards punishing taxpayers, not prosecutors, for prosecutorial misconduct by adding to the tax burden (i.e. paying defense costs). The simplest solution is if the defendant is found innocent on any one charge, then they are found innocent on all. The chance that a prosecutor would over charge then would be greatly reduced, but we would also see many more guilty people go free. Perhaps the solution is to make the prosecutor face a personal penalty. Introduce three jury results (ala Scotland), Guilty, innocent and not proven. Not proven would be where the jury finds not enough evidence to convict, but enough evidence that they can’t clearly say the person is innocent. If the jury rules innocent, then the prosecutor loses his government job and has his law license suspended for a year. Then the prosecutor would have some skin in the game to balance the incentives to overcharge.
I think that would lead to undercharging. And another reader emails:
I’m a Harvard Law graduate working as an assistant district attorney in the Southwest and would like to offer some thoughts in response to your recent post on overcharging by prosecutors. Please do not use my name as I am writing in my personal capacity and do not want my views attributed to the office I work for. Thanks.
I think that the debate would be served by distinguishing between two different senses of the term ‘overcharging.’ In the first sense, overcharging means bringing charges that are not supported by the facts, in other words, the facts do not meet the legal definition of the crimes charged because one or more elements are missing. An example this type of overcharging might include charging a Defendant with bribery of a witness when the Defendant makes a victim some extra-judicial offer of some restitution or compensation, but does not actually ask the victim to change her testimony.
The second sense of overcharging is bringing charges that do indeed have a legitimate factual basis and meet the elements of the statute, but do not serve the interests of justice. For example, it my state, the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a felony, is defined broadly enough to include a 19-year old who shares a joint with a 17-year old. If the Defendant has no previous criminal history, then a felony conviction for this behavior is probably unjust. But the legislature has made it so. Another example might be a Defendant who uses fraudulent access to a computer at work to steal funds from her employer. She can legitimately be charged with both embezzlement and a computer crime. But depending on the circumstances, the additional punishment of the computer crime might not be appropriate.
The first form of overcharging is unethical and if a prosecutor knowingly brings charges that are not supported by the facts, he or she should be subject to discipline, whether administratively, through the state bar, or even criminally, if the conduct is egregious enough.
The second form of overcharging is much more of a gray area. If the charges are supported by the facts and the law as defined by the legislature, then it is up to the prosecutor’s discretion. There is nothing unethical about bringing such charges, unless they are brought as retaliation against the Defendant or defense attorney rather than to serve justice. Excepting those scenarios, it comes down to the prosecutor’s role vis-à-vis the legislature, and there is no easy right answer. In my mind, this challenge is the best argument for having elected District Attorneys.
I do agree with you that there are prosecutors out there who do not take their role seriously enough and cause damage to the public because of it. But I do not agree with using the convictions at the end of the process as your final metric of whether something was overcharged. There are many reasons why legitimate charges may not result in convictions. Witnesses do not always show up to trial. The witnesses who do show up may not necessarily come across very well. Evidence may get excluded by the judge. And a jury is a strange beast, not necessarily reaching the just result in every case. I believe that they do the right thing in most cases, but any prosecutor or defense attorney can tell you that there are outliers, cases where the jury acquits on solid evidence or convicts on insufficient evidence.
Well, even if the charges are theoretically justified, the practice of laundry-list indictments — which you didn’t used to see — puts unfair pressure on defendants to agree to a plea, because they potentially face enormous jail time if they go to trial. Prosecutors have no such countervailing pressure. I’d like it to be expensive to overcharge in some fashion. Of course, if judges were to strike excessive charges that would help, but this doesn’t seem to happen. Perhaps if we compute prosecutors’ conviction rates based on the initial charges — charge 50 crimes, accept a plea deal on 2, it counts as a 4% conviction. . . .
And reader Tim Maguire writes: “I think we could go a long way towards reining in over-aggressive prosecutors simply by barring them from running for political office until, say, five years has elapsed from their last prosecution.” Heh.
ANOTHER COMPELLING OBAMACARE DEFENSE: If the Republican Justices Do Not Agree With Me They Will Be Acting Politically.
PAUL KRUGMAN, LOSING A BET.
THE MAN SPEAKS IN RIDDLES: Can Anyone Help Parse Dick Cheney’s Opinion Of Barack Obama?
YA THINK? MSNBC: “Team Obama Lost The Week.”
AT AMAZON, top deals in video games and software.
THE MOCKERY IS SPREADING: LMAObama.com.
OBAMA’S WAR ON WOMEN (CONT’D): Busted Secret Service Agents Refused To Pay Hooker. “Most of the Secret Service agents embroiled in a prostitution scandal brought women back to their Colombia hotel rooms before President Obama arrived in town for an international summit, Rep. Pete King said Saturday. King said the raunchy rendezvous involved 11 agents and went sour when an agent refused to pay one of the women, who were presumed to be hookers.”
Well, what can you expect from a White House that pays its female employees 18% less than the men?
And I guess the Secret Service agents were just picking up on the attitude at the top.
GINGRICH TO THE NRA: It’s time to make the right to bear arms a universal human right at the UN.
Well, he’s only ten years behind yours truly, but it’s still a good idea.
Apparently the lefty death-tweets had no impact: “Former Vice President Dick Cheney walked onstage without any assistance and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes without seeming to tire in his first public engagement since he underwent a heart transplant three weeks ago.”
JOY MCCANN: The RMS Titanic at 100: What Does It Mean?
MORE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY IN OUTER SPACE. I disagree with the thesis that because Article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty requires nations to supervise their nationals, it somehow bans private property. And I think that the later drafting of the failed Moon Treaty — which did explicitly ban private property — was an admission that the Outer Space Treaty didn’t. Furthermore, there’s precedent for the U.S. recognizing property rights in areas where it doesn’t, and can’t, claim sovereignty.
AN A.P. REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE TEA PARTY: Dead it’s not — the tea party lives on in grassroots activists determined to see change. “Dead the tea party is not. Changed? Perhaps. But still very much alive, in the back room of a Jim’s Restaurant in San Antonio and many other places across the land. . . . Perhaps nowhere is the persistent power of the tea party more at work today than at the local and state level, where many grassroots activists have decided to shift the focus of their efforts. More tea party-backed candidates are running for county and state Republican leadership positions, with the aim of having a bigger say in the party’s agenda and direction.”
All is proceeding as I have foreseen.
WELL, MY EARS WERE BURNING LAST NIGHT, but I thought it was just the niacin.
SO, ASIDE FROM THAT BUSINESS WITH THE HOOKERS AND THE SECRET SERVICE, HOW’S THE SUMMIT GOING? Fausta Wertz has some news.
RASMUSSEN: Romney 48, Obama 43.
UPDATE: Reader Mark Shelden writes: “I wonder if Hilary Rosen finally got Romney’s evangelical numbers to move?”
GIVEN HOW THAT’S WORKED OUT, I’M NOT SURE THIS IS SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUT: U.S. Leads In Clean Energy Investments.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Obama Owns The GSA Scandals.
The boys and girls at the re-elect Obama campaign headquarters are naturally sensitive about the expenditure. It was clearly inappropriate and absolutely the kind of thing they did not want to deal with in an election year. Team Obama quickly tried to spin the situation to blame the prior administration by saying that under President Bush GSA junkets increased percentage-wise more than under Obama’s watchful eye. Only problem with that spin is it wasn’t true, at least in the context Team Obama tried to make it fit.
Someone dug up the real numbers and it shows GSA junket spending went down under Bush, then up. Here are the numbers for the GSA junkets by year. Make of them what you will, but you’d be hard pressed to blame the 2010 par-tay in Las Vegas on Bush. Obama owns this, lock, stock and barrel. It was his appointee who made it happen. She planned it, mind-reader, clowns and all. And it should raise valid questions about whether Team Obama can be trusted with more dollars to spend.
More at the link.
I like the “Breitbart Is Here” posters.
Jay Beason was a senior aerospace technician at United Space Alliance until the company laid him off today. Beason began working with the space shuttles in 1988 and said he will miss his work family of 23 years.
“I spent countless hours and days and weekends with these guys. We loved what we did so much,” said Beason, who, in his most recent job at United Space Alliance, helped test and configure the space shuttles’ crew modules for astronauts.
“Turning in my badges was the hardest part. It felt like someone taking a piece of you away, a piece of your personality, a piece of your being,” he said. “I knew it was coming since February, but there’s no way to prepare for something like that. I got very emotional.”
Space shuttle workers like Beason numbered close to 9,000 just a few years ago. Big rounds of shuttle retirement-related layoffs, however, have whittled the workforce down every four to five months since April 2009.
The good news is that some of these people are going to space-related startups.
SOME BACK-AND-FORTH BETWEEN EINER ELHAUGE AND RANDY BARNETT on the Individual Mandate. And note this bit from Barnett in particular: “Offering the militia duty as a precedent for the individual insurance mandate is revealing. For it highlights the fundamental question posed by this case: does every citizen of the United States serve at the pleasure of the Congress of the United States in the same manner as a draftee serves in the military? Put another way, does the Congress have the same power over individual citizens as the Captain or Commanding Officer of a militia company? As Justice Kennedy observed during oral argument, this would be to fundamentally alter the relation of the citizen to the federal government.”
I make a related point in my just-published Second Amendment Penumbras piece in the Southern California Law Review.
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WHY NOT? A LOT OF THE PEOPLE PAYING CHILD SUPPORT HAVE TO PASS A DRUG TEST AT THEIR JOBS: Should Iowa child support recipients prove they don’t do drugs?
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Woman Seeking Man Who Knocked Her Up In The Bathroom At Megadeth/Motorhead Show On Craigslist.
AT AMAZON, Top Deals in HDTV and Video.
DEATH TO MICROSOFT WORD. I still prefer WordPerfect, but I’ve liked OpenOffice.
HERE YOU SEE THE VIOLENCE INHERENT IN THE SYSTEM: Sen. Orrin Hatch “doggone offended” by “radical libertarians,” threatens to punch them (us) in the mouth.
TEDx LECTURE: Michele Pistone on the future of higher education.
CHANGE: Judges Brown and Sentelle Urge the Supreme Court to End Rational Basis Review of Economic Regulations. “In a concurring opinion today in Hettinga v. United States, Judge Janice Rogers Brown (joined by Judge Sentelle) contends that the Supreme Court should overturn its rational basis caselaw in the economic area and return to a Lochner-era regime of judicial scrutiny for economic regulations.” Well, there is no constitutional basis for treating “economic rights” differently from, say, “privacy rights.” Rights are rights. Right?
PREGNANCY SUCCESS RATES FOR OLDER WOMEN are not improving.
ANOTHER READER KINDLE BOOK: From reader Ellen Leland, Devil’s Trumpet.
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: The Brooks Brothers Blazer Chair.
IN THE MAIL: Pandora’s Risk: Uncertainty at the Core of Finance.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: California State University may pull cash grants to half its grad students. “Graduate students across the 23-campus system began receiving financial aid notices this week and were astonished to see that the State University Grant that takes care of tuition for low-income students was missing. In its place was the offer of a federal loan at 6.8 percent interest.”
FINANCIAL-NEWS SHENANIGANS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR? I kind of think this is about slowing down the transmission of bad economic news, but then I’ve become cynical of late. On the other hand: “Delays will make it more difficult for independent analysts to understand the new data and could give White House and DOL political appointees more time to blunt the impact of the negative news resulting from the data.”
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE BUY BACK THE VILLAGE VOICE?
It needs to be saved from its disastrous involvement in the adult-services advertising business. Perhaps more importantly, it needs to be saved from the “alternative press” culture at its Phoenix-based parent company, a culture that in a vacuum is noble and out in the world is broadly successful and even journalistically sound, but which doesn’t work for the city or for the Voice. . . .
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s January 25 column, “How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls,” established pretty convincingly that the erotic-services advertising website owned by Village Voice Media was used to promote prostitution, and often violent and usurious forms of the practice.
Kristof’s column came late in the game: Interest groups and nonprofits that fight sex trafficking had been complaining about Backpage.com for some time. But Kristof’s column became a sort of crusade for the paper, and it had legs.
Kristof subsequently investigated the ownership of Backpage.com, and when he began asking questions of Goldman Sachs about their ownership stake in Village Voice Media, they abruptly unloaded their $30 million, 16-percent share in the company.
Goldman’s shame had chiseled away one chunk of V.V.M.’s financial security.
Well, when they got rid of Nat Hentoff and replaced him with Roy Edroso, it was obvious that the transition to a sex-trafficking service owned by Goldman Sachs was just a matter of time . . . .
STEVEN GREENHUT: California’s Public Transportation Sinkhole. “Thanks to labor unions and big-government activists, transportation has become another form of social engineering.”
TODAY ONLY: More than 60% off on select Kershaw knives.
JAMES OBERG ON North Korea’s Launch Failure.
THE HILL: Obama Puts The Bully In Bully Pulpit.
IPSOS/REUTERS POLL: MAJORITY SUPPORT DEADLY FORCE FOR SELF-DEFENSE. And 68% have a favorable view of the NRA.
BOB ZUBRIN: The Population Control Holocaust. “There is a single ideological current running through a seemingly disparate collection of noxious modern political and scientific movements, ranging from militarism, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, and radical environmentalism, to socialism, Nazism, and totalitarian communism. This is the ideology of antihumanism: the belief that the human race is a horde of vermin whose unconstrained aspirations and appetites endanger the natural order, and that tyrannical measures are necessary to constrain humanity. . . . Its most pernicious manifestation in recent decades has been the doctrine of population control, famously advocated by ecologist Paul Ehrlich, whose bestselling 1968 antihumanist tract The Population Bomb has served as the bible of neo-Malthusianism. In this book, Ehrlich warned of overpopulation and advocated that the American government adopt stringent population control measures, both domestically and for the Third World countries that received American foreign aid. (Ehrlich, it should be noted, is the mentor of and frequent collaborator with John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor.)”
You should check out his book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN, CRAZED PREACHERS WOULD BE CONDEMNING INTERRACIAL SEX — AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Farrakhan Tells Blacks — Breeding With Whites Is the ‘End of Your Race.’
Also, notice how Farrakhan is displaying that Jerry Falwell/Al Gore facial-bloat syndrome.
At least we’ve moved out of the Stone Age.
JIM TREACHER: Hey, remember Rielle Hunter? “With all the talk about stay-at-home moms right now, this story seems relevant. After all, Rielle Hunter stayed at home — well, a series of secretly rented mansions — and took care of her baby while the father was out there paying the bills.”
Plus this: “Just think: If liberals and the mainstream media (PTR) had succeeded in sweeping the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter story under the rug, right now he’d have a high-level position in the Obama administration. He’d be out there accusing Republicans of waging a War on Women. But they couldn’t keep a lid on the story, even though we weren’t supposed to talk about it out of respect for his late wife, who had cancer.”
There is good reason for males (men as well as boys) to be more fearful of sex than females. Contemporary reproductive technology and law place all the burden for unwanted pregnancy on them. Between the pill and abortion, women have complete control over the reproductive process. They can avoid or end any unwanted pregnancy, and the man involved has no say in the matter. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court went so far as to hold that a married woman has the constitutional right to abort her husband’s child without even telling him.
A woman’s “reproductive rights” also include the right to carry a pregnancy to term. The crucial point here is that while the decision belongs entirely to her, in the event that a child is born the law assigns financial responsibility to the male involved. That is what the boy in her study means when he worries about being “screwed for the rest of my life.” Short of sterilization, the only way for a male to be sure of avoiding this fate is to abstain from sex.
Since most people agree that teenagers should abstain from sex anyway, isn’t the trend Schalet notes a healthy one? Not necessarily. After all, if adults abstain from sex too, mankind is doomed.
This is precisely the theme of the Insta-Wife’s forthcoming book.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Tax refunds being used to pay for bankruptcy filings. “More than 200,000 money-strapped households will use their tax refunds this year to pay for bankruptcy filing and legal fees, says a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”
A MODEST PROPOSAL: Sheila Bair: Fix Income Inequality With $10 Million Loans For Everyone! “Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest. The more conservative among us can take that money and buy 10-year Treasury bonds. At the current 2 percent annual interest rate, we can pocket a nice $200,000 a year to live on. The more adventuresome can buy 10-year Greek debt at 21 percent, for an annual income of $2.1 million.”
It makes as much sense as what we’re doing now, which is the point.
SHOCKINGLY, JOHN EDWARDS WASN’T INVOLVED: Staffer claims sexual harassment by NC Dem official; Party fears credibility ‘doomed.’