From Around the Blogroll

The Wall Street Journal noted that raising taxes on the most productive citizens has become an article of faith in Illinois. But less than two weeks ago, the Journal also pointed out that Illinois is faring far worse economically than it’s comparable midwestern neighbors. Hmmm, I wonder: could the high tax policies in Illinois have anything to do with the state doing worse than its neighbors?

Writing on Sister Toldjah, Phineas regretted that, under President Obama, our foreign policy has been reduced to twitter juvenility.

William Teach wrote about General Electric’s statement that Obaminablecare is hurting it’s health care equipment sales.

Donald Douglas was sort of amused by the statements of 81-year-old Donald Sterling that he didn’t want his twenty-something trophy girlfriend bringing an black guests to Los Angeles Clippers games. His girlfriend is part black herself, and, as owner of the Clippers, Mr Sterling pays million of dollars to a lot of black employees. (Real Clear Sports named him one of the ten worst professional sports team owners.) Dr Douglas pointed out that Mr Sterling has long supported Democratic politicians and causes.

L D Jackson noted that, once again, President Obama has delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, probably until after the November elections. There’s really no excuse for this: this issue has been studied for years and years, and all of the information needed for the President to take a decision is already available to him.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, wrote about the story that the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, was keeping two sets of appointment books, deliberately delaying medical care — but trying to hide the delaying policies, away from computer records — to save money. CNN reported that at least 40 veterans have died, in part due to the delayed appointments.1 I wish that Karen had gone further with her article, because the VA story isn’t really a surprise: we already knew that Britian’s National Health Service has ordered appointment delays to save money, denied cancer patients treatment that the NHS thought was too expensive, and even had a former NHS Director die after her surgery was cancelled four times. That’s the kind of thing that happens in a single-payer system, where the government is responsible for paying health care costs: the government has to keep costs under control, and the Phoenix VA wasn’t doing anything that other single-payer systems haven’t done before; the only problem is that they got caught at it. The only question now is: did the administrators at Phoenix do this on their own, or was there knowledge about, and instructions on, this policy from Washington? We’ll be told that it was some rogue administrators in Phoenix, but there will be an immediate clue: if the director and his top staff aren’t fired by President Obama, in the next couple of days, then we’ll know that those people know enough to incriminate people in Washington.  Still think that Sarah Palin was way out in left field when she talked about Obaminablecare “death panels?”

Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom noted that the government will have an interest in telling you what to eat.

Dejah Thoris of the Victory Girls finds liberals unintentionally amusing.

William Jacobson of Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion tells us about the pro-Palestinian group which slid fliers under the dorm room doors of Jewish students at New York University, telling them that they were being evicted.  Despite the protests of the left that they aren’t anti-Semites, but just opposed to Zionism and Israels policies concerning the Palestinians, the NYU group was simply targeting Jewish students, who may or may not have supported Israel’s policies.  And while it is certainly intellectually possible to not be anti-Semitic but still be opposed to Israel’s policies, in my many years of debating with people on this subject, I have yet to find a single person who supported the Palestinians who din’t turn out to be at least subtly anti-Semitic. And Robert Stacey Stacy McCain has more:

Remember When @RaniaKhalek Played ‘Count the Jews at the Nation’?
Posted on | April 26, 2014 | 22 Comments

New York University student Laura Adkins exposed the intimidation tactics of the radical campus group Students for Justice in Palestine and, as you might expect, Adkins has been relentlessly harassed online the past two days by the usual suspects, including self-proclaimed “independent journalist” Rania Khalek.

The fact that SJP is linked to Hamas? The fact that SJP was kicked off campus at Northeastern University? The fact that SJP’s faculty adviser at Northeastern bragged “that anti-Israel activism on campus has made pro-Israel students afraid to speak out”? Khalek can’t be bothered with these facts, which expose the truth that SJP is a terrorist-supporting group that uses brownshirt tactics.

Khalek supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, the goal of which is the elimination of the state of Israel. Last month, a blogger at the Jerusalem Post called attention to Khalek’s peculiar ethnic obsessions:

More at the link.

Patterico discusses the statement by former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) that he’s thinking about running for President.  To me, the greatest reason to want another Bush in the White House is the joy of watching the left go absolutely apoplectic.  Their heads would explode! :) But Mr Bush would not be the candidate for whom I would vote in the primaries.

Hube spotted Dartmouth College’s witless surrender to an accredited victim.

John Hitchcock is back to writing more on Truth Before Dishonor, and he thanks Piers Morgan for encouraging him to join the NRA.
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  1. We cannot know how many of those veterans would be alive today had the VA Medical Center provided prompt treatment.

Once again, Vladimir Putin bitch slaps Barack Obama

 

Remember what Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), then the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, said about the top of the ticket?

Well, Vice President Biden didn’t quite get it right: he said that it would not be six months before President Obama would be tested. “Watch, we are going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. . . . I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.” It took a bit longer than six months, but the crises have occurred.

  • In Benghazi, where quick Presidential leadership was called for, on a real-time basis, the President was absent.

    WASHINGTON DC – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified this morning on Capitol Hill that President Barack Obama was absent the night four Americans were murdered in Benghazi on September 11, 2012:

    Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, “up to us.”

    In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

    Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that night. There were no calls about what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.

  • In Syria, with the long civil war, President Obama announced that that President Bashar al-Assad had to go, and tha we would send arms to the rebels trying to topple the Ba’ath Party government. Mr Assad is still President of Syria, and he’s now winning the war.
  • And now, after all of the President’s strong words, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is testing him yet again:

    Ukraine crisis: Pentagon says Russian jets violated airspace
    The US says Russian military aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace several times in the past 24 hours, amid rising tension in the east of the country.
    25 April 2014 Last updated at 18:20 ET

    A Pentagon spokesman told the BBC on Friday that the incidents had happened mainly near the border with Russia, but gave no further details.

    Earlier, pro-Russian separatists seized a bus carrying international military observers, Ukrainian officials said.

    Talks were under way to secure their release near the town of Sloviansk.

    Russia has tens of thousands of troops deployed along its side of the border with Ukraine as pro-Moscow separatists continue to occupy official buildings in a dozen eastern towns, defying the government in Kiev.

    Also on Friday, US President Barack Obama and European leaders threatened to impose new sanctions on Russia, saying it has failed to implement an agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

So, the Western leaders threatened to impose new sanctions, huh? It’s pretty obvious that the previous sanctions didn’t bother President Putin in the slightest, so it’s rather difficult to see how these new sanctions are going to have him quaking in his boots. Heck, Russian bombers even violated Dutch airspace, something which has happened before, but given the heightened tensions, the Russians would be more careful these days . . . if they hadn’t already judged President Obama and the other Western leaders as milquetoasts.

There is really no reason at all for Russia not to invade the eastern half of Ukraine, where much of the population is Russian, because the West has proved that it cannot and will not do one thing to stop the bear.

Dr Strangelove put it most simply: “Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy the fear to attack.” Mr Putin has no fear of attacking at all, because he knows that he can, and, as Hale Razor put it, the most serious consequence will be that Mr Obama will unfriend on Facebook.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Schuette decision

As expected, the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer were disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), but understood it just enough to dance around what the ruling actually was.

The 6-2 decision suggests a nation that no longer needs to directly address the vestiges of past discrimination, which have left minority communities poorer, sicker, and educationally deprived.

No, that’s not what it means. The ruling in Schuette very explicitly stated that the previous decisions allowing state schools to employ race-based considerations for Affirmative Action purposes remained in force:

(It) is important to note what this case is not about. It is not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education. The consideration of race in admissions presents complex questions, in part addressed last Term in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U. S. ––– (2013). In Fisher, the Court did not disturb the principle that the consideration of race in admissions is permissible, provided that certain conditions are met. In this case, as in Fisher, that principle is not challenged. The question here concerns not the permissibility of race-conscious admissions policies under the Constitution but whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.

The decision in Schuette concerns, directly, whether the voters have the right to decide the question in he first place, and, indirectly, whether race-conscious decision-taking must be a part of any plan to address the effects past discrimination. 1 In places where Affirmative Action plans which contain preferences or other methods to assist minority applicants, the ruling leaves those plans untouched.

The Editors continued:

That is not to say America hasn’t made progress since that sad period when no black person realistically expected to be treated according to the content of his character rather than his skin color.”

That’s a sadly amusing sentence, given that the programs the Editors want to see very explicitly discriminate on the basis of skin color.

But as Sotomayor so eloquently put it in urging her fellow justices to reconsider, “We ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.

I have somewhat less respect for the Justice who once stated that, as a “wise Latina,” she would reach better conclusions than a white male who hadn’t had her experiences, because, as a judge, she is supposed to apply the law, not set policy, but setting policy is exactly what she wished to do here. The political process in the state of Michigan reached a decision, by the most direct democracy there is — a question put to the voters — which stated that the state, including state colleges, would not discriminate on the basis of race; the (not so) wise Latina thought that her voice ought to outweigh the decisions of the voters.

Colleges give preferences to athletes, children of rich alumni, and others they want on campus. Why not do that for students still struggling to overcome past barriers to opportunity?

Some still can: colleges in states which allow Affirmative Action can, and private colleges anywhere can do exactly as the please. But that does not mean that every state, everywhere, must comply, and it does not mean that the public, either directly through the initiative process (as happened in Michigan) or indirectly, through their elected representatives, must choose to have race-conscious standards for anything.

A ruling against affirmative action suggests an ideal world that has yet to exist.

The boxed quote was visible, as a sidequote, only in the print edition yesterday morning,2 but it demonstrates the not-very-good thinking of the Editors: the ruling was not one against Affirmative Action, something the plurality decision directly stated was not an issue, but whether the democratic process allows states and other government entities to take decisions concerning what their policies will be. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:

It has come to this. Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires? . . .

Even taking this Court’s sorry line of race-based admissions cases as a given, I find the question presented only slightly less strange: Does the Equal Protection Clause forbid a State from banning a practice that the Clause barely—and only provisionally—permits?

Justice Scalia has it exactly right. The Court has, through some convoluted reasoning, and the applications of tests such as strict scrutiny, previously allowed things which the actual words of the Constitution explicitly prohibit.3 That it has become a muddled mess is hardly a surprise. And if we had had three more “wise Latinas” on the Supreme Court, we’d have had just what Justice Scalia said: a ruling which held that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits what it explicitly requires.
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  1. Left unmentioned is whether states, cities or schools must address such concerns, or whether they may or may not choose to do so.
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, April 24, 2014, page A-21.
  3. Thanks to Justice Sandra O’Connor and her attempt to be moderate, we have the twin cases of Gratz v Bollinger and Grutter v Bollinger, which tell us that racial discrimination is unconstitutional if it’s done too explicitly, too rigidly, but is acceptable if state institutions try to be subtle and sophisticated about it.

Wealthy leftists who keep getting wealthier keep telling us how terrible income inequality is

One of my bigger nitpicks about Donald Douglas is that so many of his posts reference other people’s writing without giving us enough of what he has to say; that’s not the case with his latest:

Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman Use Thomas Piketty’s Capital to Attack America’s ‘Ugliness’ and ‘Racism’

Well, I’m sure most readers have read my initial piece on the Piketty book by now, “The Misguided Resurgence of Marxist Collectivism.”

It turns out I was on to more than I realized at the time.

Every now and then you have a book that catches the moment’s zeitgeist, and Capital in the Twenty-First Century sure has the makings of another earth-shaker. (I’m finding myself reminded of the urgent reception of Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers back in 1987, a time when the country’s was awash in massive Reagan-era deficits and frightened to death of the prospect of Japan as No. 1.) At the very least members of the Washington establishment will be gleefully brandishing this tome while demanding an increase in top tax rates reminiscent of the “glory” days of the Roosevelt administration.

And right on cue, the big bloviating, hypocritical luxury leftists are pumping this book like there’s no tomorrow. I watched this full 20-minute Bill Moyers interview with far-left economist Paul Krugman earlier today. It’s a classic “highbrow” PBS joint. Behold these two left-wing know-it-alls pontificating on how horrible is the U.S. economy in this new “Gilded Age” of allegedly extreme economic inequality. And not long into the discussion we get to the root of the left’s disgusting and divisive racism and class warfare. At around 14:30 minutes Moyers bemoans society’s alleged “ugliness,” an obviously coded attack on those conservatives in particular who’ve worked to prevent a return to the confiscatory tax rates of last century. And not to disappoint, Krugman intercepts the dog whistle and launches into a typical attack on certain groups in society (ahem, tea party types, cough, hack) who are animated by those ever-present “underlying racist” motivations that are the standard fall-back trope of the congenitally stupid MSNBC crowd.

More at Dr Douglas’ original.

As American Power noted, Mr Moyers has received at least $20 million in taxpayer dollars, but declines to disclose his income, while Dr Krugman, who is oh-so-concerned about income inequality, is going to be paid $225,000 by the City University of New York for doing very little work. That perhaps these two wealthy men really don’t understand that not everybody can be paid as much as they are is the most charitable view that one could put on it, though your Editor believes it far more likely that these two very-well-connected men know exactly how things work, and are simply tremendous hypocrites.

Dr Douglas also noted CBS This Morning’s fawning interview of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), that strong advocate of higher taxes on the wealthy, who, after criticizing then-Senator Scott Brown for voting against the “millionaire’s tax” proposal, admitted that she chose not to use the voluntarily pay higher rates option on her state income taxes. And our esteemed President, who has been able to send his daughters to private schools, has steadfastly opposed education voucher programs which would allow the children from poorer families to use private schools. In the meantime, studies have revealed that very blue New York has the most segregated public school systems in the country. Why, it’s almost as though the Democrats really don’t mean a single word of what they say.

Good news!

The Supreme Court decided, in the case of Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), that the convoluted reasoning that Michigan’s Proposition 2, which outlawed discrimination based on race by state agencies, including state universities was actually racially discriminatory in itself, was a stinking pile of bovine feces wrong. Patterico has a good discussion going on this case.

The decision was 6-2 (Justice Elena Kagan recusing herself), with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsberg saying, in effect, that since the Constitution (supposedly) allows Affirmative Action (see Grutter v Bollinger) that Affirmative Action is not only allowable but practically mandatory.

I’ll have more on this in the comments as time allows.

The First Street Journal endorses Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) for re-election

Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) isn’t exactly the flashiest politician around, which I suppose really, really matters to some people. What matters to the Editor is that Mr Corbett campaigned in 2010 on a promise to balance the Commonwealth’s shaky, very much unbalanced budget, and to do so without raising taxes. Governor Corbett, capably aided by a Republican-controlled General Assembly, kept that promise.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t painless; hard choices faced the state government, and tough decisions had to be taken. They were, and this is the result:

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT

Posted by Chris Pack 10pc on April 18, 2014 · 

logo[1]HARRISBURG, PA – The Corbett-Cawley campaign today released the following statement from Governor Tom Corbett following another positive jobs report for Pennsylvania.  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the state’s unemployment rate has fallen to 6.0 percent – the lowest level since 2008 and far below the national average of 6.7 percent.

“When I came to Harrisburg, I came here with the promise of less taxes and more jobs, and we are now seeing those jobs reflected in our state’s improving unemployment rate,” stated Governor Tom Corbett.  “I have fought hard to restore fiscal order in our State Capitol, and that is creating the fiscal certainty and stability needed for the creation of good private sector jobs.  I will continue making the tough decisions that the people of Pennsylvania elected me to make, because they didn’t send me to Harrisburg to make friends, they sent me here to make a difference.”

For more information on the Corbett-Cawley campaign of less taxes and more jobs, please visit www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com.

The First Street Journal is not impressed with flashiness, and we are not impressed with promises and style; what impresses us is performance, what impresses us is when a leader tells the public and the voters what he is going to do, and then does it. Governor Corbett kept his promises, and should be re-elected.

Site attack

While the Editor does not support capital punishment, he would be willing to make an exception for spammers and hackers. The First Street Journal, as well as the older site, Common Sense Political Thought, which remains up as an archive only, and even Bridging the Gap, were hit by a fairly serious hacking attack, which showed up as a known virus on Norton. It has been fixed.

The simple virtue of common sense

From The Wall Street Journal:

Ignoring an Inequality Culprit: Single-Parent Families
Intellectuals fretting about income disparity are oddly silent regarding the decline of the two-parent family.
By Robert Maranto and Michael Crouch | April 20, 2014 5:38 p.m. ET

Suppose a scientific conference on cancer prevention never addressed smoking, on the grounds that in a free society you can’t change private behavior, and anyway, maybe the statistical relationships between smoking and cancer are really caused by some other third variable. Wouldn’t some suspect that the scientists who raised these claims were driven by something—ideology, tobacco money—other than science?

Yet in the current discussions about increased inequality, few researchers, fewer reporters, and no one in the executive branch of government directly addresses what seems to be the strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century.

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does. From economist Susan Mayer’s 1997 book “What Money Can’t Buy” to Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” in 2012, clear-eyed studies of the modern family affirm the conventional wisdom that two parents work better than one.1

More at the link.

We have mentioned previously that liberalism cannot stand questions about itself, that if putting together the small pieces, the individual problems, into a larger whole raises questions about the validity of liberal ideology, such connections cannot, must not, be made.

Maureen Dowd, the columnist for The New York Times, and a woman who has neither married nor had children, wrote a book entitled Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide.2 The problem is, for people like Miss Dowd, the title question is being asked by someone wealthy — she lives in a “stately Georgetown home” — with no children for whom she is responsible, a life status which is very foreign to most women; as much as I dislike the “1%” construction by the Occupy movement, it’s handy here, for Miss Dowd is clearly one of the 1%ers.

Vice President Dan Quayle rather famously got in trouble over the “Murphy Brown” question, because, well because you just can’t say that bearing children out of wedlock is wrong, even though Mr Quayle was noting the obvious, that for most women bearing children out of wedlock means a greatly increased personal and financial burden on them, and on their children. The linked article noted that Mr Quayle was right, but that was twenty years later; it was still a hammer to be used against the elder President Bush and him in the 1992 election.

Everything we know about human history has shown us that every culture and every society of which we are aware has developed heterosexual marriage as an institution, because it was required for bring up children. The wisdom of every society which has preceded our own was that children needed both a father and a mother, in the home, responsible for child rearing. Nevertheless, the oh-so-very-wise left elites decided that that was just so much (patriarchal?) hokum, just the remnants of bygone times, and not necessary for truly modern life!

The problem with that thinking was that it was developed by the elites, by people who had resources, by people who were not living paycheck-to-paycheck. The fictional character Murphy Brown could afford a child out-of-wedlock precisely because she was a fictional character; she was written as having a very successful professional job, written as being able to afford a plumber or an electrician if there was a problem. Murphy Brown still had to work, but she could easily afford child care. Vice President Quayle attacked an illusion built on a fictional character, saying, quite accurately, that the fictional character had real world connotations.

Well, your Editor can tell you that bringing up children is real work, and it’s work that requires more than one adult. The superwoman notion that mothers can work outside the home and be good mothers to their children as well ignores some pretty basic facts: it doesn’t matter how super the woman is, she doesn’t have the power to make the day last longer than 24 hours, and hours spent away from her children at work are hours in which someone else has to be responsible for taking care of them. Murphy Brown basically turned over child rearing to a babysitter, and the networks and the left said It Was Good, and millions upon millions of American women are turning over the rearing of their own children to minimum wage day care personnel, who are trying to care for 14 other kids at the same time.

We already know that:

  1. Children from homes without two parents are far more likely to commit crimes; and
  2. Children reared in single parent homes are far more likely to live in poverty,

but if you dare to say that single motherhood is bad for children, socially, educationally and economically, if you connect the very obvious dots, why you are a misogynist pig and advocate of the cisheteronormative patriarchy. It’s simple: if you connect the dots, if you look at the blatantly obvious evidence, you are attacking the liberal prescription for the way life can reasonably be lived.

For all of the thousands of years of known human civilization, we have lived, we all have lived with the societal and cultural assumption that normal people matured, and married other people of the opposite sex, and that sex was expected to be confined within the marital union. It wasn’t always equal: in most societies, men had more freedom to stray beyond the marital bond, while for women, such was more frequently a crime, and in some cases, even treason. But the importance of the family unit as the nurturer of children remained of primary importance.

To the left, it’s all so much garbage. But their prescriptions for how we should live have produced societal and cultural chaos; they have failed utterly. Oh, there are a few women who have been quite successful under the new rules, if anarchy can be called rules at all, women like the above-mentioned Miss Dowd.

But for every successful, elite, modern woman, there are hundreds more in our country who have all of the freedoms to have children out of wedlock and bed as many men as they wish, who are paying the price for that freedom in hopelessness and poverty. Of course, the left don’t see them as the victims of the culture the left created, but as somehow being the victims of the right, victims of the people who were correct all along. To have them apply simple common sense would be for them to challenge everything they believe, and they can’t have that!
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  1. The hyperlinks to the books were added by the Editor; they do not appear in the original.
  2. Here is Howard Kurtz’s review of the book and of Miss Dowd’s life.