Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


Old comments migrated to Disqus, currently working outtechnical issues

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another PRC Tribute

Courtesy of Michael Ramirez.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Today's Musical Treat

Inspired by this Volokh thread (where I couldn't resist making this comment).

Labels: ,

Unhappy Anniversary

The Empire State Building will mark the 60th anniversary of Communist China by displaying its flag colors (red and yellow) in lights.

Will it do something similar for the Republic of China (Taiwan)? Or the Cultural Revolution? Or the Great Leap Forward, which produce history's deadliest famine?

Labels: ,

One Small Step For Congress

The public option gets voted down in committee.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Olympia Snowe Has A Good Idea

She wants the Baucus bill posted online for 72 hours before it gets voted on.

Let's do this with all Congressional bills. And bill amendments, too - no more last-minute surprise amendments.


Arm The Photon Torpedoes

Chris Muir has a plan for getting NASA funded:

I have another plan - tell him that the aliens are awash in wealth and less advanced than we are.

If we're going to have a looting-based economy, we might as well do it like Rome and loot the barbarians instead of the locals. The Roman Empire stood for a thousand years...

Labels: , ,

A Question For Anticapitalist G20 Protesters

How do you define capitalism? You guys always show up at the G20 summits, like the one currently hosted by Pittsburgh, and y'all always decry capitalism. All the anticapitalist rhetoric I hear is directed at big business. Do you oppose all capitalism, as Marxists do, from giant corporations to small-time street vendors? Or is your beef only with businesses that reach a certain size?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Steven Den Beste's Modest Proposal

How he would amend the constitution.

SDB Amendment 2 is an improved wording of the US Constitution's Amendment 2.

SDB Amendment 3 is silly: "Hanging as a form of capital punishment is permitted under the Constitution of the United States, provisions of Amendment Eight notwithstanding." It was a standard form of execution at the time of the Founders - and at the hands of Washington's army. Better to clarify the meaning of "cruel and unusual."

SDB Amendment 4 needs amending: "No court in the United States shall be guided by precedents established by courts in other nations or by international tribunals..." English common law (prior to 1776) is a part of our legitimate legal precedent.

SDB Amendment 7 (ban on carbon dioxide taxation) belongs in statute, not the Constitution.

I'm not too keen on SDB Amendment 8: "In lawsuits where lawyers work on contingency, the lawyers collectively may not receive a greater percentage of the award than any single one of the clients they represent." I don't approve of artificial price floors (or price ceilings, for that matter), and to be consistent this should not be spread to the legal profession. I would (via statute) require all lawyers to state their fees up front.

I agree totally with SDB Amendment 9: "It is double jeopardy for a defendant to be criminally tried in both State and Federal court for the same event..." Yes, even if it's OJ.

SDB Amendment 10 is interesting: "Neither the federal government nor any state or locality may pass any law or implement any policy which discriminates against or in favor of any person on the basis of race, gender, or national origin." First, note that this prohibits government discrimination, not private-sector. He either supports the right to private-sector discrimination (perhaps as the logical conclusion of the First Amendment right to assembly), or prefers to deal with it in statute.

That all government discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and national origin bad? I would certainly not want gender-desegregated restrooms at the courthouse next time Dallas County calls me in for jury duty. Immigration law by its nature discriminates against national origin. Can anyone think of other legitimate loopholes for such an amendment?

Tell me relevant would government discrimination be if the federal government hadn't ventured so far out of its constitutional bounds?


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam West

Labels: ,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Snowe Drift

Maine senator Olympia Snowe speaks:

I've always been a Republican for the traditional principles that have been associated with the Republican party since I became a Republican, when I registered to vote. And that is limited government, individual opportunities, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense. So I think those principles have always been a part of the Republican party heritage. And I believe that I reflect those views and I haven't changed as a Republican. I think more that my party has changed.

She's right about the party changing. It won Congressional majorities in both houses on those principles, and then chickened out after 1995. On spending, elected GOP cowed to the Democrats from then on, the main reason why it doesn't have a majority anymore.

But the first part? Senator Snowe, you lie. I have seen your American Conservative Union rating. Your lifetime score is 47.88%, and your 2008 score of TWELVE PERCENT. That's one heck of a change.

And how does that $787 billion stimulus bill that you, Arlen Specter (still a Republican at the time) and Susan Collins voted for embody limited government and fiscal responsibility?


Neville Chamberlain Moment

Joe Biden says Iran is not a threat.

Never mind the nuclear weapons program for a moment. Read this June 4, 2009 Congressional Research Service report, titled Iran's Activities and Influence in Iraq.

Also, Iran (and junior partner Syria) continue to support Hezbollah, through which those nations fight a proxy war against the US and Israel.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today's Congressional Chutzpah

Nancy Pelosi is worried that the health care rhetoric might spur violence.

Kenneth Gladney and William Rice were unavailable for comment.

Labels: ,

Today's Graphic

Anyone who tells you that we don't have enough finance sector regulation doesn't know what they're talking about.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taxes And Morality

Dennis Prager has an excellent essay at FrontPage Magazine.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Took Them So Long?

The Senate has voted to withhold federal funds from ACORN, 83-7.

These are the seven:

  • Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Roland Burris (D-IL)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

If we had a halfway ethical Senate, this bill would have done this in the wake of the avalanche of voter fraud cases. Voter fraud allegations elicit a yawn, but the Senate finally steps in when ACORN workers get caught on tape helping a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute evade the law.

I bet P. J. O'Rourke's irony meter is going off.

Labels: ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Ago

(Reprint of my 2007 post, with a grammatical edit to the second update - "are still celebrating" is now "were still celebrating in 2008.")

See my brief pictoria tribute from 2002.

Cox and Forkum excerpts Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 by Mitchell Fink and Lois Mathias.

Michelle Malkin will not submit.

Must reading: Popular Mechanics' Debunking the 9/11 Myths.

Update: Never forget the Palestinian response, which LGF has documented here and here.

Update: The Palis were still celebrating in 2008.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Links On The Sidebar

Recommended by LGF, under the heading "The Truth Is Out There" are Quackwatch, a sort of Snopes for the medical industry, and Insurance Reform Watch, which fact-checks ObamaCare's proponents. Both are hosted by Dr. Stephen Barrett.


Exercise And Weight Loss

Time Magazine reports some unconventional wisdom:

The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.

That doesn't mean that sloth is the dieting solution. Read the whole thing.

And if you're trying to lose weight, don't get your exercise tat the Texas State Fair.

Labels: ,

Everything's Bigger In Texas - Including The Serving Sizes Of Cholesterol And Saturated Fat

It's time for the Texas State Fair! Check out some of the culinary offerings.

Including this one.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Useful Guide To Obama's School Speech

Via Jesse Walker. Money quote:

Children shouldn't be taught that the president—any president—is a beloved paternal figure with a grand plan for everyone. (From the original lesson plan: "Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?") Children should be taught the truth: that presidents are polarizing figures who are constantly dogged by controversy. That Americans don't always agree about proper public policy, and sometimes they disagree enough to do something as drastic as keeping their kids home from school. That politics is about conflict, not listening in unison while a friendly face on a TV screen dispenses instructions.

Read the whole thing.

And here's your next lesson (sorry, embedding is disabled for this video).

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 07, 2009

Abolish Labor Day

(An annual blog tradition continues - original 2003 post here.)

The US Department of Labor has a webpage on the history of Labor Day. The DoL describes the spirit of the holiday thus:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country" is dependent on five factors:

  • Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
  • Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
  • Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
  • Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
  • Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of "labor" and "management" insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don't really do anything, that their organizational duties isn't really "work." I use "entrepreneur" and "labor" to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.

Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 05, 2009

When The Democrats Opposed Presidential School Speeches

NewsBusters reports something vaguely similar to Obama's upcoming speech to the schools:

As Barack Obama prepares a nationwide broadcast to America's students next Tuesday, it has been revealed that Democrats complained in 1991 when then President George H. W. Bush broadcast a speech from a Northwest Washington junior high school.

In fact, the House Majority leader at the time, Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students."

Link via Volokh conspirator Jim Lindgren, to whom I emailed these observations (his post has comments disabled):

I do note one key difference between that event and Obama's upcoming gig:

"Bush told students to write him to let him know how they were doing in school and to suggest ways to help achieve his national education goals — to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school."

Bush asked for students to contribute their policy ideas regarding universally supported goals specifically tied to education. Anyone think Obama will make such a gesture? He's never asked everyday adult citizens to turn in their suggestions.

Also, did Bush's Education Secretary send out detailed lesson plans revolving around the speech?

There's one detail missing from the article: did any students other than those at Alice Deal Junior High hear the live broadcast of Bush's address? It seems like Bush was delivering a speech to the nation at large and not exclusively to schoolchildren, as in Obama's case.

Labels: ,

Minimum Wage Economics In One Lesson

Teens hit hardest.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

More Health Care Protest Violence

ObamaCare supporter provokes fight and inflicts injury:

Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Frank O'Hanlon says about 100 people demonstrating in favor of health care reforms rallied Wednesday night on a street corner. One protester walked across the street to confront about 25 counter-demonstrators.

O'Hanlon says the man got into an argument and fist fight, during which he bit off the left pinky of a 65-year-old man who opposed health care reform.

A hospital spokeswoman says the man lost half the finger, but doctors reattached it and he was sent home the same night.

There is one presumptuous statement here, that the victim "opposed health care reform." We don't know that he opposes reform. We know that he opposes Obama's "reform."

The perpetrator is still at large.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Promise I'm Wide Awake

President Obama is planning an address to all public school students on September 8. Here's the Department of Education classroom instruction guidelines relating to the event, for pre-K through 6, and for grades 7-12.

Read both links carefully. Note that the higher grade set is not asked to critique Obama's message - students are asked to discern his message, but not to assess its merits.

This reeks. Especially knowing that with Obama every speech is a campaign speech.

NRO has more.

Update: Does a man who implemented school curricula drafted by a confessed terrorist have any business speaking in a single public school, much less all of them?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Never Blog When You're Only Half Awake

Regarding the post directly below, how could I manage to juxtapose Massachusetts and New York?

  • The two states are (to someone who doesn't live in that region) politically indistinguishable.
  • New York has such lax residency requirements for running for office that it's halfway conceivable that its governor could appoint an out-of-stater to fill a Senate seat. "Rent an apartment in Upper Manhattan for a few weeks, and the job is yours by the end of September."
  • The name Kennedy is associated with both states' recent Senate vacancies - a live Kennedy, in New York's case.
  • I vaguely recall Rush Limbaugh speaking more than once about having to go through some effort to prove to some New York State bureaucracy that he is no longer a resident of that state and thus no longer on its tax rolls. The bureaucracy was confused by the show's intro (recalled from memory): "From sunny Florida, via New York City." (This was years after he moved to the Sunshine State.) New York has an actual financial incentive to lure Rush back, which leads to this:
  • On politics, the subject that dominates my mind is the same that dominates many others: the vicious, relentless, ravenous, boundless, larcenous greed of American government.

I would have posted this earlier, but I don't blog at work.


Misleading Headline Du Jour

Rush to fill Kennedy's Senate seat

Hey, that's one way Governor Paterson could get Limbaugh back on the New York tax rolls.

It's not like the state has strict residency requirements...

Labels: ,

Site Meter