The Rule of Lawless

That’s the title of an excellent short essay by Kevin Williamson over at NRO.

The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.

Read the whole thing.

When you’re finished, take a look at this by George Will. His post deals with a fundamental disconnect between Conservatives and Progressives as described in a new book by Timothy Sandefur.

Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy.

Read all of this one too.

Justice Stevens and the Second Amendment

A few days ago, retired Justice John Paul Stevens published an op-ed over at WaPo promoting his new book coming out later this month. The hook for his piece was an explanation of how to fix the Second Amendment so that it will mean what he wishes it meant. I’ve been puzzling over how to comment on his essay, but a couple of other bloggers have beat me to the punch.

Clayton E. Cramer demolishes Stevens’s shoddy scholarship in a piece over at PJ Media.

Da Tech Guy points out that Stevens does conservatives a favor by reminding everyone that the Constitution means what it says and not what liberals wish it says.

Read ‘em both.

Mozilla’s Brutta Figura

Mozilla is all for freedom and equality, except, it seems, when it’s employees, even it’s CEO, engage in their First Amendment right to support a cause deemed to be politically incorrect.

Mozilla is within its rights to let Brendan Eich go because he contributed to a pro-traditional marriage organization during the Prop 8 campaign, but its behavior is unwise and shameful.

It is unwise because it will alienate a significant chunk of Internet users at a time when the Firefox browser is struggling for market share.

It is shameful because of its intolerance of Mr. Eich’s beliefs.



Hank Campbell has a post at Science 2.0 about an effort in Washington state to require labeling of genetically modified fish. He points out that the anti-GMO crowd is really the left’s counterpoise to the right’s anti-science creationists.

When conservatives want to put a label on science textbooks because they might contain evolution, they are rightfully mocked for being anti-science. But when progressives want to put a label on food because it might contain GMOs, they are applauded as consumer activists. And science media criticizes the former, but enables the latter, by giving credence to claims it is instead about “not trusting corporations.”

Read the whole thing, and then go read this post by Michael Schulson about Whole Foods. The left does trust some corporations.

Don’t Know Much About History

Dan Haar of the Hartford Courant seems unhappy that an overwhelming percentage of gun owners have failed to register their “assault weapons” under Connecticut’s recently enacted law. He wants the law to be enforced.

Emerson wrote a poem about an attempted assault weapons ban and confiscation. It begins

By the rude bridge that arched the flood …

If the opinion leaders in New England 240 years ago had been like Mr. Haar, our national anthem would be God Save the Queen.

Income Equality, and How Not to Achieve It

The WSJ has a post up explaining just how much income redistribution the federal government is doing already and what it would take to give every family an “average income.”

Many people believe the “rich” can afford to pay higher taxes since they command a disproportionate share of the nation’s income. However, the current amount of redistribution already takes 21% of the top quintile’s [20%] income. That would have to soar to 74% to make every family in America “average.”

I’m in that top quintile. I’ve gone back to work from retirement, but if the feds were to start taking 74% of my paycheck (on top of what Maryland takes), I’d find a way to be less productive so that I could keep at least half of what I make. Given that many, if not most, other high-income earners would do much the same thing, the amount of money available to be taxed from us would go down, which would drive the tax rate up, which would drive more earners to be less productive, which would result in the need for a further tax increase, which would …

The problem with socialism is that it always runs out of other people’s money.

—Margret Thatcher

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

PJ Tatler reports that Attorney General Eric Holder sent Justice Department lawyer Bradley Heard into court to try to stop Kansas from ensuring that only citizens register to vote. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, relying on a United States Supreme Court opinion from last year, asked the federal Election Assistance Commission to permit him to ensure that only citizens were registering to vote. The DOJ opposes that.

Read the whole thing.

Elitist Nonsense

Ann Althouse has a post up looking at Chuck Schumer’s comments about the “tea party elites” who have tricked the masses into following them.

The elite that were around — in high places in government and media — were liberal, and they were challenging the tea partiers. Their key challenge was that these people must be fake, must be following some rich Pied Pipers who were tricking them — which is to say, the masses were following the wrong Pied Piper.

Read the whole thing.

Everything You Know is Wrong!

And in the case of climate change, the Warm Mongers at The Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication say that it’s because Americans are too stupid to understand the complexities of the science involved according to a report by the Heartland Institute. (H/T, Stacy McCain).

If the Warm Mongers are right, we might wind up with the world as warm as it was around the year AD 1000 when it was possible to grow wine grape in England and wheat in Greenland. In the tropics during that warm era, the Mayan civilization peaked in America, and Great Zimbabwe was founded in Africa. So, yeah, we need to be running scared from that sort of climate.

On Losing Wars

It’s been almost 70 years since America has won a war. We won WWII because we knew what our goals were and we ruthlessly pursued them. Since then, we’ve halfheartedly pursued ill-defined goals.

The Korean War is technically still ongoing. 1953 brought an armistice not a victory. We didn’t win in Viet Nam. Grenada and Panama weren’t real wars. Desert Storm freed Kuwait, but we had to come back and clean up the mess we made. If anyone thinks we won the cleanup match, I suggest they visit Fallujah. Bombing Serbia? Afghanistan?

But the two worst defeats were not overseas. We’ve also lost the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty. 50 years and 20 trillion dollars later, the percentage of American’s living in poverty is still around 15 percent. Back in the ’60s, most of the poor were working poor. They had jobs but couldn’t make ends meet. Now, we have created a new class of idle poor who make ends meet because of support from over 80 means-tested federal programs. 50 years ago, the poor were often hungry. These days, the poor are often overweight and suffering from diabetes.

LBJ’s stated goal for the War on Poverty was “to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities.”

We have failed.

Mordor, Quislings, and Ducks

My codefendant in the Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. lawsuit Erick Erickson has a piece analyzing Mordor’s response to Phil Robertson.

That is something Tolkien got so spot on with Middle Earth. The evil things are corrupted or perverted things made to mimic the light and the good. Mordor has its own yard stick by which things can be measured, but its metrics are all based on evil.

Phil Robertson did nothing wrong. He just did not shy away from the parts of accepting Christ that make people uncomfortable. He loves people so much, he is not willing to give people the fast pass to Hell by telling them they are not sinners.

He did not judge. He just held up the yard stick and a whole lot of people did not like seeing it and realizing they’ve fallen short. In Mordor, after all, falling short is measuring up and measuring up is being a hater, homophobe, and judging.

Just so. Read the whole thing.

If It Quacks Like a Duck

Now that everyone else (it seems) has had a say, here’s my two-cents worth on Phil Robertson and A&E. I support Phil and believe A&E acted stupidly.

First, Phil Robertson’s statement is about what he believes, and he expressed no desire to compel others to be bound by his belief. Why would anyone be threatened because someone peacefully offered an invitation to share a belief?

Second, I believe he correct in one of his beliefs. If you look at what he said about the mechanics of human reproduction, he simply noted that we are evolved to have intercourse in a particular way. Trying to assemble the parts incorrectly may be fun for someone, but a continual desire for infertile sexual encounters is an evolutionary disadvantage that removes one’s genes from the pool.

Third, I believe that he is correct in the core belief underlying his point-of-view. We all are sinners in need of redemption.

Let me add this on my own behalf: I don’t believe LGBT people should be the objects of hatred. I have had and continue to have friends and business associates from at least the LGB contingent. I think they’ve made some terribly unfortunate choices, but they’re sinners—just like me. Our sets of sins don’t completely overlap. I pray for them. I hope they pray for me.

Paul writes in Romans that we shouldn’t continue in our sins so that God’s grace can abound. Rather, we should let His grace lead us toward more holy living. Phil Robertson, LGBT people, and I all have a way to go.


That’s the First Law of Thermodynamics—There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

Of late, I’m seeing more references to the Obama Administration as “lawless,” and it certainly has a record of disobeying its own signature law as it tries to implement Obamacare. But no matter how hard they try to bend or break the fundamental Laws of Nature, there ain’t no such thing as free healthcare either.

Someone has to pay: hence, the various redistributive schemes to try to finance the program. Jonathan Cohn has a piece over at TNR titled Yes, Obamacare is Redistribution—But Republicans Are Wrong About Who Pays. He tries to show how the money to fund the scheme (more than $2 trillion over the next decade) will be raised. Most of the sources make little real-world economic sense. For example, Medicare providers will summarily be short-changed $415 billion on their compensation for the goods and service they provide. The logic behind this is that it gives providers with an incentive to become more efficient by being paid less rather than deciding to get a better paying job or start a more profitable business. Yeah, that’ll work.

The truly stupid ideas in the Obamacare financing scheme are the fees to be imposed on the healthcare industry such as the medical device tax. This adds a violation of Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that every system operates with some increase in entropy. The $165 billion dollars of increased cost to the system will never be recovered when the real world results of the program are viewed as a whole. Even an economy as large as ours won’t be able to hide the loss.

If your think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it’s “free.”

Let it burn.

About That Deadline …

Healthcare_gov_MacOSXAs of 9 pm ET on 30 November, the day that the Obamacare website was supposed to be “fixed,” the healthcare dot gov site says that it does not support the current version of Mac OSX.

Of course, OS 10.9 has only been in public release for five weeks, but incremental developer releases have been available for testing since June.

It’s interesting that the site claims to support Windows XP which was withdrawn from sale in 2009 and for which Microsoft will end support early next year, but says nothing about support for iOS (iPhone/Pad) or Android systems. I wonder what percentage of users under 30 years old will try to access the site with a mobile device?

Let it burn.

Obamacare 0.997

The version of Obamacare that was rolled out on 1 October was clearly not ready for prime time. It wasn’t even ready for beta release. It was simply a failure.

Good engineers design for failure. That’s not to say that we (I’m an engineer) design products to fail, but we know that they will. That’s why the load panel in your house has circuit breakers. In the real world, failure is always an option, and it becomes exponentially more likely when a project is managed by someone who doesn’t understand the endeavor’s practical constraints. Clay Shirky offers an analysis of the probable managerially-driven problems with Obamacare here.

Recently, much has been made about the Administration’s ignoring the law when dealing with Obamacare and any possible workarounds for its present problems, and it’s true that those responsible for the current mess have acted lawlessly. However, the law that will do the project in was not passed by Congress. It stems from a higher authority. Those who ignore it are fools.

If anything can go wrong, it will.


Let it burn.

UPDATE—This insightful observation is also on point:

Everything the government touches turns to crap.

—Ringo Starr

Campaign Promises

… I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick … (X)ObamacareScreenHartWeb

… and good jobs to the jobless; (X)labor-force-participation

… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; ( )global-temperature-vs-co2

… this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation … (X)100918-A-0846W-219

… and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. (X)G20 Leaders Meet In St. Petersburg For The Summit


So far, we’ve manage one goal in spite of him.