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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, October 08, 2010

WORD AROUND THE NET

"All organizations which are not self-consciously conservative will over time become liberal."
-O'Sullivan's Law

Veterans of Foreign Wars is an organization for US vets to gather, relax, talk with fellows, and sometimes do some work to help the cause of veterans. However, recently the national office proved that it has lost sight of its initial goals and become yet another leftist mouthpiece. Ace explains:
Yes, the Veterans of Foreign Wars decided to endorse chairborne ranger Ron "I feel threatened" Klein over Lt. Colonel Allen West.

Oh, and check out who else they're endorsing:
Barbara Boxer, Alcee Hastings, Barbara Lee, Steny Hoyer, Barbara Mikulsky, Chris VanHollen, John Dingell, Chuckie Schumer, Pat Leahy and Patty Murray
I haven't seen that kind of combat experience assembled in one place since the Force 10 from Navaronne class reunion.
Apparently for VFW national HQ, endorsing the most leftist candidates - often over actual veterans running against them - somehow helps vets out. As O'Sullivan's law points out, eventually they all turn leftist unless they fight every day to stay away from that.

After election day 2004, Washington State proved conclusively that the Democrats there were willing to cheat, lie, and defraud elections to retain power. So its no surprise that there's some concern over the upcoming election. Judson Berger reports at Fox News:
After Election Day, Washington state easily could become the scene of a marathon ballot count, with the balance of power in the Senate on the line. Though the solid blue state would seem an unexpected place for national political drama, the unusually close race for control in the Senate makes the Pacific Northwest factor heavily into Republican plans for a takeover.
...
And with Washington elections decided almost entirely by absentee ballot, it could take weeks before the winner of the state's senate race is declared.
...
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 percent of voters in Washington state opt for a mail-in ballot. Only one of Washington's 39 counties does not vote by mail.

Those ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day but are not due until 10 days after the election. Most states do not wait that long to receive mail-in ballots.

According to a 2008 Washington election report, about a quarter of ballots come in after Election Day.
And, according to the 2004 election, many of those ballots are found in the trunks of cars and hotel rooms - and mysteriously are all Democrat votes. Hey, it worked once, why not again? Nobody paid a single price for it, and the cheating governor was even reelected.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a hapless, wretched little man, but even he should expect support from his family. However, his son Rory Reid recently noted something about the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act. Bob Cusack reports at The Hill:
“I don’t deny, however,” Rory Reid said, “that Nevada needs to be vigilant on this issue. The law that was passed gives time for the new system to go into effect, but there is potential for it to put significant pressure on states because Medicaid rates could go up significantly.”
Yeah, well we already know its increasing prices.

For example, here's a little tidbit about the bill from Erica Werner at the Associated Press:
At issue is a new requirement banning annual caps on benefits, which began phasing in last month. Many employers and insurers that offer low-cost, low-benefit insurance plans known as "mini-med" plans would not have been able to comply with the new requirement without raising monthly premiums to virtually unaffordable levels.

So the administration has granted 30 waivers to date exempting companies from the requirement for a year.
After that year is up? Tough luck: even if the bill survives attacks in courts and congress, it won't take effect to replace those plans until 2014.

As part of the Environmental Protection Agency's apparent continuing effort to destroy agriculture in America, some new rules have been proposed which are getting farmers pretty upset. Chris Nefus writes at CNS News:
In a periodic review of its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which allow the EPA to regulate certain forms of particulate matter in the air, the EPA determined that it might raise the standard so that only 65-85 µg/m3 of dust would be permitted in the air (as opposed to 150 µg/m3). Violating the proposed new NAAQS standards can result in civil penalties under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA published that draft policy assessment in the July 8, 2010 issue of the Federal Register.

“(EPA) is preparing to issue a proposed regulation that is twice as stringent as the current dust standard, and is more stringent than background levels of dust in many parts of the U.S,” [Tamara] Thies told the congressmen.
Trying to regulate dust in rural and farming areas is frankly insane, its like trying to regulate light coming from the sun. This smacks more of either a desire to raise revenues through inevitable taxes or just flat ignorance of people who've never been at a farm in their lives. Maybe both.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has news on a bit of fallout from the "Cash for Clunkers" plan by President Obama. It seems that not only did this drive up the price of used cars, take cars away from charities, and actually encourage people to buy more polluting vehicles in some cases, it is ending up costing people more in taxes:
We just received our tax bill for this fiscal year, and three of our four cars rose in value for tax purposes, even though the cars are a year older.

The notion of used cars rising in value runs against everything we have come to know about used cars, wear and tear, mileage, and all the other things which common sense would tell us would cause a car to decrease in value each year of use.

The largest percentage gain was in a 2000 Honda Odyssey with over 200,000 miles on it, which is on death watch. The value rose from $2,800 to $3,849, costing us an extra $44.12; the increases in two other vehicles cost us another $139 in taxes.
But hey, other than that it was a great plan. Now your cars cost more as they get older.

Time Magazine, eager to help Democrats in the November election, ran a special report on those scary, evil people who dare form militias. The report is called "Locked & Loaded: The Secret World Of Extreme Militias" and its more of the "these crazy right wing extremists want to own guns and gather to discuss what upsets them, the horror" writing about militias that the 90s news magazines were full of. Tim Graham writes at Newsbusters:
While Gellman opened with the usual hackneyed portrait of a Midwestern militia on wacky military exercises against an undefined enemy, it's clear that their deep anxiety over Obama is the main thread. A militia resurgence “now is widely seen among government and academic experts as a reaction to the tectonic shifts in American politics that allowed a black man with a foreign-sounding name and a Muslim-born father to reach the White House.”
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If this all sounds like rehashed talking points from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, you would be correct. “Obama's ascendancy unhinged the radical right, offering a unified target to competing camps of racial, nativist, and religious animus,” Gellman insisted.
The last time the left drummed up this phantom fear, the Clinton administration killed dozens of families with extremely excessive force. Let's hope the Obama administration shows a bit more restraint.

Doug Ross has a list of ten examples where public money was misused or used in ridiculous fashion for payment of government employees:
10. Avenal, CA: The prison dentist earned $621,000 last year. In fact, 37 state dentists earned around $300,000 or more.

9. Vernon, CA: This tiny town, population 96, employed one bureaucrat in five jobs, allowing him to collect $500,000 annually in pension payments. As a bonus, he's also awaiting trial on embezzlement charges.

8. San Juan Capistrano, CA: The tiny town of 36,000 employed one man in two jobs, allowing him to initially escape scrutiny. His total pay package: $324,000-a-year.

7. Jefferson County, AL: The county attorney makes $375,000-a-year in arguably the most disastrously managed county in the land. A series of screwed-up financial transactions left it owing $6 billion to debtors.

6. Laughlin, NV: This tiny town of about 7,000 paid its top ten public employees $3,000,000 last year.
Read Doug Ross Journal for the top 5. This stuff has been going on a long time, because the governments at all levels work with almost no accountability or transparency whatsoever. The internet is starting to shine a light on this stuff, and its time to start stomping cockroaches.

The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers were written by founding fathers to argue for and against certain things being in the US Constitution. Part of their writing included warnings about how things could turn out (such as the potential for wars between individual states because of their great intended independence). One of these papers, Federalist #62 (written by James Madison) warns of overly complex legislation:
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood ...Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
...
Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens.
It also warns of what happens when government becomes so outrageous it loses public confidence. Clayton Cramer has been reading this section for a class and it struck him how applicable it is to our current situation with vast, unread bills passed by a legislature which ignores the public and those who take advantage of this, to benefit off the efforts of those who do the actual work in the nation.

Subjects in England felt strongly against the Labor Party government, but in the end a weak opposition who was little different than the labor guys led to a weak win that required Cameron to recruit the radical loopy Green Party to help build a coalition government. Imagine if they'd actually run someone different from the Labor guys how well they'd have done? A member of the new government named Harriet Harmon is implementing a new set of labor laws passed by the previous government, and Jason Groves at the Daily Mail explains:
[The new law] creates the controversial legal concept of ‘third party harassment’, under which workers will be able to sue over jokes and banter they find offensive – even if the comments are aimed at someone else and they weren’t there at the time the comments were made.

They can sue if they feel the comments ‘violate their dignity’ or create an ‘intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’.

A one-off incident is enough to sue – there is no need for the ‘victim’ to have warned the perpetrator that their comments are unwelcome.

They could even have a case against their employer if a customer or contractor says something they find offensive.
...
Under the legislation, employers will be barred from asking about the health of job applicants, leading to fears they could be landed with staff with appalling sickness records.

Workers can cite ‘discrimination by association’ if they feel they have lost out because of an employer’s prejudice against a relative, such as a gay brother.

Employment tribunals have also been given powers to order costly changes in the workplace, such as requiring managers to undergo diversity and equality training.
...
British Chambers of Commerce said last night that the equality rules were part of a wider package of employment law reforms threatening to burden business with £11.3billion in extra costs.
This, at a time when Great Britain's unemployment rate is nearly 8%. Meet the new boss, just the same as the old boss.

I wrote last week about the electoral follies the Justice Department is ignoring - not just blatant racist voter intimidation but ignoring election laws because it helps Democrats. Christopher Coates is a left leaning former ACLU lawyer who works at the Obama Justice Department. He saw problems with how the department was working and wanted to cry foul. Holder's team told him to shut up. He ignored them and went to testify to congress, and got a letter telling him to not do so. Scott at Power Line has the whole story, and he notes, accurately:
In a Republican administration, this story would be on the front page of every serious newspaper and heads would already have rolled. The underlying Department of Justice story involves a racially based double standard that cannot be publicly avowed, admitted or defended.
Insulin is taken pretty for granted now, unless some show needs a crisis in which a child has to get some within 24 hours. That's always good for a race against the clock in which The Rules Do Not Apply©. Diabetes, the really bad kind, was basically a death sentence. There was nothing anyone could do, and if you child got it, you started mourning immediately. Now, thanks to insulin every day, the child lives and can live a fairly normal life. Abigail Zuger has the whole story at the New York Times.

Yet another person has had an accident because they were following their GPS device in their car. This time it wasn't a German, but a Senegalese man in Spain. He followed the advice of this machine right off the road into a lake and died. Just so people know, in case they're really trusting of GPS or something: these things suck. They're at best a helpful advisor, but they do not qualify as a navigator. Just use them for suggestions, not directions.

Newsweek only sold for a dollar and has been largely a worthless leftist rag for years, but once in a while it has something useful and interesting in it. Take the recent article about Representative Boehner (R-OH) by Mickey Kaus:
1) A sizable GOP House majority would raise expectations that Boehner actually accomplish something--maybe even restraining the size of government.
2) A large GOP wave would sweep into Congress fringe, outsider Tea Partyish elements who would be hard to manage and might rebel against the chummy relations between the party's leaders and lobbyists. You could even see obstreperous TPs making trouble for the Republicans' corporate backers.
There might be something to this. The economy is, I fear, going to show a small recovery, then the full weight of pensions, deficit and a gigantically overvalued dollar are going to come to call on the US, just in time for the 2012 election season to start. Not having a full majority for Republicans during that time would actually be more politically advantageous in some people's eyes.

Sales for the Toyota Prius have dropped for several months straight. Is it competition from other hybrids? Is it that everyone who wanted one got one? Is it that the glow of owning one is wearing off, so they aren't as trendy? Or is it... the fact that the big federal tax write off subsidizing owning one has ended so you have to pay full price for one? Tim Blair is pretty sure he knows what the cause is.

Wallet Pop at AOL has a list of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America. I've been watching CSI for years now, and one thing that always occured to me is "boy they sure have a lot of murders on this show, can Las Vegas possibly be that bad? Apparently they can. Of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods, 3 of the top 8 are in Las Vegas Nevada. The most dangerous neighborhood? West Lake Street, Chicago Illinois.

Part of the effort to breaking down the federal government to its proper, constitutionally-mandated limits requires us to know places that spending is being done where it ought not be. For example, take Rachel Lee Harris' story in the New York Times about a play being put on:
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $700,000 grant to the Civilians, a New York theater company, to finance the production of a show about climate change. “The Great Immensity,” with a book by Steven Cosson (“This Beautiful City”) and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), tells the story of Polly, a photojournalist who disappears while working in the rain forests of Panama.
I'm unable to find anywhere in the constitution permitting this. Until we have congressmen who at least ask where the constitution allows spending, this nation has no hope of getting better. Is there any rational person who expects that to really happen?

Gallup's Unemployment study is done every month, looking at the data without seasonal adjustments for a raw number. September was over 10%, according to their work.

Gallup Unemployment chart
That's their full year's chart, which is more wildly fluctuating and sometimes far worse or better than official numbers. They also note that 15.8% of Americans aged 18 to 29 and 13.9% of those with no college education were unemployed in September.

Finally, last week brought the allegation that the Greenpeace hippy ship Sea Shepherd was deliberately sunk to get better ratings for the Animal Planet channel's "Whale Wars" TV show. The BBC reported:
An estranged former member of direct action anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd alleges it ordered its own boat to be scuttled to win public sympathy.

Peter Bethune was captain of the hi-tech Ady Gil when its bow was shorn off in a collision with a Japanese whaler it was shadowing in January.

It sank two days later, but Mr Bethune now alleges he was ordered to scuttle it by Sea Shepherd head Paul Watson.

Mr Watson denies the claim - the latest twist in a bitter row between the two.
Why it is that people get so upset when a whale is fished up but don't care about a trout is one of life's big mysteries.

And that's the Word Around the Net for October 8, 2010.

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