20 December 2013

I've never watched Duck Dynasty and never read GQ and the numbers suggest you haven't either

Apparently some guy on a reality show that 96% of Americans don't watch was interviewed in a magazine that 99.7% of Americans do not read and he said something that has sparked outrage among people who don't read the magazine or watch the show, and have never previously cared about either.

Anyway, the cable TV channel fired him or something, so now a bunch more people who've never watched the show or read the magazine are mad about THAT.

Personally, I've never seen the show, was only marginally aware that printed magazines still exist, and I'm tired of all the phony outrage both by people who ought to respect free speech, and by people who ought to respect at will employment.

To be clear: I don't care. I don't care that you care. As usual, I don't even understand how the big fake news event for the week got selected.

So shut up already.

18 December 2013

"Inequality Does Not Matter" says Williamson. Read it.

Kevin Williamson has a good one today over at National Review. Here's a sample:

Mr. Barro and many other commentators on economics often write as though there were buckets marked “Income” and “Wealth,” the contents of which are ladled out by some agency or agencies according to a set of rules and procedures. There is in fact no such thing as income distribution — “distribute” is a transitive verb, and here it has no real direct object. What there is is the occurrence of income. The argument that inequality causes income stagnation or decline for those who have been worse off in recent years assumes that if the rich were earning less then the middle class and the poor would be earning more, which in most situations is not the case. If Goldman Sachs earns less money this quarter, that does not mean that some quantity of money is therefore liberated from their foul clutches to float about until lower-wage workers can claim it. High incomes at the top do not cause low incomes at the bottom, or vice versa. To assign economic agency to the abstraction that is inequality assumes the opposite.
Inequality Does Not Matter is the title, and, of course, I think you should read the whole thing. Williamson takes on the inequality mantra that the good Democrats of Stepford seem to have instituted as their current rallying cry, along with the economic fallacies of some of their prescriptions to "fix" that problem.

13 December 2013

I know it will shock you to learn this, but Obama was fully aware #Obamacare was designed to cause people to lose coverage

Now that "if you like your plan you can keep it" has been named PolitiFact's 2013 "Lie of the Year," let's revisit its origins.

Back in February of 2010, before ObamaCare was even passed into law, the President hosted a Bipartisan Summit on Health Care Reform. Present were Congressional leaders from both parties, along with President Obama. At the meeting, Obama pretended to be interested in getting Republican input and ideas to improve the bill and gain support from Republicans.

One topic of discussion was the fact that the law would cause people to lose coverage that they had and liked. As House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R, VA) put it (emphasis added):
But also, Mr. President, when we were here about a year ago across the street, you started the health care summit by saying one of the promises you want to make is that people ought to be able to keep the health insurance that they have.  Because as we also know, most people in this country do have insurance and an overwhelming majority of people do like that coverage; it's just too expensive.
Well, the CBO sent a letter -- I think it was to Leader Reid -- about the Senate bill.  And in that letter, it suggested that between 8 million and 9 million people may very well lose the coverage that they have because of this, because of the construct of this bill.  That's our concern.  And so, as we are in -- as we are in the market -- in the section of this discussion about health insurance reform, I note, Mr. President, that you have suggested strengthening oversight of insurance premium increases.  Because we want to make sure that there aren't excessive insurance premium increases that take place.
The problem is when you start to mandate all of the essential benefits, there are going to be some insurance premium increases.  None of us really want to see them.  But if you stop them, who is going to pay for it?  Well, then we get back to the fact that businesses won't be able to pay for it and people are going to lose their coverage.
So I guess my question to you is, in the construct of this bill, if we want to find agreement, we really do need to set this aside.  And we really do need to say, okay, the fundamental structure is something we can't agree on, but there are certainly plenty of areas of agreement.  And because I don't think that you can answer the question in the positive to say that people will be able to maintain their coverage, people will be able to see the doctors they want in the kind of bill that you're proposing.
Got that? Republicans were not just running campaign commercials, they were addressing the President directly in conversation with their concerns that the bill would, in fact, cause people to lose coverage and to lose the ability to see their preferred doctors. I guess Obama just mis-judged, right? He didn't think their predictions were correct?
Well, let me -- since you asked me a question, let me respond.  The 8 to 9 million people that you refer to that might have to change their coverage -- keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we're talking about -- would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better.
Wait, what? He didn't deny it? He knew perfectly well that people would lose coverage? That was part of the plan? Yes, I get it that he is saying the exchange plans will be "a better deal." That is not the same thing as "less expensive," and it is certainly not the same thing as "if you like your plan you can keep it. In fact, it's so far from the same thing that there ought to be a word for it. Oh, right, there is one: it's the "opposite."

Lest you think I am taking things out of context here, please read the entire transcript for yourself at the well-known right-wing site, whitehouse.gov.

16 August 2013

Avoiding principles to prove you are "tough on crime" doesn't make you conservative

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Daniel Henninger suggests that any critic of New York City's "stop and frisk" policy is self-evidently soft on crime.

His argument is reminiscent of those previously used by conservatives who defended torture on the basis that "it works," an argument I addressed a while back. Setting aside for a moment that there is little (if any) evidence that stop and frisk does, in fact, "work" to reduce crime (New York's crime trends are in no way exceptional compared to many jurisdictions that do not exercise such policies,) the real question is: why should that matter?

Henninger goes so far as to deride U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin's statement that "this Opinion takes no position on whether stop and frisk contributed to the decline in crime....This court's mandate is solely to judge the constitutionality of police behavior, not its effectiveness as a law enforcement tool."

I suspect that in other contexts Henninger (and other defenders stop and frisk) would be more sympathetic to the view that Constitutional constraints on state power serve a higher, and more important purpose than utilitarian arguments in favor of "law and order by any means necessary." Had Obamacare been struck down on a (legitimate) Constitutional basis, would Henninger have lamented that as a result, more poor people would now die for lack of health care?

It is in fact quite appalling that the only argument so-called limited government conservatives can muster in favor the policy amounts to little more than "a police state is a safe state."

Henninger also dredges up Justice Jackson's old saw about the Constitution not being a suicide pact, a (mis)quote that is becoming quite a favorite of the police-state right these days. Before using it, you might want to read a bit more about the case and the context for that quote.

In Terminiello vs. Chicago, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on a Catholic priest's conviction for a public speech under an Illinois statute because such speech "may constitute a breach of the peace if it stirs the public to anger, invites dispute, brings about a condition of unrest, or creates a disturbance, or if it molests the inhabitants in the enjoyment of peace and quiet by arousing alarm..."

In its decision overturning that state law, the majority pointed out that the "argument here has been focused on the issue of whether the content of petitioner's speech was composed of derisive, fighting words, which carried it outside the scope of the constitutional guarantees. We do not reach that question, for there is a preliminary question that is dispositive of the case." (Emphasis added; references removed.)

Dismissing the possibility that Father Terminiello may (or may not) have violated longstanding prohibitions of incitement or used "fighting words," the Court instead addressed the clear Constitutional issue of an overly broad statute that unconstitutionally restricted free speech. In other words, the Court chose, like Judge Sheindlin, solely to address the Constitutionality of the law. Gee, how crazy is that?

The facts of the case, recited by none other than the dissenting Justice Jackson, show that an unruly mob was in place outside the building, and had begun attacking people entering the building, and throwing rocks through windows, before Terminiello even began to speak. Nevertheless, in his dissent, Henninger's favorite justice thundered:
This Court has gone far toward accepting the doctrine that civil liberty means the removal of all restraints from these crowds and that all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen. The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.
One suspects that Justice Jackson might well find the cancellation of an Ann Coulter speech at the University of Ottawa to be an example of "ordered liberty," as the university clearly was only trying - just like the City of Chicago in 1949 -  to avoid "disputes," "disturbances" and "conditions of unrest."

After all, as Jackson also argued, our "freedom of speech exists only under law and not independently of it. What would Terminiello's theoretical freedom of speech have amounted to had he not been given active aid by the officers of the law? He could reach the hall only with this help, could talk only because they restrained the mob, and could make his getaway only under their protection."

The reasoning seems to be that if enough people hate you and want to throw rocks at you, then you ought to just shut up or be jailed. It's difficult even to reconcile Justice Jackson's reasoning with his own decisions in other cases during his tenure, much less with a traditionalist understanding of the First Amendment and natural rights.

It turns out that the Fourth Amendment is also part of the Constitution, and although "tough on crime" types may not have noticed, it has been steadily eroding for quite some time. At the risk of making a slippery slope argument, let's just say that maybe it's time to at least dig in our heels a little bit and give some thought to climbing back up. That isn't "soft on crime," and unlike soft on crime aspersions cast on opponents of "stop and frisk," it also isn't softheaded.

In other words, how about discussing principles for once?



30 July 2013

Rock chalk! KU Undergrad's brilliant economic analysis: Big Mac + 68 cents = Utopia!

The Huffington Post helpfully reports on a "study" that shows doubling the pay of all McDonald's employees would only raise the cost of a Big Mac by 68 cents! Further, dollar menu items would only rise to $1.17.

The study, though, is no such thing. It is a simple calculation done by a KU undergrad who, while he obviously owns a calculator, clearly doesn't know how to read, and has not the slightest understanding of business, economics or, in short, the real world.

Had he given this "study" to his economics professor, he would no doubt have had a somewhat less friendly reception than he got at the Huff Post.

Our aspiring social justice economist has looked at the Consolidated Statement of Income on Page 30 of McDonald's 2012 Annual Report, and calculated the total "Payroll and employee benefits" as a percentage of "Total revenues." Thusly:

4,710,300,000/27,567,000,000=.17 or 17%

Our child prodigy therefore concludes that in order to double pay and benefits for all employees, one need only raise prices by 17% - and who among us wouldn't be willing to pay that in the interest of social justice? Inconveniently left out of the equation is the "Pay and benefits" of employees at about 80% of McDonald's restaurants, a fact one might glean by reading the rest of the report.

Nor does this scholar account for potential changes in sales due to price increases. Believe it or not, when prices go up, sales often go down. Nor does the "analyst" note the increased payroll tax expense that doubling pay would entail.

The real problem with the whole study is the notion that somehow this college student can glance at a summary financial table and say, "There's your problem right there!" and all the McDonald's execs will slap their foreheads and say, "How could we have missed that!"

I hope that the suffocating arrogance of that young man is not emblematic of his generation. The very idea that he could so easily figure out how to double pay, that only he cares enough to do so, that all the managers at McDonald's really want is to crush the little guy and roll around in their piles of ill-gotten gains.

News flash: bad businesses don't make money. Companies that don't serve customers don't make profits and don't stay in business. Companies that underpay don't get employees to work for them. Companies that overcharge lose business to competitors. Companies that go out of business don't have any employees.

And nothing happens in a vacuum. Raise the price of McDonald's employees and see how long it takes to build a robot that makes fries. The idea is hardly far-fetched.

I could go on all day and still be oversimplifying.

Guess what, Mr. Undergrad researcher? There are a lot of people at McDonald's who get paid to think about this stuff all day long. It's their job. No business ever became a success by trying to crush its own employees, but plenty of them were crushed by busybody know-it-alls who thought they knew better.

My advice is to stop trying to be a CEO unless you plan to start your own business, then apply your long division business principles to your own books and let us all know how that worked out.

15 July 2013

#Zimmerman multiple choice test

Choose only one:

1. Martin had every right to walk through that neighborhood.
2. Zimmerman never should have gotten out of his car.

The trick here is that these cannot both be true. Zimmerman lived in the neighborhood. Martin was a guest there. If Martin had every right to walk through the neighborhood, so did Zimmerman. You can't have it both ways. If Zimmerman never should have gotten out of his car, then Martin shouldn't have been wandering around the neighborhood.

And frankly, "Zimmerman never should have gotten out of his car" is a "the bitch was asking for it" argument. So think long and hard of the implications before you choose it.

Choose only one:

1. Martin was a threat to nobody.
2. Zimmerman never should have gotten out of his car.

If (1), then why (2)? Again, think about that one long and hard. And again, they can't both be true. If Zimmerman was stepping into an "obviously risky situation," then he was absolutely right to call the police (as he did.) Arguing that the situation, and by extension Martin, was dangerous, but at the same time to argue that he deserved the protection afforded by meek and willing victims is an appalling surrender of all moral authority. The predators are always in the wrong. That does not mean they all deserve to die, but when they assault others, those victims have an absolute right to defend themselves.

Choose only one.

1. Zimmerman's injuries were not severe enough to justify self-defense.
2. It was Martin who was acting in self-defense.

Again, these cannot both be true, as Martin was the only one who sustained no injuries (prior to his fatal one.) But at least if you chose (2) you acknowledge either that Zimmerman was beaten to a bloody pulp, or that legally one need not sustain any injuries at all to exercise legal self defense. Both, in this case, are true.

Choose only one:

1. A hispanic Obama supporter shot a black man and was acquitted of criminal charges by an all-woman jury.
2. It's all white men's fault.

I hope I don't need to explain that one.

30 June 2013

Opponents of Texas #SB5 Think a Man's Bowels are More Valuable than a Woman's Uterus

With all the insane ranting about the recently killed (but soon to be resurrected) Texas Senate Bill 5, let's step back and take a look at what the actual legislation says.

The bill is only nine pages, which, in plain English, is the equivalent of about a paragraph. Here is my summary:

  1. Abortion clinics must have a licensed physician with admitting privileges to a hospital with ob/gyn services within 30 miles.
  2. Abortion clinics must let women use the phone.
  3. Abortion-inducing drugs ("medical abortions") must be prescribed and administered by doctors.
  4. Abortion clinics will be subject to the same standards and regulations as Ambulatory Surgical Centers.
That's it. Seriously. Read it for yourself.*

Now, I'm not exactly sure how requiring clinics to have a qualified doctor amounts to an attack on women's health. I'm still waiting for an explanation of that one. 

I also can't figure out how requiring that doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital (in case of complications) is at all controversial.

Maybe the bill's opponents are unaware that complications can occur? I guess they are just anti-science.

You may have heard some of the shrill critics of the bill suggesting that it will "shut down most of the abortion clinics in Texas." If that is true, those clinics must be shabby, back alley providers. Maybe they ought to be shut down. Maybe this is one of the lessons we should have learned from Kermit Gosnell, who was enabled by lax regulators to continue his horrifying practice.

You may be thinking, "wait a minute - the same regulations as a surgery center?!"

The sorts of "surgeries" performed at Ambulatory Surgical Centers include tonsillectomies, endoscopies, bunion removals and D&Cs. Haven't abortion proponents for years compared the procedure to tonsillectomies?

Another common procedure performed in an "Ambulatory Surgery Center" is a colonoscopy. Yet somehow, Texas men (and women) are able to get their bowels scoped despite these onerous regulations. Why would the same regulations "shut down" abortion clinics?

To be honest, I can only think of one reason to oppose this bill: because you think a man's bowels are more valuable than a woman's uterus.


* This is the "engrossed" version, meaning the one they were voting on for final passage, incorporating all adopted amendments. You will note that the provision restricting abortions after 20 weeks was removed by an amendment adopted a week prior to Sen. Davis' "heroic" filibuster. Regardless of the merits of that provision, it is not discussed here, because it was not part of the bill the mob shouted down. The only thing those opponents had left to oppose is requiring clinic sanitation and medical qualifications.

14 June 2013

Progressives are the helicopter parents of society at large

The question libertarians just can’t answer, according to Michael Lind over at Slate, is "why are there no libertarian countries?"

Over at NRO, Jonah Goldberg replies, in part (read the whole thing):
Ideals are called ideals for a reason: They’re ideals. They’re goals, aspirations, abstract straight rules we use as measuring sticks against the crooked timber of humanity.
In the old Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and today’s North Korea, they tried to move toward the ideal Communist system. Combined, they killed about 100 million of their own people. That’s a hefty moral distinction right there: When freedom-lovers move society toward their ideal, mistakes may be made, but people tend to flourish. When the hard Left is given free rein, millions are murdered and enslaved. Which ideal would you like to move toward?
Lind thinks he has laid the trump card when he says:

"Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried."

In response to a similar crtitique of Christianity, Chesterton once pointed out that "the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."

Liberals are the would-be helicopter parents of society at large: "There's a problem? Don't worry, we'll fix it!"

The libertarian ideal is mainly the belief that we are, or can be, adults. All of us.

25 May 2013

Obamacare is Thalidomide

By 22-Point Margin, Voters Favor Obamacare’s Repeal | The Weekly Standard
That’s saying something, because, back in 2009 — largely as a result of Republicans’ refusal to do much of anything on health care in the nearly decade-and-a-half between their defeat of Hillarycare and their defeat at the hands of Obama — Americans clearly weren’t very happy with the health-care status quo.
This argument always bothers me. Not just because it's wrong, but because it's so obviously disproved by history. The fact that a growing majority now prefers the former status quo proves not that Republicans should have "had a plan," but that they should have made a stronger argument for not having a plan.

It turns out, after all, that doing nothing was the more thoughtful, better-founded policy approach. It would be nice if this reality led to a greater understanding of how many existing problems were caused by the last solution, and can be best solved not by doing, but by undoing.

Obamacare is Thalidomide.

In theory, at least, I long for a do-nothing Congress (contra Harry Truman.) Because Republicans having never made that argument, we are now left with a crying need for an un-do everything Congress.

Again.

08 May 2013

How to advance freedom? One word: plastics. And 3D printing.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it? 
With the much-publicized successful test-firing of the world's first 3D printed gun, politicians wasted little time calling for a ban on the plastic weapon.

When will they learn?

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the "Saturday Night Special," a loosely defined term roughly encompassing any inexpensive handgun, that was the target of special bans, including the Gun Control Act of 1968. That Act referred to them as "relatively inexpensive pistols and revolvers (largely worthless for sporting purposes)" That phrasing stood on its head the Supreme Court's 1939 reasoning in U.S. vs. Miller, which upheld a ban on private ownership sawed-off shotguns specifically because they did not have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia..."* The courts have never held "sporting purposes" to be relevant to the Second Amendment. But inexpensive guns challenged the state's monopoly on violence, so they had to go.

In the 1950s, it was "zip guns," or home-made firearms, once popular among street gangs (even among fictional street gangs,) that were identified as particular contributors to crime. Since they could be built by anybody with a little ingenuity, zip guns also threatened the state's monopoly on violence, so they had to go.

So now we have these large, awkward, one-shot plastic guns threatening the Republic. As of today, you'll need to buy an $8000 printer in order to make one, and you'll need a new barrel after each ten shots or so, which is significantly more expensive and less convenient than a "real" gun. But let's stipulate that technology tends to come down in price and improve in quality over time, and assume that one day anybody could "print" a more practical gun.

Where Schumer and his cohorts are so badly mistaken is in their apparent belief that banning this application of the revolutionary printing technology is somehow putting their finger in the dike. Maybe they are right. After all, the Dutch boy's finger was only a temporary solution - the dike would still have failed without permanent repairs.

But 3D printed guns are not a leak in the sea wall; they are a storm surge that first overtops, and then destroys the levee.

The question is whether you should keep trying to build higher levees, which will ultimately consume all of your resources for diminishing benefit, or learn to live with the ocean. The 3D printer is revolutionary technology, and not only for weapons. It is less akin to zip guns, and more akin to Gutenberg's press, which ultimately democratized literacy and advanced the cause of human freedom.

It is true that the 3D printed guns should cause us to re-think gun control, but reviving earlier failed attempts at micro-regulation hardly qualifies as "re-thinking." The rich will always have health care, and money, and guns; 3D printing is for the rest of us.

* U.S. vs. Miller, strictly read, would seem to especially support private ownership of "assault rifles," a ruling the Constitutional Law Professor in the White House might do well to review before calling for a ban on those "weapons of war." There's nothing wrong with believing the Court has decided a case wrongly, but we must at least acknowledge the current state of the law.

07 May 2013

Polling shows that news media are incompetent

Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up, says study - latimes.com: Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased.
So says the LA Times, before going on in head-scratching bewilderment as to how Americans could be so ill-informed.

Look at it this way news reporters: that poll is really a report card on you. It turns out, you fail when it comes to keeping people informed.

And articles like this one, and all of those over the last day or two regarding this recent report about the fall in crime over the past twenty years, are great examples. Reporting these days consists of re-wording press releases - sort of like a C student rephrasing an encyclopedia (or Wikipedia) article instead of doing any research.

Crime didn't start falling twenty years ago, it started falling thirty years ago, and US murder rates are the lowest they have been in fifty years. Fifty!

Yet "helicopter parents" won't let their kids outside alone because to watch the news, you'd think it was all Mad Max out there. There is less crime now than there has been in the entire lifetime of most living Americans.

But they don't know that if they get their information from the news media.

29 March 2013

Sauce for the goose?

Followers of the Supreme Court may recall Chief Justice John Roberts' famous quote from the majority opinion upholding Obamacare last summer:

It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Justice Roberts might well keep that in mind as he contemplates the consequences of the political choice made by California voters, who passed Proposition 8 into law in 2008.

27 March 2013

Many (most) on both sides of gay marriage are arguing the wrong issue

Today's debate over "gay marriage" is really about no such thing. It is about a gay marriage license, and if we were to actually debate that issue, the arguments might get quite interesting.

A government-issued license, as any gun owner will surely attest, is not a granting of rights, but an infringement upon them; a granting to government of the power to regulate. This is a very important point, and one that many - if not most - on both sides of the current debate entirely miss.

For traditionalists, the argument against gay marriage often includes the objection that the government should not "sanction" or bless such unions with a license. But since when does a government license confer blessings? Blessings are from God, expressed through our churches; licenses are from government and subject to conditions and regulations. When you got your driver's license, it did not signify that the DMV was celebrating your ability to drive, or granting you such a right. It only signified that you had met certain regulatory thresholds required to purchase the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on government streets. That privilege remains subject, of course, to the state's ongoing scrutiny of your adherence to regulation, and is subject to revocation by the state. You need no license to drive on your own private property.

So it is with marriage.

There is a reason that people must go to court to obtain divorces, but not to break up with girlfriends. Marriages are regulated by the state. Romantic relationships are not.

It is a plain fact that homosexual unions, cohabitation, same sex couple benefits, homosexual churches, marriages, neighborhoods and hospital visitation are outlawed in exactly zero states in this country. A court decision "granting the right to marry" would do no such thing. What it would do, is to make these gay romantic relationships subject to regulation.

At its core, government marriage licensing arose as a way to protect women and children from abandonment, and to protect the parental rights of fathers; ultimately, to ensure the safe and healthy raising of our next generation. Whether any of this was ever really the business of government is another question. What is not in question is that none of these justifications for government regulation apply in any way whatsoever to gay couples.

As it happens, these reasons apply less and less with each passing year to heterosexual couples. The CDC reports that more than 40% of children in the United States are born to unmarried mothers. Beginning in 1970, no-fault divorce laws, now the standard throughout the nation, made leaving a marriage significantly less of a burden, loosening the state's actual control of marriage.

As a result, marriage is nowhere considered a permanent institution under the law, and regulations designed to protect the material well-being of children focus on the financial - paternity suits, child support - entirely separate from the relationship in which the child was conceived.

Marriage is indeed a sacred institution, and it has meant throughout the ages, only one thing. That is still true. Families who wish to live in this tradition can, and ought to, marry in their churches, and abide by the vows that, for the most part, they are already publicly proclaiming in their wedding ceremonies. That's marriage.

What is no longer true, is that government licensing of marriage in the United States is in anybody's interest - if, indeed, it ever really was.

Rather than expand the regulatory state to spy and intrude on gay relationships, the question we should be debating is how to rein in, or even eliminate the state's intrusion into sacred matters such as marriage.

06 March 2013

Let's keep defense cuts in prespective

Over at The Corner, Jim Talent shares the graphic below to warn of the horrors of the coming defense cuts:

Just in case nothing jumped out at you about the graph, take a look at the one I made below, which shows the exact same data, but in the correct proportional scale:


Somehow, the impending doom seems less scary, particularly in light of the ending of two wars and reduction in active duty personnel. Using grossly distorted graphics to scaremonger about defense cuts is pure propaganda.

Of course, the cuts ought to be made intelligently, and with an eye towards maintaining an appropriate level of preparedness. But the notion that more is always better is just as foolish in the Defense Department as it is in every other part of the budget, and I get a little tired of people who think it is somehow "conservative" to always wail for more spending on the Armed Forces.

30 January 2013

If this be heckling, make the most of it...

As any sane person can see, this father of one of the Sandy Hook victims was not "heckled." To the contrary, I'd say this is a great example of civil discourse.



(h/t HotAir)