Days of Change

No-Fly Zone

July 23, 2014

An air war is starting considering the plane brought down last week over Ukraine. Now, the US is supporting a suspension / boycott of flights to Israel. Air space is becoming more dangerous with the possibility of long-range RPG type weapons, antonymous drones and the lack of a US-led world community to stop it.

If large swaths of the planet are unsafe for air travel, the world could be split into civilization on one side and an unending hellhole on the other. This might be something of an exaggeration, but there are no rules when this president fails to keep order.

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Federal Limits

July 22, 2014
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I think that while the Supreme Court is perilously close to a majority in love with federal power, the current configuration is reasonably interested in individual rights. The Roberts Court is taking more of a piecemeal approach to ruling on government overreach. It is unfortunate when this administration is defying precedent every day. Still, the Court and Roberts especially, are making the voters live with their actions in a broad sense while trying to maintain the Constitution.

The original Obamacare decision was a tough pill to swallow. When Roberts sided with a majority, (made up of Democrat appointees and an Obama administration lawyer) he was accused of having epileptic brain damage or being blackmailed as a secret homosexual. SCOTUS made three important decisions that day. Obamacare had a tax portion, regardless of the administration calling it a fine. The federal government could not force Medicaid expansion in states who refused it. Finally, Obamacare was not going to be re-written. If the American people didn’t like it, they could vote Obama out. If the House didn’t like it, they could deny funding to it. This was no longer an activist court.

As Obamacare continues to suck, the courts will have to continue to step in. Much of this is due to arbitrary decisions made by the administration and not the ACA law itself. The law is actually overly broad to the point of having little for a court to adjudicate. The Hobby Lobby decision was based on the HHS Secretary violating federal law to impose her vision. It was not in Obamacare. The same goes for subsidies for exchanges in non-participating states.

The White House did not expect that states (about 2/3) might refuse to set up health insurance exchanges and give up “free” Medicaid expansion money. The problem with the money, of course, was that the state would be paying a lot more in exchange for the funds because they would have to cover everyone on Medicaid for everything. The feds then spent over half a billion dollars to set up a website for the 36 states who would not create exchanges. To encourage sign ups, they created subsidies that mimicked the ones in participating states. The problem is that this was not written into Obamacare and was therefore not legal.

Today, the DC Court of Appeals (not exactly a conservative hotbed) ruled that the federal government could not just create a new budget item to achieve their goal of paying for everyone’s insurance with debt without law to pass it up. Suspiciously, another Circuit Court voted the other way, deciding that the law was “ambiguous” because it did not specifically state that the feds could not break the law as they saw fit. This pretty much puts it in SCOTUS hands.

If Roberts is truly trying to follow the letter of the law and not being deferential to the administration, I expect Obamacare to go down hard. The end of federal subsidies will increase people’s insurance costs over 1000% in some cases.

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Border Control

July 21, 2014
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Texas governor Rick Perry announced that the National Guard will be doing something surprising by guarding the southern border with Mexico. 1,000 people will act mostly as a presence, as they cannot completely usurp the authority of the federal border patrol. They can, however, detain, process and collect information on border jumpers before turning them over. The unwritten reality is that while there are a greater number of children in the mix, more adults of unknown histories are coming over than ever as well.

This is a partial solution at best, but it does indicate that Republican states will not simply put up with unilateral federal action. It should also be a sign to the House Republicans that they are playing with fire by pushing immigration reform and slave labor guest worker programs ahead of border security.

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It’s Funny How People Calling for Sacrifice Don’t

July 20, 2014
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The most political influence I got from my parents has to do with public education. One of the most intrusive and expensive aspects of government has been in the schools. Even before the unionization and collectivism of trying to indoctrinate the next generation, the funding model for schools has been arbitrary and prone to disproportionate outcomes.

Most schools in America are grouped by districts. These can be by county, city or other geographical divisions. School budgets are determined by elected school boards and voted on by residents of the district. This can have the effect of creating poor and wealthy districts where schools can be of wildly different qualities only a few miles away.New York is notorious for courts forcing the state to put extra money into poor districts. Others simply got larger and larger to encompass both poor and wealthy and their tax base. This is part of what is detailed in this week’s PBS Frontline, “Separate and Unequal.”

The through-line for the story is focused on the Dangerfield family. The matriarch is a Black single mother and a manager at Fed Ex. She often has to work late and also gets three sons ready for busing to three different schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish. The schools in her neighborhood are substandard and Louisiana has policies for the voluntary busing of students to increase opportunity and diversity.

In the past, communities with large Black and White populations constructed schools in the same vicinity where one allowed Whites and one allowed Blacks. The Black schools would frequently be underfunded, leading to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that schools would be desegregated and anyone in a geographic area would go to one school. This led to so-called White flight, where White families moved far enough away to be the large majority in a local school. Courts began social engineering with the concept of busing. Black children could be transported outside of their relatively bad school to better White schools.

In Baton Rouge, parents have apparently become fed up with a generation of busing creating large schools with discipline problems. Their solution is to downsize the district by incorporating a new St. George City with a school district to match. With busing laws struck down by the Supreme Court, the St. George parents hope to populate schools with the children of the neighborhood who are more accountable than students who live miles away.

Predictably, PBS framed this as a plan by Whites to create a 70% White district (the current East Baton Rouge Parish population is about 50% White) with a more robust tax base. Then again, this is what property taxed based funding is about. People move to neighborhoods because they are attached to good schools. Right now, they are short of the 18,000 signatures needed to put the plan on the ballot and local government has already stepped in to block it. This actually proves their point.

Nikki Dangerfield has a good job, but with one income and four kids, (her daughter is in college) her educational options are to send her kids to better performing schools outside of her neighborhood. She is apparently unable to do anything about the under-performing schools near her home. Instead of the middle class White parents leaving to create better schools, this is a case of a Black parents with better income and more determination abandoning a primarily Black school for the same reasons parents want to form the City of St. George.

Geographical racial segregation is frequently voluntary and often political. States often create districts with just enough minority population to turn the government their way. The mayor of East Baton Rouge Parish is a Black Democrat. He believes money is the solution for education problems, even though evidence would prove otherwise. The White population has little say in the matter because their district has been racially gerrymandered. They put the most money into the government and have the smallest voice, which runs counter to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The problem with the current government is that they seem to think Black families can just bus their kids to White schools. That just leads to one really bad all-Black school that does a disservice to all its pupils.




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How Bad Will the GOP Do This Year?

July 19, 2014
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The Republican leadership is trying to pass an immigration bill that the Democrats like and is letting donors spend untold millions trying to defeat Tea Party and other popular primary candidates. It’s funny if you think about the fact that Republicans were perfectly willing to get caught up in a Tea Party wave when they lost the Senate and the House. They still don’t have the Senate, but are acting like they’re fine without any ideological assistance.

It doesn’t really matter if the Tea Party has too many old people and turning left will get more voters (it won’t). At a certain point, the Republican Party will just be a less stupid version of the Democratic Party and will not be able to win an election. The GOP is lucky I am worried enough about Obama that I’ll vote Republican this year.

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What Do Hamas and South Americans Have in Common?

July 18, 2014
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A number of ‘compassionate’ conservatives are coming out now in the crisis of minors crossing the border and ending up on the Southern border. Some want to hand out prizes toys to the MS-13 gang members human trafficked child prostitutes children, others want to make everyone legal. This looks a lot like compassion, but it’s the same crap that happened in the 1980s when we gave amnesty to illegal aliens already in the US under the condition that this would stop.

Frankly, these kids (and a lot of adults) are the human shields of pro-amnesty forces. Much like Hamas, the left has figured out that their opposition is incapacitated by the idea of hurting children. Obviously, we should do our best to offer aid and comfort. The problem is that our temporary kindness is encouraging the cruelty of sending an unloved minor hundreds or thousands of miles to the US.

What we should be doing is demanding some pro-quo for our quid. First of all, Obama needs to rescind that Executive Order making minors in the US impervious to INS scrutiny. Whatever theoretical good it does is outweighed by the way the rule becomes a permiso for any kid who make sit to US soil. We also need comprehensive border security, because we’ll never know what the demand is for guest workers until we can actually determine the supply.

Right now, we’re encouraging putting kids to death and in danger. Handing out some soccer balls and teddy bears to the winners who didn’t die on the way here isn’t going to fix anything.

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Foreign Policy Was Romney’s Strength

July 17, 2014
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Firemen are sexier than Smokey the Bear because they put out fires rather than preventing them.

After 9/11, there were criticisms of Condolezza Rice being Secretary of State due to the fact she was an expert on the Soviet Union which had dissolved and not on Middle East terror. The assumption was that Mother Russia was unlikely to rear its ugly head in the future. Given current events, the lack of any major conflicts involving Russia and the United States during Bush’s term might lend to the idea that Russia and former Soviets do matter. Plus, Afghanistan was heavily influenced by the proxy war that went on there between the Soviets and the US in the 1980s.

In 2008, there was a sense that a Romney campaign would be strong on economics and be managed with expert precision. The reality was that neither was done particularly well. The Obama campaign made this 47% crap a focus of their campaign and blunted Romney’s effectiveness on economics. For his part, Romney fell down on running a large campaign. They made expensive last-minute ad buys, failed to target the millions of disgruntled Obama voters and relied on an unproven technology on Election Day that at best would have been ineffective.

The memes about Romney being right about everything mostly focus on the fact that Obama’s crappy foreign policy toward Russia and the Middle East coupled with souring relations between long-time allies, has made America basically impotent. Russia is the other superpower. China is large but economically dependent on the United States. The Middle East is vast, but mostly presents a problem because the countries are run by theocratic savages. Russia, however, needs the US out of the way and is making deals with China and the Arab world to make that happen.

It looks like Russian separatists in Ukraine shot down a Malaysian passenger aircraft just because they could. They are now the biggest force in terrorism, making a large swath of airspace unusable to make things difficult for Russia. Obama has already proved himself impotent in this conflict and can only stand back and criticize. Of course, we can leave this internal conflict to Russia because we don’t care about them. We had better hope we don’t need them, like when Russia let us fly military aircraft through their air space after 9/11.

Maybe Condolezza Rice was right about everything.

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Wet Behind the Ears

July 16, 2014
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I do appreciate journalists like Jake Tapper. He was even-handed in the 2008 Election even though ABC was literally a pipeline for other reporters to go to the White House. He moved to CNN where he is an island of reporting in a sea of grievance anchors. Still, traditional media limits his ability to do stories. Look what happened to Sheryl Attkisson at CBS.

Fox, on the other hand, is fertile ground for reporting. Yesterday, Wendell Goler was able to lead neophyte press secretary Josh Earnest into talking about the various ‘photo-ops’ Obama claimed not to be interested in. I imagine the White House must dread having to deal with real questions whenever they call on a Fox reporter.

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Throwback Tuesday

July 15, 2014

I’m going to take a break from Jackass tonight to write about what people really love: reality TV.

If I watch reality television, I usually get pulled into it against my better judgement. I tend toward remodeling and home renovation, but I’ll watch the shows with people trapped in a house, too. I also see tat “Ice Road Truckers” is back. By far, the most embarrassing must-watch for me is now “Married at First Sight.”

Since A&E stopped producing the show “Biography,” the Biography Channel has kind of suffered for content and identity. This month is was re-branded as “fyi,” with a lot of shows you can find on other channels. The most unusual is “Married at First Sight.” The premise is that a set of “experts” choose from a pool of people who are willing to be married off sight unseen and pair them up. Out of 50 people, they decided on three matches. The couples do not meet until their wedding, are contractually obligated to stay on the show for 4 weeks and have to get a divorce if it doesn’t work out.

The reality of the show is pretty suspect. One of the people has been on “The Bachelor,” for example. Still, the concept is interesting. In America, we don’t really arrange marriages. Some cultures do, especially where life is less comfortable and marriage is an important economic condition. Even though arranged marriages have a surprisingly high success rate, some of that may be due to the consequences of dissolving those kind of marriages.

Then again, the idea of people self selecting their soul mate from across a crowded room is demonstrably silly. People get together for many reasons, but there are factors that make a relationship more likely. Most people marry someone geographically close to them, even when they look online. Some were in the same high school. Some people meet through their existing relationships with friends. Other people get together at work. That’s how my parents met.

Besides the factors of location and social circles, plain proximity can have an effect. Experiments have shown that a man and a woman who share a small secret rate the other as more attractive than ones who are just part of a social experiment. What interests me is this “reality” show isn’t that real, but it is creating a shared experience between two people. That can sometimes be all it takes.


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The Energizer

July 14, 2014
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As the federal government tries to weaponize illegal aliens by busing them around the country, protests by citizens of the dumping grounds are forming to stop them. Now that another city has protested the dumping, I’d like to write something for the record. Currently, the leftists are claiming that protests like in Murrieta are isolated racists. In a few weeks when these protests become widespread, they will lie and claim that this is an organized effort by Republicans, is AstroTurf and probably has something to do with the Koch brothers, when they’re not donating to hospitals or creating union jobs.

When the Obama administration does something heinous and the GOP is on the verge of helping, protests start. The Tea Party started as a direct result of the Stimulus. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed on February 17, 2009 with the help of Republicans Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Just two days later, Rick Santelli gave his famous speech about a new Tea Party. The first rally was a week later. It took only days for Democrats to feed the “AstroTurf” meme to Nancy Pelosi.

The slightly good news is that people on main street are seeing the result of Obama’s policies and are reacting to them. Ultimately, he is the energizer of grassroots action more than some money from some Republican front groups. The timing couldn’t have been much better, either. There are only 4 months until the Congressional elections and winning the Senate is going to be a battle for the Republican Party. Even though they suck, I’ll still take them over Obama.

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