“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shelby Steele On Wonderboy

Distinguished scholar Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute wrote an insightful piece on Wonderboy's presidency in an editorial on March 31st of this year.

Perhaps the most descriptive passages Steele wrote were these,

"Well, suppose you were the first black president of the United States and, therefore, also the first black head-of-state in the entire history of Western Civilization.....If anything, you may literally experience yourself as a myth in the making...A historic figure making history, this is emerging as an over-arching theme- if not obsession- in the Obama presidency.

Of the two great societal goals- freedom and "the good"- freedom requires a conservatism, a discipline of principles over the good, limited government, and so on. No way to grandiosity here. But today's liberalism is focused on "the good" more than on freedom. And ideas of "the good" are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering.....This is an old formula for power, last used effectively on the presidential level by Lyndon Johnson.

There has always been a narcissistic charge around Mr. Obama, the sense that in embracing him one was embracing something special in oneself- and possibly even a larger idea of human perfectibility.

Many presidents have been historically significant in retrospect, but Mr. Obama had historic significance on his inauguration day. His inauguration told a transcendent American story. Other presidents work forward into their legacy. Mr. Obama is working backward into his."

Steele noted, in passing, why Wonderboy hasn't focused on taking what governmental actions would facilitate US economic recovery. Simply stated, it's non-transformational, not noteworthy and poor fare for standing out as a modern legend.

Steele's perspectives seem to perfectly capture and explain so much of our First Rookie's behaviors and actions, don't they?

He's constantly looking at himself in the mirror, as it were. Listening to himself deliver endless numbers of self-referential, self-aggrandizing speeches.

He really is seeking to justify his instant legacy of the day of his inauguration. We will all pay for this- one way, or another.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Incredible Leaking of Palin's Speaking Contract

Here's some of the text of a recent online news piece on how Sarah Palin's confidential speaking engagement contract with a Cal State campus was discovered,

"Brown's investigation was prompted, in part, by a group of CSU Stanislaus students who retrieved five pages of the contract from a campus trash bin last Friday after hearing administrators were engaged in shredding documents.

The contract detailed the former Alaska governor's requirements for her visit, including first-class flights from Anchorage to California — if she flies commercial. If not, "the private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger ...," the contract specifies.

Palin also must be provided with a suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel near the campus in Turlock in the Central Valley. During her speech, her lectern must be stocked with two water bottles and bendable straws.

The students who found the contract document said they acted on a tip that documents were being shredded at the campus administration building on a day when staff members were supposed to be on furlough.

Alicia Lewis, 26, was one of the students who went to investigate. The building was locked and gated, but the students were able to retrieve piles of paperwork, including the contract document, from a nearby trash bin, Lewis said.

Russell Giambelluca, the university's vice president of business and finance, said Tuesday that no one at the university was advised to destroy specific foundation documents, and staff members routinely shred and dispose of paperwork that is no longer needed.

Regarding the excerpt of Palin's contract, he said: "I find it interesting that among shredded documents you find one that's completely intact related to the contract."

Lewis and another student, Ashli Briggs, traveled to Sacramento Tuesday to give Brown office material they said had been thrown out, including two boxes of documents and two trash bags filled with shredded files."

Funny, isn't it? Giambelluca's observation shows just how much venality and hatred exists against Palin on the left. That, among otherwise shredded documents, Palin's contract mysteriously turned up unshredded and available for theft and publication.

Were a liberal like, say, Al Gore subjected to this sort of treatment, the state's AG, a Democrat running for Governor- again- would probably be conducting an on-campus investigation to nab the guilty student or bureaucrat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Broken Public School Systems

A Wall Street Journal editorial in yesterday's edition noted some surprising and disappointing statistics regarding school enrollments and teachers.

In New York state, over the period from 2000 to 2009, public school enrollment fell by 121,000 pupils, but the number of teachers increased by 15,000. In New York City, 11,000 education system employees were added while the student population decreased by 63,000.

In other states, similar discontinuities occurred. Virginia's number of teachers increased by 21% in concert with a 5% enrollment increase, while in Florida, the same rates were, respectively, 20% and 6%. For North Carolina, they were 22% more teachers for a 9% rise in enrollment.

In my own state of New Jersey, educational jobs have increased by 14% in the past decade to serve an enrollment of 3% more students.

These are horrifying numbers. Any business that operated like these states' educational systems would be out of business by now. It's negative productivity, at speed.

I had lunch with an old friend and business colleague/partner yesterday. Among the many topics we discussed was my recent understanding of Milton Friedman's concept of the negative income tax. Friedman, as a disciple of Von Hayek, realized, implicitly, the loss of freedom and general inefficiencies created by government programs which provide services, rather than vouchers, credits, and other mechanisms by which services may be bought by consumers.

Imagine, in this vein, if states and local school boards collected tax revenues to be paid to private contractors who provided teachers and schooling services?

Can you possibly imagine any such schools hiring teachers at a faster rate than students increased in their systems?

Of course not.

Maybe it's too late to move to such a model, but with American primary education apparently in such appalling shape, how much worse could we do? One benefit of contracting services out, rather than providing them by the state via unionized employees, is that new vendors can replace current ones whose prices are too high, or quality too low.

Instead, now, we get both low quality and high prices from our state-provided public school systems in too many of these United States of America.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Justice Stevens' Resignation

The recent announcement of Justice Stevens' imminent resignation from the Supreme Court has set off a lot of turmoil.

Of course, in more placid political times, one would expect the sitting president to probably get his nominee appointed without too much fuss.

But these aren't normally placid times. Instead, we have a naive, inexperienced, socialist president who rammed an unpopular and unwanted health care bill through Congress by the barest of majorities, using bribes and legislative tricks.

While confirmation of Stevens' replacement will only require 51 Senators to vote for him/her, the Republicans have warned of a filibuster if the nominee is unacceptable to them.

I suppose the good news is that, being a liberal, Stevens' replacement can only be, well, at worst, a liberal, as well. Even the most anti-American, socialist liberal that Wonderboy could find, made in his own image and likeness, can't really affect the existing balance.

Despite the pleas of some Republican Senators, like perennially-naive looking Orrin Hatch of Utah, I'm quite sure Wonderboy won't nominate anyone even remotely moderate in political outlook.

The real surprise to me, however, is the appearance of Hilary Clinton's name as a nominee.

Is this a joke?

What possible qualifications could she have for the Supreme Court? Being the wife of a former, impeached president? Being a run-of-the-mill, small-time lawyer from Arkansas? Having dabbled in questionable cases during her active legal career, such as the infamous real estate dealings in the Whitewater scandal?

Don't we typically prefer Supreme Court nominees to have been on the bench somewhere before? Shown some judicial temperament and ability to rule with minimal reversals?

If anyone lacks judicial temperament, it would be Hilary.

Honestly, I hope it was and is a joke. Because it would be the ultimate evidence of our country becoming a plutocracy if we see a president nominating a former president's wife, from his own party, for the Supreme Court.

I had hoped we had not yet sunk to the level of Argentina, but, maybe I'm wrong.

Jon Voight's Letter On Huckabee Saturday

Jon Voight read, on Saturday evening on a Fox News program, a remarkably candid, comprehensive letter detailing Wonderboy's reprehensible behaviors since being inaugurated. In particular, he calls attention to the Rookie's roots in Saul Alinsky's tactics for destroying capitalist systems.

It bears watching and forwarding.