Links for 1-31-2014

  • Wendy Davis' campaign is ticking off one of her natural constituencies – the media – which earned her rebukes by The Austin American Statesman and The Texas Observer.

  • Chris Christie's friend David Wildstein threw him under the bus – the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official said Christie knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures and evidence exists to prove it. He didn't specify what that evidence might be. Christie again denied knowing about the lane closures before they happened.

  • The Manhattan Institute published an interview with Michael Greve, a professor at George Mason University School of Law. Greve offered an interesting observation about modern day federalism:

    The general thinking is this: the intended effect of state competition is to discipline state politicians. If they overtax or overregulate people, that'll result in almost instantaneous outmigration. And they don't want to lose productive citizens and businesses. So they'll take a little more care than they otherwise would in not overtaxing or overregulating people.

    Now as it turns out, if you're a state politician, you'll hate that regime, precisely because it disciplines you. And so, under certain circumstances, state politicians – not state voters – but the political establishments of various states have an incentive to mobilize for federal policies that limit competition. So they may, for example, support a fairly high federal minimum wage. That allows them to do good things for – or what looks like a good thing for – their citizens, without then incurring the costs of competition. And that can be done through regulatory means, or through federal funding programs, all of which have an intensely anti-competitive effect precisely because they transfer funds that state politicians don't have to raise on their own.

    And that sort of “cartelizing” effect will happen, unless there's something that really deeply divides states, where there’s a sufficient number of states – 15, 16, 17 – that say “No, there's nothing in it for us”. And what you see in recent years is something that we really haven't had over the past five decades: forms of resistance on the part of some states, to federal interventions that purport to be good for states, but after all, the states say “no thank you, we don't believe in this, we just won't cooperate.”

  • A senior al Qaeda operative based in Iran, Yasin al Suri, is reportedly coordinating efforts to move Islamist fighters into Syria. There's also evidence that he's been planning attacks in the West, including an attempted attack in Canada last year.