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‚Äôs 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.

Links for 1-30-2014

  • The House GOP released their principles for immigration reform. Daniel Horowitz, Senator Jeff Sessions, and the Heritage Foundation are not impressed.

  • Angelo Codevilla wrote an article for The Federalist on Obama's unserious foreign policy:

    In fact, foreigners ceased taking Obama seriously long ago. That is one reason why so much of the world is moving in directions that do not augur well for America.

    Foreigners' respect for America has declined because, in fact, Obama has neither taken seriously the need to maintain that respect nor understood what it would take to do it.

  • The dean of instruction at Union University, Hunter Baker, writes that a college liberal arts degree is a worthwhile investment over the long run because people learn how to learn new things, while more professional-oriented degrees decline in utility as a person's skills become outdated. I agree with him in principle but I'm not convinced you need a college degree to learn how to learn.

  • Senator Mark Udall's son Jed was arrested in Denver for breaking into cars and heroin possession.

  • The Girl Scouts say they're sorry if anyone took offense at their apparent endorsement of Wendy Davis, but the cookie boycott is still on.

  • The New Yorker published an article describing how substandard abortion clinics remain in business.

Links for 1-29-2014

Links for 1-28-2014

  • Kevin Williamson wrote a wonderful rant against the State of the Union speech:

    The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship – it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting – with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

    It’s the most nauseating display in American public life – and I write that as someone who has just returned from a pornographers’ convention.

    It’s worse than the Oscars.

  • Victor Davis Hanson on President Obama’s plans to use his “pen and phone” to bypass Congress: “There are lots of creepy things about such dictatorial statements of moving morally backward in order to go politically ‘forward.’” Later, Hanson writes:

    We are reentering Nixonian times, or perhaps worse, given that a free press at least went after Nixon’s misdeeds and misadventures. Now it has silenced itself for fear of harming a once-in-century chance for a fellow progressive’s makeover of America. We live in an age when a CNN moderator interrupts a presidential debate to help her sputtering candidate, and when a writer for the often ironic and sarcastic New Yorker sees no irony in doing a fawning interview with the president, tagging along on a shakedown jet tour from one mansion of crony capitalists to the next – as Obama preaches to the head-nodders about inequality and fairness in order to ensure that the bundled checks pour in.

  • President Obama raised the minimum wage paid on new federal contracts by 39% to $10.10 an hour. It’s not clear how many federal contractors were earning the previous minimum wage ($7.25 an hour), but the federal government has plenty of money to pay for raises, right?

  • When Senator Tom Corburn’s health insurance transferred to an ObamaCare plan, he lost his oncologist. He’s paying to see the same oncologist out of his own pocket. Many other Americans aren’t so fortunate.

  • People at the Heritage Foundation have been reading through the farm bill and it’s ugly, as expected.

  • According to Reuters, the last defense appropriations bill included funding for weapons for “moderate” Syrian rebels, concealed in classified portions of the bill.

  • Democrat Senator Mark Udall was cleared of claims that he bullied Colorado’s insurance regulators by a “neutral and objective” panel consisting of three Democrat operatives from Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper’s administration.

  • Mollie Hemingway wrote a great article on what Americans have lost by becoming thoroughly risk averse.

  • Who would have guessed? It’s better to be a corporation than a person.

Links for 1-27-2014

Links for 1-26-2014

Links for 1-25-2014

  • The Presidential Commission on Election Administration issued its report on improving voting. It endorsed more absentee voting but didn’t offer recommendations how to make it more secure, which is a mistake – it’s a common avenue for committing voter fraud.

  • Researchers at Syracuse University gathered statistics on the proceedings of immigration courts and determined that deportation cases closed by prosecutorial discretion increased by 68% from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013. The researchers’ report only counted deportation cases that made it to court – others are dismissed administratively – so the effect of the Obama administration’s discretion policy could be even greater than the report indicates.

  • Virginia’s newly elected (Democrat) attorney general, Mark Herring, announced that he’s joining a federal lawsuit challenging Virginia’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It’s one thing for an attorney general to announce that he/she cannot defend a state law or the state constitution; usually this is followed by offering private individuals or organizations the opportunity to defend it. It’s another thing for an attorney general to join a federal lawsuit challenging a state law or the state constitution; this is an abuse of office deserving impeachment proceedings or a recall election.

  • A philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, Gary Gutting, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times where he suggests that Pope Francis ought to re-evaluate his position on abortion.

  • The Wall Street Journal interviewed former Blackwater CEO Eric Prince, who said “there’s very little advantage to being an American citizen anymore. They tax you anywhere in the world you are, they regulate you, and they certainly don’t help you, at all.” The WSJ reporter (actually an editorial page writer for WSJ Asia) calls this statement a “surprising claim.”