Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Drop the Tomatoes and Put Your Hands Behind Your Head

The Food Safety Modernization Act is getting closer to a vote. It represents the typical sort of big-brother benevolence that in the end will do little to accomplish what it ostensibly purports to do but could, as a matter of design, turn my Mom, my cousin, my brother in law, and millions upon millions of Americans into criminals.

This tyrannical law puts all food production (yes, even food produced in your own garden) under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Yep -- the very same people running the TSA and its naked body scanner / passenger groping programs.

This law would also give the U.S. government the power to arrest any backyard food producer as a felon (a "smuggler") for merely growing lettuce and selling it at a local farmer's market.

It also sells out U.S. sovereignty over our own food supply by ceding to the authority of both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Codex Alimentarius.

It would criminalize seed saving, turning backyard gardeners who save heirloom seeds into common criminals. This is obviously designed to give corporations like Monsanto a monopoly over seeds.

It would create an unreasonable paperwork burden that would put small food producers out of business, resulting in more power over the food supply shifting to large multinational corporations.
What we need in this country is more regulation.

Because, as everyone knows, there are no existing laws against raising filthy food teeming with e coli and selling it to an unsuspecting public as kosher.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Great Moments in Liability Avoidance

A Phoenix area golf course cautions us:

from Free Range Kids via Overlawyered

Some Opinions about the Wikileak Leak

First from Watts Up With That--a post that questions the subjective application of rock-hard journalistic principles.

Secondly from Archbishop Cranmer who suggests that we shouldn't be very surprised that people talk about us behind our backs and that

[...]Wikileaks is a whistleblower’s website, and they appear to have an awful lot of whistles to blow. As these revelations reverberate around the world, it is evident that they serve a purpose.

It is worth considering what and whose.
At Volokh, David Bernstein points out that conspiracy theorists must be confounded by the leaks.
It’s quite a blow to conspiracy theorists, is it not, that the combined weight of two of their favor bogeymen, “the Zionists” and “the Arabs” haven’t been able to get the U.S. to take military action against Iran.
Finally, at Protein Wisdom, the OUTLAW himself ponders when it was that we stopped treating treason as treason.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ray Basham, D-Taylor, Knows the Legislature's Job

Mr. Basham, when having his nose rubbed in the fact that Michigan's relatively new anti-smoking law for bars and restaurants has reduced charity gaming revenues by nearly 25%, responded with this bit of wisdom:

"I would say to them, 'What are you doing to market to nonsmokers?'" said Basham, who pushed for years to get Michigan to adopt the ban. "The job of the Legislature is to protect public health, not to create a business plan for establishments that don't have a business plan."
Many bars and restaurants that have been profitable for decades are now showing similar decreases in revenues. (Oddly, they seemed to have successful business plans for all those years.)

Sadly, other people have been affected too. Employees at many of these establishments have seen their hours cut back as a result of the shortfall.

As it turns out, this is not Mr. Basham's fault either. He might say to them, What are you doing to make some money? Maybe you should get a second job or go find some cans for deposit money. After all, it is the job of the legislature to protect your health even though you chose specifically to work in an establishment that caters to smokers, and it is not our job to create a survival plan for employees that don't have a survival plan. Unless, of course, you need some food stamps...

Just so you know, it is neither Mr. Basham's fault nor that of his political brethren that nearly a million Michiganders have lost their jobs in the past ten years, that hundreds of companies have closed up shop or fled the state, that the unemployment rate here has rivaled the nation's highest for most of the last decade, and that whole industries are struggling for lack of a nurturing business climate.

After all, it is the job of the legislature to pursue the greater good for Michigan society, not to create a survival plan for businesses that have difficulty adapting to all the horse crap legislation that fascist morons seem to pass out of Lansing these days with the quivering speed of Chris Matthews' leg at an Obama speaking engagement.

With people like Ray Basham in charge it is a shock that anyone in Michigan still has a job. But if they didn't, it wouldn't be his fault.

The Nanny State Cometh

I marvel at the attempts made by government officials to control the lives of individual Americans in their routines of life.

We have bureaucrats that are more than willing to tell us how to operate our businesses, what to eat and drink, how to spend our leisure time, and how to treat those around us. We have countless government agencies whose sole purpose is to nudge individual Americans into herd behaviors that benefit whatever bureaucrats deem is the common good.

That common good can be accomplished by protecting our environment from pollution, by protecting us all from activities suspected of contributing to man made global warming, by protecting us from any casual contact with cigarette smoke (or any of a thousand other substances,) by keeping people from either accidentally or purposefully ingesting any foods or drinks where short or long term ingestion thereof might cause cancer or obesity or high blood pressure in mice, by protecting particular classes of people from being disadvantaged or offended, or by keeping knuckle dragging conservatives from thinking the wrong thoughts.

Some bureaucrats these days hint at reining in certain uncooperative news channels, hobbling the blogosphere, and throwing cold water over the haters of talk radio. You see, it just isn't helpful to have government's ambitions painted in such an uncomely manner! They are, after all, here to protect.

This last election was, I think, at least a bit of an indication that many among us had seen enough. Many of us are tired of the intrusiveness of government. And, while most of us recognize that actions taken by individuals can be damaging to individuals, we believe that handcuffing individuals to the desired outcomes of the collective creates a society that intrinsically functions less successfully while it offers us less freedom.

While conservatives have helped to pull both wings of the legislative branch back closer to sanity, there is still a lot of work to do.

I offer you as an example, Rep. Jan Schakowski, D-Illinois, who won reelection into the upcoming house.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the Illinois Congresswoman who informed the WSJ that I am a "cynical special interest" because I dared to participate in the upcoming midterm elections, is not content with rearranging your business and the Children's Product industry. Now she wants to redesign your new home.

Does she have good taste, you ask. Well, read on and see what you think of Jan Schakowsky as your architect or decorator.

Your home is your last refuge, right? Not if she gets her way -- but then again, she knows what's best for you! After all, a bigger government involved in every aspect of your life is a BETTER government. The estimable Ms. Schakowsky is the sponsor of HR 1408 Inclusive Home Design Act of 2009. In other words, this law-in-the-makings is her handiwork.
Read the article and then come back and answer the questions.

How comfortable do you feel in the local building department having the final say on whether your own personal home is accessible enough to the handicapped? Even if you are not handicapped. Even if no one in your family is handicapped. Even if the only person you know that is handicapped is someone that you don't like and don't want to visit you in the first place. Even if it costs you many thousands more in building costs.

Well, Jan Schakowsky knows best about these sorts of things and she is willing to use strings-attached government money to shackle you into compliance.
“any assistance that is provided or otherwise made available by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or any program or activity or such agencies, through any grant, loan, contract, or any other arrangement, after the expiration of the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, including . . . grants, subsidies, or any other funds . . . services of Federal personnel . . . any tax credit, mortgage or loan guarantee or insurance. . . .”

In other words, if you even brush against the federal government in constructing your new home, you are COVERED by this law. Tax credit for your new energy-efficient furnace? You’re IN. HUD loan refinance for a development of several homes? You’re IN. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac involved? You’re IN. Vet benefits? You’re IN. Inspected by a federal employee for some reason? You get the idea.
Tea party people are being vilified across the nation by progressive democrats for being haters, racists, unsophisticated, uneducated, greedy, morally suspect, and, to put it simply, stupid.

We are vilified by establishment republicans for being unsophisticated, uneducated, greedy, morally suspect, not politically pragmatic, and, to put it simply, stupid.

I might very well be stupid and I'll admit that political pragmatism has never been at the top of my strengths list. But I'm pretty certain I'm smart enough and practical enough to build my own home according to my own needs without Jan Schakowsky and her minions having the final say on all the final design touches.

h/t Overlawyered

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Of Course She Did

Governor Granholm has again pleaded with government leaders to give the chronically unemployed an extension in unemployment benefits.

Once again, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and family advocacy groups are pleading with Congress to extend unemployment benefits set to expire Nov. 30.

“Now is not the time to pull the rug out from those who need assistance to provide for their families,” Granholm wrote in a letter to House and Senate leaders in Washington, D.C.

While Granholm sees the denial of another extension as pulling the rug out from under struggling families, she appears to feel no such remorse for helping to pull the rug out from under a once strong state economy.

Granholm has been on a seven year campaign ostensibly to make Michigan less competitive in both the global and national market place.

Her policies have openly advocated higher employment costs in this state, higher taxation in this state, higher energy costs in this state, higher construction costs in this state, and more regressive regulations for the businesses and individuals unfortunate enough to live under her rule--all of which have helped to lengthen the unemployment lines among people who have seen their employers flee to states and countries where they are not treated as the enemy for the sin of operating profitably.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom for you Jennifer. First, you cannot have employees without employers. Secondly, you cannot have employers without profits. Finally, you cannot have profits without a friendly business environment.

When the war on employers ends so will the need for perpetually extending unemployment benefits. Commencing this war effectively pulled the rug out from under those same people who had, once upon a time, a Michigan job.

Viability is Irrelevant

or so it would seem for worshipers of socialism who find themselves reluctant to live in countries that wish to remain solvent in the global economy.

Portugal is the latest example where strikers have effectively shut down factories, stalled public transportation, and closed the ports. This is supposed to make Portugal attractive to outside investors how, exactly?

* Nearly 80% of trains were not running, and bus and ferry links in Lisbon were disrupted, along with the metro service

* Both air traffic controllers and airport ground handling operators were on strike, meaning dozens of flights in and out of Lisbon had to be cancelled or rescheduled

* All of the country's ports were closed, according to the unions

* Fewer than 10% of the workforce at Volkswagen's Autoeuropa plant near Lisburn turned up for work, according to unions
Most of Portugal's back breaking debt is held outside of the country. That is, in the past it was able to convince foreign investors that it would be able to pay back its debt even though it was engaged in a campaign to oppressively constrict the private sector while turning the centralized government into the do-all end-all career choice for its woefully under productive workforce.

As a result of the country's economic policies, the economy has struggled to the point that the country (and those gullible foreign investors) fears it may not be able to meet its obligations and its only course of action is to rein in the costs that serve to make the country a human slab of uncompetitiveness.

Which sorta pisses off those who have reaped the benefits of these slatherings of largess. The mindset is that, regardless of consequences, "you will not cut our benefits!"

Makes you want to invest in Portugal, doesn't it? I'm certain Volkswagen is glad that it did.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Waiting On a $2500 Check from the DOE and NEA

The federal and state takeovers of local education are abject failures. And really, how surprising should it be that an education system that demands that most decisions be made hundreds or thousands of miles outside of the classroom would ultimately prove to be a disaster?

Spending on education at both the state and national levels has skyrocketed over the past few decades. As taxpayer money flowed to Lansing and Washington, the respective Departments of Education grew more and more bloated.

Studies were commissioned. Well meaning constituencies were rewarded for their votes. Advocates were given an ear.

Yet, despite all the bounty provided to distant classroom puppet masters and their minions, American children fell farther and farther behind those of other countries. Well intentioned bureaucrats set curricula, crowned instructors as qualified or unqualified, set nutritional standards, enacted one size fits all disciplinary regimens, and then elevated environmentalism and self-esteem to classroom worthy subjects. All that just scratches the surface.

We are in a different age now; an age where American children are expected to lag behind and where attempts to correct the problem come with target dates years into the future. A child entering middle school this year in many of our nation's struggling school districts has already been all but written off.

It is an odd circumstance (with a dash of unfortunate irony) that two of the most egregious pilfering organizations within our educational disaster are now asking locals for advice on assistance within the classroom.

WASH. D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education and the National Education Association want to continue tapping the brains of local educators to help solve classroom-based problems.

If the NEA Foundation finds that solution as the most responsive, that educator could land $2,500 in his or her wallet.
One wonders if these esteemed bureaucracies will award $2500 to each of those who will rightly suggest that the substantive solution to current educational problems could be found if the DOE and NEA (and other ineffectual collectives) would voluntarily cease to exist.

You know, take one FOR THE CHILDREN!

I predict that the battle cry of putting education back under local control will not garner much attention from those who have managed to stake their careers on a reverse flow of money.

I'm going to keep sounding my horn. Really, what else can a local guy be expected to do, that is, other than check the mailbox on a daily basis? I doubt they are listening, but I could sure use the $2500.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jenny, We're Still Waiting on those Jobs

We've spent the last several years in Michigan waiting on Jennifer Granholm's blessed green jobs of tomorrow. You know, the types of jobs that Ms. Granholm envisions will spring from the soil like mushrooms in feculent barnyard dirt if only we allow her to sufficiently manipulate the feedlot environment.

Among her most notable achievements are the addition of business and profit killing regulations, an unyielding support for an unproductive and adversarial union dominated labor force, policies designed to keep the consumption of Michigan energy artificially high, and the fascist-dappling habit of blessing particular businesses and industries over their unfortunate competitors.

Each of these (and other) strategies are intended to put Michigan at the helm of tomorrow's job creation--what with today's jobs being relatively uncool.

The jobs she seeks are those that dance about within the confines of her own nearly empty cranium and not those that would naturally be created by unrelenting free-market forces. What Granholm's unwavering quest has helped to do is drive nearly a million Michiganders out of work, others out of state, and even more out of hope.

Granholm's strategy is really nothing more than a garden variety socialist's misguided attempt to wag the dog.

By and large, private businesses will locate in and invest within cities and states that allow them to grow profitably. (That is, those that don't receive a state franchise to produce something that the free-market cannot afford to produce on its own.) Private businesses will hire workers in areas where they can achieve a profitable status.

What Granholm either ignores or misunderstands is that hired employees (and the wages they collect) are simply byproducts of a profitable business environment and not a spontaneous formation in the furrows of her experiment.

Michigan is now stuck with an unemployment rate that has either rivaled the nation's worst or been the nation's worst for much of her disastrous administration. Jobs have not miraculously chased down her retrained workers. Hiring businesses have not sufficiently relocated here to take advantage of her green-jobs paradise. In fact, in ever larger numbers children born in Detroit, Lansing, and far reaches of the northern woods are now living and working in exotic locations such as Dallas, Casper, and Atlanta--their tax payments now being made to different cities and states. (No worry, those that stay here can always pay more.)

But, she reasons, when the jobs of tomorrow come knocking on our door we will be thankful. It will all have been worth it. Prosperity will return.

And yet, Forbes has an interesting take...maybe the unemployed are unemployed because they are looking for work in the wrong place.

Bad interviews or a lack of experience may not be the reason you can't land a job. Your location may be to blame.
People, go where the businesses are. They are not coming to you. Then again, I suppose you already know that.

If only Jennifer would figure it out.

In Michigan Once Again

I'm thrilled to be back in Michigan once again after another two week stint in Atlanta, and what a difference in climate a mere fourteen hours in the old Buick was able to expose.

Friday in Georgia was sunny with a light breeze, and about 70 degrees. Thin jackets were worn only by wimps as we he-men were in short sleeves exposing our ripped forearms. I arrived in Michigan to temperatures in the low 20s and a light breeze from the north capable of creating severe shrinkage among the most virile of men.

With this Michigander's self esteem now blown completely out of the water I'm going to take a hot shower.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Olbermann Suspended by MSNBC

Who walking on Earth these days has any doubt that Keith Olbermann is a shill for the left wing of the Democrat party? Really, who?

It appears that finally this bit of information has become known among the brass at NBC as they have suspended Mr. Eyebrows for making contributions to several democrat candidates and then inviting them onto his show.

When did MSNBC start giving a crap about objectivity in its programming? To whit, Tuesday night their wall to wall campaign coverage was paneled by Olbermann, bleeding heart liberal (and other MSNBC host) Rachel Maddow, Chris (I have a thrill running up my leg) Matthews, the self-avowed MSNBC socialist Lawrence O’Donnell, and left leaning Eugene Robinson.

While I am thoroughly enjoying the news that Olbermann is sitting out for a couple of days, the most hilarious thing for me is the idea that MSNBC is even bothering to go through the motions of trying to protect its own self-inflicted brand of implausible objectivity.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My Confidence in the Independent Voter

Doesn't amount to very much.

I am not certain I have heard anything about independent voters that would make me feel confident that they will continue to reject the nannystate in 2012 regardless of their discontent with big government worshipers this time around.

Right now independent voters are being given a lot of credit for the anger in this country. We are told that independents have turned away from Barack Obama and the Democrat Party. We are told too that it was largely these independent voters that were responsible for helping buoy Obama in his campaign for the White House in 2008.

What I cannot fathom is how largely this same group of independents could take such radically disparate political stances within two years; first by emphatically embracing a self proclaimed ultra progressive candidate for president, and then seemingly tossing aside the promised socialist agenda for one that echoes the small government drums of the tea party.

This is not to say that I'm upset with independents for temporarily veering back toward sanity in government, but that conservatives who might very well reap the benefits of a fickle independent shift in the current mid-term elections had better do a phenomenal job of educating these fickle among us on economics, the founders' vision, and the spectacular success that is America if they want this to be more than a two-year bounce.

If conservatives want to truly nudge this country toward a more conservative course it had better do what it can to change independent voters into conservative ones.

Twenty four months is not a long time, and beginning tonight, the clock is ticking.