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May 31, 2009

George Tiller's murder is an atrocity

Infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller was gunned down outside his church this morning. CNN reports:
Dr. George Tiller, whose Kansas women's clinic was the epicenter of the state's battles over abortion for nearly two decades, was shot and killed at his church Sunday morning, his family said.
Tiller, 67, was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions. He survived a 1993 shooting outside his Wichita clinic.
He was fatally shot shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church, Wichita police said.
He was a lightning-rod for pro-life protests because he unapologetically championed the right to kill viable pre-born babies -- including through the use of the barbaric and medically unnecessary partial-birth abortion procedure.

The shooter apparently has been caught, but little information about him has been released yet. I'm sure we'll hear in the coming days about his motivations, but I don't really care to hear them, because I seriously doubt he could ever persuade me that his vigilantism was the right thing to do.

The shooter, whatever his motivation, did no service to God or to the pro-life movement. Rather, he has provided months or years of propaganda to the opponents of both. "Tiller the Martyr" will be beatified soon by the adherents of the culture of death, and I expect that we won't have to wait for long to see a major Hollywood motion picture done as a tribute to Tiller's life.

We can see in the CNN article that Tiller's family is already providing the template for his tribute:
Tiller "dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence," his family said in a written statement.

"We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere," the family said.
Tiller's devoted his professional life in the service of a great evil, and make no mistake -- he will answer to God for it. BUT -- God has reserved vengeance (i.e. justice) for Himself, and I seriously doubt that He delegated this prerogative to some middle-aged guy from Kansas.

The shooter is guilty of premeditated murder, and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

He does not deserve the admiration of any who abhor the practice of abortion.

If you accept the premise that individuals can take criminal justice into their own hands, you have to be prepared to take that reasoning to its logical conclusion. And trust me, you don't want to go there.


UPDATE: As predictable as the sun rising each day...

May 29, 2009

Watch your back, Mr. President

It looks like some of Mr. Obama's boosters on the far left are starting to sour on him in a big way.

Here's what uberkook Ted Rall had to say in his syndicated column today:
We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.
From health care to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. [...]
Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now — before he drags us further into the abyss.
For once, I agree with Ted Rall (up to a point). The president is dragging us into the abyss, but it's not because some of Obama's campaign rhetoric ran into the brick wall of reality.

Rall's sniping on some agenda items may be premature. As we saw yesterday, Obama is starting to push harder on phase 1 of nationalized healthcare. Perhaps Rall thinks the president should go for the whole package right away, even though his chances of succeeding in this way are remote at best. Government-run healthcare would be a disaster for our country, but it still has a chance of being implemented if Obama and the Dems roll it out incrementally.

May 28, 2009

Shock and awe: Obama's domestic agenda strategy

President Obama clearly understands that he has a limited amount of time to push through his radical, transformational agenda. The vast reservoir of public good will that he brought into office is already showing signs of drying up, and as more and more of the electorate comes out of its hypnotic "hope and change" trance, the more likely his initiatives will stall.

One area where Obama sees the window of opportunity beginning to close is the nationalization of the U.S. health care system. An AP article from today shows the president's growing alarm:
Obama says health care a must this year — or never

President Barack Obama
warned Thursday that if Congress doesn't deliver health care legislation by the end of the year the opportunity will be lost, a plea to political supporters to pressure lawmakers to act. "If we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it done," Obama told supporters by phone as he flew home on Air Force One from a West Coast fundraising trip.

Obama's political organization, Organizing for America, invited campaign volunteers to a midday conference call to describe a nationwide June 6 kickoff for its health care campaign. The president's message to his re-election campaign-in-waiting was simple: If volunteers don't pressure lawmakers to support the White House's goal on health care, Washington would drag its feet and nothing would change.

[...] The president's conversation with his supporters was part pep talk and part a nod to political reality. Obama is looking to use his network of supporters to deliver a campaign promise, and if he seeks a second term in 2012 — an almost certainty — he hopes to keep many of those volunteers engaged in person and online.
Keep the masses whipped up, and they don't need to think about the damage they're doing to our country.

May 27, 2009

Quick takes on the Sotomayor nomination

Tim Graham, Newsbusters:
The nomination of a Hispanic for the Supreme Court will remind conservatives of the case of Miguel Estrada, a promising Hispanic conservative that the Democrats filibustered -- at the circuit court level -- and in 2003, Estrada gave up the battle.

Here’s one priceless exchange from ABC’s This Week on February 9, 2003, with an ABC reporter now working as a talk-show host on National Public Radio:
MICHEL MARTIN: Miguel Estrada is a very promising young lawyer who went to some excellent schools, had excellent clerkships, has a good work record. What he lacks in judicial background he makes up with a compelling life story....And you know what that’s called George? Affirmative action. He is an affirmative action candidate as practiced by the Republican Party and the conservative movement....

GEORGE WILL: Michel, affirmative action, in the Michigan style, would be to give Estrada 20 extra points. He didn’t get that. He got the highest possible rating by the ABA.
Ilya Shapiro, Cato@Liberty:
She has a mixed reputation, with a questionable temperament and no particularly important opinions in over 10 years on the Second Circuit. Most notably, she was part of the panel that summarily affirmed the dismissal of Ricci v. DeStefano, where the City of New Haven denied firefighter promotions based on an admittedly race-neutral exam whose results did not yield the “correct” racial mix of successful candidates. Sotomayor’s colleague José Cabranes—a liberal Democrat—excoriated the panel’s actions and the Supreme Court will likely reverse the ruling next month.

If this is the kind of “empathy” the president wants from his judges, we are in for a long summer—and more bitter confirmation battles in the future.
Matthew Vadum, American Spectator:
President Obama's radical new nominee to replace Associate Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, used to serve on the board of LatinoJustice PRLDEF (White House backgrounder), one of the racial grievance groups that helped to sink the judicial nomination of Honduran-born Miguel Estrada in 2003.

Along with groups such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), LatinoJustice fought a war of attrition against President George W. Bush's 2001 nomination of conservative Miguel Estrada, a Honduran-born immigrant, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Democrats in the Senate filibustered the nomination and a weary Estrada withdrew from consideration in 2003.

Today LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hailed the nomination of Sotomayor on the basis of her ethno-cultural heritage. "As the second largest and fastest growing population in America, with a large pool of qualified individuals to choose from, it was wholly appropriate for the president to nominate a Hispanic," the group said in a written statement. (PDF)
Human Events has collected some quotes that suggest Sotomayor is not troubled by her lack of judicial impartiality:
  • “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
  • "I simply do not know exactly what the difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”
  • “I further accept that our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that -- it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.”
  • “All of the Legal Defense Funds out there -- they're looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is -- Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don't ‘make law.’ ”
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times:
Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.
Steve Milloy of Junkscience.com regarding one of those reversed decisions:
Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor represents a potential threat to U.S. consumers and to the economy in terms of energy and the environment.

In her 2007 Second Circuit decision in Riverkeeper, Inc. v. EPA 475 F. 3d 83, Judge Sotomayor sided with extreme green groups who had sued the U.S. EPA because the agency permitted cost-benefit analysis to be used in the determination of environmental protection technology for power plant cooling water intake structures.

Fortunately, Judge Sotomayor’s decision was recently overturned by the Supreme Court, fittingly on April 1, 2009 (Entergy v. Riverkeeper, No. 07-588).

Had the EPA been required to abide by Judge Sotomayor’s decision, American consumers would have been forced to pay billions of dollars more in energy costs every year as power plants producing more than one-half of the nation’s electricity would have had to undertake expensive retrofits.
Newbie Democrat Arlen Specter confirms that Sotomayor's gender and ethnicity are the main reasons why she should be confirmed:
I applaud the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her confirmation would add needed diversity in two ways: the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the high court. While her record suggests excellent educational and professional qualifications, now it is up to the Senate to discharge its constitutional duty for a full and fair confirmation process.
Meaning, of course, that only a misogynist racist would oppose her.


(Image found here)

May 26, 2009

Quick Quote: 'Bread and circuses' is the cancer of democracy

"A perfect democracy, a 'warm body' democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally has no internal feedback for self correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens...which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it...which for the majority translates as 'Bread and Circuses'

"Bread and Circuses is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader--the barbarians enter Rome."

-- Lazarus Long, in Robert Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset

May 21, 2009

Saruman in the White House

President Obama's speech at Notre Dame reminded LifeSite's Thaddeus Kozinski of the rhetorical skills of another great orator:
"Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spake to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler’s trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it." ~ “The Speech of Saruman,” J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers

May 20, 2009

Should you forward that e-mail?

Brian at Shoebox Greetings answers the eternal question.


This is good advice, worth passing along to everyone you know.

May 19, 2009

Did you ever notice...

Did you ever notice that many of the people
who condemn waterboarding as a moral atrocity
celebrate abortion as morally neutral -- and even compassionate?

May 16, 2009

This e-mail scam gets points for trying a little harder than usual

Received this morning:
Bank of East Asia Ltd.
Bank of East Asia Building,
137 Market Street, Singapore 048943
Email-seahchaio1@hotmail.com


Good Day,

A customer of ours who may relate to you (perhaps) in Singapore died three years ago in Tsunami tragedy in Indonesia leaving behind an estate/capital (US$14.2M with interest) in a bank here where I work, till date nobody has come forward or put application for the claim. Please log on to this websites for more information about the Tsunami tragedy.

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=2375
http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=2745

During the bank private search recently for the late gentle man relatives your name and email contact was among the findings that matches the same surname as the deceased (name WITHELD for security reason) who died intestate with no Will or next of kin. To maintain the level of security required I have intentionally left out the final details.

I urge you to come forward since I can provide you with the details needed for you to claim the estate/capital so that I can be gratify by you, in this way $4,260,000.00 for you and $9,940,000.00 for me and my colleagues that will do all the crucial part in the bank to have the claim release to you promptly.

To affirm your willingness and cooperation,please do so by replying me at my private email (seahchaio1@hotmail.com) with your FULL NAME, DATE OF BIRTH,TELEPHONE NUMBER, FAX NUMBER, PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS, BANKING DETAILS AND POSTAL ADDRESS.

I do expect your prompt response.

Thank you,
Mr.Seah Chai.
Email-seahchaio1@hotmail.com
The author of this scam has done a few things to improve the perceived credibility of his or her offer (I'll assume hereafter the author is a male). First, by posing as a Singapore national, his fractured English is much more excusable than it would be if he was posing as a native English speaker.

Second, and more significantly, he refers to an event that we actually know about -- the December 2004 tsunami. He even provides links to legitimate news articles about the tsunami, hoping that this appeal to authority will overcome our reticence, and hoping that we won't notice that this documentation is completely immaterial to his business proposal. This rhetorical sleight-of-hand works in other settings, so why not here?

Third, he realizes that the Hotmail contact address needs to be explained, and attempts to do so: "Look, I'm suggesting that we split this money, and it wouldn't do for my employer to know that we're doing this, so please contact me at my private e-mail address." Unfortunately, the author's credibility is undermined by the presence of two other addresses in the message header. The Reply-to address (seahchaio3@hotmail.com) is a slight variation on the address in the message, but the From address references domain centrum.cz, suggesting that the message originated in the Czech Republic.

But maybe not. The detailed mail header shows all of the "hops" the message made on the way to my mailbox. At one point it passed through mail.centera.com.au (which doesn't show up in any Whois listing) and lvbw.net (an ISP in Branson, Missouri, USA). The ordering of the entries suggests that the message actually originated in Branson.

Thanks for playing, whoever you are. Keep at it, and you may create a masterpiece in time.

May 13, 2009

More evidence the GOP doesn't know what it stands for any more

WSJ's Kim Strassel comments on the congressional GOP's frustrating silence on the Obama administration's plan to nationalize and socialize health care:
The president has a plan, and he's laid it on the table. The industry groups that once helped Republicans beat HillaryCare are today sitting at that table. Unions are mobilized. A liberal umbrella group, Health Care for American Now, is spending $40 million to get a "public option," a new federal entitlement that would kill off private insurance. Democrats passed a budget blueprint that will allow them to cram through that "public option" with just 51 votes.

Republicans? They're trying to figure out what they think.

Well, not all of them. Earlier this week I ended up in the office of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, where the doctor was hosting North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr. The duo is, for the second time, crafting a comprehensive reform that would lower costs, cover the uninsured, and put Americans in control of their health care. And while the senators decline to talk GOP politics, their bill raises the multitrillion-dollar question: Will the party have the nerve or sense to coalesce behind some such conservative alternative to the Democratic product?

[...] no small number of Senate Republicans are biding their time in Max Baucus land, waiting to see what the Democratic finance chairman produces as a "bipartisan" product. (Read: A bill the president wants.) This crowd has taken to heart Mr. Obama's accusation that they are the party of "no," and think it might be easier to be the party of Baucus, or the party of Baucus-lite, or the party of nothing whatsoever.
Whenever the GOP slips into minority status, they have the annoying tendency to be the ME TOO party. With health care it happened during the Clinton administration, and it's happening again now: the administration does a full-frontal assault on the independence of the health care industry, and the GOP responds with various "kinder, gentler" alternatives.

The GOP alternatives are said to be more "conservative" because they spend less of the taxpayers' money.

The alternatives are generally more friendly to free enterprise, but every one of them concedes the assertion that a federal solution is required. Never mind that the feds have no constitutional authority to meddle with the health care industry in the first place. I'm enough of a realist to know that constitutional literacy has not gained any serious traction in Washington within any of our lifetimes.

Another pathetic e-mail scam

Really -- what are they teaching in the Scammer Schools these days? There must be a lot of social promotion, because a lot of guys are graduating without even the most basic skills. Here's one that came in this morning:
ATTENTION: EDU WEBMAIL SUBSCRIBER:

This mail is to inform all our {EDU WEBMAIL} users that we will be upgrading our site in a couple of days from now. So you as a Subscriber of our site you are required to send us your Email account details so as to enable us know if you are still making use of your mail box. Further informed that we will be deleting all mail account that is not functioning so as to create more space for new user. so you are to send us your mail account details which are as follows:

*User name:
*Password:

Failure to do this will immediately render your email address deactivated from our database.Your response should be send to the following e-mail address.
Your Admin Manager: webmailsubscriber@jmail.co.za Yours In Service.
Mr fred johnson
I didn't realize that our university's webmail server was being administered by a guy in South Africa. Huh. You learn something new every day.

May 12, 2009

"Prom rebel" pretends to be a victim

CBS/AP, May 12:
Tyler Frost, a 17-year-old senior at Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio was warned that that he would face suspension and miss his graduation if he attended his girlfriend's prom at her public school -- but he did it anyway.

The move has resulted in his being labeled him a rebel in some places, but he told The Early Show in an exclusive interview he has no regrets.

"It was worth it," Frost told co-anchor Harry Smith.

Frost signed a contract at the beginning of the school year that prohibits dancing, handholding and listening to rock 'n' roll.
Tyler Frost is shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that the school intends its students to honor the moral behavior contract they sign at the beginning of each school year.

He consciously defies the warnings he was given, and then he is stunned to learn that, unlike him, the school keeps its word.

Now Frost is upset that he won't be able to walk the stage with his fellow graduates:
"It's kind of sad that it has to end this way," Frost said. "I was kind of looking forward to graduating with my class, you know, that's why you put in 13 years of school -- to graduate. And to just, you know, show up one day and just have it taken from you."
Yeah, it's like, you know, this just came right out of the blue, with no warning and no explanation!

Frost's stepfather, in an apparent bid to teach Frost the importance of keeping one's word, hinted that he might sue the school. Way to teach a valuable life lesson in character, Dad!

So, does young Frost think his choice reflects badly on him?
"I still feel I’m a Christian," Frost said. "I believe in the morals they’ve taught me."
Including, I suppose, the virtue of parading your disputes on national television so you can turn public opinion against the one you have a disagreement with.

My regard for Mr. Frost might have gone up a notch or two if he and his stepfather had told the media that this dispute was none of their business, but it's far too late for that.

May 7, 2009

As if the Democrats are going to go after one of their greatest enablers

It appears that as long as the Dems control the federal government, the criminal activities of the "community organizers" in ACORN are safe from congressional scrutiny, as Matthew Vadum of The American Spectator observes:
Some coincidences live in infamy.

It would have been hard Monday for Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) not to understand how Bill Ayers felt the day the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked. Unforgiving history records that on Sept. 11, 2001, the retired domestic terrorist's "I don't regret setting bombs" comment ran in a New York Times profile.

While obviously of a much lesser magnitude, the House Judiciary Committee chairman's May 4 statement exonerating ACORN couldn't have come out at a worse time. "Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time," Conyers said in a statement aired that night on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

Just hours earlier his fellow Democrats in Nevada, Secretary of State Ross Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto dropped a bombshell. ACORN and two former senior ACORN employees in the state, they announced, had been charged with a total of 39 felony counts related to voter registrations.
The Nevada voter registration fraud case is just one of many being pursued around the country (for example, here).

NYT: Carlos Slim is a thief, a robber baron, and ... a wonderful human being

TimesWatch notes today that the New York Times has decided that Mexican mogul Carlos Slim ain't so bad after all:
Carlos Slim, described in 2007 as a "thief" and "robber baron" by a Times editorial writer, is now "a very shrewd businessman with an appreciation for great brands," according to the paper's publisher. What changed? A $250 million loan from Slim to the NYT Co., for one.
I guess Rupert Murdoch now knows what he needs to do to get some good press from the Times.

Illustrating the looting of the American economy

This graph shows Obama administration estimates of federal budget deficits over the next ten years. Notice that in every year the White House lowballs their numbers in relation to the Congressional Budget Office estimates for the same years.

Economist Mark Skousen refers to this as "the scariest chart I've ever seen", and I'm inclined to agree.

Japan slowly commits demographic suicide

It's sad to see a culture implicitly make the decision to vanish from the face of the earth, however slowly.

Many native European peoples are making similar choices, but it's less obvious there, because their population implosion is masked by uncontrolled immigration from third-world countries.

Japan strictly limits immigration, so there is no hiding the fact that the sound of children there is slowly diminishing. AP via CNSNews, May 6:
Japan, which designates every May 5 as Children's Day, has fewer children to celebrate the holiday for the 28th straight year, underscoring a demographic dilemma that could eventually wreak havoc on the world's second-largest economy.

A government report released this week said the number of children under age 15 as of April 1 had fallen to about 17 million. Japan's proportion of children which has been declining for the past 35 years now stands at just 13 percent of the country's 128 million people.

In contrast, Japan's elderly population is swelling. The number of those over 65 years old has reached 22.5 percent and continues to climb.

The unprecedented changes to Japan's population, fueled by low birthrates and one of the world's highest life expectancies, are expected to strain government services and pension programs, as well as lead to labor shortages in the near future.

Japan now has the lowest percentage of children among 31 major countries, trailing Germany and Italy, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications report. Children make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population and 17 percent in neighboring South Korea.

(Photo found here)

May 6, 2009

Way to treat your shareholders, General Motors

Obama administration: "I got a majority stake in GM!"
UAW: "I got a big piece of GM, too!"
Joe Bondholder: "My piece is kinda small, but it's better than nothing."
Joe Shareholder: "I got a rock."

The title of this post implies that this insane idea originated with GM, but given the beneficiaries, and given the fact that this plan will totally destroy investor confidence in the company, I'm seeing the Obama administration's fingerprints all over the place.

Reuters states the facts rather plainly, but can't scare up an adjective stronger than "unusual" to describe the plan:
General Motors on Tuesday detailed plans to all but wipe out the holdings of remaining shareholders by issuing up to 60 billion new shares in a bid to pay off debt to the U.S. government, bondholders and the United Auto Workers union.

The unusual plan, which was detailed in a filing with U.S. securities regulators, would only need the approval of the U.S. Treasury to proceed since the U.S. government would be the majority shareholder of a new GM, the company said.

The flood of new stock issuance that could be unleashed has been widely expected by analysts who have long warned that GM's shares could be worthless whether the company restructures out of court or in bankruptcy.

The debt-for-equity exchanges detailed in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission would leave GM's stock investors with just 1 percent of the equity in a restructured carmaker, ending a long run when the Dow component was seen as a bellwether for the strength of the broader U.S. economy.

GM shares closed on Tuesday at $1.85 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock would be worth just over 1 cent if the first phase of GM's restructuring moves forward as described.

Once GM has issued new shares to pay off its debt to the U.S. government, bondholders and its major union, it said it would then undertake a 1-for-100 reverse stock split.

Such a move would take the nominal value of the stock back to near where it had been before the flood of new shares. But in the process, GM's existing shareholders would see their stake in the 100-year-old automaker all but wiped out.

May 4, 2009

Buy local -- or else (Economic stimulus, Chinese style)

The Telegraph (UK) reports that one Chinese province has come up with a novel way to boost the local economy:
Local government officials in China have been ordered to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of cigarettes in a move to boost the local economy during the global financial crisis.

The edict, issued by officials in Hubei province in central China, threatens to fine officials who "fail to meet their targets" or are caught smoking rival brands manufactured in neighbouring provinces.

Even local schools have been issued with a smoking quota for teachers, while one village was ordered to purchase 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials, according to the local government's website.

The move, which flies in the face of national anti-smoking policies set in Beijing, is aimed at boosting tax revenues and protecting local manufacturers from outside competition from China's 100 cigarette makers.

In total, officials have been ordered to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-branded cigarettes worth £400,000.
It's not unusual for various levels of government in the U.S. to have "Buy American" or "Buy Local" mandates for their agencies, but cigarettes.... I don't think so.

"Abortion with detergent": A note to someone who visited this blog on May 1

On May 1 at a little past 7:30am central time, someone using a Roanoke County (Va.) Public Schools computer came across this blog through a Google search on the term "abortion with detergent". The search yielded this page, which is not related to abortion.

My fear is that the visitor was looking for how-to advice.

If you are the person who did that search, and if I am correct regarding your intent, please contact me at the e-mail address on the sidebar.

Quick Quote: Churchill on socialism



Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
the creed of ignorance,
and the gospel of envy;
its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

-- Sir Winston Churchill

May 1, 2009

"Cramdown" shot down: Victory for the rule of law

There is so much that is wrong with the notion that a judge can look at a contract, legal and supposedly binding, entered into with the full knowledge and consent of both parties..... and at a whim simply rewrite the contract to the benefit of one of the parties.

This is exactly what President Obama wanted to allow judges to do with the mortgage "cramdown" bill. Congressional Democrats seemed ready to march in lockstep with this plan to wreck the mortgage lending industry, with the bill sailing through the House effortlessly.

But, as the Wall Street Journal reports, a few Senate Democrats showed a spark of rational thought (or, perhaps, a pang of conscience). Enough of them joined the united GOP to kill the bill:

The power of a united minority was on beneficial display yesterday, as Senate Republicans defeated the budget bankruptcy "cramdown" bill. Credit goes to Arizona's Jon Kyl and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who kept their party together to beat destructive legislation that had easily passed the House and was one of President Obama's housing priorities.

The cramdown would have allowed bankruptcy judges to rewrite contracts to reduce the amount that people owe on their mortgages. But a bipartisan majority understood that relief for today's troubled borrowers would be paid with higher rates on the next generation of homeowners, as lenders priced the added risk into mortgage contracts.

A dozen Democrats joined Republicans in the 51-45 vote, and even Pennsylvania turncoat Arlen Specter gave his former GOP comrades an assist. Speaking for millions of renters and nondelinquent borrowers, Mr. McConnell said that the vote "ensures that homeowners who pay their bills and follow the rules won't see an interest-rate hike at the whim of a bankruptcy judge."

This is but one battle in General Obama's war against free-market capitalism and the rule of law. Obama and his statist army are still advancing, so I'm sure we haven't seen the last of insane ideas like this.