The latest C-Poll is closed. You can read all about it here!

November 19, 2010

What's wrong with the new "enhanced pat-down" procedure at airports?

Let's begin by stipulating that, in the vast majority of cases, Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) employees are going out of their way to carry out this new mandate in as professional a manner as they can, given what they've been told to do.

That said, there's still something terribly wrong with enhanced pat-downs, from a legal and constitutional perspective. 

Behavior that would get any other law enforcement officer fired (and possibly jailed) is considered routine at these security checkpoints.  Search without probable cause or reasonable suspicion of any kind is illegal (and unconstitutional) in any other context.  What's the legal difference between this and a traffic cop randomly pulling your car over and, without a word, starting to rummage through your belongings, looking for evidence of wrongdoing?

In any other context, these pat-downs would be considered sexual harassment or even sexual assault, regardless of the intent of the one doing it, if the receiver did not consent.  I suppose that buying a plane ticket is supposed to imply consent.

November 16, 2010

EU implosion, update #7: Demographic collapse in Germany, cont'd.

Germany's population plunge proceeds apace, despite a financial incentive program.  Reuters, November 12:
The number of births in Germany fell to a record post-war low last year despite government investment of billions of euros on incentives to counter the country's shrinking population.

Germany has a population of 82 million but the low birth rates mean average ages are rising, hampering the development of Europe's largest economy. The tide of immigration that fed the post world war two economic expansion has also now been reversed with new immigration controls.

The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden reported that there were 665,126 children born in 2009, down from 682,514 in 2008. The annual birth rate has fallen by more than 100,000 a year in the last decade from 770,774 births registered in 1999.

An official at the statistics office said the 2009 figure was the lowest number of births in Germany since 1945, when 520,000 children were born.

Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.

All "EU implosion update" posts

Curing what ails us: How can we dethrone the ruling class? (A modest proposal)

A good place to start might be a voter boycott of the Ivy League.

For two or three election cycles (if not longer), simply refuse to vote for anybody, regardless of party, who graduated from Ivy League universities.

That seems to be the primary breeding ground of every -ism that is using the levers of power to drag our country and culture into the abyss.


November 13, 2010

How this election was like the Battle of Midway

In a November 13 American Thinker essay, Greg Richards provides what I think is an excellent metaphor for what was accomplished in this election (emphasis added):

After Jimmy Doolittle bombed Tokyo in April 1942, the Japanese decided to eliminate the U.S. Navy in a final battle. They sent a very strong force to occupy Midway Island, about 1,500 miles from Hawaii, figuring that this would be a challenge the Navy could not refuse and which would result in a decisive battle of annihilation of what was left of the American fleet. 

The Japanese did not realize that we had broken their naval code, and instead of being surprised at Midway, we bushwhacked them, sinking their entire striking force of four heavy carriers. The Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942, is regarded as one of the most decisive naval engagements in history. It was characterized by Admiral Ernest King, the Chief of Naval Operations, as having "restored the balance of power in the Pacific."

We have to remember, of course, that in June 1942, most of the war in the Pacific was in front of us. The battles of New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and countless others had yet to be fought. So the Battle of Midway was a turning point only because it was followed by the will of the country to "win through to absolute victory," in the words of FDR.

If conservatives and constitutionalists are satisfied with the election outcome to the point that they demobilize, then we’ve already lost.

We haven’t won the victory – not even close.  We don’t have the political power to get the government back under constitutional control – not even close.  If we lack the commitment to “win through to absolute victory”, what was the point of this election?

A window of opportunity like this may not open again in our lifetimes.

November 10, 2010

What happens when a taxpayer-funded Cold War relic outlives its original reason for existence

In the case of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, it becomes a tool of leftist propaganda, and we get opinion pieces like this review of former president George W. Bush's new book.

This is just like the situation with National Public Radio.  RFE/RL is welcome to express or republish whatever opinions it likes, but let it do so without a dime of my money.

(It's probably just a coincidence that Hillary Clinton serves on the Board of Governors overseeing RFE/RL)

November 9, 2010

Dear GOP: We're watching. Yours truly, The Voters.

Michael Ramirez, via IBD:

Lisa Benson, via TownHall:

One way ObamaCare will make your food more expensive

CNSNews, November 8:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that it will take the food service industry 14 million additional hours each year to comply with a new regulation that mandates chain restaurants and vending machine operators label the products they sell with a calorie count in a place visible to the consumer.

Most of the burden of the regulation, which is buried in President Obama’s 2,000 page health-care reform bill, will fall on the vending industry.

In the Nov. 5 edition of the Federal Register, the FDA estimates “a total of 14,068,808 recurring hours, with nearly all of these for vending machine operators, including 31,408 recurring hours for recordkeeping and 14,037,400 recurring hours for third party disclosure” in conjunction with the regulation.

November 5, 2010

What the GOP’s #1 priority in Congress should be for the next two years: STOP THE RUNAWAY TRAIN!

 “You shall not pass!”

Rasmussen released a poll the day after the election indicating that 59% expected the incoming GOP House majority to disappoint them over the next two years.

In my opinion, it all comes down to what we expect the Republicans to be able to do.  The fact is, the GOP has a governing majority in the House, but they don’t control the Senate or the White House.  So, what are their options if they wish to honor the sentiments of those who swept them into office?

I suggest a two part strategy.

First, OBSTRUCT!  In the House, the GOP can prevent any more of the left’s agenda from even coming up for a vote.  In the Senate, the Dems no longer have a filibuster-proof majority – take advantage of this.

Second, GET ON RECORD!  The House should hold roll-call votes on the repeal of the odious things (like ObamaCare) that have already passed.  Then, hold roll-call votes on new legislation that reflects conservative values (WITHIN actual constitutional boundaries, thank you very much).  So what if the Senate doesn’t join in?  When 2012 comes along, you DO want to still be able to draw a distinction between yourselves and the Dems, don’t you?

So, GOP – do you have the guts to do this?  Or will you go back to your old ways of trying your best to be liked by the Dems in Congress and in the media? 

Free hint: The latter option is how you lost in 2006 and 2008.  Your base is in NO mood to see you go back to that.  Just sayin’.


WaPo, November 5 reports that Nancy Pelosi considers herself to be the one who can best lead the minority she helped to create:

Rejecting demands from some that she relinquish power, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that she will run for minority leader, setting up what could be an ideological battle inside the Democratic caucus.

"I am running for Dem leader," Pelosi (Calif.) said on her Twitter account. She said her decision was in part "driven by the urgency of creating jobs" and protecting this year's health-care and Wall Street overhauls.


Nov 13 UPDATE: Then again, she apparently knows her fellow Democrats quite well.

November 4, 2010

San Francisco food nannies know what’s best for the city’s remaining children

San Francisco has long been the gathering place for people who aren’t interested in having children.  Thus, it was with some surprise that I read this week about an action taken by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to manage the restaurant food choices of families with young children.
Los Angeles Times, November 2:
San Francisco's board of supervisors has voted, by a veto-proof margin, to ban most of McDonald's Happy Meals as they are now served in the restaurants.
The measure will make San Francisco the first major city in the country to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat.
The ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all meals for children that come with toys.
Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure, described it in magnificently Orwellian fashion:
“We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice.”
Well, if this is all about “food justice”, we can’t let ourselves be sidetracked by petty issues like the right of parents to make  informed choices about their children’s diet.
Given that SF officials don’t appear to have much experience raising real-life kids, allow me to clue them in: The availability of toys in a kids meal affects the choice of restaurant much more than it affects the choice of food.
The Center for Consumer Freedom adds that this is more about the parents’ choices than it is about the kids’ choices:
But there’s nothing wrong with the occasional fast food dinner. And that much has always been up to parental discretion: It’s not very often you see a child hop in the car, drive to McDonald’s, and charge a Happy Meal to his own credit card. Yet San Francisco seems to think parents are no match for the “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle.
The supervisors seem well aware of the ridicule their nannying efforts are provoking around the country.  Nevertheless, they hope their action will end up starting a cascade that ends up undermining parental rights everywhere.  From the L.A. Times article linked above:
Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose swing vote provided the veto-proof majority, said critics should not dismiss the legislation as a nutty effort by San Franciscans. "I do believe the industry is going to take note of this. I don't care how much they say, 'It's San Francisco, they're wacked out there.' "
It’s San Francisco—they’re wacked out there.  We’re not buying into their nutty efforts.

November 2, 2010

Choose you this day – November 2, 2010

It’s hard to imagine the stakes being higher in the US than they are right now.  We can’t legally get Obama out of office yet, but we can bring his destructive agenda to a screeching halt.

I’m not one given to political hyperbole, but I firmly believe that if Congress remains in the hands of the Democrats after this election, the “shining city on a hill” will continue its plunge into darkness.

If you love your country…. if you hold to the once commonplace but now exotic notion that government should submit itself to the explicit boundaries set for it in its founding charter…. if you understand that those currently in power are seeking to remake America in their image…. GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!
Bring your like-minded friends with you.

UPDATE: P.J. O'Rourke said it well in The Weekly Standard yesterday (emphasis added):
This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order. Power has been trapped, abused and exploited by Democrats. Go to the ballot box and put an end to this abusive relationship. And let’s not hear any nonsense about letting the Democrats off if they promise to get counseling.