Commentary

Spare me the sermon, Houston

October 22, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J Saunders  

"If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition. This story begins in May when the Houston City Council passed by an 11-to-6 vote an equal rights ordinance that banned discrimination based on sex, race and national origin -- as well as sexual orientation and gender identity. Some local church leaders objected. They petitioned to put a measure on the ballot to repeal the ordinance." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nh6856p  

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Weird Al Franken

October 22, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by William Blum  

"I receive a continuous stream of emails from 'progressive' organizations asking me to vote for Senator Franken or contribute to his re-election campaign this November, and I don’t even live in Minnesota. Even if I could vote for him, I wouldn’t. No one who was a supporter of the war in Iraq will get my vote unless they unequivocally renounce that support. And I don’t mean renounce it like Hillary Clinton’s nonsense about not having known enough." (10/21/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/21/weird-al-franken/  

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Curbing Obama power grabs

October 22, 2014
posted by

Paul Driessen Heartland Institute
by Paul Driessen  

"The courts and Senate provide no checks and balances. Could a Republican Senate help?" [editor's note: The answer is "probably not, and if so only briefly until there's a Republican president, after which it will be back to business as usual" - TLK] (10/21/14)

http://blog.heartland.org/2014/10/curbing-obama-power-grabs/  

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What do Obamacare and the war on ISIS have in common?

October 22, 2014
posted by

Campaign For Liberty Campaign For Liberty
by Norm Singleton  

"The Obama Administration has not been honest with the American people about the costs of either." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mz8l3rn  

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Standard myth

October 22, 2014
posted by

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux  

"Paul Krugman’s allegation that Amazon has harmful monopsony power misses many a mark, not least of which is Mr. Krugman's mistaken account of John. D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil as a monopoly that 'had too much power' ('Amazon's Monopsony Is Not O.K.,' Oct. 20). Serious students of Standard's practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries understand that complaints against that company came overwhelmingly from other refiners who couldn't match Standard’s great efficiencies. Yet no complaints came from consumers. Standard made them overwhelmingly better off -- which is compelling evidence that Standard did not have monopoly power." (10/21/14)

http://cafehayek.com/2014/10/standard-myth.html  

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Mitch McConnell will say anything for a ham

October 22, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Lee Fang  

"In an election that could propel Senator Mitch McConnell to become Senate majority leader (a position that would give him wide sway over climate change policy, including influence over the Environmental Protection Agency) the Kentucky politician declined to respond to a question earlier this month about whether he believes climate change is a real problem. 'I’m not a scientist,' McConnell responded in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board. But earlier in his career, when McConnell played a pivotal role on behalf of the tobacco industry against increasing government regulation and taxes, the Republican leader believed he had enough scientific knowledge to question public-health officials." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjrhlxd  

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Gene Healy on The Scott Horton Show

October 22, 2014
posted by

Gene Healy The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Gene Healy, a vice president at the Cato Institute, discusses his article 'The Forever-War President: Obama’s 'Transformational' War Powers Legacy.'" [Flash audio or MP3] (10/20/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/10/20/102014-gene-healy/  

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In ancapistan, if you have no property, you have no rights

October 22, 2014
posted by

Gene Callahan La Bocca della Verita
by Gene Callahan  

"Ancaps often declare, 'All rights are property rights.' I was thinking about this the other day, in the context of running into libertarians online who insisted that libertarianism supports 'the freedom of movement,' and realized that this principle actually entails that people without property have no rights at all, let alone any right to 'freedom of movement.'" (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p68jl83  

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Is Medicaid-associated overuse of emergency departments just a surge?

October 22, 2014
posted by

John R. Graham Independent Institute
by John R. Graham  

"Research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research suggests that rising Medicaid dependency does not result in a secular increase in use of hospitals’ emergency departments. Rather, the jump in ED use is just pent-up demand being satisfied, and drops off. This is the conclusion of a study that examined ED visits by California patients newly enrolled in a government program similar to Medicaid, called the Low Income Health Program (LIHP). This suggests different consequences to Medicaid expansion than the Oregon Medicaid experiment showed ..." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lg4hapt  

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How economics helps us understand: Airline practices

October 22, 2014
posted by

Art Carden EconLog
by Art Carden  

"The world is a pretty complex and mesmerizing place, and people (and firms) do a lot of things that are, at first glance, hard to understand. Consider airlines. I've heard on numerous occasions complaints about how major carriers board their planes inefficiently: by using alternative loading and unloading schemes, they can turn flights around more quickly and earn more money by operating more flights. And to be sure, turnaround time is important. However, it isn't everything." (10/20/14)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/10/how_economics_h.html  

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Pulling the plug on corporate personhood

October 22, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Rob Richie  

"American democracy is reaching a breaking point, from failed winner-take-all voting rules to blatant attempts to suppress voter turnout. The rising torrent of campaign spending by the 1% has triggered particular outrage. Activists leapt into action after the Supreme Court’s January 2010 Citizens United decision, which not only overturned a century of precedent that barred corporate money in American elections, but also enshrined corporations as non-human entities that have the same constitutional rights as people. Since Citizens United and other court rulings limit what can be done by statute, amending the constitution to overturn these rulings has become a major focus of activists." [editor's note: As usual, focusing on amending the constitution only guarantees nothing gets done on this for many years - SAT] (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7sslsz  

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Three rival forms of liberty: Federalism, property and liberation

October 22, 2014
posted by

Libertarianism.org Libertarianism.org
by Adam Gurri  

"Liberty is something that every American believes is his birthright. We're the 'land of the free;' our capital is the 'capital of the free world.' Libertarians make the very idea of liberty central to their ideology, their tribe, their identity -- it's right in the name, after all. But what exactly liberty consists of is a hotly-debated subject." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q7ygao6  

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We have no idea if universal preschool actually helps kids

October 22, 2014
posted by

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by David J. Armor  

In political campaigns around the country, at least one proposal enjoys bipartisan support: expanding early childhood education. In gubernatorial races in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Georgia, both the Democratic and Republican candidates support expanding government provision of 'high-quality' pre-kindergarten education. And why wouldn’t they? A raft of recent studies claim major benefits for children who start school early. The problem is, most of the studies that show benefits have major research design flaws, one of which is an inability to demonstrate long-term gains. And the few top-quality studies out there reveal few, if any, lasting benefits." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oqu58l8  

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Leslie Gelb is right

October 22, 2014
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, is the veritable embodiment of the Establishment inside-the-Beltway policy wonk. A former Pentagon official, and diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times, he is by no means an anti-interventionist: Gelb fully supported the Iraq war. Yet he was honest enough to admit not only the total failure of that fateful enterprise but also his dubious reasons for initially endorsing it ..." (10/22/14)

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/10/21/leslie-gelb-is-right/  

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The future of farming and rise of biotechnology

October 21, 2014
posted by

National Center for Policy Analysis National Center for Policy Analysis
by David Weisser  

"There are natural limits to the productivity increases that can be obtained with conventional farming. Scientifically advanced biotechnology could greatly benefit the world’s growing population, but governments have placed severe regulatory restrictions on the use of such technology. The most controversial aspect of biotechnology is the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to increase crop yields per acre and to improve the nutritional quality of the food produced. Restrictions on the development and cultivation of biotech crops have slowed global progress in conquering hunger. Through advanced research and new farming methods, global hunger could be reduced." (10/21/14)

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ib152  

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Kasich begins ritual of self-flagellation

October 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"At Holy Cross-Immaculata church in Cincinnati, there's a Good Friday tradition called 'Praying the Steps,' in which parishioners slowly climb the 85 steps up to the church, saying a prayer on each step. It may take a while to get to the top, but that's the entire point of the exercise—the time and effort it takes is a symbol of one's devotion. Keep that in mind for a moment as we talk about that state's governor, John Kasich, and his complicated feelings about the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, Governor Kasich went through a ritual that has grown no less absurd for being so familiar." (10/21/24)

http://tinyurl.com/ldss7dc  

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Can’t quit Saudi Arabia

October 21, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Cameron Cardow  

Cartoon. (10/20/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/cant-quit-saudi-arabia/  

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How regulation kills

October 21, 2014
posted by

Students For Liberty
by Matthew La Corte  

"Drug overdoses remain a leading cause of preventable, injury-related death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control has reported that drug overdose rates have more than tripled in the U.S. since the 1980s. But prison and legal penalties are clearly not the solution to drug addiction and drug overdose. Labeling people criminals because of their addiction does not help addicts. We cannot treat drug addiction with jail cells." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oxt3rrc  

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Should the FDA delay an Ebola cure?

October 21, 2014
posted by

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka  

"The Dallas hospital with the first U.S. patient had the same Ebola screening machine that the military uses in Africa. But ... The FDA prevented the hospital from using it! That seems CRIMINAL. Yet that's how the FDA works. It blocks or delays detection, treatments, and cures for even fatal diseases." (10/20/14)

https://downsizedc.org/blog/should-the-fda-delay-an-ebola-cure  

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Islamic State’s rules of attraction

October 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren  

"The U.S. State Department is producing anti-Islamic State propaganda to persuade American and other would-be jihadis not to join the extremist group. It’s ham-handed, and often sarcastic, and unlikely to have the intended effect. Why? Because the department fails to understand how Islamic State attracts recruits in the first place. One way to make sense of all this is to look at the appeal of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA does not recruit members, it attracts them. Long experience suggests that people who impulsively make decisions that actually require a long-term commitment will almost certainly fail. ... And so with Islamic State. Islamic State propaganda pulls no punches." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otspv3e  

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The military vs. weather

October 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob  

"The purpose of a military -- unless invading places for the hell of it -- is to wield violence against violent threats to your country. What else are all the tanks and guns for? The putative threats haven,t normally included ... the weather. But that’s been changing." (10/21/14)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2014/10/21/the-military-vs-weather/  

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Should government have the power to quarantine?

October 21, 2014
posted by

Jeffrey Tucker Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A. Tucker  

"As with every crisis in the history of the modern world, Ebola fears have given rise to debates over government power. When people are afraid, they have this irrational penchant for reaching out to government to save them. Never mind that the power might be abused or might not even be a necessary, much less suitable, power. Government is magic: if something is big, important, or crucial, people long for government to do it." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oaa48p9  

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Senior regulator says bank CEOs meant well, documents say otherwise

October 21, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"The head of one of Wall Street’s most important regulatory agencies argued recently that big-bank CEOs never intended to break the law or engage in foreclosure fraud. Instead, Thomas Curry of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency tells us they weren’t cautious enough. Internal documents obtained from a bank-backed venture several years ago seem to directly contradict this claim. These documents, which include training materials, PowerPoint presentations and videos, suggest that the industry made a conscious attempt to bypass local jurisdictions and automate processes -- in what can best be described as a fraud-friendly way." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncwe63x  

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No, we don’t want to be like the UK!

October 21, 2014
posted by

The Zelman Partisans The Zelman Partisans
by Nicki Kenyon  

"Quite often, in my travels on these here Interwebz, I find gun grabbers pontificating how cool it would be if we were just like Britain. After all, they have stringent gun control, and their homicide rates are SOOOOOO much lower than ours! Must be the fault of the evil gunz, right? After all, the United States, according to recent figures, has 4.7 murders per 100,000 residents, while the United Kingdom has 1. Must be the fault of the evil gunz, right? Ehhhh ... not so fast." (10/20/14)

http://zelmanpartisans.com/?p=147  

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Russell Brand isn’t revolutionary

October 21, 2014
posted by

The Libertarian Republic The Libertarian Republic
by Michael Lee  

"Like so many 'revolutionaries' before him, Brand misses the point. He advocates for a system based on a 'massive redistribution of wealth,' now where have I heard that before? Indeed, there is nothing revolutionary about Brand at all. Brand is just one in a long line of celebrities and pundits who cannot fathom how valuable the accumulation of capital is to economic prosperity." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pa758s7  

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