May 252010

News item: “Governor Deval Patrick, even as he decried partisanship in Washington, said today that Republican opposition to President Obama’s agenda has become so obstinate that it ‘is almost at the level of sedition.'”

These Massachusetts politicians must have a thing about sedition. It was during the presidency of one such politician, John Adams, that the Alien and Sedition Acts were enacted — much to his everlasting discredit.

Back in the days when Liberals roamed the land, they would have torn a new one in any politician who disrespected the First Amendment the way Deval Patrick does.

May 182010


I think of President Obama every time I see this how-to guide for parents: “How to explain to your child that you’re going to sell him.”

According to the English-Russia web site where I first saw it, it’s one of a series of fake book covers designed to ward off kibbitzers. You put your real book inside it. People will leave you alone to read in peace.

Unfortunately, in the case of President Obama it’s no joke. Like when he put pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree to the euro bailout for Greece. I don’t know why he wanted to put his fingerprint on that act of selling people down the river, unless it was his way of writing the contents for the above book.

Here’s a good article explaining who he was helping and who is being sold to pay for it: Greek Myths and the Euro Tragedy by John H. Cochrane in the May 18 WSJ.

And here is one about the health care plan that he said would allow us to keep our existing health plans: No, You Can’t Keep Your Health Plan (by Scott Gottleib in the same issue of the WSJ). It’s like he was explaining to us, “Certainly you can keep walking. We’re going to break your kneecaps, but nobody’s going to stop you from trying.”

May 142010

Useful phrase of the day: “This all sounds about as reliable as shipping lettuce by rabbit.”

It’s in an article by Ezra Levant titled, “The CBC’s left-wing bias.” He says the CBC is going to investigate itself to see if it has any left-wing bias, but it isn’t going to reveal the methodology for its study.

We could hire these guys to investigate climategate.

(I’ve never doubted that the CBC was left-wing, but back in the late 80s and early 90s there was a program I used to like that did things differently than I ever heard on NPR. It would investigate topics by conducting intensive interviews on both sides of an issue. I heard a thorough investigation of gun control issues that one would never get on NPR, for example. Alas, I don’t remember the name of that program, and it has been quite a few years since I’ve listened to any CBC at all. Maybe it’s time for us to do some vacation travel in Canada again.)

May 122010

Amazing lead paragraph by Kara Scannell and Fawn Johnson at the WSJ. It’s in an article titled, “Schapiro: Web of Rules Aided Fall.”

Regulators haven’t found evidence of a single cause for the May 6 stock-market plunge, but the lack of unified rules among stock exchanges played a role, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said Tuesday.

There is not a single sentence in the entire article to explain how a “lack of unified rules among stock exchanges” could have played a role. I suppose mere reporters don’t get to ask questions at a congressional hearing, but surely they should have reported on how the congressional committee members let that comment go by without a word of explanation. Or perhaps there was an explanation, in which case Scannel and Johnson should have told us about it.

Why make a big deal out of this? Well, I am skeptical that a lack of unified rules could have caused a lack of stability. It’s just not the way large, complex systems usually work. Usually there is stability in diversity, not in uniformity.

I tend to think of the parallels between economic systems and biological ecosystems. Note how the headline used the word “web.” Webs are usually good for stability. If this is a rare exception, it would be worth knowing about it.

May 122010

There has been some controversy over the question of whether doctors should discuss the downside of the so-called health reform bill with their patients. The AMA says no; Dr. Hal Scherz says yes and complains that the AMA is trying to muzzle doctors. (WSJ column here.)

But for some reason Dr. Scherz didn’t use the term “holistic medicine” to describe what he’s doing. Here is one definition of the term:

Holistic medicine is a system of health care which fosters a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health.

It emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. It encompasses all stated modalities of diagnosis and treatment including drugs and surgery if no safe alternative exists. Holistic medicine focuses on education and responsibility for personal efforts to achieve balance and well being.

Sounds to me like that would include the political aspects of health care, too.

May 112010

If you suffer from The Urge to Regulate, don’t watch the above video of San Francisco’s Market Street, taken a few days before the earthquake in 1906. Watch the one below, instead, taken in 2005. It will be easier on you. (If you suffer from the opposite malady, think about the unregulated buildings that were damaged in the earthquake.)

May 112010

Washington Post headline: Abortion could be sleeper issue in Supreme Court confirmation process.

Wow. I’ve been away on a bicycle outing and haven’t had time to learn anything about Elena Kagan yet. But she must be really bad if the Obama administration is trying to use the abortion issue to distract attention.

May 112010

Does anyone else remember when President Obama was against special interests? Seems like it was just yesterday.

Battle Creek Enquirer News item:

In a major victory for organized labor, unions will have an easier time signing up airline and railroad workers after the Obama administration today changed a 76-year-old rule on union elections.

The change is the most significant so far in a string of White House moves designed to boost unions, which are struggling to reverse years of decline in membership.

May 072010

From an AP article at the Battle Creek Enquirer titled, “Court official: Militia members can be traced 24/7”:

The militia members are charged with conspiring to overthrow the government. They remain in custody, although a judge wants to release them.

A comment I posted in response:

A judge wants to release them??? Do we know that? We know that a judge ruled that they should be released, but that doesn’t mean that the judge wants to release them.

Your AP writer demeans our judicial system when s/he ascribes judicial rulings to the personal preferences of judges.

May 062010

Today I got an e-mail from the people with the subject line, “John: Save the soul of the Democratic Party.”

And then I read the message and found in the very first paragraph that they want me to send $5.

Isn’t that a lot like the indulgences that Martin Luther railed against?

The Senate primary in Arkansas is our best hope to save the soul of the Democratic Party and win real change in Washington. Every Democrat in Washington is watching to see whether corporate lobbyists or grassroots progressives will prevail. And this is the last chance to help out­ – the Halter campaign is making their final spending decisions in 24 hours. So we need at least 3 donations from Battle Creek today. Can you chip in $5?