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USA: Domestic Issues Archives

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November 19, 2010

Have Some More Tea: K-Street GOP Blinks on Earmark Ban

By Joe Katzman at 06:46

In "Tea? Yes Party? Not so Much, I Hope," I talked about a coming dust up involving the Tea Partiers and the GOP. Looks like some people have been getting some mail from constituents:

"The GOP caucus in the House of Representatives has come together to propose a ban on congressional earmakrks -- those pork barrel projects that get written in by an individual legislator and which do not face specific up or down votes.... At first, Senate GOP leaders balked at the idea, but the writing is on the wall.... As reported by, on Monday, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell signed on to a two-year moratorium on earmarks."

McConnell was the K-Street Republican most in the way of earmark reform. His capitulation deprives the Tea Partiers of both a teaching moment, and a hard shot at the GOP. As it happens, however, likely Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski [I-$$$] is unapologetic about her embrace of this corrupt culture, and Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid [still D-NV with a big bullseye] is also digging in.

Earmarks may still become a teaching moment - but a far more partisan one. We'll see how it goes.

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  • mark buehner: Oh this is going to be very interesting. The K-streeters read more

America: The Structure of Decline - and Renewal?

By Joe Katzman at 02:00

Marc tweeted this recently, and it's worth a post. Umair Haque at "Bubble Generation":

"It's the oft-unspoken thought on many lips: America's in decline. The glory days are over, the train's left the station. So: is this a great decline? Unfortunately--probably. And I'd suggest that when you take a hard, serious look into the economy--when you voyage past it's superficial, largely irrelevant position in terms of budgets, "gross product", or "unemployment"--that great decline is deeper and darker than pundits, beancounters, and politicians think, want to admit, or even suspect.

The great crisis is a story of structural decline: a decline that's hardwired into the patterns amongst this great machine's many parts. They've settled, over the last three decades and more, into fundamentally bad, toxic equilibria..."

Note that the criticisms of finance and its role that follow are coming from someone who worked in the field, including as a derivatives trader. Haque is the author of The New Capitalist Manifesto. Haven't read it yet, but based on his blog post, it looks interesting.

Marc's tweet asks if he should be depressed or challenged. Well, what do you think?

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  • Joe Katzman: I agree with Marcus when he says that "No, this read more
  • J Aguilar: Look at Germany, nowadays performing good (we┬┤ll see in the read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Well of course FDR-II failed, and Reagan-II would fail if read more

November 8, 2010

Tea? Yes. Party? Not So Much, I Hope.

By Joe Katzman at 04:05

So, the elections have been held. California looks like an even better place to leave, though it will have its black humor moment when its bankruptcy bailout request runs into a Republican Congress. The House is now solidly Republican, the Senate is back in its standard mushy grey zone of an under 60 seat majority.

Obama, no matter what he says (and really, how many people are listening at this point?), isn't going to change one iota. This will depress both his supporters and his opponents. His Godzilla class, city-destroying level of suck can be expected to continue.

The Republican leadership, no matter what they say, aren't going to change, either. They will still sort of suck, in the same old way. Therein lies the dilemma - and the opportunity - for the people that make up the Tea Party movement...

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  • mark buehner: I hope this report doesn't get swept down the memory read more
  • Glen Wishard: This panel plan is a good start, but instead of read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Joe, #19: Everybody, absolutely everybody, is going to be forced read more

October 14, 2010

You Know How Obama Isn't Out Front On That Whole Gay Thing? Maybe It Isn't Just Politics.

By Armed Liberal at 04:03

From the Petrelis Files, here's Valerie Jarrett talking to gay journo Jonathan Capehart:
Capeheart: One of the things you've put a spotlight on, and to veer sharply away from infrastructure, and that was on the rash of suicides of gay youth. You gave a speech to the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner, where you named the victims. You talked about the President's commitment to making a more inclusive, tolerant, accepting country. Why did you feel it was important to deliver that message, and deliver it there?

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  • Glen Wishard: BTW, regarding AL's "Maybe it isn't just politics" - it read more
  • toc3: Agree, why dance to another's fiddle read more
  • mark buehner: Fred, the Churches policy was to treat pedophilia as an read more

August 12, 2010

On the Proposal to Amend the 14th to End Birthright Citizenship

By Grim at 20:01
Mark B. asked for a thread to discuss this issue. Here are some recent news stories. Here is the Wikipedia entry on jus soli, which is the Latin phrase for what we call birthright citizenship. It is interesting to note that only 16% of the world observes this principle, with we ourselves being the largest practitioner. Here is a separate article on the concept's history in the United States. Discuss!
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  • PD Shaw: Grim: A number of legal scholars do not believe that read more
  • J Aguilar: Oh, it is not just a political problem, it is read more
  • mark buehner: I don't see this as a legal problem at all. read more

July 25, 2010

Careful Now

By Porphyrogenitus at 22:14
Not that I'm a fan of the President or First Lady, but when you compare this with her actual speech, I really think it's not fair to say she was saying racism is responsible for overweight Black children.

A number of fair criticisms could be leveled at the speech, or at some of the coverage, which makes it unfortunate that the American Thinker piece is as far off the mark as the ABC report.
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  • toc3: #9 from toc3 in reply to Glen Wishard | July read more
  • Glen Wishard: Porph:I have no knowledge of her saying such things, and read more
  • Glen Wishard: Porph:I have no knowledge of her saying such things, and read more

Obama's Not-Very-Well-Received Gulf Oil Speech

By Armed Liberal at 06:01

I missed the speech, but have been bouncing around the responses.

Not only does Kevin Drum hate it, but his commenters hate it. That's not good news for the President.

(note that I don't object to flaying BP; from the documents out to date, this wasn't an 'act of God' event, but instead an 'iceberg? what iceberg? we're drinking here...' kind of event. They deserve pretty much all the grief they are going to take and then some.)

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  • toc3: I have to admit the malaise speech came to mind, read more
  • mark buehner: And am I paranoid to think that if somebody from read more
  • mark buehner: I'm worried. Obama has been living in a dream world read more

May 18, 2010

I Win Ben Stein!

By Porphyrogenitus at 22:09
I had a e-mail exchange with Win Ben Stein this weekend after watching him on the "Cost of Freedom" block saying he felt Socialism was inevitable in America. Obviously he wasn't cheering it, he just felt it was inevitable. Well I went to the trouble of looking up his e-mail and having a polite go at him: Yes, I can do polite.

I made a bit of fun of the usual way people start off such e-mails, about saying how they love someone's work and really admire them right before they launch into a vicious attack. Then I launched into my attack not on Mr. Stein but the assertion he made and its underlying premise(s).

I didn't figure I'd hear back from him: Heck I wasn't even sure I had his correct e-mail. But to my pleasant surprise he did write back, saying it was a great e-mail, before having a brief go at me. Well we went back and forth a bit over the weekend. I'll spare everyone the details except to say he was polite and brief and I rambled. I haven't heard from him since my last reply.

So I'm going to say I Win Ben Stein! I'll conclude that I convinced him with my brilliant arguments, while somewhere he's out there no doubt thinking I'm an ignoramus. So then we're both winners!

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  • Porphyrogenitus: Yes, it's that Ben Stein and I criticized him on read more
  • Joe Katzman: I thought these were all supposed to start with: "I read more
  • Alchemist: This is basically the story everyone tells their friends when read more

The Kyoto Swindle: A Look at Europe

By Joe Katzman at 05:13

Over in Canada, Energy Probe has an article that neatly underlines the cheating swindle at the heart of Europeans' promotion of the Kyoto accord in 1997. The first swindle involves Europe using a 1990 baseline. The closure of socialist industry in eastern Europe, a massive Scandinavian economic crisis, and mad cow disease's effect on livestock production crashed emissions by 1995. Result?

"In 1997 in Kyoto, the EU27 signed on to an aggregate cap on their GHGs that was 14% ABOVE the member states' aggregate 1995 actual emissions. [From 1997 to 2008]... Spain, +32.8%; Latvia, +27.4%; Cyprus, +23.1%; Estonia, +21.0%; Greenland (a Danish colony), +16.6%; Luxembourg, +16.2%; Lithuania, +13.6%; Ireland, +13.0%; Ukraine, +11.5%; Malta, +9.0%; Austria, + 7.5%; Bulgaria, +8.4%; Italy, +5.9%; Belgium, +4.0%; Netherlands, +3.2%; Portugal, +4.2%; France, +1.5%; Finland, -1.6%, United Kingdom, -2.9%.

It should be noted, further, that 100% of the emission "reductions" claimed by EU member states to date derive from offshoring manufacturing of goods and services EU demand, which has actually increased."

As their name suggests, they approach this thing from a different angle than I do. But the facts noted in the post are independent of point of view.

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  • J Aguilar: "Pushing coal generation out of the market" is a policy read more
  • Roland Nikles: Interesting information. I'm not sure that EU27 Kyoto commitment to read more
  • J Aguilar: Spain, +32.8% As it is said around here, at least read more

May 3, 2010

The Governments Have Learned from their Mistakes

By Porphyrogenitus at 18:11
It's too easy to satirize the mocking of naive innocents such as Jonah Goldberg, to engage in the fun but unedifying art of tu quoque aimed at the well-meaning gentlemen who note market failure and imply the panacea: Good for what ails you! Got market failure? Government will cure it. Government failure? More government will cure it. Personal problems? Government is here to help you with all your needs.

We live in an era where some fringe cranks focus in an inchoate way on government failure, or the pitfalls of government solutions for perceived market failure.

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  • Porphyrogenitus: I have little I care to add right now, some read more
  • mark buehner: I think there is a distinction between 'government' learning, and read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: I wish I'd had a chance to comment before now, read more

Prominent Governor Gives Aid and Comfort to "Sedition"

By Porphyrogenitus at 15:25
On March 2nd 1930 a prominent Governor of a major U.S. State gave the following speech. Be sure to check out the highlighted portions:
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April 14, 2010

Immigration Linked to Violence in Black Communities

By Joe Katzman at 06:53

Interesting bit here:

"LSU Sociology Professor Edward Shihadeh and Ph.D. candidate Raymond Barranco have published a study titled "Latino Employment and Black Violence: The Unintended Consequence of U.S. Immigration Policy," in the March 2010 issue of Social Forces, the field's preeminent journal.

The study confirms that Latino immigration and dominance of low skill jobs have displaced blacks from low-skill labor markets, which in turn led to more violence in urban black communities. According to their analysis, this is traceable to U.S. immigration policies over the last several decades."

Part of this is simply intuitive, especially if you live in California. There are curveballs in the research conclusions, however, which point to an unexpected linkage mechanism and unintended policy consequences. It doesn't really slot left or right. Which makes it pretty interesting as a starting point for debate.

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  • toc3: My comment was not to prove race war in Europe, read more
  • David Blue: Since it's immoral to separate people, they must come together read more
  • J Aguilar: toc (#54) It is funny to read an interpretation of read more
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