March 2009 Archives

Very little of our electricity comes from fossil fuels here in Puget Sound. My provider is about 82 percent hydro, and about six percent coal. Earth Hour is significantly less meaningful here than in most places ... which is saying something.


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My neck has been hurting recently when I wake up. I need a new pillow. I have no idea where to begin looking. Suggestions?

And it is not even April Fool's Day yet. This is real. Dark colors make your car hotter meaning you use more AC meaning you use more fossil fuels meaning you are killing the planet.


Gregoire: Beyond Belief

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Governor Gregoire said this week, in backing a new bond measure, that "it ... prepares us for the next version after this recession so we're ready to really kick-start the economy now. But we're also investing in the economic future both for our kids and for all of us."

So we do what you say and when the next downturn comes, we'll be ready for it, eh? That sounds familiar. Perhaps like something she said just three years ago.

Our state budgeting has been like a roller coaster. We spend when we have a surplus and we struggle to make painful cuts when the economy slumps. It's time we even out the road. When the roller coaster, while it's fun at an amusement park, it is no place and no model for state budgeting. By treating our budget like a family's budget, we will ensure stability, we will avoid tax increases, and we will avoid Draconian cuts.

Not for nothing, but how's that working out for you? It seems to me -- tell me if I'm wrong here, because that would be really funny -- that what she said we should not do in her State of the State Address in 2006, is precisely what she and the Democrats in the legislature did for her first four years in office. We had big spending with the surplus (33 percent increase), and now we face tax increases or Draconian cuts.

Even as recently as a year ago, Gregoire had the gall to say that this was actually working:

Just like families, we are making wise investments for the future and we are saving for the less prosperous times. For too long state government has spent in the good times, and then made painful cuts when our economy would slow. We're getting off that roller coaster, and we're making progress.

Anything she says about preparing us better for the future that does not actually significantly curb the growth in spending -- not just now, but for the future -- is beyond belief.

Would You Keep Your AIG Bonus?

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If I got a bonus from AIG, and I was not a super-rich executive or someone else who was to blame for this mess, and Obama or my CEO came to me and said "please give your bonus back," I'd tell them to get bent. Honestly, what kind of person would give back their hard-earned money? And don't tell me an "altruistic" one, because that person could always take the money and give it to charity, where it would do far more good than if you gave it to AIG or the government.

If I were an executive who could afford to give it back and needed to put a good face on this for the company, or if I felt guilty about my role in the crisis, then maybe I'd give it back. But presumably most of the several thousand people who got bonuses don't fall into those categories, and have no intention of doing so.

So, would you give the money back? Even if Obama called you personally and promised to be your BFF if you did?

(Please let's not have general rants here, and just stick to the topic: would you give back the bonus?)

I don't know a lot about bills of attainder -- it's not something that comes up much -- so I don't have an opinion on whether the bill to tax some bonuses of bailout receipient employees at 90 percent constitutes one.

However, if it is a bill of attainder, it's clearly unconstitutional. No question about that, of course. So I would expect that when people defend this bill against the claim that it is unconstitutional, they would argue that it is not a bill of attainder, because if is, it's illegal. Unfortunately, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) instead argued that it is legal because it's "fair":

I'm prepared to battle in the courts. Why? Because they look at issues of equity. What does equity mean? It means, who's in here with unclean hands? And if there is a situation where they are taking federal money, such as AIG, and all of a sudden they give retention bonuses, our courts will look at this legislation and say it is fair to give the money back to the American people because the circumstances have changed.

It doesn't matter if it is a bill of attainder because it is fair, you see.

This is, of course, the definition of rule of man: igoring the law and doing what individual people think is best. This is not justice. This is not law. As I've mentioned many times, it is the rule of law which protects our rights. If we don't force the government to follow the law, if we allow them to break the law when it "seems" like the right thing to do, then we cannot expect them to follow the law when it comes time to protecting our rights against a majority who would take those rights away.

Again, I take no position whether this is a bill of attainder. I simply bemoan the fact that many of the proponents of this bill don't care whether or not it is, and further, that it doesn't surprise me in the least.

The Dangerous Arne Duncan

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The new U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan seems like a good guy who means well, but he's pretty scary. He's this month's NRA cover boy for Obama's anti-gun administration -- following such well-known gun rights foes as Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, and Obama himself -- and for good reason: he's been at the forefront of the battle to ban handguns in Illinois, "for the children."

Indeed, he asserted recently that it is an "undeniable fact that guns and kids don't mix." That our society does not "[value] children more than it values violent rituals and traditions that might have been at home in a frontier society two centuries ago but make absolutely no sense today."

That for those people who disagreed, he will "fight them in Springfield ... in the courts ... in the community ... and even in the home." (He didn't explain just how he wanted to fight me in my home over my choices with my guns and my kids.)

But it gets worse. Now, as Secretary of Education, he has unprecedented authority to spend money. The Secretary's discretionary money -- that he can spend in literally any way he sees fit -- is $5 billion, more than the entire budget of the Department of Education 35 years ago.

And he makes no bones about his intent to use that power to push his own agenda:

ARNE DUNCAN: I think Washington has an extraordinarily important role to play, maybe more so than ever before. But I would argue states have to behave in very, very different ways, and they have a critically important role.

I think there can't be one power center. I think we all have to work together, collaboratively in very different ways to get where we need to go.

JOHN MERROW: But you are going to be writing the checks. That's power.

ARNE DUNCAN: You see it as power; I see it as partnership.

JOHN MERROW: Do we need national standards?

ARNE DUNCAN: I think we need to look at it. I think the idea of 50 states doing things, you know, their own way doesn't quite make sense.

JOHN MERROW: Do you anticipate using some of this stimulus money, this incentive money to help these national standards emerge?

ARNE DUNCAN: Absolutely.

JOHN MERROW: So states will get money if they do this thing that Duncan wants?

ARNE DUNCAN: If you play by these rules, absolutely right.

Some "partnership." He'll push a single national standard for education and if you go along you'll get money. (Raise your hand if you don't think this will include his social agenda, including his anti-gun agenda.)

Of course, even apart from the social agenda, national standards for education make almost no sense. There's little serious interest in Seattle and Everett having the same standards, let alone Seattle and Atlanta.

Duncan wants control. This implies we need him and Obama and the rest of the crowd in Washington D.C. to control us. We don't. And we don't need his money so much that we should sacrifice our liberty and the best interests of our children to get it.

(And yes, this is exactly what I mean when I use the term "socialism.")

CNN sports the headline today, "Obama moves to separate politics, science." How did he supposedly do this? By removing Bush's limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

On what planet is increased funding for scientific research an increased separation of politics and science?

The facts show Obama did the exact opposite of the headline: he further and more deeply entwined politics and science. The more something is funded, the more politics controls it.

The only way to separate politics and science is to get government out of science. I'd support that. (Of course, this is only a necessary, not sufficient, condition for a seperation of science and state.)

There's a perhaps even more disturbing headline on CNN, below the other: "Researchers cheer vote for science. But it's not a vote for science, it's a vote for federal funding of certain scientific research that many people, for very good reason, find unethical. There's nothing about this that is a "vote for science," or anything like it. If anything it's anti-science because it attaches more strings to the research.

And if you have to ask "what strings?," then you're really not paying attention. These are the same people who claim stem cell research in the U.S. was retarded by Bush's policies. Come on, people think: if you didn't rely on government in the first place, then Bush wouldn't have been making the decision to not fund your research ... are you getting it?

This reminds me of the insane praise that "scientists" gave the court decision that ruled that Intelligent Design is not "science." Whether or not I.D. is science, a court has no business making that determination (and no, whether something is science is not instructive as to whether it's a violation of the Establishment Clause). They applauded the court decision as "for science" just because they agreed with it, when in fact it was anti-science because it installed the court as an arbiter of science.

So when a court comes along and says Anthropogenic Global Warming isn't science, or a President limits spending on science ... if you favored Obama's decision, or if you favored the judge's decision, then don't whine, because you're supporting the system that makes such decisions you disagree with inevitable. Instead, you should be fighting for actual separation of science and politics.

Of course, it's possible that you know exactly what's going on and that you're merely dishonest. Surely some "scientists" recognize it's all political, and are merely exploiting the system to get what you want.


As Bastiat wrote, "Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few -- whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so."

Including embryonic stem cell researchers.

I just wish thwy would say "we want that money" instead of nonsensically crowing about this being a vote "for science."

The push to give the District of Columbia a vote in Congress is one more example in a long line, of antipathy for the rule of law.

The Constitution is clear that all members of the House of Representatives come from states. Three qualifications are listed for its members: that they are 25 years old, citizens of the U.S. for 7 years, and inhabitants of the state they represent in Congress. And it gives a method for apportionment of Representatives, and that it is per state.

It is absolutely and unequivocally unconstitutional for anyone who is not representing a state to be a member of the House. And yet, the Senate voted to give D.C. a seat in the House. Incredibly, most news outlets say things like "opponents say" it is unconstitutional, or at most, that it is "probably" unconstitutional. No: there is simply no possible way for it to be constitutional.

If you think D.C. should get a seat in the House, fine, but there's only one legal way to do it: amend the Constitution. That's what we did to give D.C. electoral college representation.

I am not against this. D.C. was never intended to be heavily populated, but it is, and so reconsidering the original purpose of it, especially in light of the representation of its inhabitants in the federal government, is reasonable. But it is absolutely illegal for D.C. to have a vote in the electoral college or House of Representatives without amending the Constitution.

Many people believe that the law should be followed. We believe that if the Constitution says to do something, you should do it. We believe that the law matters. If you don't like the law, change it, but don't ignore it. Ignoring the law is rule of men; following it is rule of law.

The problem with rule of men is that it is arbitrary, and therefore not a reliable protector of rights. Your rights as expressed in the Constitution are only as valuable as the inclination of your government officials to agree with them. That is not how a constitutional republic works. It is not how your rights are protected.

Democrats -- at least, their leadership -- almost universally follow the rule of man, and reject the rule of law. This is why you have Democrats decrying the Lilly Ledbetter decision, and their liberal justices opposing that decision -- despite the fact that it was correct according to the law -- because they believed the law should not be what it is.

That is why you have a liberal justice who writes a book explaining why he doesn't follow the Constitution.

This is why you have President Obama and his people opposing an individual right to keep and bear arms (despite his claims to the contrary: his actual positions, such as favoring the DC gun ban, speak more loudly than his dishonest rhetoric).

This is why you have Mayor Nickels trying to ban guns on city property, despite state law saying that's illegal.

This is why you have the Democrats throwing the 10th Amendment in the trash as they rapidly expand the power of the federal government with complete disregard for its constitutional limits.

And note too that this is heavily tied to the Western European and North American style of socialism, which believes that if we just get the smartest people together to come up with the best ideas, and give them the power to implement those ideas, that this is the best way to govern society.

But it's antithetical to liberty. Our system does not believe in blindly following the "best" ideas, because we know what's "best" is in the eye of the beholder. We believe in two things: protecting the rights of individuals, and after that, leaving the rest up to the will of the majority.

The Democrats don't believe that. If they did, they would not ignore the Constitution or federal law whenever they didn't like what it said.

(As this D.C. voting plan not only harms the rule of law which protects our rights, but also facially and illegally reduces the relative representation of all states (except Utah), I've added it to my list of liberties lost under Obama.)

Not an Argument

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Liberals from Barack Obama all the way down to Katrina vanden Heuvel don't seem to realize that "Republicans who bloated the deficit and debt talking about fiscal responsibility is laughable" is not an actual argument. Either that, or they know it is not an argument, and are just being intentionally dishonest.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that the Republicans are the best examples of fiscal irresponsiblity we've ever seen: it doesn't actually help defend Obama's plans to say so.

And while I am on dishonest arguments, why do the Democrats keep saying that Bush transferred wealth to the rich, when in fact the rich pay more of the tax burden now than when he took office?

What Conservatives Believe

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Rush Limbaugh said to CPAC the other day, "We [conservatives] believe that the preamble of the Constitution contains an inarguable truth, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, freedom. And the pursuit of happiness."

As a conservative, no, I believe no such thing whatsoever.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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