Thursday, August 25, 2011

Political Digest for August 25, 2011

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Dennis Miller Interview
I’m scheduled to be interviewed about The Coming Collapse of the American Republic on Dennis Miller’s radio program at 11:34 am, EDT on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. You can listen live for free at

President Obama has just confirmed that the DC earthquake occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as "Bush's Fault." Obama also announced that the Secret Service and Maxine Waters continues an investigation of the quake's suspicious ties to the Tea Party. Conservatives however have proven that it was caused by the founding fathers rolling over in their graves.

Excerpt: The political left is convinced that certain goods and services — especially health care and education — should be provided free of charge by the government rather than sold in the marketplace (see Uwe Reinhardt, for example). The reason: in the marketplace distribution will be determined by ability to pay and poor people, by definition, are least able to pay. Only free provision by the state can result in equal access for all. The left, by the way, has largely won this debate. About 90% of schoolchildren attend public schools. And most people who are poor or near poor can enroll in Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or take advantage of free care at community health centers and the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals. On the other hand, most other goods and services have been left to the marketplace. So what has been the result of this grand experiment? If left wing political theory is true, we should expect to see huge inequalities in the ownership of goods sold in the market, but fairly equal consumption in health care and education. But there’s the irony. The exact opposite of this prediction has been borne out!

Excellent Piece: Lessons of Libya (and Syria, and, Some Day, Iran)
Outstanding! Ron P. Excerpt: First, for those trying to figure out what’s going on in Libya: this sort of event does not lend itself to “live” coverage. Wars and insurrections are very foggy, and reporters cannot possibly check the information they are given. Pictures on your screen are as likely to deceive as to inform, as you’ve perhaps learned in the past few days. The pictures told you that Gaddafi’s regime had fallen, that the rebels were in control of Tripoli, and that the Gaddafi kids were captured. Not so. This is not necessarily the result of “bad reporting.” It’s built into the whole business of round-the-clock TV news “coverage.” The networks have to put video on the screen and they have to say something about the videos. We historians are better placed. We can wait and then explain it retrospectively. Which is easier, but not automatically more accurate. So the first lesson is: wait. When it’s over, we’ll probably know that. Meanwhile, there are people with a very strong interest in convincing the outside world that gray is black or white. Live with the gray. Mostly things are gray in a fog. … Second, a lot of the language used to describe some of the forces in play is quite misleading. You’ll have your own by now; my own favorite is “elite forces.” Gaddafi’s EF turned out to be just the usual Middle Eastern gunmen/thugs. In older times, he had very sexy East German female body guards, which was much more fun. Consider Saddam’s EF: the vaunted Republican Guards, who disappeared in a nanosecond when General Mattis’s Marines advanced on Baghdad. … Ask the Marines. Their officers lead from the front, and they’re the best we’ve got.

Pentagon: China's quest for military might is showing results
The growth of China’s economic and military power is one of the four threats I discuss in Collapse. Wish I could say the news is suggesting I was wrong. ~Bob. Excerpt: China’s military is “steadily closing the technological gap with modern armed forces” and remains calibrated for a conflict with Taiwan, according to an annual Pentagon report released Wednesday. The report notes Chinese leaders are driving hard toward achieving a set of “economic and military benchmarks” by the end of this decade, and concludes Beijing’s ultimate goal is to become “a world-class economic and military power by 2050.”

Slain LIFG commander led Libyan rebel forces
Excerpt: A leader for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (or LIFG) with close links to the Taliban and al Qaeda commanded a unit of Libyan rebels in Ajdabiyah that is "officially sanctioned by the opposition government." The recently slain commander, known as Abdul Monem Muktar Mohammed, even directed NATO airstrikes against Gaddafi's forces. From the Los Angeles Times: He once lived under the Taliban's protection, met with Osama bin Laden and helped found a group the U.S. has listed as a terrorist organization. He died in a secondhand U.S. military uniform, ambushed by Moammar Kadafi's men as he cleared a road after an airstrike by his new NATO allies. Aides to Abdul Monem Muktar Mohammed say the Libyan rebel fighter was leading a convoy of 200 cars west of this hotly contested strategic city Friday when a bullet struck him on the right side of the chest. He opened his passenger door and jumped out. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby. And according to the Los Angeles Times, there are many more like Mohammed in the leadership and rank and file: Rebel leaders are sensitive to criticism by some in the West that Al Qaeda "fellow travelers" are deeply involved in the fight against Kadafi. With some defensiveness, they say Afghan veterans such as Mohammed, 41, were pushed to extremes by Kadafi's authoritarian rule, and that with freedom, the danger of a homegrown militant extremist threat has faded.

Obama effort to woo independents derailed by debt-ceiling deal
Excerpt: The unpopular debt-ceiling deal has significantly hampered President Obama’s effort to win over independent voters. Since Democrats were thumped in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama repeatedly has sought to burnish his reputation with independents, often at the sake of his Democratic base. Yet a Gallup poll this week found Obama trailing not only leading GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry among independent voters, but long-shot candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) as well. The poll found that Obama leads Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), but only by a six-point margin, 48 percent to 42 percent.

Rick Perry holds the record on executions
In cities where decent people are no longer free to go out at night for fear, this may be a selling point. ~Bob. Excerpt: Texas Gov. Rick Perry brings to the presidential race a law-and-order credential that none of his competitors can match — even if they wanted to. In his nearly 11 years as the state’s chief executive, Perry, now running for the Republican presidential nomination, has overseen more executions than any governor in modern history: 234 and counting. That’s more than the combined total in the next two states — Oklahoma and Virginia — since the death penalty was restored 35 years ago.

The reasons Sarah Palin wouldn’t run for president
Excerpt: The time commitment: Palin has been a nearly constant part of the conversation when it comes to the presidential race, but she has made a habit of virtually disappearing for weeks at a time. Consider her bus tour, which went on hiatus after a trip up the East Coast and then resumed — apparently for just one day — for the Iowa trip. She has yet to show an appetite for the kind of constant campaigning that a presidential run would demand, and there is little sign that she’s using her free time to build up the kind of infrastructure she’ll need to run. “A candidate for national office needs to focus on building a national finance committee, recruiting talented operatives and campaign leadership in the five early states, and developing a message with a narrative that is based on conservative values and positions,” said GOP strategist Scott Reed. “Sarah Palin is zero-for-three.” There’s a lot less room for her: Rep. Michele Bachmann’s strong statement in the Ames Straw Poll and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to enter the race both mean Palin will have to compete for the people who otherwise would have made up her base. By waiting this long, Palin has given the people she will need the opportunity to support someone else, and both Bachmann and Perry have stepped forward to more than fill that vacuum. She could have pretty easily been the chief alternative to Mitt Romney; that’s no longer the case.

CBO sees decade of $3.5T in deficits, sluggish GDP growth
Gee, good news. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday estimated deficits over the next 10 years will total $3.5 trillion, about half of what was projected at the beginning of the year. The budget office also estimates this year’s deficit will run $1.284 trillion, $116 billion less than what was forecast in March. The better forecast is due to two factors, CBO said. It reflects cuts mandated by the debt ceiling deal signed into law earlier this year, and interest rate payments on the debt that are expected to be lower.

Irene weakens slightly to Category 1 hurricane but remains 1st big threat to US in years
Well, it’s about time. Al Gore and the warmists promised us ever more destructive hurricanes every year after Katarina, due to global warming. Probably Bush’s fault we haven’t had any. ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Obama’s Folly: Why Taxing the Rich Is No Solution
Excerpt: The president should spend more time with the economic literature on taxes. … If raising taxes on the rich would solve the deficit without hurting the economy, we would support the president’s tax policy in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the choices faced by America are not that simple. An economic strategy founded on raising taxes on the rich is based on two false premises. The first is that tax increases on the rich are a solution to current budget deficits. The second is the argument often put forward that there is “no evidence” that tax increases on the rich hurt the economy. If you look carefully, President Obama has never explicitly stated that taxing the rich will bring in much revenue. Instead, the president has made sure to give voters the impression that the Republican refusal to tax the rich is the main cause of the deficit and thus the main obstacle to solving the fiscal crisis. For instance, Obama stated that “tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country” will “force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.” This message has been widely repeated: Jon Stewart, for instance, has assured his impressionable audience that without the Bush tax cuts, future deficits would not be a major problem. But how much revenue are we really talking about? According to the New York Times, the president’s plan to abolish the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 is expected to bring in merely $0.7 trillion over the next decade, or about 0.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product per year. As a comparison, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the deficit over the same period is going to be $13 trillion, more than 6 percent of GDP per year.

The Wind-Energy Myth: The claims for this “green” source of energy wither in the Texas heat.
Excerpt: Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity. That’s nearly three times as much as any other state. But during three sweltering days last week, when the state set new records for electricity demand, the state’s vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power. … Over the past few years, about $17 billion has been spent installing wind turbines in Texas. Another $8 billion has been allocated for transmission lines to carry the electricity generated by the turbines to distant cities. And now, Texas ratepayers are on the hook for much of that $25 billion, even though they can’t count on the wind to keep their air conditioners running when temperatures soar. 

Europe is facing stagnation as its growth engine stalls
If you think this doesn’t affect you, you need to get an economic clue. ~Bob. Excerpt: Europe faces the threat of economic stagnation after an alarming collapse in business confidence during August, a gloomy industry survey warned today. Financial information firm Markit's latest worrying snapshot of flagging growth in the eurozone showed activity stuck at 22-month lows during the month and the manufacturing sector shrinking for the first time since 2009. It also revealed confidence among the region's services firms falling at the fastest pace since the height of the financial crisis in October 2008 as sentiment was rocked by Europe's sovereign debt crisis and biting austerity measures. The figures raise the prospect of even weaker growth among the 17 nations using the eurozone after last week's sluggish 0.2% advance between April and June. The two largest economies, France and Germany, slowed to a virtual standstill and the rest of Europe saw falling output for the third month in a row, Markit added.

Biden walks back remarks on China’s one-child policy
Excerpt: Days after Vice President Biden said he wouldn’t second guess China’s one-child policy, Biden’s spokeswoman said he found the practice “repugnant.” The move followed intense criticism of Biden and the administration after the vice president offered comments in China that appeared to condone the controversial policy, which prevents most couples in China from having more than one child and is believed to have contributed to infanticide, particularly of girls. “The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” the vice president’s spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said in a statement Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the economically-ignorant public is easy to manipulate. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama and his allies are rushing to boost their own popularity by painting “Big Oil” as the biggest villain since Snidely Whiplash -- profiteering fat cats who’ve tied the American people to the railroad tracks and need to be punished with new taxes. This fractured fairy tale is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the energy market functions. Yes, higher oil prices earlier this year led to rising industry profits as consumers were taking a hit at the pump. But oil companies don’t control the price of oil and never have. That misunderstanding -- or, in the case of politicians, feigned ignorance -- led to the crippling of the energy industry in the 1970s. Now we see the Obama administration, high on populism and zealous to push alternative energy, itching to repeat those mistakes. Yet handcuffing the oil and gas industry will only push energy prices even higher.

Political Internet joke
The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese. However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls. Now consider a group of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not ....... a Congress! I guess that pretty much explains the things that come out of Washington!

Quote from the Patriot Post
"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants." --Alexander Hamilton

Business Advocates Skeptical of Regulatory Review
Excerpt: The White House on Tuesday released over two dozen finalized plans—more than 800 pages of text—for streamlining regulations in government agencies. But congressional Republicans and business advocates say the effort doesn’t go far enough. They fear the continued implementation of new regulations will prove costly for businesses and hinder economic growth at a vulnerable time. (…) Business organizations applauded the move but expressed concern that the effort would be overshadowed by new regulations, such as those mandated by the health care and Dodd-Frank financial reform laws. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., called the regulations “a giant wet blanket” on the economic recovery. Since issuing the executive order, the Obama administration has only repealed one rule despite proposing over 340 new regulations, Barrasso wrote in a Washington Times op-ed on Tuesday. Two were finalized in August by the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule to regulate mileage for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Together, the EPA regulations will cost $10 billion, according to Barrasso—the same amount Sunstein said the review would save. (Hummmm. Let’s put this in perspective. The most widely accepted figure for total cost of US regulation is about $1.5 Trillion (1500 followed by 9 more zeroes). Let’s assume there really is $10 Billion (10 followed by 9 more zeroes) of relief, and nothing new is added—impossible, as Congress has passed laws that REQUIRE new and expensive regulations to be added. So, the bragged-about relief is $10/$1500, or 2/3s of 1%. Goodness, I feel better already; don’t you? Currently, there are about 75,000 PAGES of federal regulations. Some fraction of them probably are necessary and useful, but many are also outdated, obsolete, do-good in intent, and/or ineffective. Applying that 2/3s of 1% factor to the page count would still leave 74,500 pages of regulations BEFORE adding any newly required stuff. It’s also before some of the new regulations—especially those required by Obamacare and DoddFrankBank—have been written, implemented or even understood. This is why businesses need lawyers and fear to make new moves when the regulatory future is unclear. Hang the beancounters first! Ron P.)

Surgeon Takes Out Wrong Part of Man's Brain
Looking forward to National health care? ~Bob. Excerpt: British paramedic suffered permanent brain damage after a surgeon removed part of his brain during an operation he did not even need.

'US intel investigating al-Qaida link to Eilat attacks'
Didn’t Obama’s intel folks just tell us—again—that al Qaeda was no longer a threat? ~Bob. Excerpt: 'Washington Times' quotes US intelligence official as saying Gaza-based PRC was involved in terror attacks but not the brains of operation. US intelligence agencies were investigating reports that terrorist groups connected to al-Qaida played a major role in carrying out last week's multi-staged terror attacks near Eilat which killed eight Israelis and wounded dozens more, the Washington Times reported on Monday. According to the report, a US government assessment of the attacks came to the conclusion that the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) or the Gaza-based Army of Islam (Jaish al Islam), a Palestinian group sympathetic to al-Qaida, carried out the attacks which emanated from Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Qaeda suspects kill seven Yemen soldiers: officer
Excerpt: Seven soldiers were killed on Tuesday and 30 others wounded in an attack launched by suspected Al-Qaeda militants on a base in the restive southern province of Abyan, a senior officer told AFP. "Six soldiers and an officer were killed and 30 others wounded when Al-Qaeda militants attacked the camp of the 201 Brigade in Dofes," south of Abyan, capital of Zinjibar, the officer said.

Greek police smash violent doughnut ring
Excerpt: It took an undercover operation, but Greek police have blown a hole in a ring of alleged crooks who had cornered the doughnut market in a beach resort. It started with complaints that two Bulgarian men and a former Greek wrestling champion were using violence to choke off the trade by other doughnut vendors on Paliouri beach in the Halkidiki peninsula near Thessaloniki. So an undercover officer posed as a doughnut seller, police said Tuesday, and he was attacked, leading to the arrest of the three aggressive doughnut sellers.

Marco Rubio courts establishment Republicans
I would be delighted to vote for Rubio for President, Allen West for VP, though I know it’s impossible. First, they are too early in their national careers. Second, they are from the same state. And third, we wouldn’t be able to win over any Democrats because they are all racists and would never vote for a Hispanic-Black ticket. But these guys get the challenges we are up against, and are not for recreating a fascist-communist type state control of the economy to “solve” them. ~Bob. Excerpt: It might look like tea party hero Marco Rubio waded into enemy territory with stops in San Francisco and Beverly Hills this week. But rubbing shoulders with a different crowd is the point of the freshman senator’s three-day swing through the Golden State. The Florida Republican is out to prove he can appeal beyond the activist base, introducing himself to the state’s political and corporate elite, raising cash for his party from some of George W. Bush’s top donors and paying homage to one of Republicans’ most venerable icons — Ronald Reagan. It’s the second act of a well-orchestrated national rollout that began this spring for Rubio, who insists he has no immediate national ambitions. But if the tea party favorite makes a strong debut and can win over establishment Republicans outside his home state, he could emerge an irresistible choice for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket in 2012.

What Will Libya Look Like?
Excerpt: Reportage surrounding Libya suggests that everything will be sweetness and light once sadistic madman Col. Muammar Qaddafi is ousted permanently. “Who, today, does not thrill to the spectacle of freedom in Tripoli?” asks Fouad Ajami in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. “A brave people, civilians in the main, exiles who returned to their devastated country, students with no military skills – all headed to the front in their pickup trucks to reclaim their homeland from a tyrant who had turned it into a laboratory for his mix of megalomania and derangement. These are the people who have made this rebellion.” Really? Is that who they are? Ajami himself seems to doubt it. “There is no way that a blanket assertion can be made that this massive Libyan upheaval is free of Islamists,” he admits. His only evidence to the contrary is “the more compelling evidence of the rebellion itself – its composition, the earnestness of the professionals and civil libertarians active in it, their promise that the terrible autocrat will not be replaced by a zealous, unforgiving theocracy.” Sparse evidence indeed, and a promise unlikely to be kept, particularly when the first purported draft constitution for the reconstituted Libya centers around the primacy of Islamic law. The document has all of the flowery buzzwords the foreign press loves to focus upon: “justice, equality … progress and prosperity.” But the first General Provision of the draft constitution reads, “Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shariah).”

Drug Shortage Crisis Grows
Big Pharma bought Obama off on ObamaCare. Guess it didn’t help. ~Bob. Excerpt: We face a crisis of drug shortages. Some hospital patients now have to take medications that aren’t effective. For others, treatment is dangerously delayed. Life-saving or life-prolonging medicines are increasingly in short supply for the one in ten Americans hospitalized on any particular day. The Obama Administration is partly to blame. The crisis may worsen as the ObamaCare bureaucracy controls all aspects of health care in America. A new survey released by the American Hospital Association (AHA) with responses from 820 facilities across the country reveals “serious consequences for patient care and access to vital therapies.”

Excerpt: It certainly pays to go green. Well, at least until the greenbacks stop flowing – and bankruptcy kicks in. Last year, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Chris Horner estimated that the $30 billion green handout in the stimulus bill cost taxpayers roughly $475,000 per job created. According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s quadruple the cost of creating a job in a nonsubsidized private firm. It turns out that Horner was right on the money, even for non-energy related “green” jobs. Yesterday, Fox News reported on the results of a tree planting stimulus program in Nevada – and it’s not pretty:

Policy Chart: Illinois Loses Most Jobs in the Nation
Excerpt: Illinois lost more jobs during the month of July than any other state in the nation, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. After losing 7,200 jobs in June, Illinois lost an additional 24,900 non-farm payroll jobs in July. The report also said Illinois’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.5 percent. This marks the third consecutive month of increases in the unemployment rate. Illinois started to create jobs as the national economy began to recover. But just when Illinois’s economy seemed to be turning around, lawmakers passed record tax increases in January of this year. Since then, Illinois’s employment numbers have done nothing but decline. Data released today by the bureau confirms this downward trajectory. When it comes to putting people back to work, Illinois is going backwards. Since January, Illinois has dropped 89,000 people from its employment rolls.

Three Egyptians took part in terrorist attacks on southern Israel
Hope you are having a nice “Arab Spring.” ~Bob. Excerpt: According to report the three were members of extremist Islamic group, one of whom escaped from Egyptian prison during revolution against Hosni Mubarak. At least three of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the road to Eilat last Thursday were Egyptian citizens, according to a report in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Yaoum. The report, based on a probe carried out by the Egyptian security forces, says that the three were members of an extremist Islamic group. One of them had escaped from an Egyptian prison during the revolution against Hosni Mubarak. In addition to the three, five Egyptian policemen and soldiers were also killed in the various firefights. Haaretz has learned that 12 terrorists, in four groups, carried out the attack. The groups were dispersed over an area 12 kilometers long. At least some of the attackers wore brown uniforms, similar to those used by the Egyptian Army. The terrorists also waved white handkerchiefs to fool Israeli motorists, pretending to come in peace. They opened fire at an Israel Defense Forces helicopter in a bid to shoot it down. The investigation by the Egyptians has shown that Israeli troops entered into the Sinai Peninsula chasing after the terrorists. During the pursuit, fire was exchanged with Egyptian police. Moreover, an Israeli helicopter, according to the Egyptian probe, fired two rockets at the terrorists and fired machine guns at Egyptian policemen. The gunship fire resulted in the death of an Egyptian officer, Ahmed Jalal, along with two policemen. In a later incident, another two Egyptian soldiers were killed. An Egyptian security vehicle making its way to the area of the incident was also attacked, but it remains unclear who was responsible. Earlier in the week, Egypt's Supreme Military Council, the junta running the country, met to discuss the killing of the five Egyptian security officers. Tuesday, Egypt's foreign minister, Mohammed Kamel Amr, said that "at no point was there any intention on our part to recall our ambassador to Tel Aviv." He added that the presence of Egypt's ambassador in Israel serves national interests.

Warrant issued for deported 'backpack bandit'
Just an immigrant wanting a better life, doing a job Americans won’t do. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: A man authorities nicknamed the "backpack bandit," who snatched necklaces from around women's necks in downtown Los Angeles, has been charged and a warrant issued for his arrest. Adan Peralta, 25, has already been deported to Mexico, but Los Angeles police say they want to be ready with an arrest warrant because they expect him to return. He has been arrested and deported multiple times, most recently in April, said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department. Since his deportation, detectives located a witness who was able to identify Peralta out of photo lineup, which led to the criminal filing.
Heart-Wrenching Image: Dog Keeps Watch Over Fallen SEAL’s Casket During Funeral
Excerpt: Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson was laid to rest Friday in Rockford, Iowa, where an estimated 1,500 mourners came to pay respects for the fallen Navy SEAL, including his dog Hawkeye. In fact, Hawkeye’s loyalty to his owner at the funeral was visible, creating a heart-wrenching image as he laid down by the casket of his owner during the entire service:

Proposed bill would speed up illegal immigrant deportation cases
Excerpt: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, (Captain, USMC reserve) said Tuesday that he plans to introduce a bill that would expedite the removal of thousands of illegal immigrants whose deportation cases are log-jammed in immigration courts. The announcement comes just days after White House officials announced a plan to review about 300,000 deportation cases and cancel all cases except those of criminal immigrants. Hunter called the White House plan a "blatant disregard for the law." Under the policy announced last week, President Barack Obama's administration said it wants the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department to use "prosecutorial discretion" to suspend the deportations of most immigrants who have committed immigration violations, but have not been convicted of other crimes. Critics of the new policy have called it a backdoor amnesty.

Excerpt: Here's a tip for you: Listening to really, really loud sounds over long periods of time can damage your hearing. Perhaps you already knew that. But a few years back, a group of clever trial lawyers decided they could make some serious money by arguing in court that you are too stupid to know it on your own. They filed 26 consumer fraud lawsuits in multiple states against Motorola and other manufacturers of Bluetooth headsets. They alleged that consumers were not warned sufficiently about the dangers, and that they "would not have purchased their Bluetooth headsets but for defendants' false advertising." That led to a single class-action case in federal court, in which the plaintiffs sought refunds, restitution and punitive damages. And attorneys' fees, of course. The case was pretty light on the merits -- in fact, Apple recently got a similar nuisance case thrown out of court over its iPod product line. But millions of people had purchased Bluetooth headsets, and so the potential for liability was high. And these kinds of nuisance cases often cost a lot of money to defend. Most deep-pocketed defendants would rather spend a million dollars making a case like this one go away than spend millions more in litigation. For the lawyers, this case was simple: File a lawsuit, then get a settlement agreement -- which they did. Under its terms, a hearing loss charity was to get $100,000. The lawyers were to get $800,000. And those who cranked up the volume full blast until they lost their hearing? They would basically get nothing.

The False WWII Analogy: Obama’s America is more like Attlee’s Britain than Truman’s America.
Excerpt: Since 2009, the example of the economic boom following World War II has been used by Keynesians to justify their record “peacetime” levels of borrowing intended to lift the U.S. out of the doldrums. Indeed, the more the contemporary borrowing fails, the more the vast indebtedness of the war years is invoked to reassure us. On occasion a wry lament follows that if only a spaceship full of dangerous aliens were to appear, we might have the requisite excuse to follow our grandfathers into a new collective frenzy of economic stimulus and public debt.

Perry and Global Warming: Do the warmists questioning Governor Perry really believe in science and math?
Excerpt: Last week Rick Perry questioned the prevailing orthodoxy on global warming. There was, as is easy to imagine, no shortage of warmists waiting to pounce. Remarkably, one of the first questions later put to Governor Perry was whether he accepted the correctness of evolution — as if the science behind global warming was supported by even a tenth as much evidence as we have for evolution. What is troubling, however, is that some of the other candidates for the Republican nomination still accept the theory of man-made warming. Worse, they are apparently prepared to act on their beliefs if elected president. First, allow me to be clear about one thing. The planet is warming. Well, it was until 1998, when the warming trend abruptly ceased. In truth, it has been warming since 1850, when the last mini–Ice Age ended. In the 161 years since then, the earth’s temperature has increased . . . wait for it . . . 0.7 degrees. But we can’t even be sure of that, as all the major temperature records have been altered to the point of uselessness.

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