Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Clarence Thomas: From Rube To Evil Genius

For all those many years, the left has caricatured Justice Clarence Thomas as an ignorant house negro who only got as far as his did through affirmative action. Suddenly, he's a leading legal scholar who drives the Supreme Court.
The bulk of the article is worthy of attention because Toobin, despite his obvious distaste for Thomas' views, takes him seriously as a judicial thinker and pathfinder.

"In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court," Toobin writes. "Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication."

Toobin is on particularly strong ground when he discusses the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms. For years it was considered a dead letter in sophisticated legal circles, protecting only the right to bear arms as a member of the National Guard.

Al Sharpton Advocating Violence Again?

He does have a history. His rhetoric inspired at least one mass killing. Now he's doing it again?
[Rick] Perry, Sharpton said, “is looking to go to the O.K. Corral and start shooting. … Rather than the left get caught sleeping, we better load up, because he is bringing it.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Much Intelligence Is Required Of The Editor Of The New York Times

Plenty of people — Ed Morrissey and Mollie Hemingway among them — have neatly dissected New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s perfect storm of ignorance and bias when it comes to the religious beliefs of those running for the GOP presidential nominee. Keller identified Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum as “all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity,” when Santorum is Catholic, Bachmann is Lutheran, and Perry is a Methodist. Keller hauls out the boogeyman of “dominionism,” when none of his targets are dominionists, and so on. The response (such as it is) to this criticism by Keller and the rest of the establishment media is nearly as telling as the original smears.

On Twitter, Keller had two responses to his critics. First, Keller noted that he was not seeing any quarrel with the basic point that we should ask candidates about their faith. I certainly have no quarrel with that point. In 2008, I wrote about Barack Obama’s decades-long membership in a church based on black liberation theology and his decades-long relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and criticized the establishment media for not treating Obama the way JFK or Mitt Romney were treated on faith issues.

However, this merely underscores the major criticism lodged against Keller, which was that the New York Times avoided giving Obama scrutiny on faith issues. Keller’s second response was that the NYT was “late to Rev. Wright in ’08, but we got there, and did it well.” This response is dishonest or delusional, possibly both. When a political controversy erupts in March 2008 and the NYT does not give it proper news coverage until September 2008, getting there late is bad coverage. Would Keller defend covering a hurricane six months late? Please. Nor was the quality of the NYT coverage good, by the standards Keller now thinks should be applied, asking none of the sort of questions Keller now thinks should be asked. Indeed, Keller’s response on this point is particularly embarrassing once you learn that the NYT actually covered Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright in April 2007.

Been There, Done That

Monday, August 29, 2011

Obama's Regulatory Flood Drowns The Economy

If Obama really wants to simulate the economy, he needs to do less, not more.
Businesses large and small face more uncertainty today about the federal regulatory environment than at any point since the New Deal radically increased the role of the government in the nation's economy. Thanks to Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, plus President Obama's decision to use bureaucratic regulation to start major initiatives like cap and trade that Congress refused to pass, the federal bureaucracy has been drafting new regulations at an unprecedented pace. Seeing this tsunami of red tape flooding out of Washington, company owners and executives wisely opt to delay new hires and investments until they have a clearer idea how much their already huge compliance costs will increase and how the markets will be warped by changes mandated by the bureaucrats. 

As House Speaker John Boehner noted earlier this week in a blog post, "a simple scan of the Obama administration's current regulatory agenda indicates that the administration currently has 4,257 new regulatory actions in the works, of which at least 219 will have an economic impact of $100 million or more. That is an increase of nearly 15 percent over last year, when a similar search showed 191 new economically significant regulatory actions by the administration to be in the works." Even before those 4,257 new regulations go into effect, the Federal Register shows more than 81,000 pages of regulations, which result in compliance costs in excess of $1.7 trillion, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's "Ten Thousand Commandments: How much regulation is enough" report for 2010.

Electricity Rates To Skyrocket

One promise that Obama is keeping.
Since everyone has a suggestion or three about what President Obama can do to get the economy cooking again, here's one of ours: Immediately suspend the Environmental Protection Agency's bid to reorganize the U.S. electricity industry, and impose a moratorium on EPA rules at least until hiring and investment rebound for an extended period.

The EPA is currently pushing an unprecedented rewrite of air-pollution rules in an attempt to shut down a large portion of the coal-fired power fleet. Though these regulations are among the most expensive in the agency's history, none were demanded by the late Pelosi Congress. They're all the result of purely bureaucratic discretion under the Clean Air Act, last revised in 1990.

As it happens, those 1990 amendments contain an overlooked proviso that would let Mr. Obama overrule EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's agenda. With an executive order, he could exempt all power plants "from compliance with any standard or limitation" for two years, or even longer using rolling two-year periods. All he has to declare is "that the technology to implement such standard is not available and that it is in the national security interests of the United States to do so."

Both criteria are easily met. Most important, the EPA's regulatory cascade is a clear and present danger to the reliability and stability of the U.S. power system and grid. The spree affects plants that provide 40% of U.S. baseload capacity in the U.S., and almost half of U.S. net generation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is charged with ensuring the integrity of the power supply, reported this month in a letter to the Senate that 81 gigawatts of generating capacity is "very likely" or "likely" to be subtracted by 2018 amid coal plant retirements and downgrades.

That's about 8% of all U.S. generating capacity. Merely losing 56 gigawatts—a midrange scenario in line with FERC and industry estimates—is the equivalent of wiping out all power generation for Florida and Mississippi.

Barack Obama's Successful Hurricane Dance

Obama hasn't had much luck with reducing unemployment or lowering sea levels, but he is claiming to have weakened Hurricane Irene.
President Obama, federal officials and East Coast governors and mayors began assessing damage Sunday from Hurricane Irene, which came ashore over the weekend with less-than-anticipated destruction but left behind widespread power outages and at least 21 people dead.

Officials attributed the lack of damage and relatively low loss of life to teamwork between local governments and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On the other hand, this is a lot like those jobs Obama "created or saved."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Obama's Regulatory State Smothering Economic Growth

Barack Obama has tried everything to stimulate economic growth, except for giving the economy room to grow.
One doesn't have to look far for an explanation of why the economy grew at an anemic 1 percent rate during the last quarter. 
Businesses large and small face more uncertainty today about the federal regulatory environment than at any point since the New Deal radically increased the role of the government in the nation's economy. Thanks to Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, plus President Obama's decision to use bureaucratic regulation to start major initiatives like cap and trade that Congress refused to pass, the federal bureaucracy has been drafting new regulations at an unprecedented pace. Seeing this tsunami of red tape flooding out of Washington, company owners and executives wisely opt to delay new hires and investments until they have a clearer idea how much their already huge compliance costs will increase and how the markets will be warped by changes mandated by the bureaucrats.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Lesson Obama Needs To Learn

If he watch this, in fewer than three minutes, hewould know more about economics that he has learned in the first 50 years of his life.

Stimulating Nothing But Bureaucracy

If you want to understand why our centrally planned economy stinks, look no further than Seattle. There you will find a microcosm of all that went wrong with Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus.

How many jobs could you create with $20 million? Could you do better than 14? That’s all that Seattle could manage.

A year after the Obama administration showered $20 million on the city of Seattle that was designated for weatherizing homes in poor neighborhoods, the Emerald City has managed to create all of 14 jobs, most of them administrative, and has only retrofitted three homes.

I don’t know what’s worse – that Seattle could only create 14 jobs with $20 million, or that 14 workers could only get three houses weatherized in a year. And why does it take so many people to administer the retrofitting of only three homes?

Just for comparison, some years back, I upgraded the insulation in my own attic. It cost under two hundred bucks and took most of an afternoon. The only administrator was my wife who manages my honey-do list and wrote the check.

Did it occur to no one in Seattle to set up accounts at the local hardware store for people to acquire their own insulation? Give them instructions and let them take care of their own homes.

Getting real work done takes little time and few overseers. If you doubt that, hire a local contractor to do the work. He’ll be on the scene as soon as a space appears on his schedule and he won’t need any bureaucrats looking over his shoulder.

Of course Seattle’s difficulties could be the curse of Joe Biden who proclaimed the grant a “triple win!” He boasted that it would create jobs, cut utility bills and reduce Seattle’s carbon footprint.

This is the same Joe Biden who boasted in 2009 that the stimulus was working far better than he could have imagined in his wildest dreams. Just as a global warming speech by Al Gore precipitates severe winter weather (Google the “Gore Effect”), layoff notices follow Joe Biden proclamations of economic vitality.

But it’s not just Seattle’s fault. Nevada received $500,000 from Santa Obama to plant trees. And according to the federal government’s estimation, this created 1.72 jobs. I’ve never heard of a 0.72 FTE, but the feds have. And based upon experience, we can safely assume that even 1.72 jobs is a gross exaggeration. When last we checked, the Obama administration’s penchant for over-counting jobs “created or saved” even had the usually gullible former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric giggling with skepticism.

For that matter, the Obama administration even overestimated the number of congressional districts in the nation by a factor of two. For future reference, the United States Constitution limits the number of congressional seats to 435, not the nearly 900 claimed by the Obama Administration in 2009.

It’s so bad that even the New York Times has begun to take notice of Obama’s green jobs failures in an August 18th article.

Obama’s former “Green jobs czar” Van Jones blames it on the Congress’s reluctance to pass job destroying cap and trade legislation, which is about par for the leftist course. The EPA has been on the march lately shutting down one coal plant after another. The theory here is that people need electricity and if you destroy politically incorrect electrical power generation, then people will have no choice but to pay for politically correct electricity.

Sheeraz Haji, CEO of the Cleantech group echoes this theory: “Having a market mechanism that helps drive these new technologies would have made a significant difference,” he said. “Without that, the industry muddles along.”

So that’s how “markets” work in the world of the left. Eliminate all competition and force people to buy what you’re selling. Chevy Volt anyone?

Except that even forced green energy doesn’t work either. At the peak of the recent heat wave, the wind turbines in Texas were generating electricity at only 15% of capacity. And that’s actually pretty good. During another Midwestern heat wave a couple of years ago, wind turbines were generating electricity at only 2% of capacity.

Oh, and by the way, those wind turbines were manufactured in China.

But it’s likely that Seattle’s experience is a lot worse than most. After all, where else could so many bureaucrats be required to administer the weatherizing of three homes?

Friday, August 26, 2011

How Many Federal Employees Does It Take To Install A Solar Panel?

All 2.2 million of them apparently. Ten months after the Obama Administration announced its intention to install solar panels, the job still isn't done - tied up in the federal bureaucracy.
The Energy Department will say only that the project is mired in the "competitive procurement process." Spokeswoman Joelle Terry declined to go into details of the holdup. Questions about when that process might be completed also were rebuffed. So were queries about the projected cost of adding the panels and where the panels would be located.

The National Park Service, which put solar panels on White House outbuildings during the administration of President George W. Bush, said it couldn't comment on why the previous installation was completed more quickly. It directed questions to the White House, where press spokesman Clark Stevens deferred to the Department of Energy, where spokeswoman Terry stuck to her original statement.

Not even Solar Design Associates, which according to the magazine Solar Today installed the previous panels, was willing to comment. A search of the government contracting website did turn up a $10,000 contract, awarded in January, to Overly Manufacturing Co. That contract was to "support the contractor" for the photovoltaic system and "ensure that the integrity and warranty of the White House roof is maintained."

No one was willing to reveal the details of the formal government bidding proposal, which was not posted online.

US Economic Growth UNEXPECTEDLY Slow

Get a clue folks. You should expect crappy economic statistics as long as Barack Hussein Obama is president.
Gross domestic product growth rose at annual rate of 1.0 percent the Commerce Department said, a downward revision of its prior estimate of 1.3 percent. It also said after-tax corporate profits rose at the fastest pace in a year. 

Economists had expected output growth to be revised down to 1.1 percent. In the first quarter, the economy advanced just 0.4 percent. The government's second GDP estimate for the quarter confirmed growth almost stalled in the first six months of this year.

The Obama Bundler Wears Prada

Just another of the average people who pour millions into Obama's coffers.
From her front row seat at the fall and spring fashion shows, a nod or frown from Anna Wintour can make or break what comes down the runway and send tremors through the fashion industry.

As one of President Barack Obama’s most successful fundraisers, the Vogue editor memorably played as a controlling ice queen by Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada,” exerts her influence in another way.