2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Missouri and Right to Work – Update 2

Our previous posts can be found here:

Missouri and Right to Work

Missouri and Right to Work – Update

In an interview with Mike Ferguson on Missouri Viewpoints, House Speaker Jones further clarified his position on Right to Work. Here is the relevant part of a report from the Missouri News Horizon:

One key conservative effort, though, is also likely to go nowhere this session: a “Right To Work” bill. While the Republican majorities in both chambers assure an easy passage of the bill, Jones believes he’ll lose “ten to fifteen” Republican votes needed to override the expected Nixon veto, so the bill won’t be pushed in 2013.

So we have ten to fifteen Republicans legislators who will vote for Right to Work, but will switch sides after Nixon’s veto. This is indeed stranger than fiction. Given the expected easy passage little time would be wasted in legislative debate – so why not go ahead? Could not effective leadership put sufficient pressure on the ten to fifteen cravenly Republicans? Perhaps most would not switch sides. Even if they were to switch, their identities would be known next election. We understand the realities of political logrolling, but Right to Work is one of the two or three most important legislative actions for the future of Missouri. Shouldn’t our leaders keep the issue front and center? Troglo


Memorable Quotations of the Month

If my life depended on a member of the national media understanding the basics about guns or economics, I’m not sure which I’d choose. (Josh Trevino, @jstrevino )

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good. (The great Thomas Sowell, Townhall.com. Link here.)

How can Hillary Clinton declare she has evaluated and accepts the [Benghazi] report’s 29 recommendations if she has a concussion? (Richard Grenell @RichardGrenell)

We know father absence is now the leading predictor of nearly every childhood and adolescent pathology. (Thomas Lickona, National Review Online, 19 December 2012.)

In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers. (Washington Times, Luke Roziak, 25 December. Complete article here.)

I guess that in the mind of Jeb Bush, Ed Gillespie, Lindsey Graham, Alfonso Aguilar, et al. the GOP really is a Marxist party — Groucho Marxist: ‘Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others.’ (Mark Krikorian)

I guarantee you Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don’t buy that malarkey. If he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem. (Senator J. Biden, 20 September, 2008, at Castlewood, VA.)

We should outlaw subscription cards in high-capacity magazines. (David Burge, @Iowahawkblog)

My plan for eliminating school shootings: Plan A is to persuade states to replace teacher certification with CCW permit certification. We all know that the teacher certification process is a racket. (the irrepressible Mike Adams, Townhall.com; read the whole article here.)

The law includes a massive new health entitlement/income redistribution program for families earning more than three times the poverty level in 2014, it will channel up to $3,000 in taxpayer funds to families making up to $95,000. (Andrew B. Wilson, Show-Me Institute)

Is it just me, or does Kwanzaa seem to come earlier and earlier each year? And let’s face it, Kwanzaa’s gotten way too commercialized. (Ann Coulter, Townhall.com)

Once the justices depart, as most of them have, from the original understanding of the principles of the Constitution, they lack any guidance other than their own attempts at moral philosophy, a task for which they have not even minimal skills. Yet when it rules in the name of the Constitution, whether it rules truly or not, the Court is the most powerful branch of government in domestic policy. The combination of absolute power, disdain for the historic Constitution, and philosophical incompetence is lethal. (Robert Bork, Wall Street Journal, 20 December, A19)

The icon of the month:Obama-AENewman

h/t @1ClarenceBeeks

Reflections on Sandy Hook, King Herod, and boys

We have all heard the instant analyses and the strident calls for action, including:

  • Gun control
  • Better school protection
  • Reform of our mental-health system
  • Prohibition of violent video games
  • The media could deter copycats by downplaying these crimes

We note that gun control already exists. Are we to move toward prohibition? Has prohibition ever worked well? Thinking back to 9/11 we wonder why the pilots were not armed. The terrorists used box cutters. Box cutter control? The Sandy Hook school had securely locked doors. The murderer broke in through a window. Psychiatrists know that these crimes are committed by raging, disturbed, usually white young men. Will we be able to profile them so they cannot commit mass murder? What if the problem is a sick society, one producing too much sickness to be handled by the usual technical, legal, managerial, and therapeutic measures? Aren’t we just addressing symptoms? Is the alacrity with which we clutch at marginal, quick-fix responses a measure of our reluctance to confront everything but the evil within the human heart?

We are in Advent, a season summoning us to reflection and repentance. Why have so few of the instant analyses pointed out the parallel with the Massacre of the Innocents, King Herod’s slaughter of little boys in order to murder the Christ child? (Matthew 2:16) How unsurprising: Evil is not new. If we are quiet late at night, by the glints of light from the Christmas tree ornaments, we might hear a tiny voice tell us that in a sick culture, such as one supporting abortion on demand, we must expect death-worshipping evil. Did the murderer ever think that had his parents known how he would turn out, they would have aborted him? Was he ever told that “it” is not his fault: it is his parents’ fault, or society’s? Was every bullet intended to do to helpless children what he imagined had been done to him as a boy?

Evil will always find its way into schools, if not by doors, then by windows, or government regulations, legal rulings, even textbooks or the Obama administration’s Common Core curriculum. But our schools can and should be places where children learn right and wrong and are helped to grow up to become good wives, husbands, and parents. Our unisex, morally unmoored, and diversity drenched schools marginalize boys. Dodgeball, squirt guns, and who knows what else have been condemned. Boys’ role models have been trashed – George Washington is no longer the father of our country, but the very image of patriarchal repression. Boys need to express their boyishness freely, to channel not bottle up their natural aggressiveness constructively and without political correctness. They need ways to engage their fantasy and fuel their ambitions. They need to learn that true masculinity is not the coarse behavior, mayhem, and lawlessness of popular culture, but upright self-sacrifice, decency, compassionate strength, leadership, and courage.

Is the lesson of Sandy Hook that we should teach them these lessons?

Note: A brief article by D. J. Jaffe gives useful suggestions for reform of the mental health system, including treating true mental illness, not mental ‘health.’

Troglo                                                                                                                 Troglo

Senator Talent on the Fiscal Cliff

Former Missouri Senator Jim Talent just published a succinct and dead-on-target primer concerning the fiscal cliff. The extract below summarizes his point of view: concentrate on the damage that would be caused by the tax hikes and the sequester or spending cuts (largely to defense,) not on Obama’s bad-faith posturing.

What should the House Republicans do?

Stop wasting valuable time by counting on negotiations with people who won’t advance a serious plan. Actually begin legislating their agenda. Pass a bill out of the House that postpones all the tax increases as well as the defense cuts for one year. Use the debate on that bill to make a case to the public. Make the defense cuts and tax hikes, and the resulting job loss, a major issue. If the Senate Democrats don’t take up the bill, their failure to act will become an issue. If they do take up the bill, Republicans in the Senate can make the economy and the defense cuts a major point of debate.

If the Democrats take action to postpone at least the defense sequester, that will be an important point gained. If they don’t, then they and the president will clearly be responsible for the damage to national security and the job losses in the defense industry.

In addition, Republicans should begin preparing for next year. Republicans should announce that under no circumstances will they agree to a debt-limit increase beyond the next session of Congress (which ends in the fall of 2013) without real budget reform. Next year, the advantage will shift to Republicans. They already have a good budget plan (the Ryan plan). They can work on tax reform that will create jobs by reducing rates — wherever rates are at that point — and reforming deductions.

In the first three months of next year, the president will have to make an inauguration speech and a State of the Union address and propose a budget. That will be the time when maximum pressure can be applied on the administration to propose real entitlement reform, which will expose the divisions within the Democratic party and be the first real step toward actually reducing the deficit.

Whether this plan will work depends on how much it moves public opinion. But it’s the best chance to avoid a loss on taxes, and it offers real hope of preventing irreparable damage to national security and getting a budget plan next year that will prevent national insolvency. The stakes are too big for Republicans not to try.

Missouri and Right to Work – Update

This morning we heard an interview of Tim Jones on radio station KSSZ, Fayette, Missouri. Jones was making a tour of the state promoting his agenda for the new legislative session.

Jones clarified his position a bit on right-to-work, reiterating that not all Republican legislators are “in the wheelbarrow” on the issue. He again cited the need for a strong Republican governor, which to us sounds like squishy Republicans hoping someone else takes the heat for a principled stand. He mentioned that Governor Nixon received half his campaign support from unions and the other half from trial lawyers. To us this clearly demonstrates what the two main agenda items should be:

  1. Right to Work
  2. Revision of the Missouri Plan

Jones then said that his agenda included Paycheck Protection, not Right to Work. Experts, he said, believe enacting Paycheck Protection legislation, so unions may not use workers’ dues for political purposes without their permission, is just as important as Right to Work. Let’s examine this. With Paycheck Protection forced unionization remains in place along with its deleterious economic effects. Unions have naturally found ways around the law. At best union dues may be reduced a bit. Nibbling at the edges and making marginal improvements will make the ultimate goal harder to achieve, as removing the worst aspects renders the remaining ones more tolerable. An honest fight for Right to Work would achieve much good even if it fails. It would keep a conservative issue in the public eye and ear and give Republicans an opportunity to express their philosophy.

Now why, inquiring minds ask, would a fight for Paycheck Protection have more Republican legislator support than Right to Work? Both would surely face intense political opposition. Could it be that the squishy Republicans are more concerned about choking off contributions to Democrats and thus securing their reelection chances than they are about the good of the state? And could it be that the voters of the state would see this as the Republican political class courageous about advancing its own political interests and craven about the interests of all? This is a recipe for political defeat. Have we learned nothing from the success of Democrats, who relentlessly promote their ideas, artfully concealed so they appear good and wholesome, until voters finally come around?

Further reading: Missouri News Horizon has posted several interesting articles on the right-to-work issue. John Fund wrote a brief summary of the issue state by state after Michigan for National Review. Charles Krauthammer wrote about Right to Work in historical and global context.

Addendum: The great Richard Epstein has released a clear-thinking article stating that since unions are industrial cartels serving no social purpose, right-to-work legislation should be pursued vigorously. Compromise is only beneficial if it serves to get us where we need to go.

Troglo                                                      Troglo

Missouri and Right to Work

In our opinion the very best way to get Missouri’s economy out of its doldrums is to make Missouri a Right-to-Work state. This would open up closed shops and would make Missouri less unattractive to businesses looking to move to a more business-friendly climate. The Associated Press reports in this evening’s Columbia Daily Tribune, based on interviews with Republican legislative leaders in Jefferson City, this rather outrageous piece of bad news:

Right-to-work considered unlikely in Missouri

Republicans have veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, yet refuse even to try to engage this critical issue. Instead they might “consider proposals dealing with prevailing wage requirements” or require unions to get workers’ permission to use dues for political purposes. The House and Senate cited the certain opposition of the Governor, who is close to the pocket of big labor, if not wholly in it.

We confess that our blood pressure did not do well upon reading this report. The Republican supermajority might consider diddling around the edges of the critical issue with prevailing wages. And then again they might not. The opposition of the Governor is not the determining reason. House Speaker Tim Jones, citing Michigan, claimed that we need the support of “a strong, conservative Republican governor who is willing to lead on that issue.” But the Michigan governor did not lead on the issue, which he said was not on his agenda. The Michigan legislature rose up and acted on its own – precisely what we expect of our legislature. Speaker Jones let the cat out of the bag when he confessed that  “some of his caucus members would face a difficult vote on a right-to-work measure.” Leadership, courage, and wisdom are what we expect our representatives to demonstrate. Instead we seem to have a number of pusillanimous politicos hiding under their desks, sacrificing the good of the state for the opportunity to further a political career that likely will soon be cut short by term limits anyway.

Forcing the issue, even were it to lose to the Governor’s veto pen, would accomplish several things.  It would force legislators out from under their desks to vote up or down. And those who vote down could then be held accountable the next election. The Governor claims to be independent – put him on the spot. It would bring the issue of Missouri’s very poor economic performance to the fore. The votes may be there in two years’ time. Compromises on side issues can make it harder to accomplish the main goal, because the marginal improvement gained permits many marginal supporters to switch sides, playing both sides against the middle they claim to represent.

We share the disgust Tea Partiers, libertarians, and others show for this kind of politics as usual. We are sick and tired of Republicans whose implicit campaign slogan is: Elect Me! I’m not as bad as my Democrat challenger.