Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Healthcare

Ann Althouse condemns the incivility leveled at Rush Limbaugh in light of his recent hospitalization:
Rush Limbaugh has said on his show many times that once the government runs health care, there is a threat that life-or-death decisions will be made based on politics, and people will worry that if they criticize the government or espouse the wrong opinions decisions will go against them.
This topic is covered at length in Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. As I recall, the chapter "Who, Whom" discusses the incentives mismatch between those Who have administrative power and those on Whom they wield it. This is also why administrative law is such a problem.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Standing up for Keith Gladney *UPDATED*

A few days ago I noticed that Bob McCarty was getting to the bottom of the Keith Gladney firing. Keith is the brother of Kenneth Gladney, and Kenneth is the guy who was pushed to the ground and beaten at Russ Carnahan's Forum on Aging by a couple of Purple People Beaters. Anyway, here's what Bob McCarty writes:
Less than 48 hours before Christmas, Keith Gladney was fired from his job as a St. Louis County (Mo.) Animal Control Officer, according to a article published the same day. Why is his firing important? Because, as you’ll see in reviewing the points noted below, integrity of government is at stake
Bob made a sunshine request as part of his investigation and is now waiting for the results of that request.

As he concluded his Forum on Aging, Russ Carnahan "promised" to hold a townhall on manners (skip to about 5:55 in that video). Clearly, the people in Keith's chain-of-command should be sent to that Carnahan Courtesy Class. We find out who some of those people are when asks the obvious question: "Is Saint Louis County Retaliating Against The Gladney Family?":
Just one month ago, Keith spoke to KMOX reporter Kevin Killeen about the delay by the county in approaching his brother's case. Was this a clear case of retaliatory, Chicago-style politics?
The circumstances are very fishy. Gladney's supervisor was not there, but instead a South County Supervisor was brought in. The termination charges were never communicated to Mr. Gladney when they supposedly occurred, and the manner in which he was fired, and the reasons behind it would make many an employment lawyer clap their hands in glee.
Here's the KMOX report just mentioned: Charges filed in Carnahan health care forum fight (annoying audio after the jump):
His brother Keith, who has been acting as his spokesman, told KMOX the charges "should have been more serious." Keith Gladney also claims investigators failed to contact his brother Kenneth or interview the witnesses to his alleged beating during the three month investigation.
In early December, I joined several other St. Louis area conservatives on a visit to County Counselor Patricia Redington's office. We were there to express our concern that the charges brought against Kenneth Gladney's assailants did not measure up to the crimes perpetrated against him. I believe that our visit was unrelated to Keith Gladney's firing... I just wish I was certain of that.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit notes that has setup a trust to help the Gladney brothers meet short term expenses. Both are currently looking for work, so, if you have a job opportunity, please email and put "Gladney job" in the subject line.

The Future of Journalism

To misquote Kent Brockman, "And I, for one, welcome our new machine journalists":
The latest iteration of NewsScope “scans and automatically extracts critical pieces of information” from US corporate press releases, eliminating the “manual processes” that have traditionally kept so many financial journalists in gainful employment.

Saddling Middle America

Tyler Cowen wonders Why hasn't the Fed been targeting two or three percent inflation? and doesn't like the implications:
I also regard this as a somewhat gruesome hypothesis. It means that "Main Street" is paying for "Wall Street" (forgive me the use of those awful terms) in at least two ways: high unemployment and inability to earn much on one's savings.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Government Regulation

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic: TSA Fails to Intercept Terrorist; We Pay the Price:
I don't know what annoys me more: Janet Napolitano saying "the system worked" when what she means is "the system failed, but smart passengers proved that the system is unnecessary", or the moronic new rules the TSA is apparently putting into place in order to "prevent" future such occurances.
Solving airline security falls to two bureaucracies TSA and DHS. It does not surprise me that they swing at the airline security nail with the only hammer they've got: more government regulation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Inducing a Market Crash

Heather MacDonald's Post-Christmas economic vent:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently encapsulated one fallacy regarding for-profit activity prevalent among intellectual elites: “The point of insurance companies is not to provide health care but to make a profit,” he said, as if these were mutually exclusive goals. Sanders complained that for-profit insurance companies are too bureaucratic and, in a flight of fancy that would have seemed like a fringe conceit just a year ago, asserted that they require government to provide efficiency-inducing competition. The hilarious idea that government is less bureaucratic and more efficient than private sector companies will endure even if the seemingly nine-lived public option finally stays dead.
Insurance companies are profit seeking because they have a fiduciary responsibility to be profitable. Our legal tradition, of which Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) is a part in his capacity as a Senator, requires insurance companies to seek profits. Bernie can vote to change that if he likes. If he 59 other senators do vote that way, I expect we'll see a lot more short interest in insurance companies.

As for the absurd idea that government is less bureaucratic and more efficient than private companies: Medicare denies more claims than any private insurer.

Rising Expectations for Palin?

David Michael Green is really getting pissed off:
Like any good progressive, I've gone from admiration to hope to disappointment to anger when it comes to this president. Now I'm fast getting to rage.

How much rage? I find myself thinking that the thing I want most from the 2010 elections is for his party to get absolutely clobbered, even if that means a repeat of 1994. And that what I most want from 2012 is for him to be utterly humiliated, even if that means President Palin at the helm. That much rage.
The expectations of Sarah Palin have been so diminished that I believe she would pleasantly surprise quite a few on the left if she were elected President. Perhaps, David Michael Green's rage will provide him an opportunity to reconsider her more thoroughly.

In contrast to Palin, Barack Obama prides himself on being that guy everyone both admires and easily relates to. That works well when you're serving in the Illinois legislature and can vote present to avoid a tough vote. Executives don't have that option, so I expect Obama to continue to disappoint the left.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Protesters Get Results

Video from Iran shows protesters saving two men from the gallows. Doug Ross has the goods:
This just came over the wire on Twitter:
RT @ThinkIran New Video: Sirjan #Iran Protesters Free Two Being Hanged #IranElection {unreal}
Anti-government protesters are running wild in Iran. Some of the protesters were captured on video saving two men from hangings.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Pampered Progeny of the Privileged Strike Again

All Africa, via Gateway Pundit, reminds us of the role poverty played in yesterday's attempted airline bombing [emphasis added]:
The young man, who yesterday night attempted to ignite an explosive device aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan in the United States has been identified as Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old son of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, former First Bank chairman. Mutallab, a former minister and prominent banker recently retired from the bank’s board.
Well if it wasn't poverty then our recent airline terrorist, Abdulfarouk, must have lacked educational opportunities, right? Well, not so much [emphasis added]:
THISDAY checks reveal that the suspect, Abdulfarouk Umar Muttalab who is an engineering student at the University College, London had been noted for his extreme views on religion since his secondary school days at the British International School, Lome, Togo.

Al Franken, Sovereign Immunity, and Healthcare has noticed that Al Franken (D-MN) has wornout his welcome and started "to show the sharp-tongued side of his personality by ripping into GOP staffers behind the scenes." Franken's a little man on a vendetta against the opposition's underlings. Whatever.

I found other revelations of in that article more interesting. Franken believes (as do I) that victims of rape or sexual assault should be able to sue in court. He introduced a measure that would require defense contractors to recognize that:
[Franken's anti-rape] measure barred the government from doing business with contractors
that required employees to settle rape and sexual assault charges through arbitration instead of the courts.
Followers of this blog are aware that I want congress to waive sovereign immunity in the healthcare bill. My reasoning is the same as Franken's: someone denied coverage by a government bureaucracy should have the opportunity to argue their case in a court of law. This need is underscored by the fact that Medicare denies claims at a higher rate than do insurance companies. Will Franken push to waive sovereign immunity or will he condemn us all to a world of death panel arbitration?

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Eve Gift for Wall Street

AMERICAblog notices another investigation into Wall Street fleecing customers: "Let's face the facts here: Washington - Republicans and Democrats alike - is owned by Wall Street and will consistently act in Wall Streets best interest over the rest of us."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Interpol: Our New Police State

Government should exist to protect the freedoms of the individuals whom it serves.
— Sheriff Richard Mack Of Executive Orders and Trojan Horses [emphasis added]:
Yesterday, it was brought to my attention by Pierre Legrand that President Obama signed an Executive Order on December 17th that no one and I mean no one, reported on. Cue the crickets… As horrifying as the health care legislation is and I personally believe it is worthy of revolt, this Executive Order has the potential to be monstrous.
. . .
This now says that Interpol is no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Their premises or staff can no longer be searched either. Their files are not subject to legal subpoena or discovery. Our government could just hand documents and files over to Interpol and Americans would no longer have access to them. Interpol can legally keep files now on all citizens of the US with no right to redress.
Perhaps some comfort can be found in Article 1 Section 4 of Missouri's Constitution (Independence of Missouri) [emphasis added]:
Section 4. That Missouri is a free and independent state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States; that all proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States qualifying or affecting the individual liberties of the people or which in any wise may impair the right of local self-government belonging to the people of this state, should be submitted to conventions of the people.

Tea Parties vs Tea Parties

The WSJ on a meeting between Tea Parties and Tea Parties:
"I'm promoting tea parties -- just not that kind of tea party," says Bruce Richardson, who lives in Perryville, a village 45 miles southwest of here. For a living, he imports tea, publishes books about tea and teaches tea-brewing and tea-party proprieties.

Mr. Richardson wishes that tea-party politics were more polite, and also that tea could shake its rebellious associations.

Record Number of Journalist Deaths in 2009

Reuters reports that 2009 saw a record number of journalist deaths around the world. I thought this passage was particularly interesting:
"This has been a year of unprecedented devastation for the world's media, but the violence also confirms long-term trends," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Most victims were local reporters covering news in their own communities.

"The perpetrators assumed, based on precedent, that they would never be punished. Whether the killings are in Iraq or the Philippines, in Russia or Mexico, changing this assumption is the key to reducing the death toll," he said.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nebraska Gov. Heineman asks Ben Nelson to give back the Bribe

Nebraska Gov. Heineman asks Ben Nelson to return his bribe. The Governor in his own words: "Nebraska doesn't want a special deal. We only want a fair deal. We're embarassed by what's going on. We're very surprised. Nebraskans are angry and upset about what occurred. And so they need to set this straight."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Outraged at Ben Nelson

Michelle Malkin reports on a Nebraska doctor's message for Ben Nelson (D-NE):
You have sold the physicians of Nebraska for zilch (zilch for us, but beaucoup federal bucks for you and the liberal partisans in this state). As a family practice physician in Small Town, Nebraska, I was counting on you to be the lone voice of Democratic sanity on this issue, but you sold me out. I will dedicate every spare minute of my time and every spare dollar I have to defeating you, should you run for re-election.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Medicare's High Claim Denial

Medicare has a higher claim denial rate than private sector employers:
Democrats tell us that we need government health care so that sick Americans can get the care they need without being denied. But under the government health care we already have Americans are denied far more often than the private sector.
What's the problem? Those denied coverage under medicare can simply bring a wrongful denial of claim tort.... Oh, right, they lack standing because Medicare has sovereign immunity. As a result, someone denied coverage by Medicare will never have their day in court (unlike those whose claim was denied by an insurance provider).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Abortion Funding Still in Senate Bill

Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) government-run health plan still requires a monthly abortion fee: "Under Reid’s 'manager’s amendment,' there is no prohibition on abortion coverage in federally subsidized plans participating in the Exchange." Of course there's still money for abortions, the government gives money to abortion providers so that abortion providers will give money to Democrat campaigns. It's the lather, rinse, repeat cycle of Democrat public choice theory and when the final history of our era is written, it will show that many, many of those Democrat seats in Congress were bought with the blood of black babies (while African-Americans make up about 13% of the population they account for about 36% of abortions). That's why the gravy train to Planned Parenthood has to continue.

Rally in Omaha, NE, 3PM Sunday

Got a message from Americans for Prosperity. They're calling for a rally in Omaha, Nebraska, tomorrow to condemn Kleptocrat Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE):
Heads up and help! We will be trying to get as many people as we can to show up in Omaha tomorrow for a 3pm rally. Governor Mike Huckabee will be helping lead this rally.

Join Americans for Prosperity members from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska in a very important rally in Omaha tomorrow!

Sen. Ben Nelson says he has signed on as the last vote to pass the worst piece of legislation in our nation's history. He allowed himself to be bought off -- getting special treatment for Nebraska's Medicaid program at the expense of the rest of our nation's taxpayers. For the foreseeable future, under Nelson's deal, the rest of Americans would pay for Nebraskans' Medicaid on top of their already crushing tax burden.

We can't let this stand. This is corruption at its height.

Join Mike Huckabee and others for an emergency rally as we take a stand and tell Sen. Nelson one more time: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR HEALTH CARE! Don't be a sellout, Sen. Nelson - remember your constituents and don't pit them against the rest of America.


Americans for Prosperity will be providing two buses, one leaving from Topeka and the other from the Kansas City area free to all who want to let Senator Nelson know they are against government run health care! Get on a bus HERE to join this rally and tell Sen. Nelson, Majority Leader Reid and the rest of the Senate this is unacceptable.

3 p.m. Sunday Dec, 20

Omaha Music Hall
17th and Capitol

Please help give people a heads-up, especially in Western Missouri. I plan to leave very early in the morning to go to Shawnee. If anyone from the St Louis area is interested in riding along, let me know. I’ll keep you posted with other details.


Troops Arrive at Lambert USO

Cross Coverage:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tea Party: The Documentary Film

Tea Party: The Documentary Film follows the stories of several Tea Partiers as their lives are transformed to activism. It would make a great Christmas gift for Tea Party friends and family. The producer is offering a three for two sale through Monday 3PM EST. Here's some background from their website on the people featured in the movie:
  • Nate, a young black man from Detroit, Michigan, voted for Barack Obama in 2008 from an upbringing that taught him to mistrust America because of the color of his skin. As a Libertarian with a paradigm shift and a newfound understanding of the nation he loves, he is risking the anger of family and friends by joining the march against a President’s policies that would victimize the very people he loves the most.
  • Jack is a father of two young children, a little league baseball coach and a health insurance agent. He risks losing his job under current healthcare reform. He is a Democrat turned Constitutionalist and the younger brother of a Vietnam veteran who is marching for his children and the future of the America he believes in.
  • In 2008, Jenny Beth and her husband lost a multi-million dollar business, were forced into bankruptcy and home foreclosure. Nine months later, she is working as a national leader in the grassroots tea party movement, organizing events and taking her message to the steps of the National Mall with the company of millions behind her.
  • William is a patriot renaissance man, a pastor, colonial re-enactor, painter, poet, Vietnam veteran, former Pentagon and Secret Service employee and a man of the march. He can be outrageous and funny or somber and reflective, full of antics and unpredictability. He marched for the Vietnam Memorial during the Reagan Era and this time, his journey back to Washington, DC leads him to the front lines of the march down Pennsylvania Avenue on September 12.
  • Dr Fred Shessel is a doctor moved to action against a government threatening to undermine the doctor-patient relationship with suffocating beaucracy and increased taxpayer spending. After years practicing as a highly respected urologist, he is stepping out of the hospital corridors to lead an army of fellow physicians into the halls of power and corruption and fight for his patients on Capitol Hill.
  • Dave is a 20-something young professional studying to become a doctor. He spent time as a fashion model in Milan and beyond and is sick of big government and the apathy within his own generation. He is now moved to action in the tea party movement by a government gone too far.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Democrats Discover their Leadership Vacuum

John Aravosis on the leadership of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama: "We lost health care reform because we don't have a real leader anywhere in our party."

Why not? Everyone else is unemployed

Russ Carnahan (D-MO) voted to raise the debt limit $290 billion. Here's the reason he gave the AP: "The bottom line is, having the government shut down is not an option" Yeah, you wouldn't want to stop buying votes this close to an election.

The Democrat Gilded Age

Jay Cost at the HorseRaceBlog opines on the New Gilded Age: "The public has been known to vote against big business and big government. Somehow, this compromised bill manages to deliver both - big government and big business, joined together, with the little guy forced to participate."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

News from Wednesday

The Hill reports that the president thinks government 'will go bankrupt' without health reform: "'[I]f we don't do this, nobody argues with the fact that health care costs are going to consume the entire federal budget,' Obama told ABC's Charlie Gibson in an interview airing tonight."

Meanwhile, CBS News reports U.S. National Debt Tops Debt Limit: "The latest calculation of the National Debt as posted by the Treasury Department has - at least numerically - exceeded the statutory Debt Limit approved by Congress last February as part of the Recovery Act stimulus bill."

WordNet sheds some light on the meaning of bankrupt: "someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts."

Fortunately, by a vote of 218-214, the House sprinkled some pixie dust to magically increase that all important asset—the national debt-limit: "In an end-of-session nail-biter vote, the House passed a short-term increase of the debt limit Wednesday, which sets the stage for a February showdown on deficit spending."

Aspiring Tea Party Videographer's Christmas Wishlist

Here are some examples of how the St Louis Tea Party Coalition has used different kinds of audio and video equipment. We're building a nation of cameramen and you are the new Minuteman. So gear up!

Basic Audio

The red USB stick above is the simplest and least expensive way to get into the media gathering game. The Centon 2GB MP3 Player is also an MP3 recorder. It's powered by a AAA battery. While 2GB might not sound like a lot of memory, it's probably more than you need for recording. My experience with an older device like this, is that the battery dies before you fill the memory. I recorded five hours of the Quincy 9-12 Project in about 300M.

There's another reason for using an MP3 recorder: it turns you into a microphone for video cameras. It's pretty easy to use an MP3 recorder to conduct interviews. You'll need to coordinate with the videographer afterwards since they'll need a copy of your audio for post production. You may have already thought about wearing a concealed MP3 recorder, but, before you do that, check the laws in your state. Most states have one-party consent, but some require all parties to consent.

Basic Video

The Kodak Zi8 has gotten rave reviews. If you get one, you might want a spare battery. Heck, if you get any video camera, you should consider a spare battery. The Flip UltraHD also looks great, but.... One more before we get to the "but"... Sharp and Rob Brenner both use purple Sony Webbies. Why purple? I think Sharp's a trend setter. You'll want to know that he also uses a "Gorillapod" tripod.

Now the "but"... why spend that much for a small, fixed-focal length, video camera? Big Lots had a flip-like camera on sale last week for $28—pack a lunch for a week and you can by one of those with the money you save. You should consider a bargain store video camera. In fact, you might consider two.

If you've got two flip-like cameras, then you can interview someone with one camera pointed at them and one at yourself. You can conduct an interview at an event while your other camera is recording the event. You can pan the crowd with one camera and collect other B-roll footage while keeping the other on the speaker (toward the end of James O'Keefe's Tea Party speech... I recommend starting a little after 8:00.).

The last reason for getting two flip-like cameras is because they allow you to "live cut" for YouTube. If you're planning to post full coverage from an event, then you have to figure out how to shoe-horn it all into YouTube's ten minute time limit for videos. I've done that by shooting eight to ten minutes on camera #1 and the next eight to ten minutes on camera #2. You start recording on camera #2 before stopping camera #1. If you keep everything under ten minutes, then you can skip post production and just start uploading.

Live Video

Michelle Moore of is St Louis's live streaming goddess. Weather does not deter her (more). She's even got her own weekly Internet show. She usually uses a Logitech webcam with her EVDO equipped laptop; however, I saw her live stream a visit to the county counselor's office via her cellphone and

I also covered the visit to County Counselor Patricia Redington's office. The difference is easy to see: Michelle gets the scoop and the story out the door first; I get higher resolution video (1080i) and stereo sound. As of today, you really have to choose one or the other.

I'm not sure what kind of phone Michelle used, but I do know that Dana Loesch loves her Palm Pre and that it works with On the other hand, The Editor would encourage you to get an iPhone 3GS. My Treo 650 is not up to the task.

Expensive Video

I shoot my best video in 1080i with a Sony HDR-HC1. It's past it's prime, but still a good camera. If I had to replace it, I'd get a Sony HDR-CX500V. I've got a spare battery and the gun mic for my camera. The second battery proved critical at the Quincy 9-12 Project, since the batteries in my two flip-like cameras died.

I have mixed feelings about the gun mic. It helps reduce ambient sounds, but does not completely eliminating them. To get a sense of the sound difference, put on a pair of headphones and listen to 2:35 to 2:50 (with gun mic) from the meeting with Patricia Redington and then anything from 6:45 on (without the gun mic). I also used it while filming both Senator Claire McCaskill and her questioners at a townhall at Jefferson College.

For video of any significant length, you need a tripod. You want the tallest one you can afford, so you can get your camera up high enough to avoid any obstacles in your shot. The tripod above is six feet fully extended. I have been known to mount two cameras on one tripod; however, I only do that with flip-like cameras.

Advanced Audio

The MP3 recorder that I use is an older model of the Cowon iAUDIO 7 pictured above. The advantage that it has over the inexpensive model at the top of this post is a 1/8" line-in port. Most tea party events have some sort of sound setup which is routed through a mixing board. You just ask the guys running the board: "can I record off your master?" They've always said yes to me; however, I've sometimes needed to supply my own cables and adapters (pictured to the right of the iAUDIO 7). You shouldn't need all of those and, if you've got a drawer that you shove spare cables into, you should look through it before buying any of those.

There is an important downside to using audio off the master. It doesn't include the crowd reaction. The applause lines fall flat and the punch lines go by without notice. Still, it's nice to have if a camera battery dies earlier than you expected.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A few days ago Kasey Gannon tweeted: "The St. Louis Globe-Democrat is now live, check us out at" I'm glad to see competition for the PD and hope the Globe Democrat pioneers citizen journalism!

Monday, December 14, 2009

St Louis Holiday Tea Party: Full Video

St Louis "Letting Off Steam" Tea Party

On November 28th, conservative St. Louis activists held their "Letting Off Steam" Tea Party at Kiener Plaza. Saturday's rally featured numerous speakers who exhorted the crowd to continue the fight against big government, federally imposed healthcare, a raft of unaccountable czars, bailouts, and a Washington-created cap and tax scheme to benefit Wall St paper shufflers. The speakers praised states rights (10th amendment), liberty, and freedom encouraging attendees to take a more active role in their communities.

The playlist above includes the following seventeen videos:
  • Bill Hennessy led the pledge and offered the invocation at Saturday's rally
  • Laura Alter sang the National Anthem
  • Mike Carey of the American Council of Affordable and Reliable Energy spoke about the dangers of cap and trade and the importance of energy independence
  • Tina Ann read a poem that show wrote celebrating the Tea Party movement
  • Critical care nurse Stephanie Rubach (2nd video) spoke about the dangers the pending healthcare legislation
  • David McArthur of McArthur's Bakery spoke about our broken system of government in Washington
  • Bill Hennessy and Lyda Loudon talk about the Tea Party Youth
  • Jim Hoft, the Gateway Pundit, spoke about healthcare reform, cap and tax, various czar controversies, foreign relations, and the importance of continuing the fight for freedom and liberty
  • Jay Stewart (2nd video) wowed the crowd in his debut Tea Party speech hitting on all the issues: economics, capitalism, states rights, liberty, healthcare, cap & trade, and American exceptionalism
  • Marty Martinez warned us about creeping socialism with remarks about his time in communist Cuba
  • Dr. Gina Loudon (2nd video) talked about the accomplishments of the Tea Party and her own effort leading the Whole Foods buycott (more of my buycott reporting)
  • Dana Loesch (2nd video) addressed the importance of America and our unique role fighting for the advance of liberty (incorporates footage from KHorton. This is 4:3, not my usual 16:9. Color is way off between the two cameras and audio is out sync in my clips--sorry. )
  • James O'Keefe spoke to the Tea Party crowd about the importance of citizen journalism (incorporates footage from Rob Brenner)

Cross Coverage:


Tyler Cowen on FairTrade

Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen distills FairTrade: "'s mostly a marketing gimmick."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Greg Mankiw on Tax Cuts

In the New York Times, Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw suggests that tax cuts might accomplish what spending hasn't: "These studies point toward tax policy as the best fiscal tool to combat recession, particularly tax changes that influence incentives to invest, like an investment tax credit. Sending out lump-sum rebates, as was done in spring 2008, makes less sense, as it provides little impetus for spending or production."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Show Me State's Rights

State Senator Gary Nodler (R-MO) has prefiled SB587, a Senate Bill that creates a Tenth Amendment commission:
Upon approval of the voters at the August 2010 election, this act creates the "Tenth Amendment Commission." This commission will refer cases to the Attorney General when the federal government takes steps that require the state or a state officer to enact or enforce a provision of federal law that lies outside Congress's power and intrudes on the powers reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The attorney general is authorized to seek appropriate relief to preserve the state's sovereignty.

The Governor, President pro tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives appoint two members of the commission, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints one member of the commission. The seven members of the commission will each serve two year terms. The commission shall meet annually to elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson.
No word on whether or not anyone in the state house will introduce my term limit idea. The first step of that idea is to forbid Missouri's congressional delegation from serving consecutive terms. Surely someone in Jeff City will realize that by term limiting the people sent to DC, they are creating job opportunities for themselves. Heck, I'll even propose some text for the bill:
No one serving in the United States Congress may stand for election.

The Real Reason for the rise in Retail Sales (Updated)

I heard Rush dismissing the rise in retail sales for November. He mentioned that sales at gas stations were up 6% from October and 8.9% year-over-year. That represents the bulk of the 1.3% increase compared to October (1.9%, year-over-year) in the advanced monthly sales for retail and food services.

Then I remembered hearing that fewer people traveled by plane for the Thanksgiving Holiday [emphasis added]:
The number of travelers by automobile is expected to be 33.2 million in 2009 compared to 32.5 million last year; an increase of 2.1 percent. The number of travelers by air is expected be 2.3 million compared to 2.5 million in 2008; a decline of 6.7 percent. The number of those traveling by “other” means, including, trains, watercraft, buses and multiple-modes of transportation, is expected to be 2.9 million compared to 2.8 million last year, an increase of 1.2 percent, AAA said.
"Retail sales" are sales of goods. Air travel is a service. As travelers switch from planes to cars, a portion of their travel expenses moves from the service category to the retail category. In other words, increased sales at gasoline stations in November make the retail sales numbers look better. If sales at gasoline stations had been steady, then the retail sales in November would've shown about a 0.75% increase over October. That would've been inline with analyst expectation, since, as the Statesman explains, the 1.3% month-to-month increase was "more than double the increase economists had expected."

Update: I edited the above to make the language more precise.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Would Pascal Gamble on AGW?

I discovered via Don Boudreaux of Cafe Heyek, that Thomas Friedman has reformulated Pascal's Wager for the Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd: "If we prepare for climate change by building a clean-power economy, but climate change turns out to be a hoax, what would be the result? ... In short, as a country, we would be stronger, more innovative and more energy independent."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Warmlist

warmlist: "A complete list of things caused by global warming"

Why Congress Should be Rebooted

A recent Gallup poll exposes Congress's tarnished image: "For the first time in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics of Professions poll, a majority of Americans -- 55% -- say the honesty and ethical standards of "members of Congress" are low or very low -- slightly worse than "senators," whose ethics are rated low by 49%."

If I can just convince them all of my master plan—a new kind of term limit to prevent legislators from serving consecutive terms.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meeting with Patricia Redington

Visit to Patricia Redington's Office

On Monday morning Michelle Moore and myself (both from the St Louis Tea Party Coalition) joined representatives from My Conservative Group and Campaign for Liberty at the St Louis County Government Building in Clayton. We were there to deliver petitions to County Counselor Patricia Redington expressing the concern of many conservatives that the charges brought against Kenneth Gladney's and Kelly Owens's assailants did not measure up to the crimes perpetrated against them on the night of August 6th. Kelly Owens joined us for our trip to the counselor's office.

Redington and her staff refused to meet with us while our video cameras were rolling. We agreed to record a statement (from 3:23 to 6:42 in the video above) before proceeding into the county counselor's office. As requested, I did not film the meeting; however, I did record the reactions of the group in the hallway afterward (starting at about 6:42 above).

During our conversation with Redington, I asked when she had received Kenneth Gladney's medical records. I had read that his medical records had not been reviewed, yet I had heard on the radio that Redington's office had seen the records. She told me that she had received them with the police report. I was left with the impression that it is common practice for medical records to be submitted as evidence along with police reports.

I'd like to thank Patricia Redington for meeting with us. I'm sure it altered her day. I hope an eleven month old crawling around her office provided some levity on a Monday morning—I was carrying the baby while filming, so the video is shaky in parts. Obviously, I wish Redington had allowed us to record the meeting because it was a bit of a civics lesson. I think I have a better understanding of the differences between ordinance violations, misdemeanors, and felonies as a result of that conversation. I'm not sure Gladney's and Owens's assailants were properly charged, but I could be convinced.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Volunteering for Ed Martin

Ed Martin, GOP Candidate for MO-03

Over the weekend I spoke with Ed Martin at one of his Volunteer Meet-n-Greet events. Ed talked about the importance of volunteers to the success of his campaign and outlined several ways that people could get involved.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Public vs Obamacare

Jay Cost at the Horserace blog asks: Why Does the Public Oppose ObamaCare?
The impenetrability of these hyper-technical bills is a very important factor for this analysis. It means that voters must weigh their perceived costs and benefits under conditions of severe uncertainty. This point is going to affect every calculation they make.
Another problem for the bills is the Congress. It's heavy involvement has to be acknowledged as a cost, again because of the uncertainty inherent to the bills. RealClearPolitics currently shows congressional job approval at just 27%. That matters for these bills. If voters cannot evaluate the bills for themselves, they have to trust that Congress has written them well. Polls indicate clearly that most people do not trust Congress to do that. If they suspect that the bills are tailored to the special interests rather than their own, they have to factor congressional authorship into the analysis.

Kevin Jennings, HPV, and Throat Cancer

Gateway Pundit notes that "Safe" Schools Czar Kevin Jennings founded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). He has audio from a GLSEN conference in 2000 of a public employee asking fourteen year-olds about proper etiquette during oral sex.

Oral sex has been linked to an increase in throat cancer. HPV, the same virus that causes cervical cancer, can also cause oropharyngeal cancers. In 2007, FOXNews reported [emphasis added]:
[HPV] causes more oropharyngeal cancers than tobacco and alcohol use, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

"This is important because previously HPV was thought to be one of the risk factors for this type of cancer along with tobacco and alcohol use, and now we know that it is the leading cause of this type of cancer," said Dr. Aimee Kreimer, a professor at the National Cancer Institute and one of the study’s authors.
The CDC thinks tobacco and alcohol are more to blame: "Cancers of the head and neck are mostly caused by tobacco and alcohol, but recent studies show that about 25% of mouth and 35% of throat cancers may be linked to HPV." The National Cancer Institute seems to side with the researcher quoted by FOXNews above:
Researchers found that "the presence of an oral HPV 16 infection was strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancer." HPV 16 is one of the two strains of HPV most often associated with cervical cancer. Past exposure to HPV 16, as measured by presence of antibodies to the virus in serum samples, was also strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancer. Antibodies against HPV 16 were found in 64 percent of case patients but only 4 percent of control patients. Data collected on sexual history "suggest that oral HPV infection is sexually acquired…but we cannot rule out transmission through direct mouth-to-mouth contact or other means," said the authors.

A history of heavy tobacco and alcohol use remained a strong risk factor, but "combined exposure to HPV and heavy tobacco and alcohol use was not additive," they explained. "It is important for health care providers to know that people without the traditional risk factors of tobacco and alcohol use can nevertheless be at risk for oropharyngeal cancer," stated first author Dr. Gypsyamber D'Souza in an accompanying press release.
Let me get this straight. The schools are going to teach kids how to contract nasty diseases. Democrats are going to (try to) pass the public option so physicians will be compensated by the government for treating diseases that the government helped incubate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

St Louis Holiday Tea Party Highlights

KHorton has posted highlights from last weekend's Holiday Tea Party.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sunlighting Government Cyberstalking

If The Editor gets wind of this, he's going to need to hire more people for his Sunlight Tea Parties... EFF Wants To Know If the Feds Are Cyberstalking:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and UC Berkeley's Samuelson Center filed suit in California's Northern District, asking the court to force a number of government agencies to hand over any documents they have concerning the use of social networking sites as part of investigative procedures.

McArthur's Bakery supports Toys for Tots

McArthur's Bakery will give you a dozen cookies if you donate a new toy at any of their three locations (South County, Kirkwood, and Chesterfield). Most businesses participating in Toys for Tots only collect toys through 12/14, but McArthur's will continue collecting toys up to Christmas in case anybody misses the 12/14 deadline. Dave said he would see to it that any toys collected after the deadline still find their way to the children.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Revisiting Russ Carnahan's Forum on Aging

"Stage Right" at Big Government continues their expose on the Kenneth Gladney beating:
So, how did McCulloch do in executing his duties in the Gladney case? McCulloch handed the case over to county counselor Patricia Redington and washed his hands from that point on. It is interesting that McCulloch moved so quickly in using intimidation tactics by wielding the power of his office and the threat of legal ramifications for any negative advertising that may have suggested that candidate Obama might not actually lower taxes on everyone making $250,000 per year (have you gotten your tax cut yet?) but he passed the buck when it came to this case.
I sorta attended the Russ Carnahan townhall where Kenneth was assaulted. It would be more accurate to say "my cameras were there." Thanks go to Patch for running those cameras. Looking back through my posts, I don't think that I ever posted the playlist for that townhall—it's been on YouTube since August 8th, I just can't find a post with the complete coverage. Here it is (WARNING: this was in a school gym so it sounds like bedlam at times):

If you watch only one clip, go to the last video in the playlist and skip ahead to about 5:55. You'll get to hear Russ Carnahan say: "...and those of you who aren't serious, I'm going to invite you to our next townhall on manners." No word on when that one's scheduled.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trombonist in Kiener Plaza

After the St Louis Holiday Tea Party I saw this guy playing trombone in Kiener Plaza. He served in the marines in Vietnam. There are three videos of him in the playlist above. The first is a military medley. The second is taps played for "the 58,000 that didn't make it back from Vietnam." And the last one is his very own Million Dollar Blues.