Archive for April, 2012

The New York Post is reporting that the Department of Health is considering a ban on beer and booze specials in New York City bars and restaurants, and the proposal is apparently serious enough that one source quipped: “the alcohol lobby better find itself a good lawyer.”

While a spokesman for the Department of Health has denied “plans to pursue any policy around discount-alcohol sale,” a source reportedly told the Post: “It’s absolutely been discussed.”

The source continued: “It goes to show you the spirit with which they operate. Everyone is a child.”

The Post elaborates:

[Sources] said the anti-booze sentiment at the agency has reached a fever pitch, with officials recently asking state officials about the “legality of liquor in ice cream,” referring to potent products infused with bourbon, rum and tequila.

A prohibition on discounted drinks is solidly in line with [Commissioner Thomas Farley's] goals, which he outlined in his “Take Care New York 2012” report.

Farley said he aimed to “reduce risky alcohol use,” noting [that] alcohol-related hospitalizations in 2006 were roughly 209 per 100,000 people. His goal was to reduce this number to 170 per 100,000 by this year.

“DOH will advocate for policies that reduce access to alcohol by adolescents and for limits on sales practices in communities and campuses that promote drinking among adolescents and heavy drinking among adults,” the document reads.

Those familiar with the potential policy say Farley is proceeding with caution after his plan to reduce the “density” of alcohol outlets backfired, with Bloomberg apparently furious that he was never informed of the scheme.

Read more here.

The Telegraph is reporting that 20 Chirstian worshippers were murdered by terrorists during a church service in Nigeria:

Several small bombs, believed to have been fashioned from fizzy drinks cans, were thrown into a lecture hall that was being used for a Sunday morning service in Kano, a city that has been repeatedly attacked by Muslim radicals.

The explosions killed one person and injured many others. But as the crowd fled the lecture hall, gunmen waiting outside opened fire with automatic rifles.

Several dozen people who had been unable to enter the building, at Kano’s Bayero University, who were listening to the service outdoors were also targeted.

Within minutes, as many as 19 others were killed, and their bodies littered the campus grounds as the gunfire continued for up to half an hour more, witnesses said.

“I was inside and we were preparing for a prayer when there was the sound of motorbikes driving fast and then the first explosion,” one student worshipper, who gave her name only as Grace, said.

“Everything then happened very fast. There were more bombs, I think, and so many gunshots, there was too much noise and people were panicking.”

The attack started at 9.30am as several hundred people attended the church services, said Mohammed Suleiman, a history lecturer at the university.

“For over 30 minutes a series of bomb explosions and gun shots took over the old campus, around the academic blocks,” he said.

The attacks bear all the earmarks of a Boko Haram operation. This is the same outfit that murdered 44 Christians on Christmas Day in 2001 and an Easter attack that killed 41.

From the Secret Service to the Kardashians, everything was fair game at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner. But the featured item on the menu was dog … jokes — which figured, since Barack Obama’s old admission to eating dog as a child was just recently revived as a campaign sideshow. “Last week we learned that the president’s two favorite steaks are rib eye and seeing eye,” cracked comedian Jimmy Kimmel, the evening’s host. But even Kimmel got a taste that it’s tough to work a room better than the Obama himself. The president touched on Sarah Palin’s recent hosting of “Today” to segue into the night’s toughest line: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious.”

Does it make sense for the government to take taxes from the big majority of Americans who never managed to win college degrees in order to subsidize the pricey education of the fortunate few who get to attend top universities?

Why is it fair to increase burdens on stressed-out working families so the feds can reduce future interest payments on student loans for members of the elite?

Isn’t President Obama’s current push to spend a $6 billion on college-loan relief precisely the sort of rob-from-the-poor-to-give-to-the-rich outrage that any conscientious progressive ought to oppose?

These are questions that even Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans refuse to pose, as they retreat or temporize concerning the president’s shameless student-loan scam. The big duel in Congress concerns the best way to pay for continuing the subsidized loans, with no real debate about the wisdom of the subsidy itself.

Republicans and Democrats alike feel so intimidated by the brute political power of college students and their families that no one will point out it’s the beneficiaries themselves who ought to cough up the extra money. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that they do so when interest rates revert to their normal, pre-2007 level on July 1st—especially since those students aren’t obligated to begin making those interest payments or retiring their principal until they’ve completed their education or dropped out of school. In effect, our leaders suggest that future millionaire attorneys who graduate from Harvard Law School (as both Obama and Romney did) ought to get reduced payments on their student loans at the ultimate expense of all taxpayers—including janitors who toil away at the very Ivy League campus where the two presidential candidates once matriculated.

Read more here.

The Interview of the Year

Posted: April 29, 2012 by AKA John Galt in World Topics
Tags: , , , ,

One of the great differences between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives will freely admit that they have an ideology. We’re kind of dorks that way, squabbling over old texts like Dungeons and Dragons geeks, wearing ties with pictures of Adam Smith and Edmund Burke on them.

But mainstream liberals from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama — and the intellectuals and journalists who love them — often assert that they are simply dispassionate slaves to the facts; they are realists, pragmatists, empiricists. Liberals insist that they live right downtown in the “reality-based community,” and if only their Republican opponents weren’t so blinded by ideology and stupidity, then they could work with them.

This has been a theme of Obama’s presidency from the start. A couple of days before his inauguration,Obama proclaimed: “What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives — from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry” (an odd pronouncement, given that “bigoted” America had just elected its first black president).

In his inaugural address, he explained that “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”

Whether the president who had to learn, in his own words, that there’s “no such thing” as shovel-ready projects — after blowing billions of stimulus dollars on them — is truly focused on “what works” is a subject for another day. But the phrase is a perfect example of the way liberals speak in code when they want to make an ideological argument without conceding that that is what they are doing. They hide ideological claims in rhetorical Trojan horses, hoping to conquer terrain unearned by real debate.

Of course, Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats when it comes to reducing arguments to bumper stickers. (Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has written that “the president’s economic experiment has failed. It is time to get back to what we know works.”) But the vast majority of Republicans, Ryan included, will at least acknowledge their ideological first principles — free markets, limited government, property rights. Liberals are terribly reluctant to do likewise. Instead, they often speak in seemingly harmless cliches that they hope will penetrate our mental defenses.

Read more here.

Media personality Tavis Smiley and Princeton philosophy professor Cornel West have just published their latest contribution to American poverty propaganda, “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.”

The book should have a second subtitle: “How to Keep the Poor Poor and Blacks Enslaved to Government.” To the extent this book is taken seriously by anyone, the result will only be more entrenched poverty.

Smiley and West’s message is simple. America today consists of a few powerful, rapacious rich people and a lot of unfortunate, exploited poor people. The rich are rich because they are lucky. The poor are poor because they are unlucky. And the only way to solve the problem is for an activist government to manage the economy and redistribute wealth.

It’s as if the wealthy belong to a different species. The idea that “haves” might have been once “have-nots,” or that they did something to become “haves” that today’s “have-nots” might consider doing, never enters the equation.

Even if Smiley and West conceded that there might be some element of personal responsibility in how one’s life turns out, their portrait is of an America now so unfair that personal responsibility is irrelevant. There is no hope for anyone to rise, according to this book, without government boosting them using other people’s money.

A good candidate for one of the more outrageous distortions, in a book filled with them, is the first entry on their list of “Lies about poverty that America can no longer afford.” The No. 1 lie is: “Poverty is a character flaw.” No way, according to the authors, is there a chance that poverty has anything to do with one’s behavior. Rather, “The 150 million Americans in or near poverty are there as result of unemployment, war, the Great Recession, corporate greed, and income inequality.”

Given this insight — that there are 150 million poor Americans whose economic condition is the result of extenuating circumstances — it is no wonder Smiley and West never once mention what many scholars see as the major causes of poverty: poor education and family breakdown.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, unemployment for those without a high school diploma was 50 percent higher than it was for those with a high school diploma. It was almost three times higher than it was for those with a college degree.

Read more here.

If an award were given for dumbest comment about America’s illegal immigrant problem, the hands-down winner would be Dayanna Rebolledo. Herself an illegal immigrant, Rebolledo said upon being arrested at a protest in Atlanta in April 2011 that she had risked deportation because she was “tired of seeing undocumented youth being treated like second class citizens.” If Rebolledo were as logical as she is exercised over the nation’s rightful sovereign objection to people sneaking across our borders, she might have realized that you can’t be a second-class citizen without being a citizen—period.

Now Rebolledo’s crown is in jeopardy, thanks to the rise of a new immigrants’ rights advocacy group. It calls itself “Drop the I-Word” and its mission is to persuade Americans not to use the modifier illegal to refer to people on U.S. soil illegally. The organization claims the term is a “racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status.” They further claim that the term has “fueled violence” and suggests a host of other more polite (“more accurate” in the parlance of DtI-W) replacement terms. These include “undocumented immigrants,” “unauthorized immigrants,” and “NAFTA refugee.”

It’s hard to know where to begin with statements this loony. People willing to wade through a nasty soup teeming with fecal coliform, E. coli, and other pathogenic goodies are worried about dehumanizing words?

Maybe the DtI-W folks would prefer that the U.S. treat its immigrants to the south the way Mexico treats its own. In Mexico, the Reglamento de la Ley General de Poblacion (General Law on Population) makes it a felony to cross into the country illegally (whoops!—”without documentation”), and the penalties are far graver. Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The penalty includes up to two years in prison—up to 10 years for repeat offenders.

The main problem with DtI-W’s argument is that they don’t have one. A spokesperson for the group appeared on the O’Reilly Factor last night and had nothing to offer beyond the same vague and baseless feel-good claims enumerated two paragraphs up. She speaks at one point of changing “inhumane laws,” but there is nothing inhumane about calling a crime by its name. Not to mention the fact that linguistically neutering the crime of illegal immigration carries the risk that more people—if such a thing is possible—will begin making the journey through that fetid soup.