Assorted Links 6/28/09

Three Worthwhile Health Care Videos

  • Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments, July 29, 2009
  • How California Became Ungovernable – “The fiscal effect of Proposition 13 itself is only part of the damage the initiative did to California. Even worse have been the methods Capitol politicians devised to try to lessen the measure’s financial impact.” What’s missing is any mention of the growth of special interests, including public employee unions.
  • The Albany-Trenton-Sacramento Disease – “President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It’s hard to miss the irony that he’s pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years — California, New Jersey and New York.

    A decade ago all three states were among America’s most prosperous. California was the unrivaled technology center of the globe. New York was its financial capital. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state in the nation after Connecticut and Massachusetts. All three are now suffering from devastating budget deficits as the bills for years of tax-and-spend governance come due.”

  • Degrees of employment – “A majority of college graduates 25 and under are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree–if they’re working at all–concludes a survey by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. … Going to community college to learn vocational skills is a good bet for young people who lack academic interests. The 20-year-old with the medical technology certificate is going to trump the 22-year-old with the degree in journalism or political science–and a pile of loans to pay off.”
  • Barack Obama vs. International Law – “By characterizing its demand that Israel prohibit Jews from building homes in Israel’s capital city and its heartland as a legal requirement, the Obama administration portrays Israel as an international outlaw. After all, if building homes for Jews is a crime, and Israel is not prohibiting Jews from building homes, then Israel is at best guilty of enabling a crime to take place, and at worst, it is a criminal state.

    The problem with the Obama administration’s characterization of a ban on Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as an Israeli legal obligation is that Israel has never taken upon itself a legal obligation to prohibit such building activities. Israel has never signed an agreement that has characterized any Jewish communities as ‘illegal.’

    Multiple news reports in recent days have indicated that the Obama administration is working to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian government that will include Hamas. US efforts to legitimize the incorporation of a terrorist group in a Palestinian government are a severe violation of US and international law. This is the case since it would clearly involve aiding a designated terrorist organization and helping to provide it with a safe haven.

    Obama, the former law professor, never tires of invoking international law. And yet, when one considers his policies toward Israel on the one hand, and his policies toward illegal terrorist organizations on the other, it is clear that Obama’s respect for international law is mere rhetoric.”
  • Michael Jackson – “One isolated case doesn’t prove anything, of course. But obviously his vegetarian diet didn’t make him immune to cardiac arrest, if that’s what killed him. And if he was abusing alcohol, a diet consisting of vegetarian foods that metabolize easily into blood sugar may have made him crave the stuff, as I talked about during my interview with Nora Gedgaudas.

    Meanwhile, cancer is virtually non-existent among hunter-gatherers. There’s a reason cancer, heart disease and Type II diabetes are called ‘The Diseases of Civilization.’ They barely show up in populations that still live on a primal diet.

    So the moral of the story is: don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, and don’t eat junk food. But a steak isn’t junk food. Biscuits are junk food.”
  • Grumpy Old Man: How did I become such a curmudgeon? – “What happens to middle-aged men to make them so irritable? It is almost as if there’s a hormone, a bit like testosterone, that is released into the bloodstream once we reach a certain age.
    . . .
    It must be something to do with becoming a stakeholder in society: Once men become fathers, we have a vested interest in preserving public order. Overnight, we go from being apathetic Bohemians to the Elite Republican Guard of the bourgeoisie. I used to be a party animal, but in the last five years I have become a trustee of a blindness charity, the patron of a residential community for adults with learning disabilities and the head of fund-raising on the PTA of my daughter’s primary school. It’s official: I’m a pillar of the community.
    . . .
    But the flipside is that I’m also about a hundred times more grumpy. Now that I’ve been press-ganged into joining the officer class, I won’t tolerate any bad behaviour in the lower ranks. I have all the Messianic zeal of a born-again non-smoker — and don’t even talk to me about smoking in front of my children. I’m Mr Angry. If I was allowed to issue tickets to people parking illegally on my street, I would.
    . . .
    Quick, give me some beta-blockers. I feel a heart-attack coming on.” ht 2Blowhards
  • Natural History Magazine’s Picks From the Past
  • The End of Transparency (Before It Ever Began) – “If legislation of this sort, which establishes the first-ever regulatory controls on the most ubiquitous byproduct of modern industrial society, imposes new efficiency requirements on all-manner of appliances and consumer products, could trigger the imposition of tariffs on foreign products (likely in violation of U.S. trade commitments), furthers the federal government’s environmentally destructive love affair with corn-based ethanol, contains numerous provisions drafted or urged by various special interest groups, and (at least in one version) contained provisions designed to create a national housing code, can be adopted by a House of Congress within hours of being written (let alone becoming public), then any claim of transparency in government is a farce.

    UPDATE: FWIW, the Waxman-Markey climate bill passed 219-212. Any guess how many of those 219 (or, for that matter, the 212) really know everything that is in the bill?

    SECOND UPDATE: As it turns out, there was not even a copy of the final bill language available in any form when the bill passed. Rather, as David Freddoso reports, the House Clerk had a copy of the 1090-page bill that emerged by committee and a copy of the 300-page set of amendments agreed upon at 3am Friday morning, and many provisions in the latter consist of the likes of ‘Page 15, beginning line 8, strike paragraph (11) . . .’ In other words, it is highly doubtful that more than a handful of member of Congress knew the contents of the legislation they voted on.”

  • The know-nothing party – “To become a citizen, immigrants must answer six of 10 basic civics questions, such as: Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? Who was the first president of the United States? When the Goldwater Institute asked Arizona public high school students 10 random questions from the citizenship list, only 3.5 percent got six or more questions right, writes Matthew Ladner in a preview on Jay Greene’s blog. Half the students got only one question right.”
  • Last Journey: A Father and Son in Wartime, a review by Anthony Swofford – “The elder Mr. Griffin and his son had been engaged in a decades-long debate that they called “The Great Conversation.” The senior Griffin guided his son’s reading when the boy was younger and then was led by the son as he grew older and hungrier for knowledge. The men decided that when Skip returned from Iraq after his second tour they would write a book together, based on their intellectual engagement. One father wants to take his son to a bar; another wants to write a book with his son. This fact alone is rather remarkable.” ht ALD
  • Youth Not Liking Catcher in the Rye – “The classic (1951) book of teenage angst, Catcher in the Rye, is about a young man, Holden Caulfield, who finds the world filled with phonies. Adults are shallow, hypocritical, insignificant. He seems to have Tourrette’s syndrome, as every other word is ‘goddam’. The New York Times reports current teens find the protagonist whiny, as opposed to ‘deep’. Perhaps reality television and more complex TV shows are paying off.”

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