Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All of the Above, Including Coal, Makes the Most Sense

If you follow closely the recent rounds of regulations introduced by the EPA, then Utility MACT is high on your radar to watch.
Recently, Senator Inhofe (R – OK) introduced a continuing resolution for review of the EPA Utility MACT in order to stop yet another redundant regulation as the main reason the EPA says this is necessary is already covered under the existing mercury rule.
So, if it is already covered why would they introduce this legislation? That’s a good question.
As with many other laws in Congress, there are other items in the Utility MACT other than Mercury that will affect not only West Virginia but also virtually every state and its citizens.
Utility MACT ensures that all new electric generation be limited to natural gas. Although that might be great for Marcellus Shale and oil and gas exploration, that is a dangerous proposition to put all of our electric source in one basket.
As much as natural gas is inexpensive today, as the dependence on one source disproportionality goes in one direction, so does its price – up.
Not only will utility rates go up, but with the limitation on coal, and the regressive taxes associated with it also will come closure of Coal Power Plants, such as the John Amos Power Plant in West Virginia.
Closure of Coal Power Plants mean loss of coal jobs and shutting down of coal mines, which in turn has tens of thousands of jobs just in WV,  not to mention Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania not only mining the coal but the multiple industries and businesses that support the coal industry.

The ramifications of the Utility MACT are endless as the snow ball continues to roll down hill and get larger and larger so will the utility prices and job losses if it is not repealed.
If we want to see the Utility MACT go away, one thing we can do is contact Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and ask him to continue supporting its repeal but also that he reminds his colleagues in the Senate that many of their electric power is originated in WV and everyone will be impacted, not just WV.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time to Eliminate the Internal Revenue Service

Nixon used it against his enemies. It currently targets Tea Party groups and apparently cannot keep conservative tax returns private.

The Internal Revenue Service has too much power over the lives of individuals, businesses, and non-profits. It can interpret laws selectively, subjectively, or not at all depending on who they want to go after.

But there is a simple remedy, one that I have kind of resisted in the past. That is to eliminate revenue based taxation entirely and replace it with consumption taxes. This would take a very specific constitutional amendment that wiped away old taxes and set strict limits on new ones.

Consumption based taxation is much less subjective. It does not require sifting through complicated rules and regulations. The federal government can charge x% on every item purchased. No need for audits or selective enforcement on educational non profits.

It is quite obvious that government cannot be trusted with many of the vast powers that it has assumed. Take the IRS off the list of agencies that can ruin our lives and harass us. Go to consumption based taxation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

House of Representatives Fights Indefinite Detention Provisions

The National Defense Authorization Act has returned to the halls of public debate. Some House Republicans seek to amend away powers that enable the executive branch and the military to possibly indefinitely detain US citizens.

Historical and legal precedent are quite clear on the topic of indefinite detention of citizens. British law, from which American law derives its basic principles, placed suspension of habeas corpus (tantamount to indefinite detention) into the hands of the legislative branch. This followed many decades of kings arbitrarily jailing their political opposition, or extortion victims.

The problematic example is the Civil War. At its beginning, Abraham Lincoln unilaterally and illegally suspended the writ of habeas corpus and was slapped down by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for doing so. Confederate combatants, however, upon capture were held until war's end.

Additionally, at the request of the state of California and against his intelligence team of J. Edgar Hoover and William Donovan, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the indefinite detention of Japanese-America citizens during World War II.

Obama admitted that he signed the bill with reservations, but faced severe criticism from the Left. Forbes magazine quoted Mother Jones and the ACLU in the following:

“Obama’s signing statement seems to suggest he already believe he has the authority to indefinitely detain Americans—he just never intends to use it,” Adam Serwer writes at Mother Jones. “Left unsaid, perhaps deliberately, is the distinction that has dominated the debate over the defense bill: the difference between detaining an American captured domestically or abroad. This is why ACLU Director Anthony Romero released a statement shortly after Obama’s arguing the authority in the defense bill could “be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.”

The NDAA Makes the Status Quo Worse

Glenn Greenwald makes a compelling case that the law gives the government truly frightening powers. He notes that section 1022 exempts US citizens from the requirement of military detention but still leaves the option open to the state.

“The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the“requirement” of military detention,” Greenwald writes. “For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optional. This section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.”

Terrorism is a threat to American security, this is true. But not as threatening as the Japanese or the Confederacy. As the country moves into its second decade since 9/11, there is little justification for these provisions. In fact, they are legally void since they contradict the Constitution’s stance on habeas corpus.

If there is an emergency, Congress can come together quickly and suspend the writ if needed. For now, it needs to eliminate these troublesome phrases from federal law.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Nail In the Coffin, Driven In By Hillary Clinton

The Secretary of State's excellent adventure in Colombia is an internet hit. It even outshines Obama making a foolish comment about vacations on the heels of being unable to answer questions about his vacations.

Pictures of her dancing, chugging beer on a couch, and generally feeling very tipsy have flooded the internet, reminding Americans that no responsible adult is minding the store.

Hillary was supposed to be the responsible one!

Why can't she cut loose? Why can't she party? Because her image is our image. We yearn for the days of taciturn statesmen and women taken seriously on the world stage. Now we have ham handed fools churning out one liners and getting plastered. Even the Praetorian Guard gets to chase hookers.

After hours, according to the practice of Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Prince Otto von Bismarck, and others is when the real diplomacy takes place. Intimate discussions over wine, or whatever, that cut to the heart of issues and lay the groundwork for the official sessions, that is what you do at night. You don't send the old woman to the bar to get her liquored up in public.

We are officially the laughing stock of the world.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gregory Kane Declares Baltimore Unsafe For White Tourists

A courthouse should occupy a certain place in the public mind. A place of safety and sanctuary where a person can expect the protection of the rule of law.

Very rarely is this violated. Most West Virginians are aware of the assassination of Sid "Two Gun" Hatfield on the Mingo County Courthouse steps many decades ago. Last month, a tourist visiting Baltimore found himself severely assaulted and humiliated almost on the steps of the court house. Here is the videotape:

Washington Examiner columnist Gregory Kane, a Baltimore native, flat out declared this morning that white tourists should avoid Baltimore. (Kane is black.)

Kane goes on to imply that there is a pattern of black mob violence on white individuals that has failed to excite a community response. And there have been no arrests.

He says:

There, I've said it. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won't be happy with that assessment. Nor, probably, will Baltimore City Council President Bernard Young and other elected officials.

But I'm not the one they have to sell on how safe Baltimore is for white tourists. That poor white guy in the now-notorious video that's gone viral is.

His name isn't known. Police have only identified him as a tourist from Arlington. According to news reports based on what the man told Baltimore police, he had left a downtown nightclub after drinking and found himself standing in front of the Mitchell Courthouse.

There's a certain, cruel irony in the site of this incident. The courthouse is named after Clarence Mitchell Jr., a Baltimore civil rights icon who was very influential in the civil rights movement. His work as an NAACP lobbyist on civil rights legislation earned him the nickname "the 101st Senator."

Mitchell was one of the most dignified people who ever lived. The white tourist who found himself in front of Mitchell Courthouse in the early hours of March 18 soon found himself surrounded by a most undignified group of black people.

I have a saying about my hometown: Baltimore is a place where 90 percent of the population is in bed by 11 p.m., but the remaining 10 percent who aren't, you wish the hell were...

Any second now, you know that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Benjamin Todd Jealous will descend on Baltimore demanding "justice" for this white tourist, right?

Just kidding. I live in this city, and I haven't seen this trio yet. I'm especially disappointed that I haven't heard from Jealous, since the NAACP's national headquarters are located right here in Baltimore.

Jealous managed to make his way down to Sanford, Fla., to protest the lack of charges against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin slaying. He has yet to make the 20-minute drive from NAACP national headquarters down to the site of where the tourist was attacked.

Remember, it was in front of the Mitchell Courthouse, named for an NAACP giant. You'd think Jealous would be incensed that the tourist's attackers so callously shamed the name of Clarence Mitchell Jr., if not about the attack itself.

Jealous talked long and loud about racial profiling in the Trayvon Martin case. But wasn't this poor tourist racially profiled? Was he not singled out, beaten, robbed, humiliated and degraded because of his race?

And he wasn't the first one. There have been several incidents of black hoodlums victimizing white tourists in downtown Baltimore. They just haven't received the news coverage Trayvon Martin's killing has. I wonder why that is?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oprah Winfrey Versus Liberal Attacks on Ann Romney

According to Oprah Winfrey's blog "Life Lift" stay at home moms are worth quite a bit. She cited a study that measured the total hours per week worked by a mother at over 100. It estimated that a mother's economic worth was a little over $115,000 per year. Not bad. Obviously that figure rises with the number of children that a mother might have to take care of.

Don't tell Obama associate and liberal blogger Hillary Rosen that.

Just as Obama's campaign struggles to paint the Republican Party as anti-women. Just as Mitt Romney struggles to forge connections with average Americans. The liberals gave Romney a gift.

Rosen wrote a blog post that slammed Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt and mother of five boys, as "having never worked a day in her life."

When confronted, Rosen backtracked (read it here ) but refused to apologize to Romney.

Ann Romney responded by saying on Fox News, "My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make." Then she added, "And by the way, let me give a shout-out to all the dads that are at home raising kids."

Just as George W. Bush softened his roughneck cowboy image with his gracious wife Laura, Mitt Romney's wife will also bring their own family story into the light.

Maybe Americans can't identify with a CEO turned governor. But they do understand that mothers still face challenges, no matter how rich or poor.

Hillary Rosen just introduced Ann Romney, mother of five, to the media and to the American public. And that will not harm the Romney campaign in any way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Heck Of A Ride

Rick Santorum gave it a heck of a go. And as of yesterday, it went.

Few gave Santorum a shot, mainly because he lost his US Senate seat by double-digit numbers. Then came one of the most remarkable primary campaigns in history, more reminiscent of Agatha Christe's And Then There Were None . . . than an election. You had Romney and the anti-Romneys. Fortunately for the now certain nominee, the anti-Romneys one by one made us forget why we didn't like Romney in the first place.

Santorum had tremendous energy, an amazing amount of fight, and a strong fixation on principles. Unfortunately for Santorum, he forgot what this election was about. He found himself led into talking about contraception, pornography, and many other issues that are not at the core of this cycle's concerns.

Americans want to hear how they will be getting back to work, paying less for gas, and how we will pay off the debt without taxing the population to poverty. Porn? Not so big of an issue this year.

Only Newt Gingrich's diversion into discussing moon bases served as a better example of why it is bad to get off focus. (And I happen to think that private moon bases are a good idea.)

Although (and Santorum supporters, please don't shoot me) I grew less and less enamored over Santorum as a candidate, I respected him more and more as an individual. He will make an outstanding leader of some socially conservative organization, a great advocate for traditional values. And that will be his forte more so than being president because it is obviously his passion.

Those who worked for him should look back at their efforts with pride. Who would have foreseen this improbable run a year ago?

Now it is time to get behind the nominee and get the Incompetent One out of the White House

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

They Are Making Sports Fun Again

Last fall it was Tim Tebow. His optimism, hard work, and gregarious Christianity made him beloved among some fans and despised by others.

Then Jeremy Lin captivated New York City by stepping in for an injury plagued New York Knicks franchise to carry it during a key run early in the season. His Harvard education, positive attitude, and strong Christian faith won him a sudden army of fans and endless band puns on his name.

Now meet Bubba Watson. He just won the most prestigious tournament in golf, at least this side of the British Open. And he reminds you more of a year round resident of Augusta, rather than a member of the PGA traveling road show. He is unassuming, plays for fun instead of profit, is unabashedly Christian, and completely irreverent.

In other words, the anti-Tiger.

Watson, like Phil Mickelson, is completely fan friendly. Unlike Mickelson, he has a strong charisma that will build a good following if he continues to win. These guys together are good for golf in that they make the game more accessible and appealing to the fans in a way that Tiger Woods never could.

Woods was once as consistent as a machine, and almost as friendly. It was hard to really root for him because he radiated so little warmth, like pulling for the drill against John Henry.

Watson and Mickelson are making golf fun again. Friendly with fans, men of good character, these are people that can bring people back to the game.

And these guys, as well as Tebow and Lin, remind us that good people sometimes do finish first.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How the Obama Administration Once Again Gets Marbury v. MadisonWrong

A quick read of Attorney General Eric Holder's statement to the 5th Circuit once again shows that the nation's most influential lawyers fail to understand Marbury v. Madison (1803)

He asserts that the United States Supreme Court cannot overturn duly passed legislation unless there is a very clear violation of a specific constitutional principle. Marbury is one of the cases cited within the document.

Marbury itself, however, is based upon a constitutional interpretation more than a clear violation. Chief Justice Marshall interpreted a clause in the Judiciary Act of 1789 to be unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction in cases of writs of mandamus (orders to government officials to do their job.) Marshall saw no specific phrase in the Constitution that would have permitted that. He reasoned that Congress committed an overreach.

The Commerce Clause simply says this: that Congress has the power to "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" It was meant to keep states from erecting trade barriers against each other.

So Holder includes Marbury among his citations, even though it establishes an interpretational, not absolute, basis for judicial review and a strict construction of the original seven articles.

The attorney general's response has left the courts no room to support him, now that his statement is on the record. To preserve their judicial review authority, federal judges need to strike down the law in question. In this case, I mean the 5th Circuit (which they likely will.) By extension, this includes the Supreme Court.

Marshall's interpretation in Marbury was made in part to prevent the judicial branch from becoming subordinate to the executive. The Roberts Court may have to assert itself similarly until Obama is gone.

Is the Stop Online Piracy Act Back Under a New Name?

Ty Clifford of the new Journal Five blog in the above story reports on the re-emergence of the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as SOPA. An internet campaign killed it last year. Could it, like an unwanted weed, be popping back up again this spring under a new name?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

B*******t Article I Have Ever Seen: Hats Off to Samantha Brick

You may or may not agree that she is stunning. She is definitely much prettier than average.

And apparently the world now hates her.

The Daily Mail (Great Britain, not Charleston) posted a story the other day written by Samantha Brick. In the story, she candidly discussed her social problems related to being considered attractive at her age.

Of course such a display of honesty has inspired thousands of angry, hateful, and indignant responses from anonymous readers.

Really, how dare a pretty woman say that she is gorgeous and that it causes her female friends to hide their husbands. She may have too high of an opinion of herself, or maybe not. In any case, people definitely have a perception that she is very attractive or she wouldn't have written the piece.

Fact is that this is one of the ballsiest op-eds I have ever read, pardon the expression. It is inevitable that this will attract hatred. Frankly, it seems that people care more about her sassy blonde mug than the fact that the British are about to impose a sophisticated digital spy program on the public.

Sure, Big Brother is on his way, Great Britain, but let's complain about the uppity cute chick.

This was not written tongue in cheek either. It's not often that you see someone personally put themselves out there to be smacked around by their reading public.

It's John Marshall's Fault!

Barack Obama has found a new enemy is his war on, well, anything that seeks to check his power.

This time, his foe is the United States Supreme Court . . . of 1803.

Several recent statements from the president seem to indicate that he does not accept that the high court has the legal authority to find laws unconstitutional. All constitutional scholars, save Obama, agree that the Court assumed this power in the decision Marbury v. Madison.

In that case, the John Marshall Court ruled unanimously that it could find federal laws unconstitutional. Some years later, it assumed that power over state lawmakers as well. This authority was traditional in English law.

This decision formed the basis for first, the equality of state and federal power, but later, the central authority's dominance. In other words, without this power to strike laws down as unconstitutional, the federal government would never have prevailed in its struggle with states over who had preeminent authority.

The Supreme Court has to strike a balancing act at times. When it's decisions are popular, it is seen as a bulwark against popular passions. Its opponents usually complain that it is undemocratic. Obama complains that it is about to strike down a duly passed law by Congress (which everybody knows was spanked by an angry electorate in the subsequent election.) In the 1950s, it invalidated duly passed laws by state legislatures that kept blacks and whites in separate schools.

Obama seems to have completely lost his moorings. His assertion that the Supreme Court cannot invalidate his law caused the 5th Circuit of the federal court to take the unusual step of asking the Justice Department if Obama was denying the power of judicial review.

It is in the president's power to cause a constitutional crisis, by simply ignoring the ruling of the Court. Andrew Jackson did so in the 1830s when he seized Cherokee land. Abraham Lincoln ignored a judicial order out of fear that Maryland might rebel against the Union.

No other president has done so. Franklin Roosevelt came close, but incurred public wrath as a result.

These are the death rattles of a rapidly discombobulating presidency.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's Just Good Capitalism

Huffington Post bloggers lost their multi-million dollar lawsuit last week against AOL Inc.

AOL paid out hundreds of millions to Post founder Arianna Huffington. She declined to share any proceeds with her writers, who contributed for free. AOL Inc. also offered no money.

Huffington and AOL Inc. played this like good capitalists. Huffington created and shaped a market for left wing news and analysis. She brought in writers whose content helped to build her blog into one of the most prominent and respected outlets in the media world. The Post was a model for other online entities looking at ways to monetize news. runs in a similar fashion on the right.

The Huffington Post gave those writers exposure to a broad market, but never promised compensation. Its business model allowed for the founders to make scads of money using writers willing to put out a few hundred words for the experience and exposure alone. This is why traditional print is dying out!

All of this was very clear. So why the outrage among writers?

They are liberals and leftists and do not understand the business model. This lawsuit comes from hurt feelings more than anything else. Huffington sold them a left wing bill of goods. Her Post was to be a bastion of anti-free market intellectuals who would rail against corporate greed. They believed the hype and the hypocrite.

Huffington had no legal reason to share anything, however, she exposed herself and her former publication to charges of at least moral double-dealing. She fought the free market system, then profited immensely off of that fight. Her writers had no right to expect compensation, though. This blemish goes on her Machiavellianism and their naivete.

Conservatives can wake up with a clean conscience because they are honest in this sense. There is an understanding that a business exists to make a profit that will reward its investors and owners, as well as anyone else directly employed. A conservative writer, if he felt like he deserved to be paid for his work, would go out and find someone willing to pay. He or she would not gnash their teeth when they did not get a handout.

The Huffington Post will not suffer for this. They have built a strong reputation as a reliable news outlet. Their credentials as good leftists, however, are gone forever.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Judge Rules That States Cannot Ban Guns During Periods of Emergency

In yet another ruling that emphasizes that the Constitution still exists during a time of emergency, a federal court struck down city actions against gun owners during a winter storm in 2010.

During that period the city of King, North Carolina announced, as was allowed by state law, that carrying a gun outside of one's home was illegal. Two residents sued in federal court and won. The court did stop short of ruling the law unconstitutional, however.

Emergencies, as we saw in New Orleans, are when individuals are most vulnerable. The state cannot protect everyone, especially when services and infrastructure break down. People need to be safe everywhere, not just within their walls. If outlaws know that police are unable to respond and that people cannot carry guns, they will be more brazen in their violence.

The federal court should have struck down the statute completely. Our Constitution does not have any general provision for states of emergency, only invasion or rebellion. There is a reason for that

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Rebuttal to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard . . .

I read the Weekly Standard very regularly. I enjoy and, usually, agree with its well-thought out long form articles. They go deeper than your average news piece and provoke thought.

Last Thursday, writer Fred Barnes published a piece entitled "Car Wars," which mainly featured responses from General Motors against the "Conservative media community." All the while, it insisted that General Motors was run by good conservatives, that the government never interfered, and that the Volt was the most awesome piece of engineering since the Space Shuttle.


In March, I wrote a story for in which I described some of the safety concerns with the Volt, not just the battery fires, but also the design itself. Fire fighters need specialized training to deactivate the battery before cutting into the vehicle. Although the gist of the story made it to The Blaze, the Washington Free Beacon, and elsewhere, it was not cited directly by Barnes.

However, I am part of the conservative media community that the piece disparaged, and I feel compelled to respond. I am sure that Fred Barnes, who I do admire as a writer and a thinker, does not read the Potomac Highlands Conservative, though.

Maybe someone would like to pass this along.

Barnes makes mistakes because he transmits the General Motors line on a number of subjects. First of all, he states that GM faced three choices: immediate bailout, crippling bankruptcy, or complete collapse. Private capital was simply not available to rescue the ailing company as a whole.

I buy that, if these are the only alternatives, then this is true. But this limited set of choices represents a failure of imagination. Ask a loyal GM customer where his or her loyalty lies. They will usually answer "Chevrolet," "Cadillac," "Pontiac," etc. Almost never GM. Customers on an intellectual level know that they are purchasing a GM, but they love their Chevy truck.

In the book Crisis of the Corporation and many other works, experts have demonstrated how General Motors in the 1970s and 80s undermined the identity of its brands and damaged its own marketshare. It saw itself as the king producer of cars and saw little reason to respond to consumer demand shifts.

Even worse, it turned to producing essentially the same set of several cars, Chevrolet vehicles getting the cheapest features, Cadillac the most expensive. I could even see that as a child when they did it in the 1980s. I told my parents that they should buy a Chevrolet and stick a Cadillac emblem on the front hood and no one would know the difference.

General Motors' very size has made it a stumbling elephant. A free market solution rarely mentioned would have been division. The most popular brands could hive off. Chevrolet and Pontiac could form one company, Buick and Cadillac another, maybe GMC Trucks a third. Sorry Oldsmobile. You wouldn't even get to survive in a what if, scenario. No loan could have saved GM, but a smaller private sector package could have helped a streamlined, stand alone Chevrolet.

Imagine the competitive dynamism that would have pushed the market worldwide. Imagine freeing Chevy and Pontiac from the shackles of GM to produce innovative and cutting edge cars.

General Motors has been too big for a long time. And it still is, thanks to the government.

That brings us to the Volt.

Maybe Fred Barnes is right. Maybe the federal government did not interfere a bit in the operation of General Motors. He also suggests that the federal safety inspectors ran the tests wrong on the Volt and that started the fire.

Even if all that is true, it leaves us with the bald faced fact that the government owned a large part of a car company. It has no incentive to enforce safety standards on a vehicle that it wants people to purchase. Government should be the referee in the private sector, an impartial enforcer of the rules. What if the opposing coach ended up being the referee? The perception of misconduct and unfairness is enough. And the government did enforce the same rules differently between General Motors and Toyota.

But the perception alone is enough to not allow government ownership of private enterprise. It is the most basic of conflicts of interest.

General Motors also complained because the "conservative media community" criticized and condemned their association with the government.

Sorry GM. It is a new day. Conservatives are increasingly skeptical of combining government and private power. And the media must do its due diligence no matter who the target is. As far as I am concerned, I don't care if my story killed the Chevy Volt. It hopefully reached the eyes of some fireman who had not yet heard about the dangerous design of that vehicle.

Conservative media outlets did right by their readers here. They did not merely accept that whatever was good for this business was good for everybody. They did their jobs. And if that upsets GM, then too bad.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Obamacare, Romneycare, Commerce Clause, Takings Clause

According to analysts and sources, it looks as if Obamacare's individual mandate will certainly fall. Tough questions from Justice Kennedy and even Sotomayor makes it clear that moderates and liberals have severe concerns with the government's case argued mainly by Donald Virrilli.

Virrilli claimed, in essence, that those without health insurance should be covered under the Commerce Clause that allows Congress to set regulations. Their non-action depresses the market and makes them part of it.

Astounded justices savaged that claim, rightfully fearing that it could apply to many different situations.

The main debate seems to be whether or not the loss of the mandate means that the Court should invalidate the entire act. Conservative justices posed the thought that Congress would never have passed the rest of the act without the mandate. It is not the Court's job to read the mind of the legislative. Much as it pains me to say this, from a strict Constitutional standpoint, they probably should not invalidate the whole act. That would infringe upon the legislative prerogative.

I won't cry too many tears if they do, but I fear judicial creeping into the legislative arena as much as I fear overuse of the Commerce Clause.

The Court should spend some time looking at the Commerce Clause. Since the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, it has been very liberally interpreted. According to Vanderbilt University law professor James W. Ely in The Guardian of Every Other Right, the commerce clause was meant to help Congress maintain free trade among the states, not restrict it. While some cases, such as National League of Cities v. Usery (1976) have nibbled away at it, no Court has taken the opportunity to establish a perimeter fence around the clause.

Currently, the clause is used to justify a wide scope of federal action. Should the Court decide to restrict it to its interpretation prior to the 1960s, meaning that Congress cannot regulate everything that moves, this could bring huge changes to American law.

It will impact the Environmental Protection Agency's legal basis for action in many cases. The EPA relies heavily on legislation that uses the Commerce Clause as part of its foundation. Restricting its legal scope of action can head off many of the anti-industry interpretations that it has lately made.

The war on drugs would change. While intoxicants that require production might continue to fall under federal jurisdiction, those that simply spring from the ground would no longer be a federal matter unless they crossed state lines. States that wish to legalize medical marijuana, for instance, could do so without federal harassment as long as the product was wholly contained and sold within the state. California already interprets the law in this fashion, but sellers still are regularly harassed by the feds.

In fact, a state could completely legalize marijuana and the federal government would be powerless within state jurisdiction.

No one should fear repeal of the Civil Rights Acts. That being said, it would be wise to revisit the issue and update them, using a foundation that does not require the Commerce Clause as support.

Now what about the future of Romney's plan in Massachusetts? If the justices limit themselves to the Commerce Clause, it is safe because it is a state action. But it is very possible that they could also apply the Fifth Amendment's takings clause as well. No life, liberty, or property can be forfeited or taken for public use without just compensation. While one can argue that the insurance one gets is the "just compensation," the justices could find that this is a deprivation of liberty.

And that kills Romneycare.


That leads me to a point of speculation. Donald Virrilli, by all accounts, is a pretty smart guy. This Supreme Court case was not his first go-round.

So why the mind-numbingly bad argument? Why did Justice Kagan actually have to step in to help him to answer some of the tougher questions?

I'll just flat out speculate that Virrilli did not come up with the argument himself. It was a bad case that he did not present well at some points. An argument that runs so counter to American tradition, yet also looks so bumbling, probably came from Barack Obama himself.

If it did, and I was Virrilli, I would resign and let the public know.


Commerce Clause May Get Severely Restricted

Don Surber's blog about the commerce clause and possible Obamacare ruling speculates that we may not just see the chucking of the mandate, or even the entire legal package. The expanded interpretation of the commerce clause, allowed solely for the Civil Rights Act, will be limited by the majority opinion.

A byproduct? You can bet that advocacy groups will paint this as the first step in the return of Jim Crow, as if that was even possible.

Some speculate that the striking down of Obamacare will help the president's re-election because it will diminish zeal among his opponents. As if rising debt and gas prices are not stimulation enough.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Innocent Until Proven Guilty" Instead of Judge Lynch

I won't say whether or not George Zimmermann did right or wrong when he shot Trayvon Martin. I cannot speculate because I was not there. The justice system has to act.

I can judge guilty the media and the politicians who swarmed this story and presented it in such a way as to convict Mr. Zimmermann before the grand jury could even hear evidence. Not only did they convict him individually, they demonstrated serious racism by mistakenly identifying him as white.

Every step of the way, the media thought that they had a racism home run. A guy with a German last name chases down and shoots a black kid.

Oops, he's Hispanic. Nevermind. We'll just use the never before heard "white Hispanic."

They also tend to smooth over the various issues that Martin has had over the years.

The fact is that none of this really matters too much. Prosecutors must make cases and juries must decide guilty or not guilty. They are required to follow a constitutional model of responsibility that dates back to the Middle Ages.

Sometimes they get it right, other times they make mistakes. At the very least, they have time to soberly review the evidence and the case over time. That makes our trial by jury system much more palatable and accurate than Judge Lynch.

Because, you see, Judge Lynch is always thirsty for blood. He used to roam the backwoods and run with vigilantes. Now he inhabits the newsrooms and minds of those not disposed to follow the law.

Judge Lynch and Spike Lee, for example, wanted to Tweet out Zimmermann's address so that his blood could be spilt before he walked into a courtroom.

Judge Lynch hears his cases based strictly on emotion and public perception, not facts and evidence. It is merely enough for the mob to shout "hang 'em high" and, if allowed, he will vent their fury for them.

If a prosecutor can prove Zimmermann guilty, then he will pay a debt to society. If not, then he will walk a free man, though not unpunished. Because whether in prison or free, he will have to walk in fear the rest of his life. Emotions have been stirred too much for the situation to be otherwise.

So will be the sentence of Judge Lynch.

Obamacare May Be Gutted

The above link is one of many that I could have provided. Obamacare is before the United States Supreme Court and time may indicate that it was dead before it even arrived.

The government's case actually relies upon a vast extension of the Commerce Clause. It states that those who do not have health insurance depress the market for health insurance, so that the government must protect the market by forcing purchases.

This would be like the government telling us that we had to buy a new General Motors vehicle because the company was in financial trouble. It is ludicrously socialist, and also places the arguments for it well beyond the scope of what Romney did in Massachusetts.

Most worried about Justice Kennedy's vote, but most of his questions thus far seem to reflect a growing concern about the federal government's power over Americans. A few of his questions sound more like Mark Steyn or Mark Levine than Justice Kennedy. Chief Justice Roberts' queries made his stance difficult to discern, but he usually remains in the conservative camp.

In other words, it is likely that the individual mandate will go down. How much of the law will remain intact is a different story. Hopefully, Congress can get together and create a much more coherent and freedom based law in the aftermath of this possible stinging defeat for Obama.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mainstream America...Politico Thinks You Are Stupid

Politico is a magazine that almost no one has heard of, at least outside of Washington DC. They think that we are stupid.

Editor-in-Chief of Politico, John Harris, ranted on C-SPAN about voters and how they respond to polls. The Washington Examiner noted that he actually assigned a reporter to investigate whether or not voters are stupid based upon poll results and numbers.

Typical liberal or typical Washington. If the polls do not agree with you, they must be stupid. What other explanation is there?

First of all, does Harris know anything about polling? I used to work at a phone polling center. Polls typically last between 10 and 30 minutes. They are draining on the questioner and the person answering. Usually the questions get jumbled up, asking the respondent to answer about peanut butter, then presidential candidates. The questioner must battle to keep the respondent on the line with no promise of reward.

This is how we gauge opinions in the United States.

Also, what intelligent political analysts understand is that people follow their self-interest. Obama voters were not stupid, nor were they all Commies. They had their own complex set of interests. For some, it boiled down to the self-interest of simply voting for the first black president.

Most voters are pretty smart, but have very specialized knowledge and experiences.

Harris is a condescending ass.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Disturbing Video From Florida Atlantic University: A Former Professor's Reaction

Above is a link to The Blaze that contains a video of a young female black student, for lack of a better term, flipping out.

The poor instructor, more likely a graduate assistant than a full professor by the look of him, seemed to have no idea of how to deal with the student. She seemed to be set off by a discussion of Darwinism., which caused her to threaten the life of the instructor, various people in class, and ten thousand white people.

The student verbally attacked blacks as well as whites and actually did appear to smack an individual in the head. Eventually one student confronted her and physically removed her from the room.

I taught college for ten years. Thankfully, I never had to deal with anything like that. If I did, I had an advantage in that I am taller and physically stronger, which would enable me to be more assertive.

First, I would have tried to address her verbally. Once a person starts to lose their mind like this woman, you can't reason with her. The instructor should have asserted authority and directed her to leave the classroom after the first offensive diatribe directed at anyone. An instructor, professor, etc is the king in his classroom. He or she must maintain order and enforce respect for himself and other students. Or at least appear to, even when the situation is crazy.

This one stood there looking morose, seeming to try to wish it to go away. That is no way to defuse crazy.

Also, at this point keep a close eye on her hands. If they are going into a large pocket, bag, or backpack, grab hold of the person immediately. No one will blame you for restraining a person in this situation, after what happened at Pitt and Virginia Tech.

You also cannot rule out drugs as a reason for the outburst. Keep in mind that PCP and other drugs reduce awareness of pain and heighten energy levels.

If the crazy person is not armed and is continuing to act crazy, instruct other students to move away from him or her for their own safety. Try to keep the altercation verbal until the police arrive.

But if she starts to get physical, if you have the strength or training, it is incumbent upon you to restrain the student. You are the representative of the school, so it is your job. You don't like it? Tough.

Of course in such a situation, it would be nice to have an All American offensive tackle in the class.

The point is that as the instructor, you have to take charge of the situation and try to protect the other students from harm as much as humanly possible. Being a spectator is not an option.

Our Liberal to the North and Our Conservative to the South

In Panhandlia, we see and hear more about what goes on in Virginia and Maryland than our own state capital. On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner ran an interesting story about a tale of two governors.

The Center for Public Integrity assessed each state for their potential risk in terms of public corruption. Virginia graded at F, Maryland at D-, and West Virginia at D+.

It should be noted that West Virginia received praise for making improvements over the past two years, presumably an endorsement of changes occurring under Governor Tomblin.

The reactions from our neighbors could not be more different.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's office noted that the state administration would review the study, which emphasized the ease at which laws and rules might be avoided or broken, not actual corruption. "If there are areas in which Virginia can improve, the governor wants to know what they are."

Quite reasonable.

Now Maryland's response. Governor Martin O'Malley's office attacked the report, disagreeing with "findings and flawed methodology."

Nice work. Thank you for proving that conservatives care more about good government than liberals.

New Jersey under Governor Chris Christie was cited as the highest graded state.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;

Tis time to part.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Afghan leader (and I use that term loosely) Hamid Karzai called American soldiers "demons." He accused them of at least 500 atrocities.

Obama says nothing in defense of the men and women that he leads as commander-in-chief.

Those uniforms keep Karzai in his elegant home and funny hats. Does he seriously think that Afghan military forces can be trusted?

Many of us have relatives who are in Afghanistan, who have been there, or who will be going. We are not amused at all by this characterization.

Perhaps this is public posturing to appease the Afghan crazies. Even so, it is unacceptable.

Obama needs to act in the same manner as President Eisenhower. When our closest allies enraged him during the Suez Canal Crisis, he threatened to withdraw all support. If Karzai cannot remember which side his bread is buttered on, then the United States must remind him that he needs us far more than we need him.

Karzai insults our troops by calling them demons. But they are all that keep him from having to see the Devil face to face.

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Texting Laws Follow Common Sense For Most Part

Hands Free info posted a piece on West Virginia's new anti-texting laws. An excerpt is below:

The law takes effect July 1 with fines of $100 (first offense), then $200, then $300. Three points assessed against driver’s license on third and subsequent violations. Operation with hands-free devices would be allowed.

West Virginia becomes the 36th state to ban text messaging while driving.

The act makes text messaging and handheld cell phone use while driving primary offenses. While text messaging will be subject to primary enforcement as of July 1 — when the law takes effect — the cell phone enforcement will be limited to secondary status for another year. That means police will need another reason to stop and cite motorists using handheld cell phones until July 1, 2013.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rick Santorum's Refusal to Focus

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum remains steadfastly dedicated to his agenda which appears increasingly socially conservative.

Most recently, he promised to nominate an attorney general that would help him to eradicate internet pornography.

Therein lies the divide in the conservative movement. Rights based conservatives have near meltdowns at the notion of government interference in the lives of individuals, even if that means accepting practices that they themselves disagree with. Santorum gives weight to the left wing notion that Republicans are closet theocrats looking to crush liberty.

Nevermind the mindnumbing list of agencies and bureaus created by Obama to reach ever more deeply into our educational, healthcare, and other major choices.

Santorum's moral agenda is, frankly, the wrong emphasis for today's Republican Party. We are at our best when defending religious freedom against Big Government. So why turn around and threaten Big Government action against what people do in the privacy of their own homes.

Is culture rotten? Maybe. But it is a free society, so who cares. People make choices. We do not have to love them, but we should respect them so long as they do no direct harm to others.

Romney, to his credit, understands that this election is about the economy. Not birth control. Not porn. The economy, period.

And that is why he is winning.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't Give Us a Leader. Just Give Us Competence

It is time to stop looking for a “leader.” America does not need leadership from any movement or any party, at least not leadership as we conceive it in the 21st century.

When you consider what the average American tends to expect from a president, or blame on him when things go wrong, an outsider might be forgiven if he assumed that the word “president” politically equated to “czar.” American ideas on what a president does and should not do have been driven relentlessly by the crises of the last century combined with the notion that if only we found the smartest man, we could plan well enough to avoid problems.

History proves that this just is not so.

Ancient sources of religion and wisdom argue against putting too much trust into a single earth made man alone. In I Samuel 8, God tells the Israelite judge Samuel that the people demand a king as the other nations have. They reject the idea of a limited government whose sovereign is God. God warned Samuel that the expansion of political authority would result in the seizing of property and enslavement of the people. Arbitrary power in the hands of leaders cannot end well.

Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching Chapter 17 wrote the following

The best rules are those whom the people hardly know exist

Next come rulers whom the people love and praise

After that come rulers whom the people fear

And the worst are those whom the people despise

The ruler who does not trust his people will not be trusted by his people

The best ruler stays in the background and his voice is rarely heard

When he accomplishes his task and things go well

The people declare: It was we who did it by ourselves.

Marcus Tullius Cicero watched the final days of the slow dissolving of what was once a free Roman Republic relative to his time and place. Rule of law gave way to a government led by ambitious and grasping men, such as Julius Caesar. The dictators of the late Roman Republic saw law as an obstacle to their plans, some of which were based on good intentions. However, the undermining of the basic law of the land ushered in the era of the Empire and all of its evils.

The people loved Caesar, but could never have imagined that his smashing of the law would lead to the depravity of Nero or the insanity of Caligula. Late in Cicero’s life, just before his own unnatural death, he railed against “the effrontery of Gaius Caesar, who, to gain that sovereign power which by a depraved imagination he had conceived in his fancy, trod underfoot all laws of gods and men.” He went on to write that “But the trouble about this matter is that it is in the greatest souls and in the most brilliant geniuses that we usually find ambitions for civil and military authority, for power, and for glory, springing; and therefore we must be the more heedful not to go wrong in that direction.”

While the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes argues that man’s evil can only be contained by a strong government, many other notables fear more the evil of men when they ascend to controlling a powerful government. This is why we limit power and put blocks in the way of our elected officials. America does not need a czar, a king, an Il Duce, or any other authoritarian leader, either by name, or in power alone. We work best when under the type of executive described by Lao Tzu, the type that we never notice and who engineers his policies to enable the people to act for themselves.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And Creepiest Guy of the Year Award Goes to . . . Vladimir Putin

Everyone's known that guy. The one who always has something a little bit too weird to say around much younger women. Who thinks that they are a divine gift to all women, but are not exactly all that they think they are.

So what happens when that guy is the most powerful politician in his country?

To the lay observer, the entire Vladimir Putin ad campaign for president seemed to be based on two premises. Either he inspires young and attractive people to have sex with each other, or to have sex with him. Or at least tear their clothes off in honor of him.

This is no exaggeration. I am not making this up.

I think this is only legal in Lincoln County.

It actually gets more tasteless than the above.

Yup, this is it.

Maybe this is normal in Russia, and probably most of Europe for that matter, but to Americans this is really creepy. Basically a sixty year old bald guy is trying to perv on 19 year olds. And also control them through soft tyranny.

Imagine any American political figure running a campaign like this. These ads are more ridiculous than Saturday Night Live parodies. They also reflect Putin's utter contempt for his electorate.

After watching this, give me good old fashioned American mud slinging every time. At least they come within shouting distance of an issue every once in a while.

I'd even prefer a campaign like this: