Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Terms Limits Needed to Restore Representative Government

30.03.2010 (7:18 pm) – Filed under: Politics,Term Limits ::

Over 90% of representatives and over 80% of senators were re-elected in 2008. Far from being a sign that Americans are pleased with the job they are doing – a voters’ dislike for both houses of Congress is extremely high at the moment – this statistic demonstrate the thesis of this article, that mandatory term limits are needed to restore representative government and ensure accountability.

We need folks coming in from the outside who have paid taxes and created jobs and lived under the regulations that these career politicians have created," said Jim Rutledge, a Republican attorney running to unseat Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who has 33 years in Congress between the House and Senate.

Rutledge is right.  Ms. Mikulski is clearly a career politician, a breed that our Founding Fathers had no use for. Nor should we. The trappings of power and authority were meant to be shared in this republic, not closely held for decades by a governing elite.

"The powers of incumbency in this country are so great that it is nearly impossible to unseat an incumbent, barring death, indictment, scandal or retirement," said Philip Blumel, a Florida financial planner and president of the advocacy group U.S. Term Limits.

Indeed, the contrast between our approval of Congress and our ability to replace wayward members makes the unfair advantage incumbents enjoy crystal clear.

Curtis Gans, the director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, said term limits are a terrible idea because they take power away from the people. In a term-limited legislature, Gans said, power would fall to unelected staff and lobbyists who would keep their jobs while elected officials rotated out.

Term limits would also restrict people with the most experience and ability from serving in Congress and would contribute to the election of extreme, polarizing candidates, Gans said.

I recently had the chance to briefly discuss the issue with Republican Congressman John Culberson of Texas and it should come as no surprise that he was against term limits. His logic, like that of Gans, was that he was just now getting some seniority and leverage over the machinations that make Congress go.

I find this logic extremely self-serving. First, governing is not so complex that a new congressman cannot figure it out. The process itself is undoubtedly a maze that would have to be simplified to accommodate new members of the body. This, like the fresh blood terms limits would inject, would only help matters. Perhaps then Congress could read the bills it passes.

Second, under a term-limited system, seniority would be gained and lost more quickly, ensuring that no one hand was on the controls for too long. Clearly that’s not the case now, something the opacity of the health care debate and its many backroom deals only served to bring to the attention of Americans everywhere.

This November, first demand new representation and then force them to accept the will of the people by implementing term limits on both houses of Congress. That’s one decision you’ll never regret, I promise.

Obama’s Foreclosure Plan Another Abomination

30.03.2010 (5:41 am) – Filed under: Finance,Politics ::

The ink barely dry on President Obama’s health care bill – and so-called victory over the American people – the president has a new set of victims to help: those unable to pay their home mortgages. His plan is a particularly abominable one straight from the playbook of Karl Marx. If President Obama has his way, lending institutions will be compelled to reduce mortgage payments to no more than 31% of their debtors’ income.

The problem of "underwater" borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

I’ve been upbraided by several people who say that it’s not this president’s fault that he has to take these sorts of steps, that it’s actually Ronald Reagan’s fault, or Bill Clinton’s, or, inevitably, George W. Bush’s failings as a president that lead to this moment in history.

There’s a grain of truth at the center of this argument but there’s no pearl of wisdom forming around it. Yes, President Obama inherited a difficult situation when he took office. But the fact that he’s done virtually everything wrong since taking the reigns can neither be excused without comment nor blamed on anyone else.

Only a few short months ago Democrats were railing against banks for failing to loan money. Now the president’s latest financial debacle is certain to hamper banks’ ability to offer new loans, keep capital locked up in vaults instead of flowing through the economy, and lengthen the economic valley we find ourselves in as a result.

It’s all well and good to try to help people, but I have to wonder if Democrats even bother to consider the consequences of their actions. In the aftermath of their policies they wring their hands and wonder why businesses fail to respond as they’d hoped. The answer is simple: The fear and uncertainty liberal politics creates is one of the major causes of corporate reticence to invest while they are in office. And now this.

Can you now blame banks for not wanting to lend money when the terms of the contracts they wrote no longer have any meaning?

Jeff Goldstein on the Paradox of Academia and Intellectual Freedom

27.03.2010 (9:44 am) – Filed under: Political Correctness ::

On his Protein Wisdom blog, Jeff writes about an argument he’s had with a former instructor:

I don’t pretend to champion creative expression and individuality of thought, then turn around and agitate for the silencing of speech I don’t like.

I’d rather make my living, such as it as, as an indigent jerk than as a tenured hypocrite growing fat off platitudes about free speech that I don’t actually believe.

Jeff’s right, of course. What passes for intellectualism on-campus is too often the me-too political correctness demanded by university peers. Agree and you’re part of the club; disagree and you’re a pariah.

DemCare’s True Costs Already Showing

27.03.2010 (9:06 am) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism,Politics ::

American companies have responded to the Democrats’ new health care entitlement the only way they can – by anticipating how much it’s going to cost them to implement:

On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

President Obama and his Democratic cronies have been saying for more than a year that the plan will save Americans money while allowing them to keep their current coverages. Those claims have been bald-faced lies from the beginning and corporate America’s reaction to the program demonstrates the central fallacy that Democrats have been peddling: that we can get something – coverage for the poor – for nothing.

Now Democrats are hacked off at these companies for having the temerity to have done an economic analysis and revealing that the emperor has no clothes:

Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

Jennifer Rubin says it very well in response:

this is par for the course: a complete disregard for the consequences of their own handiwork, the bullying of private enterprise, and the determination to politicize what were once economic and legal judgments. One can see in the Democrats’ fury the desperate attempt to conceal the implications of their monstrous legislation, to maintain as long as possible the fiction that ObamaCare is a great cost-saver, and boon to employers. It’s going to be hard to keep up the charade, for as the editors note, ObamaCare “was such a shoddy, jerry-rigged piece of work that the damage is coming sooner than even some critics expected.”

We shouldn’t be surprised. Liberal Democrats were dead-set on passing healthcare reform – and I do mean dead set – for one reason: It is part of their agenda to create an all-encompassing welfare state, whether voters want it or not. So they did it, without regard to the economic consequences to the people and organizations that do the real work of making America go.

Maxine’s View on the New Health Care

26.03.2010 (9:26 am) – Filed under: Humor ::

clip_image001Let me get this straight…… we now have a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed  by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts  themselves from it, to be signed  by a president that also hasn’t read it and who smokes, with funding  administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.

What the hell could possibly go wrong????

Principle: Welfare Entitlements are Inherently Wrong

25.03.2010 (8:52 am) – Filed under: General News ::

Why? Because by definition they take money (property) away from its rightful owner and bestow it, unearned, on another person. Government actions that violate this principle inherit this inherent flaw and are wrong because of it.

I’m not a big Ann Coulter fan,…

25.03.2010 (6:25 am) – Filed under: My Tweets ::

I’m not a big Ann Coulter fan, but given what goes on in many mosques, Muslim students should be ashamed of themselves http://bit.ly/d4J1AU

Grandstanding Buffoon Misses Point in Teacher Firing

24.03.2010 (6:09 am) – Filed under: Child Care,Education,Youth ::

Quanell X, grandstander supreme and champion of criminals, among other well-deserved titles, completely missed the point in the recent flap in Houston after a teacher allowed students to hit the class bully. The man is so wrong, so often, that he must be doing it on purpose.

The X-man’s take:

"What that teacher did was so reprehensible, so foul and wrong, why did you not make a police report about what this woman did?"

The reality:

"The kid didn’t get beat up — this is a kid who has repeatedly beat up kids in my school," [director of Robindell Private School Chuck] Wall said. "He had punched a little girl like a punching bag and was caught by one of my teachers and what he got back … was absolutely minor in comparison to what he did to this poor little girl." Wall said the boy’s parents have been unresponsive to the school’s pleas for help in controlling the child.

The boy’s mother goes on to make excuses for him, saying that he has medical conditions. True or not, schools cannot tolerate students who are negative influences, particularly those who create an unsafe environment for their peers.

Wall had to fire the teacher for instigating an escalation in violence, true. But the truth is that the brat needed to learn the very lesson she taught him, namely that violence begets a violent response.

It’s unfortunate that the teacher in question had to lose her job because of failing parents, a failing educational system, and a failing society. She will pay the price in terms of her career for a school system that lacks the ability to purge itself of miscreants who render it unable to fulfill its function, educating those who can learn. Of course, it’s unfair to blame the school because we, as a society, lack the moral courage to state the obvious: Some children simply do not belong in mainstream school classrooms.

Devarius Williams is evidently one such child. Woe to the children and teachers at his next school. Perhaps Mr. X should consider their pain before blabbering on about what’s reprehensible.

ADDENDUM

Another interesting note to this story is the Chronicle’s ad hominem attack against Mr. Wall:

Wall said he fired the teacher the next day after Williams’ mother called the school to report the incident. He said she was the second teacher to be fired in six weeks for allowing another student to strike the boy.

Wall, whose school offers up to 12 hours of daily care for $110 a week, then disparaged the boy’s parents.

Regarding “disparaged the boy’s parents”? How so? In whose opinion? Based on what words, exactly?

Frankly that’s a line I would have expected from the Magnolia Potpourri back in the day when it was run out of a one-room shack, not one of the country’s leading newspapers and the only source of print media in the 4th largest city in the U.S.

What Libertarians Stand For

24.03.2010 (5:35 am) – Filed under: Libertarianism,Politics ::

Guy McLendon, Harris County Libertarian Party chair, on libertarianism:

Libertarians traditionally have no truck with either party.

“We’re neither far right nor far left” he said. “We basically align ourselves with Ben Franklin, who believed that government should neither spend all your money nor tell you how to live your life.”

Is it just me or is that sounding pretty good right about now?

DemCare Will Raise Costs and Lower Quality for Those Who Pay

22.03.2010 (8:29 pm) – Filed under: Health ::

Does anybody believe the Democrats’ numbers saying their health plan, such as it is, will be a budgetary gain? The idea is ludicrous, as is the notion that quality of service will improve. Working Americans from the middle class will pay more and get less.

William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, says:

The success of the bill depends on Congress having the discipline to enact tax increases and accept expert recommendations that it has not shown in the past.

For example, the bill would not impose the tax on generous insurance policies until 2018 and then it would make the tax more restrictive over time; however, Congress has continually shied away from its commitments to be more stringent over time.

If Congress isn’t disciplined, the benefits of the bill will evaporate into higher medical costs and larger deficits.

That’s pretty much a best-case scenario and fails to address the practical concerns of middle-class Americans whose taxes, whether direct or indirect, will inevitably rise to cover the costs of the entitlement that’s about to be granted to the poor.