November 11, 2010

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Tony Blankley wants new members of Congress to pay attention to foreign policy as well.

…There always has been a tendency for new, inexperienced candidates for federal office to be more focused initially on domestic issues – because their voters are. But for GOP congressmen and senators, their fundamental values – a powerful patriotism, a sense of right and wrong and a practical understanding of human nature as capable of great evil – tends over time to lead them to a firmer foreign and military policy posture than that held by liberal Democrats.

…For instance, regarding the New START with Russia, many of its skeptics are established neoconservatives who don’t contest the objective but seriously doubt the effectiveness of the details. To call such men and women isolationist is risible.

Reaganite foreign policy experts have always been much more skeptical of particular disarmament treaties. And with China rushing ahead on its nuclear program, we need to consider our stockpile requirements in the Chinese context every bit as much as we do the poorer Russian capabilities. …


In the WSJ, Allysia Finley offers tough love in an open letter to California.

Listen up, California. The other 48 states—your cousin New York excluded—are sick of your bratty arrogance. You’re the Lindsay Lohan of states: a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it.

After enjoying ephemeral highs and spending binges, you suffer crashes that culminate in brief, unsuccessful stints in rehab. This cycle repeats itself every five to 10 years, as the rest of the country looks on with a mixture of horror and amusement. We’d feel sorry for you if you didn’t constantly flip us the bird.

Instead, we’re making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait—you’re already melting down.

You’ve racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn’t include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you’ll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years. …

…So here’s our final warning: When you inevitably crash and burn, don’t count on us to bail you out.


Kyle-Ann Shiver, in Pajamas Media, says that California wins the Dumbest State award.

It’s the proverbial morning after and with votes counted, California has won the Dumbest State Award in a historic landslide of monstrous proportions.

All Californians can now see Greece from their bedroom windows.  No need to even go to the backyards and crane their little necks.

In the coming years, the unions, who have been bilking Californians in a protection-racket type scheme, will be taking to the streets in massive, destructive temper tantrums just like those out-in-the-cold workers in other failed socialist states across the big pond. It won’t be pretty.

…Not to be outdone by Pelosi voters, those Californians in the 13th district reelected Rep. Pete Stark, the traitor who has made a name for himself trashing the very Constitution he swears to protect and defend.  Pete Stark has the ignominious distinction of having told a constituent to her face that the federal “government in this country can do most anything.” Never has a U.S. representative so blatantly shredded the very document he is sworn to preserve, a document that expressly tells our federal government the many things it cannot do.  Every Californian who pulled the lever for this Benedict Arnold ought to hang his head in shame and should never show his face in public again. …


In Transterrestrial Musings, Rand Simberg comments on watching Californians give up their last opportunity to turn the state’s financial situation around.

We seem to have reached a tipping point here. Too many Californians think that they can have both lunatic environmental and economic policies, and a viable economy. Almost every initiative went the wrong way, as did the gubernatorial and senatorial elections, though the former was partly a result of an awful Republican candidate — Jerry Brown might have been beatable by Chuck DeVore.

It’s a positive feedback situation with increasingly negative results. The economic ignorami in the electorate vote for idiotic propositions, and send economic ignorami to Sacramento in the legislature and governor’s mansion, resulting in flight by the sensible, continuing to distill and concentrate the idiocy in the electorate. It will end in bankruptcy (the state is basically already there), and then they’ll demand a bailout from the rest of the country. Fortunately, with the new Congress, they won’t get it. But I don’t know if the state is salvageable at this point. It’s some of the best real estate on earth, but its current inhabitants don’t deserve it, and have squandered a great legacy.

It’s an opportunity for other states to poach a lot of space companies, I think.


Want to know why CA is broke? A post in Maggie’s Farm explains part of the reason why California dreamin’ has turned into a nightmare. Hundreds and hundreds of state agencies.

California Academic Performance Index (API) California Access for Infants and Mothers California Acupuncture Board California Administrative Office of the Courts California Adoptions Branch California African American Museum California Agricultural Export Program California Agricultural Labor Relations Board California Agricultural Statistics Service California Air Resources Board (CARB) California Allocation Board California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority California Animal Health and Food Safety Services California Anti-Terrorism Information Center California Apprenticeship Council California Arbitration Certification Program California Architects Board California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board California Arts Council California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus California Assembly Democratic Caucus California Assembly Republican Caucus California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General

Those are just the As. The rest are below the fold.


Ilya Somin, Of Volokh Conspiracy writes an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which provides an overview of the Obamacare litigation, and explains how the states and organizations contesting the constitutionality of the law might actually win.

…In the most recent of the three rulings, Florida federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson wrote that the government’s claim that the mandate is clearly authorized by existing Supreme Court precedent is “not even a close call.” He points out that “[t]he power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent,” because no previous Supreme Court decision ever authorized Congress to force ordinary citizens to buy products they did not want.

…The federal government claims that Congress has the power to impose the mandate under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Tax Clause of the Constitution. On the first two claims, Judge Vinson ruled that Supreme Court precedent doesn’t clearly support the government, thereby enabling the plaintiffs’ lawsuit to go forward. He outright rejected the government’s claim that the mandate is constitutional because it is a “tax.” It is instead a financial penalty for refusing to comply with a federal regulation. As Judge Vinson pointed out, congressional leaders consistently emphasized before the law’s enactment that it was not a tax.

…A series of flawed Supreme Court decisions have expanded Congress’ Commerce Clause authority well beyond what the text of the Constitution permits. These rulings allow the federal government to regulate almost any “economic activity.” But, as Judge Vinson emphasized, even they do not give Congress the power to regulate people “based solely on citizenship and on being alive.” Far from engaging in “economic activity,” people who decide not to purchase health insurance are actually refraining from doing so.

…Some defenders of the law claim that the individual mandate is similar to federal laws banning racial discrimination against customers by businesses such as motels and restaurants. But federal antidiscrimination laws apply only to existing businesses already engaged in commercial activity in the regulated industry. By contrast, uninsured individuals are not businesses and, by definition, are not participating in the insurance industry. …


In Volokh, Somin posts on his article above and adds these thoughts:

…The op ed focuses primarily on the recent district court decisions in the Virginia, Michigan, and Florida cases, which I blogged about in more detail here, here, and here. So there will be few new points for those who have closely followed my previous VC writings on the mandate litigation. My main purpose in the op ed was to briefly analyze the three rulings and explain why the anti-mandate plaintiffs have a strong case that could well prevail, even though they still face an uphill struggle.

I would add that the results of the recent election modestly increase the chances that the plaintiffs will win. Federal courts are unlikely to strike down a major federal policy initiative that has strong presidential, congressional, and popular support. But last week’s elections brought to power a House majority that opposes the Obama health care plan, strengthened plan opponents in the Senate, and reaffirmed that it remains unpopular (although the election turned primarily on the economy, the health care plan probably increased the magnitude of the Democrats’ defeat). A recent AP poll found that 52% of likely voters oppose the plan, with 41% supporting it…

…Ideally, such “legal realist” factors should not influence judicial decision-making. But the historical evidence suggests that they often do. Judges are unlikely to strike down the mandate merely because the political winds are blowing against it. But those inclined to do so for other reasons are now less likely to be deterred by fear of a showdown with a president, Congress, and public opinion unified against them.

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