Monday, July 6, 2009
Some Very Recent Readings
Cap and trade and the EPA cover-up; affirmative action and the Ricci case; and miscellany featuring such names as Franken, Huntsman, Whitman, and Palin, among others.
Cap and Trade and the EPA Cover-up
Here's Jack Kelly's summary of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill and the allegedly problem it's supposed to solve.
Paul Greenberg speaks of cap and trade chicanery, explaining on the way "how to get a dubious bill into law" -- and then how to pretend it worked when it didn't. An excerpt:
If some 1.6 million jobs have been lost since the administration's stimulus package was passed, just think of how many more jobs would have been lost without the huge bail-outs and government outlays! Look at it this way: The worse things get, the worse they would have gotten without this administration's high-spending programs.
To quote Max Baucus, the Democratic senator who's now chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, when he was grilling Timothy Geithner, the current secretary of the Treasury and de facto CEO of General Motors, Chrysler, AIG, and who knows how many other giant corporations to come: "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong. If the economy loses two million jobs over the next few years, you can say, yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs. . . . You've given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."
Heads they win, tails we lose. Not to put too fine a point on it, this numbers game is fixed. But why let mere facts get in the way of a grand vision? The numbers can be rearranged later to show how the economy is actually growing and, of course, how the planet was saved.
And here the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley A. Strassel explains the EPA's suppression of an 98-page internal report by Alan Carlin, questioning the science behind global warming -- a cover-up which may have been illegal.
In March, the Obama EPA prepared to engage the global-warming debate in an astounding new way, by issuing an "endangerment" finding on carbon. It establishes that carbon is a pollutant, and thereby gives the EPA the authority to regulate it -- even if Congress doesn't act. . . .
The Obama EPA's endangerment finding is a policy act. As such, EPA is required to make public those agency documents that pertain to the decision, to allow for public comment. Court rulings say rulemaking records must include both "the evidence relied upon and the evidence discarded." In refusing to allow Mr. Carlin's study to be circulated, the agency essentially hid it from the docket.
Unable to defend the EPA's actions, the climate-change crew -- , led by anonymous EPA officials -- is doing what it does best: trashing Mr. Carlin as a "denier." He is, we are told, "only" an economist (he in fact holds a degree in physics from CalTech). It wasn't his "job" to look at this issue (he in fact works in an office tasked with "informing important policy decisions with sound economics and other sciences.") His study was full of sham science. (The majority of it in fact references peer-reviewed studies.) . . .
Mr. Carlin is instead an explanation for why the science debate is little reported in this country. The professional penalty for offering a contrary view to elites like Al Gore is a smear campaign. The global-warming crowd likes to deride skeptics as the equivalent of the Catholic Church refusing to accept the Copernican theory. The irony is that, today, it is those who dare critique the new religion of human-induced climate change who face the Inquisition.
Mona Charen critiques President's Obama's "pose of objectivity" and discusses climate change and the cap and trade bill.
Affirmative Action and the Ricci Case
Michael Barone writes of the New Haven firefighter case, lately decided by the US Supreme Court. He focuses on Justice Alito's concurring opinion, which contains "a riveting lesson in political sociology." You may recall that New Haven invalidated a fire department promotion test because no African-American passed it. A lengthy excerpt:
Writing in Slate, Yale Law faculty member Emily Bazelon . . . laments that the promotion test rewarded memorization and that it favored "'fire buffs' -- guys who read fire suppression manuals on their down time."
She is outraged that a fire department might want to promote firefighters who know more about suppressing fires, rescuing victims and protecting their colleagues rather than simply promote a predetermined number of members of specific racial groups whose self-appointed political spokesmen back the politicians in office.
Bazelon and [Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia] Sotomayor, who voted to uphold the city's decertification of the promotion test, are typical of liberal elites who are ready to ratify squalid political deals -- and blatant racial discrimination -- in return for . . . political support . . . votes. You supply the numbers on Election Day, and we'll supply the verbiage to put a pretty label on your shenanigans.
. . . I think we ought to reserve some of our sympathy for the purported beneficiaries of this wretched discrimination, the black firefighters. Their champions . . . are telling them that their way up in life should not be determined by the content of their character or by mastery of their worthy craft, but by the color of their skin. Not by a fair and unbiased test, but by dishonest wire-pulling and threats of political retaliation.
According to Charles Krauthammer, Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination prospects remain unscathed by the Ricci (firefighter) case, but affirmative action took a hit.
We're 45 years beyond passage of the Civil Rights Act. We have a black attorney general and a black president. As with every passing year we move generationally away from the era of Jim Crow, it becomes less and less justified for the government to mandate "remedial" racial discrimination. Which is why in one of her last opinions, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said that "the Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary."
The import of Ricci, which raised the bar on reverse discrimination, is that it heads us once again toward that day -- and back to true colorblindness that was the original vision, and everlasting glory, of the civil rights movement.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal says Al Franken (finally) won his US Senate race in Minnesota.
This is now the second time Republicans have been beaten in this kind of legal street fight. In 2004, Dino Rossi was ahead in the election-night count for Washington Governor against Democrat Christine Gregoire. Ms. Gregoire's team demanded the right to rifle through a list of provisional votes that hadn't been counted, setting off a hunt for "new" Gregoire votes. By the third recount, she'd discovered enough to win. This was the model for the Franken team.
Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election. If the GOP hopes to avoid repeats, it should learn from Minnesota that modern elections don't end when voters cast their ballots. They only end after the lawyers count them.
Thomas Sowell provides some economic common sense on the subject of health care.
Here's a skeptical view of Governor Jon Huntsman's legacy, from Rebecca Walsh of the Salt Lake Tribune.
George Will is instructive on California's woes and gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.
I'm not investing too much mental effort trying to figure out Sarah Palin's resignation; there's too much we don't know yet. But I thought Mark Steyn was insightful.
Time's Bill Powell offers an historical perspective on North Korea's Fourth of July rocket show.
This is not a brilliant piece of writing, but Bruce Bialosky describes a new revenue grab in numerous states: claiming the value of unused gift cards, so companies can't. Utah's one of the states, by the way.
Copyright 2009 by David Rodeback.
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