David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Saturday, July 11, 2009
Excellent Readings

Climate change, Obamacare, Sarah Palin, Robert McNamara, a jobless recovery, American Fork, and more.

Must Read

Ed Feulner writes intelligently of carbon dioxide and the EPA. (My thoughts: Just remember, every time Al Gore exhales, he believes he's polluting our atmosphere with a gas that he believes causes global warming! But don't worry, the EPA is coming to the rescue, and who cares about cataclysmic economic consequences?)

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann expand on this disturbing thought (or at least it ought to be disturbing):

Obama's health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.

It is so ironic that the elderly -- who were so vigilant when Bush proposed to change Social Security -- are so relaxed about the Obama health care proposals. Bush's Social Security plan, which did not cut their benefits at all, aroused the strongest opposition among the elderly. But Obama's plan, which will totally gut Medicare and replace it with government-managed care and rationing, has elicited little more than a yawn from most senior citizens.

Jillian Bandes described both the crafting of Democrat health care legislation behind closed doors and some of the intelligent discussion of the issue among Republican lawmakers.

Robert McNamara, RIP

Robert McNamara recently left us, at age 93, but, like my father's old neckties, his ideas seem to have returned to fashion in Washington. George Will explains why this may not be a good thing.

To me almost anything Paul Greenberg writes is worth reading, as is this piece on the late SecDef, "a man for the soulless age." Resist the temptation to point fingers as you read, or the ending may cause you even more consternation than it should.

Governor Palin's Resignation

Sandy Rios has a radical thought: Suppose we look for the explanation of Governor Palin's resignation in . . . her explanation.

Tony Blankley on Sarah Palin (excerpts from an intelligent column):

Professional politicians and political journalists don't waste energy on political corpses. They reserve their energy -- positive or negative -- for viable politicians.

Thus, an intriguing part of the Sarah Palin phenomenon is the intensity of response to her every word and move -- from both Republican Party and Democratic Party professionals and from the conventional media. The negative but sustained passion being expressed by the professional Washington political class against her tends to belie its almost unanimous assertion that she is washed-up. . . .

Palin draws by far the biggest crowds of any current politician, other than, perhaps, the president. She was the only news phenomenon capable of knocking the Michael Jackson story off the cable news lineups. Impressively, while George W. Bush was able to elicit a Bush derangement syndrome from liberal Democrats and President Barack Obama has succeeded similarly with many conservatives, only Sarah Palin has induced simultaneous derangement from both Republican and Democratic professionals. . . .

Conventional wisdom may not be reliable in unconventional times -- or for unconventional politicians. . . .

People may be listening [in 2012] for someone who knows how to talk to them rather than at them or down to them.

They also may respond favorably to a candidate who does not respond favorably to the Washington political class -- nor it to her.

Kathleen Parker isn't buying it. She writes:

[Sarah Palin's] biography validates every cynical thought that ever found expression in [H. L. Mencken's] prolific prose. . . .

Can we stop pretending that Palin is interested in anything other than her own ambition?

Sarcasm is not the highest form of humor, but David Harsanyi employs it to tolerably good effect in asking, "Really, where would we be if a bumpkin like [Sarah] Palin were president?" (Don't try this at home. You'll end up sounding like a bad letter to the editor. Leave sarcasm in print to the professionals, who should generally avoid it themselves.)


Thomas Sowell observes:

Much of the backlog of cases in our over-burdened courts has been created by the courts themselves, with adventurous judicial "interpretations" of laws that leave a large gray area of uncertainty around even the most plainly written legislation. Lawyers of course fish in these troubled waters, creating much needless litigation, but it is judges who have troubled the waters in the first place. . . .

What was it that required three different levels of federal courts to try to figure out whether what actually happened [in Ricci, the New Haven firefighter case] was or was not racial discrimination -- with a decision finally being reached by the narrowest possible margin of 5 to 4 in the Supreme Court?

At the heart of much of this legal complexity and moral angst is a judge-made theory that a "disparate impact" of any job requirement on different groups is evidence of discrimination. . . .

It is not that judges are incapable of seeing through the intellectual flaw in the "disparate impact" dogma. But that dogma is too central to efforts at social engineering to be given up for the sake of mere logic or facts.

Jerry Bowyer explains how to have a jobless recovery: Replace human workers with computerized automation. This is a predictable development . . .

Jobs are down because regulatory uncertainty and high political risk factors have choked off the normal hiring which occurs during the recovery phase of the economic cycle. . . .

As long as we are pressing to less flexible labor markets, with higher minimum wages and more unionization, as long as we leave employers in the dark as to exactly what kind of government-mandated health insurance liabilities they're getting themselves into when they hire a human being, as long as we leave unemployment compensation as an unfunded mandate paid by employers with every growing durations of coverage, we will continue to tip the scale away from people toward machines.

If you're really in the mood for sarcasm, read Wesley Pruden's recommendation that the Obama administration create a Ministry of Apology, Amends, and Reparations.

Local Interest

This article about American Fork and two other municipalities getting involved in renewable energy credits sounds rather ominous at first, particularly in a lean budget year locally and with an economically suicidal cap and trade bill sitting on a desk somewhere at the US Senate. But do the math: To encourage residents to participate, each city is forking out less than $14. I guess I won't be losing any sleep over this one.

This Caleb Warnock article in the Daily Herald talks about the costs of maintaining a "gateway" interchange to American Fork, which is planned to be beautiful. It's enough to make one wonder, whatever happened to xeriscaping? (I understand that some officials may have been expected xeriscaping, but that's not the proposal -- at least not yet.)

Here Salt Lake Tribune columnist Rebecca Walsh bids farewell to Salt Lake City, at least for a while. She can be insightful and also turn a delightful phrase from time to time, but she sometimes comes off as a bit snarky with people or institutions she doesn't like. This column combines wit, skill, and a fun Mark Twain quotation. And she manages to tell the LDS Church and LDS culture -- she doesn't distinguish between the two -- how to get past the 1950s. (Gee, I wish someone had thought of that before!) Apparently, for her this involves smaller families, smaller motor vehicles, smaller residential lots, and lots of townhouses. And, oh, yes, gay rights. And could we please get all those taken care of before she gets back from Italy (where, of course, we all wish her well)?

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