5/30/09

Sonia Sotomayor

1) A caller to the Rush Limbaugh Show made the point that he could not recall a case of a Democrat appointed or elected to a political position thanking the welfare state for helping them. Rather, they have stories of families coming together. Then, they try to get into office to put more of the welfare state on others.

2) I heard a commentator on NPR commenting on Sotomayor's terrific personal story. It reminded me of an exchange between Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

"I just want to remind you, Mr. Secretary, that a lot of us were here before you came," said Byrd, 84. "And with all due respect to you, you're not Alexander Hamilton," the nation's first treasury secretary.

O'Neill, 66, paused to gather himself at the witness table, then answered in a voice quivering with indignation.

"I've dedicated my life to doing what I can to get rid of rules that limit human potential," he said. "And I'm not going to stop."

Byrd repeatedly said that he, and not O'Neill, a former chairman of Alcoa, had been elected by voters.

"They're not CEOs of multibillion-dollar corporations," Byrd said of the voters. "They can't just pick up the phone and call a Cabinet secretary. In time of need, they come to us, the people come to us."

O'Neill, who grew up poor in St. Louis, Mo., snapped back:

"I started my life in a house without water or electricity. So I don't cede to you the high moral ground of not knowing what life is like in a ditch."

"Well, Mr. Secretary," Byrd responded, "I lived in a house without electricity, too, no running water, no telephone, a little wooden outhouse." He was raised by his aunt and uncle in West Virginia's coal country.

CJL

5/29/09

False charges and real criminals

Avery Tooley and Booker Rising both take issue with the white chick who said she was abducted by two black men.

I don't take issue with their comments, not even with Shay's provocative headline ("White Girl, Please: Don't Blame It On The Sunshine..."). But then, I probably wouldn't take issue with someone white writing, "Black Girl, Please: Don't Blame It On The Moon."

I do wonder: Why in the world would such a story about black men seem believable to anyone? After all, she mentioned black men--why didn't she pin the blame on Native American Indians or Sihks?

This seems to be a good time for a Bill Cosby-esque Pound Cake speech...if black hoodlums would stop committing so many damn crimes then people wouldn't be so quick to believe stories about black men...

I understand the concern about the occasional white lunatic or opportunist trying to blame blacks for problems, and the need to publicly flog and criminally punish such people. I've come across a number of black people who want more attention focused on white criminals--I guess the next step in their logic would be more attention on fake white criminals, too. And, of course, there are some who will always believe blacks are criminals, no matter what. But if it is a typical day, then a number of black men today will kill a number of people.

I did notice that American Renaissance, which is good at tracking crimes committed by blacks against whites, hasn't mentioned this case.

CJL

5/28/09

Stage Two, nobody's grinning

In the book Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, Thomas Sowell wrote that most bad public policies are a result of political decisions that consider “policies, institutions, or programs in terms of their hoped-for results” rather than the “actual characteristics of the processes set in motion.” If you've read a lot of Sowell then you may recall that he made this point in his 1980 book Knowledge and Decisions.

Politicians will only consider Stage One--the contrived press conference, the pretty press release pronouncing the great hoped-for results, the alleged short-term benefits, the clear beneficiaries. They don't address the long-term consequences of such policies or "invisible victims." Sowell highlights Stage One thinking when it comes to things such as business tax increases, price controls, minimum wage laws, anti-discrimination laws.

Snipped from a Cato Institute review of the book: In stage one, government raises the minimum wage, and entry-level workers get a pay increase. In stage two, fewer marginal workers are hired as employers stretch the existing staff to work harder and longer. Further down the road in stage three, the companies re-structure their operations and invest in labor-saving equipment, substituting capital—now relatively cheaper—for the more expensive labor.

To connect this to an issue in the news now: In stage one, a major increase in business taxes may meet its immediate goal of boosting the revenues collected by a city, county, or state government. But not too far down the road, in stage two, companies experiencing higher costs and diminishing profitability will begin to shift existing production to other locations. And in stage three, many companies already affected by the tax and others that might be looking for a plant or office site will choose to locate their facilities elsewhere.

Or, if we can believe the Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124329282377252471.html
Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates. No doubt the majority of that loss in millionaire filings results from the recession. However, this is one reason that depending on the rich to finance government is so ill-advised: Progressive tax rates create mountains of cash during good times that vanish during recessions. For evidence, consult California, New York and New Jersey (see here).

The Maryland state revenue office says it's "way too early" to tell how many millionaires moved out of the state when the tax rates rose. But no one disputes that some rich filers did leave. It's easier than the redistributionists think. Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, notes: "Marylanders with high incomes typically own second homes in tax friendlier states like Florida, Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia. So it's easy for them to change their residency."

All of this means that the burden of paying for bloated government in Annapolis will fall on the middle class. Thanks to the futility of soaking the rich, these working families will now pay Mr. O'Malley's "fair share."

* * *

Or, as I've been saying for years...once I realize an ass-whipping is coming, don't expect me to show up on time for the scheduled event...

CJL

I (still) Believe North Korea...

From the CJL archives, c. 1997.


I Believe! by Casey J. Lartigue Jr.

A resident of Songnam City, Pundang, Korea

I believe North Korea when it says that South Korea started the Korean war in 1950. I didn't believe Boris Yeltsin when he released secret documents revealing that North Korea started the Korean war.

I believe North Korea didn't send 31 commandos into Seoul in 1968 to kill Park Chung Hee. I believe North Korea didn't send another 130 guerrillas onto the East Coast area of Uljin and Samchok later that year. Or June 1969 when it didn't send armed agents into Huksan. Or April 1970 into Hukchon.

I believe the assassin who killed the South Korean first lady in 1974 wasn't a North Korean agent. I believe several North Korean agents didn't cross the border in October 1979. I believe the Earth moved and they only appeared to be in South Korea. I believe that three North Korean agents shot near the Han River in March 1980 were just out for a swim. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death in November 1980 in Hwenggando got lost while hiking.
I believe that three North Korean agents shot to death in Namhae a few months later were part of a search party looking for those lost hikers. I believe that three agents who infiltrated into Kumhwa in March 1981 were sleep walking.

I believe that it is routine for North Korean agents to go to sleep in North Korea and magically wake up in South Korea the next morning, fully armed with grenades, a machine gun and dreams of reunification.

I believed the North Koreans when they said they weren't digging tunnels underground in the 1970s. I didn't believe the South Koreans when they showed the pictures of the tunnels to the world. I believe the mob of North Koreans who chopped up two U.S. army officers in 1976 did it in self-defense. I believe nine North Korean agents shot to death after their boat sank off the coast of Susan in 1981 were lost fishermen. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death near the Imjin River in July 1981 and June 1983 were wayward scuba divers. I believe the North Korea agents spotted along South Korea's east coast in 1982 were tourists.

I believe the North Koreans didn't set off the bomb killing South Korean government officials in Rangoon in 1983. I believe that the alleged North Korean agent who killed three South Korean civilians in September 1984 was a South Korean decoy. I believe that Kim Hyun-Hee, who helped blow up a South Korean plane in 1987 (killing all 115 on board), wasn't a North Korean agent. If she was, technically speaking, a North Korean agent, I believe she honestly forgot to take her bomb off the plane.

I believe that North Korean agents shot to death in May 1992 (three along the West Coast) and October 1995 (two in Puyo) were bringing reunification messages. Or messages of apology about the terrorist plane bombing. Or were lost. Or whatever the North Korean government says they were doing.

I believe that it is the responsibility of people who have never been to North Korea to feed starving North Koreans. I believe North Koreans want peace, and that the imperialists and puppets from the U.S., Japan and South Korea who are feeding starving North Koreans want war.

I believe that defectors from North Korea are "rats," "criminals," and "cowards." I believe that North Korea is a worker's paradise and that only rats, criminals and cowards would voluntarily leave. I believe that if North Korea opened the border that only rats, criminals and cowards would leave. I believe the North Koreans are trying to protect the South Koreans from those rats, criminals and cowards.

I believe that reports of North Korean soldiers illegally entering the DMZ is South Korean propaganda to justify increased military. I believe that the North Korean government official who threatened to turn Seoul into a "sea of flames" was misquoted. I believe he meant to say a "sea of happiness." Or a "sea of love." He was misquoted in his own life story. His words were mistranslated from the Korean language into the Korean language. He wasn't there. He was having an off-day.

I believed North Korea when it said that one of its submarines, while on a "routine mission" in September 1996, "drifted" to the South because of "engine trouble." I didn't believe North Korea when it threatened to retaliate against Seoul "a hundred and a thousand times" for killing most of the submarine's 26 agents who had fled months later when its spokesmen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed "deep regret" for the submarine incident.

I believed North Korea two days later when it blamed Seoul for the submarine incident. I believed North Korea when it said it would try to prevent future incidents. I believed that it couldn't prevent such incidents because North Korean subs naturally drift to the South when they have engine trouble. I believe the South uses a large magnet to attract North Korean subs.
I believed North Korea last month when it said that its submarine "drifted" into South Korean waters after it experienced "engine trouble." I believe the South Koreans were responsible for the nine crewmen committing suicide. I believe the dead man discovered washed up on a beach wearing North Korean clothing and armed with North Korean weapons wasn't a North Korean agent.

I believe all of this because I don't believe that North Korea actually exists. I believe that North Korea is a figment of South Korean imaginations. I believe that Boris Yeltsin has the secret documents to prove it.

CJL
Linked by NetRightNation
One of Kim Il-Sung's mentors

5/22/09

Black talk radio

A few years ago a caller to a black talk show station complained that there wasn't enough "serious" talk on black talk radio. I disagree in one way: there are plenty of attempts at serious talk on black radio but it ends up being comical. But I digress.
The host listened to the caller, then went on a tirade.

His station had switched from all music to all talk...and the station's ratings still haven't recovered. They lost half of their audience overnight. He didn't believe that black people really wanted serious talk.

I've heard from a number of black commentators that there is too much "booty-shaking" on BET and other black media outlets. They just want serious conversation.

Much like that skeptical host, I wonder. Nothing against black people--I suspect that most people aren't that concerned with politics.

Someone who isn't skeptical is brotherman Cedric Muhammad. He has launched a new talk show. "The Cedric Muhammad And Black Coffee Program."

CJL

Thomas Sowell's latest--The Housing Boom and Bust


I just got Thomas Sowell's latest--The Housing Boom and Bust--in the mail. That's his second book this year, and we're only in May.

As Walter E. Williams said to me when we talked about Sowell on the radio a few years ago: He writes with BOTH hands.

CJL

5/21/09

$63.80?

Incredible. A book I co-edited a few years ago is for sale...for $63.80. Or you can get it on Amazon at a bargain price of $55.00 or $50.00.

Those are used copies.

I hate to undercut the folks trying to hawk my book, but...

you can buy a signed copy directly from me at any of those prices listed above. I'd even bust into the Cato warehouse to get some copies of the book stacked up in a corner to sell at half of those Amazon prices.

For a plane ticket, car rental, night in a hotel, and small fee, I'd even come to your home to read to you, family, and friends the chapter of the book I authored.

I do wonder if any of the people who got signed copies of the book (see home page pic) have tried to sell the book.

CJL