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  • Archive for May, 2010

    Israel Does Not Understand 4GW

    Posted by Zenpundit on 31st May 2010 (All posts by )

    Israel and HAMAS flotilla
    The story du jour.

    Having previously failed to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza that denies HAMAS war material and economic aid, a coalition of Islamists, Palestinian nationalists and Western Leftists used ships of Turkish registry. The IDF took the bait and blundered into an ambush where the commandos were promptly swarmed by the “peace activists”, overpowered (!) and then had to bloodily shoot their way out of a debacle.

    RealClearPolitics has a better video.

    Taking stock of this bit of guerrilla theater gone lethal, let’s see what the supporters of HAMAS terrorism gained:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Islam, Israel, Leftism, Middle East, Military Affairs, Politics, Terrorism, War and Peace | 13 Comments »

    Memorial Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 31st May 2010 (All posts by )

    war dead

    Posted in Holidays, Military Affairs, USA | Comments Off

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — 30 thru 31 May 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 30th May 2010 (All posts by )

    May 30, 1945

    On Okinawa, American forces reach Shuri, south of the former Japanese positions. Two battalions of US Marines reach the southeast edge of Naha.

    The Japanese withdrawl to the Kiyan Line

    The withdrawal of the 44th independent Mixed Brigade to the Kiyan line, 31 May 1945

    May 31, 1945

    On Okinawa, the US 6th Marine Division (part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps) encounters Japanese rearguards near Hill 46. Japanese forces pull out of Shuri.

    The Shuri Line has fallen!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 1 Comment »

    Israel vs Iran — The Sum of All Fearful Irony?

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 30th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Does anyone else see the epically fearful irony of, a) Jews in German U-boats, b) Armed with nukes carrying American nuclear material, c) Whose bomb designs were tested in then-apartheid South Africa, stalking Iran’s jihadist Regime?

    The Sunday Times of London reports just that in this crazier than Tom Clancy’s SUM OF ALL FEARS article titled:

    Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran

    Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.
     
    The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organization in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.
     
    The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
     
    The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”

    My irony meter has pegged out.

    What’s next?

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guard speed boats hunting those Israeli subs with Japanese commercial bass-finding sonar with made-in-China electronics?

    Posted in Germany, International Affairs, Iran, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Military Affairs, That's NOT Funny | 6 Comments »

    From a Galaxy Far Away

    Posted by David Foster on 30th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Some have suggested that President Barack Obama may not really be an American citizen. I’ve never paid much attention to these arguments; however, I’m now increasingly convinced that Mr Obama’s true origins may lie in a place much further away than Kenya or Indonesia.

    Consider the presidential following statement, made at a recent press conference:

    My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 8 Comments »

    Religions of the Chaos Lords

    Posted by Zenpundit on 30th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Pamela L. Bunker and Dr. Robert J. Bunker at SWJ Blog

    The Spiritual Significance of ¿Plata O Plomo?

    Conventional wisdom holds that narco gang and drug cartel violence in Mexico is primarily secular in nature. This viewpoint has been recently challenged by the activities of the La Familia cartel and some Los Zetas, Gulfo, and other cartel adherents of the cult of Santa Muerte (Saint Death) by means of religious tenets of ‘divine justice’ and instances of tortured victims and ritual human sacrifice offered up to a dark deity, respectively. Severed heads thrown onto a disco floor in Michoacan in 2005 and burnt skull imprints in a clearing in a ranch in the Yucatán Peninsula in 2008 only serve to highlight the number of such incidents which have now taken place. Whereas the infamous ‘black cauldron’ incident in Matamoros in 1989, where American college student Mark Kilroy’s brain was found in a ritual nganga belonging to a local narco gang, was the rare exception, such spiritual-like activities have now become far more frequent.

    These activities only serve to further elaborate concerns amongst scholars, including Sullivan, Elkus, Brands, Manwaring, and the authors, over societal warfare breaking out across the Americas. This warfare- manifesting itself in ‘criminal insurgencies’ derived from groups of gang, cartel, and mercenary networks- promotes new forms of state organization drawn from criminally based social and political norms and behaviors. These include a value system derived from illicit narcotics use, killing for sport and pleasure, human trafficking and slavery, dysfunctional perspectives on women and family life, and a habitual orientation to violence and total disregard for modern civil society and democratic freedoms. This harkens back to Peter’s thoughts concerning the emergence of a ‘new warrior class’ and, before that, van Creveld’s ‘non-trinitarian warfare’ projections.

    Cultural evolution in action, accelerated by extreme violence. More on the cult of Santa Muerte here ( hat tip to HistoryGuy99)

    Cross-posted at Zenpundit.com

    Posted in Americas, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Human Behavior, Latin America, North America, Religion, Society, War and Peace | 9 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — 21 thru 29 May 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 29th May 2010 (All posts by )

    The Abandonment of the Shuri Line

    May 21, 1945

    On Okinawa, US 3rd Amphibious Corps reports advances near the Horseshoe, Half Moon and Wana positions, on the western flank.

    On the east-side, US 7th and 96th Divisions (parts of US 24th Corps) attack near Yonabaru.

    Japanese forces begin to pull out of the Shuri Line.

    May 22, 1945

    On Okinawa, American forces enter Yonabaru and capture Conical Hill. Heavy rains begin that hamper offensive operations for the coming weeks.

    The positions on the left and right of the Shuri line are about to fall leaving the main defensive positions flanked. The Chiefs of staff of the 32nd Army’s main combat units hold a meeting that will determine the remainder of the Okinawa Campaign. The three options they discuss are:

    1) Encircle Shuri Castle and prepare a concentrated defense with the 50,000 remaining troops and long range guns. This proposal retained most of the Japanese heavy guns and artillery ammunition, but there are not enough cave positions in this area to shield all the remaining troops from American artillery.
    .
    2) The second option considered was to withdraw east from the Shuri line to the Chinen Peninsula. This was rejected due to poor roads that would hamper the withdrawal and had the same problem of the lack of cave positions plus a lack of stockpiles of food and ammunition.
    .
    3) The third options was to withdraw south and form a line across the Kiyan Peninsula. This option was chosen because there were enough cave positions with stockpiles of food and small arms ammunition to fall back on.

    May 23, 1945

    On Okinawa, after occupying Naha, the US 6th Marine Division (part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps) encounters heavy Japanese resistance to attempts to advance further south.

    Japanese aircraft begin a three-day series of strikes against the Allied naval forces around the island. This is the seventh kikusui or “Floating Chrysanthemum” suicide strike.

    Reverse slope of Warta Ridge, U.S. forces captured this position only 1,000 yards northwest of the Shuri command cave on 21-23 May

    Reverse slope of Warta Ridge, U.S. forces captured this position only 1,000 yards northwest of the Shuri command cave on 21-23 May

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, War and Peace | 2 Comments »

    How are Locusts Different from Congressmen?

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 28th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Both species gang up to devour everything they can find, spreading ruin. According to this article, being part of the devastating horde triggers the development of the brain in one species.

    This phenomenon has never been observed in Washington DC, where the ravening swarms of the other species are most often found feeding.

    Posted in Humor, Politics | 2 Comments »

    This Is Just Sad

    Posted by Shannon Love on 28th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Instapundit links to a glowing article about “Swarm Power” which had “the potential to stir up the electricity market.”

    Their great idea? Every building will have its own electricity generator based on “automotive” technology. Wow, what an insight. I wonder what else we could call these gadgets?

    How about “a diesel backup generator just like every major building has had for the last 80 years.

    Guess that isn’t as catchy as “Swarm Power”.

    This isn’t advancement.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 43 Comments »

    Book Review — Levenson — Newton and the Counterfeiter

    Posted by James McCormick on 28th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Levenson, Thomas, Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2009, 318pp.

    The publisher kindly provided a copy of this book for review.

    This book was recommended during a Holiday 2009 Book Roundup on chicagoboyz here.

    Fans of fiction author Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age and Anathem were reviewed for chicagoboyz) may recall that one of the most intriguing episodes in his mammoth Baroque Cycle trilogy was Isaac Newton’s use of the Royal Mint to further his interests in the alchemy of gold. In the course of taking on Mint responsibilities, Newton also inherited the responsibility for halting widespread coin tampering and counterfeiting.

    Now we have a non-fiction title by a distinguished American science writer focused on the same subject. Newton’s actions as Warden, then Master, of the Mint were less glamourous than his revolutionary contributions to science and industry, but no less critical to the rapid transformation of England into an industrial giant. The real story behind Isaac Newton’s efforts to rescue England’s silver currency from impending disaster, and to revitalize the Royal Mint, is rather unexpected. And Newton’s methodical (and rather fearsome) efforts to hunt down and hang the country’s counterfeiters turn out to be just as fascinating, and just as strange, as Neal Stephenson’s fictional tale of Newton’s derring-do. Stephenson’s blurb on the back-cover of this book confirms as much.

    Levenson’s book is built around two dramatic themes.

    Firstly, the “fish out of water” transition of Isaac Newton from nerdy reclusive Cambridge savant, obsessed with his privacy, to senior government functionary … comfortable in parliamentary committees, Law Courts, and in the Royal Mint’s interrogation cells.

    Secondly, Newton’s multi-year game of “cat and mouse” with a notorious counterfeiter (William Chaloner) that constantly risked Newton’s professional career, and Chaloner’s life. Chaloner actively sought to have Newton pilloried as incompetent, a thief, and anti-government conspirator, and Newton did his best to see Chaloner hung, drawn, and quartered … counterfeiting being a treasonous offense.

    The author first builds contrasting biographies of the scholar and the criminal, providing a snapshot of criminal London in the late 17th century. The woeful state of English silver coinage brings Newton to London where he was soon to begin an education entirely unlike anything available in Cambridge University.

    SPOILER ALERT: If you’d prefer to learn the story of Newton and the counterfeiter on your own, by reading this book, please skip down to my general comments in the Section titled General Impressions where I’ve tried not to give too much of the tale away.

    EYESTRAIN ALERT: This review runs about 10,500 words. Some readers may prefer to print it out.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, Crime and Punishment, Economics & Finance, History | 9 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 27th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Noah Pollak reviews a recent essay by Peter Beinart:

    Beinart writes as if none of the tragedies of the past two decades happened, or if they did happen, that Israelis, unique among peoples, may not allow themselves to acquire any fears or resentments or lessons. Even Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s greatest doves, understands what has transpired, telling the Wall Street Journal a few days ago: “I am not surprised that so many Israelis lost their trust when they’re being attacked time after time, time after time.” Lost their trust indeed: the Meretz/Labor peace-process faction held 56 Knesset seats in 1992. Today they have 16. Normally in politics, such a massive shift in public opinion is accompanied by genuine inquiry about why it happened. Beinart is unreflective. It must be because of the settlers, or racism, or AIPAC.
     
    Beinart has thus joined a legion of others in the burgeoning profession of being an Israel Scold. Israel Scolds have adopted a set of condescending attitudes toward Israelis, their recent history, and their political choices, demanding that they never allow the cruelties of reality to undermine their faith in the promise of the progressive vision. The distilled pleading of Beinart is merely a series of demands that Israelis refuse to learn from experience: how dare they allow any hostility to Arabs creep into their politics; how dare they vote for Avigdor Lieberman, a populist who plays to the less-than-perfectly liberal Russian immigrants; how dare they lose faith in the peace process and the liberal hopefulness that animated it. Most important: how dare they upset the comfortable ideological existence of American Jews, whose acceptability to their liberal peers depends in no small degree on their willingness to join in pillorying Israel over the failure of the peace process — a failure, alas, that is not Israel’s but liberalism’s.

    Read the whole thing. Pollak is highly effective in explaining the flaws in Beinart’s fashionable argument.

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Leftism, Quotations, Society, USA | 2 Comments »

    River North Architecture Tour

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 26th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Recently I went on a River North architecture tour in Chicago.  The tour was sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and cost $15 / each for non-members, which was money well spent.  Here is a link to the tour.

    The tour started near St. James cathedral at Rush and Huron (upper right, photo).  This church was constructed right before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The center, middle photo shows the tower on the right that survived the fire; you can see the damage to the stones.  On the lower left you can see the Episcopal center for the St. James cathedral built in a modernist style; this was almost torn down during the great real estate boom but it survived and now is probably safe for a few years since construction has come to a standstill.  Driehaus Capital Management helped greatly with the neighborhood, and the top photo shows their headquarters.  The bottom center photo is a classic car in their courtyard and the Driehaus museum features a prominent building from an early baron with immense stone walls in an attempt to make it fireproof.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Architecture, Chicagoania, Photos | 3 Comments »

    A Small Victory

    Posted by David Foster on 26th May 2010 (All posts by )

    About a month ago, I wrote about a provision in the “finance reform” bill that had the potential to do great harm to venture capital and angel investing, and hence to America’s economic growth and productivity. I’m happy to note that this provision has now been removed from the Senate bill.

    I refer to this as a small victory, despite its importance, because this is only a single win against the flood of virtually insane regulatory and tax policy that threatens to engulf the entire American economy. As the WSJ article notes:

    “…the fact that such a destructive provision made it that far shows how little the Members and staff now running Congress understand about wealth creation and the sources of American prosperity.”

    Even more disturbing than the lack of understanding of the economy is the lack of understanding of their own limitations. Indeed, this Congress and Administration seem to me like someone who holds an administrative job at an airline–establishing flight schedules and ordering the in-flight meals, let’s say–who decides that his executive title gives him the right to fly a 777 with passengers. Or a political appointee at the Department of Transportation who goes out to the Potomac Approach facility, sits down at a radar screen, and starts directing traffic.

    There appears to be no limit to the arrogance of those now dominating our political process.

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Politics | 3 Comments »

    Optimism

    Posted by David Foster on 25th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Just for a change…Matt Ridley has some thoughts that are a bit more optimistic than most of things we read/write these days.

    Via Kevin Meyer.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, History, Philosophy | 2 Comments »

    Why Big City Incompetents Like “Gun Control”

    Posted by Shannon Love on 24th May 2010 (All posts by )

    A lot of the big urban areas of the Northeast have turned into war zones. Virtually, without exception, they place the blame on lax “gun control” (really, people control) laws for their sky-high murder rates. I wonder if their voters have ever asked themselves why their mayors are so obsessed?

    I think the answer is simple: It give the mayors external actors to blame so they don’t have to answer for their own incompetence.

    Think about it. What is every one of those mayors really saying when they talk about disarming the citizenry? They’re really saying, “Hey, it’s not my fault our city has become a shooting gallery, it’s the fault of those rednecks three states over! You can’t blame me because I can’t control what those rednecks do! Oh, if only we could overturn two centuries of Constitutional law we would have safe streets! Until that happens, don’t even think of voting me out! It wouldn’t be fair!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Crime and Punishment, Law Enforcement, RKBA, Urban Issues | 13 Comments »

    The Arrival of the Great Caravan, Medinah, 1852

    Posted by Lexington Green on 24th May 2010 (All posts by )

    But how describe’ the utter confusion in the crowding, the bustling, and the vast variety and volume of sound? Huge white Syrian dromedaries, compared with which those of El-Hejaz appeared mere pony-camels, jingling large bells, and bearing Shugdufs (litters) like miniature green tents, swaying and tossing upon their backs; gorgeous Takhtrawan, or litters carried between camels or mules, with scarlet and brass trappings; Bedawin bestriding naked-backed “Daluls” (dromedaries), and clinging like apes to the hairy humps; Arnaut, Kurd, and Turkish Irregular Cavalry, fiercer looking in their mirth than Roman peasants in their rage; fainting Persian pilgrims, forcing their stubborn camels to kneel, or dismounted grumbling from jaded donkeys; Kahwajis, sherbet sellers, and ambulant tobacconists crying their goods; countrypeople driving flocks of sheep and goats with infinite clamor through lines of horses fiercely snorting and biting and kicking and rearing; towns-people seeking their friends; returned travellers exchanging affectionate salutes; devout Hajis jostling one another, running under the legs of camels, and tumbling over the tents’ ropes in their hurry to reach the Haram; cannon roaring from the citadel; shopmen, water-carriers, and fruit vendors fighting over their bargains; boys bullying heretics with loud screams; a well-mounted party of fine old Arab Shaykhs of the Hamidah clan, preceded by their varlets, performing the Arzah or war dance, —compared with which the Pyrenean bear’s performance is grace itself,—firing their duck-guns upwards, or blowing the powder into the calves of those before them, brandishing their swords, leaping frantically the while, with their bright-colored rags floating in the wind, tossing their long spears tufted with ostrich feathers high in the air, reckless where they fall; servants seeking their masters, and masters their tents, with vain cries of Ya Mohammed ;l grandees riding mules or stalking on foot, preceded by their crowd-beaters, shouting to clear the way; here the loud shrieks of women and children, whose litters are bumping and rasping against one another; there the low moaning of some poor wretch that is seeking a shady corner to die in : add a thick dust which blurs the outlines like a London fog, with a flaming sun that draws sparkles of fire from the burnished weapons of the crowd, and the brass balls of tent and litter; and—I doubt, gentle reader, that even the length, the jar, and the confusion of this description is adequate to its subject, or that any ” wordpainting” of mine can convey a just idea of the scene.

    Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Meccah and Medinah, Sir Richard Francis Burton

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Britain, History, Islam, Middle East, Quotations, Religion | 12 Comments »

    Latest Blogad

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Check it out, top of the Left column. The book looks interesting. (I don’t know anything about it other than what’s written in the ad.)

    Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment »

    The weekend before Memorial Day in southern California

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 23rd May 2010 (All posts by )

    I thought this photo might strike a chord with the Chicago crowd.

    netcam2

    This is Lake Arrowhead at 12:40 PM, May 24. I have been planning to retire there but, after seeing this, might give it more thought. I have had weekend homes there for 35 years and don’t believe I have seen snow past March. They had a lot of snow in February this year, over a foot, and it is very clean but this is getting ridiculous.

    Lake Arrowhead is at about 5200 feet elevation at the lake surface. There is snow all over southern California today above 4500 feet, which is below the level of the passes to central California.

    That darned Climate Change.

    Posted in Personal Narrative, Science | 11 Comments »

    The Privilege, or Immunity, of Bearing Arms

    Posted by David McFadden on 23rd May 2010 (All posts by )

    Sometime this spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution applies to state and local governments. Many enthusiasts of gun rights might still be surprised to learn that the Second Amendment has never applied to state and local governments. It has protected, at least recently, the right to keep and bear arms against infringements by only the federal government and its enclaves, like the District of Columbia.

    Actually, none of the Bill of Rights applies to the states, but the Supreme Court has decided that many of the rights it provides are protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (“nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”), which does apply to the states. Advocates of gun rights are very interested in whether the Court will incorporate the right to keep and bear arms into the Fourteenth Amendment. But many conservative legal activists and academics are more interested in whether a different clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is used for that purpose. In their view, the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment intended that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”) would protect substantive rights while the Due Process Clause, as its name implies, would protect procedural rights. The gun control case that the Supreme Court is about to decide, McDonald v. City of Chicago, is seen as an opportunity to right an historical wrong, and so much more.     

    In some circles, it is an article of faith (and partly superstition) that the Privileges or Immunities Clause was fatally misinterpreted at the outset by the Slaughter-House Cases and if only that case could be overturned economic liberties, which the Supreme Court has ignored since the New Deal, could enjoy a new springtime under a reborn Privileges or Immunities Clause.

    The Supreme Court’s 1873 decision in the Slaughter-House Cases was the first time the Court interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment, which had been ratified just five years before. In that case the Court decided that an amendment whose purpose was “the freedom of the slave race [and] the security and firm establishment of that freedom” did not prevent the state of Louisiana from requiring New Orleans butchers to slaughter livestock at a location downriver from the city. The Court said that the Privileges or Immunities Clause  protected only rights of national citizenship, which did not include the right to butcher animals anywhere in New Orleans free of regulation. The examples the Court then gave of what were rights of national citizenship weren’t very helpful; the only one that has had any practical use has been the right to travel interstate.

    As a result, the Privileges or Immunities Clause is the last frontier of the Constitution. Conservatives as well as liberals have been eager to open it up for the cultivation of new rights—and old ones. The libertarian Institute for Justice, which filed an amicus brief in McDonald, had previously tried without success to get the Slaughter-House Cases reversed in a series of cases in which they argued that the Privileges or Immunities Clause protected a right to earn a living. (I represented their opponent in one of them.)

    This time the right to keep and bear arms is the vehicle, but the objective of eventually regaining protection for economic liberties seems to be the same. Alan Gura, counsel for the petitioner in McDonald, hinted at that objective in his brief by complaining that “[s]tate violations of rights understood and intended by the ratifying public to receive significant Fourteenth Amendment protection are not meaningfully secured by federal courts.” At oral argument, the justices struggled to get Gura to divulge what those insecure rights might be. Finally, at the very end of the argument Justice Alito got him to admit that they included the right to contract.

    A remark by Justice Thomas in an earlier case encouraged this Privileges or Immunities project, but he has also said that while the clause should be reconsidered it shouldn’t be used expansively. There didn’t seem to be any other enthusiasm for the Privileges or Immunities project on the bench during oral argument. Justice Scalia said to Gura, “what you argue is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it’s also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence.” 

    If the Supreme Court does incorporate the Second Amendment, I suspect it will do it the old-fashioned way and leave the Privileges or Immunities Clause and the Slaughter-House Cases in peace. That is probably just as well given that the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts will soon be  getting more Obama appointees who may be expected to have designs of their own for the Privileges or Immunities Clause. There is no reason to believe that the federal judiciary will be any more protective of economic liberties and property rights under the opaque Privileges or Immunities Clause than it has been under the Due Process, Takings, and Contracts Clauses, which actually contain the words property, liberty, and contract.

    Reviving the Privileges or Immunities Clause has intellectual and historical appeal, but it is no substitute for the harder task of convincing judges and the politicians who select them that property rights are human rights.

    Posted in Chicagoania, Civil Liberties, Law, Libertarianism, RKBA | 6 Comments »

    Own Goals?

    Posted by Jonathan on 23rd May 2010 (All posts by )

    The other night on Fox one of the heads characterized Rand Paul’s principled libertarian criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a political “own goal”.

    Meanwhile, President Obama not only did not take issue when President Calderon of Mexico, a guest at the White House, used a joint press conference to criticize his hosts because of the State of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, Obama actually spoke in support of Calderon’s argument and against the government of Arizona and, implicitly, against his own country.

    Here are a couple of questions:

    -Did Obama and Calderon coordinate their remarks ahead of time?

    -Who really made an own goal here?

    Posted in Immigration, Obama, Politics | 9 Comments »

    Observation

    Posted by Jonathan on 23rd May 2010 (All posts by )

    If you are holding a cabbage in one hand over a bowl of dirty water in your kitchen sink, and you are holding a knife in your other hand and using it to trim the bad parts from the cabbage, things may not end well.

    Posted in Humor, Personal Narrative | 8 Comments »

    The Laffer Curve, as Explained in 1377

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd May 2010 (All posts by )

    Ibn Khaldun:

    It should be known that at the beginning of the dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments.

    The reason for this is that when the dynasty follows the ways (sunan) of the religion, it imposes only such taxes as are stipulated by the religious law, such as charity taxes, the land tax, and the poll tax. They mean small assessments, because, as everyone knows, the charity tax on property is low. The same applies to the charity tax on grain and cattle, and also to the poll tax, the land tax, and all other taxes required by the religious law. They have fixed limits that cannot be overstepped.

    When the dynasty follows the ways of group feeling and (political) superiority, it necessarily has at first a desert attitude, as has been mentioned before. The desert attitude requires kindness, reverence, humility, respect for the property of other people, and disinclination to appropriate it, except in rare instances. Therefore, the individual imposts and assessments, which together constitute the tax revenue, are low. When tax assessments and imposts upon the subjects are low, the latter have the energy and desire to do things. Cultural enterprises grow and increase, because the low taxes bring satisfaction. When cultural enterprises grow, the number of individual imposts and assessments mounts. In consequence, the tax revenue, which is the sum total of (the individual assessments), increases.

    Read the whole thing.

    Via Isegoria.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, History, Islam, Middle East, Political Philosophy | 5 Comments »

    The trend to cash medical practice

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 21st May 2010 (All posts by )

    Some time ago, I did a post on my own blog about doctors dropping out of Medicare and many quitting all insurance. I really got thinking about this after the American Geriatric Society meeting in Chicago last year. I met a woman geriatrician, the only fellowship trained geriatric specialist in central Iowa. She had quit Medicare. That sounds a bit suicidal if all your patients are Medicare age. What had happened was she was being harassed by Medicare because she was seeing patients too often. Many of them were frail elderly living at home. She dropped out and began charging her patients cash for services. She was making a decent living after a year and was happy with her decision. I don’t know how many realize that geriatrics, as a specialty, is a university subsidized field. There is no private geriatric practice because the doctor can’t survive on what Medicare pays. She tried and had to quit. She is doing it on her own now.

    The Weekly Standard has an interesting article this week on this trend. The doctor is not near retirement , as many of the folks I had previously talked to were. It took a lot of guts for him to start out this way and he explains why.

    There are a couple of errors in the article and I will point them out.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Entrepreneurship, Health Care, Medicine | 9 Comments »

    I Drew Mohammed. What’a Gonna Do About?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 20th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Mohommad

    Posted in Humor, Islam | 12 Comments »

    Everybody draw Mohammed redux

    Posted by TM Lutas on 20th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Well, I drew Mohammed, albeit in a purely derivative way (which makes me an ultra conventional modern artist, I guess). I did it this way to make a very minor point, that one does not have to be disrespectful to stand up for your rights. I will never fall into idolatry over Mohammed. If he is in Heaven, he got there by an extraordinary act of mercy by the grace of God in my opinion because he did many wicked things on earth and led many people astray. Even under a Caliphate run by normal muslims I would retain the right to that opinion as a dhimmi.

    But I drew Mohammed today because many muslims are not normal and their more numerous normal bretheren are not keeping these extremists in check. I don’t expect that my blog post will get me any more than inclusion in the generic condemnation by these evil muslim jurists who abuse their powers and shame their own faith through their exaggerated fatwas but it’s the thought that counts. I stand with freedom and against censorship. I’ve done my bit. Now it’s your turn.

    Posted in Islam | 1 Comment »