The Recklessness in the Oval Office


President Obama has accused BP of “recklessness”–the word he used in his Oval Office address last night–insisting that the company pay the costs of the six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf that he has declared. There are really only two possibilities here:

Possibility one: We know that BP was indeed reckless. But if that’s the case–if we know for certain that the oil leak was caused by BP’s recklessness–then why impose a moratorium on drilling by everyone else? Does the highway patrol shut down an entire interstate for six months when a reckless driver causes a crash?

Self-Abuse: Government Lobbies Government


Tim Carney reports:

Government is constantly lobbied, but it is often a lobbyist, too. Governments and government agencies have spent just over $100 million lobbying Washington since the beginning of 2009. That doesn’t include the tab for cities, towns and counties lobbying their state governments. […]

The Big Depression: Reflections on Obama’s Spill Speech


It was good enough. Obama’s spill speech was not the kind of speech that could be picked apart. But that’s because the speech was already less than the sum of its parts. Of the most interest to me was a funny feeling that the speech created, in light of the expectations right and left arrayed around it. Nobody watching the speech felt the thrill of power — the tingle you get when you see someone assume supreme command right before your eyes. I don’t like the cult of the presidency, so I was glad about that.

But during a crisis, a nuts and bolts speech is not very prime time, and a nuts and bolts president isn’t either. There has to be a larger view — a context. Because a crisis like this is what the philosophers call an epistemological crisis, a crisis of knowledge. What’s happening to us? Not in a this-tarball-here, this-wetland-there way. In a to-be-or-not-to-be way, if I can put it that dramatically. How is it we’re now to be? Whichever person happened to be president now would have to answer that question.

John McCain, fencing off America. Would Ronald Reagan have approved?


In today’s Wall Street Journal, Peter Robinson explains how Reagan would have approached our immigration dilemma:

Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist…Describing America as “a shining city” in his 1989 farewell address, for example, he said, “[a]nd if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

How Political Liberty Saves The Planet


“To be sure,” writes Shikha Dalmia at Reason, “I was on something of a luxury trip for journalists, carefully choreographed by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation.” But

unless somehow someone managed to prettify vast swaths of the countryside for our benefit, I couldn’t help but think that, by any properly historically calibrated yardstick, the real story in China is not of environmental degredation, but of environmental progress. Still, China does have an environmental problem. But it stems from its moribund political system—not its growing economy.

Obamacare and the “Zone of Privacy”


Ever notice that when the subject is abortion, liberals extol the constitutional “zone of privacy” that shields “intimate” health decisions from government interference, but when the subject is healthcare, liberals forget all about privacy?

Me too, which is why I wanted to share my piece in today’s NRO, in which I argue that the “individual mandate” of Obamacare is on a collision course with Roe v. Wade and its progeny. I’m just a country lawyer, mind you, but at least one real-live lawsuit argues that the Roe privacy right is inconsistent with a government diktat to buy health insurance.

It’s Getting Worse


From the Wall Street Journal:

Congressional investigators say documents uncovered as part of their inquiry into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have raised “serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon” drilling rig….The letter amounts to a warning to Mr. Hayward [BP’s CEO] that he will face tough questioning Thursday when he testifies for the first time before Congress.

Drowning in a Sea of Political Correctness


My apologies, especially to Rob who invited me on this cruise. Kept reading the last few days, but not blogging.

I was MIA, attending my niece’s graduation at Stanford. I love the place, having spent some graduate school time there and I was so proud of my med school bound niece who had the smarts to rarely enter the Humanities Building, but graduated with distinction from the Bio Department. But boy I almost drowned in the PC. From the ethnicity identifying graduation sashes to commencement speaker, Susan Rice, Ambassador to the U.N., who virtually laid the responsibility for African hunger at the feet of thousands of graduates who will be getting pretty hungry themselves considering the job market they’re entering.

Palin and Thatcher


So Palin’s going to meet Thatcher. I expect Rob will craft one of his trademark mock scripts about how it all goes down. But in this Daily Mail story, a classic for many reasons, the following snarky comment caught my eye:

One individual involved in the talks about the visit said: ‘Palin’s people haven’t said anything about meeting Cameron. Their main interest is getting a picture of her with Lady Thatcher. I’m not sure they know who David Cameron is.’

Making it Worse


Is it because apparently only 8% of this administration have ANY business experience that they can be so utterly oblivious to the value of rule of law and political certainty? The way the oil spill is being handled is radically magnifying its harms, not just in the initial non-allowance of the usual burn protocol, but in every decision since that increases economic loss and investor uncertainty. Where did all the adults go?

From Etheridge To Sestak, What’s Going On At WaPo?


What’s going on at the Washington Post?

At National Review, Jim Geraghty criticizes the Washington Post for downplaying the bizarre spectacle of Representative Bob Etheridge assaulting two self-described “students” seeking to ask him questions. The Post, Geraghty notes, only spent three paragraphs on the story, in the gossip column. Geraghty concludes: “This is not even bias anymore; this is information management, designed to ensure those who pick up the print version of the Post never encounter what the blogosphere is buzzing about.”

Faulkner in 2012


I think I have found my new hero. (He’s probably a little bit looney, but who isn’t?) The recession hit the construction business pretty hard, I guess, and here’s a heck of a way to spend the down time while you wait for the phone to ring.

Musical Yes & No: Overwrought Pop Edition


Yes: Weezer, “Represent.” Nothing is less punk than a patriotic World Cup song. But the gleeful sellouts (there’s a Weezer slanket) triumph with a red-blooded American chorus: “It matters whether you win or lose.” Take that, soft bigotry of low expectations.

No: Lady GaGa, “Alejandro.” One-time amazing space alien wastes your time with an 8-minute video of warmed-over transgression theater to the tune of zombie Ace of Base. At this point in her rocketing career, it’s the music, not the images, that should be more dangerous.

NATO’s Personality Crisis


It’s not an identity crisis. It’s not an existential crisis. Life after the Cold War has been remarkably consistent and coherent for NATO — consolidate Europe west of the historical post-Soviet space and, after 9/11, to share the burden in Afghanistan. But NATO is headed nonetheless for a personality crisis. How are these missions to be carried out? With what disposition? Begrudgingly? Adversarially? Blithely? Cautiously?

The problem is compounded now by Turkey — and by frustrated US reactions to the Turks. There is only one reason why Turkey is in NATO, and that is because Turkey sealed off the Mediterranean to the Russians. A little pressure in Europe, and the alliance will not crack. A little pressure in Turkey, and people start asking questions.

Responsible Feminism


There is a line of reasoning, which I don’t hear voiced nearly often enough, that holds that the pro-life movement is, in fact, more pro-woman than its opposite number. This post got me thinking about it. For the moment, we can leave aside the religious perspective on abortion, which I think is delineated here quite eloquently.

Pro-choice advocates point out how victimized and compromised women are by unwelcome pregnancies, ignoring the great and powerful choice these “victims” make to have sex in the first place. (Pregnancies resulting from rape are a different issue.)

Re: Lobbing Tarballs


From Ricochet reader Daniel Frank, two sentences that sum up the fix we’re in for two more years–and maybe six:

It isn’t necessarily fatal to have a chief executive with no actual experience at doing, building, hiring, creating, researching, healing, fighting crime, or making war, although it strikes me as extremely imprudent. What makes it so dangerous is that this executive thinks he can apply his one and only competency — politics — to all these domains.

Lobbing Tarballs


Noting that the chairman of BP is flying to Washington for a Wednesday meeting with President Obama, the Times of London reports that

BP’s directors are discussing a reduction in dividend payments as part of a peace offering to Obama, who has made stinging attacks on the group and its management.

Abby Sunderland’s Dangerous Priorities


Are the parents wrong for allowing their kids to pursue goals like being the youngest solo around-the-world sailor? She’s obviously very capable but I’m more disturbed by the priorities the family endorses. Let her be great, let her challenger herself, but why does she have to be first? Why does she have to be the youngest? Why is this so important? This is where the danger lies.

The slightly controversial Rafeal Merry del Val, Cardinal and Secretary to Pope Pius the X, wrote something called the Litany of Humility. It’s a tough pill to swallow but if followed even a tad, it moves priorities to a point where questions like whether these parents are bad people or not will never arise. I’d like to be the first person to raise a kid in my neighborhood that didn’t put their parents through hell.

The Bailout To End All Bailouts


You saw it coming, and here it is: $160B for Fannie and Freddie. Or, y’know, more. Much more.

Sean Egan, president of Egan-Jones Ratings Co. in Haverford, Pennsylvania, said that a 20 percent loss on the companies’ loans and guarantees, along the lines of other large market players such as Countrywide Financial Corp., now owned by Bank of America Corp., could cause even more damage.

Conservatives & gay marriage


The Washington Post today carries a profile on Ted Olson, the former Bush solicitor general and the man who won Bush v. Gore, questioning why he has taken on the attack on Proposition 8 (California’s ban on gay marriage). There are two assumptions widely held in the media that are plain wrong: a) that conservatives cannot support gay marriage; and b) if you support gay marriage, you must be in favor of having the courts impose it nationwide. I opposed the Bush administration’s proposal of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, but I also think that the courts should not engage in ever more activism to make up yet another constitutional right. This should be a matter for the people of individual states to decide, which ultimately will place the right to gay marriage on firmer foundations than, say, abortion, where the Court’s activism has harmed the Court and poisoned our politics.

Beyond Punitive


Let’s see: Obama wants BP to slash its dividend, fire its CEO, set up a $20 billion clean up fund, and pick up the tab for workers displaced by the Administration’s drilling moratorium. Oh, and there’s a criminal investigation.

Is there a precedent for handing a company a death sentence to score political points? Unfortunately, yes: the Bush Justice Department’s shameful prosecution of Arthur Andersen (utlimately overturned by SCOTUS).

When Scientists Talk Rot


If there were no climate science, evolutionary biology would win the prize for nonsensical blithering masquerading as reason. A new “study” by “experts” from England and Holland proves that guys like – wait for it! – pretty girls.

Men weigh up potential partners almost instantaneously based on their appearance because their “ancient” genetic preference for attractive mates leads them to, experts claim.

Nationalizing The Massachusetts Mess


Read Sally Pipes in the Washington Examiner:

Devotees of big government, like Archimedes, believe that if they have a long lever and a place to stand, they can move the world. […] In 2006, a bipartisan band of such politicians in Massachusetts immersed themselves in wishful thinking, ignored both hard facts and proven theory, and used their political muscle to build bureaucracy, increase taxes, and aggregated power to remake health care in the Bay State. [Democrats] took the act nationwide with the passage in March 2010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Like the canary in a mineshaft, Massachusetts provides a strong indication of our fate. […] The ultimate payers will be consumers and taxpayers, who will either pay more for less or more for nothing at all. What happens in Mass won’t be staying in Mass.