Audio Clips

17 June 2008

The Greatest Story Never Told

If you're not getting the Imprimis from Hillsdale College you are missing out on one of the greatest freebies around. It is a monthly mailing from Hillsdale that reprints a speech given on campus during the last few months. And it's free. You can subscribe by clicking here and signing up. Did I mention it's free?

So this month's Imprimis was a speech by Patrick Toomey who is the president of the Club for Growth. He gave a speech on the economic successes of the last quarter century and it is phenomenal to hear.

As a society we are pretty egalitarian. We believe that everyone does and should have a shot at success. We are not as accepting of the fact that some people fail, but part of the freedom to succeed is the freedom to fail too. So when we look at those who are not doing as well as others we tend to look for reasons why and usually we look for external causes. Sometimes that is indeed the case, but most of the time it is simply because that person made a mistake or miscalculation. (The beauty of the system is that we can make terrible miscalculations and still overcome them). However, the economy that we have been enjoying for the last 25-50 years has created some tremendous advantages even for those who have not had the same level of economic success as others.

In 1985 there were only 340 cell phone subscribers. You read that right, 340. In 2007, just 22 years later, there were 243 MILLION. Of those people who lived below the poverty line in the 1970s, less than 40% had a car and very few had TVs. Today over 75% of them have a car (a third have 2 cars), and a whopping 96% have TVs. It is not nearly as bad to be in government-defined poverty as it was 30 years ago.

There will always be room for improvement, but we should be grateful about the incredible improvements that have been made for everyone who lives in the US. We should be making sure that the opportunity to succeed continues to be a central tenet of our country instead of asking the government to take our money and decide who should succeed and what the definition of success should be.

12 June 2008

Goodbye, Sweet America

Okay, it's been a couple of weeks since this happened but I've been thinking about it and I think Michelle Malkin is a loon. I have read some of her articles in the past and she seemed okay, if a little too militant for my taste, but her recent dustup with Dunkin' Donuts is off-the-charts crazy-talk.

She accuses Rachel Ray of "mainstreaming" jihadist violence because she wore a scarf that resembled a keffiyeh (think of the rag that murderer Yasser Arafat used to wear). Now, I'm all for stopping jihadist violence, but this is lunacy. Are we going to start blackballing people because their fashion appears similar to something that was worn by a terrorist? Richard Reed wore tennis shoes, maybe we should go after the creeps walking around in tennis shoes. Oh wait, I know, all those terrorist tend to have beards, maybe we should vilify people with beards. Or, even better, all those terrorists have guns. Let's get the people with guns.

Michelle Malkin is making herself look like an irrational, militaristic jerk by accusing Rachel Ray (who mildly irritates me) of mainstreaming jihadist violence. That's crazy and it doesn't advance any cause worth advancing. It does, however, make Michelle wealthier because she, like Ann Coulter, is an attention-monger who is trying to get books sold. I wonder sometimes if Michelle Malkin is more interested in the causes she claims to support or in Michelle Malkin, Inc.

03 June 2008

It could happen to you...don't doubt it.

The city of Telluride, Colorado yesterday won the power to take land that is outside their own boundaries through eminent domain. The owner of the land has owned it for decades and wanted to build about 2 dozen houses and make 91% of the land protected by a conservation easement. The city had other ideas. They wanted the entire 572 acres to be open space.

Since the Kelo decision by the Supreme Court several years ago, cities and municipalities seem to have become more brazen in their attempts to take private property for questionable purposes. When the Founding Fathers thought of eminent domain for "public purpose" they were thinking of government buildings, roadways and other limited purposes. Now, however, officials feel free to take property the covet and come up with a public purpose excuse later. In this case, "open space" is a public necessity. In the Kelo decision the public purpose was that a different private owner could generate more taxes than the existing private owner. Therefore, it was in the "public interest" to take the land away and give it to a developer so the city could have more tax revenue.

If you think that somehow this can't affect you I would encourage you to google "eminent domain abuse" and find out just how "rarely" this is happening. It is a damnable outrage that people who have saved and purchased land can have it taken out from under them for pennies on the dollar and given to a developer or a corporation or simply used for a contrived "public purpose".

I have to go take my blood pressure medication now.

02 June 2008

And I'm supposed to...what?

I'm getting pretty tired of media stories showing people losing their homes and playing sad music in the background or showing pictures of families, faces downcast and forlorn. You know what. They're not living on the street. They're heading back to a rental. And there's nothing wrong with that. People made mistakes, got in over their head and now they're learning what not to do next time.

In a recent New York Times piece we are apparently supposed to feel bad for the Garcias because they bought a home, upgraded to a bigger, better home and kept the original as a rental. They lost the bigger, better home to foreclosure and are now going to lose the original house too. Them's the breaks kids. Fortunately, they look young enough to overcome it.

Don't get me wrong. I feel for the Garcias. I can't imagine what a disappointment it must be to them to go through this. But we don't demand that our neighbors fork out money to us every time we have a disappointment. So we can't demand that our neighbors, the American Taxpayer, fork over money either. Next time, don't buy too much house and don't take out loans that can double or triple your payment after a few years. I'll bet that this is a lesson they won't soon forget. They will make better decisions because of this error in judgment. However, if we bail the Garcias and every other family who made the same mistake they aren't going to learn the lesson that is being offered up.

I wish them luck.