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Monday, March 7, 2011

Ruminations From the Void

Meaningless Graphic

*   Baseball season is upon us and I'm afraid my beloved St. Louis Cardinals are, sadly, already out of contention.  With the loss of ace pitcher Adam Wainwright and the addition of a Lance 'Crutches' Berkman to Right Field/DL, it could be a very difficult year for the Redbirds.  If nothing else, it should make it clear to Cardinal Nation that it takes more than one $30 million man to make a winning team.  I'm not saying Albert Pujols is not worth the money, but not at the cost of fielding a competitive team.  The new 72" 3D TV may be worth $10,000, but not if it means I stop making my mortgage payment.

*  Good news for parents and society.  Abstinence is not dead.  Recent studies show that more teens are choosing not to have sex.  From the Washington Post,
Among the findings of a sweeping federal government survey of American sexual behavior is one that may surprise those bewailing a permissive and eros-soaked popular culture: More than one-quarter of people interviewed in their late teens and early 20s had never had sex.
And the number was growing.
The latest round of the quaintly named National Survey of Family Growth found that among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever – up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002.

Perhaps this is a reflection of President Bush's push for including abstinence in school's sex education.  In the 1980's, drug use declined during Nancy Reagan's "Just say no" campaign.  The two residents of the White House can have a tremendous impact on our young people, so shouldn't the current First Lady find a more urgent message than "Eat your veggies".   The President has gone on the record to tell us to "Check your tire pressure" to help with fuel economy.  I mean, I'm really going to lose it if I hear Michelle start a "Wait 30" campaign to encourage children to wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming.

*  Obamacare may be over before it really began.  President Obama's administration asked Judge Vinson on clarification of the judge's ruling that the new Health Care Reform law was unconstitutional.  The judge explained that he failed to issue an injunction against the law's implementation because he assumed that it wouldn't be necessary.  Here's what he wrote regarding this clarification,
So to “clarify” my order and judgment: The individual mandate was declared unconstitutional. Because that “essential” provision was unseverable from the rest of the Act, the entire legislation was void. This declaratory judgment was expected to be treated as the “practical” and “functional equivalent of an injunction” with respect to the parties to the litigation. This expectation was based on the “longstanding presumption” that the defendants themselves identified and agreed to be bound by, which provides that a declaratory judgment against federal officials is a de facto injunction. To the extent that the defendants were unable (or believed that they were unable) to comply, it was expected that they would immediately seek a stay of the ruling, and at that point in time present their arguments for why such a stay is necessary, which is the usual and standard procedure. It was not expected that they would effectively ignore the order and declaratory judgment for two and one-half weeks, continue to implement the Act, and only then file a belated motion to “clarify.” [h/t Avik Roy, NRO]
In legal speak, this was a smack down on the Obama's administration.  As it stands now, Obama has seven days to get this fast-tracked for the Supreme Court or the administration will be instructed to stop implementation of the law.

*  While we are on the topic of health care, Jim Manzi comes to a dramatic conclusion after looking at the results of the RAND Health Insurance Experiment.  Jim says,
Providing people coverage of their medical costs caused no average improvement in health.
That is one very big argument against a costly universal health care program.  As we have seen all too well in our home over the past few years, more care does not equal improved health.  My daughter has had procedures, medicines, and multiple specialists while seeing absolutely no improvement in her health.  She is one very frustrated young woman. 

Just like my old car was going to drip oil no matter what I fixed, some people are more prone to getting a sinus, ear or bladder infection and no amount of money spent is going to fix that.  Well at least not unless we're in some sci-fi movie where they're changing people's DNA.  And then, it usually turns them into psychos, monsters or zombies (oh my).  It's hard to justify the cost if that's the end result.

*  Speaking of Science-fiction, a Nasa Scientist claims to have discovered alien life forms here on Earth.  Searching within a class of meteorites - CI1 carbonaceous chondrites - of which only 9 such meteorites are known to exist on Earth, Dr. Richard Hoover claims to have found alien lifeforms, some of which are similar to organisms on earth.  In his own words,
“The exciting thing is that they are in many cases recognizable and can be associated very closely with the generic species here on earth.  There are some that are just very strange and don’t look like anything that I’ve been able to identify, and I’ve shown them to many other experts that have also come up stumped.”
When another NASA scientist was questioned about Hoover's findings, he expressed a need for caution.  He stopped short of saying that Dr. Hoover often sits by himself in the corner of the cafeteria eating sugar sandwiches while talking to the ghost of Genghis Khan, but he seemed doubtful about the claim.

I don't doubt the sincerity of the lonely Dr. Hoover, but finding fossilized organisms on the surface of a meterorite that seem to bear a remarkable similarity to earth life, is a bit like finding a spot of blood on the floor of a pizza joint that tastes remarkably like tomato sauce.  He has his conclusions and I have mine.  We'll see who's right after further study from other scientists.

*  For those who think I've been too hard on the Public Employee Unions in Wisconsin, the average teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools received compensation in the amount of $101,091 - that's $59,500 in salary plus $41,591 in benefits.  As a total package that is comparable to what the plant managers at my company make.  The difference is our managers are considered Exempt employees and are not eligible to form a union and collectively bargain.  As I've said before, this isn't really about money after all now, is it? [h/t John McCormack, Weekly Standard]

*  Gas prices getting you mad.  Don't expect much relief from the White House.  Obama does not seem interested in allowing the gulf oil industry to get back into action, which along with the events in the Middle East are causing the upward shift.  I say shift and not spike because a spike implies prices falling, which I don't expect to happen.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the Obama offshore drilling moratorium will cause a 13-percent fall in domestic offshore oil production this year, which translates to a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day. That means lower GDP growth for the nation, higher gas prices for all Americans, lower tax revenues for the federal government, and most importantly, fewer jobs for Americans living in the Gulf region.
[h/t Bryan Preston, PJ Tatler]

The administration may begin using some of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a short term stopgap, but as long as we are drilling less instead of more, this administration is condemning us to a large and long term increase in fuel prices.  Chevy sold less than 300 Volt electric cars in February.  Obama wants that to change.  Allowing gas prices to climb to $4 or $5 a gallon is a feature of his energy plan, not a bug.

*  Any lobster fans on a budget out there?  Sorry, but the McLobster will not be going nationwide, McDonald's announced last week.  But it does appears that my wish has finally come true.

*  Blogging may be a little short the next few days.  I am going to be in Jefferson City, Missouri meeting with state legislators discussing the issues I think are important for Missouri.  On my agenda:
  • Stop the push for a Right to Work law
  • Cut the corporate sales tax rate
  • Fund tax incentives that make Missouri competitive
  • Greater use of the E-verify system to stop the employment of illegal aliens
  • Cut, cut, cut the red tape on small businesses
  • Fight the implementation of Obamacare
  • End the practice of funeral protests
  • Discuss the different Fair Tax proposals (I'm inclined against it)
  • End the practice of regulating normal household products that may be used for Meth production (bath salts? - really? Where does it stop?)
  • School vouchers / school choice
If I'm missing anything important, please let me know.  Let your voice be heard.

Have a great week!

Go...go with God, but just go.

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