Upside Down Logic At Work

On Wednesday Bill Bennett and Christopher Beach posted an article at Politico about the legalization of marijuana. The article points out the contradiction of a liberal philosophy that wants to legalize marijuana while banning large sodas, sugary foods, trans fat, smoking tobacco, etc.

The article points out:

In his recent New Yorker interview, President Obama remarked, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.” But then he added, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” Of the legalization in Colorado and Washington—never mind the unresolved conflict between state and federal law—he said, “it’s important for it to go forward.”

Got that? The same president who signed into law a tough federal anti-cigarette smoking bill in 2009 now supports marijuana legalization.

The article concludes:

What explains this obvious paradox? Do these liberals think that marijuana is somehow less harmful than a Big Gulp soda or a bucket of fried chicken? It’s hard to believe that’s the case, given the vast amount of social data and medical science on the dangers of marijuana.

Marijuana is destructive, particularly when used by teenagers. Does the people who want to make it legal believe teenagers will not be able to get it and smoke it? That hasn’t worked real well with either cigarettes or alcohol. Most of us probably know a teenager who used pot and paid a price later on–either in his ability to learn, moving on to other drugs, or side effects from some of the things added to the marijuana. Are we willing to make this drug easier for teenagers to obtain? This sounds like a bunch of 60’s hippies who are finally in control wanting to mainstream their counterculture. This is not good for our children, and it is not good for our society.


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A Perspective On American Energy That Isn’t Being Heard

Scott Noble is the President of Noble Royalties, Inc. (NRI). NRI is a company that specializes in acquiring valuable mineral, royalty and overriding royalty properties. The company was founded in 1997. Mr. Noble is also chairman of the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, which supports energy independence for America.

Mr. Noble was interviewed on the Bill Bennett show during the last presidential campaign. This is the audio from that interview:

Some highlights from the website of the NAEOF:

The United States has more energy resources than any other country in the world.  Because of recent advances in technology, American

has the potential to become the number one energy producer in the world by the end of the decade. The main obstacle to achieving this goal is over-regulation by the federal government. Because of those regulations, there are fewer jobs, higher prices at the gas pump, and our national security is at risk.
Under the Obama Administration, new leases on federal land have dropped to under 2 million a year from 12 million in 1988. According to a study conducted by Noble Royalties, returning to 1980’s leasing levels would generate

750 billion dollars in lease and royalty fees for the federal government and add

5 trillion dollars to America’s economy. That is how you fight unemployment.
The Obama Administration has blocked the development of oil sources in Alaska and offshore, and it has blocked the building of new oil refineries.
The article at NAEOF concludes:

Beyond outright bans on development and the failure to issue new leases, numerous new laws have been passed in the past 30 years increasing administrative requirements on energy producers.  A 2004 report from the U.S. Department of Energy determined that there are more than 140 different laws which impact natural gas production in the United States.  Most of these laws apply equally to oil development as well.  The result of this new mound of bureaucracy and red tape has been increased permitting delays, lawsuits and compliance costs that are additionally stymieing development.

Of course, it is reasonable to expect the US government take steps to make sure energy companies are developing oil and gas responsibly.  But environmental regulations long ago passed from the necessary to the ridiculous.  For instance, the Bureau of Land Management recently put a moratorium on drilling in 380,000 acres of land during the mating season of prairie chickens. But when pressed, BLM admitted that the ban was not based on any scientific analysis.

Instead of doing the things that will build our country’s future, we are borrowing from children who aren’t even born yet. America needs to wake up and elect people who will move forward on American energy independence.

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Exciting News For The Students Of Today

The Washington Post reported on December 7th that the new Common Core standards for Curriculum, which will be put in place in 46 states, will require that by graduation in 2014, 70 percent of all books studied have to be nonfiction.

The article reports:

Some suggested texts include “FedViews” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

Wow. Won’t that encourage our children to read.

The article further reports:

The people behind the core have sought to defend it, saying that this was not meant to supplant literature. This increased emphasis on nonfiction would not be a concern if the core worked the way it was supposed to, with teachers in other disciplines like math and science assigning the hard technical texts that went along with their subjects. But teachers worry that this will not happen. Principals seem to be having trouble comprehending the requirement themselves. Besides, the other teachers are too busy, well, teaching their subjects to inflict technical manuals on their students too, and  they may expect the English department to pick up the slack. And hence the great Purge of Literature.

What kind of children are we planning on raising? Anyone can order a government pamphlet and read it. There is no reason to waste time in high school reading how to insulate a house (unless you are training for construction). Reading literature helps students understand the challenges of those who have gone before them. It also (possibly) gives them an appreciation of the ease of the lives they live.

My favorite talk show host is Bill Bennett. I enjoy listening to him because he is the product of a Classical Catholic education. He talks as easily about Shakespeare as he does about recent events on Capitol Hill. His perspective is framed by his education in the classics of literature–not by what plants he can bring into California.

The Common Core Standards is one of the dumbest ideas to come along in  a long time. I hope teachers will reject it quickly so that the students can actually learn to appreciate literature.

NOTE: I posted a similar article on December 7th. I am posting this article because I think it contains more detail on what is actually planned.

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James Pethokoukis On The Economy

James Pethokoukis, columnist for American Enterprise institute, was on the Bill Bennett radio show this morning talking about the economy.

Some of his statements:

Last year the economy grew at a rate of 1.1 and we generated about 150,000 jobs a month. No one thought that was a good year. …If anything goes wrong, we do go back into recession. …I think it’s a pretty fragile situation. …This is a very, very weak recovery. …We should be adding 250,000, 300,000, 400,000 jobs a month, which we would be if the economy was growing faster.

A caller remarked:

If President Obama is trying so hard, why have we not had a budget?

The President talks about saving the automobile industry.  What about the bond holders that were swept under the rug and lost all their money because all the money was given to the unions?

Mr. Pethokoukis commented that the President will be coming out with a plan today to extend the Bush tax cuts on taxpayers earning less than $250,000. Mr. Pethokoukis pointed out that the plan the President is proposing represents a $70 billion tax increase on those earners, many of which are small business owners. There is no way that helps the economy.

Mr. Pethokoukis also reminded us that during the 1983 recovery from the Jimmy Carter recession, we have one month where the economy gained one million jobs.  A recovery after a severe recession should post that kind of numbers—not the numbers we are currently seeing.

Don’t be fooled by the campaign rhetoric—the Obama economic plans have not worked.

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Some Thoughts On Recent Financial News

Peter Wallison writes on financial matters at the American Enterprise Institute. This morning he was interviewed on the Bill Bennett radio show about the recent trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase (as reported in USA Today). I don’t claim to understand this level of finance, but there were a few things I picked up along the way.

I am going to attempt to repeat what he said, because he clearly understood exactly what was going on and shed considerable light on the subject.

Mr. Wallison explained that the JPMorgan Chase trades had to do with something called “hedging,” a process that is legal. The bank was using “hedging” to protect itself from losses it felt would occur due to the unraveling of the financial situation in Europe. Mr. Wallison further explained that the loss represented a very small percentage of the total worth of the bank and was actually not as significant as it is being made out to be. Essentially, the news media is being part of the ‘silly season’ of an election year. The Volcker Rule (part of the Dodd-Frank bill that was supposed to reform Wall Street) would not have stopped this loss–“hedging” is legal under Dodd-Frank. What is not legal is the buying and selling securities by banks for their own accounts. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell the difference between “hedging” and trading for their own accounts. Because it is so difficult to differentiate between “hedging” and banks trading for their own accounts, Dodd-Frank is essentially an unworkable law that needs to be changed or overturned.

The link to the American Enterprise Instituteabove links to Peter Wallison’s article entitled, “Dissent from the Majority Report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.” I strongly suggest reading this in order to understand how politics has hindered, rather than helped, America in solving the financial crisis that we have been in for the past four years.


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Something To Think About In November

Daguerrotype of the south front of the White House

Image via Wikipedia

I was listening to Bill Bennett this morning and MarcThiessen was one of his guests. Bill Bennett is one of my favorite radio shows because issues are discussed–not screamed. Mr. Thiessen was discussing his recent article in the Washington Post.

The article deals with some of the consequences (unintended and intended) of a second term for President Obama.

The article states:

Electing a transformational conservative president may not be in the cards this November — but stopping a transformational liberal president still is. Consider the consequences if Obama gets a second term: Obamacare will not be repealed. The unprecedented levels of spending in Obama’s first four years will become the new floor, as America sets new records for fiscal profligacy and debt. Job creators will face massive tax increases, and more Americans will come off the tax rolls — resulting in fewer citizens with a stake in keeping taxes low and more with a stake in protecting benefits. Government dependency, already at record levels, will continue to grow. Four lost years in dealing with the entitlement crisis will become eight — digging us into a hole from which we may not be able to emerge. Obama, unworried about the impact of gas and electricity prices on his reelection, will finally wage the regulatory war on fossil fuels the left demands. He will unleash the Environmental Protection Agency to impose crushing new burdens on U.S. business. His administration’s assault on religious freedom will go on and expand to new areas. The Defense Department will be gutted, with cuts so deep that America will no longer be a superpower. Obama could have the opportunity to appoint more liberal Supreme Court justices, ending the Roberts court in all but name for a generation.

Oh, and the oceans will continue to rise.

If President Obama is elected in November, the America that we have all grown up in will not exist by the end of his second term. Even if you do not believe me, there are enough non-partisan people saying similar things to at least cause you to pause and consider the idea. Unless you are willing to take that risk, please vote Republican in November.

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The Sad End Of Whitney Houston

I heard about the death of Whitney Houston late Saturday.  I haven’t written about it because it seemed very tragic and I didn’t know what I could say. I have been listening to Bill Bennett this morning and listening to his comments and the comments of people calling in. I still don’t know what to say, but I have a few observations.

Whitney Houston had a beautiful voice. Evidently in recent years, her drug use had taken a toll on that voice and she no longer had the range and clarity that she once had. (Getting older also affects your voice, so I suspect that might have been part of it). That must have been difficult to deal with.

It is tragic that she died so young. She was 48. We don’t know yet if drugs played a part in her death, although the speculation is that drug use (legal or illegal) was part of the problem.

My condolences go the her family. This is a tragedy. I hope everyone who uses drugs and thinks it is cool will take a long look at this and reconsider. There are many very talented performers who consider drug use one of the perks of the business. We have lost too many gifted people too soon over the years–Elvis, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, etc. Let’s hang on to the performers in this generation–let them be examples of living without drugs. Even though I don’t always appreciate the music of this generation, I would love to see those who produce and perform the music choose to be role models against drug use. If nothing else, that would give them longer careers!

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