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Friday, August 04, 2006

Estate Taxes and Min Wage Bill Are Assinine

Senate GOPers are forcing a vote on both cutting estate taxes and increasing the minimum wage. the idea is apparently a political ploy to force Dems to approve the estate tax cut if they want to raise the min wage. But, does this not also force supporters of cutting the estate tax to support the assinine minimum wage increase?

I would vote "NO" if given the opportunity.

As I have written time and again, any government mandated wage increase prices the lowest end workers out of jobs. That is a morally insupportable bill. Equally morally insupportable is the proposal to mainatin the estate tax. Americans have an inherent property right to provide their estate to whomever they wish, charities, heirs or strippers they just met before dying. We pay taxes every step of the way during our lives on income, capital gains and interest on savings and should not then be fleeced after we die. And the less than Kennedy's who actually build businesses should not be forced to liquidate to pay these unconscionable taxes.

These Republican politicians are too clever by half. If only there were some alternative....

Chicago Attacks Walmart-Ends Up Like Hezbollah

Free market principles are so simple to understand when explained by eminent professors like Doctor Gary Becker.

In Chicago, the "carers of the little guy" in its town council have passed mandatory wage and benefits rules for large "Big Box" retailers like Walmart. You know the drill. To protect employees from these large employers, the municipality mandates wages or benefits that price the low-or- no experience employees beyond their production value. The result is the retailers either reduce their store area to below the regulation requirements or just hire fewer workers or simply skip the municipality completely.

Becker explains who gets hurt:

In a city like Chicago the burden from these responses to the ordinance will fall disproportionately on African Americans and Latinos since fewer jobs will be available to workers in the city with less education and lower skills. In addition, prices in Chicago of items sold relatively cheaply by stores like Wal-Mart and Target will rise because fewer of these stores will open in the city. The mega stores that remain will raise their prices because their costs will go up. Since city customers of these stores are mainly families with modest incomes who seek low prices rather than elaborate service, they more than the affluent classes will be hurt by the rise in prices and reduced availability of big box outlets.

Who would favor such a bad ordinance that will harm the very groups it is claimed to help? Support for the ordinance from more conventional supermarket chains and clothing stores is easy to understand since the mega stores drain away customers and force prices down. The absence of opposition from low-income consumers who shop at these stores is not surprising since they are not well organized to exert political pressure on the City Council.

If that was not clear then read Becker's co-blogger Judge Richard Posner. His more professorial explanation is (he is also a professor in Chicago):

The first-order economic analysis of minimum wage laws shows that they reduce employment by raising the price of labor; the Law of Demand teaches that an increase in the price of a good reduces the quantity of it that is demanded.

So the result of the meddling is fewer jobs, higher retail prices and less competition. Happens all the time. But the proposal's supporters and the politicians get to feel real good about themselves. And that is what really counts.

Plan D is the Best

Blog contributor Mark Reynolds just distributed to our Think Tank a comic strip that showed a teenager reacting to the "Plan B" "Morning After" pill headlines. The character said he was a result of his parent's "Plan D" which was to neither end the pregnancy by the pill or an abortion. Mark was a late-life surprise for his parents. Knowing him as well as I do, there may have been a moment or two that his parents questioned their sanity or intelligence in having him so late in life.

I told my group about something that happened just last night that made my "decision" to become a parent of a second child so exhilarating. Bear with me:

Last night at my son's flag football practice in 90 degree humidity (he is just shy of becoming a 6-year old), he was playing offensive tackle. He was blocking an older, bigger kid. He came off the snap and push the kid back, stayed with the block until the kid was downfield about 10 yards and then the kid fell to the ground. Possibly just an accident but who cares. The coaches missed it but I saw it.

I feel the trade-off of some sleepless nights for that moment was well worth it.

When my wife brings him to practice, she either gabs with the wives or goes shopping for an hour. When I am there, I watch every play. I keep quiet when he is kibbitzing and fails to hear a coach advise him of some elementary football technique. While I want him to learn and show the coaches he is serious, he is only 5. I want him to have fun right now. But when he does something right, and well, I feel more pride than if I had done it.

Meanwhile, for equal billing, earlier in the evening when I first walked in the door, upon saying hello to my 8-year old daughter, she asked me to guess what she was going to be for Halloween. It is 3 months away but kids begin to plan this major decision early. I guessed Lizzie McGuire since that was on the TV in the den. She said she was going to be Kathleen McPhee, the second place winner of American Idol.

The blessing of being able to forget everything you were thinking about just prior to walking into the house. The responsibility of figuring out a solution to a problem at work or world issues are instantly replaced with more important things like how do you figure out a costume of an American Idol singer that people will recognize.

All of this is much better than Plan A, B or C.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Muslim Fun Day Cancelled

A British theme park (Alton Towers in central England) had to cancel its planned "Muslim Fun Day" due to lack of interest. There was going to be halal food, prayer areas and other features of the good-natured "religion of peace".

Did it have anything to do with the following?:

Music, gambling and alcohol were to be banned for the day and theme park rides such as "Ripsaw," "Corkscrew" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" all segregated by sex.

I know I would love to bring the family to a silent, segregated, heavy-clothing, prayer-filled park.

I hear 6 Flags is considering Jonestown day complete with Kool-Aid, bigamy restarants and talking in tongues.

Jimmy Carter's Moral Equivalence Laid Bare

Mark Reynolds provides this:

Forget the question of whether or not we should be listening to Jimmy Carter about the Middle East in light of his performance while sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Carter proves that he can not be trusted on this latest crisis by what he ignores in Stop the Band-Aid Treatment.

Carter writes:

“It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking the devastating response.”

Yes it’s inarguable that Israel has the right to defend itself, although I’m unsure why it’s necessary to even state this, except that maybe Carter has the illogical hope that I and other readers may think he’s addressing this issue from a non-partisan view. I also agree that it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations, but the punishment of civilian populations is not (as far as I can tell) a goal of Israel as Carter implies. Israel’s goal is too keep their civilian population alive, Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s stated goal is the total annihilation of Israel in what ever way possible including putting civilian populations in harm’s way. No where does Carter mention this little discrepancy in motives.

Carter bemoans Israel’s "deep regret," and other promises and explanations that they expressed in response to the air attack on Qana, which killed 57 civilians, when “(t)he urgent need in Lebanon is that Israeli attacks stop, the nation's regular military forces control the southern region, Hezbollah cease as a separate fighting force, and future attacks against Israel be prevented.”

That’s nice rhetoric, but what Carter fails to mention is that the attack resulted in civilian deaths because Israel was attacking a Hezbollah launch site not because Israel was targeting civilians. Hezbollah launching of missiles from behind a “safe-house” which contained civilians (including children) was in effect using the launch site and “safe-house” as “bait” for Israel’s own missiles, hoping they’d hit the “safe-house”. (see Hezbollah’s Triumph by Alan M. Dershowitz ) The reality is that Israel is defending a civilian population while Hezbollah is not only hiding behind, but also deliberately causing casualties within, the civilian population in order to garner condemnation of Israel’s defensive actions.

Carter complains that “the current conflict is part of the inevitably repetitive cycle of violence that results from the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, exacerbated by the almost unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve such a goal. The fact is that the “repetitive cycle” is Israel giving up land and then getting attacked. Jimmy, as you should know, stating that there should be a comprehensive settlement is an easy thing to say but it’s unrealistic until the terrorist groups are shut down. As for the “unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve” a comprehensive settlement; I guess convincing Israel to retreat to it’s pre-1967 borders and introducing a UN Security council resolution (and subsequently adopted) which endorsed Israeli and Palestinian states co-existing side by side (the first Security Council resolution to refer to Palestinian statehood) among other meetings and “talks” conducted by the Bush administration, is not a “real effort”.

Carter, taking a lesson from Mel Gibson, further goes on to say that

“There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international "road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians.”

It’s always Israel that gets in the way of peace, just like Ehud Barak’s offer of a Palestinian state at the Camp David 2000 Summit – which was not acceptable to Arafat because – why? Because the end goal of the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and all other islamofascist groups is the destruction of Israel not peaceful co-existence. Carter makes it sound as if Israel just stops being a “pill” peace will come. In the reality of these terrorists peace will not come until Israel just stops “being”.

Carter further states that a major impediment to progress is Washington's strange policy that dialogue will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject U.S. assertions” and that there should be direct engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority and the government in Damascus. Just who is the U.S. asking to behave subserviently and since when is it “strange” that we refuse to negotiate with terrorist supporting organizations and states?

Finally Carter concludes that

“The people of the Middle East deserve peace and justice, and we in the international community owe them our strong leadership and support.”

It’s easy to say that the people of the Middle East deserve peace and justice but what of those people of the Middle East who disrupt the peace? When your goal is the annihilation of a race of people what is your “peace and justice”? Carter doesn’t answer this question.

Bigotry in Words or Actions

Abe Foxman speaks for me since I am a Jew and he is the spokesoman for the ADL. I never voted for him and I disagree with him on almost every issue (though we both dislike anti-Semitism). But the media quotes him and I am stuck being embarassed once more with his childish reaction.

Foxman's comment on Mel Gibson's apology to Jews was:

“The very fact he issued another statement is a step forward. The other one was total p.r., and this one we’ll accept - for now.”

Alan Combes badgered Ann Coulter last night that Foxman has accepted Gibson's apology. No, he has not. Look at the last 2 words---"for now". An accepted apology places no statute of limitations on its term. Ann commented on how Gibson said nothing different that leading Dem lights as Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. I would add that Dem Presidential candidate Al Sharpton has said and done much worse---his words in 1995 caused a pogrom on a Brooklyn neighborhood when he denounced "white interlopers". But that guy was unchallenged by reporters and party competitors as a presidential candidate of the party!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Toward Tradition offers a better perspective:

There really are anti-Semites in this world of ours right now who not only wish to destroy all Jews but are doing all within their powers to bring that about. Does the name Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggest anything? Does it really make a lot of sense to treat Mel Gibson as a threat to Jews anywhere?

As for the remarks Gibson made while intoxicated, ancient Jewish wisdom informs us that one way we can know what a person is really like is by how he behaves when he is drunk. From this we can safely assume that Mel Gibson doesn't think much of Jews.

However there is another nugget of ancient Jewish wisdom emphasizing that we owe atonement for that which lies in our hearts, only to God. If I have an unworthy thought in my heart about you, I need to make good with God but I don't owe you an apology unless I act upon that thought. We humans are morally obliged to make good to other people only for those things we do, and not for any thoughts we have in our minds.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Gibson, Sheehan, Moore and Buchanan

Don Feder explains that Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade likely was the booze truth serum speaking. Feder places Gibson now along-side Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore in the blame Israel for your troubles clan. The latter 2 use the Pat Buchanan euphemism "neo-con" or the nation of Israel to mask the true intent of the message.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Kos Calls It 2 Sides Dead-Set on Killing Each Other

Andrew Sullivan pointed to the single commentary by liberal blogvoice Daily Kos on the Israel-Lebanon war (which Sully aptly calls the Israel-Iran War):

When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way. And I, for one, sure as heck have no desire to get sucked into that no-win situation.

So it is just 2 "sides" "killing each other"? There is no context to consider? This is from the courageous, self-styled nuanced spokesmen from the Democrat liberal camp.

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