Commentary Magazine


Posts For: April 12, 2009

Greek to Me

In its flattering piece on Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s feisty determination to remain active on the Supreme Court, the Washington Post quotes her on the topic of judges’ use of foreign law:

“There is perhaps a misunderstanding that when you refer to a decision of [foreign courts] that you are using those as binding precedent,” she said.

But she added: “Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article from a professor?”

Perhaps she is playing coy, but she must understand the fundamental difference, right? Law school articles cited by the Court generally address matters of U.S. law, and the Constitution specifically. They may contain research on the meaning of Constitutional text or address conflicts between precedents. But they are worth reading to some degree or another because they shed light on the statutes and Constitution of the United States. The latter is the document which grants the Court its authority and remains the supreme law of the land.

Foreign law is entirely irrelevant to the exploration and determination of the Constitution’s meaning, unless. . . well unless you think the Constitution has no real meaning and is a trampoline from which the judges may launch themselves into all manner of argument, investigation, and philosophical debate. If you think it is impossible or simply foolhardly to determine what the Constitution means (and think your job is to look for intriguing ideas, interesting notions, and cultural trends to impose on the populace) then foreign law — or novels for that matter — are perfectly relevant.

But which law? Saudi Arabian on women’s rights? I think Justice Ginsburg would recoil in horror. Irish or Italian law on separation of church and state? Preposterous. It becomes obvious that foreign law soon devolves into a sort of grocery shelf from which individual justices can pluck whatever looks “good” and disregard the rest.

The entire country is relieved that Justice Ginsburg’s health is holding up. She remains a role model for many who see her life as a great American success story. That doesn’t mean her ideas are worth following.

In its flattering piece on Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s feisty determination to remain active on the Supreme Court, the Washington Post quotes her on the topic of judges’ use of foreign law:

“There is perhaps a misunderstanding that when you refer to a decision of [foreign courts] that you are using those as binding precedent,” she said.

But she added: “Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article from a professor?”

Perhaps she is playing coy, but she must understand the fundamental difference, right? Law school articles cited by the Court generally address matters of U.S. law, and the Constitution specifically. They may contain research on the meaning of Constitutional text or address conflicts between precedents. But they are worth reading to some degree or another because they shed light on the statutes and Constitution of the United States. The latter is the document which grants the Court its authority and remains the supreme law of the land.

Foreign law is entirely irrelevant to the exploration and determination of the Constitution’s meaning, unless. . . well unless you think the Constitution has no real meaning and is a trampoline from which the judges may launch themselves into all manner of argument, investigation, and philosophical debate. If you think it is impossible or simply foolhardly to determine what the Constitution means (and think your job is to look for intriguing ideas, interesting notions, and cultural trends to impose on the populace) then foreign law — or novels for that matter — are perfectly relevant.

But which law? Saudi Arabian on women’s rights? I think Justice Ginsburg would recoil in horror. Irish or Italian law on separation of church and state? Preposterous. It becomes obvious that foreign law soon devolves into a sort of grocery shelf from which individual justices can pluck whatever looks “good” and disregard the rest.

The entire country is relieved that Justice Ginsburg’s health is holding up. She remains a role model for many who see her life as a great American success story. That doesn’t mean her ideas are worth following.

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Re: Richard Phillips, Saved

Abe, indeed this is a wonderful outcome. The task now is to re-establish peace and security on the seas and go about the task of recovering, if possible, over 250 hostages held by the pirates. Thomas Jefferson understood you can not defeat pirates by chasing them one by one around a vast sea. We must either in concert with our allies or unilaterally, if need be, devise a strategy to take the fight to the pirates and re-establish some semblance of order.

I’m not sure this is entirely encouraging:

“We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region,” Obama said. “To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”

If preventing future attacks means eradicating pirates’ safe havens then we may be on the right track. But if the ploy here is to play cat-and-mouse on the high seas and treat pirates as individual criminals we’re in for a long and likely inconclusive outcome.

What is encouraging is that, once again, we see that our military remains the finest in the world. We should make sure they continue to have what they need to maintain their ability to fight both cutting-edge and remarkably old-fashioned threats.

Abe, indeed this is a wonderful outcome. The task now is to re-establish peace and security on the seas and go about the task of recovering, if possible, over 250 hostages held by the pirates. Thomas Jefferson understood you can not defeat pirates by chasing them one by one around a vast sea. We must either in concert with our allies or unilaterally, if need be, devise a strategy to take the fight to the pirates and re-establish some semblance of order.

I’m not sure this is entirely encouraging:

“We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region,” Obama said. “To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”

If preventing future attacks means eradicating pirates’ safe havens then we may be on the right track. But if the ploy here is to play cat-and-mouse on the high seas and treat pirates as individual criminals we’re in for a long and likely inconclusive outcome.

What is encouraging is that, once again, we see that our military remains the finest in the world. We should make sure they continue to have what they need to maintain their ability to fight both cutting-edge and remarkably old-fashioned threats.

Read Less

Richard Phillips, Saved

Fox News is reporting there was a Navy operation to rescue the captain; three of the pirates were killed and one is in custody. Fantastic news all around. The U.S. did not dither with negotiations or treat this as a criminal matter. It acted unilaterally and with force to free a brave man.

Fox News is reporting there was a Navy operation to rescue the captain; three of the pirates were killed and one is in custody. Fantastic news all around. The U.S. did not dither with negotiations or treat this as a criminal matter. It acted unilaterally and with force to free a brave man.

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Then All We’ll Need Is a Commission to Restore Democracy

Fred Hiatt likes Rep. Frank Wolf’s idea to set up a commission modeled on the base-closing system. This would address issues of entitlements, taxes and the budget outside the reach of “interest groups and partisan elements.” Well, outside of representative government too. How about this instead: have a big debate (say in 2010) in which both parties present complete ideas for their plans on these subjects and then let everyone decide by a vote — all on the same day. It would, I think, be, sort of, Constitutional.

Perhaps the Post’s editorial team should  engage in more introspection. They endorsed candidate Barack Obama for president. Now they complain:

There you see that Obama proposes to spend, year after year, 23 or 24 percent of the national economy, while proposing to levy in revenue, year after year, only 18 or 19 percent. The result: the national debt, which is equal to 41 percent of the national economy today, will rise to 82 percent by the end of the next decade.

If this is what we can expect from the man who was elected on a promise of making “hard choices,” then Frank Wolf’s persistence should pay off. His proposed commission would represent the failure of our political system. But it’s needed.

Actually it is not. Elections have consequences. If the candidate turns out to have been a disappointment then the recourse is public debate, argument, campaigns, and elections. If the people agree with the Post then they’ll demand candidates — of both parties — get real. But the solution shouldn’t be to throw up our hands and ditch democracy. It is to elect responsible leaders and hold their feet to the fire. It’s worked, more or less, for 220 years.

Fred Hiatt likes Rep. Frank Wolf’s idea to set up a commission modeled on the base-closing system. This would address issues of entitlements, taxes and the budget outside the reach of “interest groups and partisan elements.” Well, outside of representative government too. How about this instead: have a big debate (say in 2010) in which both parties present complete ideas for their plans on these subjects and then let everyone decide by a vote — all on the same day. It would, I think, be, sort of, Constitutional.

Perhaps the Post’s editorial team should  engage in more introspection. They endorsed candidate Barack Obama for president. Now they complain:

There you see that Obama proposes to spend, year after year, 23 or 24 percent of the national economy, while proposing to levy in revenue, year after year, only 18 or 19 percent. The result: the national debt, which is equal to 41 percent of the national economy today, will rise to 82 percent by the end of the next decade.

If this is what we can expect from the man who was elected on a promise of making “hard choices,” then Frank Wolf’s persistence should pay off. His proposed commission would represent the failure of our political system. But it’s needed.

Actually it is not. Elections have consequences. If the candidate turns out to have been a disappointment then the recourse is public debate, argument, campaigns, and elections. If the people agree with the Post then they’ll demand candidates — of both parties — get real. But the solution shouldn’t be to throw up our hands and ditch democracy. It is to elect responsible leaders and hold their feet to the fire. It’s worked, more or less, for 220 years.

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RE: One of the Worst Ideas Ever

Jennifer will get no argument from me that ethanol has been a disaster for everyone who does not happen to be a corn farmer.

However, she writes, “The law of unintended consequences never fails to disappoint.”

Just for the record, unintended consequences are not always bad ones. Take the GI Bill of Rights of 1944. While ostensibly it was to reward the millions who had fought in World War II and made victory possible, the major underlying purpose was to keep these millions out of the job market for as long as possible.

Almost all economists (their clouded crystal balls ever at the ready) thought the end of the war would bring renewed depression. So the bill offered GI’s generous incentives to go to college and trade school instead of finding a job. Academia was horrified at the prospect of hoards of the great unwashed going to college. But the unintended consequence was a much better educated workforce just when one was needed to exploit for peaceful purposes the new technology developed in the war, such as radar, large airframes, jet engines, rockets, computers, etc.

The number of college degrees awarded in 1950 was double the number from 1940. By making college affordable to groups that previously had sent few to higher education, the GI Bill also helped powerfully to open up high-level jobs to groups that had previously been largely excluded from such jobs. The age-old WASP hegemony in the American economy died at the hands of the GI Bill.

Moreover, the housing benefits in the GI Bill, also intended to make education easier to afford, had the unintended consequence of turning a nation of renters into a nation of homeowners, hugely increasing the percentage of American families owning substantial financial assets. This greatly shrunk the “proletariat” and greatly increased the middle class. (Someone should alert the Left. They seem not to have noticed this fact).

Indeed, the GI Bill was almost nothing but unintended consequences. And — suburbia perhaps an exception — the consequences were profoundly good ones.

Jennifer will get no argument from me that ethanol has been a disaster for everyone who does not happen to be a corn farmer.

However, she writes, “The law of unintended consequences never fails to disappoint.”

Just for the record, unintended consequences are not always bad ones. Take the GI Bill of Rights of 1944. While ostensibly it was to reward the millions who had fought in World War II and made victory possible, the major underlying purpose was to keep these millions out of the job market for as long as possible.

Almost all economists (their clouded crystal balls ever at the ready) thought the end of the war would bring renewed depression. So the bill offered GI’s generous incentives to go to college and trade school instead of finding a job. Academia was horrified at the prospect of hoards of the great unwashed going to college. But the unintended consequence was a much better educated workforce just when one was needed to exploit for peaceful purposes the new technology developed in the war, such as radar, large airframes, jet engines, rockets, computers, etc.

The number of college degrees awarded in 1950 was double the number from 1940. By making college affordable to groups that previously had sent few to higher education, the GI Bill also helped powerfully to open up high-level jobs to groups that had previously been largely excluded from such jobs. The age-old WASP hegemony in the American economy died at the hands of the GI Bill.

Moreover, the housing benefits in the GI Bill, also intended to make education easier to afford, had the unintended consequence of turning a nation of renters into a nation of homeowners, hugely increasing the percentage of American families owning substantial financial assets. This greatly shrunk the “proletariat” and greatly increased the middle class. (Someone should alert the Left. They seem not to have noticed this fact).

Indeed, the GI Bill was almost nothing but unintended consequences. And — suburbia perhaps an exception — the consequences were profoundly good ones.

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One of the Worst Ideas Ever

If you had any doubt that the ethanol subsidy racket was a bad idea, this report from CBO should settle the matter. CBO explains:

The increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. In turn, that increase will boost federal spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp program) and child nutrition programs by an estimated $600 million to $900 million in
fiscal year 2009.

So we raised food prices, contributed to world hunger and unnecessarily increased our own domestic spending. But this will all help with global warming, right? Well in the short run it has reduced greenhouse emissions, but:

If increases in the production of ethanol led to a large amount of forests or grasslands being converted into  new cropland, those changes in land use could more than offset any reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions— because forests and grasslands naturally absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than cropland absorbs.

In short, this was a disastrous policy pushed by a combination of environmental alarmists and ag lobbyists.

The law of unintended consequences never fails to disappoint. And it should be a warning to those planning massive, government-centric programs. We better make darn sure there is a problem before embarking on a “solution,” and we should be wary that the downsides of the program(s) don’t outweigh any benefit we hope to achieve. The ethanol fiasco is a lesson worth embracing as we move forward in discussions on healthcare, cap-and-trade, and a myriad of other social engineering schemes which the Obama team is crafting.

If you had any doubt that the ethanol subsidy racket was a bad idea, this report from CBO should settle the matter. CBO explains:

The increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. In turn, that increase will boost federal spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp program) and child nutrition programs by an estimated $600 million to $900 million in
fiscal year 2009.

So we raised food prices, contributed to world hunger and unnecessarily increased our own domestic spending. But this will all help with global warming, right? Well in the short run it has reduced greenhouse emissions, but:

If increases in the production of ethanol led to a large amount of forests or grasslands being converted into  new cropland, those changes in land use could more than offset any reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions— because forests and grasslands naturally absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than cropland absorbs.

In short, this was a disastrous policy pushed by a combination of environmental alarmists and ag lobbyists.

The law of unintended consequences never fails to disappoint. And it should be a warning to those planning massive, government-centric programs. We better make darn sure there is a problem before embarking on a “solution,” and we should be wary that the downsides of the program(s) don’t outweigh any benefit we hope to achieve. The ethanol fiasco is a lesson worth embracing as we move forward in discussions on healthcare, cap-and-trade, and a myriad of other social engineering schemes which the Obama team is crafting.

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Hezbollah in Egypt

The brewing battle between the Egyptian leadership and the leadership of Hezbollah can have far-reaching consequences for the region. Late last week, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah publically admitted that his organization operates within Egypt, and the response was fierce: “Nasrallah wants to turn Egypt into a playground like Lebanon,” an Egyptian official said. But even more illuminating was this openly stated accusation:

“Nasrallah’s admission and the language he used point to Hizbullah’s desire to unite Egypt and the rest of the region with the Lebanese resistance movement and its solidarity with the Palestinians, under complicated international circumstances – for the mere sake of satisfying the Iranian interest to occupy the world, as [Teheran] develops its nuclear program,” the officials were quoted as saying.

So – the cat is out of the bag: it’s all about Iranian influence, and Arabs understand this much more than some influential Americans. The Roger Cohens of the world can keep listing Hezbollah’s virtues: “No wonder Hamas and Hezbollah are seen throughout the Arab world as legitimate resistance movements,” he wrote about a month ago. Well, not so “legitimate” in Cairo (of course, Cohen can claim that he’s on the side of the Egyptian “people,” not the Egyptian “regime” – but this will hardly be convincing for someone as openly friendly to the autocratic Egyptian government).

And as cynical as this might sound, Israel can benefit from this fight:

Israel, which can regard the events with some satisfaction, is keeping a low profile. Hezbollah’s penetration into Egypt, now facing a close race for Mubarak’s successor, leaves no doubt as to Iran’s intentions. This may result in increased security coordination between Israel and Egypt against arms smuggling into the Strip, and will apparently also dictate Cairo’s continued cool stance toward Gaza.

But in addition to continuing Egypt’s “cool stance” toward the Hamas regime in Gaza, what this dispute does is help refute the argument of all those thinking that Iran is an “Israeli problem.” Cohen – and he is one vocal example, but not the only one – wrote two weeks ago that U.S. “engagement” with Iran is one component of “Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement [that] will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations.” He also wrote that an “Iran breakthrough will shake up current cozy U.S. relationships from Jerusalem to Riyadh.” So now one has to wonder: does this “breakthrough” also involve the cooling of U.S.-Egyptian relations? And what are we saying here: that Obama is ready to dump Jerusalem, Riyadh and Cairo because he wants to better relations with Iran?

I don’t think Obama’s intention is to make such a leap, and apparently, Egypt isn’t yet ready to subjugate itself to the role of Iranian satellite. If the world community doesn’t do something about Iran (there are now some problematic developments on the Hezbollah-Lebanon front) Egypt will no doubt take matters into its own hands.

The brewing battle between the Egyptian leadership and the leadership of Hezbollah can have far-reaching consequences for the region. Late last week, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah publically admitted that his organization operates within Egypt, and the response was fierce: “Nasrallah wants to turn Egypt into a playground like Lebanon,” an Egyptian official said. But even more illuminating was this openly stated accusation:

“Nasrallah’s admission and the language he used point to Hizbullah’s desire to unite Egypt and the rest of the region with the Lebanese resistance movement and its solidarity with the Palestinians, under complicated international circumstances – for the mere sake of satisfying the Iranian interest to occupy the world, as [Teheran] develops its nuclear program,” the officials were quoted as saying.

So – the cat is out of the bag: it’s all about Iranian influence, and Arabs understand this much more than some influential Americans. The Roger Cohens of the world can keep listing Hezbollah’s virtues: “No wonder Hamas and Hezbollah are seen throughout the Arab world as legitimate resistance movements,” he wrote about a month ago. Well, not so “legitimate” in Cairo (of course, Cohen can claim that he’s on the side of the Egyptian “people,” not the Egyptian “regime” – but this will hardly be convincing for someone as openly friendly to the autocratic Egyptian government).

And as cynical as this might sound, Israel can benefit from this fight:

Israel, which can regard the events with some satisfaction, is keeping a low profile. Hezbollah’s penetration into Egypt, now facing a close race for Mubarak’s successor, leaves no doubt as to Iran’s intentions. This may result in increased security coordination between Israel and Egypt against arms smuggling into the Strip, and will apparently also dictate Cairo’s continued cool stance toward Gaza.

But in addition to continuing Egypt’s “cool stance” toward the Hamas regime in Gaza, what this dispute does is help refute the argument of all those thinking that Iran is an “Israeli problem.” Cohen – and he is one vocal example, but not the only one – wrote two weeks ago that U.S. “engagement” with Iran is one component of “Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement [that] will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations.” He also wrote that an “Iran breakthrough will shake up current cozy U.S. relationships from Jerusalem to Riyadh.” So now one has to wonder: does this “breakthrough” also involve the cooling of U.S.-Egyptian relations? And what are we saying here: that Obama is ready to dump Jerusalem, Riyadh and Cairo because he wants to better relations with Iran?

I don’t think Obama’s intention is to make such a leap, and apparently, Egypt isn’t yet ready to subjugate itself to the role of Iranian satellite. If the world community doesn’t do something about Iran (there are now some problematic developments on the Hezbollah-Lebanon front) Egypt will no doubt take matters into its own hands.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Finally, the president is done taking guff from terrorists. Unfortunately it’s the university president of The New School, Bob Kerrey:”The band of hooligans who launched an ill-fated bid to take over the New School are a bumbling brood of terrorists that deserve to be locked up, the university’s embattled president said today.”

Victor Davis Hanson: “The Obamists better be careful in their serial apologetics, ‘Bush did it’ throat-clearing, and caving to European, Russia, Turkish, etc. agendas. Slowly, but clearly we are establishing a new atmosphere in which the old unpredictability, military preparedness, and deterrence will be lost, replaced by a touchy-feely sort of seminar discussion, laced with atonement, reaction. And then the two-bit pirates who boast ‘We are not afraid of the Americans’ will be the least of our problems.”

Tom Wilkerson,  CEO of the United States Naval Institute, explains: “The problem today is that we have refused to take the Jefferson model. We’ve confined our anti-piracy efforts to the open seas and left the pirates’ home bases on land as a sanctuary. Thus, the pirates continue to operate with relative freedom and stealth. We and our allies only respond, never seizing the initiative. The Jefferson model is a better answer: Take on the pirates where they are, rather than guessing where they will be. In short, attack them at their home bases.”

Oy: “FBI agents are investigating the Somali pirates who hijacked a U.S. ship and are holding its captain hostage, U.S. officials said Saturday, raising the possibility of federal charges against the men if they are captured.” Better hope they read the pirates their rights and have search warrants for communication intercepts.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty reminds us that candidate Obama ran on a platform with a number of tax cuts, but President Obama’s budget doesn’t include any of them.

Commenting on the ASU controversy, Larry Sabato makes a great point: “Why are universities handing out these ‘honorary’ doctorates? . . . It is obvious what colleges are attempting to do. They are currying favor with powerful politicians, journalists, industrialists, large contributors, and others. It can be a corrupting practice, partly because it is the role of universities (and tenured faculty) to speak truth to power. In a sense, it is also insulting to the young men and women who have spent years toiling and paying for real doctorates.”

No surprise here: “As Washington cracks down on compensation and tightens regulation of banks, a brain drain is occurring at some of the biggest ones. They are some of the same banks blamed for setting off the worst downturn since the Depression. Top bankers have been leaving Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others in rising numbers to join banks that do not face tighter regulation, including foreign banks, or start-up companies eager to build themselves into tomorrow’s financial powerhouses.” The administration and Congress seem blissfully unaware of the international market for skilled labor.

Elaine Chao gets it right on “card check”: “There’s irreconcilable cognitive dissonance in the Democratic Party’s self-image as pro-worker and its congressional leaders’ push for the ‘card check’ bill. The cynically titled Employee Free Choice Act would deny workers the ability to cast private ballots in unionization elections and then deny them the right to ratify, or not ratify, labor contracts drafted by the government when negotiations in newly unionized workplaces exceed the bill’s rigid timetable.”

Think the tax code is unfair or burdensome? It is — watch this.

And they have the nerve to criticize Wall Street: “In 2001, The New York Times celebrated its 150th anniversary. In the years that have followed, Arthur Sulzberger has steered his inheritance into a ditch. As of this writing, Times Company stock is officially classified as junk.”

Finally, the president is done taking guff from terrorists. Unfortunately it’s the university president of The New School, Bob Kerrey:”The band of hooligans who launched an ill-fated bid to take over the New School are a bumbling brood of terrorists that deserve to be locked up, the university’s embattled president said today.”

Victor Davis Hanson: “The Obamists better be careful in their serial apologetics, ‘Bush did it’ throat-clearing, and caving to European, Russia, Turkish, etc. agendas. Slowly, but clearly we are establishing a new atmosphere in which the old unpredictability, military preparedness, and deterrence will be lost, replaced by a touchy-feely sort of seminar discussion, laced with atonement, reaction. And then the two-bit pirates who boast ‘We are not afraid of the Americans’ will be the least of our problems.”

Tom Wilkerson,  CEO of the United States Naval Institute, explains: “The problem today is that we have refused to take the Jefferson model. We’ve confined our anti-piracy efforts to the open seas and left the pirates’ home bases on land as a sanctuary. Thus, the pirates continue to operate with relative freedom and stealth. We and our allies only respond, never seizing the initiative. The Jefferson model is a better answer: Take on the pirates where they are, rather than guessing where they will be. In short, attack them at their home bases.”

Oy: “FBI agents are investigating the Somali pirates who hijacked a U.S. ship and are holding its captain hostage, U.S. officials said Saturday, raising the possibility of federal charges against the men if they are captured.” Better hope they read the pirates their rights and have search warrants for communication intercepts.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty reminds us that candidate Obama ran on a platform with a number of tax cuts, but President Obama’s budget doesn’t include any of them.

Commenting on the ASU controversy, Larry Sabato makes a great point: “Why are universities handing out these ‘honorary’ doctorates? . . . It is obvious what colleges are attempting to do. They are currying favor with powerful politicians, journalists, industrialists, large contributors, and others. It can be a corrupting practice, partly because it is the role of universities (and tenured faculty) to speak truth to power. In a sense, it is also insulting to the young men and women who have spent years toiling and paying for real doctorates.”

No surprise here: “As Washington cracks down on compensation and tightens regulation of banks, a brain drain is occurring at some of the biggest ones. They are some of the same banks blamed for setting off the worst downturn since the Depression. Top bankers have been leaving Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others in rising numbers to join banks that do not face tighter regulation, including foreign banks, or start-up companies eager to build themselves into tomorrow’s financial powerhouses.” The administration and Congress seem blissfully unaware of the international market for skilled labor.

Elaine Chao gets it right on “card check”: “There’s irreconcilable cognitive dissonance in the Democratic Party’s self-image as pro-worker and its congressional leaders’ push for the ‘card check’ bill. The cynically titled Employee Free Choice Act would deny workers the ability to cast private ballots in unionization elections and then deny them the right to ratify, or not ratify, labor contracts drafted by the government when negotiations in newly unionized workplaces exceed the bill’s rigid timetable.”

Think the tax code is unfair or burdensome? It is — watch this.

And they have the nerve to criticize Wall Street: “In 2001, The New York Times celebrated its 150th anniversary. In the years that have followed, Arthur Sulzberger has steered his inheritance into a ditch. As of this writing, Times Company stock is officially classified as junk.”

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