[VIDEO] Ted Cruz attacks Donald Trump’s reliance on eminent domain

donald trumpIn it’s purest form, there’s nothing too terribly wrong with eminent domain.  It says that the government may take property to benefit the public at large provided that it compensates the property owner for the taking.  In America, the government’s obligation to pay for the land it takes for public use is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.  (Emphasis mine.)

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The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

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Government-imposed minimum wages: A world that cultivates every person’s inner Veruca Salt

veruca-salt-now2

A month ago, my Facebook feed (which reflects the fact that many of my friends are Progressives) was suddenly overrun by a series of posters, all pointing out that minimum wage work is insufficient to support the cost of a two bedroom apartment.  It’s unlikely that the new minimum wage laws that went into effect on January 1, 2016, in 14 states will change these charts:

minimum wage won't afford two bedroom apartment

Also, in a charming irony, that problem is worse in most blue states compared to most red ones, as you’ll see if you compare the two charts below:

Minimum wage two bedroom apartment

red state - blue state

There are three major bad ideas packed into the notion that minimum wage should be the Rolls Royce of salaries.

The first problem is basic economics: The reality is that a higher minimum wage benefits the few over the many:

Increasing the minimum wage is an inefficient way to reduce poverty, according to a Fed research paper that comes amid a national clamor to hike pay for workers at the low end of the salary scale.

David Neumark, visiting scholar at the San Francisco Fed, contends in the paper that raising the minimum wage has only limited benefits in the war against poverty, due in part because relatively few of those falling below the poverty line actually receive the wage.

Many of the benefits from raising the wage, a move already undertaken by multiple governments around the country as well as some big-name companies, tend to go to higher-income families, said Neumark, who also pointed to research that shows raising wages kills jobs through higher costs to employers.

On its face, then, the charts’ premise, which is that higher minimum wages will see everyone in better homes, is wrong.

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The enemies of liberty view government coercion as a good thing

Government here to helpI’ve had a busy day that’s precluded writing, but I have been thinking — and what I’ve been thinking about is government coercion.  Three things floated across my radar, all of which touch upon the topic.

I.  Government Coercion and Religion

The first thing that got my goat was a much lauded video in which Dutch people were read a violent religious text that they were told came from the Koran.  The big surprise, of course, was that the text came from the Bible.

“Hah!” said all of my Progressive friends who gleefully linked to that story.  “All religions are equally violent and Christians are just hypocrites to call out the Koran for excessive violence.”

As far as I can tell, the only thing that little video shows is that, as Shakespeare rightly said, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

Yes, there are some bizarre and weird passages in the Bible.  Jonathan Kirsch has written a rather fascinating book, The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible, that discusses many of these tales in the Old Testament.  He posits that many of these tales, such as the one about God attempting to kill Moses until his wife, Zipporah, used a stone knife to circumcise their son.  (Exodus 4:24–26.)

The standard interpretation is that circumcision is really, really important, but it’s definitely a short, wacky little interlude in the Exodus story.  If I remember correctly Kirsch posits that it may be a fragment of an ancient tale far pre-dating the Jewish Bible that then somehow got intermingled with the rest of the oral history.

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The Hillary hearings

Hillary who cares if I'm a liarI wasn’t able to watch the Hillary hearings (and doubt if I could have stomached them in any event), but one of my friends followed them on and off throughout the day, and had this to say:

I was able to stomach bits and pieces of the Hildabeast hearings, but only in a few minute increments.  A few very important points came out of the hearing.  In the year prior to the attack, Amb. Stevens and his crew forwarded to the State Dept. over 600 requests for increased security.  Hillary said she received none and left all security decisions in the hands of “trained professionals.”

That testimony begs several questions:  Who made the decisions.  Who supervised those persons?  What was the basis for not only refusing the requests, but reducing security during the year prior  (the answer, as I have been opining since 2013, has to be politics in an election year combined with criminal negligence)?  And how is it that Hillary did not deem it important enough to inquire about the security of the Libya mission as public reports of rapidly declining security mounted, Britain pulled out its mission, and the Benghazi mission had at least one dry run attack?

None of the Republicans asked those specific questions. Nor did they ask anything about the risk assessment undertaken a month prior to the attack and forwarded by address to Hillary in which the State Dept. personnel on the ground determined that any sizable attack – precisely what happened a month later – would overrun the compound.

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The Bookworm Beat 5-18-15 — the “but wait, there’s more!” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI’m still going through my emails and finding fabulous treasures. Let’s so how many I can fit into this post:

Revolutions always eat their own

Assuming one survives a revolution, one of the most enjoyable spectacles is seeing the second generation of revolutionaries turn on the first. Just today, there are two examples:

First, ardent Leftist, “Sovietologist,” and Duke University professor Jerry Hough, has suddenly found himself engaged in heated battle with the thought police he once counted as his allies. His sin? He pointed out, accurately enough, that once beleaguered Asians didn’t become victims, they became success stories, a transition blacks have utterly failed to make. He’s right, of course, but in typical narcissist fashion, he fails to understand that it was his political establishment that infantilized the black community.

Second, the feminists are turning on Obama. They’re not angry about his failure to pay women in his administration the same wages that he pays men. Noooo. His sin is microaggression: He called a woman by her first name. This kerfuffle, which is a delight to watch, gave Glenn Reynolds the opportunity to introduce USA Today readers to the noxiousness of identity politics.

California: from Golden State with a Golden Gate to a Democrat rust belt

Over the past twenty or thirty years, the California legislature has worked diligently to turn California into a third world country. It’s quixotic stand against non-existent climate change is just one manifestation of that insanity, although it may be the most damaging yet. Joel Kotkin explains.

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You’ve got problems? I’ve got solutions, at least for paper bag bans and juvenile records

Reusable salmonella sackI’m still grumbling about the bag bans that have spread from Mill Valley, to all of Marin and now, thanks to those Democrats in the state legislature, to the whole of California. To begin with, I really hate having my government tell me and the merchants from whom I buy what can and cannot be bought and sold (or given away) in the free market. Yes, governments have always placed prohibitions on the sale of some things, but nothing will ever convince me that my brown paper bag is the equivalent of heroine, cigarettes, or girly magazines.

The next thing that bugs me is this coercive government effort to turn me into a bag lady. To all those smug Marinites who march into stores laden with bags advertising other stores, you don’t look cool. You look like this:

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Obamacare: Destroying the middle class, one family at a time (by Anonymous)

Jonathan Gruber Health Care Obamacare for DummiesA Bay Area resident who reads my blog, asked that I publish an open letter to Dr. Jonathan Gruber.  Because the letter’s writer has to make a living here in Marin (70% Democrat), she’s writing under a pseudonym.  I’m betting that this letter will resonate with many of you:

***

Dear Dr. Gruber,

I watched your panel discussion videos with fascination where you talk about creating Obamacare and how you needed to obfuscate and deceive in order to get it passed. I noticed how you hold the voting American public in contempt, saying how stupid we all are.

After viewing it I thought I would write to you to let you know how your important legislation for which you got paid $400,000 in consulting fees has affected my life. Because when I hear you speak about the voters of this country I don’t get the feeling that you have any understanding or empathy for us. I am sure you have more important things to think about.

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Government incompetence reveals itself in big ways and small — here’s a small way

CERT-LogoI won’t be blogging tomorrow (or at least, I won’t be blogging until late in the day Pacific Time) because I’ll be attending a CERT training class. CERT stands for “Community Emergency Response Teams” and is a FEMA production. After 18 hours of class, I’ll theoretically be a member of the front line handling any local disaster, whether “man-caused” or act of God. (In our neighborhood, we’re all preparing with an eye to the next big earthquake.)

Because FEMA is behind the CERT program, it prepares the materials we’ll be using. The introducing email recommended that we read the materials before the class, so I’m currently the section having to do with terrorist attacks. It was there that I discovered this gem (emphasis mine):

Experts generally agree that there are five categories of possible terrorist weapons. The acronym CBRNE will help you remember the five categories.

1. Chemical
2. Biological
3. Radiological
4. Nuclear
5. High-yield Explosives

I have a lousy memory, so I’m always looking for shortcuts and “handles” for remembering things.  Useful mnemonics and acronyms are wonderful, and I used them to great effect when I passed the bar exam (on my first try, I might add).  But I ask you, how in the world is “CBRNE” a memorable acronym?  There are memorable acronyms to be had, but CBRNE isn’t one of them.

If someone who was not a bureaucratic drone was dealing with this issue, he (or she) might have ordered the list thusly:

1. Chemical
2. Biological
3. High-yield Explosives
4. Radiological
5. Nuclear

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the acronym C-BERN (“In an emergency, you might “C” a “BERN”, i.e., “see a burn”) is infinitely more memorable than CBRNE, which has neither rhyme nor reason.  Although shorter than “Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-yield Explosives,” I find CBRNE equally difficult to commit to memory.

And yes, I know I’m being hypercritical here, but this is the kind of thing that irks me when I’m in a classroom situation and makes me re-commit to my vow never again to attend school.  After 20 years (from kindergarten through law school), I’ve had all I can stomach of that institution.

Important Public Service Announcement about communications from the IRS

Internal Revenue ServiceThis is a verified message from a well-respected CPA and Tax Attorney who undoubtedly has heard too many stories from clients scammed by fraudsters purporting to be IRS agents.  Please take this message to heart and pass it on:

Remember this. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Too many good, honest, trusting (that is, vulnerable) people have fallen for this lunacy and lost thousands (and tens of thousands) of dollars as a result.

The IRS is very old fashioned. They are all about putting stuff on paper. If they want your attention, they will attempt to contact you, not just once or twice but again and again and again, via a written notice, on a piece of paper, which they will send to you in an envelope, in the U.S. Mail. The IRS will not call you, fax you, email you, text you or try to reach you via Facebook or other social media.* They will send you a piece of paper in the U.S. Mail.**

If you are contacted by “the IRS” in any fashion other than by a piece of paper in the U.S. Mail (avoided by fraudsters because the penalties for mail fraud are very severe), the chances are 99.999999% that this is really not the IRS and you are being scammed.

Don’t talk to them.

Hang up on them.

Then, immediately, call the IRS Scam Reporting Hotline at (800) 366-4484 and report the incident.

* In extreme cases, the IRS might show up on your doorstep. If that happens, it’s almost certainly a criminal matter so, once again, Don’t Talk To Them!! Ask for the agent’s card and call a lawyer.

** If you get a written notice, you’d still be well advised not to handle it yourself. Hire an experienced CPA or an Enrolled Agent to handle it for you. The fees you pay will be worth it, saving you time, money and headaches, in the long run.

photo by: saturnism

The Bookworm Beat (10/3/14) — End of the week roundup and Open Thread

Woman writing

Ebola in America is a failure of Big Government

Yesterday I pointed out that, in all times and all places, protecting a population from epidemic disease is one of government’s core functions. (It’s irrelevant that these efforts often failed; government was still expected to make them.) Obama is failing that most basic government task. Not only do we have Ebola in Dallas, with exposures going into the hundreds, it appears that Ebola has entered Washington D.C. too.

What’s striking about Ebola’s spread into the U.S. is that it’s not just an Obama failure, it’s a Big Government failure. The Obama failure begins with his absolute refusal to protect our air, land, and sea borders. The Big Government failure goes to Obama’s certainty that he needn’t do anything special to combat Ebola because Big Government will be sufficient in and of itself to protect us:

The chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are “extremely low,” Obama said. U.S. are working with officials in Africa “to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.” And then this:

In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.

Obama added that in the unlikely event an Ebola case appeared in the United States, “we have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.”

As Rich Lowry explains in the article from which I quoted, everything Obama assumed about his wonderful Big Government was wrong. Rather than blocking Ebola, Big Government just provided that many more cracks through which the virus could slip.

Scratch an anti-gun Leftist; find a blood-thirsty killer

When news about Ebola in Dallas broke, one of my old high school friends, who has had a political trajectory precisely the opposite of mine (from moderate guy to hard-core Leftist), voiced the wish that the patient had, instead, been in Austin (Texas’s state capitol) and that, while there, he had spread bodily fluids on the Republican politicians, starting with Governor Perry. When I politely pressed him for a reason, he explained that it was because these politicians had cut back government services, adding belatedly that he was just kidding.

Sometimes, though, Leftists go from “just kidding” to “let’s kill them.” Charles C.W. Cooke looks at anti-gun Leftists who want to use SWATting tactics to try to kill legal gun carriers. That is, when they see someone with legal open carry, they are proposing that they should call 911 and describe a dangerous situation in the hope that the SWAT teams will show up and, expecting the worst, just kill the guy with legal carry.

Indeed, Cooke, who spoke with gun-expert extraordinaire Bob Owens, writes at Bearing Arms, suggests that this is precisely what may have happened to John Crawford at the Ohio Wal-Mart:

[Crawford] was killed because, to borrow a phrase from Lisa McLogan Shaheen, a fellow shopper “called 911 so the cops could gun him down.” “If you sync the phone call to the footage,” Bob Owens tells me, “you’ll notice that Ronald Ritchie, the caller, makes claims that are not true.” Among those claims, the Guardian records, were that “Crawford was pointing the air rifle at customers,” that he threatened “two children,” and that he was recklessly “waving it around.” This does not appear to have been the case. Indeed, when the lattermost statement was made, Owens notes, “the gun’s muzzle was pointed to the ground.” So pronounced are the discrepancies between Ritchie’s story and the surveillance footage that John Crawford’s family is hoping to take legal action. “He’s basically lying with the dispatchers,” the family’s attorney, Michael Wright argues. “He’s making up the story. So should he be prosecuted? Yes, I believe so.”

“Who will rid us of these troublesome gun owners?” the radical Leftists cry out . . . and then use America’s police officers as their unwitting executioners.

Did Jerry Brown sign a good gun bill or a bad gun bill?

I am reflexively opposed to any government interference with gun rights . . . except that I’m wondering whether the bill that Gov. Brown just signed in California might actually have some merit. The new bill allows family members who are concerned about another family member’s gun possession to petition to the court to have the gun(s) taken away.

On the one hand, the bill is another erosion of gun rights and allows anti-gun people to wipe out the gun rights of their pro-gun relatives. Moreover, as we can see from the SWATting tactics above, it’s not unreasonable to believe that Leftist family members won’t take advantage of this law. On the other hand, when someone is becoming dangerous, the family is often the first to know, long before the medical or criminal justice systems catch up.

And then back to the first hand, which is that, if you give the government an inch to grab guns, it will take, not just a mile, but a thousand miles…. Which leads me to the thought that this may be a reasonable law, but one that can’t ever be entrusted to the government to effectuate.

Please tell me what you think. I’m quite obviously conflicted here, in part because I know of several young men who, in their 20s, become schizophrenic, with the family being the first to see that their sweet young boy was becoming scary and dangerous.

History has yet to be written

Jonah Goldberg often attacks the Leftists’ claim that they’re on the right side of history.  The old cliché that history belongs to the victors is at least somewhat more accurate, because it at least looks at history as a thing of the past not as a prediction for the future.

In his latest article, Goldberg points out that one of the problems with the “right side of history” argument is that it’s predicated on the speaker’s belief that events will unfold without any unexpected deviations from plan. When the plans change, as the best laid of them tend to do, the person betting on historic certainty looks foolish at best:

The dilemma for the president is that the once-solid facts that supported these views are suddenly crumbling under his feet. The argument that the fight against jihadism can be managed like law enforcement is easy to make when terrorism is out of the headlines and drones do the messy work out of sight. That same argument is very hard to sustain when the jihadis control territory equal in size to Great Britain and, when not beheading Americans, they vow to fly their flag over the White House. The idea that men who crucify Christians and bury women and children alive would somehow be dissuaded if we closed down the prison at Guantanamo Bay is almost perversely idiotic.

Obama’s love affair with a killer

In 2008, Obama sent an explicit, secret message to Iran, saying in effect “I love you, guys, and I’ll take care of you.” That was one promise he kept. Throughout his presidency, Obama, both actively and passively has worked hard to keep the mullahs in power and their nuclear program on track. He seems to believe that, if he can just be nice to them, they’ll respond by being nice right back to us.

It’s a pity that Obama hates Churchill so much. If he liked him better, Obama be familiar with Churchill’s famous aphorism that “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” That hope, of course, is invariably wrong.

Maybe real facts can bring Obama to see just how horrible Iran is. These harsh realities would include the fact that Iran hanged someone for doubting the story of Jonah and the Whale (something that would certainly see Obama hanged too), and the Mullahs’ continued execution of dissidents.

The only good thing to come out of that second report is this little tidbit (emphasis mine):

On September 29, [political prisoner Reyhaneh] Jabbari was seized by prison guards during her shower, forced to dress and told that she would be hanged in the morning. After the prison staff allowed her to make one last phone call to her mother, she was transferred to Rajai-Shahr prison and placed in solitary confinement to await execution at dawn.

Upon her daughter’s transfer, Jabbari’s mother, Shole Pakravan, rushed to Rajai-Shahr prison with her husband, two daughters and a few friends. In front of the prison a crowd grew quickly to protest Jabbari’s execution. Prison authorities ordered the crowd to leave and assured Jabbari’s family that she was not to be hanged — a statement the authorities commonly make before an execution so it can be carried out quietly, without incident.

That rope with which the mad mullahs hang dissidents may end up being the rope with which they hang themselves. It speaks to their waning power that Iranians will protest executions and that the mullahs will lie to pacify them, rather than just killing them on the spot.

And no, in answer to your unspoken question, I don’t think these news reports will actually change Obama’s mind. He is a hard-core ideologue and they just don’t change.  But I can still dream….

Bureaucracy kills the Secret Service

For more than a century, the Secret Service was a lean, mean fighting machine operating under the aegis of the Treasury Department. Then, George Bush transferred it to Homeland Security, where it became just another bureaucratic beast. Kevin Williamson writes scathingly about the way in which bureaucracy is slowly destroying the agency charged with keeping our president safe.

I share with Thomas Lifson the belief that it’s imperative to keep Obama alive.  His death in office, God forbid, could well destroy this country. And having written that sentence, I should add that no president, ever, should be assassinated. Assassination is not only cold-blooded murder, it is a psychic blow to a nation and the most profoundly anti-democratic act of all.

Transgenderism is only skin deep

The other day, I wrote about the importance of recognizing the substance that lies under any form, with special reference to transgender people. I argued that, when people make cosmetic, hormonal, and surgical changes to their appearance so that they look like a person of the opposite sex, that doesn’t change their genetic essence. While it’s kind and polite to address them as they wish to be addressed, we should never blind ourselves to the reality of who and what they really are.

One British man who had male to female gender reassignment surgery a decade ago, is petitioning the British health care service to reassign him to his original gender appearance. His argument echoes what I’ve been saying all along:

Chelsea, who used to be called Matthew, told the Daily Mirror: “I have always longed to be a woman, but no amount of surgery can give me an actual female body and I feel like I am living a lie.

“It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman. I suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the hormones too.

“I have realised it would be easier to stop fighting the way I look naturally and accept that I was born a man physically.”

I wonder what the NHS will do. It’s wonderfully politically correct to withdraw funding from an old lady with cancer so as to give it to a young man who wants breasts. Where’s the political correctness, though, when the young man concedes that the problem was never with his appearance at all?

High educated liberals as low information voters

Roger L. Simon lives in the Southern California version of my Marin world: His neighbors are well-intentioned, affluent, and highly-credentialed people who almost invariably hew Left politically. Indeed, those few of my friends and neighbors who know I’ve become conservative point to themselves — affluent and educated — and ask how I can be conservative when the smart people support the Democrats.

Simon has the answer for that and, again, it echoes what I see in my world: These people may have degrees, know about wine, and have seen the capitals of Europe, but they’re fundamentally ignorant about the key issues shaping the world today.

California bans all plastic bags

California Governor Jerry Brown has banned plastic grocery bags from the entire state:

California has fired the first salvo in what could be a national war on plastic bags.

Governor Edmund Brown [sic, since he usually goes by Jerry] on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans plastic shopping bags, making California the first U.S. state to officially prohibit stores from handing them out for free.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

The ban is a victory for environmentalists who say the 13 million plastic bags that are handed out each year in the state end up in waterways and landfills where they don’t break down for decades. Critics argue that the ban is misguided and will cost American jobs.

The new law goes into effect for large grocery chains and pharmacies beginning July 1, 2015. It will extend to convenience stores and liquor stores July 1, 2016.
Under the law, stores will be required to offer customers recycled paper bags or bags made of compostable material at a cost of at least 10 cents. Consumers buying groceries using California’s food-assistance program won’t have to pay for bags.

For me, the ban is nothing new, since it’s already enforced in parts of Marin. Corte Madera stores haven’t been applying either the ban or the “pay 10 cents” requirement, so I prefer shopping in Corte Madera over Mill Valley, which does ban plastic and makes you pay for paper.

I’ve written before about the fact that this ban steams me. I don’t mind if other people want to go around looking like bag ladies with their stacks of dirty cloth and plastic bags, but (a) I don’t want to look like a bag lady; (b) I’d have to use insane amounts of water to keep those bags from being salmonella and e. coli breeding grounds; and (c) even a 10 cent penalty is still a penalty and I don’t believe I should be penalized in this way.

It’s balm to my offended soul to read a PRI study saying that, as is the case with most of the Left’s wild hairs, they’ve got it wrong when it comes to the supposed virtues of banning disposable paper and plastic bags:

Proponents of bag-bans omit the most important consideration, which is what replaces the plastic bags? Other bags (including cloth) have even worse environmental impact profiles, and pose additional risks of cross-contaminating food and spreading dangerous pathogens among those who share the bags.

Increasingly, studies suggest that as with other poorly-thought out environmental intervention; banning plastic grocery bags reduces some harms, while increasing others.

And more environmental news about Leftist’s continued errors

Both these stories come to me thanks to Danny Lemieux. The first story says that, once again, scientists were wrong, this time with regard to the anticipated shrimp die-off in the Gulf following the BP oil spill. In fact, the shrimp seem to like that oil:

Looking at the abundance and size of Louisiana white and brown shrimp before and after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a scientific paper published Wednesday said the amount of shrimp actually increased in local estuaries through 2011 and that the size of that shrimp remained unaffected.

[snip]

Van der Ham and De Mutsert’s study compared abundance and size of shrimp in estuaries that were heavily impacted by the spill with minimally-impacted estuaries, both before and after the spill.

It found that shrimp actually was more abundant in areas heavily impacted by the oil spill.

“The rebound to normal abundance and the absence of any effect on shrimp size agrees with the view that the spill may have negligible long-term effects on Louisiana shrimp,” the study concluded. “However, long-term effects of the spill on shrimp may manifest in other traits, such as compromised immunological or life-history traits.

Don’t you just love that last paragraph?  What the study’s authors could have said was “we are still studying whether there are other long-term effects on the shrimp.”  But they don’t.  Instead, they imply that there must in fact be negative long-term effects on the shrimp, just waiting to be found.  That’s the difference, I guess, between true scientific inquiry and ideologically-driven inquiry.

The second story is about those “green” wind farms.  They’re killing hundreds of thousands of precious bats (which fertilizer crops and are otherwise environmentally useful) because they mimic the wind pattern of trees.

One French woman deserves a medal for her bravery

Check out this picture and tell me if this isn’t one seriously brave French woman.

And one West African woman deserves a medal too

Fatu Kekula, a 22-year-old nursing student in West Africa, using nothing more than courage, common sense, and garbage bags, nursed three out of four stricken family members through Ebola without becoming infected herself. What an amazing story of intelligence and decency in action.

Watcher’s Council Weasel of the Week

Don’t forget to check out this Week’s winner in the Watcher’s Council Weasel of the Week contest.  My daughter came in as I was casting my vote by email.  She saw “I vote for ____________.”  She was shocked.  “But you hate ____________.”  When I explained the type of vote I was casting, it all became clear to her.

Picture!

I’m not yet ready for an illustrated edition today, but this poster that a friend sent me is so good, I didn’t want to wait before sharing it:

Obama is my co-pilot