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Joe the Patriot

Our man, Joe the Plumber, is appearing at tea party events today. Setting aside the semantics—the Signers of the Declaration were rebels, not patriots—Wurzelbacher honors their legacy:

Joe the Plumber said the best advice he can give to citizens who are frustrated with intrusive government is to stop voting along party lines and begin electing leaders who will abide by the nation's founding document.

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The Only Game in Town

I now understand the hysteria and obsession over Michael Jackson’s death:

achewood comic

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Mass Misdiagnosis

I’ve followed some discussions which propose that health care in the US is costly because we have the money to pay for it. There are only so many yachts one can water-ski behind, and preferences shift from collecting goodies to prolonging life and the ability to enjoy it. It’s parallel to the idea that people become concerned about the environment only after they have worked themselves away from the edge of starvation.

I like where the thinking leads, as it turns the problem on its head. High costs are not a symptom of dysfunction, but a sign of prosperity. There certainly are inefficiencies to root out, and moral hazards to avoid, but we start not as victims, but beneficiaries.

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Are We All Narcissists Now?

McMahon, Fawcett, and Jackson. Icons:

Even though the term sounds neutral, it isn’t. An icon, technically speaking, is a religious symbol deserving of reverence and adoration. The networks may not have intended to use the word that way, but they certainly showed an unseemly amount of reverence and adoration for the man [Jackson].

I think part of it is the narcissism of our celebrity culture. Here was a guy so many of “us” read about in People magazine for so long. His passing, therefore, isn’t a loss in the sorrowful sense of the word, but in the selfish one. It’s a loss of an interesting subject, a creature to gossip about and to fill a few minutes on E! or Entertainment Tonight.

MJ dominates the news cycle because we feel something. He touched our lives. (And, perhaps, one or two of our childen) Are our emotional priorities out of order?

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Media Misinterprets Fed

The Federal Open Market Committee has issued its anticipated statement on interests rates, the money supply, and the overall economy. Here’s the Associated Press version (which I also heard on the radio):

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the recession is easing, but that the economy likely will remain weak and keep a lid on inflation.

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Troops in Afghanistan to be Sacrificed

This is bad. The fundamental order for our soldiers in Afghanistan is about to be shifted from “attack” to “retreat”:

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who took command of international forces in Afghanistan this month, has said his measure of effectiveness will be the "number of Afghans shielded from violence," and not the number of militants killed.

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Match.GM

Imagine committing to a companion based only on the carefully-edited profile and photo from a matchmaking website. Disappointment would be inevitable. Unless you didn’t have to live with the less-than-perfect reality:

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Club of Fools Issues Apology

The world’s most exclusive club has tackled one of the pressing issues facing our nation:

At two minutes before noon on Thursday, June 18, 2009, 146 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 150 days after a black man took the presidential oath of office, the United States Senate, in a unanimous voice vote, apologized to African Americans for slavery and the racial discrimination during the Jim Crow era.

Too bad none of the former slaves are still alive to feel the magnanimous justice. Doesn’t really matter, though. It’s just hollow symbolism:

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Woven from Fire

Flag Day is underappreciated. Although I have hesitations about idolatry and getting too wrapped up in the symbol instead of revering what is represented, the Flag Day observance is held mostly by people who are worthy of respect. Really good, solid folks honor the US flag, and by sharing their ritual, we honor them.

I guess I take it as an opportunity to note my place in the lineage of the American community. And, as national observance, Flag Day hasn’t had its patriotism obscured by picnics and beach blankets.

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President Pointless

NRR has reduced service to US political destinations due to the revealed nature of the current President. Words as he uses them do not have meaning in the sense necessary for a reasoned analysis. Whatever Barry says, as I see it, has no meaning. His orations may have feeling, and intent, and he does communicate something. Just not facts.

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We Haven’t Swallowed the Medicine

Last week, Russ Roberts pointed to the government website which tracks how much stimulus has been doled out to date:

To see the total amount spent, go here and click on box number 3 in the main window at the top of the page. It's tricky. Right now the main window is about "Health Care in Indian Country" but at the bottom of the blue box, there is a "Learn More" option. Click on number 3.

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Tax Dollars Commemorate Corporate Excess

The decades before and after the dawn of the 20th century were the golden age of US railroading. The biggest of corporate bigshots traveled in luxurious personal railcars, the equivalent of today’s corporate jets.

Now the corporate jet is popularly held as an object of scorn. Yet, the Federal government granted $400,000 toward restoring one example of last century’s wealth at work:

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Two Points Missed

1) Re: Guantanamo Terrorist Transfers

The media chatter seems focused on the inconveniences and perceived threats to US communities should the detainees be transferred to US prisons. No, they’re not going to escape and become some kind of TV action series bad guy fugitives. And, no, they’re not going to be able to command terrorist activities from within SuperMax confinement. As prisoners, they would represent no credible threat.

If they were brought onto US territory, however, their legal status changes. They would get the full benefit of legal rights and due process. And since they’re being held without charge and on sketchy evidence, US law would compel their release.

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Yes, Iowahawk Can

The current President cracked some jokes at last week’s White House Correspondents Dinner. The evening’s entertainment was comedienne Wanda Sykes, who targeted Barry with some zingers:

"The first black president. That's unless you screw up. Then it's going to be 'What's up with the half-white guy?'"

The bits I watched made it feel like a lame, tame version of a celebrity roast. Media types and comedians talk about finding it hard to poke fun at Barry. He’s so popular, and so smooth, they’re afraid to make him the butt of jokes.

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Stamping Out Hunger for $25/Hr

Pretty much every media outlet ran a story about yesterday’s national food drive. Letter carriers were lauded for their work collecting donations to food shelves. But were the letter carriers being charitable? Or were they just doing their job?

A brief search of the net offered no evidence that postal workers were doing anything for free. Sure, they carried some extra weight, but should that count as “charity”?

Since they’re in uniform, in addition to all their pay and benefits, the public was also covering any additional risks the workers faced. Strained back from too many cans? Not charity, but a gateway to a compensation claim.

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Hope in a Teapot

I was at last month’s local Tea Party on the Capitol lawn. By now, most have probably settled on believing the media’s truth of the day’s events. What I saw was not that story.

The crowd numbered in the thousands. They weren’t mad about taxes. Or, not just about taxes. Most of the signs seemed to reference big government and big government debt.

And the crowd was civil. Disappointingly so. I wanted pitchforks.

Thanks to technology and the internet, the truth is available, should this day become recognized as the start of anything Important. I don’t have much to add.

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The Cure for Government

Yes. Yes. Oh. My. God. YES!

In The Case for a Federalism Amendment, in today's Wall Street Journal, I suggest that that states petition for a convention to propose an amendment repealing the 16th Amendment authorizing an income tax. Such a repeal would result in the Congress imposing a national uniform "excise" or sales tax as authorized by Article I, Sec. 8.

Alternatively, states could include the repeal of the 16th Amendment in a more comprehensive "Federalism Amendment" such as this:

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Napolitano Outsmarts Herself

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano is in the headlines today for her seemingly lazy understanding of how 9-11 terrorists entered the United States. She heard a story that fit her preconceptions, and closed her mind. The truth is what she believes, not what the facts support. I might use this to launch into a rant about the Klink Administration’s narrative-driven policy, and how that method is inferior to reason-driven policy. Instead, it reminds me of something I wanted to bring up last week.

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Historicizing Current Events

Big Media doesn’t always lie. Despite the transformation from “reporting” to “journalism”, fabricating people and events is still frowned upon. More insidious that outright lies—which can be crushed by genuine reporting and investigation—are lazy half-truths.

Media faces seem to look only as far and as long as needed to satisfy their preconceptions. Hurricane Katrina was a Federal Government (Bush) failure. As long as you focus on the 50,000 safe-but-whining people at the Superdome while quickly skipping past the 7,000 people rescued from imminent death by the Coast Guard.

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Spinning Unemployment

The current President has changed his tune. He is not longer Tokyo Rose, threatening us with an economic catastrophe. Now, although it may get worse, Obama is confident that the US economy will recover. It’s almost like he took a trip on the Negative Railroad and noticed 140 million Americans still hard at work.

From what I’ve seen, Big Media has followed Barry’s lead. They’re now more apt to look past the still-rising unemployment rate and the 663,000 jobs lost in March. The figures are in scale with January and February, but apparently now it isn’t the end of the world.

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