The Culture of Death

To the extent that this story is true, Japan is crossing over into Culture of Death territory.

“As society has fewer and fewer children, people get less used to hearing them.

“It’s a vicious circle: fewer children makes people less accustomed to hearing the noise they naturally make, which spawns complaints about them and contributes to the growing feeling among younger parents that they don’t want to have more children.”

Maeda said when she was involved in a project to build day care centers in Yokohama, a sprawling city that melds into Tokyo, she faced a lot of opposition from those living nearby.

Excerpt from the Impeachment Articles of Richard Nixon

Or, as George Will put it, how stupid do they think we are? It’s not just some functionary in Cincinnati. But then, President Obama has been cracking jokes about the IRS targeting his opponents for a long time.

Oh – I suppose I should say that I’m opposed to the IRS targeting ANY group on political grounds. Is that a Rightist position? Or do we all agree on that one? That is to say, all of us outside the bureaucracy?

And if not. Oh, dear.

Prof Althouse on the IRS and rightist organizations

What’s wrong about what the IRS has been doing? Here’s Professor Ann Althouse, in answer to an attempt to mitigate the scandal:

The unequal, politically skewed enforcement of a law is a far more serious problem than the level of harshness of a neutrally enforced law. We can disagree about what the tax laws should be and how strictly or harshly they should be enforced, but everyone knows it is fundamentally wrong to vary the degree of enforcement, selecting victims by their politics. If government cannot be trusted to avoid that fundamental wrong, it cannot be trusted with any power at all. It would be better to wipe the tax code clean and rebuild it without any complicated corners where government officials — great or small — have a place to do their dirty work.


Second Termism

Even NPR wonders about Obama.

The president undermines that chance when he struggles through a news conference with no apparent theme or overarching purpose other than to catalog his grievances and complain about the lack of cooperation from the other side.

This may well have been the opposite impression from what the president and his people hoped to convey this week. But it happened anyway. Well into his fifth year in the White House, this president still seems ill at ease in the news conference format. He is driven by the energy and conflict of the encounter, rather than the other way around.

This lack of mastery stands in striking contrast to his renown for holding throngs in thrall, at home and abroad. Even in the informality of a Washington dinner (such as the White House Correspondents’ Association gala last weekend), Obama is a gifted presenter, holding forth with the timing and wit of a professional comedian and then turning reflective and serious. Addressing an audience, he is nearly always on.

But in the unscripted free fall of an on-camera news conference, that mastery is notably missing. Early in his first term, the president gave long, professorial answers to every question. When he and his inner circle were dismayed by the distractions and tangential stories that came from these sessions, they came to rely more on one-on-one interviews. Those were more productive from the president’s point of view, but they did not address the underlying fault.


via Instapundit.

Senate voting patterns

I don’t care what the issue is – every time an idiot says something like “Senators representing 75% of the population voted in favor of Bill X, but the senators representing 25% of the population blocked it,” I want to reach for an 8th grade civics textbook and belabor the commentator about the head and shoulders. Repeat after me – the House is Representative – the Senate is the brake on mob rule. All praise to the Founders!

Law should be slow and deliberate – exactly the opposite, say, of Andrew Cuomo’s recent gun extravaganza, passed in the first quarter hour of a new session of the New York State Assembly and already suspended even before the New York courts get a chance to strike it down.

More unintended consequences from the Baby Boom

The generation of unintended consequences strikes again – they’re going to want to sell off  their McMansions – but who wants to buy them?

According to data from theAmerican Housing Survey, from 1989 and 2009, 80 percent of new homes built in that era were detached single-family homes. A third of them were larger than 2,500 square feet. And most startling – “I checked my numbers over and over again,” a bemused Nelson says – 40 percent were built on lots of half an acre to 10 acres in size. Now, he says, 74 percent of new housing demand will come from the people who bought these homes, now empty-nesters, wanting to downsize.


A vast majority of today’s households with children still want such houses, Nelson says. But about a quarter of them want something else, like condos and urban townhouses. That demand “used to be almost zero percent, and if it’s now 25 percent,” Nelson says, “that’s a small share of the market but a huge shift in the market.” And this is half of the reason why many baby boomers may not find buyers for their homes. “Even if the numbers matched,” Nelson says, “the preferences don’t.”

via Prof Reynolds.

Due process? what due process?

Remember when one of the marketing points for Obama was that he was an adjunct professor of constitutional law?

In sum, the original meaning of the due process clause is that the President cannot unilaterally kill U.S. citizens he thinks are potentially dangerous.  Perhaps there are examples of historical practice that suggest an exception applicable to the present case (as there are obvious historical exceptions on the battlefield and for prevention of imminent harm).  But the burden should be on those who want an exception to the text, and that burden shouldn’t be met merely by the claim that it would be more convenient to have such an exception.

That was then. This is now. I’d wish I was a more rude person so I could ask some colleagues to explain their position now.

Luckily, I’m on leave.