Friday, June 29, 2012

Clearly We've Hit A Nerve at Team O

Got this email today from Stephanie Cutter at the Barack Obama campaign:

B --

I'd love to take a moment to savor yesterday's Supreme Court decision, but we don't have time.

Already, Mitt Romney and Republicans are out with outright falsehoods about Obamacare -- their favorite distortion being that this is somehow a broad tax on the middle class. In reality, this is all about personal responsibility -- and the "tax" they are trying to scare everyone about is actually a penalty for the 1 percent of people who can afford insurance but still choose not to buy it, leaving the rest of us to pay for their health care when they head to the emergency room.
Let's see, the Chief Justice just wrote an opinion that the only reason the mandate is constitutional is because it's a tax. The tax will apply to all of the middle class who will either have to buy government authorized health insurance (certainly a tax in itself) or pay a tax. But it's not a middle class tax increase. Stephanie, you're awesome, but thanks for showing us how panicked you are.

There are some more whoppers in the email:
Obamacare builds on and improves the nation's private health care system.

More like doubles down on everything wrong with the current system and rewards those who contribute to Obama's electoral success. Another whopper from Stephanie.

Romney distortion: "Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have."

The facts: Outright false.
Actually, says you just might lose your insurance.

Stephanie asks me to share her email with my friends and family, so I am happy to do so.

Weekend Music Chill

After all the excitement lately, time to really chill out with this weekend's music. If this doesn't calm you down, I don't know what will. Here is Chris Isaak with Blue Spanish Sky.

And with some more Spanish themed fine guitar work, here is Ottmar Liebert with Dancing Under the Moon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jim Messina Campaigns for Mitt Romney

Latest email from the Jim Messina, the President's campaign manager, is really energizing my desire to support Mitt. (I have been lukewarm of late.)
B --

It's been a good day.

But this is a three-step process.

1. Pass historic health care reform. Check.

2. Get affirmation from the highest court in the country. Check.

Step three? Win the damn election.

Mitt Romney has been clear he'd repeal Obamacare on Day One. Just another reminder of how much is at stake in November.

Donate $3 or more today:

I'll be donating, but it will be a lot more than $3 and it sure as heck will be spent defeating Obama.

Unhappiness Understandable - UPDATE

Today's ruling by the Supreme Court has left a lot of us deeply disappointed, myself included. The key ruling that the individual mandate did not violate the constitution seemed more than a bit disingenuous. The Congress and the administration repeatedly stated that the mandate was not a tax, but the Chief Justice bailed them out. Disgusting that lying liars who passed the bill saying it was not a tax, then argued that it was are allowed to pass off their skulduggery on the American people in a disgusting way.

But here are my reasons why this isn't the full-fledged disaster I might have thought.
  1. The ruling didn't expand the power of the commerce clause to infinity. From the WSJ: "The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions," the chief justice wrote.
  2. Most conservatives had always felt that had the mandate been honestly labeled as a tax, it would have never been challenged. Even though J.E. Dyer at HotAir asks what limit there is on the power to tax, the fact is, there has never really been a limit, so the ruling changes nothing.
  3. I always thought the mandate's financial penalty was too weak to force compliance.
  4. The mandate has no criminal enforcement provision, including asset forfeiture in the portion of the tax code in which it resides.
  5. Because the mandate is a tax, it's repeal can't be filibustered in the Senate, where the rules on filibuster do not apply to spending bills.
  6. The ruling on the Medicaid portion is likely to be more substantive. From Volokh: the federal government may deny the states additional Medicaid funds if they refuse to comply with the coverage expansion requirement, but may not take away their preexisting Medicaid funds. The states may then opt out of the expanded coverage, without risk to their current Medicaid funding. In the long run, this may kill the whole scheme. I am encouraged that seven justices accepted a states' rights argument.
  7. The Chief Justice worked to protect the reputation of the court. I disagree with the way he did it, but understand the concern. The court should give deference to the legislative branch. The court's failure to interfere here may buy it good will in the future with Americans less invested in right vs left politics.
  8. This is likely to help Romney, who is making the argument that the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to get rid of Obama. Supposedly, $1 million has rolled in since the decision.
  9. The court has ruled officially that Obama has raised taxes on the middle class.
  10. Ultimately the public got what it deserves for electing Democrats in such overwhelming numbers, including the 2008 nominee, who lacked the experience to inject any leadership into this miserable bill. We are reminded of why we need a tea party movement to restore government to constitutional limits because we, the people, demand it.

And Holder was the first Attorney General to be slapped with a Contempt of Congress citation, cementing his reputation as most miserable hack, evah.

Best suggestion I heard was also from Volokh:

. . .schedule a new vote in the House on the individual mandate, but replace the “penalty language” with language specifically acknowledging that the “penalty” is actually a tax. If the Democrats vote “aye,” they’ve acknowledged breaking the Obama pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. If the Democrats–specifically those who already voted for the mandate–vote “nay”, what becomes of the tax argument in future litigation? Seems to me that Roberts was only able to argue that the mandate is a tax because no one specifically said it wasn’t.


11. It's a very small consolation, but the decision also prevented the court from bailing out the Congress on severability. I note that the four dissenters would have tossed the entire law, contrary to my expectati0n. Had Roberts sided with them, there would have been hell to pay.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Presidential Petulance

Obama's response to the Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 strikes me as nothing short of petulant. The law's provision that was upheld (8-0 by the way) merely directs the manner in which Arizona law enforcement will cooperate with federal authorities in the manner already directed by federal law! Obama's response, to suspend agreements between AZ law enforcement and the DHS and to set up hot lines so that citizens with a grudge against law enforcement have a forum. Really? That's some real leadership during tough times. When the going gets tough, the President skirts the law.

One Can Only Hope

That what the President told me in an email today is true:

B --

I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.

I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups -- I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.

The Romney campaign raises more than we do, and the math isn't hard to understand: Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.

And, again, that's not including the massive outside spending by super PACs and front groups funneling up to an additional billion dollars into ads trashing me, you, and everything we believe in.

We can be outspent and still win -- but we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.
10 to 1? Let's hope so. To quote another article that I can't recall, the angry money is coming out against Obama. Big and small donors alike are angry at his Presidency for good reason, his policies are wrecking the well being and liberty of our republic.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Intrade Odds on Individual Mandate at 80% Against

Seems the conventional wisdom is that the court will rule against the individual mandate. The odds have steadied out at 80-20 against over the course of the week. I think the more interesting questions are:
1. Does any part of the law survive, since the Congress didn't put in severability, as if daring the court to rule against. Or does the court bail out Congress.
2. What about the Medicaid expansion? Potentially, that turns on just as large a set of issues and potentially ends any pretense of state sovereignty. Further, it is probably much more of an impact to the federal and state budgets.

Supreme Court AZ Ruling Explained

Fellow blogger and frequent commenter drozz, has a great post today giving a full airing to the issues that the Supreme Court ruled on in Arizona v United States. I liked his notes as well, although I will not fully quote them, check out his blog yourself:
  • Three of four sections struck down. All four ruled upon the same way in the majority opinion.
  • Justice Sotomayer concurred to uphold section 2(b) (as did the other 7; Kagan recused). Guess she's now a wise white person, because that was the most racist-y racist law to every racist a racism. Or something.
  • Justice Kennedy relied heavily on past precedent to draw a clear line in state vs. federal powers. His logic was clear and sound in this opinion.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Speeding Up and Multi-tasking - Worker Burnout in Today's Economy

Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery at Mother Jones discuss the plight of workers in an economy where jobs are scarce and employers are reluctant to take on new staff. For the record, they come from a very left wing perspective, and I disagree with their conclusions, but I think they have hit on some things that need saying. They argue that we are harming Americans by the constant pressure to be available 24/7 via technology and through our attempts to handle our overwhelming workload through multitasking. With corporate productivity up and but employment not so much, they argue that the greed of evil corporations is at the root of the trend.

They make any number of sweeping generalizations in the article, but I do that as well on this blog. I'd like to share some salient paragraphs.
Sound familiar: Mind racing at 4 a.m.? Guiltily realizing you've been only half-listening to your child for the past hour? Checking work email at a stoplight, at the dinner table, in bed? Dreading once-pleasant diversions, like dinner with friends, as just one more thing on your to-do list?

Guess what: It's not you. These might seem like personal problems—and certainly, the pharmaceutical industry is happy to perpetuate that notion—but they're really economic problems.

. . .

What about offshoring? That's certainly a factor. But increasingly, US workers are also falling prey to what we'll call offloading: cutting jobs and dumping the work onto the remaining staff. Consider a recent Wall Street Journal story about "superjobs," a nifty euphemism for employees doing more than one job's worth of work—more than half of all workers surveyed said their jobs had expanded, usually without a raise or bonus.

In all the chatter about our "jobless recovery," how often does someone explain the simple feat by which this is actually accomplished? US productivity increased twice as fast in 2009 as it had in 2008, and twice as fast again in 2010: workforce down, output up, and voilá! No wonder corporate profits are up 22 percent since 2007, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. To repeat: Up. Twenty-two. Percent.

. . .

Multitasking seems the obvious fix—let me just answer this email while I help with your homework! But here's the scary research news: Minus a few freakish exceptions, most of us cannot actually multitask. Try to keep up a conversation with your spouse while scanning the BlackBerry, and empirical data shows (PDF) that you do both things poorly. And not only that: If you multitask constantly, your actual mental circuitry erodes, and your brain loses its ability to focus. (Same with sleep: Aside from a tiny minority of mutants, humans perform distinctly and progressively worse when they get fewer than eight hours a night. Go ahead and cry.)

So of course the reason for all of this is Citizens United, I know you jumped to that conclusion as well and union busting. But these trends were in place before that decision and union membership in the private sector has been declining for years. I have previously discussed regulatory uncertainty as a key reason for the jobless recovery, but I will admit that this may not explain these trends fully either.

Bauerlein and Jeffery state that corporate profits are up, so there is no excuse for this behavior. However, much of the growth in corporate profits have come from the financial sector (sorry that I can't find the link for that), where the fed has been force feeding liquidity. Only recently have sales shown improvement. So for most sectors, finance aside, it made sense to keep staff hiring on a short lease, especially with future worker costs so uncertain.

Meanhwile, the authors point to an example of at least one successful company that is trying to put a lid on the excess.

Mule Design Studio, a web-design shop with a number of blue-chip clients, has a saner policy: "Our office hours are Monday through Friday 9-6. We do not hand out our cell phone numbers. On the weekend, we cease to exist."
Ultimately stupidity like what we are currently suffering through has a way of passing. As corporations figure out that their employees are making bad decisions because they are multitasking and not getting enough sleep, I think the speedup and offloading will slack off. Americans will always work hard, but the current maniacal levels of activity just aren't productive and are due to end.

And the answer isn't repeal of Citizens United and more unionization.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Defining Romney

The recent spate of bad news for the President is both opportunity and temptation for Mitt Romney. The opportunity is that the President has not been able to effectively "change the conversation" as the news cycle continues to focus on his own blunders and economic jitters. This gives Romney the opening to define himself while Obama is on defense. The danger is that Romney will repeat his mistake from the 2008 primaries, failing to convincingly define himself because he thought his best opportunity was to wait for his opponents to make a mistake. Peggy Noonan reminded me of this with today's column.
Actually, it's amazing that during an existential crisis—a crisis that is economic, cultural and political, and that bears on our role and purpose in the world—both candidates for our highest office have felt free to be so . . . well, insubstantial. Neither Mr. Romney nor Mr. Obama has caught hold of the overall meaning of his candidacy, Mr. Romney because so far he's chosen not to, and Mr. Obama because he's tried and failed.
. . .
Only when he does this will he show that he actually does have a larger purpose, and only then will people really turn toward him. He has to tell Americans why they can believe him, why a nation saturated with politics, chronically disappointed by its leaders, and tired of promises can, actually, put some faith in him.

They want to know how America can come back. Because they're pretty sure, down deep, that America has another comeback in her.

Indeed we do, we just have to see if it's after a crisis that will wilt Obama or one that will allow Romney to rise to the occasion. Believe me, a crisis is coming; we are not immune to the forces that of economics buffeting Greece. Our entitlement crisis, underfunded government pensions, and low economic growth are going to create a crisis. The only question is when, and how will this great republic respond.

California Tobacco Tax Defeated

In a little noticed report from the AP, Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax initiative has narrowly been defeated. Although anticipated, this is the first news announcement I have seen on the issue.
With about 5 million ballots cast, opponents of Proposition 29 led by about 28,000 votes. The Associated Press analyzed areas where the roughly 105,000 uncounted votes remain and determined Friday there were not enough places where “yes” was winning to overcome the deficit.
Noted doping suspect, Lance Armstrong, was a key supporter.

If a tobacco tax, that only effects 12% of California adults can't pass, Jerry Brown's taxes on the ballot in November are in for a tough time. Because his measure includes a 1/4 per cent sales tax increase, it will affect everyone, not just the families making over $250,000 per year. Given the Democratic control of the re-districting process and lack of comptetive seats, I predict that defeating this tax will be a key priority for tea party types this fall.

Friday, June 22, 2012

First They Came for the Catholics

KTCat and W.C. Varones blogged about Wednesday night's Rally for Religious Freedom at Mission San Diego de Alcala. I'm sorry I missed it. The first such event was an inspiration. Money quotes follow:

KT: The presence of non-Catholics there in the Mission, standing with us in support of our freedoms, was awesome.

WC: The Prayer for Freedom and Protection from Evil:

In that freedom, Lord, we your people live our lives
In a way that advances your Kingdom of Life,
And we refuse to cooperate in what is evil.

At this moment, therefore, when our government has decided
To force us to cooperate in evil,
We pray for the grace to be faithful to you
And to oppose the unjust laws and mandates
That have been imposed upon us and our institutions.

Weekend Music Chill

Going back to the 80s for some of my favorite music. No back story, just that this kind of music kept up our spirits and energy during long stretches below the waves. First, The Cult with She Sells Sanctuary.

Next, a song that I never, and I mean never, get tired of, Blue Monday from New Order (I've probably posted this before).

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Blame Bush? Lie about your intent? Forget the name of the slain border patrol agent? It's all here.

How About Some Real Immigration Reform

Matthew Slaughter explains how the Democrats and President Obama are harming America's diversity and job growth through a little known provision of the ill-named American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in today's WSJ. The act restricted H1-B hiring at any U.S. company that received government support from either TARP or new Federal Reserve credit facilities. Slaughter details the harm done to both foreign graduates and U.S. financial firms. More broadly, the lack of H-1B visas is harming this country's competitive position. The number of such visas is a paltry 85,000 per year. Frankly, I think we need to expand the program to more than one million per year, as I have discussed earlier.

The Democrats are actively the anti-immigrant party. Despite their alleged support for multiple versions of a DREAM act, they did not pass any such legislation when they controlled both houses of Congress. Further, they are absolutely hostile to legal immigration, as documented above. As I posted earlier, Chuck Schumer has led the charge to prevent companies from using H-1B visas to inshore information technology work that was previously performed in India. His hatred of Asians puzzles me (if you think I kid, read his comments at the link). Inshoring is defined as bringing foreign workers to the U.S. to perform work they were previously performing overseas. Inshoring helps the economy in multiple ways. First, it allows those firms to hire more American workers, because not every position will be insourced. Second, those foreigners will be spending money in this country. Third, they will be paying taxes in this country. To my last point, I have admitted that some of the current deficit is due to reduced tax revenue. More taxpayers would help, wouldn't it? Just one more reason to lay the jobless non-recovery at Obama's doorstep.

From Slaughter's article:
In the past decade, the share of doctoral-degree recipients in science and engineering from China and India who report definite plans to stay in America has been falling. A recent survey by Duke University researcher Vivek Wadwha found that 72% of Indian immigrants who returned to their home country said that opportunities to start their own businesses were "better" or "much better" there than in the U.S. For Chinese immigrant returnees, the figure was an alarming 81%.

We need to reverse this trend if we hope to overcome our jobs crisis, the depth of which is sobering. The 111 million private-sector jobs in America today are the same number there were 12 years ago. Leaders in Washington can keep fiddling with haphazard fiscal incentives or temporary proposals whose political rationale trumps economic ones. Or they can instead rebuild the foundation of new-business formation, innovation and investment that ultimately creates jobs. Opening U.S. doors much wider to skilled immigrants educated here should be a cornerstone of any pro-growth policy. It is a graduation gift that the Class of 2012 and all of America deserve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Children's Education Suffers in Government Schools

Two unrelated articles show how the education of children comes last when dealing with the government education bureaucracy and the labor unions representing teachers. In San Diego, the unions and the district struck a deal yesterday to avoid 1,481 layoffs, according to the U-T.

Representing 7,000 teachers, the San Diego Education Association agreed to extend furloughs for a third and fourth year — once again shortening the school year for 118,000 students and cutting pay for educators.

The preliminary agreement includes a one-time financial retirement incentive in an effort to nudge the most senior teachers off the payroll this year. It also lays the groundwork for shaving 14 more days off the 2012-13 academic year should Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative fail in the November election.

This is no bargain for children's education. The teachers are getting paid less because they are working less. Further, we don't know how many of the jobs saved are teacher positions. We could continue this trend and have children have zero days of school but still end up with a huge tab from the government school system. Neither the district nor the union have the courage to address the real problem, the large number of non-teachers on the payroll in the form of administrators. My research from 2010 showed that the ratio of teachers to other staff in San Diego schools was about 1.25 to 1. Chicago Catholic Schools have a ratio closer to 7 to 1. The reason we don't get much for our education dollar is the huge number of non-teaching staff members. Further, reducing the number of days in school reduces learning for children as is documented in Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Outliers. The government and the unions seem intent on rigging the education system against children.

Meanwhile in New York, Governor Cuomo is ready to sign EMERGENCY legislation to prevent government teacher's evaluation scores from becoming public knowledge, in spite of the fact that they are paid by the public.

Cuomo and the state's powerful teachers' unions have tried to limit the evaluations' release to parents of children in a teacher's class, without further dissemination. The bill also would prevent parents from seeing the evaluations of teachers they might want to avoid in future years, which could be more useful to parents than seeing an evaluation of their child's current teacher, who they can't change.
Of course they can't. Unions want to protect poorly performing teachers from the consequences of their performance. Parental involvement in education improves childhood learning; but the government school system is rigged to deny parents meaningful influence. But any attempt to give parents a voice in the system will be vigorously opposed by the government employees unions.

I think widespread vouchers and privatization of the government run school system is the fastest way to fix education in the United States. But government run schools can work. In San Diego, we often hear of the Poway school system being highly desirable. In San Francisco, a series of reforms that give parents more choice and principals more authority, including budgeting and hiring, has greatly improved schools there. San Diego schools could vastly improve, by imitating reforms that have worked elsewhere and reducing non-teaching staff size.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This is a Common Labor Market?

ZeroHedge provides the following graph that illustrates the perils of monetary union when language and culture inhibit labor mobility:

In the Unites States workers tend to move from state to state in search of jobs. In Europe, this apparently isn't happening; so Spain continues to suffer high unemployment and rising interest rates on its sovereign debt, even though theoretically its unemployed could find work in Germany. American work force mobility provides for a more robust economy because local conditions in North Dakota, for example, provide high levels of employment that can sop up unemployed workers from other parts of the country. However, I believe that the housing crisis uniquely harmed the U.S. economy because it interfered with this key corrective. Under more normal circumstances, people are able to sell their homes at only slight losses to move to other locales to take jobs. With the collapse of the housing bubble, many people are holding out, perhaps irrationally for a recovery of their home prices, before they make a move.

The administration's policies have contributed to the prolonged recession in two ways. First, by intervening in the housing market, and propping it up, the administration prevented the market from hitting bottom and perhaps recovering. I believe, though with only anecdotal evidence, that people are clinging to their homes, not wanting to sell. This is inhibiting labor mobility as people stay put. Second, by prolonging unemployment benefits, people are encouraged to try to hang on longer in their perhaps underwater homes; waiting for a recovery.

Quote of the Week

From Mark Steyn, again, speaking of Obama's lofty rhetoric compared to actual conditions on the ground and over the dam.

Take, for example, the attempt at soaring rhetoric: "That's how we built this country – together. We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together," he said, in a passage that was presumably meant to be inspirational but was delivered with the faintly petulant air of a great man resentful at having to point out the obvious, yet again.

. . .

Beyond the cheap dissembling, there was a bleak, tragic quality to this paragraph. Does anyone really believe a second-term Obama administration is going to build anything? Yes, you, madam, the gullible sap at the back in the faded hope'n'change T-shirt. You seriously think your guy is going to put up another Hoover Dam? Let me quote one Deanna Archuleta, Obama's Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, in a speech to Democratic environmentalists in Nevada:

"You will never see another federal dam."


Monday, June 18, 2012

After the Supremes Rule on PPACA

Juan Williams is reporting that the Obama administration is prepared for a full scale political assault on the Supreme Court if they lose rulings on PPACA, aka Obamacare. This would be more of the same from a President who refuses to recognize the limits of power in a constitutional government. What is often forgotten is that there are two major issues before the court. The first, of course, is the constitutionality of the individual mandate. The second is the fed's massive expansion of medicaid at the expense of the states. David Oedel of the National Law Journal (H/T Ilya Somin and The Volokh Conspiracy):
The ACA, though, puts an unusually heavy federal clamp on state “partners” in Medicaid. If any rogue state were to fail to extend free health care to large portions of the lower-middle class, as ordered under the ACA, it could lose all its federal funding for Medicaid for the poor. That funding is by far the largest federal outlay to any state, and is critical to states being able to care for the poor.

Justice Stephen Breyer unexpectedly suggested at oral argument that a decision by the secretary of Health and Human Services to strip any noncompliant state of all Medicaid funding would be unreasonable, and just cause for litigation…

[Chief Justice] Roberts… interjected, “[S]o long as the Federal government has that power [to strip all funding], it seems to be a significant intrusion on the sovereign interests of the State,” even if the states may have experienced and accepted such intrusions before.

If the Medicaid mandate is overturned, this will make the law more complex to implement because those who would have gone on to Medicaid will probably have to go on to the exchanges, but may not be able to afford it. Much has been written about the need for an individual mandate to make the system work, but I will succinctly recap. The individual mandate is necessary so that insurers have a healthy population to offset the costs of insuring those with pre-existing conditions.

Williams also points out that the a ruling against the law will put pressure on Republicans to say what their own plan would look like. The ugliness of the status quo will surely provide the pressure. However, I think that Romney, specifically, not Republican in general, will be the one's facing the pressure. Obama has already tipped his hand. He will assault the court and make the case that we need him to pick new justices so that the federal government can build the Hoover Dam of health care (more like Rube Goldberg, but he is prone to rhetorical flights.) Team Romney will be in an awkward position, given their man's previous efforts in Massachusetts.

This is not a time to over-think the problem. What's popular about the Obamacare bill? Covering pre-existing conditions and expanding coverage. What's unpopular? Everything else. Romney should say that the government will provide assistance to help those who have trouble affording health care coverage, but they will have to pay in some themselves to show they are serious; ditto for those with pre-existing conditions. He could throw in as much of John Mackey's plan as he likes as well, but he doesn't need to say much more to have a better plan than Obama's Pelosi's (we need to read the bill) and Reed's. Such a plan wouldn't cost much and would also give the lie to the idea that Romney is some kind of right wing nut.

The nation's health care insurance system is like a carpenter's nail that's going into wood at a bad angle. PPACA is the decision that a sledgehammer is the right tool to remedy the situation. The right answer is to start over; and use the power of the free market.

My concern about Team Romney is that their excellent offensive against Obama is blinding them to opportunities to put forward solid policy proposals in advance of the predictable news cycle. Maybe they are ready, and we just don't know it.

Finally and fervently, I am hoping for the entire law to get the boot, which it deserves. Not doing so will set bad precedents that will take two decades from which to recover.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

All That's Wrong With Obama's Policy on Dreamers

The President's back door amnesty plan is is filled pitfalls. I'm glad he rolled it out now, because it gives time for all voters, including Latinos, to see how flawed it is. Here is a brief summary of what I can think of with a few minutes of reflection:
  • It violates the statute for granting work permits to aliens, undermining the rule of law.
  • It can be rescinded by the next President.
  • It could be a trap that would allow the identification of these aliens for deportation in the future.
  • It could be a trap that would allow the identification of the aliens' parents for deportation in the future.
  • It will increase the reported unemployment rate to the extent that the nonresident undocumented aliens seek work. (Yes, illegal immigrants, but I'm keeping to the legal language.)
  • It will put more pressure on legal residents looking for work, because of added competition from this group.
  • Did I mention that it undermines the rule of law?
  • It encourages more illegal immigration, because parents want good for their children most of all. Getting their children eligible for work in the U.S. is a powerful incentive for further law breaking, given the miserable conditions in most of Latin America and especially Mexico; where the majority of illegal immigrants hail from.

That's what comes immediately to mind. I am sure my readers can add more. More interestingly, is how Romney should respond. His initial response that the executive order makes it more difficult to achieve lasting reform because it poisoned the discussion struck the right tone. It reminds the Hispanic voters that Obama had the chance to pass whatever he wanted in 2009 and 2010, but chose to ignore the issue. Romney would do well to incorporate some of what Newt Gingrich has said on this subject. Specifically, he should emphasize control of the border as a down payment for solving our immigration problems. Next, he should put forth proposals to create what Newt Gingrich calls a "21st Century visa program" and expanded H-1B visa program. Solving this problem is in the best interest of America, because drawing talented immigrants and even unskilled laborers balances out our demographic and employment deficits. The President, through his extra-legal maneuvering has made the problem harder to solve. That's not leadership, that's demagoguery.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Weekend Music Chill

No one makes music like this anymore. But it seems the kind of music that was played when the adults were out on the patio drinking martinis or Miller's in my childhood. (Wes Clark's Avocado Memories page on patio culture is worth a re-read in our day. I linked the patio culture essay but the whole site is worth exploring.) This is some of my favorite romantic mood music, with Jackie Gleason.

Affront to the Rule of Law - Obama Hating on Illegals

The President's announcement today that he would grant work permits to young immigrants who were not in the country legally is an affront to the rule of law. The President himself had said that he couldn't take unilateral action a year ago. Here are excerpts from the relevant statute, 8 CFR 274a.12.

(a) Aliens authorized employment incident to status. Pursuant to the statutory or regulatory reference cited, the following classes of aliens are authorized to be employed in the United States without restrictions as to location or type of employment as a condition of their admission or subsequent change to one of the indicated classes. Any alien who is within a class of aliens described in paragraphs (a)(3), (a)(4), (a)(6)–(a)(8), (a)(10)–(a)(15), or (a)(20) of this section, and who seeks to be employed in the United States, must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a document evidencing such employment authorization. USCIS may, in its discretion, determine the validity period assigned to any document issued evidencing an alien's authorization to work in the United States.

. . .

(3) An alien admitted to the United States as a refugee pursuant to section 207 of the Act for the period of time in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(4) An alien paroled into the United States as a refugee for the period of time in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

. . .

(6) An alien admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant fiancé or fiancée pursuant to section 101(a)(15)(K)(i) of the Act, or an alien admitted as a child of such alien, for the period of admission in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(7) An alien admitted as a parent (N–8) or dependent child (N–9) of an alien granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the Act, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(8) An alien admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant pursuant to the Compact of Free Association between the United States and of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau;

. . .

(10) An alien granted withholding of deportation or removal for the period of time in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(11) An alien whose enforced departure from the United States has been deferred in accordance with a directive from the President of the United States to the Secretary. Employment is authorized for the period of time and under the conditions established by the Secretary pursuant to the Presidential directive;

(12) An alien granted Temporary Protected Status under section 244 of the Act for the period of time in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(13) An alien granted voluntary departure by the Attorney General under the Family Unity Program established by section 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(14) An alien granted Family Unity benefits under section 1504 of the Legal Immigrant Family Equity (LIFE) Act Amendments, Public Law 106–554, and the provisions of 8 CFR part 245a, Subpart C of this chapter, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by the Service;

(15) Any alien in V nonimmigrant status as defined in section 101(a)(15)(V) of the Act and 8 CFR 214.15.

. . .

(20) Any alien in U–2, U–3, U–4, or U–5 nonimmigrant status, pursuant to 8 CFR 214.14, for the period of time in that status, as evidenced by an employment authorization document issued by USCIS to the alien.

I believe the key issue will be paragraph (11) above. May the Presidential directive cover a class of individuals, or was the statute written to allow the President to grant clemency to individuals. The law specifies an alien specified by the President. This would seem to prevent the President to granting clemency to a class of individuals. This will probably become a court case. Regardless of its outcome, Obama is clearly using administrative fiat to thwart the plain intent of the law.

Further, how does this really help the illegal aliens in this category. Even if found to be legal, the directive will only be temporary. Put yourself in the shoes of the young illegal. Why would I sign up for this when next January, the USCIS and DHS now have evidence of my illegal entry, by my own admission, and can proceed with deportation. Obama must really hate illegal immigrants to set them up like this.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Road to Serfdom Includes the GW Bridge?

Apparently it does. Here's the scoop. The Port Authority of New York operates the George Washington bridge and Lincoln Tunnel. Its executives are very well compensated.

Many top executives at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are getting thousands of dollars in bonuses on top of six-figure salaries.

The Herald News reported the bonus plan on Tuesday. It discovered that 44 of the agency's top 100 executives made considerably more than their annual salaries in each of the last two fiscal years by getting bonuses, mostly for longevity pay and unused vacation time.

Meanwhile, commuters chafe at the $12 they pay for each trip into Manhattan. There is a loophole of course, traveling with three or more passengers in the vehicle qualifies for a $6 discount. Enter free market economics, riders and passengers are hooking up to reduce the costs of crossing. The passengers get a free ride into Manhattan and the drivers get a discount. Our love story would end there, except for the fact that this particular bridge is part of The Road to Serfdom. Enter the Port Authority and the police. From the WSJ:

. . .cat-and-mouse game being played out at the nearby George Washington Bridge leading into Manhattan. Carpoolers hoping to catch a ride were being intercepted by police—even though ride-sharing, as in other cities, is a legal way to save money. . . .
A common carpooler complaint is that the police only target vehicles picking up passengers—not those dropping them at the bus stop or even those picking up people in the non-toll-paying direction. Though Mr. Della Fave denies that is the case, Mr. Topyan says his research—consisting of hundreds of hours of observation—seems to confirm the practice.
. . .
But to those without the time or energy to walk, the crackdown on carpools smacks of a revenue-grab by the Port Authority, which has been criticized for lavish pay and benefits. With extensive overtime, some toll collectors make more than $100,000, while salaries for several officers working at the bridge topped $200,000 last year.
. . .
"In order to pad their pensions and lifestyle, they're taking bread out of our children's mouths," says Ms. Javier.

Indeed. In summary, an out of control bureaucracy is using the police to enforce revenue grabbing measures against law abiding citizens. This is the road to serfdom. Want to avoid paying a fee by legal means? The police will be stopping you, my friend. Wealthy and young, and just want to pay cash for your health care? You'll be paying a fine. Ask for the address of an EPA official? It turns out the EPA has agents with guns who will pay you a visit. (Why does the EPA need agents with guns, can't they use the FBI for such an occasion?)

And of course there are the green police:

In a growing number of cities across the U.S., local governments are placing computer chips in recycling bins to collect data on refuse disposal, and then fining residents who don't participate in recycling efforts and forcing others into educational programs meant to instill respect for the environment.

At least one man fought back.

Curious to see what would happen, Mr. Topyan recently picked up two passengers in plain sight of a police officer—and was promptly ticketed. Having researched the law, he spent six hours in traffic court and won his case.

"The prosecutor was jumping up and down in disbelief," he says. He didn't have to pay.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cronyism Screws the Middle Class

Check out Beers with Demo today. In another heart breaking injustice, retirees of Delphi Automotive were screwed out of their rights to their retirements due to pressure brought to bear by the Obama administration. They are suing, but it took three years to get subpoenaed documents out of the administration. Most transparent administration evah!

The auto bailout was one of the most shameful episodes in American business jurisprudence. The innocent, such as Delphi salaried retirees and Indiana schoolteachers, got the shaft. The guilty, the unions whose bargaining unsustainable retiree benefits and health care made their industry uncompetitive, got rewarded. Additionally, bankruptcy law was thwarted and violated, bond holders were not given front of the line rights as the law called for, but the unions got that place instead. Just another reason that Obama must be defeated. His consistent stand to undermine the rule of law is paving the way for dictatorship in America. Even if he is not personally guilty of wanting to be dictator, his actions are setting the stage.

Quote of the Night

I missed the NBA finals tonight, but caught the last few minutes on radio on the drive home. I had watched the first quarter and had seen Miami dominate at times and take a decent lead over the less experienced Thunder. In the post-game interview, Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder was asked what adjustments they had made after the first quarter to shut down the Heat. His quote: "We played harder." I loved it, it was straightforward and uncomplicated.

Right now the coalition to defeat Obama is behind on points. We just need to keep playing hard. This is what I am really liking about Romney; he seems intent on taking the fight to the President, playing hard. His attacks are not personal, but go to the key issues of the campaign, the President's cronyism and lack of focus on the economy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Electoral Map Today

In a previous post, I made my bold prediction for a Republican victory in November's presidential election. I did some research today, and used the interactive map at to show what I thought the state of play of today's election might be. The rules for this analysis are to only use the recent (within the last month) polls of likely voters. If that is a tie, then factor prior polls of likely voters, if still tied, then look at registered voter (RV) polls. If there are no likely voter polls, I also used the RV polls. Also, since Maine and Nebraska split their electoral votes, they present a special challenge; for the purposes of this I am assuming Nebraska will go all red and Maine all blue. Here is my result for the 2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map (you can click the link to change your own results):

Since this shows an Obama victory, it is certainly a bit disheartening. Two things to remember. First, its a long way to November. Second, what if we assume that Romney will capture undecideds by a 2:1 margin, certainly possible, then the map would look like this:

This is a better result from my perspective. The key point is that the election is still very close, but Romney has a lot of work to do. He could easily lose in a close election. If people think that Obama's gaffs of the last week doom his campaign, look at how challenging the electoral map is for the Republicans. Nate Silver still believes Obama the slight favorite, calling it a tenuous advantage, as does Intrade, which has Obama at 53.6% odds to win. (Silver's forecast is a 288-250 electoral win for Obama, slightly more bullish on Obama than my look today. Silver is certainly more qualified.) The Intrade odds didn't really move much on this past week's news, despite all the feel good for Republicans. However, the odds did drop over the weekend before the Wisconsin primary, so maybe that reflected the implications of the Walker recall, because the polls solidified over the weekend.

I post this not discourage our side, but to be realistic, we have to acknowledge reality and plan accordingly to blunt Obama's advantages. Please check out map and let me know your own predictions.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crony Capitalism and Economists

The Grumpy Economist has a great post on the economic effects of crony capitalism. Some quotes:

Economists tend not to pay enough attention to this sort of thing, in part because it's hard to measure. We argue about taxes and government spending because we can at least try to measure them. We acknowledge that government mandates are the same as taxing and spending, but tend to leave them out because it's hard to get numbers. Intrusive regulation, just as damaging, is even harder to quantify. And pervasive corruption harder still. Yet it's just as much, maybe more, sand in the gears as are headline taxing and spending.

It just looks like mysterious "low productivity." Keynesians see low output and employment and ask for more stimulus. That's not the problem.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Programming Alert

I'm leaving town before I can here any bad news. No blogging for the next two days. In addition to the electoral victories; I got to watch some of Issa's epic smack down of Holder and it was reported that Romney raised more money than Obama last month. Additionally, Obama's message that the private sector is doing fine earned him rightful derision. It's a good time to get some R&R.

Weekend Music Chill

Feelin' pretty good about the week, which ended on the high note of receiving an email plea from Team O for more money because Romney was out raising them. I also harkened back to my high school days in one of my posts, so I am posting music "from the day."

First, here is Argent, with Hold Your Head Up.

And here is hoping that this one can go out to Michelle and Barack Obama in November.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Of Course We're Happy, But

. . . its a long way to November. The wheels seem to be coming off for the left wing of the Democratic party and the mood over Obama's re-election chances seem to be shifting. Some of my fellow tea party bloggers will be celebrating over beers this weekend, appropriate for the occasion. (Beer, as in good ones from California, seems to be the official beverage of San Diego tea partyers.) In addition to the good news from victories I mentioned yesterday, I saw that Michigan and Nevada had moved into the "in play" column on the RealClearPolitics map since I last looked. Further, Bill Clinton and Ed Rendell seem to be detracting from the Obama campaign message.

Here's Rendell:

Peggy Noonan, had this to say about Clinton's quotes.
It just all increasingly looks like a house of cards. Bill Clinton—that ol' hound dog, that gifted pol who truly loves politics, who always loved figuring out exactly where the people were and then going to exactly that spot and claiming it—Bill Clinton is showing all the signs of someone who is, let us say, essentially unimpressed by the incumbent. He defended Mitt Romney as a businessman—"a sterling record"—said he doesn't like personal attacks in politics, then fulsomely supported the president, and then said that the Bush tax cuts should be extended.
But here's the problem. As good as things look now, politicians are in the survival business and have ways of correcting their own mistakes when it threatens their re-election prospects. Team Romney might be tempted to let Obama defeat himself; but sooner or later he has to make the case for why he himself should be the leader of the free world. This is what he failed to do in 2008. I have seen flashes of inspiration in this campaign, but not enough to make the sale. I am urging him to think seriously about two things. First, what few key positions and issues does he emphasize to demonstrate his readiness to govern. Second, what will his response be to another economic shock that might develop from Europe or unexpected quarters.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Left Blames Messaging, Money,

. . . anyone but themselves. I'm not going to waste time searching out all of the left wing excuses for yesterday's taxpayer victories in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose. The tried and true playbook will be to turn to the courts to defeat the will of the voters in the California elections and to blame money and a bad message in Wisconsin. I watched the President of the San Diego firefighters union, Frank De Clercq, on KUSI on election night telling the voters that he would be heading to court to thwart their will. His basic argument is that the taxpayers were only allowed to change his benefits through negotiation. My answer is, tough, your unions have helped elect patsies who have promised pension benefits that were unaffordable. Those promises were made on my behalf, but not in my best interests as a taxpayer. For me this is personal, to De Clercq and Michael Zucchet, my message is that you were work for us, we don't work for you. As your employer we should have the absolute right to change the conditions of employment when economic circumstances require. There is no inherent right of government employees to be allowed to bargain for wages and benefits. As I have pointed out before:
I am an employee for the federal government. Much of my expected pension benefit comes from a 401 style plan. I'm not in a union. Even if I was, the union couldn't bargain for my pay and benefits, only work place rules. But I have significant protections against unjust firings and am afforded excellent work place accommodations. Why isn't this good enough for state and local workers?
In Wisconsin, Walker's victory was by a significant amount, not a landslide, but the 7% margin left no doubt as to the significant strength of his position. I have seen headlines that I refuse to link calling the election close. I have also seen headlines that this is the "death of democracy." Normally, when we elect politicians, we complain that they don't keep their campaign promises. How ironic that Scott Walker was recalled for keeping his.

Contrast the left's response to what conservatives do when they lose elections. Here is what I wrote in 2008.
Unfortunately, the left is not the only enemy of freedom. One of the reasons for the Obama victory was the failure of Republicans under George Bush to champion limited government, see prescriptions for seniors, “No Child Left Behind” and caving on steel tariffs. This failure was the result of ignorance, lust for power, and corruption. Further, the Republicans became identified as the “party of big government.” I believe that voters are rational; given the choice between two big government parties, the people voted for the party more ideologically committed to making big government work. Dean has more on this in an election post-mortem.
The introspection about our own faults is an important corrective to missteps that we will inevitably make. For reasons not clear to me, the left seems more likely to dwell on the external circumstances that lead to their electoral defeats than libertarians and conservatives.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DeMaio vs Filner in the Fall

With only 15% of the vote in, I'm calling the mayor's race as DeMaio vs. Filner in the fall. If the polls are to be believed, this works better for DeMaio than a Fletcher match up. However, it means that labor will be providing support for DeMaio's opponent, but I'm not sure the efficacy of organized labor in San Diego after tonight's results.

Proposition B is also winning handily and Walker has won in Wisconsin. I'm a pretty happy camper. Time for some of this (Max take note):

This was the best picture of the bottle, so no crap about the glass.

Progressive Thinking on Wisconsin - UPDATE

Here is the core of the leftist complaint against Scott Walker, from Ruth Conniff writing for The Progressive.
It is a winning strategy for the right to stir up resentment among insecure, nonunion workers against their neighbors who have better benefits and more secure jobs. But Walker and his billionaire backers don't offer them anything--just an ideology that says we need more tax breaks for the very rich, but we can't afford to continue giving public employees good health care and retirement benefits and job security in their public-service jobs.
The tax breaks for the rich part is gratuitous leftist clap trap that had nothing to do with the recall campaign against Walker, so I'll just ignore that. The core of the argument is that the workers who can use political power to get above market wages should do so, too bad if the taxpayers are on the losing end of the proposition. They should all be in unions as well.

Fortunately, this is a fantasy, as private sector union membership has been in steady decline for decades. Ultimately, state workers shouldn't get better benefits than their private sector counterparts. This is especially true of retirement and medical benefits as these costs have a way of ballooning while not directly being tied to the efficacy of the work performed. To suggest that its somehow right for state workers to lord it over the taxpayers because they have organized into unions is to pave the way for dictatorship. When government workers feel unaccountable because they can elect whom they choose, we are on the road to dictatorship. I am not exaggerating, this is a scary path. This is why Walker's impressive victory tonight is so important for the nation.


John Nichols at The Nation offers his delusions, attributing Walker's victory merely to money and spinning a solid defeat thusly:

Yet, against overwhelming odds, Wisconsin's recall movement fought its way to a dead heat, losing only narrowly in its effort to remove a "right-wing rock star" whose reelection became the top priority of the Republican party, the conservative movement and the 1% billionaires who made Walker's reelection a national priority.
. . .
What could Democrats and the unions have done differently. They could have taken a portion of the millions they did spend on television ads attacking Walker -- whose negatives were already high and who was taken regular media hits regarding a criminal investigation of his aides and donors -- and spent it on early advertising to make the case for collective bargaining and the recall election. Democrats and their allies do a lousy job of framing debates, and that was certainly the case in Wisconsin.

Dead heat? Walker won in Wisconsin by about the same margin that Obama won nationally in 2008. As to the message, the Democrats ran away from the collective bargaining issue when their own polling indicated that it was a big loser with the voters. This was an election with very high turnout. Voters frankly just rejected the idea that unions shouldn't be reined in.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pre-Election Outlook for Team Taxpayer

I played high school football and tonight feels like Thursday night before an important Friday game, not the big game, but an important one we need to win. Team taxpayer is favored to win two important contests tomorrow, the Wisconsin governor's recall and Proposition B in San Diego.

The U-T is reporting that Proponents of Proposition B have spent $1.8 million on the measure against $227K by those opposed. That doesn't prove it will win, but it makes me smile nonetheless. A bit of Schadenfreude came from this quote in the Voice of San Diego.
“From a political standpoint, it’s pretty likely that this is going to pass in June," labor leader Michael Zucchet said in April. "And when I say pretty likely, I mean we’re [expletive].”
I don't get the anger. I am a government employee for the federal government. Much of my expected pension benefit comes from a 401 style plan. I'm not in a union. Even if I was, the union couldn't bargain for my pay and benefits, only work place rules. But I have significant protections against unjust firings and am afforded excellent work place accommodations. Why isn't this good enough for state and local workers?

On [to] Wisconsin. Barack Obama is flexing his muscle in support of Democrat Tom Barrett, on Twitter! That's been the extent of the President's campaign to unseat Scott Walker. Meanwhile the truth of how well Walker's reforms appears to have sunk in, as he is a steady favorite, and above 50% in all of the polls. The RCP average is at 6.7% in favor of Walker on the eve of the election. As most political junkies know, Walker's reining in the public employees unions is the reason for this recall. That's what makes the race so important; the taxpayers have to believe that they can put a lid on public employee pay and benefits if state and local government is to ever become affordable again. This is what makes me wonder about the left. Unchecked, employee benefits will destroy government's ability to deliver any of the services the left wants government to deliver, but they don't seem to get math.

In the San Diego mayor's race I feel fairly certain that Carl DeMaio will be in a run off, whether against Filner or Fletcher, I don't know. I have been supporting DeMaio for some time. My regret is that Nathan Fletcher is being vilified in TV ads. I disagree with him on some issues and his decision to leave the GOP, but he seems to be a decent guy with a long history of service. These campaign ads makes me glad I lost an election in junior high and lost any appetite for further campaigning as a candidate. The ads against Carl DeMaio over the police benefits for widows seemed pretty miserable as well.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Updated San Diego tea party Ballot Recommendations

I already posted my preferences for Carl DeMaio for Mayor, and on the ballot propositions, (NO on 28, 29 and Yes on A and B here in San Diego.) There is a great ballot guide out with a summary of ballot recommendations from multiple organizations published by FamilyVoterInfo. I found it very useful to make some last minute decisions.

For example, I wasn't sure about voting for John Witt for the County Board of Education, but saw that the Labor council had endorsed his opponent Greg Robinson. However, I saw that Planned Parenthood had endorsed Witt, so he was out as well. The Deputy Sheriff's Association endorsement of Garland Peed for Superior Court Office #34 sent my vote to his opponent, Gary Kreep, on the theory that I don't vote for anyone endorsed by a public employee union or group. This logic might have applied to Brian Bilbray for 52nd district, House of Representatives, but his opponents have more objectionable endorsements. Also, to win this district, a more moderate Republican is probably going to be required, this ain't Utah or even Indiana.

As W.C. Varones has pointed out, the California race for Senate isn't really interesting. I am no longer voting for Libertarian Party candidates on the theory that they need to join the Republican party and change it from within; so no protest vote for Gail Lightfoot from me. I don't think anyone is really worth endorsing, so I remain silent, only to say I will select a Republican.

More Mediocre Jobs News

The markets reacted badly to the jobs report released yesterday, but I think that there was a bit of an overreaction. Why? It was really more of the same, even though unemployment ticked up to 8.2%, and there was little job growth; I think that the mild winter is skewing the seasonally adjusted statistics, so we don't know for sure what is going on. So I turn to my favorite picture, the 10 year trend in labor force participation rate:

What we are seeing is a continuation of the same trend that's been in progress since January 2009, steady decline in the percent of people working who are over 16. The uptick may turn out to be good news, but absent other factors, I doubt it. Regardless, the country has a real issue with employment that is burdening every level of government and the economy as a whole; namely a smaller proportion of adults are working. Hopefully, the slight uptick is the start of a turn around, but only time will tell; visually the trend looks unchanged at this point.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekend Music Chill

Dean's midweek martini-worthy image got me thinking about the kind of country music that I like, which honestly isn't a lot. I do have some examples, mostly from Johnny Cash. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, pictured on Dean's blog performing Love Hurts. (Couldn't find live performance that would embed well.)

From the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?, the Soggy Bottom Boys perform Man of Constant Sorrow.