Friday, February 28, 2014

Can We Kill This Choo-Choo Project Already?

Under the heading of "What You Should Be Reading," Cal certainly comes to mind.  They have great coverage of key California state issues from what appears to be a conservative perspective, but that might be the result of all the bad governance by the lefties that run this state.  Chris Reed is a frequent contributor and covers California politics with a sharp eye.  He has come to the conclusion that California's "Top Dems" want the high speed rail project killed because they aren't applying their usual thugishness in propelling it forward.  Calling it the "Dog That Didn't Bark," he cites two main facts.  First, the handling of the initiative intended to shut down the train:
The Secretary of State’s Office released the official title and summary for a proposed anti-bullet train ballot measure prepared by the AG’s office, and it seems downright reasonable and fair.
Second, he cites inept lawyering by the California AG in answering the question of how Jerry Brown is going to kill the train without appearing to be doing so on purpose.
How are they going to pull this off? Through intentionally inept lawyering.
. . .
For five months after Judge Kenny’s ruling, the Brown administration didn’t question its legal reasoning one bit. Now the administration accuses the judge of ‘erecting obstacles found nowhere in the voter-approved bond act’ of 2008 that provided $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the project. Huh? How can the governor and attorney general make this argument now when they didn’t before?
Well, maybe.  The problem with this theory is that it makes Jerry Brown out to be some Frank Underwood super-pol.  (I just started watching Season 1 of House of Cards, and yes, I am hooked.) David  Burge has other ideas about U.S. pols in general.
But we Californians are due a break.  I know, we keep electing leftist thugs.  But could we at least kill this train before it destroys businesses and farmland in the Central Valley.  God has punished them enough with this drought.

What You Should Be Reading

  • Holman Jenkins explains why, even if you believe in man-made global warming, getting the government involved is a huge mistake. Bottom line, there is no government action which will solve this problem faster than the free market.
  • KTCat views the vetoed AZ religious liberty law through a lens crafted in Riyadh. 
  • Fellow SLOBs give their perspectives on Bitcoin, theoretical and practical.  Meanwhile some idiot at Thinkprogress does no thinking in writing that Bitcoin is about (drum roll please) white male privilege.  Ms. Strasser is thoroughly schooled in the comments. Women and minorities for whom she condescendingly thought to speak point out that they are capable of making economic decisions for themselves.
  • Dalrock dissects the realities of declining SMV for divorcĂ©es. 
  • Kimberly Strassel reveals the latest ongoing Obama IRS assault on conservatives and Tea Partyers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Enemy's Enemy

. . . Can still be my enemy.  The left has set out to stifle my free speech on social issues.  I am compelled to recognize homosexual unions as marriages.  I am compelled to subsidize insurance plans that cover abortion. If I am a Catholic organization, I am compelled to pay for insurance for contraception.  All of these are attacks intended to delegitimize my social beliefs through government coercion.  So shouldn't I be thankful that there is a world leader ready to fight for the value of social conservatives?  Owen Matthews reports:
In his annual state of the nation speech to Russia’s parliament in December, Vladimir Putin assured conservatives around the world that Russia was ready and willing to stand up for ‘family values’ against a tide of liberal, western, pro-gay propaganda ‘that asks us to accept without question the equality of good and evil’. Russia, he promised, will ‘defend traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation in every nation for thousands of years’. Crucially, Putin made it clear that his message was directed not only at Russians — who have already been protected from ‘promotion of non-traditional relationships’ by recent legislation — but for ‘more and more people across the world who support our position’.
Well, maybe not so much.  Here's the problem; Putin is a corrupt tyrant who has blood on his hands.  Other than that, he makes a great champion of family values.  Holman Jenkins recounts the tale of Alexander Litvinenko, who had evidence that Putin benefited from a series of bombings that the Russian state security apparatus manufactured themselves but blamed on the Chechens.  We see Putin's heavy hand in the Ukraine, where he has used bribery and economic pressure to undermine the desires of the Ukrainians for greater prosperity through economic ties to Europe.  (Whether that will lead to prosperity is anyone's guess, but it is their right to make the choice.)  Putin's machinations are well chronicled.

Taking up with the likes of Putin is never morally acceptable, nor it will it prove to be a winning strategy.  As much as I see the leftist tile of this administration as tyrannical (who else would be unashamedly suing the Little Sisters of the Poor?), throwing in with tyrants only weakens our cause.  The Russian Orthodox church has seen fit to again make an alliance with a tyrannical Russian government.  Historically in Europe, the alliance between church and state ultimately weakened the church, as it lost focus on its founder and became enmeshed in politics.  Some on the Christian Right, such as the World Congress of Families and Bryan Fischer are praising Putin.  I can not let this pass.  Our point of view will prevail, because it is grounded in fundamental and eternal truths, not because we find tyrants to help enforce our ideas.  We don't need to make a deal with the devil.

What You Should Be Reading

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Minimum Wage - Robots Replacing Workers

The minimum wage laws in this country are daggers to the heart of opportunity for our poorest and least skilled citizens.  Those in favor argue that it helps the poor because they get paid more, and that there is no adverse impact on the economy, overall.  I disagree, but want to focus on the very people that the left proposes to help, the unskilled.  Take South Africa for instance.  The ministry of labor sets minimum wages in various employment areas.  But the labor unions in South Africa are closely allied with ruling ANC and they impose wage rates even on non-union sectors of the economy.  As a consequence, there is massive unemployment in South Africa amongst the largely unskilled work force, because they are not skilled enough to be affordable to businesses.

Another way that minimum wages hit the unskilled is through automation.  It is no coincidence that the world leader in viticulture technology is France, where there are high minimum wages.  The best robots for picking and sorting grapes are used there.  I have personally witnessed McDonald's experiments with outsourcing the person who takes my order to who knows what country.  No less an authority on technology than Bill Gates makes this same point, businesses will invest in technology to displace entry level workers as minimum wages rise.  We risk having no entry level positions to train up our young people if we continue to boost the minimum wage.   The minimum wage isn't intended for a work force of older workers with families to support.  They should be expected to have amassed skills that would allow them to command a higher wage.

Product on sale above, replaces French workers pictured below.

As a compassionate society, those who need help but only make the minimum wage are helped through programs like Earned Income Credit, food stamps and medicaid.  We should carefully craft these programs so that there is an incentive for the working poor to make more money.  In other words, benefits should be phased out gradually as income rises.  But to impose the burden of helping the working poor on employers is unfair and will only result in more automation and fewer such jobs.  Even if the economy overall benefits from the improved efficiency such automation brings, raising the minimum wage will only exacerbate income inequality.

Locally, Todd Gloria proposed raising San Diego's minimum wage to $14.50 an hour.  Given that neighboring cities would not be bound by the law, the loss of San Diego jobs to Poway for instance is inevitable should this proposal become law.  Businesses that can relocate outside city limits will reap a windfall by comparison.  It is hard to see how this can help our city.  Big corporations such as Petco and Websense have relocated jobs to Texas.  Why would San Diegans want to provide more incentives for job losses?

This is a major reason why I so vehemently oppose David Alvarez for mayor and support Kevin Faulconer.  Alvarez is on the record as supporting minimum wage increases.  If he is mayor, there will be no stopping organized labor from prevailing in making San Diego a hostile location to start businesses and create jobs.  I admit that I have a personal interest in this issue.  My son works at minimum wage as a UFCW 135 member and I don't want him to lose his job.  Do we really want a city with far less opportunity for the unskilled and entry level job seekers?  I don't and voted for Kevin Faulconer because of it.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Manly Virtue

I have been taking some time off from blogging for self reflection.  I had found myself becoming overly pessimistic about America when time and again we have gone through rough times and reclaimed our vigor.  I wanted to say that these times seem different; that the people themselves have lost their way.  But surely people have said the same thing in other times.  So it occurs to me that the current age of lies will give way to the truth.  No, government is not going to deliver health care to more people and also make it cheaper.  No, women are not identical to men biologically or socially.  No, you cannot expect to borrow more than you take in indefinitely.  No, their will not be new green jobs, just jobs in industries that deliver value.

In the meantime, we have a new generation to raise.  There are many good men out there and I am privileged to be involved in their lives.  But they still could use a little advise. As for the women their age, I just want to scream at their mothers.  They seem to have raised a generation of self-centered sluts, who think they can waste their prime child bearing years on booze and random men and then wake up to find true love and a family as they approach spinsterhood.  Spoiler alert, ain't happening, no matter what you might hear on Christian Mingle.

For the young men I know, here is a little advice.  These aren't the most important things, it's just the stuff I notice you are not always doing right.

Be On Time. Insist on the Same.
Being on time is a sign of respect.  It is respecting the most valuable commodity of others.  When you are time, it offers evidence that you have your act together, you are organized and prepared.  When others are late, don't tolerate it.  If you can, leave and reschedule.  Otherwise, let them know you don't accept their tardiness.

Stop getting drunk.
Wine and beer are gifts from God.  Don't abuse them.  Alcohol is part of celebration.  Yes, we feel good when we drink.  But getting drunk says that you lack self-control.  It says that you can't deal with your life.  It puts you into dangerous situations because you lose situational awareness. Pace yourself.

Stop swearing.
Swearing doesn't make you sound tough, it makes you seem weak.  You have allowed circumstances to get the better of you, and you are advertising your defeat.  It also lacks class.   The most utilitarian reason to seldom swear is that there may come a time when swearing is needed to properly obtain someone's attention.  If you swear all the time, it won't be effective.

Take charge of your lives. 
To many hours in front of the screen with video games isn't going to bring you the life success you desire.  Neither employers nor sensible young ladies will think so either.  Put time each day into achieving your goals.  Some of your goals should require personal self-improvement, like getting into shape, or becoming an expert with a pistol.  Other goals should be oriented towards your career.  You don't have hours to waste becoming an expert on Modern Warfare.

That's a wrap, except for
What You Should Be Reading
  • Terrorist attack goes unnoticed.  No one is officially saying that this attack on a power substation was a terrorist attack, but what else could it be? Involved snipers and the cutting of telephone lines before the attack.
  • Puerto Rico debt downgraded to junk. Socialism in America, a foretaste. "The changes have been politically difficult. An attempt in December to overhaul the Puerto Rican pension fund for teachers led to a strike, lawsuits and a court order halting the changes until legal questions could be ironed out."
  • A great commentary on why Christians shouldn't get worked up about gay marriage, by Matt Walsh (H/T Dalrock).  Maybe the church should be supporting getting government out of the marriage business and uphold its founding principles.  
  • Dean skewers the administration logic that less employment is somehow good for America.
  • KTCat uses a looney video (well a video of loons) to explain why libertarians should be helping social conservatives retain their freedom.