Monday, September 30, 2013

Cruising the Web

After checking out the list of the consequences of a government shutdown, I wonder how much people will actually notice it. Other than the apocalyptic media reports, of course.
Mail would be delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue to flow.

But vacationers would be turned away from national parks and Smithsonian museums. Low-to-moderate income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays.
I'm sure we'll see stories about families who have saved their entire lives to bring their children to the Smithsonian or a national park and are now heartbroken that the national tourist sites are closed. But people will still be able to travel because federal air traffic controllers and TSA will be on the job. People will still get their Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits. The courts will function mostly. Mail will still be delivered. Federal food inspection will still continue. A few Head Start programs will not be renewed. I'm sure we'll see those children on TV. School lunches and food stamps will continue. We'll still have to pay taxes. FHA-guaranteed loans won't be approved. The government will still keep on eye on the weather and homeland security. Amazingly, much of the federal government spending is off limits for a shutdown. And the House and Senate are likely to pass a separate bill for funding the troops so that will be taken care of.

Check and see if your state is one of the ones where consumers won't be able to keep their health care plan under Obamacare.

And Colorado joins Oregon and the District of Columbia as states whose exchanges are in trouble. And this is despite the administration's bragging about how the exchanges in D.C. and Colorado were models for the rest of the country.

The continuing resolution is chock full of wasteful spending.
One Washington lawmaker says the fiscal fight in DC needs to be refocused on millions of dollars being blown on new government grants that include everything from spending on social media for apples, Christmas tree initiatives and a YouTube video promoting the proper handling of watermelons. And that’s just this week alone.

“Lost in the back and forth this week regarding whether or not to shut down the government over ObamaCare was a real debate about all the other things that this bill will fund,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said in a statement Friday.

Coburn, a fiscal hawk who publishes an annual “Wastebook” report, says the funding bill Congress is currently considering is chock full of head-scratching, taxpayer money-wasting government grants. They include: 35 wine projects, including 10 grants to support wine tasting, radio ads about New Jersey blueberries and funding for Organizing Maple Weekend in Massachusetts, with festivities that include a recipe contest.
Carl M. Cannon notes the extreme rhetoric that Democrats have been using in talking about the House Republicans. Metaphors about terrorism abound. And this rhetoric comes from the top. President Obama travels around the country saying that the Republicans are "putting party ahead of country" and that they deliberately want sick people to be without health care. Nancy Pelosi regularly questions their patriotism. Remember when the Democrats pored over President Bush's words to find some hidden questioning of their patriotism and bragged that dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Things are certainly different when they're in charge.

If Democrats buy into this terrorist language, James Taranto wants to know if Teddy Kennedy and Walter Mondale were terrorists when they tried to attach campaign finance reform to raising the debt ceiling.

The Washington Post tries to play on our heartstrings by writing about the worries of federal workers. Let's pull out that smallest violin. First of all, they're learning how workers in the private sector have felt for the past five years. And secondly, we all know that once this all gets resolved, the final agreement will include back pay for federal workers to cover the period they were out of work. That is what they always do.

Walter Russell Mead wonders if we should care when green energy kills birds.

Contrary to the Democrats' claims, Jay Cost comes up with a list of laws and constitutional understandings that have been changed once they were enacted.
Second, the implication from Democrats that once a bill becomes a law, it is as indelible as the Ten Commandments, etched into rock by the hand of God Himself, is precious when we consider the source. The Democrats, after all, mounted a 10-year campaign against the “Bush tax cuts,” and did so despite defeat after defeat on the issue. Those tax cuts joined a long line of laws that the country later substantially revised or repealed entirely. A partial list includes: the Clinton tax increases, portions of the Reagan tax cuts, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, portions of the Kennedy tax cuts, the gold standard, portions of the National Labor Relations Act, Prohibition, the direct election of senators, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, innumerable tariff schedules set during the 19th century, the three-fifths clause, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Missouri Compromise, the Second Bank of the United States, the original rules of the Electoral College, the Articles of Confederation, and, of course, the rule of King George III.

The Second Bank of the United States is a particularly instructive case. There, Andrew Jackson effectively did away with the bank not by repealing the law outright, but rather by defunding the institution, stripping it of its federal deposits and sending them to his cronies in state banks. No less a liberal eminence than Ted Kennedy cited Jackson’s bank veto message in his famed “The Dream Shall Never Die” speech at the 1980 Democratic convention. But as Democrats gather for their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners to complain about the perfidy of Republican efforts to defund Obamacare, it is unlikely they’ll mention the actions of their party’s founder. Also likely to be left unmentioned is Harry Reid’s flirtation with the movement to defund the Iraq war.

An essay in the WSJ makes the argument for tough teachers who require drill and memorization and flunk kids when they fail. Contrary to popular nostrums in education today, students don't need constant praise and stress will help strengthen them. Hear, hear.

So the same day that President Obama proudly announced his friendly phone call with Iran's president, the administration is revealing how extensively Iran is hacking into U.S. military computers.

Even though there is no way that the Senate will ratify the U.N. Arms Control Treaty, John Kerry knows that, by signing it, the U.S. is supposed to follow the treaty's "object and purpose."