Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cruising the Web

Celebrate the quincentennial of Machiavelli's The Prince. We just read excerpts in my AP European History class. Now I want that T-shirt.

Jonah Goldberg is exactly right. Just because someone opposes giving Obama the power to strike in Syria doesn't mean that someone is isolationist.

Check out what Isaac Asimov back in 1964 predicted life would be like in 2014.

Richard Epstein explains what economics is good for and how the answer to that question elucidates why the idea of a living wage is so bad.

Ramesh Ponnuru attempts to make a Constitutional argument that a president cannot take military action without Congressional approval. By this point, it doesn't matter what Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers. The precedents have been set for a long time. The horse has left the barn. Besides, from what we've seen recently, when it comes to issues of checks and balances, no one seems to have standing to bring a challenge. And as Timothy Carney writes, "[i]f you give a president a little bit of power in one area, he will take a lot of power in that area." And Obama has already demonstrated that he's quite willing to stretch his powers as much as possible.

Now Obama is trying to say that he wasn't the one to set a red line in Syria, but that it was the world that set that line. Well, not so fast. There is quote after quote from Obama and his administration claiming credit for setting that line. I guess he's getting sensitive about all the criticism that we're at this point because of Obama's careless words.

And James Taranto notes another less-than-eloquent remark by Obama.
Setting a red line isn't the only thing Obama denied. As the BBC reports: "Mr Obama said he did not believe he had risked his credibility by asking Congress to vote--something he was not constitutionally obliged to do. 'My credibility is not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line,' he said. 'America and Congress's credibility is on the line, because we give lip-service to the notion that these international norms are important.'"

Where to begin with this muddle? How about with "lip service"? That idiom means words not backed up by deeds. If one is giving lip service, one has no credibility.

And who are the "we" who "give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important"? Why, "America and Congress." All of us! Well, except him, of course.

Or maybe especially him. After all, if he is acknowledging that his words are mere lip service, then his credibility is not on the line. It's shot.

So Obama evidently agrees with the conservative interventionist argument in favor of authorizing military force: that the president's inconstancy has destroyed his credibility, and therefore Congress must shore up America's credibility by giving its assent (even though he claims he does not need it) to him, so that he will back up his words with actions.
I think that Obama doesn't know what the phrase "lip service" means anymore than he, apparently, understood what the phrase "shot across the bow" means. And I thought this president was the most eloquent president since Abraham Lincoln!

And of course, the best way to persuade Congress to vote with him on Syria is not to threaten them with losing credibility. As the WSJ writes,
If a President wants to lose a vote in Congress, this is what he would say. Minimize his personal leadership responsibility, and tell the Members of Congress that they are responsible for whatever happens if they fail to pass his resolution, as well as for the results of any military action that Mr. Obama would conduct....Mr. Obama still hasn't figured out after five years in office that America is the only enforcer of world order, and thus that there is no substitute for the President of the United States. Mr. Obama can't default to "the international community," whatever that is, much less to Congress. He has to lead. If he loses on Syria, it will be because he hasn't.
Just as Obama critics have argued - his policies are leading to more and more people having to work part-time instead of full-time. The economy is still uncertain so businesses are limiting hiring. And when they do hire, they don't want to hire full-time workers for whom they'll have to supply expensive health care policies.
The number of temporary workers nationwide has risen more than 50 percent to 2.7 million — the most on record — since the recession ended in June 2009, the Labor Department reported.

The trend is likely to intensify, workplace experts say.
So can blacks use the N-word against other blacks or does that create a hostile workplace? Apparently, not.

Worried about dropping poll numbers much? Obama's former political aides and speechwriters visited the White House yesterday to help coordinate messaging on Syria. Because nothing says seriousness about attacking Syria like bringing in former campaign strategists.

This is what it takes to be a U.S. senator: voting present on a question of bombing Syria? That's what Massachusetts Senator Markey did yesterday. But don't worry too much. He says he's still thinking about it and will decide later.

The U.S. has a mixed record in bombing countries to teach them a lesson.

This is what Detroit has to worry about if the media descend on the city for the baseball playoffs.
“I’m trying to get about 4,000 abandoned vehicles off the streets,” he said, “and I’m trying to secure funds to cut down 4,000 trees in the city that are dead, hanging over people’s houses and causing hazards.”

Brown also is working in concert with the newly created Public Lighting Authority to start getting about 40,000 non-functioning Detroit streetlights turned on.
Just think of that. Basic city services just aren't happening in the city. This is what being bankrupt looks like. If you can see it in the dark.