Category Archives: States Behaving Badly

Governor Brewer – Veto That Bill! *

Jan Brewer

Arizona SB 1062 – Religious Freedom

You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the bill that passed the state legislator in Arizona.  SB 1062 would allow businesses to refuse services to gay and lesbian customers based on their religious faith.

I think that Governor Brewer should veto this law because it singles out people who might be homosexual in an unfair manner.

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Chris Christie – Lane Closure Crisis

Chris Christie

All government is coercion.

We allow ourselves to be governed in exchange for a certain degree of order.  We allow ourselves to be subject to the confiscatory practice of taxation in order to pay for that order, that law and order.

And we give power to men that we wouldn’t otherwise give.

Power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The Christie administration retaliated against a political slight.  But they didn’t retaliate against the political operative, in this case a democrat mayor who didn’t endorse Christie for governor – no, they retaliated against the people that live in the mayor’s town.  The Christie administration order lane closures to ensure a traffic nightmare would take place on a bridge serving the mayor’s town.

This isn’t denying an appointment, this isn’t leaking sensitive information to the press and this isn’t shelving legislation favored by an opponent.  This is wanted abuse of political authority it retribution of a perceived slight.

This was planned, this was deliberate and this was malicious.

I’m not sure that Christie himself ever knew or gave the order – that may or may not come out.  But in the same way that Obama sets the tone in the White House and is responsible for the various scandals under his watch, Mr. Christie is responsible for the actions of his deputy chief of staff.

Will this signal the end of his career?  Who knows – I doubt it.  Traffic is traffic after all.  And, to be sure, the only career he has remaining is to be a serious contender for the GOP nomination in 2016; something he wasn’t guaranteed to win before this happened.  But if I had to guess, this alone doesn’t sink his chances, in fact, how he handles it may serve to help him.

Study In The Minimum Wage: SeaTac

Minimum Wage.1

Minimum Wage

As I mentioned recently, the conversation coming in 2014 politics is going to be the growing, or perceived notion of said growth, of the disparity in income:

You can already sense that the battle line are being formed for the 2014 debate in the lead-up to the November elections.  For better or for worse, the republicans are going to talk about Obamacare and its roll-out while the democrats are going to shift to the middle class, wage stagnation and, perhaps, immigration.

Ignoring the political reasons for now, let’s focus on what I think will be the democrat’s main strategy to gain the upper hand: Income Inequality.

There is little doubt that Obama an the democrats wanna pivot from the absolute devastation that is Obamacare.

And part of that conversation is going to be an old Tar Heel Red favorite – the minimum wage.

What Is The Impact Of The Minimum Wage

To be sure, the folks in support of the minimum wage have the most noble intentions; they wanna be able to provide relief for vulnerable workers.  But the real impact is the opposite:


That’s teen.

Here is black excess unemployment:


And finally under-educated:


This is the devastating impact of the minimum wage.

SeaTac Experiment

The debate has largely been theoretical; does the minimum wage impact employment or not?

Well, we may have a real world experiment  on  our hands:

 On Jan. 1, an estimated 1,600 hotel and transportation workers in SeaTac, Wash., will see their pay jump to $15 an hour, a 60 percent increase from the state’s $9.32 minimum wage.

This is important for two reasons:

1.  The increase is substantial – 60% is nothing to scoff at.

2.  The increase is not being phased in – employers are being subject to the rise in wages without the benefit of inflation dimming the impact.

Some of the fall out?

While many workers look forward to the higher pay, employers are looking for ways to absorb the big increase in labor costs. Some plan on eliminating jobs.

“We’re going to be looking at making some serious cuts,” said Cedarbrook Lodge General Manager Scott Ostrander. “We’re going to be looking at reducing employee hours, reducing benefits and eliminating some positions.”

But not every employer is being so ambitious. One has told a trade group it is going to close one of its two restaurants, eliminating 200 jobs.

The plan has also caused Han Kim — who runs Hotel Concepts, a company that owns and manages 11 hotels in Washington state — to shelve plans to build a hotel in SeaTac. The company already has three hotels in SeaTac, and Kim and a business partner were looking to build a fourth on land they own.

Does this deter the supporters?  Not at all:

“There may be a few jobs lost here and there, but the fact is, if we don’t fight for this, then the race to the bottom will continue,” Sawant said.

Fascinating.  Glad I’m not an entry level worker in Seattle!

When We Said We Don’t Trust The Government

Big Brother

This is what we mean:

The California health exchange has admitted it has been divulging contact information for tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their permission or knowledge in an effort to hit deadlines for coverage.

Covered California said it was handing out consumer information as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by the new year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The consumers in question had gone online to research insurance options, but didn’t ask to be contacted.

Social Security numbers, income and other information were not provided to the agents, but names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were made available, exchange officials said.

The names provided by Covered California include people who started an insurance application on the website but didn’t complete the process.

State officials say they do not know exactly how many people are affected by the information sharing.

Whoever is in charge, your team or mine, they are gonna think that what they are doing is in the best interest of the people.

And it just gets worse from there.

Laffer’s Curve

The Laffer Curve

The Laffer Curve.  It’s the idea that as tax rates rise beyond a certain point, tax revenue declines.  It makes sense at the extremes; a tax of 0% raises zero dollars.  A tax of 100% also raises zero dollars.  No one works for free.

An example of this concept was displayed in Washington DC last month:

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) no longer plans to build three stores in the nation’s capitol, after the city’s council voted to force large retailers to pay starting wages that are 50% higher than the minimum wage there.

The world’s largest retailer also said it will consider its options related to three other Washington, D.C., stores that are still under construction.

D.C., a wildly successful example of a city that lifts its poor and most fragile citizens out of poverty:


has once again created a law that really proves who is waging a “war on the poor.”

It isn’t the conservative whole embraces the free market that “hates” the poor, no.  Rather, it’s the intellectual liberal that “hates” the poor.  How else to describe the mentality of a people who vote to force job creators out of the market?

You’ll probably never get rich at Wal-Mart, but a job there is better than not a job anywhere.

Separation Of Church And State


Okay, so, awhile ago I mentioned that North Carolina is dangerously republican:

In the state house?  The republicans not only held serve but they extended their majority.  To the point that they hold a veto proof majority.  In fact, they are so in the majority that the republicans are able to submit constitutional amendments to popular vote without even one democrat agreeing.

Well, another piece of legislation has been proposed that will try to take advantage of this republican advantage:

A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow the state to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the US Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies in North Carolina.

The bill grew out of a federal lawsuit filed last month by the ACLU against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In the lawsuit, the ACLU says the board has opened 97% of its meetings since 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers.

Overtly Christian prayers at government meetings are not rare in North Carolina. Since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered a explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, despite the fact that some senators are not Christian.

I can’t imagine that this bill will pass into law.  In fact, I have no idea what the point of the legislation is about.  North Carolina already has a requirement in our constitution that speaks to religion:

Sec. 8.  Disqualifications for office.

The following persons shall be disqualified for office:

First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

Serious, under the state constitution, if you deny the existence of God, you are disqualified from holding office.  And, as the article mentions, prayer at meetings is not rare; apparently we do it fairly often.

Again, not sure what the point of the bill is, but it certainly will be interesting to watch.

The French, The French Are Here!


Last year France continued its tradition of insane statist ways by announcing intentions to ban homework in its schools.  The reason?

The justification for this proposed ban? Inequality. According to a statement from an official at the French Embassy, “When it comes to homework, the President said it should be done during school hours rather than at home, in order to establish equal opportunities.” Homework favors the wealthy, Hollande argues, because they are more likely to have a good working environment at home, including parents with the time and energy to help them with their work.


Homework favors the wealthy.

My gawd!

At the time, I sent this to a buddy of mine and he mentioned, “Thank goodness that’ll never happen here in America.”

I pointed out that it does happen here in America, for example, take health care.  To his credit he walked away 😉

But now it HAS happened in America:

IPSWICH, Mass. ( – An Ipswich principal is in hot water with some parents after he reportedly canceled the middle school’s Honors Night.

David Fabrizio, principal of Ipswich Middle School, notified parents of his plan to eliminate the school’s Honors Night last week.

“The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade point average,” Fabrizio penned in his first letter to parents.

Fabrizio also said he decided to make the change because academic success can be influenced by the amount of support a student receives at home and not all students receive the same level of emotional and academic support at home.

Success is influenced by the amount of support a student receives at home…

Beware the French, before you know it they’ll teach us how to surrender.

Stealing Via The Government

Public Housing

If you want something but would rather not pay for it you can:

  1.  Hope that someone will give it to you.
  2. Elect politicians who will pass laws that gives it to you.

Granted, that’s the cynical take on the process but it does present what is occurring economically.  Consider housing:

The authority, landlord to more than 400,000 residents, has a backlog of about 350,000 repair orders. It also has a waiting list of 160,000 families.

The reason for this phenomena?  Greedy landlords or slum lords?  Hardly:

The eight projects, with a combined population of more than 25,000 people, are Alfred E. Smith, Baruch, Campos Plaza, Fiorello LaGuardia and Meltzer in Lower Manhattan; Carver and Washington on the Upper East Side; and Douglass on the Upper West Side.

Public housing all.

It’s simply economics.  When land is restricted by public use zoning laws, the price of real estate in general goes up.  And when the rent charged is limited by laws attempting to break the laws of economics, the quality of available housing goes down.  Represented her by budget shortfalls, backlogs of repairs and waiting lists.

The only natural remedy?

But soon, that patch of asphalt at the Alfred E. Smith Houses could be replaced by market-rate apartment buildings.

The New York City Housing Authority, facing one of the most serious financial shortfalls in its history, is for the first time making a major push to lease open land on the grounds of its housing projects to developers to generate revenue.

The authority wants to raise more than $50 million a year on long-term leases for parks, courtyards, parking lots, playgrounds and other property, seeking to address a $6 billion backlog of repairs.

The only thing that makes sense; open the land available to market forces and raise revenues.

Judge Halts New York City’s Soda Ban


With not one single day of legal training and not enough interest to even read the reviews of books that discuss law, I have a idea of what I think should and should not be.

I think the Constitution was meant to limit what the federal government may do.  Further, it lists several things that it CAN do.  And every thing else is relegated to the states.

Therefore, I think that the feds cannot regulate firearms but states, counties and cities may.  It’s why I think that schools should be more locally run and funded and why things like alcohol, speed limits and hunting should be left to the states.

Now, to those local governing bodies.  I’m pretty sure that they can legislate freely.  Zoning laws preventing high rise apartments?  Go for it.  Wanna ban alcohol in the county?  Sure.  No hunting on Sunday?  Fine.

Bad ideas all, but certainly doable.

Which, when I consider the soda ban in New York, sums up my feelings regarding that law:

Stupid but legal.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

A judge invalidated New York City’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to go into effect, dealing a significant blow to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s signature public health initiatives and a marquee project of his third term.

The decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them.

I like the idea of bad ideas not being implemented, but I want that to be done in a legal manner.  I’m pretty sure that the city of New York can regulate soda in anyway they see fit.  But the judge doesn’t see it that way:

Justice Tingling said the rule banning the drinks was “arbitrary and capricious.”

In his opinion, Justice Tingling specifically cited a perceived inequity in the soda rules, which applies to only certain sugared drinks — beverages with a high milk content, for instance, would be exempt — and would apply only to some food establishments, like restaurants, but not others, like convenience stores.

“It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” Justice Tingling wrote. “It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.”

The judge also wrote that the fact that consumers can receive refills of sodas, as long as the cup size is not larger than 16 ounces, would “defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose the rule.” The judge also appeared to be skeptical of the purview of the city’s Board of Health, which the Bloomberg administration had maintained has broad powers to seek to better the public’s health. That interpretation, the judge wrote, “would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination,” and “create an administrative Leviathan.”

We’ll see how it plays out.  But for now, people in NYC are free to decide to buy a large soda.  And good for them.


My home state doing my not proud:

Thousands of teachers across Minnesota take the Basic Skills Test every year. They are required to pass it before they receive their license to teach. One lawmaker says about 20-percent of those teachers fail the exam. And now there’s a bill in the House that would repeal the Basic Skills Test as a requirement for a teaching license. Some critics of the exam say it unfairly keeps highly qualified teachers out of the classroom.

Seriously.  How can an occupation that subjects people to routine tests to demonstrate mastery also claim that such tests on themselves are onerous?  It’s as bad as when teachers, people who claim to be able to adjudicate mastery of such things as understanding of Shakespeare, claim that teachers can not be measured.

One of the best things I ever did was to decide to be a teacher.  Additionally, one of the best things I ever did was leave teaching.