Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Summer of Recovery

Dear Joe,

I need a job. 

As you are in charge of the Summer of Recovery, it seems logical to tap you for help. Although we haven't met, I rely upon your empathy. Like you, I am the grandson of a coal miner. I never met him, but I do have his carbide miner's lamp. My father was a barefoot schoolboy who learned to read by the light of a kerosene lamp. Like your boss, I was law review, although I bailed after one semester. The free beer in the law review offices was nice, but not worth the price - becoming PC.  By the way, could I have a Summer of Recovery pin to go with the "WIN" pin Jerry Ford gave me?

Hope and changed reached me more than a year ago.  I lost a job that I loved. I thought  perhaps it was time for public service. After all, six figure private sector jobs are over rated. The State Department, I thought. A chance to see the world and serve my nation. After all, who really wants to be able to support their elderly parents? I understand that I did not contribute enough to your campaign to qualify for an ambassadorship, but I presumed I could more than handle an administrative post in some remote and unpopular embassy. I passed for Foreign Service exam, and heard nothing more. I wrote to Secretary Clinton as a follow up, and heard nothing. Perhaps she knew more of my health than I did. The heart surgery a year ago certainly took me by surprise. To add insult to injury, the heartless capitalists who formerly employed me bent some rules and opened their purse to ensure that I had health coverage throughout the ordeal. Doubtless ObamaCare will prevent such travesties in the future.

Yet I remain confident of the future. Even though the Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers the weatherization and mortgage assistance programs have all passed us by, I've made many new friends at the flea markets and farmers' markets. Mind you,the competition between unemployed professionals selling craft items and personal effects is getting stiff. By the way, you might tell Michelle that there really is no market for used sneakers, no matter their original price or what famous feet have sweated in them. 

Barack would probably say that we don't need all those things, that we already have too much. Still, it would be nice to to treat my Mrs. to a date night on Broadway now and then, or even the occasional vacation. Mindful of Barack's admonition that we need to learn to do with less, I'd settle for a nice three star resort. After all, a working class product like me probably wouldn't know how to behave in a five star joint. When will you start handing those out and where do I sign up?

In the meantime, where are the jobs? The private sector lacks the customers, capital or confidence to hire, which leaves the government. But no one joins the nomenclatura without a sponsor. Which is where you come in. Looking after the embassy in Mongolia remains attractive, but I have been off work for a year and my mortgage company would like to be paid. Maybe you could shovel some of the stimulus slush my way? Or maybe a job as a Predator Drone pilot. You'd also have to kick in flight training, which would be a bonus for me, although I would never admit it. 

I'm reluctant to ask for a position in the White House proper. As you have doubtless discovered, it is not wise to be smarter than your boss. Still, a tsar-ship is intriguing. Recent events indicate a clear a need for a strong leader to coordinate the work of all the tsars. The tsar of all tsars, you might say. Or, in Chicago-speak, the capo di tutti capi. Can you swing it? Alternatively, we could borrow from the Romans and I could become the person who accompanies Barack everywhere and whispers to him: “Remember, thou art mortal.”

I'm sure you'll need a day or two to finagle the funding and grease the appointment. Around mid-September I'll be expecting word that you've completed this assignment. 

Until then, bite me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Further to the Ground Zero Mosque

Dear Mr. Obama,  Given your support for a mosque at Ground Zero, will you also support work to erect statues to Nathan Bedford Forest and Bull Connor on the Edmund Pettus Bridge?  Perhaps we could even locate the precise where  your parents met....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear Leader

Yes, today is reputedly Dear Leader's birthday.  We trust you all dutifully smoked a joint or three to celebrate with him.

We remain in awe of his accomplishments.  He came from modest roots, with no money and no connection.  He has no record of  note in business, government or education, yet he has become the leader the the world's foremost economic and military power.

And he says America is NOT exceptional.

Perhaps he needs to move beyond sharing the wealth.  He needs to share his weed, so the rest of us can grasp his logic.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Liberal Sophistry And The End of Freedom

During her confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan was asked whether the Congress has the authority to direct that citizens eat so many fruits and vegetables each day. She first dismissed the idea as a “dumb law” that would not be enforced. When pressed, she could not articulate a meaningful limit to the power of the Federal Government under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Clearly she belongs to the school that holds that the Commerce Clause grants Congress plenary power to regulate anything that touches upon commerce between the States. This broad reading underlies much of the economic regulation of the New Deal, portions of Great Society civil rights laws and the recent health care “reform.” Yet the this argument contains a potentially fatal flaw – “commerce between the States” is apparently a term without limits. It applies equally to one state attempting to tax goods imported from another state to the lunch counter owner who does not want to serve Jews or other “infidels” to your choice of health care provider. Each example involves economic choices, and therefore effects commerce. Given the national, if not global, nature of the American economy, it would be difficult to find such a decision that does not involve something that crossed state lines at some time.

What other transactions might fall within the scope of the Commerce Clause? Realistically – anything. Houses use materials that come from across the nation, and consume fuel that generally crosses state lines. Surely Congress has the power to regulate the size and energy consumption of each home. The same analysis applies to your wardrobe. After all, imagine the millions society would save if homes came in standard sizes and designs and we all wore jeans and T shirts (with a Mao jacket for formal occasions, such as the annual August 4 celebrations).

Surely not, you object. My home and my clothing are part of my self expression and must be protected. Must they? Congress would not be regulating you, merely what could be made and sold in the markets. You would still be free to wear your “Born To Be Conservative” T shirt – if you could make it yourself. (Of course, making such a shirt might expose you to charges of misappropriation of resources.)

But the most frightening implication remains. Commerce cannot exist without consumers, which opens the door to regulation of the market IN consumers. After all, the number, type, health, intelligence, etc of consumers directly effect the demands on the market, and so effect commerce.
The logical conclusion is chilling. Too old or too sick. Go home and take this pill. It will be painless.
Will your unborn child be born “defective”? This way to the abortion booth. (By the way, who would decide what constitutes a “defect”?) Bad genes? For example, are you prone to heart disease? Your sex license is suspended until you submit to sterilization. Good genes? Congratulations – have you met your reproductive quota?


What is more integral to “commerce” than consumers?

Feminists might argue that some level of reproductive rights are protected by Roe v. Wade. Perhaps.

The term “reproductive rights” does not appear in the Constitution. Indeed Roe rests on a right found to exist in the “penumbra” of the Constitution. It would be a poor lawyer indeed who could not dispel the Roe “penumbra” with the express authority of the Commerce Clause. As Representative Pete Stark recently said “The Federal government can do most anything” in America.
Therein lies the greatest danger of the liberal utopia. A society in which the evils of Big Business have been vanquished and everyone has been protected against all harm – including their own poor decisions – is necessarily a society in which everyone is free to do whatever they are told.