A round-up of articles, columns, news items and blog posts that caught our eye this week.
Programming note: We will be out of pocket for most of the rest of the day on work-related matters. We'll share later.
You can gage the effectiveness of a piece of legislation when two people get into a pissing contest with respect to semantics alluding to just how god-awful that particular piece of legislation was.
In my August 23 Examiner column I wrote, “The 2009 stimulus package is so unpopular that Democrats have banned the word from their campaign vocabulary. ‘I’m not supposed to call it stimulus,’ Rep. Barney Frank told the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. ‘The message experts in Washington have told us that we’re supposed to call it the recovery plan.’” Chairman Frank, whom I’ve known and admired since I was in college, writes and says that I misinterpreted his comment. I’m not sure he’s right, but I’m not sure the point is worth quibbling about. So let me quote the text of his letter and let readers decide.
More Michael Barone v. Barney Frank, here.
Christoper Hitchens on the cease-less and end-less chore civilizations must perform in being a moderating influence on religion
Those who wish that there would be no mosques in America have already lost the argument: Globalization, no less than the promise of American liberty, mandates that the United States will have a Muslim population of some size. The only question, then, is what kind, or rather kinds, of Islam it will follow. There's an excellent chance of a healthy pluralist outcome, but it's very unlikely that this can happen unless, as with their predecessors on these shores, Muslims are compelled to abandon certain presumptions that are exclusive to themselves. The taming and domestication of religion is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. Those who pretend that we can skip this stage in the present case are deluding themselves and asking for trouble not just in the future but in the immediate present.
We suppose this is a sword that cuts both ways. We know a few conservative Catholics out there that are not terribly pleased with the outcome of Vatican II and the World South of the Anglican church is resisting many of the changes of their "reform"-minded brethren of the Northern Hemisphere.
Not enough Labor. Steve Chapman of Reason on the job-killing consequences of government. These two paragraphs caught our eye:
Many liberals admire Europeans for their civilized habit of working less than Americans do. But they used to work more. The change came about because higher taxes on that side of the Atlantic have greatly reduced the gains from working.
Generous social welfare benefits were another factor in sapping the European work ethic. But the United States is moving in the same direction. President Obama recently signed a bill extending unemployment insurance benefits, allowing those out of work to collect for up to 99 weeks.
As recently as just a couple years back we recall both friends and writers alike pining for the "civilized" European lifestyle with its sub-40 hour work weeks and month-long vacations in August and how it contrasted so sharply with the brutish nature of the work-a-daddy American lifestyle. How's that worked out for Europe?
And speaking of how's that worked out?: Pass. the. Damn. Bill., they clamored:
"It's a process argument of murky merits that will be long forgotten by November," Chait wrote in January of the roundabout moves used by the Democrats to Pass The Damn Bill once Scott Brown was elected. But a USA Today/Gallup poll taken March 26 to 28 found that 53 percent of adults and 58 percent of independents considered these tactics an "abuse of power" and 50 percent of independents (and 49 percent of all respondents) blamed them for the ugliness that surrounded its passage.
"Because of the way it was passed ... the country has simply not accepted it," Pat Caddell would say later.
The main reason given to "Pass. The. Damn. Bill." was to give Democrats something to run on, but Democrats who voted "no" are now running against it, while others don't dare bring it up. "Being perceived as wrong, as opposed to ... wrong and incompetent is not much progress," political pollster Charles Cook noted.
As Tom Bevan wrote when Chait had his brainstorm, they "seem to have no comprehension of the political consequences of pursuing action that treats the public -- not just in Massachusetts, but across the country -- with such utter contempt."
Again, process matters. It's unconstitutional and the manner in which it was pushed across the finish line wheezing, creaking, stalling and with parts falling off and lobbyist-approved Bondo covering the many puncture wounds has rendered ObamaCare illegitimate.
Via KT: The Ole Miss Rebels have been without a mascot since the apparently slavery era-invoking Colonel Reb was banished from the scene back in 2003. 7 years is an awful long time for a proud institution like the University of Mississippi to be without a mascot and all that results in either insipidness or genius depending upon your viepoint.
Us? Seeing the leader of the rebel alliance knocking back a few cold ones with campus co-eds at The Grove before the game would be awesomely surreal. And what's not to like about that?