DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Your tax dollars at work – and play.' Category

Is There a Cure for Cancer Sitting at the Back of the Medicine Cabinet Already?

27th April 2015

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So, how come a generic drug that costs pennies compared to a new targeted agent that costs thousands of pounds isn’t in clinical use? The data is there, the drugs are there and certainly the patients are there. At this point we begin to stray from medicine and into the arena of intellectual property and incentives.

There is a huge regulatory burden and massive costs involved in running the largest Phase III trials normally required to convince doctors to change medical practice. What’s more, drugs need to be licensed for new uses and this also incurs costs. Who pays for all this?

With no guarantee of a return on investment, we’re left with a class of drugs that has huge potential but we don’t have the incentives in place to see the science confirmed and the drugs moved into clinical use after that confirmation.

And God help you, as a private citizen, attempting to do this on your own — they can’t put you in jail for using it but they can sure as shit put the people who make it and the people who sell it to you in jail (Hell, War On Drugs!).

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California “Inclusionary Zones” Exclude Most People From Affordable Housing

25th April 2015

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California’s housing prices plummeted after the bubble burst in 2008, but now are approaching levels not seen since the market’s height—especially along the Southern California coast and around San Francisco Bay. This has reignited the perennial question: What should policy makers do to promote “affordable” housing?

Of course, Stay The Hell Out Of It is never on the table.

In San Jose, the subject of the court case, the city requires builders of more than 20 housing units to set aside 15 percent of them at these lower prices—or build 20 percent as low-income housing elsewhere in the city, or pay the city a fee of $122,000 for each “inclusionary” unit. The city requires the buyers of these reduced-price houses to sell them to other lower-income buyers in the future, or turn over price gains to the city.

The legal issue isn’t solely about housing, but about whether cities have unlimited power to extract concessions from homebuilders for things that are not “impacts” from the project. In other words, it’s legitimate for government to require new developments to pay to mitigate the effect of the new residents on local infrastructure (roads, sewers, fire service), but is it OK for cities to require affordable housing just because officials want to see more of it built?

Apparently so.

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Only 1 in 4 Americans Trust the Federal Government ‘Most of the Time’

22nd April 2015

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I’m surprised it’s that high.

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Brickbat: Separate But Not Equal

22nd April 2015

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Officials with the South Bend, Indiana, school system have postponed college field trips for some third-graders. The trips were originally to include only black students, but after local media reported that students of other races would be excluded, many parents began to complain. The trips are reportedly being changed to include all students who qualify for free and reduced lunches as well as any who would be first-generation college students.

In other words, a way to ensure that they are predominantly black students without appearing to arrange it so.

It would be interesting to check back later and see how many of those students actually, you know, went on to graduate from college.

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The Food Stamp Pirouette

21st April 2015

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You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered how the government at all levels can spend about $1 trillion per year on “anti-poverty” programs, while the poverty rate never goes down. By the federal government’s official standard, the poverty rate stood at about 15 percent when the War on Poverty began more than 50 years ago—and it remains about 15 percent today, despite more than $20 trillion of anti-poverty spending since then. Could all that money really have had no effect? The question puts government officials in a tricky position. On the one hand, they feel duty-bound to defend the effectiveness of the spending; on the other, any major reduction in the official measure of poverty risks undermining political support for continued and increased spending.

So they lie. Surely this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Among the many federal anti-poverty programs, food stamps play a role that seems almost magical. The program currently spends approximately $80 billion per year, supposedly to combat poverty and hunger. Yet in official Census Bureau poverty statistics, food stamps are defined as “in-kind” benefits that don’t count as part of the “cash-income” poverty measure. And the food stamp program also somehow manages not to make a dent in the government’s most-cited proxy for “hunger”—the annual “food insecurity” survey, also administered by Vilsack’s department, which asks people whether they felt “food insecure” at any time during the past year. Since food stamps require recipients to make a budget last for a month, many beneficiaries understandably answer that question in the affirmative. And thus, somehow, the number of people declaring food insecurity has barely declined at all during the Obama presidency, even as the number of food stamp recipients has mushroomed, from about 32 million to more than 46 million.

Funny how that works. Or doesn’t, if you catch my drift.

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Census Costs Soar as Americans Toss Surveys

21st April 2015

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We’re still a few years from the 2020 census, but federal agencies are already bracing themselves for the barrage of nosy questions they’ll fire our way. Well, actually, they’re bracing for the growing expense of getting us to answer those nosy questions. If the Census Bureau doesn’t get off its butt and make some already recommended changes, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns, the next nose-counting is likely to cost a bundle without being especially reliable.

As the GAO notes in a report published yesterday, the average cost of counting each household has risen, in constant 2010 dollars, from $16 in 1970 to $94 in 2010. That’s probably in part because the response rate has declined over that period. This just may—I’m speculating here—have something to do wth a muttered, “you gotta be kidding me” after a glance at the form, then a flick toward the trash.

The Census is a prime example of government bureucrats taking a legitimate government function and expanding it into a football stadium complete with luxury boxes.

The Census Bureau acknowledges that it faces growing resistance to lengthening surveys (both short and unbelievably long) and census takers. Part of its response, unveiled last year, is to bully us. What the Census Bureau should do, suggested Tasha Boone, Assistant Division Chief for the American Community Survey, is to write “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW” in bigger letters than ever on the envelope.

Why more government workers don’t find a second career in marketing is a mystery to me.

The Constitution requires a count — nothing more, nothing less — of the people of the United States every ten years; it does not authorize a collective body cavity search of the American people.

The GAO also emphasizes that it’s made 121 suggestions regarding Internet surveys, research and testing, and improving IT management and security. “The Bureau needs to take action to address the recommendations GAO has made in prior reports. If these actions are not taken, cost overruns, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls will likely diminish the potential cost savings that the Bureau estimates will result from redesigning the census for 2020.”

So…We should pretty much just count on high costs and “performance shortfalls” then, eh?

Oh, and those nosy questions, of course.

UPDATE: A commentor referred me to this delightful response to Census nosyparkers, which I recommend to all.

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Hunting Witches in Wisconsin

21st April 2015

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To the question of whether armed police can storm your house and take away your personal effects and tell you to shut up about it, based simply on your political advocacy, Wisconsin answered for years, “Why, yes, they can — now please, shut up about it.”

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How the Fed Ended Up Fueling a Subprime Boom

21st April 2015

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To err is human; government rounds all those people up and points them in the same direction.

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Brickbat: Seizing the Fort

21st April 2015

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Code enforcement officers in Ogden, Utah, have ordered Jeremy Trentelman to take down the fort he built in his yard for his three-year-old son. They say the fort, which is made out of cardboard, violates city litter laws.

Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

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Dentist Attacked for Charging Too Little

20th April 2015

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There is no monopoly that is not back by the government’s guns.

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TSA’s Investigation Into Groping Agents Ensured They Wouldn’t Be Prosecuted

19th April 2015

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By now, you may have heard the story about how two TSA agents at Denver International Airport were fired recently after it was revealed that they had worked out a scam by which one agent was able to grope and fondle the genitals of male passengers he found attractive. The plan involved him signalling to a colleague who was working the scanning computer. That agent would tell the computer that the individual being scanned was female, which apparently would set off an “anomaly” alert for the groin area, allowing the male TSA agent to conduct a “pat down” of that area. Leaving aside the fact that these computers even have “male” and “female” settings and it can determine an “anomaly in the genital area” if they don’t match — this kind of thing was exactly what many insisted was going to happen when the TSA put in place these advanced screening procedures. And if you think that this is the only case of it happening, well, then, you probably think the TSA doesn’t rifle through and steal stuff from your luggage as well.

Now here’s the thing: this only came out because the TSA agent blabbed about it to a colleague, who then reported it, leading to an investigation. Many people find it odd that the two TSA agents (who are still unnamed) merely lost their jobs, rather than got arrested for this activity. Chris Bray, over at TSA News (found via Amy Alkon — herself no stranger to intrusive TSA searches), went and grabbed the actual Denver police report on the incident, revealing that it appears that the TSA set up its “investigation” in a manner to almost guarantee no criminal charges and that the names of the TSA agents would remain secret.

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L.A. School District Cancels iPad Pearson Curriculum, Asks Apple for Refund

19th April 2015

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Of course. They squander billions on an idea that any high-school kid could tell was stupid, and then act as if it’s somebody else’s fault.

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San Antonio Gave a Woman a $2,000 Ticket for Feeding the Homeless

17th April 2015

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‘All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.’ — Benito Mussolini

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Mississippi Backs Off Harassing Doctor Making House Calls

17th April 2015

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“If I don’t help these people, they won’t be able to get medical care at all, and they could lose their jobs or their home. I can’t let that happen,” says Dr. Landrum, who at times drives as far as 50 miles to see as many as three patients a day in their homes.

But a bureaucrat with the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, apparently seeking to justify his or her position, thought house calls violate some arcane state law that few likely read, and demanded that Dr. Landrum not only stop seeing patients, but also that he forfeit his medical license. When he stood up, the board, of course, made a formal inquiry into his practice.

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Local Governments, Continuing to Bar Us From Feeding the Homeless

16th April 2015

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And you know why. ‘All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.’ — Benito Mussolini

 

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Tax Take Keeps Growing—But Good Luck Catching Up With Government Spending

16th April 2015

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The federal government took in $1,477,901,000,000 in federal tax deposits between October 1, 2014 and April 14 of this year—the fiscal year to date. That number comes courtesy of the U.S. government’s Daily Treasury Statement. The good folks at CNSNews.com did the math so that I don’t have to and found that this is “an all-time record for the amount of inflation-adjusted tax revenue brought into the federal Treasury from the beginning of the fiscal year through the April 15 tax-filing deadline.”

That same Daily Treasury Statement revealed a total public debt outstanding of $18,152,014,000,000. That’s $18 trillion give or take. Unlike tax deposits, it’s not a record number. It’s close enough though, since federal debt hit $18 trillion for the first time last November. Don’t expect it to drop much. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipates expenditures to outstrip revenue, requiring more borrowing, into the foreseeable future. “[B]udget deficits are projected to rise steadily and, by 2039, to push federal debt held by the public up to a percentage of GDP seen only once before in U.S. history (just after World War II),” warned the CBO last summer.

No growth of wealth can match the spending prowess of a bureaucrat with his snout in the trough.

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Ten Outrageous Items the IRS Purchased With Taxpayer’s Money

15th April 2015

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A Tax Day special.

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Thought for the Day

15th April 2015

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How The IRS Repeatedly Rewrites Obamacare Tax Credit Provisions

14th April 2015

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The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell argue that an IRS regulation unlawfully extends tax credit eligibility beyond what is expressly authorized under Section 1401 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  It appears that this sort of administrative rewrite of the PPACA may be more the rule than the exception, as there are at least two other instances of the IRS rewriting the PPACA’s tax credit eligibility requirements.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you aurprised? I’m sure surprised.

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Deeply Indebted Pension Systems Continue to Dole Out Bonuses.

12th April 2015

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As the city of Detroit’s financial condition deteriorated, its employee-pension funds made hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus payments to retirees. Those extra checks swelled the city’s retirement debt and played a role in the Motor City’s eventual bankruptcy. Yet Detroit’s struggles haven’t stopped the retirement systems of other cities and states—including some with severely underfunded pensions—from continuing to dole out bonuses.

The Philadelphia school system, with less than half the assets it needs to meet its future obligations, is set to hand out $62 million in bonuses, sometimes referred to as 13th checks, to its retirees this year. The payments are authorized by 2007 legislation that grants the extra checks when the pension system exceeds its investment projections, regardless of the system’s debt. Rising retirement costs—up from $55 million in 2011 to $154 million last year—have aggravated a financial crisis in the city’s schools. Despite a state-approved $60 million boost in cigarette taxes last year to bolster their finances, Philly schools project an $80 million deficit next year, partly because of another $34 million spike in pension costs. Still, the Philadelphia city council has refused to rescind the 2007 bonus law, arguing that the extra retiree payments this year will be only a small component of the system’s $5 billion in debt. Mayor Michael Nutter, by contrast, has called the payments irresponsible and tried to stop them.

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Theory, Evidence and Examples of FDA Harm

11th April 2015

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To obtain permission to market a drug, the manufacturer must satisfy the FDA that the drug is both safe and effective. Additional testing often enhances safety and effectiveness, but requiring a lot of testing has at least two negative effects. First, it delays the arrival of superior drugs. During the delay, some people who would have lived end up dying. Second, additional testing requirements raise the costs of bringing a new drug to market; hence, many drugs that would have been developed are not, and all the people who would have been helped, even saved, are not.

In addition, because FDA approval is mandatory, industry and medicine must heed FDA standards regardless of their relevance, efficiency, and appropriateness. Not all testing is equally beneficial. The FDA apparatus mandates testing that, in some cases, is not useful or not appropriately designed. The case against the FDA is not that premarket testing is unnecessary but that the costs and benefits of premarket testing would be better evaluated and the trade-offs better navigated in a voluntary, competitive system of drug development.

Three bodies of evidence indicate that the costs of FDA requirements exceed the benefits. In other words, three bodies of evidence suggest that the FDA kills and harms, on net. First, we compare pre-1962 drug approval times and rates of drug introduction with post-1962 approval times and rates of introduction. Second, we compare drug availability and safety in the United States with the same in other countries. Third, we compare the relatively unregulated market of off-label drug uses in the United States with the on-label market. In the final section, before turning to reform options, we also discuss the evidence showing that the costs of FDA advertising restrictions exceed the benefits.

Under the masquerade of making life better, government meddling almost always makes it worse.

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Malice vs Incompetence

11th April 2015

Richard Fernandez blows the whistle.

One of today’s man-bites-dog stories is that America cannot evacuate its nationals from war torn Yemen. Rather it hopes countries like India can do it for them. A State Department official said the U.S. government, which is providing logistical support for the Saudi campaign, believes it is too dangerous to risk a military operation to rescue Americans. “There are no current U.S. government-sponsored plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen,” the official said. “We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely.”

Fortunately New Delhi will ride to the rescue of Uncle Sam. “India has won many friends by evacuating nearly 1,000 nationals of 41 countries from warring Yemen. … Along with some 4,600 Indians, Singh’s mission rescued citizens of Britain, France and the United States.”  The days of “exceptionalism” are over.  Americans being left on the beach alongside wretched 3rd World nationals is part of the march toward making it a normal country occupying a status considerably below India and perhaps above Nepal.

There was a time of course when claiming American citizenship carried the same weight as the ancient civis romanus sum.  ”I am a Roman citizen.” It conjured images of  grey warships offshore and grim faced Marines poised behind the ramps of landing craft. It implied diplomats who could pound the table as the local warlords quivered.  And even if it didn’t always quiver they sometimes did, for the despots could never be sure the Navy was not actually there.

But today even diplomats have no expectation of being saved from the tender mercies of knife-clattering Jihadis. If local secret agents who risked their lives for America can be left to their grueseome fates then ordinary citizens will have to make their own arrangements. At a State Department press briefing  one journalist actually asked Marie Harf if Americans should swim out of the country.

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Who Pays Federal Income Taxes?

11th April 2015

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Time for the annual reminder that the top end of the income ladder pays most of the taxes.

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Rule by ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter: The Department of Education’s Stealth Regulation

11th April 2015

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We’ve noted repeatedly how the U.S. Department of Education, using authority it claims under Title IX and other federal laws, has arm-twisted the nation’s colleges and universities into stripping away procedural protections for faculty and students facing charges of sexual misconduct, sought to regulate speech as “verbal conduct,” and urged colleges to record microaggressive behaviors that do not rise to the level of harassment or assault but might add up in time to some future pattern. The resulting federal pressure has done much to generate a campus atmosphere in which administrators like those at the University of Virginia react even to unsubstantiated and soon-refuted assault claims with harsh crackdowns directed at whole groups of students against whom no misconduct whatsoever has been charged.

The substance of what the feds have been doing in this area has rightly stirred outrage, but another side of it also deserves scrutiny: it’s based on sheer fiat, on a series of “because we say so” edicts.

Remind me again why education is any business of the Federal governemnt…? Oh, right, teachers’ unions. Duh.

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IRS Spends 500,000 Hours Per Year on Union Activities

10th April 2015

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IRS employees waste over 500,000 hours each year on “union activities” said House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) on Wednesday.

As Roskam points out, this squandered an estimated $23.5 million in taxpayer funds, all while the IRS pleads poverty and makes excuses for not answering the phone.

As Jerry Pournelle has often said, the function of government is to hire and pay government workers.

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Fort Hood Shooting Victim Denied Benefits, Despite Purple Heart Decision

10th April 2015

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Fox News has learned as part of its ongoing investigation of the 2009 terrorist attack that the military, at least in one case, is still denying benefits for injuries sustained in the attack.

“I think it’s almost unheard of for someone to receive the Purple Heart but not have their injuries deemed combat-related,” Shawn Manning, who was seriously injured in the 2009 attack, told Fox News. “I know that was not what Congress intended to have happen, but it is what currently the Army has determined is going to happen.”

On Nov. 5, 2009, then-Staff Sgt. Manning was shot six times by Maj. Nidal Hasan. Two bullets are still in his body — one in his leg, the other in his back — and he suffers from PTSD.

The 2015 defense budget — known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA — included language that meant Fort Hood victims were eligible for the Purple Heart honor because the attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, and not workplace violence, as the Defense Department initially labeled it.

This is really appalling.

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Thought for the Day

8th April 2015

I don’t know, Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had.

Dick Cheney

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Autistic Child Wanders Off, Mom Calls 911, Is Accused of Neglect

8th April 2015

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DreamstimeAn autistic 4-year-old wandered away from his home in Omaha, Nebraska, without his mom’s knowledge. She did the right thing: she called the cops. And what did she get for it? A neglect citation.

No good deed goes unpunished, especially by government.

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Facts About Low-Income Housing Policy

8th April 2015

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The United States government devotes about $40 billion each year to means-tested housing programs, plus another $6 billion or so in tax expenditures on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

Yet total subsidies for home ownership may run as high as $600 billion, most of those not going to the poor.

There are over twenty different federal subsidized housing programs and most of them are no longer producing new units.

My question is: How come it is somehow the job of the Federal government to provide people with housing at taxpayer expense?

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Civil Service Examinations Make a Comeback

8th April 2015

Steve Sailer blows the whistle.

One of the more evil things an outgoing administration can do is to intentionally forfeit in court against what ought to be a nuisance lawsuit. One of the President’s duties is to defend the federal government against all the people constantly suing the government. But an administration also has the relatively arbitrary privilege to sign a consent decree giving in. Worse, an outgoing administration can gin up a lawsuit against itself by its friends, and then concede to them on its way out the door.

During the 1920s, federal testing for job seekers became scientific. By the late 1970s, the federal government had a superb test, the Professional and Administrative Career Examination, which had been validated for 118 different positions.

Of course, blacks and Hispanics did less well on this test than whites and Asians. Therefore the EEOC tacitly sponsored a lawsuit and filed it under the name of a Mexican-American plaintiff who had failed the test, Angel Luevano.

For two years the Carter administration quietly conspired with liberal public interest law firms, the purported opponents in the suit. And as it was packing up, the Carter Justice Department signed a consent decree, approved by a picked judge, junking the civil service examination.

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The Eye of Sauron v. Nice White Lady Teachers

8th April 2015

Steve Sailer turns over a rock.

Here’s a brand new article from the New York Times that nicely illustrates the theme of my Taki’s column about how the Eye of Sauron can only glare at a few instances of discrimination at a time. For example, the federal government is currently blithely rebuilding the civil service examination system, junked as discriminatory in 1981 due to disparate impact, but is also persecuting the very blue state of New York for trying to hire good teachers.

Does that make sense? Of course not, but that’s not the point, the point is that it’s more fun to be behind the Eye than in front of it.

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TODs and Subsidies

8th April 2015

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Transit-oriented developments (TODs) are supposed to promote economic growth because the demand for it is so high. But if so many people want to live in dense, mixed-use developments, why do they so often need subsidies?

Because in reality very few people want them, but those people control the public purse strings and can afford to build their utopia at our expense.

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Why the Middle Class Is Still Getting Snared by the ‘Wealth Tax’

8th April 2015

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The AMT is still alive and complicated. What lawmakers did was permanently tie the amount of income exempted from the AMT to inflation.

Those income levels, however, are still fairly low ($52,800 for singles this year; $82,100 for married couples filing jointly).

And the set of rules that governs what can and can’t be deducted under the AMT means it’s still hitting a fair number of people for whom it was never intended — those in the middle class and upper middle class.

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Students Surprised With Monumental Tuition Hike While Locked Out of Tuition Meeting

7th April 2015

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As the University of Virginia announced a plan to increase tuition by 11 percent—one of the highest increases in the country—the public university locked students out of the library where its board members were meeting Wednesday afternoon.

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Who’d a-Thunk It?

7th April 2015

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Among business-owners’ responses to a mandated higher minimum wage are greater efforts to economize on the use of low-skilled labor.  (HT Jan Jorgensen)  A slice:

[Seattle restauranteur Quynh-Vy] Pham says they are considering scaling down employment, possibly ending sit-down service and transitioning to a “fast-casual” concept to cut down on labor costs.

This report also features the fatuous comments of Seattle’s mayor Ed Murray – comments that are quite annoying to read.  While actual, experienced, skin-in-the-game business owners deal with the very real cost consequences of a mandated artificial hike in wage rates – and while many actual, skin-in-the-game employees who are willing to work at wages below the mandated minimum are denied by ‘their’ government the right to so work and, thus, will find themselves unemployed – prancing and preaching politicians make economically ignorant and irrelevant pronouncements as their cruel handiwork causes hardship to innocent victims.

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Top US Public Employee Union AFSCME Gave $65M in 2014, Mostly to Democrats, Progressive Groups

6th April 2015

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AFSCME is funded by roughly 1.4 million members and mandatory fees taken from 125,255 nonmembers. Critics argue AFSCME gets its revenue from taxpayers so its donations are essentially indirect support for Democratic politicians, political activist groups and bigger government.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you suprrised? I’m sure surprised.

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University Suggests Censoring Speech in Free Speech Tunnel to Fight ‘Social Injustice’

2nd April 2015

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A North Carolina State University administrator is encouraging student leaders to censor speech they don’t like in a tunnel dedicated to free speech on campus.

In an email sent to all student group leaders Friday evening that was obtained by Campus Reform, Eileen M. Coombes, Director of Student Involvement, encouraged students to be creative while fighting against “social injustices and other forms of hate.”

“One way to do so is through the new ‘State not Hate’ stencils now available in Student Involvement,” Coombes said in her email. “If you see hate speech or offensive language in the Free Expression Tunnel, cover that speech with the stencil, indicating that you, as a member of this community of scholars, will not stand for any form of hate at NC State.”

Those who hate truth see truth as hate.

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Feds Won’t Pursue Contempt Charges Against Lerner for Not Testifying Before House

2nd April 2015

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The department announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner, whose Republican-controlled chamber made the request to prosecute, after holding Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify at committee hearings.

“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told FoxNews.com.

Of course not. The Crust takes care of its own.

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Thought for the Day

1st April 2015

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The Real One Percent

31st March 2015

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The U.S. government rented “85 single rooms, five office suites, five sleeping suites, and one conference room for 14 nights” at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort for Michelle Obama’s two-day visit to Cambodia, the Washington Free Beacon reports. The estimated cost to U.S. taxpayers for this adventure was $242,500, which seems like a lot of money to me, but I’m not used to traveling on a government budget.

 

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Thought for the Day

31st March 2015

Cavity Search

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Connecticut Issues Hypocritical Travel Boycott Against Indiana Over RFRA

30th March 2015

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy announced on Twitter that he would issue an executive order later today prohibiting state-subsidized travel to Indiana. In practice, this would prevent state employees from taking trips to Indiana on the taxpayer’s dime, even for official government business.

If any taxpayers in Connecticut want to thank the Governor of Indiana for blocking of a section of the government trough, I’m sure it would be appareciated.

If Connecticut is going to prohibit government-subsidized travel to RFRA states, perhaps they should respond in kind and prohibit travel to Connecticut? (A libertarian can dream, I suppose.)

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TSA Waves Convicted Murderer With Explosives Experience Through Its PreCheck Lane

30th March 2015

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Fly the friendly skies. Think of that the next time you get to the airport two hours ahead of your scheduled flight time in order to be sure to make it through the TSA chokepoint and maybe make your flight. Not that they care.

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No Copies of Clinton Emails on Server, Lawyer Says

28th March 2015

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An examination of the server that housed the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used exclusively when she was secretary of state showed that there are no copies of any emails she sent during her time in office, her lawyer told a congressional committee on Friday.

After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

And those missing 18 minutes on the tape? Just a mistake, I swear.

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Watchdog Rips ‘Unprecedented’ Intervention By DHS Boss to Help Powerful Dems

27th March 2015

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The lead watchdog for the Homeland Security Department ripped the No. 2 official at the agency Thursday for allegedly intervening in three visa cases tied to powerful Democrats.

In at least one case, Inspector General John Roth said, the intervention by DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was “unprecedented.”

Roth testified at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, two days after he released a 99-page detailing how Mayorkas — while he was head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — allegedly used his position to help politically connected projects.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

 

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Parents Must Sign Permission Slip Before Kids Can Eat Oreos

26th March 2015

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Never trust a teacher named “Mrs Porter”.

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Stunning! Obama Administration Declassifies Document on Israel’s Nuclear Power

26th March 2015

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Obama revenge for Netanyahu’s Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel’s top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move.

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

Obama is sort of the anti-Marine: ‘No worse friend, no better enemy.’

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Federal Workers Owe More Than $3.5B in Unpaid Taxes

25th March 2015

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‘We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.’ — Leona Helmsley

The House Oversight Committee is scheduled to consider a bill Wednesday that would make someone with a “seriously delinquent tax debt” ineligible for federal employment.

That sounds like a step in the right direction.

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The $1.2 Billion Afterschool Program That Doesn’t Work

24th March 2015

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As Tom Kane recently wrote in this forum, we should be investing more in research on education if we want to see more progress in education. We want education to embrace positive findings emerging from research. This logic also implies that education should move away from negative or null findings, when evidence shows that a program or policy does not work. But the history of federal afterschool programs suggests that a program that was funded on its potential can continue to be funded based on a kind of wishful thinking in which evidence is viewed through rose-colored glasses. How much evidence or what kind of evidence is needed to offset wishful thinking is a question worth considering.

And this is the Brookings Institution, a Hive of the Crust if ever there was one.

The problem is that such ‘programs’ (i.e. taxpayer-funded playschool for intellectuals) attract and are run by people who are True Believers, whose response to ‘It doesn’t work’ is ‘That’s because we haven’t tried hard enough’. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

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Democrats and Their Masters

24th March 2015

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The Democratic Party appears to take the sacramental view of abortion. Any act that might tend to deter an abortion is to be resisted. It’s the abortion equivalent of the positive good school of slavery. If the party as a whole doesn’t subscribe to this view, its funders certainly must.

Thus the dramatic turnaround in Democratic support for the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with broad bipartisan support. Yet even the bill’s Democratic supporters in committee, such as Minnesota’s own lighter-than-air Senator Amy Klobuchar (a cosponsor of the bill) and angry former comedian Senator Al Franken, turned against it.

One of the core principles of the Peter Pan Party appears to be that nothing must be allowed to impede taxpayer funding of abortions.

Committee Democrats claim that they were shocked, shocked to discover the Hyde restriction on abortion funding in the bill. They didn’t know what they were doing when they voted for it! They didn’t mean it.

Klobuchar and other committee Democrats blame their staffers for failing to inform them that the bill included the language. Beyond that Klobuchar has not strayed.

I wonder if that would have worked at Nuremberg. ‘Honestly, judge, our subordinates failed to inform us that Jews were being killed! It’s not our fault!’

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