Right to Work in Michigan

I never would have expected it in such a strongly blue, pro-union state as Michigan, but so they did. Here is the story at the Washington Post.

As the chants of angry protesters filled the Capitol, Michigan lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to right-to-work legislation, dealing a devastating and once-unthinkable defeat to organized labor in a state that has been a cradle of the movement for generations.

The Republican-dominated House ignored Democrats’ pleas to delay the passage and instead approved two bills with the same ruthless efficiency that the Senate showed last week. One measure dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed them both within hours.

“This is about freedom, fairness and equality,” House Speaker Jase Bolger said during floor debate. “These are basic American rights — rights that should unite us.”

After the vote, he said, Michigan’s future “has never been brighter, because workers are free.”

Once the laws are enacted, the state where the United Auto Workers was founded and labor has long been a political titan will join 23 others with right-to-work laws, which ban requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

Supporters say the laws give workers more choice and support economic growth, but critics insist the real intent is to weaken organized labor by encouraging workers to “freeload” by withholding money unions need to bargain effectively.

Right now Michigan’s future could hardly be dimmer. Maybe this will be the first step towards a more pro-business set of policies that will allow Michigan to flourish again. It is interesting that Michigan, a state that went heavily for Obama in the last election has a Republican governor and a State Legislature with a Republican majority in both houses. Could it be that reports of the death of the Republican Party are greatly exaggerated, especially at the state level?

Naturally the unions are fighting this tooth and nail. I would hardly expect them to do otherwise. Of course one might hope that their actions would be non violent and within the law but perhaps that is too much to expect. I suppose that there will be a repeat of the sort of mob violence we saw in Wisconsin last year.

Meanwhile schools in Michigan have had to close today because teachers have been calling in sick to protest. This is from Michigan Capitol Confidential.

At least 26,000 children will miss school today because their teachers called in sick or took a vacation day to protest proposed right-to-work legislation, which is expected to pass today.

Warren Consolidated Schools, Taylor School District and Fitzgerald Public Schools are confirmed to be closed. It is also suggested that schools in Detroit and St. Johns may be missing a significant number of teachers.

“We’ve had an excessive number of teachers call in,” Warren district spokesperson Robert Freehan said Monday afternoon. “We’re concerned about the safety and security of the students, so we’re treating it as a snow day.”

Ben Lazarus is a school board member-elect for Warren Consolidated. He believes the district, but not the teachers, made the right call.

“I think that political agendas shouldn’t take precedence over student learning,” said Lazarus. “I think the superintendent made the best decision with the facts available.”

The Warren district is the 9th-largest school district in Michigan. More than 15,000 students attend Warren Consolidated Schools. Parents will now have to scramble to find alternative care for their children because of the excessive teacher absences.

Warren Consolidated Schools is the second school district to announce closing in anticipation of a large protest in Lansing against proposed right-to-work legislation. Taylor School District Superintendent Diane Allen told WDIV that the district would be closed because so many teachers were taking sick or vacation days to attend rallies in Lansing.

Detroit Federation of Teachers president Keith Johnson anticipates “a huge crowd” in Lansing for the protest. When asked by the Free Press if any Detroit Public Schools would be closed, he said, “Hopefully.”

Some roads near the Capitol building will also be closed on Tuesday, due to anticipated protests and rallies.

At least one other district could be affected by the “sick out.” A parent in St. Johns Public Schools north of Lansing with children in the district said they were warned by their teachers that “most of them would not be at school [on Tuesday] because they were attending the protest and if enough substitutes were not found, they would close school.”

Fitzgerald Public Schools in Warren was is also closed because of staff absences. FPS Superintendent Barbara VanSweden announced on the school website, “FPS is closed on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 due to the number of staff that are absent.  The district will be closed just like a snow day.  My first priority is student safety and without an adequate number of staff, we cannot hold school.”

Freehan estimated that “several hundred” teachers called in sick or said that they would take vacation. The calls began early Monday morning, he said, and continued throughout the day. The district employs about 800 teachers, he said.

“We felt the best approach was to cancel school completely as well as extracurricular activities,” he said. “You can’t have students in school with just two staff members there.”

Lazarus believes right-to-work and other proposed educational reform bills need to be discussed, but that it would be beneficial for legislators to gather more input and information. And a “sick out” is the wrong way to go.

“I do understand that they have a political position,” Lazarus added. “[But] the first priority of a teacher should be student learning and I don’t think this adds to that.”

Just in case you thought that educating your children was their top priority. That is probably true for most individual teachers but certainly not for the teacher’s unions. Students don’t pay the union dues. Of course, it is not certain that this action will actually harm any students, at least not in the Detroit Public Schools.

In the public schools in Detroit, Mich., according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 7 percent of the eighth graders are grade-level proficient or better in reading.

Some public school teachers in the City of Detroit and around the state of Michigan are reportedly taking a vacation or a sick day today to protest right-to-work legislation likely to be approved by the state legislature. Under current law, Michigan public school teachers must pay dues to the teachers’ union. If the right-to-work law is enacted, Michigan public-school teachers will be free to join the union and pay dues to it if they wish, but they will also be free not to join the union and not to pay it dues.

Detroit public-school eighth graders do even worse in math than they do in reading, according to the Department of Education. While only 7 percent scored highly enough on the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test in 2011 to be rated “proficient” or better in reading, only 4 percent scored highly enough to be rated “proficient” or better in math.

I have to wonder just what they are actually doing in these schools. Not teaching children what they need to learn it would seem.


The Election of 1860

With all of the silly talk about states seceding we have had after the last election, perhaps it is time to take a look at a past election in which the talk of secession was deadly serious. I refer, of course, to the election of 1860, the election that preceded and sparked the American Civil War. Slavery and secession were the two main issues of that Presidential campaign, and before I write any more about the campaign, I will have to give a little historical background on each of these issues.

Slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776. Slavery was rather rare in the northernmost states, such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts and much more common in the southern states where the climate and land permitted large-scale plantations. Nevertheless, slavery was not a sectional issue at that time.

During and after the War of Independence, it seemed obvious to many that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the ideals of liberty expressed in the Declaration and a movement to end slavery developed. In the northern states, slavery was largely abolished by the beginning of the nineteenth century, although because the larger states legislated gradual emancipation, there were still a few slaves in bondage as late as 1830. More importantly for the future of the new nation, slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Territory was the Northwestern Ordinance of 1787.
The founding fathers who held slaves had somewhat ambiguous feelings about the institution. They thought it necessary, but disliked it and believed that over time it would gradually die out. This didn’t happen. The invention of the cotton gin made slavery more profitable and attitudes hardened over time. In the north a newer generation of abolitionists were no longer willing for slavery to gradually die out, especially since it was beginning to show few signs of doing so. They wanted slavery abolished immediately, or at the least prevented from expanding into the new territories. The abolitionists were never a majority in the north but they were a vocal minority and over time their numbers and stridency grew. In the south, slave holders became increasingly defensive about their “peculiar institution”, all the more so as slavery was abolished throughout the civilized world. By 1860, only Brazil and the Spanish colony of Cuba still practiced slavery. By 1860, it was becoming increasingly clear that the United States could not continue to exist as a nation in which slavery was legal in half the country and prohibited in the other half. Either the country would have to be all free, all slave, or split into two.

This brings us to secession. In the early decades of the country, it was never entirely clear whether the United States was a federation of smaller sovereign states or a nation with sovereignty shared between the central government and the states but with the federal government pre-eminent. As early as 179, John Tyler of Virginia proposed that Virginia secede over the Alien and Sedition Acts. Thomas Jefferson wanted the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures to nullify the acts. In 1814, there was a movement in New England to secede over the War of 1812. South Carolina threatened to secede over the “Tariff of Abominations” in 1828, over the admission of California as a free state in 1850, and was the first state to secede in 1860.

Now, I can get to the election of 1860. The previous election, that of 1856 had seen the end of the second party system in the United States with the break up of the Whig Party and the rise of the anti-slavery Republicans. In that election, the Democrats had won the entire south, while the Republicans won New England and a few mid-western states. In the next four years, sectional tensions grew in the United States until a division between North and South became a real possibility. Already there was a sort of miniature civil war in Kansas over whether the territory would be admitted as a free state or a slave state. The infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 polarized opinion as did the publication of the phenomenally successful Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry by John Brown terrified the South, naturally fearful of a slave revolt led by abolitionist, while Brown’s execution made him a martyr among abolitionists.

The Democratic convention was held in Charleston South Carolina in April. The obvious candidate was Stephen Douglas from Illinois who campaigned on a popular sovereignty position on the slavery issue. This “pro-choice” position did not please the increasingly radical southern delegates who wanted an out right pro-slavery platform in which slavery would be permitted in all territories under federal protection. This, the northern delegates would not agree to, so the convention broke up.
The Democrats met again the following month in Baltimore, this time the northern and southern delegates holding separate conventions. The northern delegates selected Stephen Douglas while the southerners nominated John C. Breckinridge from Kentucky. The irony here is that if the Democrats had united behind one candidate, that candidate would almost certainly have won the election since the Republican Party was not even on the ballot in the south. By dividing their efforts between two candidates they allowed the Republicans to win.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party had its convention in Chicago. William H. Seward of New York was a favorite at the convention but he had made too many political enemies. Although he had not had an especially prominent political career previously, Abraham Lincoln was well liked and articulate. He was firm on the slavery issue but not too radical, so he was selected on the third ballot.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Then, because things were not confusing enough with three candidates, a fourth candidate jumped into the ring. There was another nominating convention in Baltimore in May. This was a group of former Whigs who were determined to keep the Union together at all costs. Calling themselves the Constitutional Union Party, they nominated John Bell, a former Speaker of the House from Tennessee.

John Bell
John Bell

As one might imagine, this turned out to be an exciting and tumultuous election. Stephen Douglas broke with tradition and actually went out to campaign in person, all over the country. The other candidates stayed at home and tried to look dignified and presidential but their supporters made up the difference in raucous energy. Bell’s supporters rang bells at rallies. Republicans held parades featuring rails that the great rail splitter Abraham Lincoln had personally split. Breckenridge’s people warned that a Lincoln victory would split the country. If it weren’t for the great seriousness of it all, it would have been a lot of fun.

You probably already know the result of the election of 1860. No candidate got a majority of the popular vote but Lincoln won a plurality with 1,866,452 votes or 40% of the total. Douglas was second with 1,376,957 votes or 29 %. Breckinridge got 849,781 or 18 % and Bell 588,879 or 13%. The electoral vote was more decisive. Lincoln won all of the northern states except New Jersey which was split between Lincoln and Douglas for a total of 180 electoral votes. Douglas, although second in popular votes was last in electoral votes winning only Missouri and three New Jersey votes for a total of 12. Breckinridge won all of the south except for the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia for a total of 72 votes. Bell won those three states and 39 electoral votes.

The Election of 1860
The Election of 1860

Stephen Douglas realized that a Lincoln victory would divide the country and immediately after the election he traveled south and gave speeches upholding the Union. It was of no avail, however, and a month after the election , on December 20 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union and America’s bloodiest war began.

Migration from Mexico

It is tempting to assume that whatever trends are occurring at the moment will continue to occur into the future. The fact is though, that the future is likely to be nothing we expect it to be and trends and issues that seem terribly important right now, may well be trivial a century from now. To get an idea how far off any prediction of the future is likely to be, go back and read books and magazine articles from the past.Doom and gloom articles predicting future environmental catastrophes are especially off the mark, which is why I tend not to put too much credence in contemporary doom and gloom predictions. Science fiction is also an interesting example. We don’t have the easy trips to the planets or flying cars, as predicted by golden age science fiction, but none of the golden age writers seem to have predicted anything like our current computer technology or the Internet.

I was thinking of that when I read this article in Townhall.com by Michael Barone. One of the prevailing trends of the last few decades has been the growing number of immigrants from Mexico entering this country. It would seem that as this trend continues, the United States will grow increasingly “hispanized” or “Mexicanized”. But what if the trend doesn’t continue? What if the era of mass migration from Mexico is coming to an end?

Is mass migration from Mexico to the United States a thing of the past?

At least for the moment, it is. Last May, the Pew Hispanic Center, in a study based on U.S. and Mexican statistics, reported that net migration from Mexico to this country had fallen to zero from 2005 to 2010.

Pew said 20,000 more people moved to Mexico from the United States than from there to here in those years. That’s a vivid contrast with the years 1995 to 2000, when net inflow from Mexico was 2.2 million people.

Because there was net Mexican immigration until 2007, when the housing market collapsed and the Great Recession began, it seems clear that there was net outmigration from 2007 to 2010, and that likely has continued in 2011 and 2012.

There’s a widespread assumption that Mexican migration will resume when the U.S. economy starts growing robustly again. But I think there’s reason to doubt that will be the case.

Over the past few years, I have been working on a book, scheduled for publication next fall, on American migrations, internal and immigrant. What I’ve found is that over the years this country has been peopled in large part by surges of migration that have typically lasted just one or two generations.

Almost no one predicted that these surges of migration would occur, and almost no one predicted when they would end.

For example, when our immigration system was opened up in 1965, experts testified that we would not get many immigrants from Latin America or Asia. They assumed that immigrants would come mainly from Europe, as they had in the past.

Experts have also tended to assume that immigrants are motivated primarily by economic factors. And in the years starting in the 1980s, many people in Latin America and Asia, especially in Mexico, which has produced more than 60 percent of Latin American immigrants, saw opportunities to make a better living in this country.

But masses of people do not uproot themselves from familiar territory just to make marginal economic gains. They migrate to pursue dreams or escape nightmares.

Life in Mexico is not a nightmare for many these days. Beneath the headlines about killings in the drug wars, Mexico has become a predominantly middle-class country, as Jorge Castaneda notes in his recent book, “Manana Forever?” Its economy is growing faster than ours.

And the dreams that many Mexican immigrants pursued have been shattered.

You can see that if you look at the statistics on mortgage foreclosures, starting with the housing bust in 2007. More than half were in the four “sand states” — California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida — and within them, as the Pew Hispanic Center noted in a 2009 report, in areas with large numbers of Latino immigrants.

These were places where subprime mortgages were granted, with encouragement from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to many Latinos unqualified by traditional credit standards.

These new homeowners, many of them construction workers, dreamed of gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars as housing prices inevitably rose. Instead, they collapsed. My estimate is that one-third of those foreclosed on in these years were Latinos. Their dreams turned into nightmares.

We can see further evidence in last month’s Pew Research report on the recent decline in U.S. birthrates. The biggest drop was among Mexican-born women, from 455,000 births in 2007 to 346,000 in 2010.

That’s a 24 percent decline, compared with only a 6 percent decline among U.S.-born women. It’s comparable to the sharp decline in U.S. birthrates in the Depression years from 1929 to 1933.

There really is no way to know what is going to happen tomorrow. Maybe there will be another wave of immigration from Europe, especially if the EU collapses. Maybe there will be waves of immigrants from Africa, this time voluntary. Who knows?


Soul Crushing Dependency

Hallelujah! A liberal gets it! At least Nicholas D Kristoff has come to understand that while government programs to aid the poor may indeed do much good, they may also create perverse incentives that encourage generation after generation of poverty. He writes about this in his column, observing that parents, (or parent, single parenthood is a big part of the problem) will actually take children out of literacy classes to ensure that they do not learn to read. If the child learns to read well, they may not qualify for disability checks for their learning disabilities.

THIS is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.

Many people in hillside mobile homes here are poor and desperate, and a $698 monthly check per child from the Supplemental Security Income program goes a long way — and those checks continue until the child turns 18.

“The kids get taken out of the program because the parents are going to lose the check,” said Billie Oaks, who runs a literacy program here in Breathitt County, a poor part of Kentucky. “It’s heartbreaking.”

This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.

Some young people here don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.

Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like S.S.I., a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying that hard-working guy she likes. Yet marriage is one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married couple households only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households.

Most wrenching of all are the parents who think it’s best if a child stays illiterate, because then the family may be able to claim a disability check each month.

“One of the ways you get on this program is having problems in school,” notes Richard V. Burkhauser, a Cornell University economist who co-wrote a book last year about these disability programs. “If you do better in school, you threaten the income of the parents. It’s a terrible incentive.”

There is a lot more to read there. It may be easy to look down on such people as being ignorant fools who are short changing their children, but consider the conditions there. There is not much economic opportunity in Breathitt County. Keeping their children illiterate, while short sighted, makes perfect sense to them.

Here we have the actual problem. People do respond to incentives. If you reward dependency, illiteracy, and irresponsibility, than you will get more of it. Why should someone work, if they can get enough to get by, while not working. If you punish hard work and initiative, and excelling in education,  which all too many of these programs seem to be doing, than you will get less of it. This isn’t really too difficult to understand.

What is the answer for places like Breathitt County? I really do not know. I think that liberals and conservatives both ought to be able to agree that if we want to help these people, the best way to go about doing it would be to help them be able to help themselves. Ultimately, the goal ought to be to get as many of these people as possible to the point where they do not need the government to help them. This would be good for the country and for them. It wouldn’t necessarily be good for the government, or for the people who administer such programs, who profit by a child’s illiteracy as well, so I am not expecting any change soon.

Zimmerman Sues NBC

Good for him!  George Zimmerman is suing NBC over their reporting of the incident between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Whatever may be said about that incident, and I am not commenting on that here, it is obvious that their reporting was slipshod and perhaps intentionally deceptive. Here is the story I read at the Washington Post.

Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed suit today against NBC Universal Media over a well-publicized editing error that portrayed their client in racist terms in his pursuit of Trayvon Martin on a drizzly evening in February.

“NBC saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so to set about the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain,” states the civil complaint in its opening salvo against NBC.

This is the part to pay attention to.

NBC’s editing of the 911 audiotape in the Martin case became a public fixation after the media-monitoring Web site NewsBusters.org noted editing oddities on a “Today” show broadcast March 27. Here’s how NBC News portrayed the audiotape:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

The full tape went like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

Zimmerman thus didn’t volunteer a racial profile of Martin; he was asked to provide it, a point that the lawsuit makes in colorful fashion: “NBC created this false and defamatory misimpression using the oldest form of yellow journalism: manipulating Zimmerman’s own words, splicing together disparate parts of the recording to create illusions of statements that Zimmerman never actually made.”

The suit contends that this and other examples were no innocent mistakes but a deliberate attempt to stir up racial trouble for the sake of higher ratings. I wouldn’t care to speculate on anyone’s motives but I think that the media has to be held accountable. If it turns out that NBC’s reporting of this case was intentionally deceitful, I hope Zimmerman wins the suit and I hope he cleans up.

By the way, I read some of the comments below the article. There is nothing quite so depressing as seeing how stupid many of these people are, on both sides of the issue.

Mutant Mosquitoes

This story I read at The Daily Mail sounds like it could be the beginning of a really bad horror movie.

English: Mosquito on finger This image is part...
English: Mosquito on finger This image is part of a set of UF/IFAS images specifically released for Creative Commons usage. Please do not alter or delete attribution watermark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes are awaiting federal approval for release into the Florida Keys as part of an experiment aimed at reducing the risk of dengue fever.

Mosquito control officials have requested the Food and Drug Administration’s sign off on the experiment that would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Some residents of the tourist town of Key West worry though on how much research has been done to determine the risks of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes on the Keys’ fragile ecosystem.

Officials are targeting the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes because they can spread dengue fever, a disease health officials thought had been eradicated in the U.S. until 93 cases originated in the Keys in 2009 and 2010.

The trial planned by mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity.

The idea is that they will mate with wild females and their children will die before reproducing. After a few generations, Key West’s Aedes aegypti population would die off, reducing the dengue fever risk without using pesticides and at relatively a low cost, the proponents say. There is no vaccine for dengue fever.

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aeg...
English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘The science of it, I think, looks fine. It’s straight from setting up experiments and collecting data,’ said Michael Doyle, pointing to research Oxitec has had published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He inherited the project when he took the lead at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District in mid-2011.

The district’s website says the modified genes will disappear from the environment after the mosquitoes carrying it die, resulting in no permanent change to the wild mosquito population. The district also says that the mosquito species isn’t native to the Keys, nor is it an integral food source for other animals.

Dengue fever is a viral disease that inflicts severe flu-like symptoms — the joint pain is so severe its nickname is ‘breakbone fever.’ It isn’t fatal but victims are then susceptible at subsequent exposures to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be.

‘It’s very uncomfortable. You ache all over, you have a terrible fever,’ said Joel Biddle, a Key West resident whose dengue fever symptoms lasted more than a week in 2009.

Biddle is among those concerned about the Key West trial. He worries the modified genetic material will somehow be passed to humans or the ecosystem, and he wants more research done. He and other Key West residents also chafe at the fact that the project was in the works long before it was made public late last year.

The public resistance and the need to reach some agreement between mosquito control and the public, I see that as a very significant issue, outside of the (operating) costs, since this is not just a one-time thing,’ Lounibos said.

The Aedes aegypti has shown resistance to pesticides used to control other species, and is the most difficult for the district to manage. Common in the Southeast and the Caribbean, it lurks in standing water around homes and businesses and can breed in containers as small as bottle caps.

District inspectors go door-to-door to remove the standing water where they breed, a time-consuming task. The district spends roughly $1 million a year to suppress Aedes aegypti, 10 to 15 percent of the agency’s budget, Doyle said.

‘Unfortunately, control of Aedes aegypti is a never-ending job,’ said Larry Hriber, the mosquito control district’s research director.

In the trial, thousands of male mosquitoes bred by Oxitec would be released in a handful of Key West blocks where the Aedes aegypti is known to breed; the number of mosquitoes in those neighborhoods would be measured against the numbers from similar blocks where no modified mosquitoes were released.

What happens next is that the genetic modifications cause the mosquitoes to grow to giant size, or there mosquitoes turn out to be fertile and their female descendants bite human and turn them into weird mosquito creatures, or something. Well if they could make a bad movie about giant killer rabbits why not one about giant killer mosquitoes?

The truth is that mosquitoes are responsible for more human fatalities than any other animal by carrying diseases like malaria and dengue fever. It really wouldn’t bother me in the least if the whole mosquito family were made extinct. That, would of course, be bad for various ecosystems since bats and other animals feed on them, but still I don’t like mosquitoes at all.

How to Fix Everything in America Forever

There are some people out there, mostly hippies, who believe that America’s best days are behind us, that we are no longer the best, most awesome country in the world. The solutions to our problems that are proposed by the politicians do not seem do not seem to work.

Fortunately, Frank J. Fleming has come to the rescue with his new book, How to Fix Everything in America Forever. In this book, he truly thinks outside the box with innovative yet commonsense solutions to the problems facing us and offers ways to make America even more awesome than it already is. These ideas include such proposals as requiring Congressmen to wear pain collars, banning whining, blowing up public schools and putting kids to work where they can learn marketable skills, punching hippies, and, of course, nuking the Moon. If we all follow Fleming’s proposals, we make America a nation to be feared and respected once again.

All joking aside, Fleming makes a number of very good points under the guise of satire, not least of which is that we have to get into the habit of solving our problems ourselves once again and not look to the government. Even at its best, the government helping people is like Godzilla rampaging through downtown Tokyo. As Fleming points out, relying on the government is like relying on Godzilla to save a baby from danger. Even if he does it successfully, there is still that trail of destruction he left behind.

This is why the epilogue of this book is about the most dangerous hippie of all, the one we see when we look in a mirror. It does little good to punch hippies all day long, if at the end of the day we listen to the hippie inside us that tells us we can’t do it on our own, we need to government to help and protect us.  We need to shut that hippie inside us up so we can go about the work of making this a country even better than our forbearers gave us.

I  hope that Frank J Fleming is successful in making his readers think a little while they are laughing, and I hope he writes more books like How to Fix Everything in America Forever. We need them.


Terror in School

I think this video, which I found on YouTube, courtesy of Moonbattery, does a fairly good job of explaining the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in easy to understand terms.

I find the comments for this video illuminating, at least the anti-Israel ones.  The idea seems to be that since Israel doesn’t have a perfect record and may occasionally kill civilians used as human shields, than any atrocity committed by its enemies must be excused. There is also the idea that the Jews have no business being in the Middle East, that they stole the land from the Palestinians who are only fighting a just war for their own homes against a criminal state.

There are also the Muslim commentators who just think all the Jews everywhere should be killed because the Koran says so. There are also the usual anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Jews owning the media, although if they did why is so much of the world’s media anti-Israel?