People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Michigan Considers Anti-Blogger Bill

I guess I should make it clear, I don't consider myself in any way to be a journalist.  I'm a commentarian, if such a title exists.

But there are people in the weblog world who do think of themselves as journalists.  Just as there are career politicians who wish those same webloggers weren't.

And those politicians make law.

Goodbye citizen journalists?

We will soon see:
Licensing bill for journalists a control ploy
By Bristol Herald Courier editorial board

A proposed Michigan law would require journalists to have licenses and applicants would need, among other things: “good moral character,” a degree in journalism and three writing samples.

What the Internet has brought to the brink, this law aims to put asunder.

The first two stipulations are not requirements to quality reporting. The third, while common in some job recruiting situations, barely scratches the surface.

What really is at work here is an effort by state Sen. Bruce Patterson to endorse some news outlets and deny access to others. He readily admits his bill is in response to instances where he believes a writer has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues. He also admits the bill is unlikely to pass but that he is merely trying to provoke public discussion before leaving office after two decades.

Patterson claims the law is needed because of an explosion in the number of media outlets: traditional, online and citizen-generated – and that this increase is adding to misinformation.

This is a not-so-veiled attempt to give approval to some news sources and deny access to others. If a journalist has shown themselves [sic] to be unreliable, he will lose sources and credibility. It is not the government’s job to intercede and ask for licensing steps for reporters watching over government.

[P]assing laws to restrict access, by licensing reporters, is a violation of the First Amendment and a clear attempt to restrict who can report on issues in Michigan. [link]
I'm reminded once again of that famous quote from Joseph Goebbels, the master of government propaganda:

Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

And if it's the only player in the orchestra ...

On Boucher Being In The Hall When Calderón Was Trashing The USA

I had asked a few weeks ago if Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA9) was one of those dozens and dozens of anti-American Washington Democrats who stood and applauded when Mexican President Felipe Calderón denounced America's Bill of Rights and condemned the good people of Arizona.

If the Roanoke Times can be trusted, he wasn't.  He didn't attend the hate fest.

For that we can be thankful.

It would be nice, though, if we could find out from Mr. Boucher what he thinks of his Democrat brethren acting in such a disgraceful way.

It'll never happen.  But it would be nice.

So Much For Alternative Energy

I have to tell you, when I hear someone say "We need to be less dependent on fossil fuels; we need to develop alternatives to oil,"  my eyes glaze over.  That's like saying "We need eyes in our butts so that we can see what's going on behind us."

Nice idea.

Tell us when you decide to rejoin the real world.

The problem is, there are no alternatives to oil.  No viable alternatives.  And wishing them to be so, sometimes with exclamation marks (!!) to really make the point, doesn't make them so.

And it's not like people aren't trying:
Board rejects Appalachian bid on wind
The SCC said Appalachian's plan to buy electricity from two wind farms would further increase customers' costs.
By Duncan Adams, Roanoke Times

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has rejected an alternative energy-related application filed in mid-September by Appalachian Power Co.

Appalachian, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, had requested commission approval for contracts to purchase electricity generated by two separate wind farms -- Beech Ridge in West Virginia and Grand Ridge in Illinois.

Appalachian relies primarily on coal-fired power plants to generate the electricity it sells.

The SCC ruled Wednesday that the wind farm purchase agreements, as negotiated, were too costly for Appalachian customers. Its order noted, "[Appalachian's] rates have increased by more than $500 million, or more than 50 percent for residential customers -- since the beginning of 2007, and this amount does not include the company's currently pending base rate proceeding." [link]
Be it understood, AEP has no driving interest in keeping your rates low.  What are you going to do, shop at Wal-Mart for your electricity in retaliation?  So planning to bring in expensive electricity from Illinois or Axehead, Maine is neither here nor there to the leadership thereof.  It's your expense, not theirs.

Besides, those AEP planners are only doing what your politicians are demanding of them.  From Duncan Adams' article:

"The Virginia legislature has set a goal of generating about 12 percent of the power Virginia customers consume from renewable sources by calendar year 2022."

That's called Pie-In-The-Sky.

But it is a mandate that AEP is law-bound to meet.

Thus the extremely expensive wind initiatives.

I'm thinking the citizens here in Southwest Virginia, those most affected by the machinations of AEP and its Richmond handlers, would be most appreciative of a different mandate:

Create whatever conditions are necessary to make electricity - the lifeblood of modern civilization - affordable for the people they serve.

And unless and until those alternative sources of energy prove to be viable, forget them.

- - -

An analogy: Thalidomide,"an effective tranquilizer and painkiller, proclaimed a 'wonder drug' for insomnia, coughs, colds and headaches."

Great idea.  Except for the people to whom it did grievous harm.

Justice Souter Is Gone

We are thankful for that.

But he still raises his ugly head now and then, just long enough to scare the hell out of those of us who find meaning - and worth - in the Constitution.

David Souter in his commencement address at Harvard last week:

Meaning comes from the capacity to see what is not in some simple, objective sense there on the printed page.”

Meaning, he thus proposes, comes from the subjective judgment of those who have the power to render decisions and affect lives.  The Constitution becomes nothing more than reference material.

With that understood, someone explain to me the difference between a Justice Souter and a politician. 

No need.  There is no difference.

I'd suggest, if we accept the fact that the Supreme Court is to be made up of politicians, as Souter would have it, that the American people be given the opportunity to vote the members thereof in and out of office.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

On The Lingering Economic Malaise

As I've written here before, the current economic mess we're in is different from any we had to deal with in the past.  Probably because of the influence that the stratospheric growth the Chinese economy has had on our economy.  Thousands upon thousands of jobs that have vanished here will never be returning.  Making this a very troubling circumstance.

I'm not alone in my thinking.  Here's Monty Pelerin, writing in The American Thinker:
Worse than a Depression

As the economic crisis approaches the two-year point, it is apparent that "this time is different." Few analysts believe that we are going to recover from this Great Recession in a fashion that resembles prior recoveries. Most argue about how long it might run (Japan's recovery is now two decades old), and whether inflation or deflation results. Two years into the problem, these issues are still unclear.

Our government is bankrupt many times over ..., as are the democratic socialist states of Europe ... For political reasons, none of these countries is either willing to cut back on its spending or accept a recession.

We are witnessing the death of democratic socialism. No politician wants it to happen, but none can prevent it. We are at the point where the Ponzi concept of "extend and pretend" has been extended beyond social commitments and banking systems to entire economies. We are approaching what Ludwig von Mises described as "the crack-up boom." [link]
Add to this the shift in economic power to China and you have the makings of a depression here in the West that is unprecedented.  And no politician in the USA is prepared to do that which is necessary to prevent it.  Our elected leaders simply quibble over the speed at which - and the depths to which - whether they realize it or not - the destruction is to occur. 

It's unlike anything we've ever experienced. And it is going to be ugly.

The Real Message The Israelis Sent

"Do not agree to go quietly, into the ovens, or into the sea. So long as there is breath in you, and the possibility of resistance, fight."

Quote of the Day

From the Wall Street Journal editorial board:
The claim that the financial, energy and health-care industries were somehow unregulated until Mr. Obama descended from the heavens is simply dishonest. Those are likely the three most regulated businesses in America, though the competition is stiff. But if the President is going to blame his problems on philosophies no one believes and deregulation that didn't exist, he shouldn't be surprised if voters come to believe that his super-regulatory government should be able to perform miracles like quickly plugging oil blowouts a mile under the sea.
 "To Be Fair," June 4, 2010

Didn't It Just Top $12 Trillion?

Where is all this money going?

Good thing we have lots of printing presses.