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Another Perspective

Avert Your Eyes and Hold Your Nose

By 7.2.15

Downtown San Francisco feels like a large public toilet without enough janitors. More than once this year, I’ve seen men drop their pants in public places — including at Fifth and Market — to leave a smelly mess on the sidewalk. You can walk for blocks and never escape the stench of stale urine. At lunchtime, I see street people passed out on high-traffic sidewalks, and I am afraid to walk around them.

The homeless have been a problem in San Francisco for as far back as anyone remembers, but to me it seems this year is the worst. There’s a sense among people who work downtown that City Hall doesn’t care about cleaning up San Francisco’s Summer of Muck.

If this year is worse, two culprits are the drought and the city’s booming economy. The drought means “there’s no rain washing down the streets,” San Francisco Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon told me. The city’s housing and office building boom has filled in alleyways and once-neglected pockets where the homeless used to be able to hide.

Special Report

The Virtue of Mandatory Vaccination

By 7.2.15

On Tuesday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that makes California the third state to eliminate “personal belief” exemptions from vaccine requirements for children to attend schools, either public or private.

To Be Absolutely Frank

NBC Fires Trump, Keeps Sharpton

By 7.2.15

First there was Univision. Then there was NBC. Now here comes Macy’s.

Donald Trump’s willingness to discuss the truth on illegal immigration has drawn a haughty — not to mention bigoted — response from these three American institutions. Trump is happily responding to Univision’s breaking his contract with the network to air the Miss Universe pageant with a $500 million lawsuit. He’s kissed NBC and Macy’s — the latter the outlet that was carrying those famous Trump ties — goodbye. And as a result Trump’s poll numbers are surging.

Not to be cute? Well… duh. How dumb are these executives to not understand that not only are they setting themselves up for massive bad publicity and financial loss, they look like fools — bigoted fools — in the bargain. Brazenly denying simple facts of the illegal immigration mess that have been repeatedly reported by… just to pick one media outlet not-so-at-random… NBC. So let’s focus on NBC. Whence comes this statement from NBC/Universal:

Free Market Accountability Project

Curbing Regulatory Excesses

By 7.2.15

Since his infamous declaration that “I have a pen, and I have a phone,” President Obama has been attempting to circumvent the Congress and implement his policy agenda through regulatory fiat. In a 5-4 decision in Michigan v. EPA released on Monday June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court has sent the Obama Administration an important message: regulations cannot be imposed without weighing the potential benefits against the expected costs.

At issue was the EPA’s limits on mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from power plants. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said that it was not appropriate for the EPA “to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.” The decision requires any Administration to consider the costs created by potential regulations at the outset of regulatory deliberations — the regulation’s costs cannot be raised as an after-thought.

Ben Stein's Diary

Don’t Be a Stranger

By 7.1.15

Tuesday–Sandpoint, Idaho 
Alex and I flew up here Saturday. I had been feeling ill for some days. Then I hurt my leg badly tripping on some railroad tie outdoor stairs in Malibu. That was on Friday. I went to bed Saturday assuming I would be too ill to travel. But when I awakened, I felt decent. The only really horrible parts of the trip were when Alaska had our plane dazzlingly, sickening hot on the runway in LAX, and then when Horizon did the same in Seattle.

Oh, also it was a total stunner what it cost to rent a lowly Chrysler at the Spokane airport. I think I will buy a car for up here. These rentals are cruel.

And how can the airlines be permitted to keep the planes so hot? Is there no protection at all for us passengers at this point? There is no other venue where confined persons not under criminal custody are kept so hot. It is insane. Criminal.

Political Hay

Five True Lies Republicans Should Tell In 2016

By 7.1.15

Our readers don’t really need to see another column, post, or podcast about how the Supreme Court and the Obama administration has wrecked the America we used to know, and we’re past the time where we wallow in grief about how the country is lost.

It’s not lost. The fight isn’t over until conservatives say it’s over. Are you really going to just sit there and let a bunch of high-school losers who found religion in campus cultural Marxism destroy the greatest society in world history? The Nazis, Bolsheviks, and Japanese imperialists couldn’t do it with guns and bombs and yet you’ll allow Jon Stewart to do it with a TV show?

As a greater American than me might say, pure applesauce.

But one thing is painfully obvious — the cultural and political rout the Right has suffered over the past decade (or longer) won’t be reversed with the same stupid tactics that have gotten us where we are.

State Watch

Taking Leave of Sickness

By 7.1.15

Oregon’s Legislature just passed a law requiring employers to offer five days of paid sick leave to their employees per year, making Oregon the fourth state to adopt sick leave mandates for employers, following Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts. At the federal level, President Obama called for a national paid sick leave law in his 2015 State of the Union address. 

But while labor activists treat paid sick leave like a proxy war against Wall Street, the casualties are all on Main Street. In practice, paid sick leave mandates like Oregon’s fall short of supporters’ expectations and are startlingly ineffective at achieving their basic goal of keeping sick employees from coming to work.

Another Perspective

Justice Kennedy’s Pursuit of Gnosis

By 7.1.15

America’s errors typically aren’t due to secularism or revived paganism but some form of Christian heresy.

The Supreme Court’s creation of a right to same-sex marriage seems mostly Gnostic, not rooted in concrete law but an ethereal empowering of the supreme self. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion reads like a spiritual journey towards self-revelation, or Gnosis. His mindset is maybe best encapsulated in his infamous 1992 abortion rights ruling, in which he mystically opined: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Deep, and profoundly Gnostic. The Gnostic of early Christianity rejected Jesus Christ as a physical person, preferring Him as a spirit who transcended this world. Gnostics rejected the plain meaning of Scripture as the orthodox Church taught but developed their own parallel, secret doctrines discerned through superior wisdom and spirituality. Gnosticism was for self-elevated special people, not the common people to whom Early Christianity typically most appealed.

Special Report

EPA Raked Over the Coals

By 7.1.15

Consumers and businesses won big on Monday, when the Supreme Court struck down an Environmental Protection Agency regulation on coal plant emissions because the EPA failed to consider whether the costs outweighed the benefits. Not the cost to government, mind you. The cost to us, as consumers and business owners, to comply. The Court’s 5-4 decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency is a setback for the Obama administration but an important protection for the rest of us. 

Federal overregulation—of everything from automobiles to fast food and power plants — makes it more expensive for employers to hire and more expensive for consumers to buy everyday products. Amazingly, 29 percent of what the average household spends is due to regulations jacking up prices. We could afford a lot more if there were fewer regulations.

Some are needed to protect our health and safety, but Washington D.C. overdoes it. And has for decades. The Obama administration is the all-time worst offender, and its EPA imposes the most regulatory burden of any agency.

The Current Crisis

What Was So Dreadful About Last Week?

By 7.1.15

If you dutifully read the weekend newspapers and watched the Sunday morning gasbags on television, I suspect you departed the chaos with a terrible headache. Possibly you departed for the bar.

Typical of the news stories was one that the Washington Post headlined: “GOP Struggles For Footing As Cultural Ground Shifts Leftward.” Who was doing the shifting? Well, a couple of delusional Supreme Court justices supported by a homicidal maniac, seated in someone’s backyard, flying the Confederate flag over his puny shoulder, and a narcissistic self-promoter who recently changed his/her name to Caitlyn. Such are the dynamic forces driving history in America today—at least in the eyes of the Hollywood-New York-Washington axis.

Actually there is a more subtle, albeit more significant, transformation stealing across America, and it has been at work since 2010. It is the consequence of what our Founding Fathers embedded in our Constitution over 200 years ago. It is federalism, working through the democratic process; and it cannot be stopped by a politicized court, a crazed gunman, or a narcissist.