SocraticGadfly: 8/30/09 - 9/6/09

September 05, 2009

The latest Wall Street slickness

Even as the government talks about changes in calculating poverty that would show many more poor seniors, Wall Street is preying on them in new ways.

And, this all as G20 nations still can’t agree on regulating top financiers’ pay.

September 04, 2009

Perry aide pressured Tech regent to resign

Mark Griffin, appointed a Texas Tech regent by Rick Perry in 2005, said then-Perry general counsel Brian Newby pressured him to resign last month after he introduced Kay Bailey Hutchison at a rally. Griffin made clear he thought Newby was not acting on his own.

DeSoto TX white elephant finally "dies"

Five years ago, the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation built a "spec" building. Other area EDC heads said this was a BIG no-no. And, so it was for five years, when, late last month, it was finally sold -- to a church, not a high ranker on economic development.

September 01, 2009

August 31, 2009

One way to stop cell phone use while driving …

And that is, like tobacco, make it tougher for the young to do so. And, starting tomorrow, here in Texas, if your’re a minor, no talking on that cell while driving. Not even hands-free. You have to hang up and drive. Maybe the lesson will latch on for later life for a few.

August 30, 2009

Tricky Ricky Perry ditches TX secessionists

Looks like some birds have come home to roost for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and he recognized it, and so chickened out on attending a secessionist rally in Austin.

Of course, he also, surely, chickened out because Texas’ senior U.S. Senator and gubernatorial challenger, Kay Bailey Hutchison, called hiom out last week on his previous support of secession, doing what President Barack Obama lacks the intestinal fortitude, or cojones, or whatever to do — she called him out on secession and nullification talk:
“Silly rhetoric about secession from the Union being an option is not a good image for Texas, in America or in Texas,” she said.

About time someone in a position to be heard said something like that.

Bill Bradley – swap tort reform for natl healthcare

The former U.S. senator analogizes from 1986 tax reform legislation.

Of course, his analysis of that issue isn’t totally accurate. With the home mortgage deduction, among other things, not all special interest loopholes were eliminated. And, we eventually had to raise the top marginal tax rate higher.

That said, the analogy isn’t all wrong. I would accept his deal, including things like federal medical courts, if we also included a federal bureau/agency for insurance regulation, and adequately staffed it.

If Bradley were familiar with state-level tort reform, or, more specifically, malpractice reform, he would know that, without tough regulation, insurance companies simply pocket the money.

Meanwhile, former George W. Bush CEA head Glenn Hubbard offers a different set of tips.

Free speech vs. free democracy

The two issues clash head on at the Supreme Court, in a reargument of the political status of an anti-Hillary Clinton movie.

While this is not an easy case to look at, first of all, it’s CERTAINLY not one that fits within the “originalist” understanding of the Constitution promoted by Justice Scalia and some other members of SCOTUS. And, given both that and the fact the Court seems itching to make a broad ruling, …

I simply have to disagree with both the ACLU and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, with their briefs supporting Citizens United. I feel even more so that way with our current Democratic president having helped wreck remaining shreds of public campaign financing by opting out of the system.

And, we now see the results in his fiscal policy, and the advisors thereof.

And, contra RCFP, this isn’t a ruling on “news,” it’s a ruling on advertising, which has NEVER had the same level of speech protections.

On the originalist side, the Founding Fathers simply did not envision:
1. A nation of more than 300 million people
2. Corporations being declared “persons” before the law by a previous Supreme Court
3. The exploitation of that ruling
4. Or many other related things.

Yes, a broad ruling the other direction pushes us in the direction of government censorship. I hope for a narrow but good ruling.