Recent Posts From Chris Frashure
A federal judge has recently blocked Florida’s new program to test welfare recipients for drugs:
Judge Mary Scriven’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who sought the benefits while finishing his college degree, but refused to take the test.
The judge said there was a good chance plaintiff Luis Lebron would succeed in his challenge to the law based on the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The drug test can reveal a host of private medical facts about the individual, Scriven wrote, adding that she found it “troubling” that the drug tests are not kept confidential like medical records. The results can also be shared with law enforcement officers and a drug abuse hotline.
“This potential interception of positive drug tests by law enforcement implicates a `far more substantial’ invasion of privacy than in ordinary civil drug testing cases,” Scriven said.
While allowing extensive access to medical records is certainly questionable and poses a privacy risk to patients, I see no inherent constitutional issue with requiring a drug test for voluntary welfare benefits. The intent is certainly honorable; we want to ensure that taxpayer funded welfare checks are not being used for recreation. The practice is popular among conservatives and tea party folk alike, but it distracts from the much larger issues and instead seeks to implement a solution on a subordinate level.
Mitt Romney has been hitting his key opponent, Rick Perry, relentlessly for his decision to allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition in Texas. Romney even made the issue into a campaign ad:
The former Massachusetts governor has stated that the educational benefits offered by the state of Texas act as an incentive to draw more undocumented immigrants across the border:
“You put in place a magnet — you talk about magnets — you put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state, which is giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country. And then you have states, the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they’ve had no increase in illegal immigration. Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants.”
Now we learn, via the LA Times, that the healthcare reform that Governor Romney ushered in during his tenure in Massachusetts, colloquially referred to as RomneyCare, contained a provision that provided public aid to undocumented immigrants:
The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.
Don’t worry Cali teens, the government will protect you from yourself:
There will be less California minors walking around trying to damage their precious hides on purpose after a new law — the first of its kind in the U.S. — goes into effect that prohibits anyone under 18 from using a tanning bed.
But as using tanning beds can lead to skin damage like melanoma, and early tanning can up that risk, it seems like a good move to prevent cancer later.
Quite obviously this is borne of a paternalistic intent to protect minors from the risks involved. As the government sees it, minors are too young and stupid to understand the risks and therefore must have the government make the decision for them. By this logic, everyone should be banned from tanning beds; if it is dangerous and adults still do it then clearly they don’t understand the risks either! Why set such an age limit? Doesn’t everyone deserve equal protection from their own bad decisions?
Note: California is not the only state with such laws. Many states have various age restrictions, but California is the first to ban everyone under 18.
President Obama is reportedly finally ready to send trade deals with Panama, South Korea, and Columbia to Congress:
President Barack Obama said on Monday that the White House will have an announcement on the long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress “in the next day or so.”
Passage of the South Korea pact before President Lee Myung-bak’s Oct. 13 state visit is a major goal, and a congressional source told the paper it would be “tough, but close.”
Committee hearings could begin as early as Wednesday, and Congress has 90 days to approve the deals.
As many supporters of free trade like to say, I oppose free trade deals because I support free trade. The “deal” in “free trade deal” is nothing more than a set of mutually agreeable government impediments to the free flow of goods and services. The Obama administration is making no secrets about the fact that these pacts do not constitute free trade:
Asked what the “hold up” has been in sending the trade bills to Congress, White House press secretary Jay Carney said in Monday’s press briefing that the administration prioritized ensuring the pacts were “balanced and fair,” and that it wanted to increase trade opportunities for Americans “but do it in a way that protected American workers and made sure that our obligations…were upheld.”
Back in July, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute David Boaz chimed in on the 2012 GOP nomination asking “Is There Still Time?“
Barry Goldwater announced his candidacy for president on January 3, 1964, about nine weeks before the New Hampshire primary. A decade later, Ronald Reagan announced his challenge to President Gerald Ford on November 20, 1975. After that unsuccessful race, he announced another, this time successful candidacy, on November 13, 1979.
I’m not suggesting that Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or Chris Christie is another Ronald Reagan or even another Goldwater. Nor am I unaware of the changes in the campaign process. But I do wonder if a candidate with real appeal really has to announce his or her candidacy so many months before earlier candidates did.
Now he’s asking “Is It Too Late for Another Candidate?“
Now the William J. Clinton Presidential Center (whatever happened to good ol’ Bill? I guess “William J. Clinton” sounds more presidential) reminds us of a more recent president who started his campaign later than any of today’s contenders. From September 30 to October 3, the center will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bill Clinton’s announcement of his candidacy, which happened on October 2, 1991.
Is time running out? Or could a candidate with something attractive to offer still get into the race? It’s still earlier in the season than when Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton announced their candidacies.
When you can’t defend your own ideology, characterize your opponent’s ideology as something that it isn’t, a la David Sirota:
On one side are self-interested teachers unions who supposedly oppose fundamental changes to schools, not because they care about students, but because they fear for their own job security and wages, irrespective of kids. In this mythology, they are pitted against an alliance of extraordinarily wealthy corporate elites who, unlike the allegedly greedy unions, are said to act solely out of the goodness of their hearts. We are told that this “reform” alliance of everyone from Rupert Murdoch to the Walton family to leading hedge funders spends huge amounts of money pushing for radical changes to public schools because they suddenly decided that they care about destitute children, and now want to see all kids get a great education.
Here Sirota creates a straw man by claiming that proponents of privatization of education and other like-minded reformers believe that “wealthy corporate elites…act solely out of the goodness of their hearts.” Quite contrarily, I expect private businesses, of which private schools are in specie, to provide a good service out of their own best interest. I expect them to cater to my desires out of fear for their own survival and financial well being – the profit motive. Adam Smith noted the power of this phenomenon centuries ago:
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
It is an inescapable axiom that education is a service not unlike that of any other industry. The reasons that we must treat it so differently are lost on me.
New Jersey has launched a new law aimed at combating school bullying. The measure includes classes to teach “the difference between telling and tattling” and an expanded ability to report bullies, among other things. Though well intended, the law is not being reviewed favorably by all:
But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates.
The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes.
Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses.
“I think this has gone well overboard,” Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said. “Now we have to police the community 24 hours a day. Where are the people and the resources to do this?”
The smugness of this administration is never ending:
President Obama today will announce new fuel efficiency standards that will save American businesses that operate and own commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. These work trucks, buses, and other medium- and heavy duty vehicleswill be required to meet fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for the first time ever beginning in 2014.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the President today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program.
“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama. “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks. And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”
That liberals believe they know what’s best for everyone else is nothing new. What’s fascinating to me is seeing the Barack Obama, the President of the United States, purport that others harbor the same religious reverence for him that he has for himself. He claims that the very individuals that run private corporations have more faith in him to run their businesses than they have in themselves. Here Obama is painting the picturing of the economy bowing at his feat, begging “tell us what to do, oh mighty one!”
On Monday afternoon, MoveOn.org and Rebuild the Dream announced a campaign to build up a popular movement that could match (if not surpass) the debt reduction crowd in both size and energy. And they have borrowed a concept from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) as their organizing principle.
The campaign, led by Van Jones, President of Rebuild the Dream; Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org; and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), among others, is debuting a new Contract for the American Dream. They describe it as “a progressive economic vision crafted by 125,000 Americans … to get the economy back on track.” Its debut will involve a nationwide day of action, as well as an ad in The New York Times to run sometime this week, organizers said.
This “Contract” is very illustrative of the core tenets of modern liberalism – that it is the government that drives the economy, and that the government has every right to commandeer your money if it believes it has a better means of using it. Remember that the government is not some abstract and omniscient system; it is merely a group of power-hungry individuals with enough naivete to believe they know more than the rest of us:
The basic premise of the campaign is that America isn’t broke, it’s merely imbalanced. In order to stabilize the economy, politicians should make substantial investments in infrastructure, energy, education and the social safety net, tax the rich, end the wars, and create a wider revenue base through job creation.
This chart from the New York Times has been making its way around the internet, most recently over at Cafe Hayek, where Russ Roberts makes a few really great points. Notice that the largest contributor listed is the Bush tax cuts, coming in at $1.8 trillion:
Time and time again I’ve tried to dispel the notion that tax cuts are expenditures. It is simple – you cannot spend what you do not have. Claiming as such is akin to stating that someone is running a $50k deficit because their employer only pays them $35k per year.
Adhering to such a philosophy – that tax cuts are the key contributor to our debt – is to believe that our entire debt is due merely to a failure to raise taxes. It’s not an income problem, it’s a spending problem.