Recent Posts From Ron Davis
If you are President Obama, somehow not yet familiar with Honey Boo Boo, or if you’re in therapy after watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” please accept my sincerest apologies for the post you are about to read.
I was blissfully unaware of the whole Honey Boo Boo craze/phenomenon until I saw this post on Peach Pundit, a Georgia-focused political blog. This little girl Alana (a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) is the star of a reality show on TLC. As so brilliantly stated in that Peach Pundit post:
She has the outgoing kind of personality we like to see in children; children that belong to other people – other unrelated people – who live far, far away.
Yeah, that sums her up pretty well. So how could this 6-year-old beauty queen bumpkin be at all similar to President Obama? Here are a few ways:
1. They both outrank Republicans in TV ratings.
It’s more believable for him than for her, but he and she both topped the ratings earned by the Republican convention. And the GOP had Clint Eastwood. I don’t know if this is more of a statement about Americans’ TV preferences or Republicans in general, but either way, it’s an embarrassment.
2. They both landed a star role, despite obvious flaws.
We are 47 days away from Election Day. Republicans are trying to excite voters over Mitt Romney, desperately hoping to bring an end to Barack Obama’s political career. And while anything is still possible, it’s not looking good for Romney, who is trailing Obama in 9 of 10 swing states.
And, sure, you can say that’s one specific poll or that it’s a Politico link, a site that doesn’t typically favor the right. But that fact remains – no matter what the polls say – that the Romney campaign isn’t doing well at all lately.
And now, on top of that frustration, a GOP takeover of the Senate, once thought to be highly probable, is in jeopardy.
We should be focusing our efforts where they’ll have the most impact, and given the outlook of the presidential election, it may be time to shift our focus to the Senate.
Of course, I’m not saying we should just concede the presidential election. If you’re in a swing state, it makes sense to focus some time on the presidential election, but if you’re in a decidedly red (or blue) state, time spent helping Senate candidates may be a better choice.
And, yes, we could also argue that Republican activists in non-swing states could be making calls for Romney to voters in swing states just as easily as they could make calls for Senate candidates, but some of these Senate races are closer than the presidential election.
And if Obama is going to be re-elected, which seems likely at this point, Republicans need to have control of the Senate.
Google has taken some heat lately over censorship issues. No doubt we’ve all heard by now of the famous “The Innocence of Muslims” video on YouTube that, whether it did or did not cause attacks on our embassies, has been a center of controversy.
It stirs up debate on censorship, so I wanted to offer some thoughts on censorship.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That’s the whole First Amendment, but if you break it down to an even simpler form…
Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.
That, in a nutshell, is how I feel about censorship. But this isn’t about Congress. This whole issue is about Google and whether or not Google should censor the opinions of its users.
I love censorship. I censor things all the time. If you decide to get obnoxious in comments on this blog, I’ll censor you. I try not to, because I want to encourage debate, but if your comments take away from the debate, yeah, I’ll censor you.
I censor things in my home as well. I censor what TV shows my kids see. I use parental control software to censor what Internet content is available.
Censoring content, whether on my web site or in my home, is my right and my responsibility. The same applies to Google. If something posted to a Google property is inappropriate, Google has a right and a responsibility to censor the content.
The Board of Health in New York has approved Bloomberg’s suggested soda ban. This weekend while working in the yard, I remembered my high school science teacher teaching that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What would be the reaction to this soda ban?
The Action: These are the details of the plan, as reported here.
Under the plan, all restaurants, fast-food joints, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and even food carts will be barred from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces.
The limits will not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores, diet sodas, drinks that are more than 70-percent fruit juice, or that contain alcohol.
Dairy drinks containing more than 50 percent milk will also be allowed thanks to their redeeming nutritional qualities — though that’s little solace for Frappuccino lovers since the Starbucks treats contain far less milk than that.
The Reaction: Here are some things we might expect to see as a result of the soda ban.
1. Marketing Gimmicks
While working in the yard this weekend, I tried to think of ways I would handle the ban if I owned a restaurant in New York City. Maybe a restaurant sells a large diet soda but lets the customer get it himself; he could just get a sugary option instead. Maybe the large size on the menu would become two separate 16-ounce cups.
Late last week I saw a headline about Paul Ryan that said he didn’t think the federal government should interfere with states on the medical marijuana issue. That’s not exactly what I’d expect to hear coming from the Romney/Ryan ticket, but I certainly wasn’t upset by it.
I think Ryan was making a point that too many people miss. When talking about the War on Drugs as a Republican in favor of ending it yesterday, it’s a hot topic, and I’m not usually in the majority. The argument I run into so often is this:
Drugs are bad. People shouldn’t use drugs. We should ban drugs.
End of argument.
And that’s without getting into the cost of law enforcement, the overcrowding of prisons for nonviolent crimes, the cost of outsourcing prison space, the dangers of prohibition, or the fact that prohibition simply doesn’t work.
The ironic part of this is that these folks who cheer for calls to return to the Constitution couldn’t legitimize the War on Drugs with any portion of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
And that, I think, was Ryan’s point. This isn’t a federal issue. It’s a states’ issue. If marijuana is to be legalized – for medicinal or for any other use – it’s an issue for the states to decide, not the federal government.
Earlier this week, as the Democratic National Convention was getting underway, the U.S. national debt hit $16 trillion. Politicians – particularly the Republicans – went crazy online posting on social networks about how we should resist the Democrats and their desire to run the debt up even higher.
As if Republicans in Washington are much different.
The irony, of course, is that so many of the Republicans screaming about the debt are big contributors to (and causes of) it. But while we should definitely be concerned about debt, focusing primarily on it as our problem opens the door for raising taxes. Our national debt isn’t our primary problem; it’s just a symptom of a much, much bigger problem: spending.
If we control spending, we control debt. For far too long, spending has been out of control, and the result is an out of control debt.
We have an annual deficit (because of excessive spending), and the fight in Washington is over a fraction of that deficit. Republicans push for huge deficits, but their huge deficits are slightly smaller than what the Democrats want.
Dan Mitchell recently asked the question, “Does the $16 trillion debt really matter?” That’s a great article from Dan, well worth your time for a thorough read. In short, yes, it does. But focusing on the debt as the disease isn’t the answer.
Earlier this month, I said that one of the reasons you may want to vote for Mitt Romney is if you think the GOP is too conservative. My premise in that statement is that the party will move the direction of its leading politicians until they are rejected. Based on some new data, we see that already taking place, without Romney even being elected.
The data is part of a poll that compares responses of registered voters in April and then again four months later in August. The telling data is with voters who consider themselves “conservative” or “very conservative.” Here is the chart used on that WP article I linked to above:
Notice the blue sections in the image. In April, roughly one-fourth of conservative and very conservative voters said Romney was too liberal. In August, those numbers decreased, and there was an increase in the number of voters who say Romney’s views are “about right.”
Of course, this doesn’t hit specific issues. It’s a question about a candidate. If respondents were asked specifically about issues, we probably wouldn’t see such a quick change. Two important things that would impact this data have happened since April:
1. Romney is the last man standing.
Part of the Republican Party platform to be voted on at the national convention this week is language that calls for a crackdown on the porn industry.
Before we jump the gun on anything, it’s worth noting that the party platform isn’t binding. The GOP platform has called for lots of things Republicans don’t actually endorse, so we probably shouldn’t panic too much…yet.
So, if it’s not binding, what’s the problem with having issues like this in the platform? Here are a few reasons:
1. It distracts from the real issues.
Today the news isn’t talking about a massive budget overhaul. They’re talking about how Republicans want to prevent adults from accessing pornography. We have a $1.5 trillion annual deficit. We are fighting wars we can’t afford. We are heading toward complete fiscal ruin, and Republicans want to talk about banning porn? It’s nothing more than a distraction to take our eyes off of what’s important.
2. It gives politicians an excuse to expand government.
When a Republican decides it’s time to make legislation to control the behavior of others, he’ll have an easier time getting support for it when it’s part of the platform. Legislators can use the “well, it was in the platform, so I supported it like a good little Republican” excuse and support the expansion of government without fear of blowback from the party.
3. Protecting me from myself is not a legitimate function of government.
There is no scenario in which keeping an adult from viewing pornographic material created by consenting adults is a legitimate function of government. Whether we’re talking about state or federal government, that type of law is inappropriate.
Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer are teaming up to fight a battle over industrial hemp. Since the plant, which is great for making all sorts of products, is a cousin to marijuana, it remains banned in the United States.
Hemp is one of the great examples of the failure of the War on Drugs. An attempt to control citizens’ behavior has eliminated the use of a crop good for making a number of useful products. Seriously, go look at that list.
Senator Paul is making the argument that federal regulations are impeding his state’s agriculture industry. And while he’s absolutely right – there’s a lot of money to be made from growing hemp – it’s important to realize that isn’t the primary reason we should be fighting for the legalization of hemp.
We should be fighting for the legalization of hemp because prohibition is wrong.
The fact that it can be used to make quality clothing doesn’t matter. The fact that it can be used to make strong ropes doesn’t matter. The fact that it can be used for anything doesn’t matter.
If somebody wants to grow hemp just for the sake of growing it – with no useful intent whatsoever – it should be legal. That’s called freedom, and freedom for the sake of freedom something we should be pressing toward more often.
Though Senator Paul has a valid argument in calling for legalizing hemp to aid in growing Kentucky’s agricultural business and creating jobs, we should remember that fighting for freedom to grow hemp – simply for the freedom to do it – is all the reason we really need.
One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors said recently that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke needs to “get every consideration” for another term when his current term expires in 2014. When I saw that headline, I had to go read (and re-read) it for myself. Did he really say that?
Yes. Yes, he did.
I take a little comfort in the fact that Romney has previously said that Bernanke wouldn’t likely be returning as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve if he’s elected president. But Glenn Hubbard (no, not this guy) is a top advisor to Romney, and in that YouTube video I just linked to, one of the possible nominees for Bernanke’s job was Hubbard.
While I’m not very concerned about Romney keeping Bernanke around (he’s been a failure under Bush and Obama…it’s time for him to go), the thought that his replacement could be somebody who thinks Bernanke should be considered for another term scares me.
It’s worth mentioning that Hubbard and Bernanke are friends and have been for a long time, so there’s a chance that he’s just trying to be nice and not call his friend a complete miserable failure in the news. But there’s also the chance that he’d continue in Bernanke’s dollar-destroying ways.