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An LA illustration of rising gas prices (Updated & Bumped)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: LA Stories

UPDATE: Just drove past (Wednesday 02/15/12 afternoon) the gas station at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax; the price of a gallon of regular climbed 2 cents to 3.95. (I had taken the picture Tuesday night at about 5:40 PM PST). Also, to note, I have long wondered about the difference in price between the two different gas stations — how the one at Fairfax and Olympic stays in business, charging a (substantially) higher price. My operating assumption is that Olympic has more east-west traffic than Beverly.

Reading on Instapundit that “Gas prices’ earliest-ever rise above $3.50 a bad sign for motorists” and seeing on Drudge that the GAS PRICE UP 83% DURING OBAMA, I decided to provide a little illustration of gas prices in Los Angeles.

These are the prices for gas at the Shell Station on Fairfax and Beverly:

Then, I drove just 1.27 miles south, staying on Fairfax and looking for the next Shell Station. (more…)

Does Obama have a plan to deal with bad Social Security news?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:05 pm - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Real Reform

Just caught this on AOL’s home page (edited by the left-leaning Huffington Post):

The bad news headline links this article: Social Security Is Failing Even Faster Than We Thought.  Read the whole thing.

I know that at least one of the presidential candidates has expressed concern for the popular program’s fiscal problems and has put forward some ideas for reform.  Has the president?

Nominations from the Watchers’ Council

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:54 pm - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

I have recently been invited to join the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group, contending to consist “of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.”

Herewith are the nominations for this week, my first on the Council.  Please note that I’ve only read a few of the posts. . .

Council Submissions

If economy is recovering, why do we need more spending?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:22 am - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: Economy,Random Thoughts

Normally, when I reference the third presidential debate, I quote then-candidate Barack Obama on the “net spending cut” he contended he had been proposing “throughout the campaign”.

I don’t include the contradictory aspect of his response to moderator Bob Schieffer’s question about the “astounding” federal deficit; the Democrat both touts his “$750 billion rescue package” and insists “Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.”  Later, he insisted that increased spending is only temporary for, as I noted yesterday, he pledged, “once we get through this economic crisis and some of the specific proposals to get us out of this slump, that we’re not going to be able to go back to our profligate ways.”

In other words, just after pledging a pay-as-you-go approach to federal spending, he was hinting that he would favor a large increase in spending without compensating cut.  But, that’s okay because we need to spend our way out of the “economic crisis.”  (But, once we’re out of the crisis, we’re going to scale our spending back severely so we’ll avoid those profligate ways of the past.)

Now, Democrats are telling us we’re “in the midst of an economic recovery“, so, by the president’s on pledge, we shouldn’t be going back to the old profligate ways.  His most recent budget, however, is even more profligate than those of the Bush era when, Obama contended, we were “living beyond our means”.

Could it be that the Democrats were merely using “the economic crisis” as a pretext for a permanent increase in federal spending?  And that Keynesian economics just provides a theory to justify politicians who favor an ever-increasing public sector?

Have New York Times editors read the First Amendment?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:35 am - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Freedom,Media Bias

To find the text of the First Amendment, we simple go to google, type “First Amendment Text” without quotations marks into the little box and click “google search.”  Clicking on the first link, we get the Wikipedia entry, then clicking on the word, “text“, we get

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.

Emphasis added.  Please note that the authors of this amendment made clear to include the word, “exercise,” and not “worship.”  Which brings us to the editors of the New York Times.  Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto linked this editorial in the old gray lady on the president’s contraception compromise:

Nonetheless, it was dismaying to see the president lend any credence to the misbegotten notion that providing access to contraceptives violated the freedom of any religious institution. Churches are given complete freedom by the Constitution to preach that birth control is immoral, but they have not been given the right to laws that would deprive their followers or employees of the right to disagree with that teaching.

Note the word missing from this paragraph — and indeed from the entire editorial.  Yup, that’s right, it’s “exercise.”  As law professor Richard A. Epstein explains, “A direct legislative order to engage in conduct antithetical to their religious convictions would be in flat violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the ‘free exercise of religion,’ which is far broader and more comprehensive than the religious right to ‘worship,’ to which the president grudgingly acquiesces.”  (Epstein via Instapundit.)

In not paying for their contraception, the churches are freely exercising* their religion — which opposes contraception.  I happen to think that’s a a silly belief, but then they might think it’s silly not to eat pork or shellfish.  The Times editors simply ignore the “free exercise” clause in their editorial.

Not just that.  Even if Catholic organizations don’t offer contraception, they’re not depriving their followers the right to disagree with their teaching, as the Times editors suggest.  (Do they really believe that if their employer doesn’t offer employees a benefit, they can’t get it on their own?) (more…)

Nanny State Knows Best:
NC government Inspector forces 4-year-old girl to eat school lunch
says Mom’s home-made lunch not nutritious enough

No wonder Bruce left North Carolina:

A mother in Hoke County complains her daughter was forced to eat a school lunch because a government inspector determined her home-made lunch did not meet nutrition requirements. In fact, all of the students in the NC Pre-K program classroom at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford had to accept a school lunch in addition to their lunches brought from home.

NC Pre-K (before this year known as More at Four) is a state-funded education program designed to “enhance school readiness” for four year-olds.

The mother, who doesn’t wish to be identified at this time, says she made her daughter a lunch that contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips. A state inspector assessing the pre-K program at the school said the girl also needed a vegetable, so the inspector ordered a full school lunch tray for her. While the four-year-old was still allowed to eat her home lunch, the girl was forced to take a helping of chicken nuggets, milk, a fruit and a vegetable to supplement her sack lunch.

Read the whole thing. Sounds like a pretty responsible Mom, packing a nutritious banana along with fruit juice for her daughter, yet a government inspector has determined that he knows better than the girl’s own mother what’s good for her.

Bruce, I fear that the Tar Heel State is not the only American jurisdiction where state busybodies inspectors believe themselves better equipped than a child’s parent to look out for his welfare.  And all too many laws give them the power to act on that belief.

It’s about time we start repealing the laws that empower such “inspectors.”  And not just at the state level.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Louise B looked at an image of what the state mandate the little girl eat and found that, well, the Nanny State does not know best:

If you look at the picture of the food the state deemed appropriate, you’ll see there isn’t a vegetable on that tray either. They show corn which has the same calorie level as a slice of bread. Corn and bread are both considered carbohydrate–and thus neither of them are a vegetable.