Thursday News and Views

Morning Paper (oil on canvas) by Richard Lincoln

Good Morning, Conflucians!!!!!

I’m so excited to see the sun out this morning here in central Indiana. It might get up into the 70′s today, and I can’t wait. One of the things I came out here for was to help my mom get the garden going and do other work in the yard. So far the weather hasn’t been very cooperative though. Today should be perfect for yard work.

Via No Quarter, the big cheese in the White House isn’t real popular with “the folks” these days. Here is yesterday’s summary of the latest polls at Real Clear Politics. Obama averaged

And there’s an interactive graph at the link where you can see Obama’s plummeting approval ratings over time. It’s really quite dramatic.

Yesterday’s Rasmussen Presidental Tracking Poll showed

that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. Today’s rating is the lowest earned by the president since the passage of his health care proposal two months ago

Yesterday, Obama’s total approval was only 44% and total disapproval was 55%, with 44% strongly disapproving of his performance! No wonder his coattails are so useless.

Check out the graph:

And here is a page that lists Obama’s Rasmussen ratings going back to inauguration day.

My, my, my…where is the hope? I think it went out the window quite awhile ago. When more people start to realize what horrible catastrophe the oil spill is really going to be, will even more voters strongly disapprove? How low can he go?

Is newly minted Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul a racist? I was shocked when I heard his interview on NPR, summarized by Ben Smith at Politico. He claims he supported Martin Luther King’s fight against discrimination, but Paul also says businesses should be able to refuse service to whomever they wish. Darren Hutchinson has a good summary of Paul’s record on civil rights. The verdict: “Miserable.”

Think Progress has a transcript of the relevant portions of the NPR interview. And here is audio of an interview that Rand Paul did with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Did The New York Times deliberately smear Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal? That’s what Jamison Foser suggested at Media Matters yesterday. The Times reported a quote from a 2008 video of Blumenthal in which he appeared to claim he had served in Vietnam when he did not. But the Time omitted an earlier part of the video in which Blumenthal said he served during the Vietnam era. Blumenthal claims he simply made a slip of the tongue.

This morning Greg Sargent says the questions aren’t going away. The Columbia Journalism review is also chiding the Times for its careless treatment of the story.

So what are you all reading this fine spring morning? Please post your links and thoughts freely in the comments and have a terrific Thursday!!!

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143 Responses

  1. How the heck can Obama bring his ratings up at this point? He’s dead meat. He needs to be primaried in 2012!

    • Looks like he may have gotten a bump from the faux health reform bill, but lost most of that with Tuesday’s elections.

      • We’ll in the past when the press was reporting on Obama’s failure to lead on issues and his ratings tanked a racist event would usually materialize to change the subject ….

      • He did not get any bump from faux health reform. He had a minor bump on the economy.

    • Greg Sargent:

      * Dems, newly bellicose about 2010 after Tuesday’s big win in Pennsylvania’s 12th, want Obama to worry less about his post-partisan brand and put on his partisan brass knuckles already.

      • If they would only notice, Obama already has put on his partisan brass knuckles and long ago ….for the GOP.

  2. Mornin’ BB.

    Lucky you with your 70. It’s still cold here and I’ve been suffering from it for the past few days.

    Have you seen Rand Paul’s interview with Rachel Maddow? Yikes! The ignorance of this guy is cringe inducing.
    It also show where these “limited government”-people badly miss the boat.

  3. Good morning, bb. Enjoy that sunshine!

    In regard to politics and elections, I do hope that voters are paying close attention and will make better informed choices than just following “hope”, “change”, and “no taxes”.

  4. BB, we must have heard the same interview with Rand Paul on NPR this morning. The guy is waaay out there, comparing the Civils Rights Act to the Second Amendment, saying private businesses should be able to turn away minorities and guns at their own discretion. Is he going to run on the Klan have free speech rights too platform this fall. This is the side of pure libertarianism that makes for bad electoral politics imo. Plays smack into the politics of race, again.

    • I heard one yesterday. I’m glad they are rerunning it. He is scary!

    • Makes me wonder how many people who voted for him were aware of his views. Also, the Supreme Court has made it pretty clear that a truly private group–such as a country club–can still exclude individuals from membership based on membership requirements, but a local lunch counter is clearly a public venue. Doesn’t sound like Rand is all that familiar with the law. Either that, or he just doesn’t care. Not exactly someone I’d want to represent me as a lawmaker.

      • I think what he and everyone else is missing is that indeed a private business, even one that invites the public in CAN decide who to serve and not to serve…but NOT BASED ON RACE. If you come in to my store and you are drunk or disorderly, not dressed properly or reek of skunk, I can refuse to serve you and have you removed from my property. But I can not make that choice based on race.
        So he is half right and some of the folks here are half right too.

      • Can they limit membership in a country club to whites?

        • Seems to depend on state and local laws, purpose of the club, etc. Has to do with how the right to “free association” is interpreted by the state and, sometimes, the local municipality. I read about a social club in California that doesn’t want to admit women, and the majority of members are willing to forego using the club for any business purposes in order to avoid having to admit women, which would otherwise be required by local law.

        • Didn’t Augusta golf do that and don’t they still omit women?

          • That’s what I’ve read.

          • Yeah, that’s why all the hoopla about whether or not Tiger’s wife was going to Augusta was so funny. She might have if they would have allowed her inside the door, but…..;)

          • SAVANNAH, Ga. — The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group plans to demonstrate in support of Augusta National Golf Club’s all-male membership during the Masters, whether the club likes it or not.

            “This equal rights stuff has gotten out of hand,” Joseph J. Harper, imperial wizard of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said Friday. “We’re not concerned with whether they want us there or not. We’re concerned with their right to choose who they want to choose” as members.

          • Yes, and Tiger’s venue upon his return didn’t allow women players. :-(

  5. Paul is a libertarian dogmatic. He believes the only role of government is to protect the people from force and fraud. The military should only be used to defend the borders, the police to protect from violent crime, and the courts to protect from fraudulent business practices.

    The government, in his view, has no business telling private business or citizens what they should do outside of this. That means no government regulation in terms of civil-rights laws or really anything else.

    In addition to allowing racist restaurateurs to refuse serving customers on the basis of race or ethnicity, he would also do away with local health departments and health code inspections. He’s a racism enabler and an E-coli conservative in the extreme.

    He’s not in favor of racist behavior or food poisoning, of course, but he’s deadset against the government doing anything about them.

    • Seems that Paul is not above telling people what they should do, indeed legislating what they can do – note the comment about a constitutional amendment. He is not a libertarian – more like a neo-con conservative, but I suppose in his mind females are not capable of making their own decisions?
      From his own website:

      “I am 100% pro life. I believe abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being.
      I believe life begins at conception and it is the duty of our government to protect this life.
      I will always vote for any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion.
      I believe in a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act as federal solutions to the abortion issue. I also believe that while we are working toward this goal, there are many other things we can accomplish in the near term.

      It is unconscionable that government would facilitate the taking of innocent life. I strongly oppose any federal funding for abortion and will stop the flow of tax dollars to groups like Planned Parenthood, who perform or advocate abortions.”

      http://www.randpaul2010.com/issues/a-g/abortion-2/

      • Where is Rand Paul’s statement condemning Bush for his needless invasion of Iraq?
        I’m sure there were plenty of “innocent human beings” lost due to our actions.

        • well said

        • Where is Rand Paul’s statement condemning Bush for his needless invasion of Iraq? I’m sure there were plenty of “innocent human beings” lost due to our actions

          very well said. They seem to care only when one is floating in amniotic fluid…other wise , not as much

        • They’re only innocent when they’re a ball of cells and possibly male. These folks think women’s judgment is flawed and their view of when life begins trumps every one else’s

        • Somehow I don’t think brown skinned people are classified as innocent in his world view. I was afraid of the teaparty movement before it came about because racists were going to use Obama as a springboard to recapture lost power regardless of how he performed.

          Now that we know he isn’t going to be an effective President makes it that much worse. I am truly afraid of where this country is heading. Hopefully, the vast majority of regular folks will keep their heads on straight and understand that none of these people have any answers. Of course, at least 1/2 the population actually thought Bush and Chaney had the answers and many still believe that. I am not optimistic anymore.

      • I don’t think there’s a contradiction between libertarian principles and pro-lifer views. (Or pro-choice views, for that matter.) Libertarianism isn’t really applicable to the issue. If one is of the view that life begins at conception, one can understandably see the outlawing of abortion as being appropriate within the framework of a force-or-fraud-only theory of government.

        • Except that means that women’s lives and bodies are not their own in any meaningful way. Childbirth is more life-threatening to women than abortion, and at some point he would have to say straight out that if it comes to a choice between the life of a full grown woman and a fetus, the women’s life is worthless and can be terminated. That’s not really “pro-life.”

    • It’s scary how libertarianism has become so popular in the last decade. To me they are as bad as the Republicans if not worse. Rand Paul and Ron Paul are pro-life neo-conservatives. As someone else said here before, wealthy libertarians are just Republicans who want to legally smoke pot and live in their gated communities while the rest of the country goes to hell in a hand basket for all they care. Most of the voters just see them as anti-establishment when they are clearly against the interest of most people (including the majority of Tea Partiers) who depend on government services and regulation.

      • I feel they are the most repugnant. I don’t care for libertarianism at all. Then again, I don’t care for the Republican viewpoint or the Democratic viewpoint much anymore either. What I would like to see is an ADULT viewpoint where we try to make the lives of all our citizens and have a government actually prepared to actually solve problems.

        • That was supposed to be make the lives of all of our citizens better. Sorry.

  6. It’s not all that surprising, Crazy Ron has his neo-Confederate flirtations, and I believe he was in favor of apartheid. Some interesting and highly selective “libertarianism” going on there.

    • Yes, like conflating how you treat a human being with how you treat the carrying of a gun in a privately held public establishment like a hotel or restaurant. Regressive if not medieval logic.

    • Well maybe this Senate campaign will show the Paul family for what they really are and represent.

  7. Joe Sestak will be going up against Santorum-0.2 this November. He’s almost as bad but he beat out the even worse Peg Luksik. The problem is with Obama’s dismal record will Dems even bother to show up at the polls.

  8. Too bad we didn’t get the real Democrat, republicans might get back in power but we would have real health care reform and a regulated Wall Street.
    We can only imagine what Bill Clinton could have accomplished if he had a fawning news media and a Democratic congress not intent on stabbing him in the back.
    One can only imagine the depth of hatred that the likes of Olbermann, Matthews, Russert, and Dowd have or had for the Clintons that they treated then so shabbily.

    • Yeah, I was just thinking that if we had Hill, our choices would probably be slightly better than awful Dems or neo-Confederate loons. *sighs*

  9. Funny about Obama’s ratings. You wouldn’t think so from the post-elections spin in most papers. Except maybe the El Diario cover posted in the
    update to my tabloids entry – the seen on the street edition
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/tabloids-part-deux-seen-on-the-street-update/

  10. I’m a defender of individual rights and the rights of owners of businesses to determine their own policy.
    If you read Rand Paul’s statements carefully, what I think he is saying is that if businesses do abhorrent things (Like refusing to serve someone due to race) then it is the consumer who will spurn and boycott that business.
    Consumers would get the word out about that businesses practices,and consumers would not do business there and that business would die a slow death.

    It’s like making laws that prohibit smoking or talking loud in a theater. The folks around that smoker or talker would rise up and tell the person to quit. Peer pressure is very useful.

    Let us as individuals correct bad behavior instead of making laws to correct bad behavior.

    Rand states that if a lunch counter refuses to serve because of race, then that should be shouted from the roof tops and that business would very quickly find out the majority of us are against that. That business would soon go out of business.
    That is much better than making laws to enforce every thing we as a majority find wrong.
    Let peer and consumer pressure make those corrections.
    Now, that is in a perfect world, so of course, we make laws and try to enforce them, but I’ll tell you. Ca banned cell phone talking while driving and that law is not working.
    Every 4th car has a driver yacking away like the law was never passed.
    I would love it if every time someone saw a phone talker driving, they would hit that car with a paint balloon, that would stop the cell use faster than a law. That would mark that drivers as dangerous because of the phone chattering.

    JMHO

    • It’s like making laws that prohibit smoking or talking loud in a theater. The folks around that smoker or talker would rise up and tell the person to quit. Peer pressure is very useful.

      well if I took up marshal arts and was 30 years younger I might tell them. I know of two case were someone ( a woman of course ) was killed ( by a man, no surprise ) for asking for music to be turned down. Frankly I’m glad I don’t have to sit next to a smoker without saying anything… jmop

    • Except that a goodly number of people will frequent such a restaurant since they won’t have to sit in the same room as “those people”.
      This goes back to allowing completely unregulated business and when one of your loved ones sickens or dies from a tainted product you can sue them out of existence.
      The problem there is these guys are for tort reform too.

      • Those goodly number of people who would continue to frequent the place would also be subject to the derision of their neighbors and friends.

        Would they really want to be seen frequenting a r@cist restaurant.
        I think the pressure of friends and neighbors has great deterrent value.
        I

        • Unless the ones who stop going are subject to derision by their friends or neighbors, because they’re “being PC” or “it’s a free country, business people can do whatever they want” or “don’t make waves” or “hey, I know the family, I don’t want to embarass them, they’ve lived here forever, they’re good customers for my business” or whatever. You’re assuming social pressure would be to not go, when for a variety of reasons it could be to go.

    • Except that didn’t work. People didn’t want to get involved, or they were afraid or social pressure went the other way. Segregation didn’t seem to be petering out, and opponents were targeted for violence. Good luck throwing a balloon at someone’s car hoping they don’t come after you with a bat or a club

    • And what about people who toss paint balloons out of cars when they should be keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road?

      • Indeed. The Mad Max world is all would promote not a political answer…but a failure to find an answer

      • I believe a whole lot of behavior is modified by the reactions of those that surround a person. Education and coercion can do wonders.
        I wasn’t actually proposing paint balls, but just trying to illustrate that people will change their behavior more readily using peer pressure than making additional laws.

        • Might work (to a degree only) in the town in the state I currently live in. Then again, the peer pressure, zeitgeist, prevailing mood could just as easily swing the other way too, depending on circumstances, economic conditions, specific demographics, etc. Can’t speak for all the other towns and states in all the other regions of the country. Would I want to revisit the Civil Rights Act for the nation, as Rand Paul appears to suggest in theory, absolutely not. Hell no. Can’t believe there’s even a discussion in the mainstream media.

        • How has that worked to date?

    • I don’t know where you live, but down here people can carry concealed weapons. You don’t know who has a gun in their pocket and what they’ll do with it if they get pissed at you.

      I’ve seen people beg some one to quit smoking and I’ve seen an entire room give them dirty looks and they just smile smugly and keep on keeping on … many people are selfish and damned rude these days and if they get mad, they’re not beyond starting something. If you’re suicidal enough to try that kind of peer pressure, knock yourself out before they do …

      • I do. If I am sitting at a red light and an opposing car runs the light, I lay on my horn. I try to embarass the law breaker…or at least call out the errant behavior.

        When someone curses or uses foul language around me, I show my distain. To do less would be to completely give over to the worst in us.

        • You might as well be spitting into the wind. Government has a role in building a civilized society. Do you want to ban traffic laws too?

    • There was and is a reason for racial anti-discrimination laws. Some behavior did not and does not change simply by virtue of trusting in the free will of the good majority. It’s not too different from trusting that our male majority establishment will come around on their own to support/lead the cause for women’s rights. Isn’t Rand Paul really saying we don’t need human rights laws.

      • Sexism will not go away by making laws against it.
        Only by showing complete disdain for that behavior by the majority will it ever change.

        • Then it will never happen.

        • Making laws will penalize the behavior rather more efficiently than “disdain” will. Disdain won’t change behavior, or attitude either, come to that. After all, we all “disdain” raycists, but raycism is still with us. It just has to be kept private, except in Arizona.

      • As a person of color I find Rand to be promoting racism under the cover of ‘there are simply too many laws.

    • I disagree. I think prohibiting smoking is a public health measure and prohibiting racial discrimination is defending equality for all.

    • Uh….I was at the airport recently, at the awaiting a ride area. Signs every 20 feet No Smoking, and recorded announcements every 3 minutes about No Smoking. I went from one smoker to another, 4 or 5 of them, to ask them to stop. I got “What’s wrong with you?” and angry stares and words. Some pretended to put their cigaret out but then continued smoking. Then I saw there were at least 3 others nearby smoking. I gave up and went inside to try to breath better.

      If they bothered to enforce these regulations — 2nd hand smoke is just as bad as 1st-hand smoke and I don’t like increased risk of cancers, asthma, etc. — they could haul in a ton of fines.

      • And you were in an airport? Were you waiting to take a jet fueled journey? I agree that rules should be followed, but why were you so worried about your health while disregarding the health of others? Global warming, petrol demands (Gulf), pollution, etc.

  11. http://preview.tinyurl.com/2a5wnjd

    Government scientists, meanwhile, have confirmed that a portion of the spill has entered the “loop current”, which could take the spill up the coast of Florida and beyond. US officials are reportedly in discussions with the government of Cuba, where the oil could make landfall on the country’s southwestern beaches, and there is a potential that it could even reach Western Europe.

    Because it will be befouling other counties, perhaps Hillary will have to get involved in this equivalent to an Exxon Valdez every 3.5 days. In the last 20 years, if a Clinton isn’t involved, the government doesn’t seem to work.

  12. And what about people who toss paint balloons out of cars when they should be keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road?

  13. Somerby has also been very good concerning the Blumenthal story.

    Of course, he notices the loud silence of our “liberal” TV bobble heads to step up and say something about it.

    Keith, Rachel, and Ed.

    • Some of the damn journalists actually had the nerve to imply that it’s his own fault, because while he’s upfront about it, he doesn’t always correct it everytime a stupid, lazy, irresponsible idiot misreports the facts! They’re so shameless it’s unbelievable.

  14. Rand’s ideas sort of make sense as a political theory divorced from history and reality. Most libertarian ideas are the same way – they sound good in theory but don’t work in practice.

    • I think because most of us don’t actually practice those ideas. Perhaps we are too meek and afraid to stand for what we believe is right. But yes, I agree, in a perfect world, we could change behavior through individual practices.

      • Modern history has a very patchy track record on human rights in free form environments under economic duress.

        • Rand makes it sound as if segregation was just some southern restaurant owners choosing to be bigots.

          Jim Crow segregation was the social and economic oppression of a large minority of citizens. The “white-only” lunch counters was just one small part of it. Lynching was also part of it.

          The majority of the country decided that segregation was a social ill that justified using the power of government to eliminate.

          People can still be bigots and they can discriminate all they want privately, they just can’t do it publicly.

    • I hope this means you’re back because you’ve been missed!!!

    • I think that the difference between liberal and libertarian ideology lies in the LIBERAL clause, which is

      “…as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else”.

      Without that clause, the ideology becomes far too radical for a functioning society (assuming the U.S. is still a functioning society …maybe).

      (and I’m sure people can come up with OTHER liberal clauses that make liberalism work when libertarianism doesn’t.)

    • Hey there, myiq! It’s so good to see you. You have been greatly missed.

    • Yes, you’ve been missed. But you knew that. :-)

    • But myiq, they would work great if it weren’t for human nature ;-)

  15. I don’t know if any if you are watching the Dow at the moment, but it looks like we could get below 10,000 if this stock dive continues

    • Yes, just saw that. It’s nervy. Think I’ll go turn on CNBC, see some people sweat.

    • I think the Yen went to the toilet earlier as well, and Bill Gross says hedge funds are liquidating fast as they can today. Also, about 9.5 billion euros fled German banks into Swiss banks earlier, and it’s happening now in Britain.

      The global economy is crumbling, and capital flight is jumping all over the place in search of safe harbor.

      • the weekly jobless claims are bad too

        • Report out today also that the FDIC is waaaaay in the red, because every damn bank they’ve closed has been so far underwater that it’s ridiculous. They are going to have to use that Treasury line at some point.

          Um….isn’t the FDIC supposed to step in BEFORE the bank gets that bad? This is what happens when no one cares to enforce anything for years. When the shit finally hits the fan, it’s truckloads.

          • well, yes, but usually the FED arranges a shotgun marriage before it gets that bad. It says something that no one wants these assets

          • It is the Shore Bank from Illinois that is the most interesting. Seems it is
            insolvent but people like Blankfein (Goldman Sachs) and the like are privately rescuing it because “it is such a good public service thing to do”!!! 0bama and the Chicago Thuggery are up to their eyeballs in who knows what in that bank. It was probably 0bama’s personal ATM for his campaign. QUID PRO QUO most likely. How is Goldman involved? Is this the card Goldman will play to bail this piece of crap out and then the Justice Dept will find nothing in the Goldman case? Cynical much?

      • Wow, the dollar lost most than 2% on the yen overnight. That’s heading into fall 2008 territory. Wall Street really wants Reid to close down this debate before Cantwell and Feingold get serious. Would be funny if Scott Brown does come to Reid’s rescue in the end.

  16. Oh, the market is crashing. Bet they really hate this debate on derivatives reform.

    • People on the financial blogs are reporting that TD Ameritrade and one other is down – people can’t log on to their accounts. “Server problems”

      Can we say panic?

    • it appears to be the European Debt Crisis again plus jobless claims are way above what’s been anticipated … I think it’s the fear of the double dip

      • Probably being too cynical, but I’m thinking this is more playing chicken with Congress on the bill. Dow’s pulling up a bit now. They are reporting that Reid has his 60th vote and he’s calling for a vote at 2:30 Eastern. Curious who folded.

        • They’re still roll calling. But Scott Brown was a yes, and Cantwell and Feingold were no’s.

  17. Financial Regulation Bill Advances in Senate on Close Procedural Vote no word on what’s in…

  18. just tried to get to No Quarter and it,s down…

  19. “My gut just says we may be looking at the beginning of what could be the next crisis,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/20/94546/senators-fear-a-repeat-of-flash.html#ixzz0oUzXJBij

  20. -375 a 4 percent decline

  21. As far as the privately owned property issue it might be similar to the free speech issue. For instance, you might fiercely oppose the use of the n word but also oppose the government banning the use of the word. And as for smoking in a privately-owned restaurant, that should be up to the owner. Those who smoke can frequent her establishment and those who hate smoking will stay away and frequent a restaurant that forbids it.
    Speaking of smoking, there is a new product on the market called the e-cigarette. It’s a metal tube and inside it is a battery and atomizer. You suck in and exhale a water vapor that quickly disperses. There is no smoke, no combustion, no toxins. Well, guess what–New Jersey banned it in public places although it does not violate the clean air act. Go figure. So I guess when you breathe and exhale water vapor on a cold day, you’re breaking the law in New Jersey, or if you use an inhaler. This is the kind of over-reaching that has more and more people being attracted to the Libertarian Party.

    • I totally disagree with the libertarian squawkings about smoking in privately-owned businesses. Smoking imposes damage costs that the smokers are not motivated to cover (i.e., healthcare costs imposed upon others who inhale their smoke in enclosed buildings) plus it creates an unsafe work environment for the workers of those establishments. Smokers do not have a right to impose their toxins upon others and businesses are not permitted to unnecessarily place their employees at risk. Some jobs have inherent and unavoidable hazards, smoking is not an unavoidable hazard.

      People just need to stop calling smoking some kind of a “right” to be defended.

      • Sorry disagree. Why not ban completely cars, buses, airplanes, food additives, gambling, alcohol? Lighten up. ( no pun intended).
        P.s. In general admire your comments quite a bit, here I go a distinctly different direction.

        • So here’s an analogy: a club that plays loud music. Yeah, employees gotta hear it all the time– big loud whomping music that isn’t the greatest for your hearing. If they don’t like it- find another place to work. Plenty of people are happy to work in that environment.

          • There are OSHA regulations concerning allowable sound levels that employees are exposed to.

          • Okay, this one I gotta jump in on because it’s one of my prime examples of a social cost.

            What do you think zoning laws are for? To keep that kind of thing away from your property.

            Local governments zone those things so they don’t destroy other people’s property values, etc. Employment is voluntary, but having something like that open up next to you IS NOT.

            Zoning laws and licensing laws control businesses whose private costs are less than their total costs because they create a social cost. They profit by passing on the public costs to some one else unless there are laws to put their private costs right back on them). These are externalities and are classic microeconomic examples where the invisible hand completely fails.

          • The health costs of exposure to smoke and other work hazards are also externalities. Sound is regulated by OSHA, until recently, smoking was ignored. It’s now becoming accepted in the mainstream as a social cost that must be addressed.

          • it’s also why they’re talking about taxing junk food, because it causes social costs. Obese people are generally not healthy and if they are poor, their health care is paid for by others.

          • I used to be a smoker. Still smoke sometimes, but only when I drink, gamble and eat junk food – oh, and drive to loud rock concerts while talking on my cell phone. Big tobacco used to own politicians, so when the government decided to launch a big anti-smoking campaign I wondered why they were biting the hand that fed them. New owners – big health insurance, et al. Sure, adulterated tobacco is bad – no doubt – but one thing I’ve noticed is everyone does obnoxious and unnecessary things and they all try to rationalize their own behaviors while demonizing socially targeted groups.

          • And now it’s Big Soda:

            http://www.alternet.org/health/146947/big_soda_wants_to_keep_america_fat%3A_here%27s_how_to_fight_back/

            I never drink the stuff myself, but the next time I see a person imbibing, I’ll let them know what I think. It’s my job. I’m certain those little bursting bubbles of carbonation are messing with my health. How dare they! Second hand carbonation.

      • Buses, cars, airplanes – not comparable to a “habit” like smoking. They are a form of transportation not by their very existence a health concern. Exhaust ratios are another thing and there are regulations to control toxins emitted.

        Food additives- should be regulated but aren’t comparable to cigarettes because your ingestion of them does not create a secondary health hazard for me.

        Gambling – again, your participation in that activity does not create a secondary health hazard for me, nor are the employees of a gambling establishment exposed to, by the nature of the activity, hazardous conditions.

        Alcohol is regulated where its consumption impacts the health and safety of others (i.e., driving, working, etc.)

        Smoking in public places should be banned. A smoker’s activity directly impacts my health and safety and the health and safety of workers in those establishments. There are no plausible arguments to support one person’s right to impact the health and safety of another person.

        • it’s another example of an externality. The consumer passes on social costs without paying for it in the price of the product. One of the reasons we have laws and courts is to ensure that private costs can’t be passed on to other people. Smoking has social costs. It not only creates passive smoking problems, but people who chose to smoke drive up all health costs as well as costs to taxpayers when their health plans are subsidized by tax payers. Every one pays for something they choose to consumer.

          • Exactly. I mentioned damage costs somewhere in this thread too. It’s easy to get sidetracked with the surface arguments, but the microeconomics of social costs covers it objectively

        • actually, gambling has social costs too … ever notice that there’s an increase in crime around gambling establishments and that you’ll have less desirable businesses like pawn shops set up there? also, what happens if a gambling addict loses everything and forces their family on welfare?

          It has social costs and that’s why the government forces gambling houses to pay for programs.

          • makes them pay for ALL their costs not just the obvious transaction ones

          • I didn’t go down that road because people generally get into a debate over crime statistics that can be inconsistent. But I agree that there are social costs to most habits. Whether those social costs are so significant as to warrant gov’t intervention is always the question. Smoking definitely is a significant social cost.

        • Smoking is not a mere habit. It’s an addiction.

    • You might fiercely oppose the n-word and also the government banning it, but as far as public accomodations go, you’re way more likely to see someone like Strom Thurmond making these types of arguments than someone like Rosa Parks. It tends to be more people who’ve never met a civil right they believed should exist and are untroubled by oppression than staunch freedom fighters.

      As far as smoking, what about employees? They could find another job if they oppose dangerous working conditions, but that the kind of argument that’s been used about everything from minimum wage on since the days of the robber barons.

      • People that argue that individual vigilance and peer pressure are sufficient to moderate social behavior are the same ones that think the markets are self-regulating.

        There’s a reason why we passed a Civil Rights bill. The human tendency to dominate, oppress, and exploit is well documented and needs no further elaboration.

        • It’s like people who claim that if the government weren’t collecting all their money, private philanthrophy would flourish and we’d eradicate poverty. Because we were doing such a swell job with that before that officious FDR started unecessarily getting up in everyone’s grille. ;)

    • You go Edge. I’ve spent near two thousand hours on international flights this past decade, and I’m tired of being told to be afraid by everyone.

  22. ……..Somehow in the middle of the night another Dodd Bill, Financial supposed reform, has mysteriously been altered deleting language that would provide regulators with the ability to enforce the tenets of the legislation on derivatives. Senator Cantwell is the only Senator openly fighting Dodd, Reid and the WhiteHouse to correct this error and she needs our support. As written the bill is worthless concerning deravitives…

  23. The NY Times piece about Blumenthal that started all of this cited several different instances in which claimed to have served in Vietnam (usually when speaking to vets). He had about 5 deferrments, until he was going to run out, so he was advantageously placed in a role that guaranteed he would not see combat, like “W.” They also highlighted the fact that he is very media savvy, so he knew exactly how to brand himself. Who knows? I stopped trusting the Times a long time ago.

  24. Inside Story – Facebook’s privacy policy

    • You have to click 50 settings to make your information private!?!
      If you forget one, then whala your information is out in the open, including your dirty laundry (OK, your comments, some photos and lord knows what else…an affair or two…. :shock:).

      The founder of FACEBOOK says THE AGE OF PRIVACY IS OVER!

  25. There’s a new thread up top.

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