Monday, March 14, 2011

LQ&C 3/15/11

-From TBO, state prisoners have six months to give up their cancer sticks. Fuzzy feelings all around:

Quitting cigarettes will help prisoners when they're released into society, she said.

"They've proud of themselves. They've succeeded at something," she said. "It'll teach them self-control."

Oh, and there's this:

It will reduce the risk of arson. And lighters can be used to melt plastic objects like toothbrushes into shanks...
-Florida Senator Marco Rubio will not be voting for any more continuing resolutions in lieu of a federal budget. Neither will Jeff Flake or Allen West.

-A letter to the shareholders of USA, Inc. Page 2 includes this little nugget:
By our rough estimate, USA Inc. has a net worth of negative $44 trillion. That comes to $143,000 per capita. Negative.
-Some might say "we" are not broke. According to Michael Moore, there are a bunch of folks with money out there. Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek quickly dispenses with such nonsense.

-Finally, this outstanding and level-headed high speed rail piece from the incomparable Megan McArdle:
My answer is that I wouldn't harp on the problems if the advocates of high speed rail advocates wouldn't make such glaring mistakes. Like, say, the Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail project. No matter how much you love trains, and the planet, I think you ought to be skeptical about projects like this. A New York Times article makes it clear just how dimwitted the concept was:

The Tampa-to-Orlando route had obvious drawbacks: It would have linked two cities that are virtually unnavigable without cars, and that are so close that the new train would have been little faster than driving. But the Obama administration chose it anyway because it was seen as the line that could be built first.


There is a case for rail in the United States. It works in the Northeast Corridor, and it might well be possible to grow it organically to other areas--south from Washington, west from New York. Perhaps it will even work in California. But to make it work, we need to get away from demonstration projects, and start with the projects that make good economic sense. If we do a couple of those, we may inspire more imitators across the country. But if we insist on building trains to nowhere because they're so darn easy to build, we're not going to inspire anything but contempt.

-At HotAir, a video of New York Times columnist David Brooks defending federal funding of NPR by saying that it helps immigrants assimilate, or something. From the comments: "Here in Southern California, the illegal immigrants won’t stop talking about what they heard on this week’s World of Opera."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LQ&C 3/9/11

-In a piece about the Wisconsin budget mess at Reason, Shikha Dalmia makes a broader point about government maternalism like big pensions and Social Security:
But Wisconsin demonstrates that people who put their economic fate in the government’s hands don’t get safety; they get screwed. They simply trade the cruel vagaries of the market for the cruel vagaries of politics whose risks they have even less control over. Why? Because the government does not play by the same rules that apply to mere mortals in the private sector.
-Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted a line from his State of the State address on Tuesday:
“The first step to better times is acknowledging that Government cannot afford what some have come to expect.”
Reducing government will take more than tackling "waste" and shielding popular programs. It will take honest assessments from elected officials and an adult citizenry.

-Eugene Volokh weighs in on a bill in the Florida Senate that would make photographing a farm a felony (sponsored by the Senator who represents yours truly). Tom Jackson of the Tampa Tribune mulls the political use of sting videos.

-Michael Smerconish says that legalizing prostitution squares with Conservatism:
Instead of ostracizing Nevada, more states should follow its lead and stop legislating morality. The government has no business determining consensual sex among adults; it does, however, have economic and public-safety interests in taxing and regulating such conduct.
I mostly agree, although I don't like the whole "If it's legal we can tax it!" meme that also is rampant in the marijuana debate. Consumers of vice are no more responsible for funding our government than the rest of us.