9-18-10 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More November Opportunities?

Paul at Power Line reports that, for once, a bright idea is being floated in Washington.

Representatives Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, and Marsha Blackburn have just introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (or BULB). The legislation would repeal the de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb contained in Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
And, on top of that, Alex Epstein of ARI notes the following:
According to a story in Politico, there is a good chance Republicans will at least partially gut the EPA's dictatorial power to control carbon emissions -- and therefore the entire carbon-centric American economy.
Should the GOP find itself in a position to do these things, we have to hold their feet to the fire. Remember, I don't call CFL bulbs "Bush Bulbs" for nothing.

Weekend Op-Eds

"In effect, we need to turn the Billionaire's Pledge on its head." -- Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate, in "Our Moral Code is out of Date," at CNN.com.

"Lie, cheat, steal, roll the dice and cut corners: People think that's the easy path to business success." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "How to Succeed in Business: Really Try,"at Forbes.com.

"Risks must therefore be evaluated -- and often accepted -- in the context of our individual value pursuits. It's this personal weighing of risk and reward that the right to our freedom of action is meant to protect." -- Amit Ghate, in "Risk and Regulation," at PajamasMedia.

"[U]nder ObamaCare 'medical homes' will be more like 'medical government housing projects.'" -- Paul Hsieh, in "Get Ready for your Health Care 'Re-Education'," at PajamasMedia.

What "Bridge-Building" Really Means

I found Stephen Bourque's post on this matter brilliant:
During the Punic Wars, the ancient Romans had an indomitable army but their Carthaginian enemy was superior at sea. How does an army fight a navy? The Romans devised the boarding bridge as a means of fighting a ground war on the water. A Roman ship would pull alongside a Carthaginan vessel close enough to drop the bridge, which had a huge "tooth" or spike at the end, onto the enemy deck. This would bind the two ships together, permitting Roman soldiers to storm the Carthaginian vessel, thus turning the sea battle to their strength of land combat.
Read the whole thing to learn about a modern parallel. We're the ones being boarded, by the way.

A Repeal Amendment?

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial raises an interesting idea for a constitutional amendment:
William Howell, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, and [Randy Barnett] have an op-ed ... making the case for a constitutional amendment giving 2/3 of state legislatures the power to repeal any federal law or regulation.
I haven't yet thought enough about whether I could support this effort, but I can't say I see a big problem with it off the top of my head, either.

Note: Jennifer Snow raises the following appropriate red flag: "Replacing 1 tyranny with 50 is not the answer here, no matter what guise it comes under." Consider any legitimate federal law that might excite strong opposition in "red states," and you can see the problem.

-- CAV


: Added note to last section.
9-26-10: Corrected spelling of "hodgepodge."


MickeyWhite said...

Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, FY2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Flood Insurance Reauthorization , Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Debt Limit Increase, Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extention.

Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations, Withdrawing U.S. Soldiers from Afghanistan.

Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her unconstitutional votes at :

Gus Van Horn said...


That's such a stew of self-contradiction that I can't tell whether you're congratulating her on finally having a good idea, or complaining. She looks pretty much like every other Congressman to me, so I lean more towards the former.

The ban on incandescent bulbs ought to be lifted.


Michael said...

the comments on that CNN article are very revealing and amusing. I can't count how many times the word sociopath has been used. Just mentioning that money is good seems to create paralysis in the minds of such people.Couple that with all the religious nonsense and the morality of altruism is deeply entrenched in the minds of such people. Very conformist.

Gus Van Horn said...


Haven't looked at those, but experience gives me little reason to doubt you. I chalk such things up to evasion and projection.


Amit Ghate said...

Thanks for the link and for your editorial help. They're both much appreciated.

Gus Van Horn said...


You're welcome, and congrats on getting published.


Jennifer Snow said...

Ugh the state repeal of federal laws sounds like a bad idea to me due to the problem of representation. There are FAR more "red" states than "blue" states, but the "blue"
states are more populous--yet they could get voted down every time simply because there are more "red" states. Not to mention that the law would be under the control of people 49/50ths of whom YOU could not vote for.

Replacing 1 tyranny with 50 is not the answer here, no matter what guise it comes under.

Jennifer Snow said...

Okay, quick lol. When I went to the Forbes site to read the Yaron Brook and Don Watkins editorial, their thought of the day was:

"He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year."
-Leonardo Da Vinci


Gus Van Horn said...


Great point about the proposed amendment. I agree. Thanks for mentioning it.

Also, thanks for sharing the mirth. That's a good saying.


Grant said...

How can anyone be in favor of the Repeal Amendment? The whole point of the Federal Government is to protect the individual against his state government - just like the whole point of his state government is to protect him against his local government - just like the whole point of his local government is to protect him against his neighbor's "government."

The Repeal Amendment revives the very concept that, in American history, set in motion the slow deterioration of the idea that government's only proper purpose is the protection of individual rights. Namely, the concept of "state's rights." That was America's first collectivist rationalization for the violation of individual (ie: black slave's) rights. It was violating rights in the uniquely American way: by making it appear to be a preservation of them. Every other version of rights-violating "rights" has followed since then.

The way to change the culture of a country that largely believes in collectivized rights is not to break the collectives into smaller and smaller groups until, accidentally, it regards the individual as a group and begins respecting his rights. The way to do it is to start with the individual and work from there.

Gus Van Horn said...

"How can anyone be in favor of the Repeal Amendment?"

He could mistake it for a legitimate check on the power of the federal government.

The principle that only individuals have rights, however clearly grasped, does not necessarily make the implementation of that principle obvious, which is part of why I raised the issue, while noting that I was unsure I could support it.

Grant said...

The principle that only individuals have rights, however clearly grasped, does not necessarily make the implementation of that principle obvious, which is part of why I raised the issue, while noting that I was unsure I could support it.

Right, which means you weren't in favor of it. Besides, I was being rhetorical.

Gus Van Horn said...

Fair enough, but I'd have to say that that is the best-sounding quick-fix I've encountered yet.

Anonymous said...

I've considered that the only "legitimate" exercise of "states's rights" was when the several states took legal action against the federal government to protect their citizenry against an encroaching federal bureaucracy such as the current states that are suing the federal government over Obama care. Another such example would be the notion, floated among the antebellum North that they would secede because they would not tolerate slavery.

The secession of the Southern states (economic issues aside, per Lord Acton) was on the basis of continuing to violate the rights of the black population. That was illegitimate. But could one make the same argument about the Northern states had they gone ahead with their secession against slavery?

I realize that the "States' Rights" ideology today is wholly collectivist and only accidentally pro-individual rights. One need only listen to Glenn Beck on the topic or encounter Romney's justification of Massa Care (which he defends, contra Obama Care, on the basis that he had bi-partisan support and did it on the State level) to realize that they are merely shilling for a smaller collective. But wasn't the whole idea of Federalism to provide a check on the central government? And is this a failure of concept or a failure of diligence?

C. Andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


"[C]ould one make the same argument about the Northern states had they gone ahead with their secession against slavery?"

If I understand your question properly (i.e., would northern secession in the face of southern slavery be as illegitimate as southern secession to perpetuate it), then no. The purpose of a state's government, insofar as it is distinct from its role within the federal government, is to protect the rights of its citizens. The rights of those in other states are not its concern (again, outside the context of a union). Where this role is easiest to see is in the hypothetical case that the northern states saw self-defense from the South in a war as feasible, but not a war of invasion, which the Civil War was, or the federal government wasn't going to work to end slavery.

But wasn't the whole idea of Federalism to provide a check on the central government?

I think so -- as well as a check on the separate states.

And is this a failure of concept or a failure of diligence?

Neither. Setting aside the problem that a culture that can't support a republic won't keep it, I see it only as a problem of execution. Conceiving of our particular form of government was a monumental achievement, but on something that complex, there were bound to be things the Founders didn't quite get right.