Los Angeles v. Reality

June 19, 2013

Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 to ban plastic shopping bags.

Customers will either have to bring their own reusable bags or pay a 10-cent fee for each paper one requested, according to the ordinance.

This means that in L.A., plastic bags are illegal, illegal aliens are legal, and it’s illegal for porn actors not to use condoms—unless, that is, they turn off the camera and just have sex, in which case, as paid professionals, they can be arrested for solicitation and prostitution.

The one thing you can say about evil is that its consequences are intended.  You can’t say that about Utopianism.  L.A. is proof positive of what madness lies on the road to perfection.

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For years grandstanding congressmen have disingenuously floated the idea of their not getting paid until they pass a budget or a balanced budget or something that sounds populist enough to raise their poll cred, all the while knowing that it would never come to pass.

But now California senator Barbara Boxer has turned the cynical conceit on its head with a proposal so brave, so bold, so Jeffersonian, it can only be explained by Mel Brooks.

As Congress readied for a new battle over raising the debt limit, Sen. Barbara Boxer announced legislation that would prevent lawmakers from being paid if they do not increase the nation’s borrowing authority.

“It is an American value to pay your bills. It’s also an American value to do your job,” Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday. “If we as members of Congress refuse to pay the bills we have incurred, we should not be paid our salaries.”

That’s right.  According to Barbara Boxer, the job of Congress is to borrow the money to pay for the programs that it passes without worrying how they will ever be paid.

The next time I’m feeling a little blue, I’m going to picture Senator Boxer in Philly, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention–and imagine the look on John Madison’s face after her first proposal.

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The big news today is that Verizon Wireless has been turning over millions of records to the Obama administration, which requested them through a FISA warrant.

The Obama administration is secretly carrying out a domestic surveillance program under which it is collecting business communications records involving Americans under a hotly debated section of the Patriot Act, according to a highly classified court order disclosed on Wednesday night.

In response to widespread outrage:

The Obama administration is defending the government’s secret seizure of millions of domestic telephone records from Verizon, saying the data collection program “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States.”

And here’s Senator Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the Senate’s intelligence committee:

“I know that people are trying to get to us,” she said. “This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the national counterterrorism center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. its to ferret this out before it happens. “It’s called protecting America.”

Really? Then, explain why Major Malik Hasan wasn’t prevented from mowing down dozens of Americans at Fort Hood in 2009 (via Wikipedia):

Hasan was investigated by the FBI after intelligence agencies intercepted at least 18 e-mails between him and Anwar al-Awlaki between December 2008 and June 2009.Even before the contents of the e-mails were revealed, terrorism expert Jarret Brachman said that Hasan’s contacts with al-Awlaki should have raised “huge red flags”. According to Brachman, al-Awlaki is a major influence on radical English-speaking jihadis internationally.

In one of the e-mails, Hasan wrote al-Awlaki: “I can’t wait to join you” in the afterlife. Hasan also asked al-Awlaki when jihad is appropriate, and whether it is permissible if innocents are killed in a suicide attack. In the months before the shooting, Hasan increased his contacts with al-Awlaki to discuss how to transfer funds abroad without coming to the attention of law authorities.

So in sum, the government is spying on everybody in order to find someone other than the people who are likely to carry out a terrorist attack.

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Taking the social out of socialism, Venezuela might solve this problem by emulating another oil-rich country, Saudi Arabia, where left-handed compliments are (literally) dirty words.

Venezuela’s National Assembly has backed plans to import 39 million rolls of toilet paper, in an effort to relieve a chronic shortage.

Lawmakers voted to approve a $79m credit for the country’s ministry of commerce, which will also be used to buy toothpaste and soap.

The products are currently in short supply in Venezuelan shops.

The oil-rich nation relies on imports, but currency controls have restricted its ability to pay for foreign goods.

Women queuing to pay for toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas
“Will drill for TP”

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This letter to the Los Angeles Times about the move to make it legal for girls as young as 15 to buy the morning-after pill caught my attention.  See if you can spot the baby elephant in the letter writer’s room:

May 5, 2013

Re “Birth control ruling appealed,” May 2

It is fitting that the online version of this article on the Obama administration’s appeal of an order to remove the age limit on Plan B emergency contraception appears on The Times’ Science Now blog.

As a pediatrician who has done extensive research on emergency contraception and young women, we need science now. Science must be the basis for these decisions, not politics.

Medical opinion is solidly united that this medication is safe for women of all ages, and research shows women know when and how to take it. There is simply no scientific reason to fight Plan B going over-the-counter for all women, and the new age limit will create restrictions for all women in need of Plan B.

This is politics trumping science again, and it’s bad medicine.

Tracey Wilkinson, MD

San Marino

So, just like that, girls are now “women.”  And Dr. Wilkinson decries politics.  How about rhetoric?

Speaking of science over politics, does eugenics count? For that matter, how about nuclear energy, fracking, hormesis, DDT, biotech foods, etc?  One wonders whether Dr. Wilkinson, who a bit of googling reveals is associated with Physicians for Reproductive Health, is in favor of science trumping politics for those disciplines, too.

Oh, and what if science determines that higher breast cancer rates can be blamed, in part, on women having fewer children–and having them later in life?

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Small business owners, regardless of how ignorant they may be on the subject of economics, tend to understand that their success depends on attracting customers with money.

And then there’s the unnamed retailer who, in speaking to the Los Angeles Times about Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison’s penchant for buying up colossally expensive beach properties in Malibu, manages to put the moron in oxy:

Tremendous wealth “is something to fear,” said a local merchant who declined to give his name because wealthy landowners are among his clientele. “It don’t trickle down.”

It don’t, dude?  Then why worry about losing your wealthy clientele?

What a great country this is.  Even the irredeemably stupid can become entrepreneurs.

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