Friday Links and Notes (February 3)

It’s been a busy week in politics. Mitt Romney said on Wednesday that the “very poor” already have a government “safety net,” and that increasing the size of the welfare checks they get is not a primary concern to him. Romney is being assailed from every side for saying this, but his statement was right. America has a very expensive and complicated social safety net. Some families get caught in the net and stay in it for generations.  


Record cold temperatures in Europe are causing problems of every kind. They’re having the same global cooling trend in Alaska, where temperatures, and records, have been falling all winter. Meanwhile none of this evidence seems to embarrass the politicians and bureaucrats who want to use the myth of manmade global warming to justify a government takeover of the nation’s fuel supply.

In Al Gore’s 1992 book “Earth in the Balance” he solumnly warned us that the government needed to start spending vast sums on what he called a Strategic Environmental Initiative, or “SEI,” to slash fossil fuel use and save the planet. One of the jobs of this SEI was to work with other governments all around the globe to save the planet by “completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a twenty-five year period. In other words the rapid global warming that had been going on through the 80’s and early 90’s was going to continue apace unless government saved us by getting rid of all the engines in all the vehicles and machinery on the planet by 2017.

The complete lack of global warming since the mid-90’s makes it a little hard to take Gore seriously, especially in light of the fact that fossil fuel use had grown by leaps and bounds ever since he wrote his book. In a 2010 column on the subject I quoted energy industry statistics to show that fuel use had been climbing year by year, while global temperatures had acually cooled slightly.

Obama’s Justice Department can be Bought

 In other news, a whistle blower has told the Daily Caller that at least two officials in the Justice Department have taken bribes from suspects under federal investigation, without losing their jobs. Gangster General Eric Holder has no comment.

Head Start Meets the Government’s Definition of “Success”

 Here’s something I just learned about today. A study done by the Department of Social and Health Services, and released in 2010, admits that the government’s Head Start program, which was supposed to prepare children from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in school, has done nothing for the kids. After the first grade the kids who are supposed to have “benefited” from the program don’t perform any better than the control group.   

Those of us out here in the private sector may call that a failure, but Head Start is seen as a great success among politicians. Over the years its budget has grown from a paltry few hundred million dollars a year to the current annual figure of $7,300,000,000. The number of bureaucrats employed by the program has grown as fast as its budget. Since getting bigger fast is the governmental definition of success for government programs, Head Start is all the rage in Congress. Expect its budget to grow still bigger for 2013.

Birth Control Mandate

Catholic and other religious organizations have discovered that one of the things buried in ObamaCare’s two thousand pages is a mandate that all health providers, including those who think it’s a sin, will give “free” birth control to all female health plan subscribers.

I don’t happen to be Catholic, and my support for the concept of birth control becomes quite passionate every time I get stuck next to a screaming baby on a long flight. But, that being said, the issue here is religious freedom. When the government starts dictating which religious beliefs are and are not acceptable, every civil right we hold dear is under threat. The Founders would be outraged (but perhaps not surprised) if they saw how the government’s power and arrogance have grown over the last few years.


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