Monthly Archives: February 2007

Why John McCain Will Lose

Don Surber explains why he thinks John McCain’s candidacy is doomed:


The fundamental difference between McCain 2000 and McCain 2008 is that he put his name on a law that forbids people from speaking out against their congressman within 60 days of an election.


That is a show-stopper. Ever step in fresh dog-doo? The smell sticks to the shoe all day. That is what McCain-Feingold is to the senator from Arizona.

He is no longer John McCain. He is McCain-Feingold.


Americans do not like to be told to shut up.

McCain-Feingold told Americans to shut up.

Even Feingold could not run with it. He should be Obama. Instead, he is stuck on the sidelines because of McCain-Feingold.

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that.

I hope Don is right. I hope people are rejecting John McCain for the one reason he deserves to be rejected; because he was one of the chief sponsors of one of the greatest violations of the First Amendment since the Alien and Sedition Acts. And I hope that it becomes publicly known that this is the reason he lost. If nothing else, it would reinforce my faith in the idea that, at their core, the American people want to be free.

A Victim Of The Welfare State

There is much discussion in the local media here in Washington D.C. about this tragic story:

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren’t so hard to find.

If his mother hadn’t been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.

The article itself focuses on the alleged lack of dental care coverage for the poor and apporvingly quotes those who argue for the expansion of Medcaid benefits in this area.

But that’s not the only lesson you can draw from this tragic event. Consider, for example, what this boys mother did in response to an obviously serious dental problem:

When Deamonte got sick, his mother had not realized that his tooth had been bothering him. Instead, she was focusing on his younger brother, 10-year-old DaShawn, who “complains about his teeth all the time,” she said.

DaShawn saw a dentist a couple of years ago, but the dentist discontinued the treatments, she said, after the boy squirmed too much in the chair. Then the family went through a crisis and spent some time in an Adelphi homeless shelter. From there, three of Driver’s sons went to stay with their grandparents in a two-bedroom mobile home in Clinton.

By September, several of DaShawn’s teeth had become abscessed. Driver began making calls about the boy’s coverage but grew frustrated. She turned to Norris, who was working with homeless families in Prince George’s.

Norris and her staff also ran into barriers: They said they made more than two dozen calls before reaching an official at the Driver family’s Medicaid provider and a state supervising nurse who helped them find a dentist.

On Oct. 5, DaShawn saw Arthur Fridley, who cleaned the boy’s teeth, took an X-ray and referred him to an oral surgeon. But the surgeon could not see him until Nov. 21, and that would be only for a consultation. Driver said she learned that DaShawn would need six teeth extracted and made an appointment for the earliest date available: Jan. 16.

But she had to cancel after learning Jan. 8 that the children had lost their Medicaid coverage a month earlier. She suspects that the paperwork to confirm their eligibility was mailed to the shelter in Adelphi, where they no longer live.

The natural instinct for any parent faced with this situation would be, I think, to do whatever it took to make sure that your child received proper medical, or in this case dental, care. Remember we’re not talking about a cavity here, or teeth that are misaligned and need braces, we are talking about an infection that ultimately killed her son.

With all due respect to a mother who has lost her son, it seems that the only thing she did was rely on Medicaid (i.e., the state) to take care of this. From the article, there appears to have been no consideration of looking to a church or charity for help, for example, or, quite honestly, doing whatever it took to make sure your child received the care they needed.

This is what happens when people become dependent on the welfare state.

Ron Paul — Polls, Prognostications, ‘pinions & Prediction Markets

A lot of verbal arrows have been loosed around here about the candidacy of Ron Paul. Some people think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread Patrick Henry. Others worry he’s not “libertarian enough”, or point out his anti-immigration stances as if that may be a reason to disqualify him from receiving our votes.

In fact, Ron Paul has become a bit of an blogosphere superhero, winning straw polls and igniting excitement that far outstrips even what Howard Dean had. While Dean was a firebrand who could change the pulse of a crowd, he didn’t have a quarter of the experience in government or the intellectual and ideological heft that Ron Paul carries.

But the question is, does Ron Paul have a chance of getting the nomination? If he does, does he have a chance of beating the Democrat candidate he’ll be facing? And, as libertarians, what should we do to reconcile his anti-immigration policies with his normally consistent pro-freedom policies?
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Teaching Children To Be Good Little Socialists

Maureen Martin writes at TCS Daily about a school exercise that sounds like it came right out of The Communist Manifesto:

Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of “Rethinking Schools” magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.” According to the teachers, “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”


At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that “All structures are public structures” and “All structures will be standard sizes.” The teachers quote the children:

“A house is good because it is a community house.”

“We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes.”

“It’s important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building.”

Sounds like a meeting of the Democratic National Committee.

Of course, not every child reacted well to having their Lego’s taken away:

Not all of the students shared the teachers’ anathema to private property ownership. “If I buy it, I own it,” one child is quoted saying.

No confirmation on whether this budding capitalist was named John Galt.

Amtrak Incompetence

Why is this unwieldy unproductive behemoth still around?

With freight traffic soaring in recent years, Amtrak’s never-stellar on-time performance declined to an average of 68 percent last year, its worst showing since the 1970s. When the routes where Amtrak owns the tracks are excluded, the on-time performance last year fell to 61 percent.

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Amtrak performs far better on the Northeast corridor, where it owns the tracks. Last year, 85 percent of its high-speed Acela Express trains between Boston and Washington arrived within 10 minutes of their scheduled time.

But where Amtrak depends on the freight railroads, the picture is far gloomier, and the Capitol Limited is not even the worst case. The Coast Starlight, which runs between Seattle and Los Angeles, had an on-time performance of 4 percent in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. For the California Zephyr, connecting Chicago and San Francisco, the figure was 7 percent. In the current fiscal year, the California Zephyr has not once arrived on time.

In the current fiscal year, that particular train has NOT ONCE arrived on time. And we’re funding this with our tax dollars? Time to put Amtrak out to pasture. Privatize the Acela Express and the rest of the Northeast corridor, where it owns the tracks. Give the rest of it the ax.

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