Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Sanity Injection to close down

Posted by sanityinjection on April 21, 2010

I have decided to close down Sanity Injection after nearly two years. Due to some changes in my life I will not be able to continue to put in the time and effort to take the site to the next level.

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented here. I have learned a lot from you and enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you as well.

I’ll leave the site up for a little while so you can catch up on anything you might have missed.

Sincerely yours,

Sanity Injection

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Representation without taxation?

Posted by sanityinjection on April 12, 2010

Doctor Zero examines the question of whether the 47% of American households which pay no income tax should have the right to vote. It’s a politically impossible idea that hearkens back to the days in which only those who owned land had the vote, because they were the ones who had a permanent stake in the proper functioning of government (not to mention being more likely to have had sufficient education to vote intelligently.) The idea is that if you pay nothing toward the cost of government but receive benefits from it, your vote is all too easily bought with more government benefits which cost you nothing.

In discarding the idea, the author notes that it is not benefits for the truly poor and needy that are bankrupting America, but rather entitlements for the middle class who do pay taxes – Social Security, Medicare, and now ObamaCare.

I confess I have long found the idea of restricting the franchise attractive. However, even if it were politically feasible, any such restriction puts in the hands of men the right to establish who deserves to be represented in government and who does not. We might feel we could draw that line in the right place today, but then what would stop future leaders with less foresight and integrity from redrawing it in less wholesome ways? After all, it was not so long ago that poll taxes and literacy tests were used to enforce the  disenfranchisement of blacks for no better reason than simple irrational racism. The true value of America’s founding mythos that “all men are created equal” lies less in its truth than in the safeguard it represents against tyranny.

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Health insurance: A tale of two states

Posted by sanityinjection on April 12, 2010

Check out this article in Fortune contrasting the health insurance markets in New York and Arizona. Shawn Tully explains that ObamaCare is going to have the same burdensome regulations that have driven premiums in New York sky-high:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/09/news/economy/healthcare_insurance_affordable.fortune/index.htm

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CNN rediscovers reporting, covers Tea Party rallies

Posted by sanityinjection on April 8, 2010

One of the worst-kept secrets in journalism is that the major news organizations rarely engage in any actual reporting. The majority of the news they report is lifted from the wire services or from another news agency. Rather than spend the time and money to send a human reporter to check facts and interview people, it’s much easier to depend on what their colleagues have already done. The trouble with this is that any errors or bias in the original story get repeated, reflected and magnified on down the line until they attain the status of fact.

So it has been with coverage of the Tea Party movement. Most new desks have been quick to pick up on the reports of isolated racist comments and signs and reflect that as characteristic of the movement as a whole, without ever sending a reporter to a Tea Party rally.

With this in mind, I applaud CNN for bucking the trend and sending reporter and producer Shannon Travis to attend several Tea Party rallies in Utah and Colorado. Travis, as it happens, is African-American, and his reporting makes clear that he did not find anything like a racist or hate-filled atmosphere at the Tea Party events: “Almost everyone I met was welcoming…Some of them e-mailed me after my trip, thanking our crew for fairly giving them a voice.” He also noted that his was the only national news team that covered the events in person.

To CNN’s further credit, the story was not buried in some obscure corner of the site, but was linked prominently yesterday with a photo on the CNN homepage.

Here’s hoping other news networks and media outlets take a cue from CNN and start doing more reporting and less repeating.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

New Jersey Democrats: The law is whatever we want

Posted by sanityinjection on April 6, 2010

One might be pardoned for thinking that in the current anti-incumbent climate, with voters uneasy about the health care reform law, elected officials and political parties would be at pains to avoid anything that seemed like arrogance or disregard for the will of the people.

Unless, of course, you live in New Jersey, where the Democratic Party has made it clear on multiple occasions that the laws and Constitution are only important to the extent that they benefit New Jersey Democrats. The most recent example relates to an effort begun by New Jersey voters to hold an election to recall Democrat Senator Robert Menendez. Like a number of states, New Jersey law allows for a process by which an elected official can be recalled before their term expires (as happened with former California Governor Gray Davis.) The process is fairly involved and requires a large number of signatures and steps to make sure that it is not something that can be easily done.

Naturally, Menendez isn’t too happy about this development. But instead of vigorously making the case to the people of New Jersey why the recall effort should be opposed, Menendez wants to make sure they never get to have an opinion at all. He is asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to rule the recall effort unconstitutional  because there is no language in the US Constitution that specifically authorizes the recall of US Senators.

This should be a slam dunk from a constitutional perspective. The Constitution reserves all powers not expressly given to the federal government to the several states, and New Jersey’s recall law has never been challenged under that state’s own constitution. So Menendez should be wasting his time, right?

Wrong. Because this is New Jersey, where the state Supreme Court sees the law as something to be casually hacked to pieces whenever it suits the Democratic party. It was just eight years ago that this same New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Democrats’ illegal last-minute substitution of Frank Lautenberg for incumbent Bob Torricelli as their Senate candidate – after Torricelli had been chosen by the voters in the Democratic primary – simply because the party wanted to dump Torricelli after he was the target of federal corruption charges. The Court held that the law had never envisioned a situation like Torricelli’s (really? a crooked politician is an unheard of concept?) and that keeping Torricelli on the ballot would constitute an unfair advantage for the Republicans (who held a gun to NJ Democrats’ heads and forced them to nominate a crook?) Lautenberg’s name went on the ballot, he won and remains the other Senator from New Jersey to this day.

So given that shameful history, why shouldn’t Menendez think the corrupt New Jersey Supreme Court might well rule in his favor? After all, he and the Democrats have a second argument: Because Menendez is Hispanic, the recall effort *must* be racially motivated and therefore shouldn’t be allowed no matter what the Constitution says.

Next time they screw up my order at the local Burger King, which is staffed almost exclusively by racial minorities, I am going to claim that the deficiency was racially motivated. How far do you think I’ll get with that one?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

You have the right to attract attention to yourself

Posted by sanityinjection on April 5, 2010

I don’t know Ty McDowell of Portland, Maine personally. I allow for the possibility than in other aspects of her life, she may perhaps be an intelligent person. But on this past Saturday, at least, Ms. McDowell may have qualified as the Dumbest Person In America.

McDowell, you see, believes strongly in equal rights for men and women. To her, that includes the right to bare one’s chest in public. So she arranged a protest in which she and two dozen other female true believers walked topless down a main street in Portland. Of course, this was hardly the first protest involving female nudity, and if that were the end of the story, I wouldn’t be making derogatory suppositions about McDowell’s intelligence.

In fact, McDowell and her fellow protesters were not arrested. Under Maine law such behavior is only criminal if the genitals are exposed. So in fact, legally McDowell and company *were* within their rights to do what they did, and were treated accordingly by the law.

Nonetheless, McDowell was by her own account “enraged” after the demonstration. But not because of the police or the law. She was angry because a crowd of hundreds of onlookers – mostly male – had watched and followed the demonstration – some snapping photos and videos. (To be fair, she might have been equally furious with some of her own group who didn’t seem to mind posing for photos.)

You see, it turns out that what McDowell really expects is not that a woman should have the right to walk around topless, but that the rest of us should all act like this is no big deal. And I’m sure there are places where that might even be the case. However, Portland, Maine wouldn’t be on the top of my list.

It strikes me as the height of stupidity for a female to walk around in public with her top off and not expect males to ogle her. While she certainly has the right to remain unmolested, if you don’t want people to pay undue attention to you, don’t attract undue attention to yourself. Duh. Furthermore, it seems inherently contradictory to simultaneously seek to draw attention to your cause and then be angry when you in fact receive attention.

Ms. McDowell is certainly entitled to her views, but if she thinks that the factors of human biology which inherently lead men to be attracted to female breasts as a secondary sexual characteristic are somehow going to be altered by protesting, she is definitely the Dumbest Person In America. Heck, even *women* notice other women’s chests.

I am all for equal rights under the law, but that is not the same as pretending that there are no biological differences between men and women. While it is always impolite to stare at someone no matter how underdressed they may be, let’s face it, there are impolite people out there. If this is truly a great social injustice, the best solution would probably be to have men refrain from going topless in public also. In fact, I would argue that such should in fact be the norm outside of a pool or beach environment.

Do you ever wonder when you hear about people like McDowell where their parents are and what they could possibly be thinking?

Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A conscience in Hollywood?

Posted by sanityinjection on April 2, 2010

Normally the film industry does not receive much attention here at Sanity Injection, as I tend to believe they receive far too much of it to begin with. But I thought it would be nice to start off the month of April with some positive praise. So our subject today is actor Neal McDonough.

McDonough is one of those actors you have probably seen and would recognize (he has sort of a distinctive face) without necessarily knowing his name. Anyway, he’s appeared in a number of movies and TV shows over the past several years. The reason Mr. McDonough comes to our attention today is his recent sacking from a new ABC TV series just three days into filming. According to Nikki Finke over at Deadline.com, McDonough refused to participate in steamy love scenes with co-star Virginia Madsen. McDonough is happily married and a faithful Catholic, and feels that getting naked on screen with an actress is incompatible with his marriage vows.

Apparently, McDonough has made this reservation clear in past projects he’s worked on, including ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”. So it’s not as if they can claim that he suddenly sprung it on them at the last minute. More likely, the show’s producers didn’t really believe that a Hollywood actor would actually have morals that couldn’t be bought for enough money. Still, if the love scenes are integral to the project, and McDonough won’t do them, it’s right for all parties that they find someone else, and McDonough foregoes the money he would have made to stand on his principles.

The point is not whether any of us agree with McDonough’s beliefs. The point is that he was willing to stand up for those beliefs even when doing so cost him wages and potentially could label him as “difficult” to work with. You can imagine what it must be like to take such a stand in the middle of a Hollywood culture that views nothing as sacred and any values beyond the worship of glamour and special effects as strictly for the hicks. How many other actors and actresses might there be out there who are similarly uncomfortable with things they are asked to do for roles, but lack the courage to say “No”? Nor is the film industry the only walk of life in which people face such choices – it happens every day. The pressure is always on to conform, to go along with what is expected of you by the culture that surrounds you. It is not easy to defy that culture in favor of an ethos that may not have any outside support at hand. Being true to what you believe is right in the face of pressure is something to be admired no matter where or when it is found.

Posted in Current Events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

On hiatus

Posted by sanityinjection on March 26, 2010

Sanity Injection will be on hiatus for the remainder of the month of March. I will be back in April with more thoughts on the latest news.

In the meantime, check out some of my favorite sites over on the right hand side of the page. I especially recommend this recent column by John Stossel on the looming Social Security and Medicare disaster, which has the potential to make our current recession look like a blip on the radar screen.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why do conservatives oppose higher taxes and expansion of government programs?

Posted by sanityinjection on March 25, 2010

Most people who are generally familiar with American politics understand that people who call themselves “conservatives” generally oppose higher taxes and expansion of government services (“big government”). However, I’m willing to bet that many people do not really understand *why* conservatives oppose these things. The average person may understand at some level that conservatives are not simply greedy, selfish people who are trying to weasel out of paying their fair share. But with this smear constantly being repeated to them by the Left and their media lackeys, and without an alternative explanation readily available, the stereotype becomes pervasive.

In fact, the conservative positions stand on a solid foundation of economics, common sense and even fairness. I commend to your attention this essay by Hal Gershowitz and Stephen Porter. Although lengthy, it explains in a clear and logical way many key conservative ideas on economics and government, including:

  • Why raising taxes creates a socialist system in which the rich pay far *more* than their fair share to subsidize everyone else
  • Why expanding entitlement programs such as subsidized health care is financially irresponsible
  • How the role of the federal government has inflated to take over things that local governments used to provide and that individuals and charities used to be responsible for
  • Americans are increasingly encouraged to view their life goals as “rights” to be provided by someone else (the government) rather than things we ourselves should work to achieve

The authors conclude by rhetorically asking: “Are you a morally bad person if you do not want to shoulder an ever-increasing government appetite to provide more and more benefits to a segment of the population who view these benefits as if they are birthrights?”

You can only get so many eggs out of the golden goose. If America continues to demand more and more from the top 10 percent – the people who really drive our econ0my – at what point will they get fed up and, like Ayn Rand’s John Galt, simply quit or move overseas?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Health care reform punishes handicapped, tanning, personal responsibility

Posted by sanityinjection on March 22, 2010

Like most pieces of major legislation, the health care reform bill is long and complicated. In their attempts to fund a dramatic expansion of health insurance coverage and costs, Democrats pulled out all the stops and reached for every possible revenue source short of across-the-board tax increases.

Some of the revenue provisions in the bill may surprise you. According to Bloomberg, the reform bill imposes some bizarre punishments. For starters, the bill places a $2500 cap on pre-tax contributions to health care flexible spending accounts or FSAs. In other words, don’t be too responsible in trying to set aside funds for your own health care needs when you should be burdening the insurance system with those costs like a good socialist.

Here’s another: If you visit a tanning salon under the New Obama Order, you’ll pay a 10% excise tax on top of the price. Presumably this is justified by findings that tanning beds increase the risks of cancer, thereby burdening the health care system unnecessarily. But I think it would be hard to prove that the impact is so great as to justify such a tax.

Perhaps most incomprehensively, if you purchase a medical assistive device such as a wheelchair, you’ll be slapped with a new 2.9% excise tax. That may not be enough to bankrupt anybody, but what pray tell is the rationale for soaking disabled people? What crime against the Welfare State have they committed? It’s not as if they can simply choose to forego their wheelchairs rather than pay the excise tax.

Maybe the Democrats counted on a belief that tanning salon patrons, disabled people and responsible working stiffs don’t vote in great numbers. Let’s hope that, in the words of President Ronald Reagan, “They counted wrong.”

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

 
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