Patterico's Pontifications

3/19/2014

Bull Now Under Control in Texas

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:26 pm

Bull escapes in Waco, Texas, leading to this beautiful quote:

Police were able to corral the bull in a fenced in field at the corner of La Salle and 3rd street. On-lookers gazed in amazement as two cowboys were called in to rope down the steer and put him in a trailer.

Law enforcement officials say they are thankful no one was injured and nothing was damaged. Police say a scene like this is something that makes you say “only in Texas.”

“The good thing about living in Texas is that not too much time before you call for a cowboy and you got one coming to you,” Swanton said.

One good thing about living in Texas, that is. There are many more.

KXXV-TV News Channel 25 – Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

P.S. Did I mention I got a second pair of boots? These are black. Mrs. P. says they look more like cowboy boots than the first pair. I couldn’t be happier.

Troll TimB Infests Tom Woods’s Blog, Provides Excellent Example of How the Left Tries to Shut Down Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 pm

On his last day on this Earth, Andrew Breitbart tweeted this (h/t Brandon Darby):

I would normally not devote a post to creepy now-banned troll TimB, but his behavior in attacking me and libertarian Tom Woods recently is a wonderful example of an attempt to shut down speech, and is worth highlighting as Exhibit A in what the left would do if given total power.

The contretemps appears to have started with my recent post defending Judge Andrew Napolitano, and citing a Tom Woods video to do so. TimB starting tweeting a bunch of nonsense at me, and then turned his ignorant fire on Woods:

“Secessionist”! Thus ends the argument! Label your opponent and dismiss him. (By the way, Tim’s link goes here. I challenge you to read that, and Woods’s response, and not conclude that Woods shredded Max Boot.)

If by “secessionist” TimB means “one who believes that states have the right to secede” then Woods is absolutely guilty. And so am I. In fact, I have enjoyed talking about secession on this blog for several reasons.

First, as I have learned more about the founding of this country, I have become convinced that states retained the right to secede.

Second, as my frustration with the oppressive and reckless federal government increases, I search for solutions other than sitting around waiting for the fiscal collapse. This one — saving the parts of the country that can be saved and breaking off from the United States — is not particularly realistic, but the option of doing nothing is so unthinkable that unrealistic options seem worth discussing.

Also, I just enjoy tweaking the TimBs of the world. To me, the idea that the federal government is the perfect sized political unit, and that a smaller political unit is SIMPLY UNTHINKABLE!!!!, is absurd. Yet one cannot discuss the concept without being called a racist, or a “Neo-confederate.” Witness:

And, since it’s TimB, there have to be lies:

I am not, in fact, a “convert to nullification.” In fact, I recently wrote a friend about the topic, and after speaking about the things I liked about the doctrine and the things I hated about it, I concluded: “I’m not sure how I feel about state nullification” of federal laws thought to be unconstitutional. I haven’t ruled out support for it, but it strikes me as posing a threat to the rule of law. My plan is to eventually read Woods’s book on it and make up my mind.

TimB’s behavior is a wonderful performative of the left’s behavior: name-calling, dismissiveness, and dishonesty — all in an effort to shut down debate. TimB didn’t draw the line at Twitter, either. He infested one of Woods’s blog post comment sections (sorry, Tom!) thus prompting Woods to write a whole post about TimB’s comment behavior, titled Internet Derangement Syndrome Strikes Again.

Tom, just ban him, like I do.

Anyway, the perfect response to folks like TimB is this video, which Woods created some time back as an amusing vehicle for his arguments in favor of state nullification of federal laws. It is called “Interview with a Zombie.” In case you don’t get it, TimB is the zombie in our example. Enjoy:

I showed it to my kids and they cracked up when the zombie says: “Slavery?” Watch it. It’s worth your time.

I hope I am doing my small part to carry on Andrew’s battle against P.C. He is missed.

Health Industry Officials: ObamaCare Premiums Will Skyrocket

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

In fact, in some places, they will double:

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

Who could have seen this coming?

Only people who were paying attention.

UPDATE: Speaking of paying attention, hey let’s all look at President Obama’s Final Four picks!!!!! SQUIRREL!!!!!

Planet Money on Rent-Seeking, Part 1: The Tesla Ban in New Jersey

Filed under: Economics,General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

As many of you have heard, Tesla was recently told that they have until the end of the month to sell their electric cars direct to consumers in New Jersey:

Gov. Chris Christie said today that the state Legislature — and not him — should bear the blame for a new rule that effectively bans Tesla, the high-end manufacturer of electric automobiles, from selling their cars directly to customers in New Jersey.

. . . .

“I’m not pushing Tesla out; the state Legislature did,” Christie said. “They passed a law — which is still on the books — which says if you want to sell cars in this state, you must go through an authorized dealer. My job is not to make the laws, it’s to enforce the laws. And Tesla was operating outside the law.”

Christie is right — and this is nothing new or uncommon. The NPR show Planet Money recently re-ran an episode of theirs from last year on state laws that create and maintain monopolies for car dealerships. Every state in the union has passed laws that 1) mandate that cars be sold through auto dealers; 2) ban auto manufacurers from setting up competing dealerships in the same territory; and 3) ban manufacturers from closing dealerships unless the dealership has engaged in fraud or some similar activity amounting to “cause.”

I have decided to provide a little detail in this post, even though it is legalese, so you can see it with your own eyes. Here is the Massachusetts law protecting the territories of existing car dealerships:

Section 6. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, it shall be a violation of subsection (a) of section 3 for a manufacturer, distributor or franchisor representative without good cause, in bad faith or in an arbitrary or unconscionable manner to:

(1) grant or enter into a franchise agreement with a person who would be permitted under or required by the franchise agreement to conduct its dealership operations from a site any boundary of which is situated within the relevant market area of an existing motor vehicle dealer representing the same line make, regardless of whether said franchise agreement delineates a specific area of responsibility or provides that the area of responsibility of said existing motor vehicle dealer is to be shared or operated in common with others; or

In English, this means, stay out of the existing car dealerships’ territory. More:

(2) permit the relocation of an existing motor vehicle dealer representing the same line make as another existing motor vehicle dealer to a site any boundary of which is within the relevant market area of an existing motor vehicle dealer which is not relocating, regardless of whether the franchise agreement of either motor vehicle dealer delineates a specific area of responsibility or provides that the area of responsibility of either motor vehicle dealer is to be shared or operated in common with others; but a dealer of the same line make shall not be permitted to file a protest if the site of the proposed relocation is farther away from said protesting dealer than the existing location.

In English: no relocating existing dealers. Remember what we said about their territory. It’s theirs.

And here is the Massachusetts law requiring renewals of dealerships on the same general terms, and prohibiting termination without “good cause”:

Section 5. (a) It shall be a violation of subsection (a) of section 3 for a manufacturer, distributor or franchisor representative without good cause, in bad faith or in an arbitrary or unconscionable manner: (1) to terminate the franchise agreement of a motor vehicle dealer; (2) to fail or refuse to extend or renew the franchise agreement of a motor vehicle dealer upon its expiration; (3) to offer a renewal, replacement or succeeding franchise agreement containing terms and conditions the effect of which is to substantially change the sales and service obligations, capital requirements or facilities requirements of a motor vehicle dealer; or (4) to amend, add or delete any other material term or condition set forth in a motor vehicle dealer’s franchise agreement.

In English, this means: the dealership gets to stay. No matter what. (“Good cause” does not mean “we think we could make more money with someone else.”)

Every state has similar laws. It’s government-created and government-maintained monopoly..

The Tesla ban is just a specific application of the general state of law across the country.

This ridiculous state of affairs survives for the reason most ridiculous laws survive: money. Dealerships have lots of it; gobs and gobs of it. This is why dealerships are passed down through the generations like royalty. They employ huge numbers of people, contribute giant amounts of sales tax, and give heavily to politicians (unless you cross them). They have money, and they have power.

This is called “rent-seeking”: achieving wealth through lobbying rather than creating value for consumers. And car dealerships are just one example of silly laws that are passed due to rent-seeking.

What’s more, this is just one specific application of rent-seeking. There are many, many, many other ridiculous examples in our society. To keep these blog posts relatively bite-sized, I plan to tackle them one at a time.

Planet Money has several other shows about rent-seeking, and I plan to highlight at least a couple more in future posts. One thing I like about Planet Money is that, although it’s an NPR show, it is quietly subversive, because they consistently show how government intervention in the economy distorts the market. They don’t go as far as I would, but they still help the lefties who are their core audience see how good intentions (and often not-so-good intentions motivated by money) create government interventions that hurt real people.

Stay tuned.

Obamacare: Insurance Companies Keep More Profits, Pay Less for Care?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:18 am

[Guest post by Dana]

The inquiring mind of Republican Tennessee Rep. Diane Black wants to know.

As the Daily Caller reports, the HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “quietly introduced the new rule Friday, which relieves insurance companies of some of the damage about to be levied on them by Obamacare-related administrative costs.”

In a letter to Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Black wrote, in part,

“I am writing to express my concern with the proposed rule change released on Friday, March 14th that would allow insurance companies to keep an additional two percent of premiums for purposes other than medical care…your department is now proposing to increase the amount of money that insurance companies will be allowed to retain for profit.

In the proposed rules, you have indicated that this adjustment in the ‘medical loss ratio’, or 80/20 rule, is due to the possibility of increased administrative costs in 2015. However, adjusting the percentage that insurance providers are required to spend on medical care by two percent would have the combined impact of reducing the amount that insurance providers will be required to pay for people’s medical care while increasing the amount that insurance companies are allowed to retain for profit and for executive pay.

This is deeply concerning, as it could result in higher out of pocket costs for consumers solely for the benefit of the insurance industry.

If this rule were to take effect for 2015, what reasonable expectation can consumers have that it would be reversed in 2016 or later years?”

Rep. Black concludes,

“At a time when public approval of the health care law is so low, do you believe that giving insurance companies a greater percentage of American consumers’ money for their profits will negatively impact enrollment? Do you believe it is fair to force Americans through tax penalties to give insurance companies an even greater percentage of their premiums for costs not related to medical care?”

–Dana

We Nag You Because We Love You

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:38 am

[Guest post by Dana]

So says Michelle Obama.

In an attempt to get Rhode Island’s young people to sign up for healthcare, the Obama administration and the state of Rhode Island have teamed up to encourage moms to nag their adult kids for the cause. (Because nothing motivates a young adult like nagging. Just ask any teenager).

Rhode Island is also encouraging moms to sign up at social networking sites as well as dating sites, create a profile, and send messages to their adult kids about healthcare coverage. (Because nothing says healthy relationship more than a mother messaging her adult kid on a dating website).

“Taking care of yourself so your mothers can sleep and have a nice life after all they’ve done for you is not too much to ask in my opinion,” says one mom. (Because good mothering is all about guilt and manipulation, on top of nagging).

What good mothering apparently is not about is having rational adult-to-adult discussions, presenting facts, listening to one another, accepting a difference of opinion, and respecting one another – even when those views result in different choices being made.

And in case moms haven’t yet sufficiently driven their adult kids away, there is even a state exchange Nag Toolkit for extra added help. The website has a no holds barred opinion about using this,

“Learn how to be where your kids are. And how to nag them mercilessly.”

If you are wondering how the administration benefits from this toolkit, perhaps it’s the fact that if moms get frustrated with toolkit difficulties, they are encouraged to send their adult kids’ email addresses to the Obamacare exchange. That way, the exchange can do the nagging for them. Win-win!

Note: This should be filed under the Denigration of Motherhood, or the Desperation of Obamacare

–Dana


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