Saturday, July 4, 2009

Regulatory Capture at work in your nation's capital

A fresh coat of Whitening to Radley Balko for linking to this Bit O' Baloney from The Washington Examiner:

The District’s open, all-are-invited taxicab industry is so saturated with drivers that the entire enterprise is threatened, according to a D.C. Council member who has filed a bill to cap the number of cabs allowed on city streets.

Let's translate that. Until now, no one has thought of using D.C.'s taxi industry as a campaign donor base. There aren't enough big players to mess with.

Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham introduced legislation Tuesday to limit the number of taxicabs in D.C. through either a medallion system, like ones used in New York City and Chicago, or a certification system.

Since it's so easy and inexpensive to get a cab in New York City?

The soaring number of taxicab operators in D.C. -- roughly 8,000, most of whom own their own cars -- is a "pressing and urgent problem," Graham said. There are more licensed drivers in D.C. per capita than any place in the world, he said, and new applicants continue to take the required class, giving them access to the driver exam administered by the D.C. Taxicab Commission. A glut of drivers could jeopardize the chances of any cabbies making an adequate living, Graham has said.

Mr. Graham absolutely and totally misses the point of the free enterprise system, Economics 101, supply and demand, price pressure, and chewing with your mouth closed. Keep out competitors, and prices rise. Let them in, and prices fall. Imagine the outrage if some City Council Messiah began expressing concern over "too many restaurants" or "too many gas stations".

"Whatever system we use, we need to limit the number of operators or this boat is going to sink by its own weight in terms of the number of taxicab operators that we have," Graham said. "We're going to determine which of these two approaches we should take, but we're going to have one or the other."

He is deeply and profoundly wrong. The most efficient taxicab operators will stay in business. The least efficient will go under. Unless of course, government artificially limits the number of cabs. They do this by putting up regulatory barriers to entry, or simply pull an arbitrary number of taxis out of their nether regions. Once that happens, you're stuck with what you've got. The Teleprompter Jesus recently pulled a similar stunt with the tobacco companies.

Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon Swain declined comment Wednesday. But during an April commission meeting, Swain said the key to any industry reform is balancing the need for regulation with the main tenet of the District's cab industry -- an open system that anyone can join as an owner-operator.

Reform. I'm starting to hate that word. Reform. Anytime they want to screw up something, it's in the name of reform. Any day now, look for rapists lobbying for "virginity reform".

"We've now got to the place where an open system is an overbloated system, and we have more people coming," Swain said.


New York City's medallion system, established in 1937 during the Great Depression in response to a ballooning number of unregulated taxis, artificially capped the number of cabs on the road, to what is now about 13,000.

The medallion program, however, made it very difficult for the average New Yorker to join the industry as an owner: The May 2009 price for an individual medallion, those held by owner-operators, was $568,000. The cost of a corporate medallion was $744,000.

Which raises the following question....What right do these Student Council Refugees have to keep people from going into business for themselves?

D.C. Taxicab Commissioner A. Cornelius Baker said during a recent meeting that the city must move "toward a regulated taxi force" and create a system "that sustains our drivers and also creates wealth for them in the long term."

One of the biggest civic misconceptions in the U.S. is that we benefit when government tries to save jobs by stifling competition. The idea goes all the way back to Adam Smith in 1776. Nations don't thrive when their manufacturing companies or their employees are protected. Nations thrive when their consumers are free to enjoy the results of manufacturers all over the world competing for their dollars.

Jim Graham has some constituents who can no longer compete. These constituents have formed a well-organized lobbying group to limit competition. People who ride taxis in D.C. aren't well-organized.

Guess which group is going to win.

Picture of secret quid pro quo from here.

Best July 4th Video EVER

“It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government”
– Thomas Paine

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ron Paul on the Cap And Trade bill

Here's Ron Paul on the Cap And Trade bill that recently made it way through The House Of Representatives.
Remember the 3 Republicans who voted for the porkulus package, and the ensuing hand-wringing about "what if only one of them had voted differently?"

Nah. If the fix was in. In the words of Big Joe Kennedy, why pay for a landslide?

Check out this old post, written the day after the porkulus package passed the senate. Then listen to what The Good Doctor has to say in this brief message about Cap And Trade:

For the next few weeks, listen for criticism from Dems about their brethren who voted against this scam.
You won't hear a word.
They recruited just enough Republicans to get the thing passed. This allowed the Democrats in tough re-election battles to vote "no" and get some wiggle room.

These folks are representing every rent-seeker, rainmaker, perpetual motion machine manufacturer, academic witch doctor, and productivity capper in the nation. They're representing everybody but you.

Please wake up.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Broadway Baptist Church Chapel Choir Not Welcome In Kentucky

At the last minute, the Southern Baptists Of Kentucky have formally disinvited my church's youth choir from performing or working in their state. The kids were going there on a choir tour and mission project to fix up low-income housing in Appalachia.

Let me give you some background:

The Broadway Baptist Church Chapel Choir is a world-class choral group. These kids are good.
They've sung the National Anthem at I-don't-know-how-many Big League baseball games. They've sung in the National Cathedral. I think they've done a 4th of July concert at Pearl Harbor.
They don't just sing. When they go on choir tours each summer, at least one week of the trip is spent on a mission project. Sometimes it's a Habitat For Humanity house, sometimes it's remodeling other low-income housing, and sometimes it's doing fixup projects on Indian reservations.
The Aggie is a 6-year veteran of these trips and projects, so she can now hang sheetrock and particle board like a pro.

The choir was going to stay at Kentucky's Cumberland University for a week or so during this year's choir tour and mission trip, working with a University housing program called Mountain Outreach. Think Habitat For Humanity in Appalachia.

Here's a link from the College, now known as University Of The Cumberlands, about a previous Broadway Baptist Youth trip back in 2005 when they helped Mountain Outreach build a home for a low income family. (Something tells me that this link might be taken down by the end of the day, so I'm saving it here, just in case.)

It looked like a good relationship, but that was then and this is now.

The kids have now been officially disinvited. The contact person called with the news yesterday, wanting to give plenty of notice. The kids were supposed to leave on the trip in less than a week. Not only that, but several of the Kentucky churches where they were scheduled to sing have also cancelled performances. Why?

It is because our church welcomes gay and lesbian people. (This recently got us kicked out of The Southern Baptist Convention, which you can read about by going here, reading my rant, and then clicking "previous post" and repeating until your eyes bleed.)

The University Of The Cumberlands has the right to invite and disinvite whoever they choose. Perhaps Sixteen-year-old Singing Sheetrockers are a legitimate threat to the doctrinal purity of The University. But they've invited all sorts of people to speak on campus recently. This is from Cumberland's Wikipedia entry:

The university has in recent years, through its Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership, brought several notable guests to speak on campus. In the spring of 2006, in a "Moral Leadership" program, Roy Moore, the so-called "Ten Commandments judge" spoke at the school, and in March 2007, in a "Patriotic Leadership" program, the university hosted Zell Miller, former governor of Georgia and United States Senator. The April 2008 program featured bestselling author Stephen Covey in a "Principle Centered Leadership" program, while the April 2009 program featured Ben Stein in a "21st Century Leadership" program.

This diverse group of speakers was apparently acceptable for the doctrinal purists at the University Of The Cumberlands. So let's look at them one by one.

1) Here's Georgia Democrat senator Zell Miller, speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention. (He changed sides back when it was fashionable.) Baptists reading this are probably familiar with the apostle Paul's "Roll Call Of Faith". Well, go to the 1:03 mark in this video to hear Zell Miller's "Roll Call Of Funding".

I'll let the rest of the speech stand alone, after asking the brief question "Who Would Jesus Bomb"?

I bet Zell doesn't go to church with any Gays or Lesbians. I'm just sayin'....

2) One of the other guys they've invited to speak is Ben Stein. I like Mr. Stein a lot, and wish I could've been at the University Of The Cumberlands to hear him. I think he's a brilliant economist, a good actor, and he was a fun game show host. His monthly column in The American Spectator gets sorta sentimental, but I read it all the same.
There's just one little problem if you're going to invite Ben Stein to speak at University Of The Cumberlands, but then disinvite The Broadway Baptist Church Chapel Choir because of religious differences....

It's not something I have a problem with, and Broadway Baptist Church sure doesn't have a problem with it because we've often held services with the synagogue next door.

I hate to bring this up, but Ben Stein is Jewish, AND HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN THE DIVINITY OF JESUS ! ! !

I REPEAT, THE GUEST SPEAKER FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM HAS COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY REJECTED CHRIST ! ! ! (Is this clear? The Broadway Baptist Church Chapel Choir calls itself "Christian". Ben Stein makes no such claim.)

Oh well. Mr. Stein's views on gays and lesbians must have been acceptable to Cumberland. First things first.

3) Then there's Stephen R. Covey, author of "7 Habits Of Highly Effective People". Covey is a great speaker and "7 Habits" is a great book.

But for the doctrinal nit-pickers, there should've been a glaring problem with Covey. He believes that Joseph Smith found some golden tablets in upstate New York, put on some magic Ray-bans, and used them to translate The Book Of Mormon into a bad imitation of King James English. Yep. Covey is a Mormon. He also believes in wearing the holy undergarments at all times, and he believes that an old guy in Salt Lake City is a prophet.
Another dirty little secret.... Mormons dance. Enough said.
Mormons are acceptable to the University Of The Cumberlands. Sixteen-year-old Baptist kids who want to help build low-income housing in Appalachia (and who, for the most part, accept gays and lesbians) are not permitted.
4) Last, we have judge Roy Moore, the famous Alabama judge who displayed a 5,300 pound monument to The Ten Commandments inside his courthouse - a clear violation of the separation of church and state principle.
All the members of the Broadway Baptist Chapel Choir are sane and in their right minds. The unfortunate Roy Moore is, in my opinion, click here to continue....
I'm sure that some other churches will eventually come through with performance opportunities for the kids. Give them a gym floor to sleep on for a week anywhere near a Habitat For Humanity project, and you'll be amazed at what they can do. Shunning these kids is a huge black eye for the University, Southern Baptists, and a loss to whoever would've been helped on the mission project.
The University Of The Cumberlands upholds a religious standard that allows them to tolerate Georgia Turncoat Politicians, Brilliant Jewish Economists, Mormon Motivational Speakers, and Alabama Theocrat Judges.
But hosting tolerant Baptists teenagers? You've got to draw a line somewhere. What if it starts spreading?

Video Of A Crazy Man Catching Marlin By Diving From A Helicopter (which has nothing to do with Gays, Lesbians, or Southern Baptists)

Yet Another Picture That I'm Posting Simply To Avoid Consecutive Posts About Southern Baptists

This is a picture of the most recent winner of the "World's Ugliest Dog" contest.

A Funny Picture That I'm Posting Because I Don't Want To Do Two Consecutive Posts About Southern Baptists

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Burning Hell, Part Five, Autoharp Edition

I apologize for posting this so late in the day, since I know that many of you begin your Sunday morning devotions with a visit to this site.
For the last couple of months, I've been posting clips from the evangelical films of Reverend Estes Pirkle. Back in the early 1970's, Pirkle's "The Burning Hell" may have been required viewing for every church youth group in the southeast.

I'm posting these each week because they terrified me when I was a kid, and I've found that this is good therapy.

To recap the previous episodes.... Two hippies, Ken and Tim, have a discussion with Brother Pirkle about the reality of hell. Their preacher has taught them that hell is only a metaphor. Pirkle disagrees.
Pirkle vividly paints a picture of non-believers being burned for eternity in a massive field of mud and slop. Ken and Tim angrily disagree, and leave the church on their motorcycles.

Ken has an accident, and is decapitated.

Rather than wait around for the police or an ambulance, Tim decides to go to church.

You can hit the Pirkle label at the bottom of this post to see each episode in its entirety. Even if you're in a hurry, you've GOT to see episode #4 with the worms.

At the end of last week's clip, Pirkle was telling the biblical story of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:19). If you find my commentary helpful, it continues after the video.

:00 - Candid shots of The Mississippi Thespians, on location in Israel with their Sears & Roebuck bathrobes and Amish head scarves. Pay attention to the music. It's an autoharp.

:40 - Pirkle actually gives us a glimpse of the woman playing the autoharp. Wait a minute.... Did they have autoharps in the middle east, circa 30 A.D. ???

1:10 - A zoom shot of the autoharp ! ! In the middle of ancient Palestine ! ! And autoharps weren't invented until the 1890's ! ! Why didn't Pirkle also include someone playing a Fender Stratocaster with a whammy bar ??

1:30 - I think this guy is the one trained actor in the film, and he took an acting class for one semester at Mississippi Delta Junior College.

2:50 - Dives wants nothing to do with the evangelists. The cameraman wants nothing to do with Dives, and doesn't bother to keep his face in the frame.

4:00 - Dives proves that he's a George H.W. Bush "compassionate conservative".

4:20 - Twenty seconds of meaningless dialogue shot at an ancient amphitheatre, to justify the travel budget.

6:30 - We're back in 1970's Mississippi. Ken's headless body is bleeding in the ditch, Tim is in church, and Pirkle is preaching.

6:50 - Pirkle's vision of ancient decadence looks suspiciously like the set of The PTL Club.

That's all for this week. No burning sinners, no worms consuming the faces of heretics, and no headless hippies. All of that will change next week on THE BURNING HELL ! ! !