Category Archives: Uncategorized

News Sandwich: Trump and the Judiciary (Video)

News Sandwich returns–in video format! Let me know what you think 🙂

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When Government Offers You Lemons, Grow Avocados

In North Carolina there has been a surge in home schooling that is attributed, in this article by EAGnews.org, to parents’ rejection of the Common Core curriculum. According to the article, there has been a 27-percent increase in the number of home schools since 2011-12, and the number of children attending home schools now exceeds the number attending private schools. The best news is that over 180,000 children in North Carolina are attending either private schools or home schools, and therefore are not being indoctrinated by government schools.

I hope that, even when North Carolina makes the changes to the curriculum discussed in the article, parents keep their kids out of the government schools. One reason they’d be likely to do this is that they have already overcome the anxieties and obstacles associated with starting the homeschooling process, so they’re already more comfortable with it. Parents everywhere need to realize that Common Core is just the latest step in the government takeover of education; what existed before Common Core likely wasn’t much better in terms of content or pedagogy. More importantly the government school system, founded upon compulsory taxation and other forms of government force, was just as immoral before Common Core. For more on this topic, read “The New Abolitionism” by C. Bradley Thompson.

If only there were an analogous alternative for those of us wishing to escape the effects of Obamacare! (Unless you are a doctor who can afford his own hospital equipment and hire a private nursing staff, home medicine is not a realistic alternative.)

Fox News reports that a (slim) majority of Americans continue to oppose Obamacare. But this is little comfort to those companies who want to continue to offer quality health insurance to their employees while avoiding the so-called “Cadillac Tax.” In order to avoid the tax, employers are “shifting workers into plans with higher deductibles,” and “increas[ing] premiums for spouses who have access to other plans.”

From the article:

Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates said he doubted many will end up paying the tax.

“What we’re finding is almost no employers are going to be hit by this ‘Cadillac tax.’ You’d be stupid to get hit by this ‘Cadillac tax,’” he said. “They’re all cutting their benefits right now.”

Already the “Cadillac tax” has been delayed, due to pressure from unions and other groups with political pull. Between the delay, and the fact that employers are cutting plans to avoid the tax, government won’t be getting the revenue it projected, which means Obamacare will cost a lot more than we were told it would. Nothing new for government, unfortunately.

A bit of good news from China: an entrepreneur there has modeled the solution to the problem of minimum wage hikes: cute robots that cook and deliver food in restaurants, each costing only $6,500. In China, that’s “roughly equal to the salary of a human employee.” Here, the salary of an employee is over twice that. Moreover, according to the robots’ inventor, restaurant owner Song Yugang, “The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences. They can’t get sick or ask for vacation. After charging up for two hours they can work for five hours.”

So, while I completely support the option some restaurants are choosing–adding a “minimum wage surcharge” to their tabs to show customers the effect of minimum wage increases–these cute robots make the same point in a way that avoids confrontation, and saves the employer a lot of money and headaches.

Bonus: you don’t have to buy a healthcare plan, “Cadillac” or otherwise, for a robot 🙂

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Don’t Tread on My Metadata

A much shorter version of my academic piece on the third-party doctrine has just been published on PJ Media. Here are the first three paragraphs. If you have time, please go read the rest, leave comments, share, etc. Any help you can give in getting the word out is greatly appreciated!

“Do you classify Edward Snowden — the former National Security Agency contractor contractor charged with espionage, and runner-up for Time‘s ‘Person of the Year’ — as a hero or a traitor? Your answer likely depends on your opinion of the NSA programs he helped publicize via his leaking of highly classified documents. In this week’s revelations, we learn that the NSA deploys agents to infiltrate online gaming communities, and that it uses the Google tracking cookies we thought were responsible only for that eerie and annoying targeted advertising. We also learned recently that the NSA collects ‘nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.’ Earlier this year, we learned that the NSA has been continuously collecting phone record ‘metadata’ of all Verizon customers for the last seven years. The NSA also accessed email and other forms of Internet communication — including Skype voice and video communications — via a secret program called Prism. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described these programs as ‘acquiring’ information only about foreigners, and yet ’49-plus percent of the communications [intercepted and stored under the Prism program] might be purely among Americans….’

“Whatever you think of Snowden, his actions have drawn significantly more attention to the NSA’s intrusive programs. Now the question is: will anything be done about them?

“Proponents of the programs have noted that, although data collection is performed without probable cause or particularized suspicion, only transactional metadata, not the content of communications, is collected. Moreover, their proponents continue, these programs make it easier for the government to identify and track suspected terrorists, and therefore strike the right “balance” between privacy and security. In addition, some argue, the programs are perfectly legal: according to the ‘third-party doctrine,’ there is no ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ in metadata we share with our phone companies, Internet service providers, etc., and the collection of metadata is authorized by the Patriot Act or the FISA Amendments Act.

“The applicability or purported constitutionality of these statutes is, I think, beside the point. The third-party doctrine itself is flawed and should be eliminated.

“In this article, I’ll first discuss the third-party doctrine, including its history and the types of cases to which is has been applied. Then I will propose a better way of dealing with cases typically thought to fall under this doctrine. Finally, I will use the common law of contract to answer the charge that eliminating the third-party doctrine will prevent government from using secret agents in law enforcement.”

Read the rest here.

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