Our scholarly readers will appreciate this Constitution Day YouTube two-fer, featuring PLF's Timothy Sandefur. The second item is a podcast about the substance (and the "conscience") of the Constitution, truly worthwhile if you've got the time.
Sandefur's book - The Conscience of the Constitution - shouldn't be missed; it's an absolutely great read.
If you were lucky enough to attend An Evening with Bill Whittle last month at the Mt. Baker Theatre (sponsored by the Northwest Business Club), you were witness to the inspiration for the following video, live on-stage. See if you can spot the tag line.
Bill Whittle said in a previous Firewall, that you don't hear the phrase, "Hey, it's a free country" much anymore. He's right; you don't. Because it really isn't. Back then, you were free to do pretty much whatever you wanted, subject to a few well-known, well-understood, common-sense restrictions (murder, theft, vandalism, etc.). Civilized "was" as "civilized does." Crime was something that could be recognized, related to real harm.
Today, it's just the opposite: only the most trivial choices are up to the individual. Anything significant requires a permit. Have you tried a simple home remodel project lately? Government bureaucrats are taking our freedom and selling it back to us as permits. If you don't pay ritual homage to The Man there will be hell to pay.
From time to time WE shares interesting little tales from the mainstream meed-yah. Nags and nanny statists, take note that (drum roll)
Breakfast Downgraded From 'Most Important Meal of the Day' to 'Meal'
MSN News, Aug 22, 2014
"You didn't eat breakfast? Don't you know it's the most important meal of the day?"
In the bitterly divided world of breakfast habits, otherwise reasonable people become evangelists. Why is it acceptable to make people feel guilty about not eating breakfast, but it is not acceptable to slap those people?
This week health columnist Gretchen Reynolds at The New York Times did the slapping with science, reporting on two new nutrition studies. She concluded, "If you like breakfast, fine; but if not, don’t sweat it."
That's reasonable, sure, if apathetic. Nutrition science as a field has in recent years been bisected over the importance of breakfast. The research speaks with more nuance than the lay breakfast pusher. But the new studies land a weight of evidence thoroughly outside the realm of "most important meal."
In one study, 300 people ate or skipped breakfast and showed no subsequent difference in their weight gained or lost. Researcher Emily Dhurandhar said the findings suggest that breakfast "may be just another meal" and admitted to a history Breakfast-Police allegiance, conceding "I guess I won’t nag my husband to eat breakfast anymore."
Another small new study from the University of Bath found that resting metabolic rates, cholesterol levels, and blood-sugar profiles were the same after six weeks of eating or skipping breakfast. Breakfast-skippers ate less over the course of the day than did breakfast-eaters, though they also burned fewer calories.
“I almost never have breakfast,” James Betts, a senior lecturer at University of Bath, told Reynolds. “That was part of my motivation for conducting this research, as everybody was always telling me off and saying I should know better.”
One thing I've learned as a health writer is that a wealth of academic research is the product of personal vendettas, some healthier than others. The crux of the breakfast divide is a phenomenon known among nutrition scientists as "proposed effect of breakfast on obesity," or the PEBO. It's the idea people who don't eat breakfast actually end up eating more and/or worse things over the course of the day because their nightly fast was not properly broken.
Some studies have supported that idea, but a strong meta-analysis of all existing research last year by obesity researchers found that "the belief in the PEBO exceeds the strength of scientific evidence," citing poor research and bias in reporting.
Another study published last year researchers at Cornell had people go without breakfast for science, and those who skipped ended up eating less by the end of the day.
In a third study published last year, also in July—breakfast scientists might simply refer to as "the month"—a large study in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation found that eating breakfast was associated with significantly lower risk of heart disease. That remains the most persuasive pro-breakfast case to date.
"I refute the dogma that inevitably creeps into discussions of breakfast. Skipping breakfast can mean many different things," wrote David Katz, director of Yale University's Griffin Prevention Research Center, at the time. Katz introduced additional philosophical dilemmas: "Research about breakfast tends to divide the world into those who skip, and those who don't. But deferring and skipping are not the same. Skipping despite hunger, and deferring for want of it, are not the same. And clearly all breakfasts are not created equal."
For example, as Reynolds proposed, "Preparing a good breakfast can be as quick and easy as splashing some milk over cereal." You're definitely better off with no breakfast than with most cereals, which are primarily sugar, but another study from Harvard Medical School found that people who ate breakfasts of whole-grain cereals had lower rates of diabetes and heart disease compared to skippers.
If you ever visit the Internet's most-read site for health information, you'll see an articlepresumptuously titled "Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day," which mainly focuses on kids and the lore that they do better academically if they have eaten breakfast, but that's overblown and really not a clear conclusion. As Katz put it, "We have little information about adolescents, little information about the benefits of breakfast in well-nourished kids, and little information about how variation in the composition of breakfast figures into the mix."
But shades of grey do not satisfy my bitter-divide hypothesis. Let's still say there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who eat breakfast, and those who don't. If you're a breakfast deferrer who feels cowed by breakfast evangelists, a good way to stand up to them might be to echo Betts:
"More randomized experiments are needed before we can fully understand the impact of breakfast."
Or as a joke, "If you like breakfast so much, why don't you marry it?"
Or, with a very serious face, "Don't tell me how to live my life."
In what might be described as a cross between a TED talk and a civics roundtable, the Northwest Business Club is presenting a speaker event so big it will be held at the Mt. Baker Theatre: "An Evening with Bill Whittle," August 29, 2014. Here's the blurb:
Whittle is a popular champion of what’s best about American liberty and its principles. With incisive wit and inescapable logic Bill examines the links between honest science and progress, and the importance of Common Sense Resistance to illiberal policies that cripple human advancement and creativity. Local notables from the Pacific Northwest will join Bill on-stage for a panel discussion of the major issues in our area.
Here's an example of Bill Whittle at the top of his form:
Yes, he's conservative; maybe even a little bit libertarian. Whittle appears regularly on the internet’s PJTV and BillWhittle.com in “Firewall,” “Afterburner,” and “Trifecta” episodes. His 11-part “Mr. Virtual President: Your Government” series, a collection of signature commentary and political parody, was released in March 2014. Whittle has a very large following from coast-to-coast and internationally with many thousands of subscribers following his work, which has received millions of hits on YouTube, PJTV and BillWhittle.com.
Local notables from the Pacific Northwest will join Bill on-stage for a panel discussion of the major issues in our area. Sort of like a Trifecta:
The executive branch, with an army of bureaucracies, professes to implement legislation passed by congress. The trouble is, these vast and callous government agencies have assumed the authority to make regulations having the force of law, without deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed: they're not elected! There's inadequate feedback.
Yet, when designing the American form of government, our founders created a separation of powers, so that congress would have a check on the executive branch, and they gave the executive branch the veto power over congress. The way congress checks the executive branch is by refusing to fund it. There are several agencies that are in dire need of a reigning in of the purse strings. WE take you to Cle Elum, where citizens decided they'd had enough ...
The rebellion against bureaucratic tyranny might have started in a Washington town conveniently named Liberty.
Continue reading ...
Citizens should not have to take time off from their day jobs, don overalls and manually push back against our own government by hard labor. We should be able to prevail on our representatives in congress to defund our oppressors. Well, maybe not our representatives west of the Cascades, because they really like big, oppressive government, but you get the idea.
The feds, the EPA - our eco-friendly overseers - they're here, they're there, they're everywhere. In a wet place like Whatcom County, each day presents a new opportunity to snoop and harass the public. Seems like any puddle may be enough to lord over.
Reposted from Pacific Legal Foundation's PLF Sentry
July 24, 2014 - "Troubled Waters"
When federal regulators at the EPA step out of line and assume power they don't lawfully possess, PLF hauls them into court to stop them - as we did in our unanimous 2012 victory at the Supreme Court in Sackett v. EPA.
Well, the EPA is at it again. Last March the agency proposed a new rule to redefine "navigable waters" under the Clean Water Act. The feds claim the new rule "clarifies" which waters are regulable without expanding the scope of the Act. But PLF Principal Attorney Reed Hopper stated in a recent blog post* that "this is utter nonsense, which only the uninformed believe."
Be assured that PLF is watching the EPA's new rule like a hawk, and we're prepared to challenge it in the courts, if necessary. Stay tuned.
*[Here's that recent blog post] by Reed Hopper, "More EPA Spin ..."
We have documented here and here how the EPA is misrepresenting its proposed rule to redifine “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. The Administration unabashedly claims the new rule is compelled by Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Act and that the rule will not expand the government’s jurisdiction. But this is utter nonsense, which only the uninformed believe. So we give kudos to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for calling the EPA on its blatant misrepresentations.
Yesterday, the committee issued an interesting Fact Check showing how the actual language of the rule is contrary to the EPA’s claims about the rule, including such claims as;
The rule does not regulate new types of ditches;
The rule does not regulate activities on land;
The rule does not apply to groundwater;
The rule does not affect stock ponds;
The rule does not require permits for normal farming activities; and,
The rule does not regulate puddles.
The Fact Check is revealing. Check it out here.
If you attempt to follow the mass of confusion evident in Whatcom County government these days (left or right), WE think you'll relate to this. Whether you agree with Whittle or not about the issues he's describing (about what happens in Washington D.C.), this "Firewall" episode is about crazy-making as a tactic. There's a very good chance that the smoke, mirrors, and "process" that make it difficult for citizens in Whatcom County to know who's in charge of what (and accountable for what), what's being spent, and on what authority - all the fog related to "advisories" and overlapping regulations etc - serves those in control very well. If you find government impossible to follow nowadays, perhaps "You're not crazy dear." WE think a great deal of what happens is gaslighting, on a local scale.
WE were alerted to a new article at Freedom Foundation about Puget Sound Partnership's latest "environmental" project. It seems they just haven't been able to accomplish anything approaching the mission they were created to do, and so they decided re-branding would help. It reminds us of when the United States Postal Service was hemorrhaging money to UPS, FedEx and that newfangled e-mail thang. What did the post office do? Why, instead of solving their systemic problems, and maybe addressing the realities of a changing world, they redesigned their eagle logo, to make it faster looking. And raised the price of stamps.
So in the fine tradition of government agencies, Puget Sound Partnership is getting a new look, for $60,000.00, give or take. Now, WE realize that's less than one modest house in the Seattle area, but still. If the Puget Sound is really so all-fired threatened, it seems like a real, functional agency would want to spend every dime fixing that. Oh, yes, image does affect contributions, but this is taxpayer money we're sending down the rat hole, and contributions to PSP have never been great.
WE only mention this because PSP has a nasty habit of poking its funnel into local Whatcom County government affairs all too frequently, politically molesting citizens who are happy the way things are, and just want to be left alone.
So, what is this agency, and how effective are they? Well...
By way of introduction, the Puget Sound Partnership was founded in 2007 to help coordinate cleanup efforts in Puget Sound by:
If you have the belly for it, you can find out how that re-branding is going to shape up. Continue reading...
The Town Hall blog featured an article entitled I'm A Conservative And They Lied When They Said I Hate You. The article highlights the tendency for the opposition to engage in ad hominem attacks, instead of debating the issues. In fact, marginalizing the opposition really is the objective in all too many cases.
The article begins,
Are you Hispanic, black, Asian, Jewish, gay, young, old, poor, or a woman? Well, then you may have heard that conservatives like me hate you. In fact, I'm sure you've probably heard some version of it a hundred times since it seems to be the standard rap for liberals these days. "Those conservatives are racists! They hate Hispanics! They're homophobes! They're Nazis! They're engaged in a war on women!"
Yeah, sure. As if WE have time for that. If you are a liberal or a conservative who is concerned that things are drifting away from your ideals, are you really going to burn processor cycles hating people? Where exactly does that get you? WE thought so. There are too many truly important things going on, to get all bigoted on someone's hiney. As if WE wanted to. Which WE don't.
Sliming the opposition is an effective strategy to win over the low-information voter. If you can paint the opposition as an evil person, the weak-minded will automatically dismiss any argument, candidacy or policy proposal the opposition may present. WE think this is a horrible state of affairs, and sadly, it seems to have permeated the dialog in good ol' Whatcom County.
WE could go on, but the article pretty much says it all. Continue reading...
Glen Morgan at the Freedom Foundation posted an update on the home detention policies of Washington State. This has local relevance because it was a Whatcom County resident who noticed that it was trivial for criminals to remove location tracking hardware in order to move about freely when in fact they were under home detention for failing to exercise their rights responsibly (i.e., they broke the law, and infringed on others' rights). And the authorities were either clueless or careless.
Thanks to Representative Shea, Goodman, and the other legislators on the Public Safety Committee, Scott Roberts and I yesterday were able to present some of the information we had uncovered last year (thanks to a Whatcom County whistleblower) in regards to the total failure of electronic home monitoring in Washington State to protect citizens. Not my policy area, but exposing the truth is what we do...
King 5 reports,