Articles of Interest


Van Jones, Jay Leno, smoking in Kansas, Obama’s health care speech.

Obama and the Left: The lesson of the rise and fall of Van Jones

This Wall Street Journal commentary analyzes the resignation of “green jobs czar” Van Jones. “Our guess is that Mr. Jones landed in the White House precisely because his job didn’t require Senate confirmation, which would have subjected him to more scrutiny. This is also no doubt a reason that Mr. Obama has consolidated so much of his Administration’s governing authority inside the White House under various ‘czars.’ Mr. Jones was poised to play a prominent role in disbursing tens of billions of dollars of stimulus money. It was the ideal perch from which he could keep funding the left-wing networks from which he sprang, this time with taxpayer money. … [leftists who helped elect Barack Obama] are increasingly frustrated because they are discovering that Mr. Obama will happily employ ‘movement progressives,’ but only so long as their real views and motivations aren’t widely known or understood. How bitter it must be to discover that the Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck, who drove the debate about Mr. Jones, counts for more at this White House than Mr. Sirota.” Ouch.

Rooting against Jay Leno

Tonight, Jay Leno’s new television show makes its debut. Not all are happy. As reported in the Los Angeles Times story Jay Leno’s new show is surrounded by drama: TV insiders hope NBC’s cut-rate alternative to scripted content fails: “… a fair number of industry insiders — and not just rival executives — will be rooting for it to flop. That’s mostly because, as part of NBC’s controversial experiment to overturn 60 years of prime-time TV traditions with relatively cheap programming, Leno’s new show is perceived as a potential job-wrecker.”

Evidently the Leno show will cost only one-third of the cost of the scripted dramas that usually appear at the 9:00 pm (Central time) slot, and that means fewer jobs. But because of the show’s low production costs, it can be a business success even with low ratings compared to its competition.

Kansas casino smoking ban

The Wichita Eagle story Group claims smoking in Kansas casinos an ADA problem tells of an effort to force the state of Kansas to prohibit smoking in casinos.

It should be noted that in Kansas, the casinos are owned by the state itself, and the state hopes to collect a lot of tax revenue from these operations. That may be why earlier this year when the Kansas senate passed a sweeping state-wide smoking ban, it proposed to allow smoking in state-owned casinos.

Whether or not you believe in the merits of the smoking ban, the attitude of the state is clear: regulate everyone else, but not my myself.

A Bipartisan Plan to Wreck the System

In a funny — well, it would be funnier if it weren’t so sad because it’s so true — the Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins writes the speech that President Obama should have given last Wednesday. Here’s an excerpt:

Now, much has been said about our “public option” that’s been confusing and misinformed. It’s in that spirit that I speak to you tonight.

Critics wonder: How can a new “public option” bring meaningful competition to the health-insurance marketplace and drive down costs?

They miss the point. The great work done so far has tended to squash competition, and we would continue this work—by restricting the ability of insurance companies to design and market their policies; by regulating what coverage they can offer; by using tax distortions to keep consumers in the dark about what their health care really costs, so they will continue to treat it as a “free lunch” when it actually gobbles up more and more of their disposable incomes.

People, this is why insurance rates keep going up and up, and why a competitive marketplace, in which consumers reward those who provide high-quality care at low cost, hardly exists. And I say again, with all humility, this is a great bipartisan achievement.

I think he’s right: the present system is a product of both parties.


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