The House of Representatives, in exactly the kind of populist fever the Founders imagined when they put limits on government behavior, have voted in favor of a punitive tax on people they don't like -- in this case, employees of AIG's Financial Products division. The goal: take away the money of a tiny group of people -- fewer than 500 -- so that they can stand in front of television cameras and prove they're tough.
This is the kind of silliness I expect from Democrats, but the fact that 85 Republicans in the house joined in bodes poorly for the future. That these are the same Republicans who, every time the Democrats want to talk about limiting executive pay, howl bloody murder about free markets and the sanctity of private contracts makes me think Congress has been invaded by body snatchers.
I haven't seen any polls yet, but I'm sure this will turn out to be highly popular, just like the Patriot Act or the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Some time in the future Congress will find another class of people it doesn't like -- some other tiny group inspiring public outrage -- and relying on precedent and doing what the mob demands, Congress will pass a law reaching back through time to rob them of money they've legally -- if not quite deservedly -- earned.
We need to stop giving these people power. Haven't we realized that when we do that, they end up using it?
I used my fancy-pants vibrating razor again. I find it disorienting. It slides over my face without cutting me. It makes my fingers tingle. It leads me to conclude, seriously, that we're finished as a society. Between this and heated car seats, I don't see how we're going to survive. Also Double-Stuff Oreos and the designated hitter. We're growing weak and pitiful.
Could this be why the terrorists hate us? It certainly making me hate myself.
As the price of homes continues to fall and the price of basic commodities continues to rise, police are noticing an interesting phenomenon: Scavengers are ravaging abandoned properties, stripping them of everything of value and leaving behind nothing but the drywall and studs.
Real estate brokers and local authorities say once-proud
homes coast-to-coast are being stripped for copper, aluminum,
and brass by thieves. Much of it ends up with scrap metal
traders who say nearly all copper gets shipped overseas, much
of it to China and India.
Which is all well and good, but what's most amazing is that there are places where home prices have fallen so far that the scavengers are actually buying the houses and stripping them for legal profit.
In areas hit hardest by foreclosures, such as the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, copper and other metals used in plumbing, heating systems and telephone lines are now more valuable than some homes. ... "We're seeing houses sold for $100 that are distressed
houses that should not be recycled," he said. Some boarded-up
homes in his Slavic Village community have "No copper, only
PVC" painted on the boards to stop would-be thieves.
Scavengers are also attracted to houses with easily removed window air conditioners and garbage disposals.