Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

I can’t get excited by the question of whether Senator Robert Menendez had sex with a prostitute in Central America. It is her word against his — and when it comes to a prostitute’s word against a politician’s word, that is too close to call.

If an American citizen went off to join Hitler’s army during World War II, would there have been any question that this alone would make it legal to kill him? Why then is there an uproar about killing an American citizen who has joined terrorist organizations that are at war against the United States today?

Of all the things said during the gun control controversy, one of the most disquieting has been the emphasis on “mental health.” If that ends up letting the guesses of shrinks put more murderers back on the street, the public can be in even greater danger after such a “reform.”

However emotionally similar envy and resentment may seem, their consequences are often very different. Envy may spur some people to efforts to lift themselves up, while resentment is more likely to spur efforts to tear others down.

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg wants to restrict the use of pain-killers in hospitals. Is there any subject on which this man does not consider himself an expert? There are, after all, doctors treating individual patients who currently decide how much pain-killer to use.

One of the talking points in favor of confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is that he was a wounded combat veteran. How does that qualify anyone to run the whole military establishment? Benedict Arnold was a wounded combat veteran!

In the modern welfare state, a vote becomes a license to take what others create — and these others include generations yet unborn.

Some people seem to think that glib and shallow political correctness becomes Deep Stuff when it comes from a TV commentator with a foreign accent.

Can anyone explain why, when someone dies, most of what he has saved up over a lifetime should be turned over to politicians, rather than to his heirs?

The front page of the February issue of Townhall magazine says: “It’s Messaging — not principles — that’s hurting the GOP with Minority Voters.” Neglecting to make their message clear hurts Republicans with all voters, but especially minority voters.

Why do so many judges’ views of criminals seem to be the opposite of policemen’s view? It could be that judges see criminals when they are on their best behavior, while the police see them at their worst.

But I believe it is because judges have usually spent more time in educational institutions than policemen, and have picked up more politically correct nonsense as a result.

With all the discussion about gun control, I have not heard anybody on any side of this issue mention how many lives are saved by guns every year — which are far more than are lost in even the mass shootings that get so much media attention. But most of the media never mention the lives saved by guns.

Does anyone think that Iran and North Korea would be as threatening as they are if Ronald Reagan were President? I don’t think it was a coincidence that the Iranians freed their American hostages just hours before Reagan took the oath of office.

People who are forever ready to charge others with “greed” never apply that word to the government. But, if you think the government is never greedy, check out what the government does under the escheat laws and eminent domain.

The latest anti-trust farce is the Justice Department’s lawsuit to prevent the makers of Budweiser from buying up Corona beer. Even if this sale goes through, more than half of all the beer in the country will still be made by more than 2,700 other brewers, large and small.

I don’t know how many Hispanic votes the Republicans think they are going to pick up by going soft on illegal immigration. But it may not be enough to offset the votes they lose from their existing supporters, not counting the future voters added for the Democrats as a result of legalizing existing illegals and attracting more illegals in the future.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • patron

    Menendez's record:
    had a sex offender illegal immigrant working for him
    extorted money from citizens using political office
    pressured the FDIC into saving his subprime bank
    on record taking numerous kickbacks

    Current scandal:
    Flew to Dominican Republic on a private jet via an illegal contribution
    Lobbied to lower port security standards for that illegal contributor
    On record attending third world resorts

    Does credibility even matter? Do you want this guy leading immigration reform when there is a drug war in Mexico between corrupt Mexican military and police?

    • Mary Sue

      Plus I think there was a secondary witness as well, to the fact.

  • George Romero

    Never a truer word said Mr Sowell.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "I can’t get excited by the question of whether Senator Robert Menendez had sex with a prostitute in Central America. It is her word against his — and when it comes to a prostitute’s word against a politician’s word, that is too close to call."

    Not really. The prostitutes tell the truth some times.

    • Mary Sue

      I know right!

  • Mary Sue

    Clearly Mayor Doomberg has been watching too much House, and is basing his decision to restrict painkiller use in Hospitals on the basis of he doesn't want a whole bunch of Oxy addicts suddenly materializing.

  • Chezwick

    SOWELL: "Does anyone think that Iran and North Korea would be as threatening as they are if Ronald Reagan were President? I don’t think it was a coincidence that the Iranians freed their American hostages just hours before Reagan took the oath of office."

    I love Thomas, but it appears he has forgotten Iran-Contra, when Reagan sold arms and spare-parts to Iran in order to secure the release of American hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon. What was the result? After the first plane loads of arms landed in Tehran, three hostages were released in Beirut…only to have three others seized right away to induce more arms-sales.

    Reagan reminded me a lot of John-Paul 2: He understood the evils of communism much more coherently than he did the evils of Islam. His sale of arms to Iran made absolutely no geopolitical sense, while his use of the proceeds of the arms sales to support the Contras – even though a technical violation of US law – most definitely served America's national interests.

  • Alex Kovnat

    > New York’s Mayor Bloomberg wants to restrict the use of pain-killers in hospitals.

    This is the same person who condones, or actively supports, government telling you and me how big a serving of soft drink we can have. We don't need that kind of guy in positions of power, usurping our right to make our own decisions and run our own lives.

  • tagalog

    Mr. Sowell, how come you distrust the judgment calls of psychiatrists/psychologists, but you credit the guesses as to pain medication by non-psychiatrists?

    Why is judging how much pain medication to prescribe any more trustworthy than judging whether or not a disturbed person is dangerous? It's not like shrinks aren't doing that evaluation as to danger or not even as I write this. They've been doing it for a long time.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Mr. Sowell, how come you distrust the judgment calls of psychiatrists/psychologists, but you credit the guesses as to pain medication by non-psychiatrists?"

      The only objective measure of pain is physical stress response. Analysing emotional response to measure pain medicines is a bad idea. I don't mind their input in theory, but they should never have much coercive or decision making influence.

      Bloomberg is insane.

      "Why is judging how much pain medication to prescribe any more trustworthy than judging whether or not a disturbed person is dangerous?"

      Quantities of pain medicines and doses rarely have any impact on anyone other than the patient. It's not that pain meds are more "trustworthy" in terms of predicting precise results, but the cost of errors is lower and much more easily managed if one uses standard guidelines.

      • tagalog

        What's the risk of bad consequences from a psychiatric evaluation that says a person is dangerous? How does an erroneous evaluation on that score endanger anyone but the person being evaluated (unless the person truly is dangerous)?

        Being erroneously rated as dangerous is far less risky that overprescribing pain medication. Pain medication has the potential to kill the patient, or make him an addict.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "Being erroneously rated as dangerous is far less risky that overprescribing pain medication. Pain medication has the potential to kill the patient, or make him an addict. "

          I wasn't comparing, just arguing that in the case of pain medication it should be mostly up to the patient with professional supervision. Patient will is more controversial for mental health than it is for pain patients. At least I say it should be. Managing risks from pain meds is far easier than managing the risks of mishandling people with problems in the brain or mind.

          I don't have any direct experiences with mental health patients and I can't claim to offer any solutions or even suggestions. I'll only say that when families once felt more responsible for each other, things seemed easier to control in terms of implications for society at large.

          • tagalog

            I'm just a bit sensitive about the easy willingness to call psychiatrists and psychologists not good at rating people for danger, when they've been doing that in America since long before 1975, the year when the O'Connor v. Donaldson case made it a duty for them to do so in cases involving involuntary commitment. If they weren't good at it in 1975, they've had two generations to develop the necessary skills.

            I (and undoubtedly you as well) have a fairly well-developed sense of when a person constitutes a real danger, and despite our non-professional sense of what makes a person dangerous, both of us have probably made that sense work effectively to avoid trouble in our travels.

  • cathy

    ll the real Marc Rubio please stand up!!

    Marco Rubio, March 2009:

    “I am strongly against amnesty. The most important thing we need to do is enforce our existing laws. We have existing immigration laws that are not being adequately enforced. Nothing will make it harder to enforce the existing laws, if you reward people who broke them. It demoralizes people who are going through the legal process, its a very clear signal of why go through the legal process, if you can accomplish the same thing if you go through the illegal process. And number two, if demoralizes the people enforcing the laws. I am not, and I will never support any effort to grant blanket legalization/amnesty to folks who have entered, stayed in this country illegally.”
    http://shark-tank.net/2013/01/28/marco-rubio-the-

    Marco Rubio, 2013:

    Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration plan earned a measure of praise from the White House. And why not? It looks a lot like a White House plan from 2011.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/16/3185077/rub

  • cathy

    Marco Rubio’s ‘Watershed’: Is He Ready (or Not) for National Spotlight?
    Feb 13, 2013 10:55am

    …. With his desire and plan for immigration reform is already viewed as Republicans’ hope to win over Latinos, and with his evangelism for limited government setting people free and his ability to wax on about mid-90s hip hop could be Republicans’ hope to win over young people.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/02/marc

    Mark Levin: If you think amnesty helps the GOP win elections, you’re dead wrong. And here’s why…
    January 28th, 2013
    http://www.therightscoop.com/mark-levin-if-you-th

  • cathy

    Chris Crane Testimony At Senate Immigration Hearing
    February 13, 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWNiVaLGaik

  • artcohn

    Sowell:"Some people seem to think that glib and shallow political correctness becomes Deep Stuff when it comes from a TV commentator with a foreign accent."
    I don't think that Chris Mathews has a foreign accent!

  • Len_Powder

    "…when it comes to a prostitute’s word against a politician’s word, that is too close to call." I would definitely give more credence to the prostitute. She's less likely to lose her job by telling the truth.

  • Len_Powder

    "Envy may spur some people to efforts to lift themselves up, while resentment is more likely to spur efforts to tear others down." Which explains how the Republicans are envious and Obama is resentful.

  • Len_Powder

    "New York’s Mayor Bloomberg wants to restrict the use of pain-killers in hospitals. Is there any subject on which this man does not consider himself an expert? There are, after all, doctors treating individual patients who currently decide how much pain-killer to use." Megalomaniacs have no humility and no limitations. That's for ordinary people.

  • Len_Powder

    "One of the talking points in favor of confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is that he was a wounded combat veteran. How does that qualify anyone to run the whole military establishment? Benedict Arnold was a wounded combat veteran!" So was John Kerry. Is that why he was confirmed to be Secretary of State? There's the world of reality and then there's Washington DC.

  • Len_Powder

    "Can anyone explain why, when someone dies, most of what he has saved up over a lifetime should be turned over to politicians, rather than to his heirs?" Using the law the politicians proclaim themselves to be heirs. The founding fathers wanted to limit the powers of the President but they should have also limited the power of the Congress to pass laws. Increasingly laws have nothing to do with justice or fairness. They have become the primary means to oppress and torment the citizens who least need them.

  • Len_Powder

    "Neglecting to make their message clear hurts Republicans with all voters, but especially minority voters." It's difficult to state a message clearly when it is not based on principles but on political survival.

  • Len_Powder

    "I don’t think it was a coincidence that the Iranians freed their American hostages just hours before Reagan took the oath of office." We may not be able to recognize leaders in this country but the rest of the world has no difficulty with this.

  • Len_Powder

    "The latest anti-trust farce is the Justice Department’s lawsuit to prevent the makers of Budweiser from buying up Corona beer." I think our Justice Department would prefer that Corona beer buy up Budweiser. Budweiser would be sure to employ more illegal Mexicans if bought by Corona.

  • Len_Powder

    "I don’t know how many Hispanic votes the Republicans think they are going to pick up by going soft on illegal immigration." The Republican Party is in the process of self-immolation but with no awareness of what is happening. Frankly, good riddance! The time has come to replace it entirely.

  • Looking4Sanity

    I was starving for a serving of common sense. Thank you, Dr. Sowell. God speed, sir!

  • hikerdude

    "Political Correctness" is the cancer that attacks its cure "Common Sense". Example… It supports the logic that in order for D.C.to balance its checkbook it must spend more than it earns . The sad part is too many of the voters in the 2012 election bought into this Liberal Insanity.