“Green” Taxes Out of Control in Great Britain

At breakfast this morning, I did something I hadn’t done in years–I read a physical newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph. The headline on the front page reads, “U-turn on ‘excessive’ green taxes.” The story documents one more step in the inevitable unraveling of “green” energy policies. Britain’s new Conservative government has something to do with it, too:

The cost of subsidizing new wind farms is spiraling out of control, government sources have privately warned.

Officials admitted that so-called “green” energy schemes will require a staggering £9 billion a year in subsidies–paid for by customers–by 2020. This is £1.5 billion more than the maximum limit ministers had originally planned.

Of course it is. The numbers inevitably will get worse, too.

The mounting costs will mean every household in the country is forced to pay an estimated £170 a year by the end of the decade to support the renewable electricity schemes that were promoted by the coalition.
George Osborn, the Chancellor, believes the figures demonstrate the need to rein in the cost of policies to tackle climate change.

As a first step, he will use this week’s summer Budget to announce that he is abandoning targets set under the coalition to increase the level of environmental taxes in a move he hopes will save customers and businesses billions of pounds.

Green energy isn’t dead yet–not while billions can still be made through cronyism–but the handwriting is on the wall.

Congratulations, Joe!

I have been in London for the last five or six days, hence not writing about the news. The occasion is Joe Malchow’s wedding, which was yesterday. Joe has done the technical work on this site since he was a freshman at Dartmouth, which must be at least ten years ago. He has overseen the evolution of the site and is responsible for the design and software we are now using. In addition, Joe and a partner are in the internet advertising business and have developed techniques to maximize ad revenue for sites like ours. So we owe Joe a lot. Along the way, he has become a good friend.

Joe met his lovely wife Olivia at Stanford Law School. She is British, and the wedding festivities took place in her home town, Blackheath, which is near London. The wedding was in Olivia’s family’s Catholic church, where she was baptized. It is a beautiful place:


The reception was at Eltham Palace, where, among other things, Henry VIII lived as a boy:


Paul came up from Paris for the day, and we had a mini-meeting of the Power Line editorial board. As usual, no decisions were made, but champagne and other adult beverages were consumed:


One of the families involved–not Olivia’s, presumably–has a tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence aloud each 4th of July. So we did that. It is easy to forget how much good stuff is in the Declaration. Unlike most people, I especially enjoy the recitation of grievances against King George. Some of them still resonate today, unfortunately.

It was a wonderful occasion, and we wish Joe and Olivia all the best.

For the rest, London seems very much itself, happily:


I may get off a post or two, but it will be another four or five days before I am back in the U.S. and paying regular attention to the news.

For the 4th: Old-Fashioned American Story Telling from . . . LA?

People knock LA for not having a real literary culture. “What happens to civilization when it hangs its hat in LA?”, asks longtime Power Line friend Christopher Flannery today on the debut of the new site Even in LA.  The site offers old fashioned—that is, patriotic—short story telling.

Beauty in a man or a country is the outward glow of inward goodness. It is the goodness that is most worthy of love, but beauty calls attention to the loveworthy thing. Beauty awakens love, and since no man or country can live without love, and since I live in this country, I was thinking about what it is that makes America beautiful, what it is that makes America good. I was doing this in the freedom that seems at home in America and even in my native city of Los Angeles—even in L.A.—when these stories started to come.

It is our hope that these stories may in some small way move the better angels of our nature to touch the mystic chords of memory that strengthen our bonds of affection and make us friends. In our case, these mystic chords stretch not only from battlefields and patriot graves, but from back roads, school yards, and bar stools, city halls, summer afternoons, and old neighborhoods—from everywhere you find Americans being and becoming Americans.

You can buy an album of these short stories Chris has scored and recorded with David Tucker from the site, or listen to them online. In just world, there’d be a public radio show by these guys: the Coastal Frontier Companion, or something. Maybe that will come next.

How Are We Having This Conversation?

Lo and behold, the New York Times has finally branched out into satire. The following interview appeared on July 2 at their Opinionator blog site:

George Yancy: I’d like to begin with an observation — maybe an obvious one — that the task of engaging race or whiteness in philosophy has been taken up almost exclusively by nonwhite philosophers. My sense is that this is partly because whiteness is a site of privilege that makes it invisible to many white philosophers. I also think that some white philosophers would rather avoid thinking about how their own whiteness raises deeper philosophical questions about identity, power and hegemony, as this raises the question of personal responsibility. I have found that it is often very difficult to convince white philosophers that they should also take up this project in their work — they tend to avoid it, or don’t consider it philosophically relevant. Do you agree?

John D. Caputo: “White” is of the utmost relevance to philosophy, and postmodern theory helps us to see why. I was once criticized for using the expression “true north.” It reflected my Nordo-centrism, my critic said, and my insensitivity to people who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, no such thing had ever crossed my mind, but that points to the problem. We tend to say “we” and to assume who “we” are, which once simply meant “we white male Euro-Christians.”

Wait—stop the tape! You mean this isn’t satire? This is for real?  Yup, it is. Caputo is the Thomas J. Watson professor of religion emeritus at Syracuse University and David R. Cook professor of philosophy emeritus at Villanova University.

But it gets better. Caputo goes on to say:

I think that what modern philosophers call “pure” reason — the Cartesian ego cogito and Kant’s transcendental consciousness — is a white male Euro-Christian construction.

Like most post-modernist professors of jargon, Caputo isn’t ever clear about anything, but he appears here to be saying that reason itself is “socially constructed,” and therefore subjective or arbitrary, or something. The close corollary is that language is also “socially constructed” and just a tool for power.  Whenever I meet such people I have two questions: Why are we having this conversation—if in fact we really can’t talk to each other?  Moreover, if language is an arbitrary social construction, then how are we having this conversation? May I answer by interpretive dance instead of sounds from my mouth? Why not?

But a third question comes to mind: if reason and language are just a mask for power, and power is the real foundation for social existence, how come post-modernists don’t join the NRA?

P.S. You can skip the whole thing unless you are a connoisseur of the academic abyss, but it’s worth clicking the link to check the comments. Even New York Times readers find this tedious.

(Hat tip: Blake Neff at the Daily Caller.)

In Council Bluffs, the mania of Bernie

From deep under cover, reader Dave Begley emails us this lively report on last night’s campaign activities in Iowa, featuring Bernie Sanders’s standing room only rally in Council Bluffs:


I attended Bernie’s meeting last night in Council Bluffs, Iowa (photo above). There were about 3,000 people there and many were from Nebraska. I wore my Carleton College shirt and was in complete disguise. The average age was about 30 compared to an average age of about 50 at Jindal’s event.

Bernie spoke for 75 minutes. Way too long. He has to cut at least 20 minutes if not more. Bobby did his stump speech in 30 minutes. Nothing personal or funny from Bernie; all policy.

Bernie did get several standing ovations. People were very fired up. People are very frustrated and angry and he hit several hot button topics.

Not a single mention of Hillary and I think that is a giant mistake. For him to win this thing he has to get votes from casual voters and to do that he has to attack Hillary’s weak spot: honesty.

“Enough is enough” was his theme.

Lots of class warfare talk about income inequality with all sorts of stats.

Called for a higher minimum wage, single payer healthcare, free college, paid FMLA, break up the banks, public finance of campaigns, no TPP, cut student loan interest rates, reclaim manufacturing jobs, massive infrastructure program and stop global warming.

Jindal and other GOP candidates would also like to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and one way to do it is with lower energy prices. Bernie, however, didn’t mention that point. It has already started here because of super low natural gas prices.

Trump has called for a massive infrastructure rebuild (including a border wall) so I was happy to see Bernie and The Donald on the same page.

Wants billionaires to pay their “fair share” of taxes but no numbers mentioned. I didn’t see local billionaire Warren Buffett in the crowd, but he is a big backer of Hillary anyway.

He thanked the Pope for his recent letter on the environment and I wanted to puke. From Bernie’s point of view, the debate is over and the science is settled. It is all about the billionaire class selling fossil fuel and causing the world to burn up by the end of the century. I had to laugh at that prediction as not a single person in that room will live to see 2099.

Weird moment when he said that Republican “family values” was code for denying women contraception but he got another standing O.

He recited at great length the decline in the middle class over the last 20 years but gave Barack a complete pass. He said that the GOP wouldn’t go along with Barack and so it was not Obama’s fault. Nothing is.

Both Bernie and Bobby pointed out the massive problems we have, but they have entirely different solutions.

Bottom line is that Bernie might well win Iowa and New Hampshire. Both are small states that favor the candidate that can get people fired up. Bernie was on fire last night.

In San Francisco

KathrynSteinle The latest outrage in our continuing saga of illegal immigration comes via San Francisco, where a five-time Mexican deportee killed a beautiful young lady (photo at left) who was out for a walk with her father. FOX News reports:

The man arrested in connection with the seemingly random killing of a woman who was out for a stroll with her father along the San Francisco waterfront is an illegal immigrant who previously had been deported five times, federal immigration officials say.

Further, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says San Francisco had him in their custody earlier this year but failed to notify ICE when he was released.

“DHS records indicate ICE lodged an immigration detainer on the subject at that time, requesting notification prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody. The detainer was not honored,” ICE said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Kathryn Steinle was killed Wednesday evening at Pier 14 — one of the busiest tourist destinations in the city.

Police said Thursday they arrested Francisco Sanchez in the shooting an hour after it occurred.

On Friday, ICE revealed their records indicate the individual has been previously deported five times, most recently in 2009, and is from Mexico.

“His criminal history includes seven prior felony convictions, four involving narcotics charges,” ICE said in a statement.

ICE briefly had him in their custody in March after he had served his latest sentence for “felony re-entry,” but turned him over to San Francisco Sheriff’s Department on an outstanding drug warrant. At this time, ICE issued the detainer — effectively asking that he be turned back over to ICE when San Francisco was finished with him.

But ICE was not notified. The incident is sure to renew criticism of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies.

“Here’s a jurisdiction that’s not even honoring our detainer for someone who clearly is an egregious offender,” an ICE official told FoxNews.com.

ICE has since lodged another immigration detainer against the individual, though it’s unclear whether San Francisco will cooperate.

An attorney for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department told the Associated Press it had no authority to honor the prior immigration hold when it released the suspect.

Freya Horne said Friday that federal detention orders are not a “legal basis” to hold someone, so Francisco Sanchez was released April 15.

The San Francisco Chronicle carries a brief account of the murder here. The account of the murder is brief but heart-rending:

Kathryn Steinle had just sent her mother a quintessential San Francisco picture — a photo of her, her father and a family friend on the scenic waterfront of the Embarcadero.

But five minutes later, with her father’s arm around her shoulder, the 32-year-old Pleasanton native suddenly collapsed on Pier 14 just south of the Ferry Building. It was 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and she had been struck in the chest by a bullet.

“There was a pop, and Kate went down,” 68-year-old Jim Steinle recalled Thursday.

He immediately began CPR before paramedics arrived and rushed his daughter into an ambulance. Two hours later, she died at San Francisco General Hospital, said her mother, 69-year-old Liz Sullivan.

“She just kept saying, ‘Dad, help me, help me,’” Sullivan said. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s surreal. I don’t think I’ve totally grasped it.”

The events here appear to follow from our porous border and from San Francisco’s status as a so-called sanctuary city, although this last point is not entirely clear from the newspaper accounts. It is a shame that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi were unavailable for comment.

And a word from Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge rose to the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Indepence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion deserves to be read and studied in its entirety. In light of the destruction wrought last week by our robed masters, let us consider especially the following brilliant paragraph. Like Lincoln’s explication of the meaning of July 4, Coolidge’s words remain as relevant now as then:

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.