The Germanwings Crash and Gun Control

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz carried out a horrifying mass murder of the passengers aboard Germanwings flight 9525. It has come to light that he was diagnosed with serious mental illness, but medical professionals were prevented by German law from communicating his condition to the airline, and Lubitz hid his psychological issues:

Strict medical privacy laws mean the companies were oblivious to the potential dangers lurking in Lubitz’s mind as the first officer took the plane into a steep descent over the region that members of his local gliding club, where he developed his passion for flying, had toured in the past. Confidentiality regulations, designed to protect medical data and encourage people to consult doctors without fear of repercussion, put the onus on patients to disclose potentially hazardous diagnoses to authorities and their employers.

“The medical secrecy rules are centuries old and touch the core of the medical profession,” said René Steinhaeuser, an attorney at Wigge lawyers in Hamburg who specializes in medical law. “Without that, the relationship between physician and patient, and thus the medical system as a whole, wouldn’t work.”

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Will earmarks for taxpayers improve enthusiasm and compliance?

Earmarks in Congress prompted a grassroots movement to stamp them out called Porkbusters, one that scored a surprising but incomplete success, and produced a few unintended consequences. Still, as taxpayer revolts go, it served as a remarkable repudiation of pork-barrel politics and the corruption it both produces and sustains. Now, though, a study suggests thatallowing taxpayers to earmark at least a portion of their taxes would increase enthusiasm and engagement, rather than apathy and complaints usually arising from this time of the year:

First we have to look closely at why we really hate taxes. “Some of it is just [that] it’s people taking your money away, and we don’t like that,” says Michael Norton of Harvard Business School. “But we really focus on is this idea that they’re taking your money away and you don’t know what it’s being used for.”

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It is what is at stake, State (Department)!

"He is much better on a bike or a wave board than he is a negotiator..."

First a story from my past. I led a negotiation team to hammer out a deal for some "after market" business. We traveled to the now defunct Goodyear Aerospace which was located in Akron, Ohio. When we got there, we were directed to a huge and now vacant dirigible (blimp) hanger. At the very end of the hanger were two conference rooms. Our negotiation was to take place with the Goodyear Aerospace Team in one of those rooms.

The relationship between the two companies was testy at best. However, it was in our interest to get this deal. The negotiation stretched into the early evening. Finally, we hit a hard sticking point and my counterpart from Goodyear said he needed some time to "caucus" with his team. They left and never came back. Left us sitting in that huge, dark hanger all by ourselves. When we got back to the hotel, I called my boss at home and told him what happened. He told us to be on the first flight out in the morning. To paraphrase his words, "You can't deal with people you can't trust. No good deal could ever come from this."

I tell this story for one reason. No good deal can ever come out of a negotiation with Iran. Our President is just the opposite of the man I worked for during those negotiations. Our President should have pulled the team when the Iranians held war games and mocked up a ship to look like the Nimitz. Our President should have pulled the team with the Ayatollah shouted "Death to America". Our President should have pulled the team when the Iranians started to renege on previously agreed to points. But he did not.

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RLC Liberty Lounge - Indiana Gay Boycott, Felon Voting Restoration

Enjoy the premiere of the RLC Liberty Lounge, an irreverent online commentary program featuring insights from grassroots activists, legislators, and expert guests on topics related to the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free markets. Our inaugural panel includes RLCMN chair Neil Lynch, RLCMN director Karl Eggers, hosted by RLCMN vice chair Walter Hudson. Topics include Indiana's religious freedom law, felon voting restoration in Minnesota, legislators becoming lobbyists, taxation as theft, and more.

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Our Sherco Mess

"So if we close this plant in 2020, what are we supposed to do for electricity? Put a windmill on our roof?

Most of us who vacation in Park Rapids, Alexandria, Brainerd or Detroit Lakes have driven by either the Sherco power plant in Becker or the nuclear plant in Monticello. They are so close to each other, (less than 10 miles), they are like twins. Between the two of them, this state gets almost half its electricity. They should be looked upon as a real blessing right? Wrong. Not in the eyes of the greenies and the statists.


Before I go any further, how is your electric bill doing? Mine is obscene. It is large and getting larger all the time. Experts now tell us due to the Administration's "War on Coal", we could see a 40% jump in the next five years. That means if you are paying $250/month now, your bill could be $400/month in the next few years. And it goes up from there.

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Meanwhile, in Chicago

From his perch at the Chicago Tribune, John Kass asks the question:

The oligarchs who run Chicago don't want to consider the unthinkable — at least not publicly.Yet as the campaign for mayor of Chicago between Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Mayor Rahm Emanuel enters its final week, some oligarchs are worried.They're probably wondering: What if Rahm really loses this thing?

At this point, winning may not be that pleasant, either. Chicago is in a hell of a lot of trouble right now as the pensions and the corruption start to come home to roost, to paraphrase a famous Chicagoan that we're supposed to forget. More, a lot more, at the link.

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Move MN’s predictability

Harlan Madsen’s op-ed for Move MN in Monday morning’s St. Cloud Times fits Move MN’s habits perfectly. I first wrote about Move MN’s deceptions in this post. This is content from Move MN’s website:


We are calling on the Minnesota Legislature to pass a comprehensive transportation funding solution in 2015 that requires additional transparency and efficiency for current resources.

  1. Be comprehensive to address, roads, bridges, transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
  2. Equitably balance the transportation needs of Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.
  3. Be a long-term, sustainable funding solution that is gimmick-free and dedicated only to fixing transportation.

It’s pretty straightforward. Move MN’s website is filled with talk about bike paths, transit projects and “pedestrian infrastructure.” Their op-eds, though, are all about fixing roads and bridges:

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And yet. . . .

So, apparently there was a pretty substantial outbreak of tuberculosis in Jacksonville, Florida, back in 2012. Were you aware that 13 people died? I'm guessing not. It turns out that reporting the story, even as a retrospective, was difficult, because reporters weren't given access or information.

File this one under "dawn breaks slowly":

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What If the Indiana Boycott Was Illegal?

On today's Fightin Words podcast, hosted on the Twin Cities News Talk Podcast Network:

What if it was illegal to express your chosen values by engaging in a boycott? After all, a boycott is a form of discrimination. Shouldn’t people be forced to enter into relationships against their will in contradiction to their values? After all, that’s the argument of those opposed to Indiana’s religious freedom law.

Subscribe to Fightin Wordsnow available on iTunes, or through the RSS feed. Follow → Blog, Twitter, Facebook.

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By Its Own Criteria, the Obama Administration Is An Economic Failure

Lately there has been a fair amount of happy talk from liberal pundits about our supposedly robust economy. Such optimistic evaluations have been guarded, since everyone knows that the jobs picture is still bleak, largely because of runaway legal and illegal immigration. But there is an even more fundamental measure by which the Obama administration is an economic failure.

The 2014 numbers are now in on America’s gross domestic product, the total amount of wealth generated over the course of a year, as best it can be measured. They are grim, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

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