I'll be joining Sean Hannity on Fox News (details in our right-hand sidebar) this evening to talk about Boko Haram and related matters.
~Speaking of which, Eliot A Cohen in today's Wall Street Journal is worth a read:
Often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers. When officials roll their eyes at Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea with the line that this is "19th-century behavior," the tone is not that different from a disdainful remark about a hairstyle being "so 1980s." When administration members find themselves judged not on utopian aspirations or the purity of their motivesâ€”from offering "hope and change" to stopping global warmingâ€”but on their actual accomplishments, they turn sulky. As teenagers will, they throw a few taunts (the president last month said the GOP was offering economic policies that amount to a "stinkburger" or a "meanwich") and stomp off, refusing to exchange a civil word with those of opposing views...
If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults. They may be charming, bright and attractive; they may have the best of intentions; but they do not look serious. They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is "unacceptable" or that a dictator "must go," that they represent a government capable of doing something substantialâ€”and, if necessary, violentâ€”if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the wayâ€”when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red linesâ€”the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice.
For the purposes of contrast, here's Mrs Thatcher as a third-rate Swedish telly celeb tries to inveigle the PM into reducing herself into just another lo-rent airtime-filler. Her response when informed that "Gorbachev did it" is especially fine, and her dismissal of the stunt as "puerile" is sobering in an age of political selfie-esteem. The Iron Lady was no Preemy of the United Keemy:
Buckyballs are just one of a variety of creative magnet toys that the CPSC has been trying to get recalled since July 2012. The pea-sized balls are made of rare-earth magnets, and can be stacked or shaped. While Buckyballs and other similar products have been described as toys for adults, the CPSC has said the magnetic balls pose a hazard for children and teens.
The Feds' position is basically that Buckyballs are magnetic Kinder Eggs. So we cannot be entrusted with Buckyballs - not even if we're wearing our Obama bicycling helmets and presidential Momjeans. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated the cost of a Buckyballs recall at $57 million, and set about extracting it from their creator, Craig Zucker.
Mr Zucker fought back, and a settlement has been reached in which he will pay $375,000. From the press release issued on Zucker's behalf:
The CPSC's actions regarding Craig Zucker are not about consumer safety, they're about punishing an entrepreneur who dared to speak out against the federal government. The years spent by the CPSC targeting a product that has never been declared unsafe and pursuing overzealous litigation against Craig Zucker are yet another example of a federal agency gambling with taxpayer dollars to test its own power.
If the CPSC's goal was consumer safety, why is it settling for an amount that covers less than one percent of its original $57 million recall estimate?
Mr Zucker thinks the settlement "will discourage the CPSC from wrongfully pursuing individual officers and entrepreneurs again in the future." I doubt it, and am inclined to agree with Scott Johnson:
The CPSC action represents the tyrannical lawlessness of the administrative state. I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that with this settlement the commission comes away with enough to save face and do it all over again the next time it sees fit.
To reprise my mournful refrain: The process is the punishment. In this case, the process consumed Zucker and took away two years of his life and much of his career. The money is irrelevant. From the point of view of a hyper-regulatory state and its despotic capriciousness, the process worked.