Can Texas Secede?

No.

The annexation agreement does not include any language regarding secession. Neither does the state Constitution. There are the usual platitudes about the people being sovereign, but we saw how well that played out in 1860, didn’t we?

One of the other commonly cited “quirky facts” about Texas, that it can subdivide itself into up to 5 states at any time, is actually found in the annexation agreement. Of course, the US Constitution also states that any other state can split itself too. The difference being that the annexation agreement says Texas just needs to get permission from Texas, while any other state has to get permission from its government and the US Congress.

So, can Texas secede? Just as much as Virginia and Georgia can and no more. Good luck with that, Governor Perry.

Bread is easy

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this great book my baby got me for Xmas – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  We’ve had cheddar bread, sun-dried tomato bread, brioche sticky buns, pizza, naan… Good stuff, and not remotely difficult.  Alex made a couple loaves without assistance (guidance sure, but I never touched his dough!).  Here’s the most recent, a chocolate ganache-filled brioche loaf.

ChocoBread_1ChocoBread_4

Tax and Spend

The people screaming about high taxes this week are insane.  The simple truth is, taxes are low – lower than most of us have seen in our lifetimes.

According to the Tax Foundation, which actually does something called research and something else called math, there’s a simple method to determining how bad taxes are – Tax Freedom Day. This is the day when you’ve worked enough to have finished paying the government share of your labor and begin to earn the remainder. This year, it’s the second-earliest day in their records (which go back to before the Johnson administration); last year was the earliest. As of April 9th, on average, Americans have worked to pay off their tax burden for the year. That’s 99 days of 365 that we work just to pay the overhead (27% of our income goes to taxes of various types). Now, some might say that’s too high. If you believe that it is, fine – but you must be intellectually honest and realize that it’s less than you’ve ever paid in your life (for my generation anyway), and if you didn’t bitch about the tax burden in 2000 when you had to work until May 1st to hit Tax Freedom Day, you’re not being consistent.

On the other hand, spending is crazy. The main reason that Tax Freedom Day is so early this year is because we aren’t paying for what we’re buying. If we actually had to pay taxes that balanced the budget, Tax Freedom Day would be … wait for it… May 17th. Democrats can’t be fairly called “Tax and Spend liberals” right now – they’re more like “Don’t Tax and Spend Anyway crypto-liberals” instead. Only 1998-2001 were we paying the debt down instead of building it up. Heck of a way to balance a budget.

These dates are all averages, and are based on federal and state combined numbers. Each state has vastly different tax structures, so Alaskans get to start earning their own money on March 26th while folks in Connecticut have to wait until April 27th.

Script Problems

How is it possible for good liberals and progressives to (at least tacitly) approve of the recently leaked plans to assassinate an American citizen by the U.S. government? (This sort of situational ethics is not new. When the current President was campaigning for office, and while he was in the Senate, he was vehemently opposed to indefinite detention for any people without charges, much less U.S. citizens. Almost a year ago, he proposed formalizing the system of indefinite detention that he claimed (most would say rightly) was unconstitutional when done by his predecessor.) I find it hard to imagine how one could think that arresting someone and locking them up without habeas corpus is an absolute travesty, but then think it’s acceptable to target someone for a bullet to the head without even a trial.

I realize that Awlaki is seemingly not a nice person and almost certainly is fomenting violent actions against us. I would like him to be stopped. But, is it not more in keeping with the Constitution that President Obama once was expert in to target Awlaki for arrest rather than just shooting him whenever it’s convenient?