January 31, 2005
The Inaugural Speech IV
I've always been a big Peggy Noonan fan. Her (old now) book, "What I Saw at the Revolution" is the book I would give a serious minded liberal.
Larry Kudlow agrees, but he has taken her to task for her criticism of the second inaugural address.
Noonan, David Frum, and others make the argument that the Bush speechwriting team should have thrown itself in front of the oncoming train of the inaugural address. This was a familiar refrain during the 1980s, when many of Reagan’s advisors tried to stop him from calling the Soviets an evil empire, or telling the Russians to tear down that wall. Yet Natan Sharansky, in his new book The Case for Democracy, relates that it was exactly these visionary Reagan declarations that gave the Gulag-imprisoned refuseniks great hope -- indeed all the oppressed peoples of the former Soviet empire great hope -- that freedom-loving help was on the way.
Freedom in Iraq
The President's critics have a new line, which is very good news indeed; I was extremely bored with all of their old ones. The new line is Senator Kerry's: yeah, the vote is cool, but the hard part of building a democracy remains.
It would be naive to think that problems are over. The tough slog of legislating a Constitution, counting votes, creating coalitions all remain. And Gouverneur Morris and James Madison are both dead.
Yet these same critics warned us of: "The Brutal, Afghan Winter," "Afghanistan: the Burial Ground of Empires," "Chemical Weapons in Iraq," "Quagmire," Dinesh D'Souza talked about "The party of Yea and the party of Nah," it was a different context but it transfers easily.
I'm fine basking in the glow for a couple of days, but Rubin speaks to some good indicators for an inchoate Iraqi acceptance of compromise and coalition.
With travel restrictions lifted, Iraqis rediscovered their country. Arabs booked Kurdish hotels solid five months in advance. Kurdish colleagues from the University of Sulaymani visited college friends in Basra for the first time since the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. Freedom to travel moderated religious extremism. "During Saddam's day, I didn't know much about Iran. I figured since it was a Shia government, it would be a utopia," a Shia schoolteacher told me in a Karbala coffee shop. "Now that I've been to Iran, I realize how wrong I was." Free to study the teachings of traditional scholars, populists like Moqtada al-Sadr hemorrhaged support. In the alleys and squares around Shia shrines in Kadhimiya, Karbala and Najaf, merchants began selling not only long-banned religious books, but Western magazines as well.
UPDATE: The best example of the genre is the summation to Spencer Ackerman's piece in TNR: "In Maryland yesterday, the hopes and enthusiasms of Iraqi voters were on proud display. But so were signs of the difficulties to come."
January 30, 2005
Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates.
Even in Falluja, the Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a steady stream of people turned out, confounding expectations. Lines of veiled women clutching their papers waited to vote.
"We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition," said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after he voted.
27 dead vs millions voting? Looks like the terrorists are really losing. Each death is obviously tragic, but this is still good news on the whole.
Heavy voter participation was reported in the Shia south and in the Kurdish north, and in Baghdad the turnout was 95 per cent. And even in troubled cities such as Baquba correspondents said polling stations had been full all day despite five bombings and a mortar attack.
I will remind readers that 60% of eligible voters voted in November's election to re-elect George Bush.
72% is even better than anyone could have hoped for.
A great day indeed.
January 29, 2005
More evidence that Beer makes you live longer
What better encore for a serious post about the meaning of life than a lighthearted post about saving one's life? And man, what a way to get out of a predicament! It seems that Richard Kral was driving his Audi through the Slovak Tatra mountains when it was buried on the road by an avalanche. He couldn't open the door, but did open the window and started trying to dig his way out.
"But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through." Additionally, his car might be damaged by the snow. As an Audi owner myself I can relate to his desire to protect it, but what alternative did he have? Fortunately Mr. Kral was going on holiday and had... sixty bottles of beer in the car! These were half-liter european bottles - not the measly 12 ouncers we're accustomed to here in the states, but a healthy 16.9 ounces!
In indomitable fashion, the stranded motorist "Peed way out of avalanche." "...after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported. He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."
Hat tip: Drudge Report.
Alex's Wednesday post of one sort of a thumbnail biography of Ayn Rand was timely. On the one hand, because we're approaching February 2, 2005, her hundredth birthday. On the other, because the column he linked to was published on the very day that I posted my bio on this new blog. (25 Jan at 23:14 MST, as I now note the blog has moved to eastern time.)
The author of the unappreciative vignette lamented the dearth of publications on this notable anniversary. While it's true that the event will garner somewhat less attention than, say, the private life of Brittney Spears, there are important things being said about it if you care to look for them. A friend has saved me some trouble, sending me a link to the essay, 'Ayn Rand: A legacy of Reason and Freedom.' This is a rather different sort of biography. Namely, an appreciative one. It's neither long nor tedious so I encourage you to follow the link, but I can't resist highlighting two excerpts:
Ayn Rand understood that to defend the individual she must penetrate to the root: his need to use reason to survive. "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism," she wrote in 1971, "but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows." This radical view put her at odds with conservatives, whom she vilified for their attempts to base capitalism on faith and altruism. Advocating a government to protect the individual's right to his property, she was not a liberal (or an anarchist). Advocating the indispensability of philosophy, she was not a libertarian.
This is Ayn Rand. Those who fault her for a few bad decisions in her personal life can generally be assumed to prefer that you not know anything of what you've just read.
January 28, 2005
She Should've Had an Abortion...
Best of the Web highlights this story in the Haverford (PA) delcotimes.com:
Zero tolerance: Student suspended for taking medicine
The drug in question was a generic version of Aleve. The honor-roll high school student who took it, and her friend who provided it were both suspended.
I post this because it is silly -- but also because of NOW and NARAL's take-no-prisoners demands that these same young women should be allowed an abortion without parental consent. Major surgery, fine. Aleve, no way.
Ringing Freedom's Bell
"We had a line-up of probably 60 or 70 people at the front door at seven o'clock," he said.
"They've been slowly but surely being processed and showing their registration certificates and casting their vote."
Voting in Iraq's transitional national assembly elections will continue in Australia until 5pm (AEDT) on Sunday.
Voting inside Iraq is scheduled for Sunday only.
Voters are electing a national assembly that will appoint a provisional government, write a constitution and organise further elections.
Security was tight at the abandoned store-turned-polling place in this Detroit suburb, with guards checking IDs at the parking lot entrance and using metal detectors at the doors. Inside, an oversized, homemade Iraqi flag hung from the ceiling. One poll worker could be seen weeping.
"We feel happy now. This is like America, this voting," said Zoha Yess, 64. "We want fair, good government."
Here's where you'll disagree with me.
I'm all for letting Iraq's freedom bell ring, but I'm not sure we should be ringing it from here or Australia, or anywhere else other than Iraq.
The 26,000 expatriates fled Iraq for better, greener pastures. American or Australian pastures. They're Americans now. They're Australians now. They're not recent Iraqis. No matter how much of a connection to the people they may have, they're not there.
Let the people in Iraq vote for their leaders.
Let the Iraqis vote for their Constitutional Congress, not Americans. The Iraqi people have an opportunity to turns things around for the better. The people on the ground know what they want. Let them vote. And only them.
The same idea applies for Poles who voted in Chicago a few years back during one of their elections.
Give them the bell, let them ring it.
FoxNews, Hell, they could use al-Jazeera!
Bret Stephens has a short piece in OpinionJournal's Political Diary today titled "Why Europe Can't Be World-Class: No Fox News"
DAVOS -- Iraqis go to the polls for the first time Sunday, by any measure a historic event for Iraq and the Arab World at large. But at the World Economic Forum taking place here this week, the subject barely rates a mention. Instead, the headliner themes are climate change and the plight of Africa.
My UK and Irish friends would have better sentiments of the Iraqi War, then, if they watched al-Jazeera. I have had good conversations with bright people there, but I cannot really make my case because they see only a cartoonish caricature of President Bush and constant, constant, constant, negative reports from Iraq on the Beeb.
Even Rupert Murdoch's SkyNews is no better -- this sister station to Fox shares no familial resemblance. At least here, you can find differing views on FoxNews, or talk radio, or blogs. Over there, our greatest allies only have the Internet. It is no wonder that they have a poor perception of the Coalition efforts.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM
Iraqi Election News
For Fair and Balanced (© Rupert Murdoch) reports from the elections, may I recommend: Friends of Democracy a blog associated with the Spirit of America folks. Jim Hake says:
Spirit of America has been supporting Friends of Democracy in Iraq to provide a ground-level view of the election from the people and bloggers of Iraq. It seems that major media often focuses on the violence and terrorism. Given the historic nature of this election we think people deserve better. The goal is to offer a full picture of the elections from the perspective of Iraqis. There are lots of good reports already on the Friends of Democracy site at http://www.friendsofdemocracy.info. It is not "candy coated" - it includes good news and bad. Take a look now and make sure to check it on Sunday.
A report on the debates includes the line: "Corruption is a chandelier on which the others hang their mistakes." I am guessing that sounded better in Arabic...
January 27, 2005
"Iran, Do as you will"
President Clinton, speaking in Davos.
Clinton also said that even if Iran developed such weapons, it would find it tough to use them.
"If they ever use them, they'll be toast," the former U.S. president said in a freewheeling, 90-minute appearance at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Mr President, tell that to the people who will be toast first. He might as well have said that any hijackers who fly into buildings with American aircraft will be toast.
"I don't know if that option is now available" in Iran, said Clinton.
"That was then. It is much more difficult now," he said, adding that today there are several nuclear powers in the region.
Israel did the world a favor 23 years ago. But if you keep saying "use diplomacy, to the exclusion of force" against Iran, it's not going to work.
Clintonesque third-way "diplomacy" did us a world of good in Iraq. It wasn't until we got boots on the ground nearby that we got a peek.
Mother Overjoyed - Bishop Repulsed
On Sunday, January 16, in a Bucharest hospital, 66-year-old Adriana Iliescu delivered her first child - a 3 pound, 3 ounce little girl named Eliza Maria. Though the infant was six weeks premature the mother is "more than happy" with her new daughter.
What a joyous occasion! Mother and baby are both "in good condition in intensive care." Everyone is overjoyed that the first-time mother's 9-year struggle to become pregnant finally came to fruition. Not so fast: "This case has shocked us all," said Bishop Ciprian Campineanul of the Orthodox Church. "This was a selfish act." It seems some reflection may be required to determine if one belongs to the "all" who are shocked or the "everyone" who is overjoyed.
The bishop pointed out that it isn't merely 66-year-old (or 57-year-old) mothers who act "selfishly" when they pursue in vitro fertilization. Clerics disagree in principle with the procedure whatever the woman's age. Why? This cleric didn't say. But how can it be "selfish" to give birth? Clearly, what the man of faith objects to is not the birth, but the conception. Everyone can thank NED that Romania's government is not a theocracy - or is it?
"There is no law in Romania stipulating a maximum age for artificial insemination. [However,] A draft law awaiting approval in parliament bans fertility treatment for women who are above the normal reproductive age." (emphasis mine)
It's a damn good thing. We certainly wouldn't want to see anyone else repeat such a "selfish" and "shocking" act.
January 26, 2005
I like this headline:
January 24, 2005
MSM is obviously going to give Senator "Crazy old Aunt in The Attic" Byrd a pass on this. To be fair, they were going to give Senator "Insert favorite Lott jibe here" Lott a pass as well. But the blogosphere, led by Andrew Sullivan, would not let the story die.
I wouldn't mind breathing a little life into this story either. President Bush nominates the first female African-American Secretary of State. And his nominee is a brilliant person and passionate spokesperson for liberty.
If Senator Boxer wants to attack her, that's fair. Senator Kerry, go ahead. That will play to their constituents. But who's runnin' the D's PR? Byrd? Kennedy? (Taranto says when Senator Kennedy means to "sink a woman" the threat should be carefully considered...)
It's a shame that her nomination was not advised-and-consented in time for either the US or Ukraine Inaugurations, but -- like the Zarqawi tape -- I am glad to see somebody show their true colors.
So, I will show mine: Rice in 2008!
UPDATE: I was premature but accurate: Confirmed: 85 to 13
About Those Debt Numbers
A bit of a biography of JohnGalt's favorite author.
War For Freedom
Jonah Goldberg points out that, in spite of what Richard Cohen or Pat Buchanan says, the recent statements of al-Zarqawi prove that the war is a fight for freedom.
In short, the notion that America is in a war for freedom over tyranny has elicited bipartisan snickering and guffawing. In the wake of Bush's inaugural, the chorus of complaints intensified. And understandably so, given the fact that his address was the most forceful articulation of his "freedom" vision to date.
I drove to work today behind a car that had a bumper sicker inside the back window. The first line "The War on Iraq" was clearly visible through the defrosted region of the glass but the second line (certainly a snarky-anti-Bush, anti-War comment) was obscured by ice. I laughed in my car, "Man, I thought I was a supporter! This guy has a 'War on Iraq' bumper sticker..."
"I will stop the motor of the world!"
Well, maybe not, but I endorse the idea. I was reticent about adopting this literary moniker as my blog identity, but concluded it was appropriate as long as the opinions I professed always adhered to Galt's philosophy: "I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values." ... "I will not sacrifice myself for others, nor ask another to sacrifice himself for me." And this is exactly my philosophy so it's been a natural process.
Real Identity: (deleted to protect himself from others who insist upon anonymity) - 41. I am an engineer/amateur farmer and horseman living in the Platte river valley in Colorado with my wife of 2 years and a baby girl on the way. My wife occasionally comments on the blog under the pen name "dagny." We sacrifice ourselves for no one and ask no one to sacrifice for us. We have named our home "Atlantis Farm."
On Blogging: I call attention to the philosophical roots of current events. For example, the natural human tendency toward compassion and kindness to others has been perverted by the anti-life morality of altruism, which values the most worthless members of humanity while sneering at the achievers amongst us and loots the fruits of their labor for all manner of otherwise unsustainable programs. My blogging is less prolific than I would like, primarily due to time constraints.
On Politics: A large portion of modern liberals are insane and ultimately suicidal. They don't want to advance the cause of humanity, but to punish any man they consider to be "too rich." Modern conservatives, or "traditionalists" as O'Reilly calls them, place too much value on a code of morality transcribed by intellectuals thousands of years ago in the name of a non-existent deity. Neither camp embraces the idea that man's greatness comes from his cognitive mind, and that his life is a possession of no one but himself. That is the meaning of liberty as the preeminent right of the American people as specified by America's founders. This right is a product of man's nature and ability, notwithstanding the founder's reference to "his creator" as the source of this right of man. In other words, who is a better judge of a man's best interests than himself?
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:14 AM
January 25, 2005
The Inaugural Speech III
"Iranian's Cheer Massively Mr. Bush's Inaugural Address" reads the headline at SMCCDI. In other words, the audience for this speech was the Iranian democracy movement -- and they got it!
Reports from across Iran are stating about the massive welcoming of President George W. Bush's inaugural speech and his promise of helping to bring down the last outposts of tyranny.
I have my last Orange shirt on today for the Ukrainian inauguration, but as a commenter on Pejmanesque says:
It is already being planned.
Let Freedom Reign!
January 24, 2005
The Inaugural Speech II
I finished Sharansky's book on Saturday and I considered myself fortunate to be in the middle of it during President Bush's second inaugural address. It is clearly a source. LyingInPonds notes the similarity:
I finally had the chance to view President Bush's Second Inaugural Address, this evening, and I was struck by how familiar it was.
Jim Geraghty says "I think that speech is going to do wonders for Natan Sharansky's book sales." But he also points out something:
Still, this speech is being intensely analyzed and discussed far beyond the Beltway - in Pyongyang, Riyadh, Tehran, and in other unfriendly foreign capitals. While some conservatives might have a quibble or a question or two, this speech will be despised by all the right people.
Amen. I'm very sorry that Frum, Noonan, and a lot of speechwriters that I trust did not like it. I enjoyed reading it better than hearing it (My President is not the best orator...) but I thought that it was important, that democrats in Tehran would be passing it around their jail cells. That it would make the right enemies.
I heard on FoxNewsSunday that it may have made the right friends. Bill Kristol told that Sharansky himself had watched the speech, that the tough man's voice broke a little as he said "I only wish Sakharov were alive to hear an American President give this speech."
The Freedom Engine
... is working abroad.
- With $3.5 million from USAID, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) began transporting and delivering relief supplies (water, food, plastic sheeting, generators, fuel and medical supplies).
- Embassy staff in Jakarta, Banda Aceh and Medan are coordinating with the U.S. Military on logistics, especially to prioritize the delivery of relief items. TNI (Indonesian military) are assisting in loading relief planes and are accompanying U.S. helicopter sorties and trucks delivering relief supplies.
- On average we have four C-130 aircraft/day airlifting support to Jakarta, Medan and Banda Aceh for transport of relief supplies, including shelter, water, food and medical services.
- Eleven USN ships and one USCG vessel are operating near Indonesia and supporting the relief work there.
- Thirty-eight American helicopters are delivering supplies (16 from USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Carrier Group; 22 from the USS BONHOMME RICHARD Expeditionary Group; another 4 are on the way from the USS FORT MCHENRY). The USS BONHOMME RICHARD is ferrying supplies to shore via amphibious landing craft (LCACs).
- U.S. Navy/Marine pilots have flown 600 humanitarian missions.
- Water-production facilities are being established working with the Indonesian government.
- The Combined Support Group - Indonesia has flown 1,056 sorties to deliver 1,447,700 lbs of food, 989,200 lbs of water and 1,067,800 lbs of medical supplies, and evacuate 420 Indonesian tsunami victims. CSG-I has delivered more than 3 million pounds of material to tsunami survivors.
- Some 8000 Marines and Sailors are assisting in this relief effort.
- The majority of U.S. service members are “afloat”. Approximately 200 personnel on the ground in Indonesia.
- To aid reconnaissance and humanitarian relief planning, the US has flown P-3 aircraft, which provide real time imaging and damage assessment of the hardest hit areas.
- With USAID support, 220 IOM trucks are distributing relief supplies in and near Banda Aceh and Meulaboh. [Note: Despite UN attempts to claim IOM as one of its "agencies," IOM is an NGO, which in Indonesia receives the overwhelming bulk of its funds from the USG.]
- With USAID support, CARE is working with 30 centers at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps to prevent needless deaths-- especially of mothers and children. They have trained 40 volunteers on basic primary health care and education, and provided information regarding safe water systems (SWS) and the importance of SWS for staying healthy. USAID/CARE has provided hygiene improvement kits to 30,000 IDPs. SWS and hygiene kits are being distributed in 96 IDP camps in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, and Aceh Jaya.
- 70,080 bottles of Safe Water System (SWS), a home water chlorination kit pioneered by the US Centers for Disease Control (USCDC), have been provided by USAID. One capful purifies about 20 liters of water (5-6 gallons.) [Note: it tastes lousy, but it's safe.]
- The USG provides 16,400 metric tons of food daily to victims.
- 40,000 liters of USG-purchased UHT milk packed in school packs for children has been airlifted from Jakarta.
- The USS Abraham Lincoln is supplying thousands of families with potable water.
- Two USAID-chartered planes have delivered thousands of water containers, jerry cans, and other relief supplies to Medan, including plastic sheeting to shelter over 5,000 families.
- USAID-funded partners are providing hundreds of generators, refrigerators for medicines, communications equipment and basic emergency and shelter kits for families, temporary water and sanitation facilities, trauma counseling, clean up and access to other basic services.
- USAID approved nearly $300,000 to International Medical Corps (IMC) for 25 to 30 medical personnel and logistics coordinators to provide emergency services in Aceh.
- USAID provided $250,000 to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a sentinel health surveillance system for tsunami-affected areas of Aceh and Northern Sumatra provinces. [Note: WHO personnel are being flown around the region by US helicopters.]
- USAID provided $579,000 to establish a US Navy "WHO Reference diagnostic laboratory" in Banda Aceh to diagnose diseases posing the greatest risks: cholera, malaria, dengue, Hep A &E and others.
- USAID provided $1.5 million to UNICEF for child protection activities in Aceh Province.
- USAID provided $5 million to Development Alternatives, Inc. for immediate rehabilitation interventions, such as focused cash-for-work clean-up programs, short-term employment schemes, and community-based, small social infrastructure activities.
- USAID awarded four grants, using $2 million in emergency funds immediately after the tsunami: $249,985 to World Vision for shelter and household kits, $285,428 to International Relief and Development (IRD) for water and sanitation; $254,023 to Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO) for maternal and child health activities, and $292,060 to Mercy Corps for emergency response activities.
- As part of the contribution to UNHCR’s regional appeal, USAID designated $2 million for emergency shelter programs in Indonesia.
- USAID provided $2 million to IMC for mobile health units, rehabilitation of local health clinics, malaria control, and psychosocial support in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces.
U.S Private Sector support:
- American corporations have been quick to help, especially those based in the region. According to the American Chamber, "American companies and their employees with offices in Indonesia, have so far contributed in excess of $97 million in cash, products and services toward earthquake/tsunami relief and reconstruction."
- The American people have responded. It is difficult to tabulate private contributions, however the most recent estimates put private contributions by the U.S. public at large at over $325 million for the region.
Supply Side In Action
Economists think themselves rational and scientific, but so many become so involved in political agendas that the science does not follow the rules of the traditional "hard sciences."
We have more than a hundred years of economic data. You can do regression on the data and see what policies have worked and which are a fluke -- that is if you really want to see.
Time and again, tax cuts have lead to economic growth and concomitant gains in tax revenue. That's predicted by my hero, Professor Art Laffer. The WSJ Ed Page notes today (paid site, sorry!) that the previous cut in Capital Gains rates has, yet again, proven Dr. Laffer right:
Some people continue to believe, or at least still assert, that tax rates don't influence taxpayer behavior all that much. We therefore direct their attention to the Treasury Department's latest historical data on revenues from taxes on capital gains.
Compare this to "Ruebenomics" which dictates that if we raise taxes enough to pay off the deficit, that will lower interest rates and spark a boom, like it did in the 1990s.
Side note: this dot-commer would do anything to bring back the 90s. I am reading Dinesh D"Souza's "Virtue of Prosperity" which chronicles the rise of Yahoo and Sun and Silicon Valley dotcom fever. Never has a four year old book seemed so dated.
Though that was a fun time to be a computer programmer, few economists will admit that there is zero historical correlation between government debt and interest rates. Yet there is a half-century of direct correlation between lower marginal tax rates and prosperity. "Who you gonna believe, say the Reubenomics boys. Me or your lyin' eyes?":
January 21, 2005
As Alex points out below, the elections in Iraq are on schedule and the population seems very interested. I don't think any of us think it will be pretty but I, too, predict good turnout. And they can't screw it up any worse than Washington State, right?
I want to commend the candidates, workers, and voters, who are all standing up for their democratic rights -- at literal mortal peril. We have much to teach but much to learn about freedom.
Taranto, at Best of the Web, highlights two stories in the United States where people are too afraid of terrorism to allow votes. I repeat, these are in the USA: Illinois and Tennessee:
Groups want Iraqi voting moved
And in Illinois:
Suburban village tells Iraq election group to leave
After our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardsmen risked their lives for this, these suburbanites are "uncomfortable." I am rarely ashamed to be an American, but I am ashamed of sharing a country with these. Taranto asks "What kind of people are so pathetic and cowardly?"
Freshly liberated Iraqis head to the polls in nine days. As it the election year custom in our nation, a new one is trying to start itself in Iraq.
The poll, conducted in late December and early January for the International Republican Institute, found 80 percent of respondents saying they were likely to vote, a rate that has held roughly steady for months.
First Afghanistan, next Iraq.
I would add voting for freedom and standing up against oppression to the statement.
Losing a Great One at FCC
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page breaks some bad news today:
Michael Powell, one of Washington's better bureaucrats, is calling it quits today after four years at the helm of the Federal Communications Commission. You read it here first.
Powell is a true free market force in Government. I wrote an essay on his contributions to the public sector. I wish him good luck on new challenges but he will be sorely missed at the FCC.
January 20, 2005
The Inaugural Speech
"From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"
I was excited to launch this blog on the day of President Bush's second inauguration. The name of this blog and the heart of the speech are both Sharansky's book.
Did our character give credit to the cause? The transformative effects of freedom and democracy is at the heart of this blog and the second Bush term.
Organizers say it’s the first and only Soviet theme park in the world. Officially, the 30-hectare complex is called the Soviet Sculpture Garden at Grutas Park. But residents of the nearby village of Grutas have dubbed it Stalin World—a name that’s stuck.
During a recent gala opening, thousands of invited guests were greeted at the gate by an actor dressed as Stalin; a Lenin look-a-like, complete with a goatee and cap, sat fishing by a nearby pond. Guests were invited to drink shots of vodka and eat cold borscht soup from tin bowls, while loud speakers blared old communist hymns. Nearby, red Soviet propaganda posters read: “There’s No Happier Youth in the World Than Soviet Youth!”
“It combines the charms of a Disneyland with the worst of the Soviet gulag prison camp,” Malinauskas told assembled journalists, including a handful from abroad who’d flown in to report on the bizarre spectacle.
Real Identity: Alex Charyna, 27 year old child of immigrants. Live in Pennsylvania, work for big oil in Alaska. No, I don't know Dick Cheney.
On Blogging: I do it, I suppose. On my other blog pstupidonymous. My hope is that this blog will become a clearing house of discussing freedom and liberty issues. Pstupidonymous will hang out as my local and state blog. I'll cross post as appopriate.
On Politics: I'm a libertarian conservative registered as a Republican. What does that mean? It means government's role domestically is to get out of our way, while spreading freedom and liberty abroad.
Welcome to ThreeSources.com! This is an exciting project for me. I look forward to blogging with folks that I agree with frequently, and disagree with frequently. Fun.
Real Identity: John Kranz. "jk" is a nickname and a stage name. I invite you to check out Berkeley Square's web page. I am the guy with the guitar but subtract 70 pounds for a more current look. Buy a CD if you like jazz standards, the new one is pretty good!
Lafayette is in very blue Boulder County in the Red state of Colorado. I work in Boulder, rubbing elbows with the Che Guevara t-shirt crowd.
On blogging: There’s a great line in George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You.” From memory it goes something like this: “Your father raises orchids because he can – my mom writes plays because a typewriter was delivered here by mistake several years ago.” I set up a blog to try and sell a web design to somebody. I didn’t sell the design, but I didn’t stop blogging. My "Berkeley Square Blog" lasted just under two years, now I have set up shop here at ThreeSources.com.
I am intrigued with business, markets and economics -- and especially their effect on lifestyle. I like a lot of stuff, but am especially partial to the writings of Larry Kudlow, Virginia Postrel, and Susan Lee.
On Politics: Milton Friedman said it best: " I'm, a little-l libertarian and a big-R Republican. I want liberty for myself and don't mind trading some property to finance the advancement of Freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korea. I'm not socially conservative. Glenn Reynolds famously did not say "I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons," but I share that sentiment.
Larry Kudlow points out that the reports of Dr. Rice's diplomacy that focus on fence-mending with Old Europe are only half right.
As more of the story emerges, it appears that Condi Rice's "public diplomacy" involves more than just fence-mending with France and Germany -- she is very serious about advancing Bush's vision of the transformative power of democracy as the best solution to our problems in Iraq and elsewhere. She, too, is a believer in Natan Sharansky's "town square" test.
January 19, 2005
Brass Monkey Weather
The Dumbest Idea
New Jib Jab