June 30, 2005

A Powerful Letter

Over at HughHewitt.com

The grim reality of war hit us in our small office here in Southern California.

The helicopter crash that took the lives of 17 of our finest took the life of the boyfriend of one of our co-workers. She knew yesterday that his team was on that helicopter but it was not until this morning that we finally learned that he was with his team when the aircraft went down.

Needless to say, it's been very quiet around here as our thoughts and prayers are with our friend and we continue our work. Obviously, at times like this, work seems very unimportant.

I had the opportunity to meet our coworker's boyfriend and, taking a cue from you, thanked him for his service.

I have found that those I have thanked for their service have always been very humble and almost reluctant to receive the appreciation from a fellow American. This man I met and thanked as no different than any of the others I have met and, for me, will always be a testament of the selflessness and humble professionalism of those who serve to protect our country.

This July 4th will have a different meaning for me and although I don't know how, I'm sure this event will have an effect on me for the rest of my life.

I will never hesitate now to show nothing less han the most heartfelt appreciation to the sacrifice of those who serve and their families because now the true sacrifice of those who die in defense of this country is now far more than the abstract idea it has always been for me.

Dying in defense of your county is now very tangible and very real.

Thanks as always for your continued fight...

Thanks to all who serve. Thanks.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:55 PM

Iraq: Just Like that other War...

No, not Vietnam -- the real parallel seems to me to be the Civil War. I am no history scholar, and the "War Between The States" is not my forte.

All the same, I was watching General Wesley Clark's commentary (rebutting) the President's speech the other night. And I thought "My God! It's the reincarnation of General McClellan!" He'll run in '08 as the anti-war candidate against what will be a pretty complete victory.

My pals at the WSJ Ed Page run with this meme. The real parallel is not strategic or military, but the behavior of the opposition.

Wanted: A Constructive Opposition

Scanning the commentary after President Bush's Fort Bragg speech on Iraq, our eyes were caught by a headline in The New York Times: "Wanted: A Policy." True, the advice was dated 1861, not 2005, and the President at whom it was directed wasn't George W. Bush, but Abraham Lincoln. But you get the idea; plus ça change.

They take a few whacks at Gen. Clark, Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Reid -- but then they really pile on Senator Joe Biden:
Then there is Delaware Senator Joe Biden, whose thoughts on the subject are particularly worth attending to because he is the Democratic Party's lead spokesman on the issue. Consider his track record to date:
• In April 2004, Mr. Biden predicted there would be "absolute chaos" in Iraq following the handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government of Ayad Allawi. "Who's going to be the referee when [U.S. Ambassador Paul] Bremer leaves?" he demanded to know on CBS's Early Show. But Mr. Allawi helped smooth the transition to the current representative government, and he has taken his place as a leader of the opposition.

• In December 2004, Mr. Biden said prospects for a successful election in Iraq were "receding rapidly" because of Administration mismanagement; a month later, he predicted the election was "going to be ugly." But the January 30 elections were peaceful and inspiring.

• Earlier this month, Mr. Biden called the de-Baathification of the Iraqi army one of the "major mistakes" of U.S. policy, and called for Iraqis to rehire some of Saddam Hussein's old colonels. But it was precisely the April 2004 effort to re-enlist Baathist officers in the so-called Fallujah Brigade that was among the Administration's greatest mistakes so far in Iraq.

The Senator's latest ideas are to accept an Egyptian offer to train Iraqi police and to get NATO to deploy some troops to police the border with Syria. On the former, we weren't previously aware that the Cairo constabulary was a paragon of efficiency and probity, which is perhaps why the Iraqi government has discreetly turned away the offer. On the latter, has he talked to the French? They've barely allowed NATO forces to help in Afghanistan, much less be deployed in numbers in Iraq.

We stress Mr. Biden's views because he strikes us as one Democrat who understands the stakes in Iraq and seems genuinely interested in a good outcome. The thinness of even his policy alternatives suggests that Democrats really don't have any better ideas than the two-pronged Bush strategy of 1) supporting a new, inclusive democratic Iraqi government and 2) training and deploying Iraqi security forces as rapidly as possible.

I'm willing to admit that it might be good politics. They cannot compete on a serious policy vis-à-vis the War on Terror, they can capture and inculcate the anti-war crowd, and hope anti-war fever catches on.

Decent politics -- but it didn't work too well for McClellan...

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM

June 29, 2005

Pinch Me

I'm dreaming.
A positive economic article from the AP?

    Even in the face of high energy prices, the economy turned in a solid performance in the first quarter of 2005, suggesting the expansion should stay on firm footing.

    The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic standing, increased at an annual rate of 3.8 percent from January through March, according to revised figures released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

    That compared with a 3.5 percent growth rate estimated a month ago and matched the showing over the final three months of 2004.

    GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States. In the opening quarter of 2005, it climbed to $11.1 trillion on an annualized basis, adjusted for inflation.

    Brisk spending on housing projects, more investment by business in equipment and software, and a trade deficit that was less of a drag on economic growth all played a role in the higher first-quarter GDP reading.

    "The economy is performing well. Sturdy growth with modest inflation," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com.

Incredibly there weren't that many "buts" in the whole thing.
What's going on?

(hint, it's not an election year)

But jk thinks:

But Alex, in times of economic growtth, we are sure to see greater disparities between the rich and poor as the rich get more richer than the poor get richer.

I'm sure the AP will follow up with some figures on that pretty soon...

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2005 10:21 AM

June 28, 2005

Good Speech

I don't know whether it won any converts but I thought the president did well tonight.[Speech text]

Don't forget to visit the www.americasupportsyou.mil website to support the troops.

My wife and I are so proud of you, your mission, and the great job you do.

We have a great life in this country, thanks to your courage, professionalism and dedication. Never forget our support. We will never forget your service!

But johngalt thinks:

"After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult — and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult. And we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal — but they are no match for the United States of America — and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military."

The President's voice crackled with emotion as he recited the closing line of the preceeding quote, praising our troops. Compare that to POTUS 42's lip-biting as he feigns to "feel our pain."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2005 1:16 AM

Lost Liberty Hotel

Want a tangible result from your charitable giving? Help build a hotel!

The US Supreme Court's recent ruling in 'Kelo v. City of New London' removed the last obstacle preventing this project from moving forward. The 'Lost Liberty Hotel' project had previously been blocked by the current use of the desired development site as a private residence for a single American family. Now that the Supreme Court has obliterated the Constitutional restrictions on emminent domain, the process of bribing city officials to obtain condemnation of the property can begin in earnest.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Who's that? Souter? Yes, Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, whose residence at 34 Cilley Hill Road in Weare, New Hampshire is the future building site for the hotel.

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

So there you have it. A site is "necessary" just because the developer says it is. As long as the local government goes along the individual is powerless to stop them. We'll see how David feels when he faces Goliath by himself, without his flowing robe.

And there's a delicious coup de grace, for me anyway: "Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." HOO-rah.

But jk thinks:

Ha! Just to doink with Justice Souter a bit is well worth a few bucks.

I agree that Kelo is a bad decision, but I am having a hard time getting riled about it (I'm STILL fuming from Raich!) At some level, it seems a concept of eminent domain is required for progress. And I suspect the people harmed by Kelo will tend to be wackos trying to block a Wal*Mart and not simple folks who are pushed aside for more government revenue.

I am way out of step with the blogosphere in general and a lot of people I respect on this. Am I banned from ThreeSources?

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2005 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, you're not banned from ThreeSources, and it's not surprising that you think the government should have SOME recourse with intransigent "wackos" taking unfair advantage of their windfall position in the path of the most advantage rail route through XYZ mountains, or some such. America's Founders, after all, thought so too, and provided said recourse in the Fifth Amendment. But this wasn't "good enough" for Justice Souter and the liberal gang-of-four. It "proved to be impractical given the diverse and always evolving needs of society." [BARF!]

Dagny and I are currently reading Judge Napolitano's "Constitutional Chaos." In chapter 5 (appropriately) he discusses governmental violations of the takings clause. In Hurst, Texas, in 2000, "the town fathers threatened to condemn 127 homes so that its largest taxpayer, a real estate company, could build a larger parking lot for the town's mall. (...) Despite the fact that the government used the eminent domain power for a clearly private use, a Texas trial judge allowed the developer to demolish the homes even though the lawsuit wasn't over. The Prohs and the Duval families had each owned their homes for thirty years. Most shockingly, Leonard Prohs was forced to move while his wife was in the hospital with brain cancer; she died five days after the house was demolished. Phyllis Duval's husband, also in the hospital with cancer at the time, died one month after the demolition."

I also happen to have personal knowledge of such a situation, having followed the newspaper accounts of an eminent domain condemnation of a home in Superior, Colorado to make way for a shopping center that includes a Costco store I shop at regularly. The elderly couple had lived there for decades and had no desire to rip up their lives to make way for "progress." Within two months of their forceable relocation, both had died.

Napolitano goes on to explain that cases like this are copious. "On a daily basis, the government can be found plotting to violate the Constitution in order to take away your land. A recent report by the Castle Coalition [http://www.castlecoalition.org/] ... chronicled 10,382 government attempts to condemn private property for the benefit of other private individuals in the last ten years."

The Founders intended the courts to be a checking mechanism against this sort of tyranny on the part of a branch of the government, but the courts have abdicated that duty. The Kelo ruling is the latest and the most destructive SCOTUS ruling in a string that Napolitano summarizes beginning in 1936 with 'New York City Housing Authority v. Mueller' and including 'Bush Terminal Co. v. City of New York' in 1940, 'Kaskel v. Impellitteri' in 1953, and 'Berman v. Parker' in 1954, which Napolitano characterized as "the final blow to 'public use." (It's an excellent book. I highly recommend it.)

So, is there enough here for you to get riled about 'Kelo' now?

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2005 1:06 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

JK and I have argued many things over many years and I can't remember a time when I thought he was more wrong about something. This nightmarish decision is not only an assault on the property rights of individuals,as desribed so well in John Galt's post; it is a huge step towards collectivism and a command economy. If this were simply a matter of "wackos vs. Walmart" we'd see the usual liberal suspects lining up to demounce the decison as "pro business" and as an attack on the "little guy." Of course the champions of working Americans are nowhere to be found because this decision will go such a long way towards creating the "progressive society" they crave. God save us from this court!
If I may, I too have a book suggestion. Take a look at Robert Bork's "The Tempting of America." Bork's arguments for judicial restraint are profound and his recollections of the confirmation process are very timely, given the confirmation battles we are about to go through.
Not to beat a dead horse, but our Supreme Court just handed us a law regarding eminent domain that no sane legislator would have voted for. Coupled with their recent veiws on interstate commerce, these decisions become powerful tools for those in our society who would like to abolish propery rights and move towards collectivism, central planning and the redustribution of wealth. The longer we allow ourselves to view the Supreme Court in terms of abortion rights not found anywhere in the constitution, the more we face the erosion of those rights that were clearly spelled out.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 29, 2005 9:33 AM
But jk thinks:

I appreciate the argument. I cannot argue back because I agree that it is a bad decision; it certainly should have gone the other way.

And, whoa cowboys! I agree that SCOTUS is waaaay off track. My point is that I was MORE upset about Raich. Using the commerce clause to regulate intra-state non-commerce! Whaaaa?

I will cry "Mea Culpla" and accept the dressing down from JohnGalt and SugarChuck. There are abuses, and I am likely naive about their prevalence.

But we all have our issues. Two of mine are the importance of Federalism and reduced gub'mint intrusion into personal health care -- especially for the seriously and chronically sick. Raich went by with a small whimper from the libertarian set, and Kelo set off a firestorm of punditry and now legislation. The relative asininity of these decisions is comparable, the reaction was not.

(And you were too upset to catch my joke "Still Fuming about Raich!" I am thinking of a bumpersticker on that...)

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2005 10:21 AM

Hip Hop Cabinet

Thanks Dick and Ann!


Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Go Bush Daddy!

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2005 2:04 PM

June 27, 2005

eBay Bargain

Don't get mad, get even...

eBay item 4556985749 (Ends 17-Jun-05 00:26:49 BST) - Lotus Esprit Turbo

I need to get rid of this car immediately - ideally in the next 2-3 hours before my cheating arsehole husband gets home to find it gone and all his belongings in the street.
I am the registered owner and I have the log book. Please only buy if you can pick up tonight.

So the lothario DJ's wife sells his precious Lotus for 50p. The rest of the story is here.

Hat-tip: Samizdata

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Very funny, but I suspect she had a few screws loose herself.

Posted by: AlexC at June 27, 2005 11:03 PM

His Orotundity

The Weekly Standard's Scrapbook lays low Senator Byrd's autobiography with an acerbic wit worthy pf a British Obituary.

Fess up: It's been out a whole week already, but still not a soul among you has taken the time to track down and purchase a copy of Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields.

And let's keep it that way, shall we?

Rather than plunk down $35 for this 770-page doorstop, let's instead simply indulge ourselves, first, in a loud, lusty snicker over the preposterous promotional campaign West Virginia University Press has prepared for The Great Fossil's long-unawaited autobiography. This kind of thing: "Senator Byrd's journey from the hard-scrabble coalfields to the marbled halls of Congress has inspired generations of people in West Virginia and throughout the nation. From reading the stories of the Founding Fathers as a young boy by the light of a kerosene lamp to the swearing of an oath for more than half a century to guard the United States Constitution, Senator Byrd's life is legendary." Barf.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Bravo for the unvarnished descriptive prose, JK. Until I reached the byline I thought this was an AlexC post! You've got RANGE, my man.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2005 2:26 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm humbled!

Posted by: AlexC at June 27, 2005 9:27 PM

June 26, 2005

Steyn on Flag Burning

No surprise that Mark Steyn would have the best exegesis on the flag burning amendment.

Unlike Congressman Cunningham, I wouldn't presume to speak for those who died atop the World Trade Center. For one thing, citizens of more than 50 foreign countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, were killed on 9/11. Of the remainder, maybe some would be in favor of a flag-burning amendment; and maybe some would think that criminalizing disrespect for national symbols is unworthy of a free society.

"[C]riminalizing disrespect for national symbols is unworthy of a free society" definitely nails it for me. But every Steyn column provides thought, and humor as well as rhetoric. And this does not disappoint. He contends that legal flag burning helps us to see our enemies for what they are. Better still, he shows that the flag is burned because of its power.
Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong. I'm a Canadian and one day, during the Kosovo war, I switched on the TV and there were some fellows jumping up and down in Belgrade burning the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Big deal, seen it a million times. But then to my astonishment, some of those excitable Serbs produced a Maple Leaf from somewhere and started torching that. Don't ask me why -- we had a small contribution to the Kosovo bombing campaign but evidently it was enough to arouse the ire of Slobo's boys. I've never been so proud to be Canadian in years. I turned the sound up to see if they were yelling ''Death to the Little Satan!'' But you can't have everything.

All hail the great Steyn!

Hat-tip: PowerLine Blog

But Attila thinks:

Burning a flag is the quintessential political protest, so I would oppose the amendment.

That said, the proper response is to create an affirmative defense to assault charges for someone who applies reasonable force to the face of the flag burner.

Posted by: Attila at June 29, 2005 4:12 PM

June 25, 2005

Government Meddling in Business

Here's why it's usually a dumb idea.

    PC makers and distributors are holding back from buying the new alternative version of Windows XP that Europe's competition commissioner ordered Microsoft Corp. to offer as part of the punishment in the software maker's long antitrust battle with the European Union.

    Windows XP N was released to distributors last week in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and will be available to the public in the next few weeks. Versions in 10 additional languages will be released in July.

    The world's largest software maker had to change its Windows operating system after EU antitrust regulators ruled last year that it abusively wielded its Windows monopoly and locked out competitors. Microsoft was fined a record euro497 million ($608 million).

    But computer distributors and manufacturers are so far showing little interest in the new product, which compels consumers to choose their media player and download it from the Internet.

Yeah, no kidding. Imagine being compelled to not include free software on a disc. Who's the real winner here?

Pretty much only lawyers and bureaucrats.

    "We'll first see how it sells. I heard that this version would be cheaper," said Jose Cabeza, technical director for Publinet. "If it isn't, logically the market will decide about it. I don't see why a client on the street would choose a lesser product."

Obviously, some EU do-gooding busy body saw why a customer would want a lesser product.

I don't understand why it would be cheaper though. Windows Media Player is FREE! If you don't include FREE stuff, why mark it down? $99 - $0 is still $99.

Microsoft is going to have the last laugh. Though they already tried.

    Microsoft initially wanted to call the new version of its consumer operating system "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition" but EU regulators said that name would discourage sales.

It's pretty obvious that this "punishment" was a waste of everyone's time. Didn't anyone see this coming?

But jk thinks:

Sad to say, I think EVERYBODY saw this coming. But EU Bureaucrats are not to be deterred. Nor are NYAG Eliot Spitzer, the FDA, Campaign Finance Reform aficionados...

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2005 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If the original versions of XP are still available in Europe, alongside their government-spawned bastard step-brothers, it shows that EU regulators still have a lot to learn about how to rig their economy. Perhaps there's hope the economy will roll over them before they figure it out.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2005 2:22 PM

June 24, 2005

Rove on Liberals

A full quotation.

    But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what Moveon.org did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be" to "use moderation and restraint in responding to the… terrorist attacks against the United States."

    MoveOn.Org, Michael Moore and Howard Dean may not have agreed with this, but the American people did. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see … Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia.

Read the whole thing.

An important thing missed by those who freaked out, is that LEFT or LIBERAL does not equal DEMOCRAT. Similarly, CONSERVATIVE does not equal REPUBLICAN.

There are overlaps, but it is not a snug fit.

Karl Rove's genius shines through again.

When John Kerry avoided (or tried to avoid) the term liberal during a debate, he was hiding from it. Very similar to the perferred self-identification "progressive" instead of liberal. Or, as in David Horowitz's Radical Son, "progressive" instead of communist.

When John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid come out against Rove's commentary what can someone think but they are defending themselves as liberals?

Politics Posted by AlexC at 5:00 PM

Equity Dive

Everybody attributed yesterday's stock declines to $60 oil (dammit, AlexC, turn up the domestic production!) but Larry Kudlow sees it as a reaction to protectionism

Today’s triple-digit Dow decline was caused by an unusual Senatorial display of trade and currency protectionism aimed at China.

Any efforts to destabilize China are misguided and harmful in economic and national security terms. The freedom to trade has enormously benefited China, the U.S., and the rest of the world’s growth. China economic demands have promoted U.S. business across-the-board from industrials, metals, energy, tech, and elsewhere.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM

Makes you go "Hmmm."

Lileks hits a house favorite in today's Bleat

You don’t hear much about Evil Spain grinding the natives under their boot, any more than you hear about Belgium’s merry escapades in the Congo. In fact, the Spanish culture has been subsumed into a general Latino identity in a way that makes it oddly immune from criticism. Hey, don’t talk to me about racism and oppression – look what you guys did to the Indians! It would sound bizarre, no?

This is a house favorite because of my wife's Filipino ancestry. Spanish oppression and looting all around the world is forgiven and forgotten. As Lileks says, "Yet the Original Sin of the New World always seems to focus on the 19th century American experience, and everything else is just a messy regrettable blur."

England and America left good governmental and economic ideas in their wake. This is not an excuse for colonialism, but it is a mitigating circumstance. Spain just loaded up the wealth and split.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM

Where "Star Wars" fans go when they grow up.

That's a kinder description of the "Nerd Prom" that lined up at 5:00 PM for a 10:00PM sneak preview of the unfinished Serenity movie.

Whedon is trying a new marketing approach, letting the beloved "browncoats" see the film in progress. And the Weekly Standard has a comprehensive piece on it.

"Firefly went on the air two years ago," [Joss] Whedon continues, "and was immediately hailed by critics as one of the most canceled shows of the year."

Everyone laughs.

"It was ignored and abandoned, and the story should end there--but it doesn't. Because the people who made the show and the people who saw the show--which is, roughly, the same number of people--fell in love with it a little bit. Too much to let it go. . . . In Hollywood, people like that are called unrealistic, quixotic, obsessive. In my world, they're called 'Browncoats.'"

"This movie should not exist," he continues. "Failed TV shows don't get made into major motion pictures--unless the creator, the cast, and the fans believe beyond reason. . . . It is, in an unprecedented sense, your movie.

"Which means, if it sucks, it's your fault."


What made Firefly stand out was its odd, romantic characters and gutsy, strange writing. The dialogue tended to be a bizarre puree of wisecracks, old-timey Western-paperback patois, and snatches of Chinese. The stories were mostly simple genre exercises: train heists, double-crosses, duels at dawn, running from the law. And they allowed the crew--which included a fugitive doctor (Sean Maher), his psychic sister (Summer Glau), a missionary (Ron Glass), a cute mechanic (Jewel Staite), and a courtesan (Morena Baccarin)--to bump and occasionally grind against each other in amusing ways. The chemistry was irresistible.

I link 'cause I am a browncoat, but also because I once predicted that a "long-tail" approach might spread to movies from music and journalism. This project is driven by the fans in a new way.
Since the fan screenings began, Firefly DVD sales have shot up the genre charts at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. In July, a Dark Horse Serenity comic book, written by Whedon, will hit shelves, and the Sci-Fi Channel will soon start broadcasting the 14 Firefly episodes--all of them, in order.

Sept 30, I'll be at the Nerd Prom. See you there. Trailer.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM

June 23, 2005

MIT Blog Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

I took it, it is pretty interesting. Instapundit linked today so I bet it will collect some data...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM

ROVE Should Resign

Stop! It hurts! Stop!

Democrats now say that Karl Rove's remarks are beyond the pale -- and that he must Apologize or Resign

WASHINGTON - Democrats said Thursday that White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for accusing liberals of wanting "therapy and understanding" for the Sept. 11 attackers, escalating partisan rancor that threatens to consume Washington.

I think AlexC should resign for putting that hateful picture up!

But AlexC thinks:

Rove is a genius.

"Elected by the people" Durbin dick-steps... Democrats don't call for anything, Republican reaction is *grumble grumble* maybe resign your seniority.... censure.....

Unelected White House staff does something similar (note he said liberals, not Democrats), and it's 110 decibles.

Looks pretty funny to me.

Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2005 2:16 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Oh... would a compassionate head tilt along with my apology suffice?

Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2005 2:20 AM

June 22, 2005

Save Me From the GOP!

Oh wait. I guess I am a Republican. But when I read things like this I wonder why.

WASHINGTON - The House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag, a measure that for the first time stands a chance of passing the Senate as well.

Worse still, my opinion is best summed up by Uber-weenie Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
"If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [5]
But AlexC thinks:

Although I agree with the spirit and goal of the law/amendment, I find it hard to imagine how someone can legislate "respect."

It's going to be obviously unenforceable. How many flag burning dirty hippies can you really arrest before you get tired of it?

Posted by: AlexC at June 22, 2005 10:23 PM
But jk thinks:

I've always felt pretty strongly, as Rep Nadler says, that the idea of freedom is so strong that we even allow the desecration of its most important symbol.

Also, as Glenn pointed out (AFTER I POSTED, I beat Insty!) with a war and a broken pension system and an insane tax structure, one wishes our dear Congress could find something more important to meddle in.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2005 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My personal judgement of those who burn the American flag is that they are filthy little beasts.

Nonetheless, the motivation to outlaw inflammatory flag burning is because "it makes people mad." How is this any different than laws that forbid "hate speech" directed towards minorities and gays? It isn't. It's the same lame attempt, for the same lame reason, but by a different offended group - patriotic, red-blooded Americans.

As Dagny says, two wrongs don't make a right. I say, scuttle the flag burning amendment and repeal every manner of "hate crime" law.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2005 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Please don't misunderstand -- anybody who burns a flag should be repeatedly kicked in the face by the nearest available Marine.

But he should not be arrested or subject to criminal penalties, just kicked in the face. The beauty of this is that you don't need ratification by the States.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2005 4:30 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

John Galt is absolutely right about laws governing "hate speech." Almost as galling as their very existence is the selective enforcement we see, courtesy of the left wing thought police. Burn a cross on a blackman's lawn and that is hate speech. Put a cross in a jar of urine and it is art. It is illegal to offend someone of color but perfectley fine to offend someone of faith.
I find it troublesome that the speech most valued by our founding fathers, political speech,
is less protected than Larry Flynt's first amendment right to pedal porn. That this diminution of our right to express ourselves politically can largely be blamed on Republicans is all the more abhorent.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 23, 2005 4:34 PM

Gitmo vs. Hanoi Hilton

A great reader letter in Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today:

My husband was a POW in Vietnam for five-and-a-half years. He is beside himself over this Gitmo stuff. “Honey glazed chicken!” he says. “What about moldy bread with rat turds in it?” And “what about nothing but pumpkin for 45 days?” And “what about getting beri-beri from eating nothing but white rice for months?”

“They complain that the air conditioning was turned up?” he says. They made him live in a box outdoors for months, under the summer sun.

“They are put in uncomfortable positions?” he says. He had to sit on a stool for months, in one position.

And so forth.

He is writing a column on this, but he is recovering from surgery so he is slow writing it. The surgery is his second hip replacement; his hip was eaten up by the beri-beri.

Yet nobody’s asked any of the POWs what they think of the Gitmo thing.

Follow the link for more amazing speechifying from our Secretary of Statue.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM

Rice 2008

"The Egyptian Government must fulfill the promise it has made to its people--and to the entire world--by giving its citizens the freedom to choose. Egypt's elections, including the Parliamentary elections, must meet objective standards that define every free election."--Condoleezza Rice, speaking Monday at the American University, Cairo

Ever since President Bush settled on a policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East, he has been repeatedly lambasted for his alleged hypocrisy: Why advocate democracy for Iraq and Lebanon, say the critics, but not for autocratic U.S. allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia? In this telling, "democracy" is said to be just an alibi for the pursuit of narrow U.S. interests, especially a steady supply of oil.

Well, so much for that view. On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to Cairo and then Riyadh and, in soft tones, delivered a stark message: America would no longer pursue "stability at the expense of democracy." The U.S. will now notice when peaceful Egyptian protestors are brutalized by government security goons, or when Saudi citizens are imprisoned for "peacefully petitioning the government"; and the future of both countries as American allies rests on the seriousness of their commitment to democratic reform.

I will think about sending this to my friend who sends me all the MoveOn.org conspiracies and anti-Bush editorials. We'll see.

But today's WSJ shakes my endorsement theory quite a bit. First, the first page reminds that Senators McCain and Chafee have opposed eliminating the "death tax" (The deficit, you know) and the Ed Page leads with Secretary Rice's barnstorming the MidEast as the Sharansky disciple she is. And she would never, ever, ever find herself paired with a Lincioln Chafee in a news story.

Rice 2008. If there's no chance of drafting her, McCain.

But AlexC thinks:

Between Campaign Finance "Reform", the Keating affair, and the fact that the media love him, the Senator leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I like Rice, if she doesn't run, Romney looks interesting. K-Lo @ NRO is pushing him of late.

But it's waaaaay too early to hazard a guess anyway.

Posted by: AlexC at June 22, 2005 10:24 PM

June 21, 2005

1964 Killings

Justice is finally served.

    Forty-one years to the day after three civil rights workers were beaten and shot to death, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was found guilty of manslaughter Tuesday in a trial that marked Mississippi's latest attempt to atone for its bloodstained, racist past.

In other news, Senator Robert Byrd has a new book.
    The 770-page book is the latest in a long series of attempts by the 87-year-old Democratic patriarch to try to explain that event early in his life. In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites - doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other "upstanding people" who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics who historically were targets of the Klan."

Timing is everything.

Posted by AlexC at 7:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Killen should have been elected to the Senate -- it could have all ended up so differently!

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2005 11:19 AM

58% say "keep Gitmo!"

Power Line has some interesting poll results. American adults said 58 - 36 to keep Guantanamo Bay vs. close it; 52 vs. 37 approve of our treatment. Hindrocket sez:

It seems like there is a common denominator in the Dems' tactics of late: they're going really hard after the most liberal 37% of the population. I'd guess that the people who think Priscilla Owen is a dangerous extremist are pretty much exactly the same ones who lie awake at night worrying that a terrorist's air conditioning might not be properly adjusted.


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:47 PM

Apology Accepted?

From Yahoo/AP

    "Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

What about to those that think that the remarks were spot on? Is there a winking or a finger crossing here?
    His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

    "They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

What's the deal with Senators crying?

Voinovich and Durbin.

Who's next?

But jk thinks:

I think we should start a blog pool -- which will be the next Senator to cry?

1) Tom Harkin: "ADM wil have to (sniff) survive on only...$341 Million next year if these cuts are..are enacted (bwaaaaaaa!)

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2005 6:51 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Folks love to see a grown man cry. If Pete Rose could have bawled a little and worked up some sniffles, he'd be in the Hall of Fame. Nothing says "I really mean it," like a few tears streaking down the cheek. So, let's take a look at what Durbin did and didn't mean. He didn't mean he was wrong or that he was sorry for being wrong. He is sorry for having offended anyone. Hmmm... to me that sounds like he still thinks he's right and if I'm an idiot and can't see that, he's sorry I've got a bee in my bonnet. Furthermore, he's sorry that all of my idiot friends have bees in their bonnets too and that we are now making his life miserable. He's sorry he is no longer on anybody's list of potential VP candidates too. Well boo hoo Senator, apology not accepted. Cry me a river.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 22, 2005 12:55 PM

Conservative Power

Great article in the WSJ Ed Page today: Cheer Up Conservatives!

One item that seemed especially applicable to ThreeSources:

But is this loss of steam really all that remarkable? All second-term presidents face restlessness in the ranks. And the noise is arguably a sign of strength. The Democrats would give a lot to have a big-tent party as capacious as the Republicans'. One of the reasons the GOP manages to contain Southern theocrats as well as Western libertarians is that it encourages arguments rather than suppressing them. Go to a meeting of young conservatives in Washington and the atmosphere crackles with ideas, much as it did in London in the heyday of the Thatcher revolution. The Democrats barely know what a debate is.

They are right on. The Democrats cannot add coalition members because they cannot branch out if it involves heterodoxy to the base.

The piece is pretty optimistic, though it does underscore the need (oft quoted 'round here) to keep the Evangelicals in the tent.

Another ppg I dug:

The biggest advantage of all for conservatives is that they have a lock on the American dream. America is famously an idea more than a geographical expression, and that idea seems to be the province of the right. A recent Pew Research Center Survey, "Beyond Red Versus Blue," shows that the Republicans are more optimistic, convinced that the future will be better than the past and that they can determine their own futures. Democrats, on the other hand, have a European belief that "fate," or, in modern parlance, social circumstances, determines people's lot in life. (And judging by some recent series in newspapers on the subject, the party appears to have staunch allies in American newsrooms at least.)

I feel better. You?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM

Adopt a Blog

This is cool and I hope it works.

ThreeSources will happily host a Chinese blog to help a blogger circumvent government blocking.


But johngalt thinks:

Excellent! I can't wait to add the byline to our header, "Officially banned in the People's Republic of China!"

I can't wait to comment on the Chinese posts. Sure hope they're in English!

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2005 3:05 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Let's aspire to be banned by Cuba, North Korea and Iran as well!

Posted by: AlexC at June 21, 2005 5:28 PM

Still Pro War

I want to reaffirm my support, not only of the troops but of their mission.

Senator Durbin's comments, focus on Gitmo, poll numbers, &c. have obscured the goals and achievements of the War on Terror.

I have mentioned my friend’s emails before. I respond infrequently because I think that she does not enjoy my responses, but I respond occasionally because -- well -- I can't stop.

Today she sends an EJ Dionne column with a preface about how she has always suspected a global conspiracy. She cites the Dionne column and a Bill Moyers interview on CNN as substantiation.

Here is my response. I was happy to affirm my support:

I should be nice and let a few more go by, but I MUST comment on today’s email

I read every word you send, by the way. I worry that you are less exposed to alternate views. Today’s email quotes E.J. Dionne and Bill Moyers, whom I consider to be two of the most far left and anti-administration people in Journalism today. Yes, Thomas Friedman supported the war, but I would not say that he supported the administration. Friedman is a moderate liberal, not a right winger.

I’m sure the war could have been prosecuted better and I wish Iraq were more stable today. But I clearly believe there is far more hope for an Iraqi today than when Saddam Hussein was filling mass graves and throwing people into recycling shredders. The elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine-Authority, and Lebanon – plus the growing movements in Egypt are all direct benefits of the Coalition’s muscular approach to terrorism.

The US will likely never be “safe” as our open society exposes vulnerabilities. But I certainly feel that we are safer with Saddam out of power and many al-Qaeda leaders captured or killed.

We’ve paid a high price, and I flatly reject that those who have died have done so to enrich the wealthy. They did it for their country and to make the world better – and I believe that they did.

I hate to end on a side note but rich folks enjoy stability: make deals with Saddam, make deals with the Saudis, keep the money rolling in. Inviting instability is a bold move that was not done for profit, it was done for freedom. History will judge its efficacy but I am confident judging its intentions today.

With love and respect,

Your friend.

More eloquent and important than me, Col. Repya write the Minneapolis StarTrib today, hat-tip Power Line
I was so upset when I read the Star Tribune's Editorial today that I sent off this letter below to the editor from my duty desk in Baghdad, Iraq. The voices of millions killed by Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot are rising from their mass graves and demanding an apology. Durbin is wrong and the Star Tribune is wrong even more. Clearly they are not on our side! Soldiers over here keep asking me why America has forgotten 9-11. I keep telling them that the liberal media won't let the American people see the images of the murdered and tortured Iraqis we find every day over here. Please keep up the fight back home and I promise the American military will win the war over here!

Thanks you for your service. Colonel!

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM

June 20, 2005

2008 Endorsement

No, never too early to talk politics.

I have been dreaming of a '08 match up between the Junior Senator from New York and the 66th Secretary of State. But a gander at the Sunday shows yesterday has taken me to an odd place.

Sec. Rice was on FNS and if she were to run, I will sell the house and quit my job to get her elected. BUT, she demurred and it was enough to make me think that a Rice '08 run is really not gonna happen.

So I watched Russert last night interview Senator McCain. I HATE McCain-Feingold, I'm still mad about his waffley-non-support of the President's tax cut, I'm not wild about the 14 Senator compromise on judges -- and basically admire McCain's heroic service yet am annoyed by his presence. I fear that he prefers media approbation to principle.

And yet. He was great on MTP yesterday. He pointed out that he supported the President in 2004 (against his ambitions) and pointed out that media have over-hyped (no!) disagreements between he and the administration. He pointed out that he has supported the administration on all the important issues.

I'm softening today. I'll give my ThreeSources brothers a chance to straighten me out but consider:

-- He is a very popular Republican. I'm all for a more conservative candidate but I don't want to lose the general to Senator Clinton.

-- He is an eloquent speaker that can pitch conservative and American ideals forcefully and cogently.

-- He is war hero, friend to the military, and fierce advocate of freedom and victory in the war on terror.

-- He did support President Bush in '04. I think of him and the words "loyal Republican" don't well up in my heart, but he did it in '04 and deserves a reward.

So: McCain in 2008. Anybody else in?

UPDATE: some lurkers are shocked (so am I). I have said nice things about the Senator from Arizona (both, actually) before. I will return to his oratorical skills, most recently his speech at the comvention:

"Take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals and our unconquerable love for them. ... We fight for love of freedom and justice--a love that is invincible. Keep that faith! Keep your courage! Stick together! Stay strong! Do not yield! Do not flinch! Stand up! Stand up with our President and fight! We're Americans! We're Americans and we'll never surrender! They will!" "

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

You make a great case JK. Let's see the MSM demonize him after they've made him a saint.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2005 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

An emailer mentioned that they would turn very quickly. I responded:

Yes the media would turn but the dude is very charismatic and charming. By the time they figure out he is a Republican he may have done serious damage.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2005 3:08 PM

June 19, 2005

American Apologizing

Tip to Tim Blair.

But johngalt thinks:

To those who believe that capitalist and religiously tolerant America's continued existence "crosses the line" (apologies to Richard "Dick" Durbin), WE APOLOGIZE.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2005 2:55 PM

Censure Durbin?

That's what Newt Gingrich is asking the other 99 Senators.

    By his statements equating American treatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay with the behavior of the evil regimes of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Senator Richard Durbin has dishonored the United States and the entire U.S. Senate. Only by a vote to censure Senator Durbin for his conduct can the U.S. Senate restore its dignity and defend American honor.

Recall that during the impeachment trial, one of the alternatives was censuring President Clinton. It never went anywhere.

I can see why. It's nothing more than saying "naughty naughty, now go and make laws again."

    Less severe than expulsion, a censure (sometimes referred to as condemnation or denouncement) does not remove a senator from office. It is a formal statement of disapproval, however, that can have a powerful psychological effect on a member and his/her relationships in the Senate. In 1834, the Senate censured President Andrew Jackson – the first and only time the Senate censured a president. Since 1789 the Senate has censured nine of its members.

Interestingly, the father of a current sitting US Senator was the last Senator to be censured.

Senator Thomas Dodd a Democrat from Connecticut.

Despite any perceived "psychological effect" that the quoted link might describe, in today's polarized political climate it's not going to do much more than say, "Look! They don't like what he said... CENSORSHIP! CENSORSHIP!"

Blah blah blah, the same tired liberal tripe.

Censure is not the answer. Neither is resignation.

He's going to run again in 2008. By then it'll all have blown over and forgotten. But that's politics.

But jk thinks:

Durbin will wear it as a badge of honor and will not likely face any real turbulence in reelection.

I like the call to censure because it would force the other Dems to either break ranks or compare the US armed forces to the Khmer Rouge.

The silence from the other Democrat leaders is deafening -- Mister Speaker is just stirring the pot a little -- go Newt!

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2005 10:55 AM

June 18, 2005

Nightmare Blogging

I have been doing this too long. Last night I dreamt that I was being grilled on the Senate Floor. The lights were shining brightly in my eyes, and Kent Conrad of North Dakota intoned: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the 'Big Beer Brotherhood of Hamm’s?'”

I woke before I had a chance to answer.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM

No Private Accounts for Farmers

The AP Headlines reads: Dems: Private Accounts Would Hurt Farmers. Huh? It is not, unfortunately, a joke, it comes from the Ds' weekly radio address:

"Farm families have tight budgets, and most don't have access to employer retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans. In fact, three out of four farmers fund their own retirement. They depend on Social Security when the crop yield is low or the weather is bad," Etheridge, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and a part-time farmer, said in the Democratic Party's weekly radio address.

My first thought was "I'm a political junkie, but at least I don't listen to the "Democratic Party's weekly radio address."

My second thought was "Why is it that Farmers would be unable to manage their own investments?" Followed by "can't we just give them bigger subsidies in the next farm bill?"

There are some serious and principled arguments against private accounts, though they don't dissuade me. This isn't one of them.

Has anybody told Willie Nelson about this?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM

June 17, 2005

Mopar Madness

Brother AlexC has started a trend -- buying Hemis!

The Wall Street Journal notes, in a Page One story, Chrysler's Storied Hemi Motor Helps It Escape Detroit's Gloom

"The power and mystique of the Hemi made me more willing to go up," says the 34-year-old Marine. That's the name for the car's powerful V8 engine, which added $5,000 to the price. "I said to myself, 'that's 345 horsepower, my friend.' "

The Hemi engine, made famous by muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s, is now helping make DaimlerChrysler AG a notable exception to the gloom that has descended on Detroit. Amid the U.S. auto industry's most severe crisis in a decade, the Hemi is revving up profits and market share. In particular, it's reviving sales of passenger cars, a stark change from Detroit's recent reliance on sport-utility vehicles and pickups.

The story of the Hemi is part luck -- Chrysler started tinkering with the engine almost a decade ago -- and part clever marketing. To escape from a slump five years ago, Chrysler's managers placed a premium on making cars that stand out, which it can sell for full price. As part of that thinking, it took the unusual step of making the Hemi engine the star of an advertising blitz. Soon TV viewers were intoning its tagline: "That thing got a Hemi?"

As a result, Chrysler was able to take advantage of a shift among car buyers: a nostalgic return to the souped-up muscle car. About half the Magnums, Dodge RAM trucks and Durango SUVs sold by Chrysler are fitted with Hemis, significantly more than the 30% to 35% the company expected. Its Hemi plant in Mexico is working around the clock and has increased output three times since production started three years ago.

JohnGalt still has a 'cuda (340 in there?) and I have memories a dropping a 440 in a '68 Sport Satellite.

Beyond nostalgia, I offer this story in a Postrelesque vein: While GM and Ford whine about the economy, Chrysler has given people what they want. And are booking sales.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

It's been said before, and it's true, that the car you drive is a mirror of your personality and what you value. Chrysler decided to make cars that "stand out" which is exactly the opposite of the prevailing philosophy. All the econoboxes look the same, even in the luxury lines.

What worries me most is not that the majority of cars on the road yearn to blend in with the crowd but that, implicitly, their drivers do too. Viva Chrysler - viva American spirit.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2005 3:23 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Our nation's love affair with big cars has not ended, and there isn't an end in sight. Despite the late 70s and early 80s junk boxes, todays car buyers remember either their parents big huge beasts, or saddling up in the front vinyl bench seat of their grandfather's Olds.

Witness the SUV craze (now in year 15?), and these damned mini-vans.

Now we can get them with big engines.

If only we could get them optioned like we want them.
1) big engine
2) five speed
3) vinyl
4) heater/radio delete...


Posted by: AlexC at June 17, 2005 5:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The 300 is unique, and the Magnum is a category breaker with muscular good looks, but that new Dodge Charger... WOW! What a hot lookin' car.
http://www.dodge.com/home_flash.html (see the Charger Photo Gallery)
And they're now touting a 6.1L 425HP Hemi. That's the old 426 c.i. territory, my friends.

Not a big fan of modern Chrysler interiors though. The Charger is no exception to their "too hard, too sharp" interior style. Nice gauges though.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2005 9:53 AM

June 16, 2005

You Don't Say

Sometimes I wonder if polls are just an easy way to write a news story.
For example...

    Most Americans think movie stars are poor role models and almost half say movies generally aren't as good as they used to be, an AP-AOL poll found.

    Australian star Russell Crowe's recent arrest for throwing a phone at a hotel employee is the latest in a long line of unflattering incidents involving major movie stars. Christian Slater faces charges he grabbed a woman's buttocks in a New York City grocery; Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting in 2002; and Hugh Grant was caught in a car with a prostitute in the mid-1990s.

    Those occurrences, combined with most Americans' preference for watching movies at home, suggest the industry faces challenges if it is to reverse a recent drop in attendance at movie theaters.

    Movie stars don't set a good example, said Earl Ledbetter, a movie fan who lives in Ventura, Calif.

    "They just don't have the morals," he said. "They marry and divorce, sleep around a lot."


Because when I'm looking for someone to lead by example, I want the person whose greatest talent in life is doing and saying what someone else says.

And you didn't need a poll to prove that contemporary movies suck. I understand that are probably a limited number of stories about the human condition, but that doesn't excuse such cinema as "Starsky & Hutch", another Batman and a Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Give us new characters! Not the same tired ones.

F*ck. There's even a new Willy Wonka coming out. Yawn.

Posted by AlexC at 9:00 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Serenity. Sept 30, http://www.serenitymovie.com/

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2005 11:36 AM
But jk thinks:

And look on the bright side -- usually they using some whacked out poll as an opportunity to run down the President or the war. Let them take a whack at Mr. Grant and Ms. Ryder. (I like Russell Crowe {Mystery, Alaska and Master and Commander] the dude probably deserved it...)

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2005 11:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I've read the new Batman is refreshingly good. I personally like the spate of comic book movies. They're generally chock full of moral themes and they've got lots of visceral appeal.

I generally agree with what you're saying but in modern cinema, like classic cinema before it, there is good work and bad. The difference is, nobody remembers the bad classics. And nobody will remember Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke. Blasphemy!

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2005 3:17 PM

Legislative Giants

Four house members Push Resolution on Iraq Pullout. Bring it on! Mr. Speaker, call a vote! That would be the quickest way to get this out of the way, instead we'll get a bunch of news items, as if it is really happening. The sponsors are Reps Ron Paul (Why don't I vote Libertarian?), Dennis Kucinich, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and Walter Jones, (R-NC) one of the four who voted for the war. What other patriot acts has this legislative giant accomplished?

Two years ago, Jones helped lead an effort to ensure Capitol Hill cafeterias retooled their menus to advertise "freedom fries" instead of french fries to protest France's opposition to the war.

Serious folks here, we'd better pay attention.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM

75th Anniversary

Of Smoot-Hawley protectionism that launched The Depresion. Larry Kudlow observes:

Many thanks to Tom Sowell for reminding us that tomorrow, June 17, marks the 75th anniversary of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff that helped trigger the 1930's depression.

Barriers to trade, coupled with retaliatory measures around the world, raised the unemployment rate from 9 percent in 1930 to 16 percent in 1931 and 25 percent in 1932. Farmers who supported the tariff saw their exports cut by two-thirds.

Today Senators Smoot-Schumer and Hawley-Graham, who have proposed a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese imports, may be celebrating this anniversary. But if I were they, I'd keep the cork in the champagne bottle.
May Smoot-Hawley rest in peace, never to be resurrrected again.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM

Happy Bloomsday

Attila at Pillage Idiot reminds us "It's June 16, time to start reading Ulysses again (not that you or I will)."

I read Ulysses when I was young and was consciously trying to survive some challenging books. Finishing in 24 hours would be ambitious -- I seem to recall alternately suffering and enjoying that book for six weeks.

After that, my brother challenged me to read Finnegan's Wake. I failed.

All and all, I like Joyce and spending time in Ireland I have been surprised the low regard for him. Maybe it's not a fair cross section but the Irish I've met respect him about as much as this Coloradan likes John Denver's music...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:17 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Attila thinks:

JK, I had to read Ulysses my freshman year in college and wasn't very successful, but I realized it was worth trying again. I plowed through it over the summer and found it to be a lot of fun. Unlike some people, I feel no need to understand each word before I can move on to the next. I figure I'll get the gist of it.

On re-reading the book, I've discovered parts that I originally thought were boring but turned out to be extremely funny.

Posted by: Attila at June 16, 2005 8:04 PM

A New TV Show

Hmm. Jonathan Last, who turned me onto Buffy has a good review of a new Fox show with Tim Minear, Adam Baldwin, and some writing by Jane Espenson.

The Inside Story

And then, something miraculous happened: The executives at Fox hired Tim Minear to salvage the project. Minear worked his way up the TV ladder as a writer on various shows until he made his mark on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel. From there he executive produced the critically-lauded Firefly in 2002 before creating Wonderfalls last year. How good is Minear? It would not be rash to consider him one of the five best minds in television.

Not sure I could produce four others...

I have not watched a show that was actually on TV many years (I bought Buffy and Angel and Firefly on DVD) but I will check this out.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Programmed for weekly recording. We'll give it a try.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2005 3:07 PM

Gub'mint Art

I want to continue a riff from yesterday and am aided by a thoughtful and measured piece from Peggy Noonan (who also earned a spot in JohnGalt's Conservative babes collection).

Today, the doyenne of honest social conservatism celebrates PBS's achievements as she whacks its obvious biases. But I am forced to take umbrage with her assertion that public funded Teevee remains necessary.

At its best, at its most thoughtful and intellectually honest and curious, PBS does the kind of work that no other network in America does or will do. Sumner Redstone is never going to pay for an 11-hour miniseries called "The Civil War"; he's not going to invest money and years of effort into a reverent exhumation of the rich loam of American history. Les Moonves is not going to do "Nova." Bob Iger is not going to OK a three-part series on relativity theory. Jeff Zucker isn't going to schedule a calm, unhurried adult drama like "Masterpiece Theatre." They live in a competitive environment.

The History Channel, A&E, Discovery Channel, &c. seem to find a lot of time to air the type of programming she says you and I have to pay for.

I just watched Ted Turner's "Gods and Generals" and "Gettysburg" on DVD. Sam's Club has the pair in a bargain box; if you can find eight hours to watch, you get a great perspective on the Civil War. From Ted!

I'm not sure PBS couldn't make it without government money. But even if it is killed, these other channels would have a larger talent pool and viewership.

Ms. Noonan makes a mistake more common to lefties: to assume that removing the government provided service removes the service. It is more likely to be replaced with something better.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM

June 15, 2005

WSJ Praises NEA

What planet did I wake up on?

Nat Hentoff has done yeoman work promoting jazz in his Wall Street Journal and JewishWorldReview columns. He and I share a love of Jazz and it pains me to dissent from his column. Today he lauds the achievements of Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, for his support of jazz.

The chairman is involved in expanding audiences for all the arts, but he is especially driven to "expand the country's awareness of jazz, to use it to combat the cultural impoverishment that threatens us." In an era of "reality" television, and a music scene where even Merle Haggard is hardly heard on commercial country music radio stations, Mr. Gioia doesn't consider it necessary to define "cultural impoverishment."

He has launched "NEA Jazz Masters on Tour," sending Jazz Masters across the U.S. to nonprofit organizations--from, the NEA declares, "the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono, Maine, to the Anchorage Concert Association in Anchorage, Alaska." The co-organizer is Arts Midwest, and the sponsor is Verizon with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Verizon also sponsors other NEA jazz initiatives.

NOBODY likes jazz more than I, but I am not inclined to ask JohnGalt and Dagny and Silence to pay for it (well, they can always buy my CDs...). And I must confess it is a nice break from desecrating religious symbols. It is not a Federal responsibility, however, to end "cultural impoverishment."

In addition, I must question the efficacy, if not the intention of the good chairman's efforts. A PBS and an NPR series? I'd better protect my Tal Farlow CDs -- surely they will be in incredible demand when these stories air.

Jazz yes -- on the public dime, no!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM

One Man's Torture

Chris Muir nails it today:


Day By Day is always available from the ThreesSources.com blogroll

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM

Geneva Convention

As I (and my pals at WSJ Ed Page) see it, if the terrorists staying at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility want to be treated under the Geneva Convention, we can shoot every one of them. Then, the queasy among us can get their wish of "shutting down Gitmo."

WSJ.com - The Red Cross and Congress

The International Committee of the Red Cross gets special access to prisons around the world as the neutral observer body designated by the Geneva Conventions. But for more than three years now the ICRC has abused that position of trust to wage an unprecedented propaganda war against the United States.

Leaked ICRC reports have described conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as "tantamount to torture" because indefinite detention is stressful. And just last month the ICRC's Washington office broke its confidentiality agreement with the U.S. government to fan the flames created by Newsweek's false Quran-abuse story.

Fortunately, Capitol Hill is starting to notice. A study released Monday by the Senate Republican Policy Committee says the ICRC has "lost its way," and suggests annual reviews be conducted by the State, Defense, and Justice Departments to certify that the organization truly adheres to its stated principles of "neutrality, impartiality and humanity."

In particular, the study raps the ICRC for its efforts to "afford terrorists and insurgents the same rights and privileges as [uniformed] military personnel" by misleadingly pretending that a radical document called Protocol 1 is settled international law. This causes the ICRC to "inaccurately and unfairly accuse the U.S. of not adhering to the Geneva Conventions."

U.S. taxpayers are the largest contributors to the ICRC's budget ($233 million, or 26%, in 2003). They have a right to expect an honest interpretation of the Geneva Conventions for that money, not more leaked reports that will be spun to give aid and comfort to al Qaeda.

These people are treated better than they deserve because of US benevolence, I think the administration needs to assert this.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 9:25 AM

June 14, 2005

New New New Math

Rethinking Mathematics - The New Teacher Book - Rethinking Schools Online

[Insert your own comment here -- I'm speechless!]

Hat-tip: Pillage Idiot

Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Heather Has Two Mommies" comes to the math classroom.

Is there anyone left who can't figure out why so many kids in our public schools need Prozac?

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 3:06 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Is this real? It's almost as if parody has become real, or vice versa.
I'm scared.

Posted by: AlexC at June 15, 2005 3:40 PM

NYAG Satan

Spitzer only wins in trial-by-media, when this prosecutor has to go to court, he gets his ass kicked.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

The AG charges in his suit that Mr. Grasso's compensation was not "reasonable"--that directors awarded him money based on "incomplete, inaccurate and misleading" information; and that Mr. Grasso influenced his awards. Mr. Spitzer is also suing former compensation committee head Ken Langone--on grounds that he misled directors about the true size of the compensation package--as well as the Exchange itself.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

...gets his ass kicked, again. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/09/business/09cnd-sihp.html?hp&ex=1118376000&en=8881d1aefdb2d594&ei=5094&partner=homepage

More important excerpts from this editorial on the Grasso case:

"The board, which was often dysfunctional, was stocked with celebrities from diverse constituencies, many of whom didn't understand the NYSE or take their responsibilities seriously. Former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, who brought Mr. Grasso's contract to fruition, was viewed by his colleagues as incompetent and, in the words of Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson, not "financially sophisticated." Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright felt she shouldn't "question" the pay; Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne admitted he "tuned out" of the pay proceedings; and Van der Moolen Vice Chairman Robert Fagenson suggested the only real concern was "how this was going to reflect on the Board."

But the interviews also make clear that more astute board members, such as Mr. Langone, former Viacom President Mel Karmazin, and former Merrill Lynch Chairman David Komansky, took it upon themselves to understand Mr. Grasso's contract, and offered strong arguments for why they'd paid him as they had. "We knew what we were doing when we paid him. We did it purposely, and we believed it was the right compensation," Mr. Komansky said in his interview."


"There's certainly an argument that the NYSE board--like many boards prior to the recent corporate governance reform movement--was not at the top of its game. But the only lasting way to deal with dysfunctional boards is to tighten rules and kick off loafers. This is how the rest of corporate America has handled its failings, and has managed to do so without public prosecutors."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 3:01 PM

Bully for Exxon!

A WSJ front page news story today (not those crazy right-wingers on the Ed Page that I love so dearly...) highlights Exxon CEO's, Lee Raymond's, refusal to do the PC thing. Mr. Raymond is going to stick with principle.

Oil giants such as BP PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell Group are trumpeting a better-safe-than-sorry approach to global warming. They accept a growing scientific consensus that fossil fuels are a main contributor to the problem and endorse the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which caps emissions from developed nations that have ratified it. BP and Shell also have begun to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels.

Not Exxon. Openly and unapologetically, the world's No. 1 oil company disputes the notion that fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming. Along with the Bush administration, Exxon opposes the Kyoto accord and the very idea of capping global-warming emissions. Congress is debating an energy bill that may be amended to include a cap, but the administration and Exxon say the costs would be huge and the benefits uncertain. Exxon also contributes money to think tanks and other groups that agree with its stance.

Exxon publicly predicts that solar and wind energy will continue to provide less than 1% of the world's energy supply in 2025, a subject that others shy away from. Even if fossil fuels are the chief global-warming culprit, Exxon argues, the sensible response is to figure out how to burn them more efficiently.

I want to cry when I see the BP commercials that essentially apologize to people for making and selling their product. Folks are going to have to hear the truth someday.
"We're not playing the issue. I'm not sure I can say that about others," Lee Raymond, Exxon's chairman and chief executive, said in a recent interview at Exxon headquarters in Irving, Texas. "I get this question a lot of times: 'Why don't you just go spend $50 million on solar cells? Charge it off to the public-affairs budget and just say it's like another dry hole?' The answer is: That's not the way we do things."

Bully. Why not engage people on ideas? Well done Mr. Raymond!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Makes me even more proud that I use Exxon's "Mobil 1" motor oil. I'll have to rethink my preference for Shell's "V-Power" premium fuel, however.

One way to "burn" fossil fuels more efficiently is to extract hydrogen from it for powering the environmentalists' precious fuel-cell cars. But if that were more efficient then it would also be more economical.

How much detergent additives are in Exxon-Mobil's premium fuel anyway? Time to do some research in the hopes of saying, "Sayonara Shell."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 2:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd happily change habits as well, but We need some advice from AlexC on the relationship between the stations and the companies -- is it really Exxon fuel at Exxon stations?

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2005 7:22 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK.. it may be Exxon fuel, it may not be. It depends on where your fuel dealer's distributor. I'd wager probably not.

As far as Shell, i think most of their domestic production comes from the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, they are the top Gulf producer.

Better to drill your own well and refine it in the basement. That way you know it's pedigree. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at June 15, 2005 3:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just waiting for EPA approval on my cracking tower...

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2005 4:39 PM

June 13, 2005

Tax Cuts Work

The Laffer Curve works.

President Bush's "tax cuts for the rich" have boosted Federal Revenue more than 15%. Lower tax rates get more revenue. Freedom pays for itself sometimes, if you let it.

The WSJ Ed page gives props to Art Laffer and his napkin illustration that launched Reaganomics and the Bush cuts in Real Tax Cuts Have Curves

Now we have overpowering confirming evidence from the Bush tax cuts of May 2003. The jewel of the Bush economic plan was the reduction in tax rates on dividends from 39.6% to 15% and on capital gains from 20% to 15%. These sharp cuts in the double tax on capital investment were intended to reverse the 2000-01 stock market crash, which had liquidated some $6 trillion in American household wealth, and to inspire a revival in business capital investment, which had also collapsed during the recession. The tax cuts were narrowly enacted despite the usual indignant primal screams from the greed and envy lobby about "tax cuts for the super rich."

Of course, our beloved legislators have just increased spending to compensate -- but that is another story and another problem.

Making the tax cuts permanent may be the most important issue under consideration today. Too many in both houses still think that you have to "pay" for tax cuts.

But johngalt thinks:

Someone is "paying" for the tax cuts alright - the taxpayers. Why is it that tax cuts only have to be offset by spending cuts BEFORE the cuts are enacted? Never mind... don't answer that.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 1:10 AM

June 10, 2005

Maybe Owens '08 After All

Saved by the Veto. That would be the State of Colorado, and the veto pen would belong to Governor Bill Owens. (Whom I have met)

Our new State Treasure Mark Hillman writes, quoted on ClayCalhoun.com

What do you get when you cross a liberal Democrat state legislature with a conservative Republican governor?

Forty-three vetoes, and fortunately that's no joke.

Since the legislature adjourned on May 9, Governor Owens' veto pen has worked overtime ­ shooting down numerous attempts to expand government, increase taxes, and micro-manage business.

The engines of the state's economy ­ taxpaying businesses and families ­should be relieved.

Though I don't wish to give up either branch, there is definitely something to divided government.>

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM

NHL: No Hope Left

I know we've got a few hockey fans and players in the ThreeSources family, so I'll not bother trying to find a political or economic segue.

It's just plain bad news for the NHL. If you haven't mired yourself in it for a while, catch Duncan Currie piece on Weekly Standard's website.

ESPN has dropped the league. Among the bad news:

Then, of course, there was the 2004-2005 lockout. The NHL became the first pro sports league in North America to forfeit an entire season due to a labor dispute. ESPN had to fill scads of empty timeslots with substitute programs. And, as Reuters reported last week, the network discovered that programming "it aired in place of NHL games on a month-to-month basis during the canceled season did just as well or better than hockey would have."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM

Liberals & the Drug War

Dan Henninger provides yet another insightful Wonder Land column today. Writing on Raich, he offers this brief summation:

Liberalism to cancer patients: Drop dead.

Henninger suggests that the liberal wing of SCOTUS can be blamed for this (this would hold more weight had Scalia not voted with the majority).

Again, it's a good article and I enjoy seeing the Deputy Editor of my favorite Ed Page show a little softness on the War on Drugs -- it is about the only issue on which I typically disagree with them.

But his conclusion disturbs me. Yes, it will be illegal, but it won't be enforced.

Studies of physician fear of prosecution have been done, which conclude that prosecutions of honest doctors prescribing such pain-killers are rare.
Once-in-a-lifetime users of medical marijuana are also collateral damage in the war on drugs. Writing for the majority, Justice Stevens said, with approval: "Congress was particularly concerned [in 1970] with the need to prevent the diversion of drugs from legitimate to illicit channels." Some argue, including proponents of drug legalization, that a Supreme Court imprimatur for medical marijuana would have no relevance to campaigns to legalize recreational use of this and other drugs. I don't believe that. There isn't much self-restraint in our activist politics.

What now? My guess is 99.99% of medical marijuana users won't get prosecuted. Society's disapproval of marijuana stays in place, but patients get their drug. Live and let live. Benevolent hypocrisy comes in handy in a free country when public politics, as now, often makes sensible solutions impossible.

Frederic Bastiat said that just law had to be understandable and avoidable to prevent capricious enforcement. That is exactly what we will have. Prosecutors can move on cancer patients for all the wrong reasons, and laws will not be fixed because most patients slip through.

I think I might make a ThreeSources.com T-Shirt that says "The Last Federalist." I'll send an XL to Justice Thomas.

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM

June 9, 2005

So Glad I'm Livin' in the USA

I have had ten weeks to think about health care. My wife had a stroke at the end of March. I have watched with wonder and amazement the incredible high standards of care available in the U.S. system. I have zero doubt that she would have died had this happened almost anywhere else.

I also have had a front row seat for the insane hybrid payment system we have. This system is broke, kids There is little or no free market component to control costs or encourage innovation. Commode chairs, walkers, and wheelchair parts are exorbitantly priced. Like body parts for cars, insurance pays so who cares? Everything is inefficient and bureaucratic. And that’s all for a guy with fairly decent coverage.

David Asman, a FOXNews personality, had a guest Editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. His wife, a young non-smoker like my wife, also had a stroke. She had hers in London and Mr. Asnan compares the care.

He gives the British National Health Service (NHS) hospital high marks on several issues, most notably the skill, competence, and compassion of the medical staff.

The emergency workers who came within five minutes were wonderful. The two young East Enders looked and sounded for all the world like a couple of skinhead soccer fans, cockney accents and all. But their professionalism in immediately stabilizing my wife and taking her vitals was matched with exceptional kindness. I was moved to tears to see how comforting they were both to my wife and to me. As I was to discover time and again in the British health system, despite the often deplorable conditions of a bankrupt infrastructure, British caregivers--whether nurses, doctors, or ambulance drivers--are extraordinarily kind and hardworking. Since there's no real money to be made in the system, those who get into public medicine do so as a pure vocation. And they show it.

His piece does not blast the care, even though he brings up some highly negative items.

When I covered Latin America for The Wall Street Journal, I'd visit hospitals, prisons and schools as barometers of public services in the country. Based on my Latin American scale, Queen's Square would rate somewhere in the middle. It certainly wasn't as bad as public hospitals in El Salvador, where patients often share beds. But it wasn't as nice as some of the hospitals I've seen in Buenos Aires or southern Brazil. And compared with virtually any hospital ward in the U.S., Queen's Square would fall short by a mile.

The equipment wasn't ancient, but it was often quite old. On occasion my wife and I would giggle at heart and blood-pressure monitors that were literally taped together and would come apart as they were being moved into place. The nurses and hospital technicians had become expert at jerry-rigging temporary fixes for a lot of the damaged equipment. I pitched in as best as I could with simple things, like fixing the wiring for the one TV in the ward. And I'd make frequent trips to the local pharmacies to buy extra tissues and cleaning wipes, which were always in short supply.

In fact, cleaning was my main occupation for the month we were at Queen's Square. Infections in hospitals are, of course, a problem everywhere. But in Britain, hospital-borne infections are getting out of control. At least 100,000 British patients a year are hit by hospital-acquired infections, including the penicillin-resistant "superbug" MRSA. A new study carried out by the British Health Protection Agency says that MRSA plays a part in the deaths of up to 32,000 patients every year. But even at lower numbers, Britain has the worst MRSA infection rates in Europe. It's not hard to see why.
Having praised the caregivers, I'm forced to return to the inefficiencies of a health system devoid of incentives. One can tell that the edge has disappeared in treatment in Britain. For example, when we returned to the U.S. we discovered that treatment exists for thwarting the effects of blood clots in the brain if administered shortly after a stroke. Such treatment was never mentioned, even after we were admitted to the neurology hospital. Indeed, the only medication my wife was given for a severe stroke was a daily dose of aspirin.

His review is ultimately favorable because his wife’s outcome was favorable. Reading the entire piece, however, confirms my belief that socialized medicine would have been a ticket to widowhood for me.

I am glad things worked out for them, but this was a woman who recovered on a combination of compassionate care, aspirin, and physical therapy. To get even this required the foreign journalist to pull strings, pay for private procedures and confer with a U.S. specialist.

My wife required three and a half hours of brain surgery. She spent two weeks in a very clean ICU with modern equipment (all but the machine that goes “bing!”) They monitored her Inter Cranial Pressure in real time, along with heart rate, respiratory rate, O2 levels, temperature, blood pressure. She received daily CT-scans and frequent MRIs and chest X-Rays. She was flown on a helicopter from the hospital nearest out house to one that could provide this level of surgery and care.

I didn’t make calls and pull strings to get this, nobody recognized me as a famous blogger. This is available to anyone. Insurance and payment came later.

I wish Mr. Asman and his wife the best; I couldn’t be happier that it worked for them. But reading his story, I cannot consider it a defense of socialized medicine – to me it is an indictment.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:17 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

No one recognized you as *the* world renowned JK of Threesources.... bunch of uninformed cretins they are...

But seriously, glad to hear that your wife has pulled through.

Posted by: AlexC at June 10, 2005 3:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Finally got around to reading Asman's article. I didn't find it a defense of socialized medicine - don't know if you meant to imply that, but you did - but a clear example of "for profit" business delivering a better product than the one everyone can get "on demand."

Asman touched on one of the cost inflaters stateside, i.e. gratuitious lawsuits.

"Why are the Brits so less concerned about being sued? I can only guess that Britain's practice of forcing losers in civil cases to pay for court costs has lessened the number of lawsuits, and thus the paranoia about lawsuits from which American medical services suffer."

But it's not just paranoia that afflicts American medicine, it's cost inflation.

More glaring though, at least to me, was Asman's ignorance of the other major factor in overpriced medical care. He writes,

"As for the quality of British health care, advocates of socialized medicine point out that while the British system may not be as rich as U.S. heath care, no patient is turned away. To which I would respond that my wife's one roommate at Cornell University Hospital in New York was an uninsured homeless woman, who shared the same spectacular view of the East River and was receiving about the same quality of health care as my wife. Uninsured Americans are not left on the street to die."

Followed immediately by a new paragraph that begins, "Something is clearly wrong with medical pricing over here."

Well, you don't say? It's called "being forced to be your (indigent) brother's keeper."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought of it as something of a defense that he didn't say "Holy Cow! You have to sanitize your own room and you need to be on TV to see a doctor and they gave my wife an aspirin for a stroke!"

I did think that he was fair and somewhat upbeat about the system, when most Americans would see it as clearly busted.

We have some freedom but we do not take advantage of free market principles because everybody's insurance is paying -- so nobody looks at the cost.

The possible exceptions are Lasik surgery (rarely covered by insurance) and maternity clinics (which folks choose). Both of these have seen improvements far beyond the rest of the care structure.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2005 8:23 PM

Canadian High Court Shrugs

Given the rulings of the past week by both bodies I have to ask, "Can we trade Supreme Courts with Canada?" As a free American, I have been blissfully ignorant to the fact that private medical insurance and private health care service in Canada is, against the law! Canada's Supreme Court acted today to end this travesty. Quebec Private Health Insurance Ban Nixed.

"The justices have taken a year to rule on a case that began in 1997, when George Zeliotis, an elderly Montreal men, tried to pay for hip replacement surgery rather than wait nearly a year for treatment at a public hospital."

Where lower courts have ruled that "the collective right to a publicly funded system is more important than individual rights" the high court took the opposite view. "In its ruling Thursday, the court said the provincial policy violates the Quebec charter. But they split 3 - 3 on whether it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, meaning there is no immediate impact on the Canadian health-care system as a whole."

But the statists in Quebec City aren't taking this lying down. "Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Benoit Pelletier says Quebec could use the notwithstanding clause of the Quebec Charter of Rights to override the Supreme Court's decision on access to private health care."

What do Canada's comrades and freemen think of the ruling? Here are some examples: (All emphasis mine.)

First, the comrades:

We need to look at values here. The constantly expanding gap between rich and poor is sending us backward to the dark days before medicare. The mean world of conservatism descends.

Those who subscribe to social darwinism are having their way, at the expense of the less fortunate. If you've got the money, then you must deserve the best! That's what they think. Those who can't compete get what's left. It's a sad sad commentary on the evolution of humanity.
Lee Carruthers | Carmacks, Yukon

Why should someone receive medical care immediately just because one can afford to pay while another gets shoved to the back merely because they cannot. It should be decided upon one's immediate medical need not the almighty buck.
Bob Beer | Iona Station, Ontario

The people that are applauding this decision have one thing in common - GREED.
Mike D Potter

It is a self-evident truth that insurance companies sell policies with the premiums geared to risk vis a vis the bottom line profit picture.
Adrian Davies | Toronto

Yo, Adrian. Why is it not self-evident to you that Canada's service-on-demand (when we get to you) medical system is a dismal failure precisely because there is no bottom-line profit picture?

How any Canadian could actually desire paying even more for private insurance, rather than developing an effective public system, boggles my mind, leading me to conclude that we are becoming an ever-more individualistic and self-interested society. How un-Canadian.
Matt Vidler | Peteborough, Ontario

If this is the definition of "un-Canadian" count me in! But the next one is my favorite:

The concept that the right to buy private health insurance to pay for private health-care is universal is purely hypothetical. If you don't have the financial resources, you don't have the right to buy private health-care regardless of what the law says.

Therefore, this is not a universal right;but rather, it is a privilege of the rich. There is absolutely no question that this ruling is a victory for health-care as a commodity rather than health-care as a right.

Once health-care becomes a commodity, it is available only to those who can afford it. How is that a "universal" right? Anyone who believes that this will not reduce access within the public system is dreaming in techni-colour. The Supreme Court should be ashamed of its disgraceful action.
Greg Gowing | Ontario

Greg clearly confuses "right" with "demand."

And, the freemen:

Canadians are now well on the way to being freed from one of the most restrictive and interventionist programs ever devised in a so-called democracy. The socialist dogma of our government has been exposed for the unworkable sham that it is. Finally, the Supremes get one right!
Richard Kneller | Hamilton, Ontario

Our "right to health care", and the way it is implemented in legislation has actually had the effect of removing it's self as a right by creating such obscene waiting lists.
Steve Smith | Ottawa

Why are people so jealous of others who can afford things they cannot?
Jason Blue | Olds, Alberta

Why indeed, Jason. Why indeed.

But jk thinks:

Good for the Canucks! However, this will be at the expense of my favorite anecdote. When people espouse the joys of socialized medicine, I like to point out that Canada passed a law fining veterinary clinics 1,000 (Canadian) if they use the doggie equipment to do MRIs for people.

I'm sure I won't run out of anecdotes.

Sadly, our beloved media loves to photograph vanfuls of seniors going to Canada for price-controlled medication -- but they can never spare film for Canadians going south to get private medical care.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2005 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

While people say that complexity killed HillaryCare in the 90s, I posit that it was the discovery of criminal penalties for private treatment. Throwing Doctors in jail for seeing patients wasn’t conducive to Americans’ belief structure. And yet, you can’t really have an egalitarian system if you let the folks with money buy better care.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2005 4:52 PM

Liberty is beautiful

AlexC made recent mention of liberty babes or "protest babes" with respect to Azerbajian. Coincidentally, a friend emailed me a picture that qualifies as "liberty babes, American style." (You figure out which ones I mean.)


But jk thinks:

And you missed Kelly Ann Conway (nee Fitzpatrick) the GOP pollster.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2005 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Not to mention both of our wives! Haven't met AlexC's (yet?) though I'm sure she belongs with "ours" as well.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 2:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And for the record, "I" didn't miss Kelly Ann, I merely posted someone else's montage work here. :)

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2005 2:49 PM

June 8, 2005

Clarence sequitur

Got to disagree with my buddy Attila at Pillage Idiot who's taking Scalia's side of Raich. I hate to disagree with Nino but must this time.

Still I liked Attila’s song

My Federalist Dope

I'm sick of it, sick of it,
Churnin' and heavin',
So why shouldn't I now
Abandon all hope?
My nausea's back when
I read John Paul Stevens,
Who keeps me from smokin'
My federalist dope.
Yes, he keeps me from smokin'
My federalist dope.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Attila thinks:

Thanks for the link.

Your readers can see the whole three-verse song over at my place.

Posted by: Attila at June 8, 2005 6:45 PM

A Break Is Given!

My favorite TeeVee news personality is on my favorite soapbox.

John Stossel blasts the FDA in a second column in two weeks, hitting a personal favorite, private competition to the FDA

Why must we give big government so much power? Couldn't FDA scrutiny be voluntary and advisory? Companies that want government blessing would go through the whole process and, after 10 or 15 years, get the FDA's seal of approval. Those of us who are cautious would take only FDA-approved drugs.

But if you had a terminal illness, you could try something that might save your life. You could try it without having to wait 15 years — without having to break your country's laws to import it illegally from Europe — without sneaking into Mexico to experiment in some dubious clinic. If I'm dying, shouldn't my government allow me the right to try whatever I want?

If FDA scrutiny were voluntary, the government agency would soon have competition. Private groups like Consumer Reports and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) might step in to compete with the FDA. The UL symbol is already on thousands of products. No government force was required. Yet even though UL certification is voluntary, its safety standards are so commonly accepted that most stores won't carry products without the UL symbol.

With such competition, the FDA might devise a ratings system ("general use," "medical guidance suggested," "patients strongly cautioned," or something like that), and drug packages would carry that information. We'd know that the government was evaluating new drugs, but government wouldn't stand between lifesaving treatments and us. Most of us, most of the time, would take the government's advice, but because it would be our choice, we could try new or risky drugs when nothing government-approved was available.

I had suggested privatization before, but I like the idea of a voluntary FDA. As long as they are no longer empowered to remove compounds from the market, I'd even fund them.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Stossel's book is very good. It's a ot more accessible than Hayek or Mises, yet it gives a pretty good overview of most of my basic beliefs. Billy-Jo-JK-Bob gives it Five stars!

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Go John go. But, a clarification: UL certification IS voluntary, but many products are effectively unmarketable without the "voluntary" seal of approval. National Building Codes, for example, prohibit the use of any electrical device or component that lacks the UL mark. Consequently, the customer service from this private organization declined while its prices rose. Enter - competition. ETL is a welcome alternative that will force UL to improve or perish. http://www.intertek-etlsemko.com/portal/page?_pageid=34,86852&_dad=cust_portal&_schema=CUST_PORTAL

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2005 3:11 PM

June 6, 2005

Justice Thomas

Senator Reid may find him lacking, but Radley Balko says "He's easily the most principled and consistent defender of federalism on the court."

Sadly, that's becoming a lower bar all the time. Balko quotes his dissent on TheAgitator.com:

If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything--and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.
Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that "commerce" included the mere possession of a good or some purely personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.

Props to O'Connor for dissenting -- and what's up with Nino?
Congress may regulate even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce . . .The relevant question is simply whether the means chosen are "reasonably adapted" to the attainment of a legitimate end under the commerce power.

Hat-tip: AlexC's buddy, Instapundit, who sez "The 9th Circuit asked the Supreme Court how serious it was about enumerated powers, and the answer, apparently was not so much. "

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM


61 Years Ago.

    "Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

    Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

    But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

    I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

    Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

Thank you for your service, and your sacrifice.

But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 6, 2005 10:46 AM

June 5, 2005

Dean Honeymoon

Is it over?
Delaware Senator Joe Biden...

    Asked about recent comments where Dean trashed Republicans as "evil" and said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay belongs in jail, Biden told ABC's "This Week": "He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats."

Former VP Candidate John Edwards...
    Edwards also disagreed with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's controversial comment in a speech to liberal activists Thursday that many Republicans "have never made an honest living in their lives."

    "The chairman of the DNC is not the spokesman for the party," Edwards said. "He's a voice. I don't agree with it."

Hmm. Two would-be 2008 Presidential candidates trying to distance themselves from the parties leader. How did Dean get to be chair of the Democrat party?

Oh yeah, Dean's biggest supporters, MoveOn.org bought it.

    “In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the Party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it's our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back.”

I bet the bought are really starting to regret being for sale.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM

The Face of Freedom

Has George Bush become the face of freedom for the oppressed?

    Tensions have been steadily building in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation in the run-up to parliamentary elections set for November, leading some observers to predict that Azerbaijan could see a massive uprising similar to those that toppled unpopular regimes in three other ex-Soviet nations - Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan - over the past 18 months.

    Supporters of several opposition parties marched in Baku on Saturday, chanting "Freedom!" and "Free Elections!" They held placards with slogans like "Down with robber government!" and carried pictures of U.S. President George W. Bush with the words: "We want freedom!"

Besides writing "freedom" on a poster, freedom is a difficult concept to illustrate during a march. But the message of his picture is clear. George Bush brings freedom.

And they want it.

One small worry though.
I haven't seen any protest babe pictures yet...
It's not a freedom protest if there aren't good looking women.
Where are they?

Freedom on the March Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM

June 4, 2005

Dear Amnesty International

...and everybody else who is so concerned that the US is evil. I'm very sorry that somebody’s Koran may have contacted urine. I'm sorry about Abu Ghraib. But I ask you to read Our only luggage was hope' in the Miami Herald.

It was written by Sergio Perodín Jr., a young man who was graduated from high school in America today, after two attempts to escape Cuba to come here, losing his mother and brother in one of them.

As a child I had an experience that taught me the price that individuals are willing to pay for freedom.

I was only 7 years old and living in communist Cuba. My parents yearned for freedom and dreamt of coming to America. They secretly planned to escape, along with 72 others who shared their dream. We embarked on a wooden tugboat. Our only luggage was hope, but in that attempt, 41 lives were lost. Among them, my mother and brother. My father refused to give up hope, and a short time later, we risked our lives in a second attempt, but on this occasion, aboard a raft.

It began on the fateful day of July 13, 1994, as we embarked on the 13 de Marzo tugboat at about 2 a.m. About 13 miles off the coast of Cuba, we were suddenly attacked by three Cuban tugboats. They rammed us. Pressure hoses, normally used to put out fires at sea, were used against us. Their impact was so powerful that children were swept to sea from their parents' protective embrace.

Those on the tugboats shouted insults over loudspeakers. In a frenzy, they crashed into the ship, damaging the hull, which caused the tugboat to take in water rapidly. Within minutes, the ship sank. People were screaming and begging to be rescued, but those on the tugboats showed no pity. They circled us and made whirlpools in the water, causing men, women and children to be lost forever in a black sea of despair.
A month later, my dad was released from prison, and we were more determined than ever to attempt our search for liberty once more. It took about two weeks to build a raft. One night we embarked on the raft along with seven others and began navigating the seas with wooden paddles. We paddled for a whole day and suddenly we got caught in a storm. We tied ourselves to the raft with ropes and fell asleep from exhaustion. When we woke up, we noticed that we were being taken back to the coast of Cuba by the rough currents of the storm.

At that instant, it seemed as if all our hopes had been lost, but again with all the strength within us, we continued paddling assured that freedom awaited us. We were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and eventually taken to the Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba.
I will be graduating from high school today. Another dream has been achieved. To this day, I remember that awful tragedy and I still struggle with the memories. But I know I have another dream to accomplish for myself and the memory of my mother and brother. I will go to college. I will do it in the land where everything is possible -- in the land where I found something so valuable that people are willing to risk their lives to obtain it.

It is called freedom.

I provided the long excerpt because the registration process is onerous (but you can get Dave Barry emailed to you as a reward).

Hat-tip: Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus

But johngalt thinks:

Freedom isn't free, except in America where, as a result, it is regarded as less important than the "right" to food, shelter, and health care.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2005 2:38 PM

Intellectual Shermanism

Johngalt, for the best reasons, doesn't like my respect for Sherman's march to the sea. But I believe that the costs of war demand that you settle for nothing less than total victory.

Sherman effectively squelched a CSA rebel insurgency. VDH pondered whether Shermanesque brutality was needed to stop fighting in Iraq and PLA-controlled Palestine. Like many martial thoughts of Perfesser Hansen, I have held this thought for some time.

Now, Perry de Havilland at Samizdata calls for less magnanimity. In "Shine the spotlight, name the names," Havilland says we let those who were wrong about the cold war off too easily -- and that they came back as to be wrong again in the war on terror.

Now as I have said before on this blog, there are many people who opposed the war in Iraq for reasons that are clearly held in good conscience, fearing the cost to liberty in the West of such entanglements and I think it is important to differentiate between those people and others who oppose military action by the USA and UK for quite different reasons. Folks like Robert Fisk or John Pilger or Noam Chomsky are not neutral or 'pro-peace', they are actually on the other side because to them it is better to stand with people which makes women chattels, slaughters civilians intentionally, stones homosexuals to death and hangs females rape victims as well as the rapist, by simple virtue that anyone who is opposed to the liberal capitalist world is preferable to the United States. If the USA can be wounded, making the world safe for burquas and clitoridectomy is a small price to pay.

Well good bless the internet. By their own words they will be revealed. This is something that need to be an ongoing process, taking articles and 'inviting' the authors to confront their words and ask what they think now. Do not make the mistake of the 1990's and be magnanimous in victory. No, before forgiveness must come repentance. If the other side wants to be treated kindly then let them put their hands up in surrender and admit they were wrong. Until then it is time to follow the example of Hussein Shirazi and put the boot in. Hard.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But AlexC thinks:

One of the best way (so I hear) to housebreak your dog is to rub their face in it.

Maybe the left needs this.

Posted by: AlexC at June 4, 2005 2:03 PM

June 3, 2005

That Dean Guy Again

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no public speaker, but if I stepped on my d*ck as much DNC Chairman Howard Dean did, I'd be out of a job (especially this one).
Here's the latest...

    "You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that. Because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives."

Well, I must certainly be in the few that have made an honest living. Maybe not, I do work (as a contractor) for Big Oil. But I put in my hours, and code to the best of my abilities.

But take my wife... She used to have an "honest" living as a programmer. Now she's a stay at home mom. Is that an honest living?

What about the Republican soldiers (active, retired and deceased) out there? Honest living?

There are no doubt Clergy of all denominations who consider themselves Republicans.


Nurses like my mother-in-law?

Lawyers? (well, ok)

In related news...

    One hundred days into his tenure as the high-energy, higher-decibel chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean is in trouble with party moneybags. The former Vermont governor seems to be doing a better job flaying the Republicans than bridging the cash chasm between the parties. Given Dean's 2004 run as a populist crusader, moderates were never wild about his takeover of the Democratic National Committee. So some big donors are sitting on their wallets.

Our Republic is better served with two strong parties, instead of one strong party (though it's mine), and one party in a tailspin.

Get it together guys.

But johngalt thinks:

In Dean's World, every Republican is the CEO of Enron.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2005 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Eight-hour vote?" Did he really say that? Perhaps if Democrats could read, things might move more swiftly.

Besides, the only place where voting goes on for 8 hours after the work day ends is St. Louis.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2005 2:45 PM
But AlexC thinks:

The eight hour vote confused me.
Most place are open from 7am to 8pm local.

Next time he should spit out the morning's Listerine.

Posted by: AlexC at June 3, 2005 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, jk has to defend Governor Dean (this is a strange planet sometimes).

The refernce was to lines in Florida that were so long it took eight hours to vote.

Gov. Dean assumes that Democrats have jobs (no comment) and they likely have jobs that do not allow long periods of time off. While those Republican oilmen, engineers, and other layabouts, can get time off, the hard-working Democrats cannot. Ergo, Bush wins.

Is Karl Rove a genius or what!

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2005 12:23 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Defending Dean! Heretic!
Burn him! Burn him!

Posted by: AlexC at June 4, 2005 2:19 PM

June 1, 2005

Deep Throat: Some Hero

Okay, Nixon is evil; I got it. Though I think he should have been forced to resign for starting the EPA and saying "We're all Keynesians now."

But the approbation shown to old "Deep Throat" Felt is inspiring a gag reflex.

The WaPo uncovers some interesting details

Was he a hero for helping the truth come out, or a turncoat who betrayed his government, his president and the FBI he revered by leaking to the press?

There were plenty of reasons that he felt such conflict. He was an FBI loyalist in the image J. Edgar Hoover had created for the bureau in its glory days -- a career official who lived by the bureau's codes, one of which was the sanctity of an investigation and the protection of secrets. He chased down lawbreakers of all kinds, using whatever means were available to the bureau, and was convicted in 1980 of authorizing illegal break-ins -- black-bag jobs, as they were known -- of friends of members of the Weather Underground. He was later pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.

But if there were reasons to resist playing the role of anonymous source, there were other motives that drove him to talk. Felt believed that the White House was trying to frustrate the FBI's Watergate investigation and that Nixon was determined to bring the FBI to heel after Hoover's death in May 1972, six weeks before the break-in at the Democratic National Committee's Watergate offices occurred.
"From the very beginning, it was obvious to the bureau that a cover-up was in progress," Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir, "The FBI Pyramid."

Felt may have had a personal motivation as well to begin talking to Post reporter Bob Woodward. At the time of Hoover's death, he was a likely successor to take over as FBI director. Instead the White House named a bureau outsider, L. Patrick Gray III, then an assistant attorney general, as acting director and then leaned on Gray to become a conduit to keep the White House informed of what the FBI was learning.

Hat-tip Bill Quick, who says "In other words, one of the most momentous political events of the American 20th century was the result of a turf war. Obviously, Mark Felt had no moral or ethical qualms about Watergate-style break-ins, per se."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM

Deep Throat in Jail

And Bob Woodward? Larry Kudlow thinks that Felt and Woodward's NSA links should be investigated.

There's an angle to the Deep Throat story that the MSM has not yet discovered. Namely, that Mark Felt was a former senior NSA staffer, with access to the wiretap archives of both the NSA and the British GSHQ security service, including all of Nixon's phone calls.

Now, guess what. Another alum of the NSA -- you might have guessed it -- is Bob Woodward.
Now, the legality of Felt's leaking classified NSA info to Woodward should be explored, shouldn't it? After all, what's indicting to the goose is criminalizing to the gander.

I was 12 when Nixon was re-elected. I had supported him big in '68 and '72 (I didn't understand the concept of wage and price controls -- I was just a kid!) I remember watching the hearings in class (who could forget Sam Ervin?) and remember wishing they'd "Move On" to coin a phrase.

But, as nostalgic as it is for me to relive my grade school years, it is much more so for the media. They now have an excuse for a 30-year-old "victory lap" and it feels so good they might take two or three.

The talk over the breakfast table at the rehab hospital this morning was how sick all the residents are of this story. "Nixon knew who it was 30 years ago -- who cares?"

The media care. They brought down a President they didn't like and inspired classroomfuls of activist journalism wannabees. And they never tire of hearing those old stories. "Say, Carl, tell us about the time you..."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM

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