July 31, 2005

Flag In Toilet

The definition of art has really gone downhill.

    It's a painting of a star-spangled map of the United States being flushed down the toilet.

    And some people want to give it the can. The painting is part of a display of political artwork at the California attorney general's office in Sacramento.


I'm against the any kind of flag burning/desecration amendment. Why? Because it makes guys like this easy to spot.
    The controversial artwork has sparked dueling demonstrators. Some of the protesters yesterday shouted "no to censors," while others sang "God Bless America." Attorney General Bill Lockyer says he doesn't endorse the painting, titled "T'anks to Mr. Bush." But Lockyer says to remove it would be like Soviet-style government censorship.

Yeah, it's like that alright.

How did something like that get in there in the first place? Someone in his office endorsed it.

Posted by AlexC at 12:00 AM

July 29, 2005

Goodbye, Two-line!

I cannot pinpoint the exact day that I started getting my sports news from "The Weekly Standard," but I am sure it is a significant date.

Duncan Currie pens a nice piece on the return of my favorite sport, with an enumeration of the upcoming rule changes.


  • I have a weird, Burkean, Chestertonian attachment to enforcing the two-line pass rule, but must admit that it will kill the dreaded "trap."

  • Smaller goalie pads seem fair as well. "Nobody gets more than Ken Dryden got" would be a fine rule in my book.

  • The shootout at the end will be fun, and Currie's point holds that it will have great potential for highlight films to attract new fans.


All the rules, it seems to me, will augment the importance of star players at the expense of team play. This might make it even more difficult for the Sunbelt franchises, but I can't stay up late worrying about them.

Go Avs!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | What do you think? [2]
But sugarchuck thinks:

What a day, hockey and Walt Whitman! One hockey comment and then I'm off to read "Song of the Open Road." The current rules hinder the guys who can truly play. A lesser skilled player can tie up someone that can really skate and anything that can be done to lessen this is a good thing. Way back in the day the goons were also some of the best players, Gordie Howe comes to mind and the game moved along as it should. Expansion brought lesser players who had to compensate with thugery, thus slowing the action, lowering goal scoring and increasing the number of penalties involving sticks. Anything that gets rid of these guys, even if it means the loss of a few teams, is ok by me. Hockey has a lot to prove this year and I hope the new rules help.

Posted by: sugarchuck at July 29, 2005 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

You left out 3.4% GDP growth...

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2005 3:51 PM

Poetry Corner

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," Professor Harold Bloom has written an introduction to the 1855 version, and the Wall Street Journal has adapted it into a guest editorial.

Whitman restores the primal androgyne "Adam early in the morning." He is our Vedas, our Bhagavad-Gita, our Sutras -- and also our Zohar, an esotericist of extraordinary originality. Emerson was Elijah or John the Baptist to Whitman's American Christ. Is not Walt as enigmatic, elusive, evasive, fascinating as the Jesus of Mark's Gospel? Whitman self-published "Leaves of Grass" and sent it unsolicited to Emerson, who responded to the brash and canny self-promoter on 21 July, 1855, that it was -- as a century-and-a-half later it still is -- "the most extraordinary piece of wit & wisdom that America has yet contributed." Emerson continued, "I am very happy in reading it, as great power makes us happy. . . . I give you joy of your free & brave thought. I have great joy in it. I find incomparable things said incomparably well, as they must be. . . . I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illusion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty. It has the best merits, namely, of fortifying and encouraging." Emerson invented the American Religion; Whitman incarnated it.

I vow to reread "leaves" this summer, and I'd like to recommend a great book that I read a while back: "The Better Angel: Walt Whitman and the Civil War."

No Sean Penn, Whitman came to front line hospitals to care for his brother and stayed until the end of the war helping nurses and consoling Union troops. He wrote letters back home for those who were injured or illiterate (wouldn't that be a family treasure).

A great American and a great american artist.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM

The Bush Boom Continues

Three-point-four percent GDP growth in the second quarter (and this will probably be revised up), 5% unemployment, the S&P is at four year highs. Economic times are pretty good.

Economy Grows Despite High Energy Costs - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - The economy clocked in at a chipper 3.4 percent annual growth rate in the second quarter, fresh evidence the country's business climate is healthy despite surging energy costs.

That all this is happening with $60 oil and a war on is a true testament to the President's supply side tax cuts. I don't care that the media won't give the idiot from Texas credit, but it pains me that they won't give the economics credit. When the 2008 candidates start spouting Rubinomics, the NYTimes and WaPo editorials will nod along.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM

July 28, 2005

Consumption Tax

We have our differences around here, but I think we might all agree on this. Johngalt, in a comment gives us the URL to "Americans for Fair Taxation" I wanted to provide a link

I think this is by far the best way to fund the government. The website espouses all of my favorite benefits of consumption-based tax.

It has always been a pipe dream to me, but there seems to be a reckoning a-comin' -- the right candidate or group might be able to pull this off!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM

Flogging Blogging

I have mentioned that I enjoy John Stossel's segments on ABC's 20/20. And I highly recommend his book, "Give Me a Break."

I wrote a letter last week as I felt a segment they aired did not comport with Mr. Stossel's beliefs. My letter was included in his weekly email newsletter. Being Mr. Modest, I thought I'd share:

"Where was John Stossel?

I don't expect him to police every celebrity interview or public interest story on 20/20. But I tune in to 20/20 -- and not the other newsmagazines -- because I can expect some measure of common-sense factual economics and an objective view of government from my buddy, Mr. Stossel.

The 'Rip Current' segment sounded like a setup for a Give Me A Break sequence, but it never came. I'm thinking of something like:

STOSSEL: Down on the Florida panhandle, people have had frightening encounters with dangerous 'rip currents.' Sadly, some people have lost their life.
[Cut to beach view]
STOSSEL: I'm very sad for the families, but some surviving spouses are now insisting that the county employ lifeguards along 26 miles of beach. Efforts to educate swimmers with an animated crab have been ridiculed. The flag system in place to warn swimmers is routinely ignored. But how many lifeguards would be needed for 26 miles of beach? How many lives could they actually save? Don't a lot more people die driving to the beach, or getting too much Sun?
Maybe it's worth it to the Chamber to hire lifeguards -- if it is shown to make sense. But asking one county in Florida to make the ocean safe? I say 'Give Me A Break!'" John Kranz, Lafayette, Colorado


Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM

CAFTA, Si!

Sometimes, my friends, it is good to have the GOP in charge. Not all the time, but sometimes -- and this is a good week, with CAFTA passing the House 217-215.

Will Franklin notes the movement of Democrats to protectionism and the movement of Republicans to free trade between NAFTA and CAFTA.

Next stop: a free trade agreement between all free countries.

Hat-tip: Instapundit
But AlexC thinks:

All countries? *gulp*

Let's just work with the free countries first.
Liberal Democracies, Republics, etc..

Kind of like the idea of abandoning the UN and creating a United Free Nations.

Carrot/Stick kind of thing.

Posted by: AlexC at July 28, 2005 8:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry if I was not clear -- all FREE countries. You and I are on the exact same page here!

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2005 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I once told JK I didn't believe we should engage in any trade at all with un-free countries. "Free trade cannot exist between un-free trading partners," I said. JK then posited his "liberating force of free trade" argument. I wasn't immediately persuaded.

Yesterday I heard a Cuban American call the Limbaugh program (Roger Hedgecock guest hosting) and after thanking Castro for causing such a disaster in Cuba that he came to America and has a greater life than was ever possible there, echoed JK's theory with a real life example. When Castro softened restrictions on expats returning home (as a desperate attempt to bring capital to the island), Cuban citizens saw janitors and bus drivers from America spend thousands of dollars in a week. They then thought hey, maybe this capitalism thing isn't all bad!

So, I'm now on the bandwagon. Free trade with all nations! (Besides, then I can buy legal cigars without going overseas.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2005 3:19 PM

Is Atlas Shrugging?

Michael Barone is his usual sagacious self today in a WSJ guest editorial, Big Labor, RIP.

What Barone does so well is to weave history, demographics and politics into a meaningful fabric that describes a trend in historical context.

Today he looks at the labor movement's seeming ascendancy 50 years ago and their decline today.

Detroit and Michigan were extreme examples, but midcentury America was a country that seemed dominated by big government, big business and big labor. John Kenneth Galbraith was teaching us that big businesses would get ever bigger, and that workers would be entirely at their mercy unless they were represented by big labor unions. Union membership, as a percentage of nonagricultural employment, had risen from 13% in 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act was passed, to 35% at the end of World War II, when the government encouraged union membership in war industries. That percentage dipped slightly in the first postwar years, then rose to a peak of 35% in 1954.

This paragraph that really got me -- is "Atlas Shrugged" coming to life?
Meanwhile, the capital markets have gone on strike against unions. Capital hasn't been attracted to companies in which unions are entrenched -- the Big Three auto companies, the old-line steel companies, the legacy airlines. No one wants to finance businesses that will be burdened with the inflexibility and the huge health-care and pension costs union contracts impose. New firms have arisen in these industries -- Japanese and other foreign auto manufacturers, minimill steel companies, startup airlines -- which don't have unions. The biggest employer in America used to be unionized General Motors. Now it is determinedly non-unionized Wal-Mart. It would be an exaggeration, but not a great one, to say that no employers except the Las Vegas casinos create new union jobs.

But johngalt thinks:

No, Atlas is not shrugging, but he is looking out of the corner of his eye. The yoke upon his shoulders was not placed there by unions, but by government. His great unjust burden is not transitory gang bullying by large groups of laborers, but the coerced punitive taxation by our government.

Hope springs meekly in HR25: http://www.fairtax.org/

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2005 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Thought that might get a comment out of you...

It’s a fool’s errand to argue with you on this subject, but I thought the yoke was collectivist mentality. Yes, it is at its worst when provided by the coercive power of government, but big labor asks today's individual to toil for the usufruct of previous workers' pensions and health care...

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Unions and collectivist governments follow the same principles, but an individual can leave a union (as John Galt did at the Twentieth Century Motor Company.) He cannot take leave from the collectivism imposed on him by "his" government. Preservation of individual liberty is the key.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2005 3:09 PM

July 27, 2005

No, You Are Not Crazy

The would-be Millenium Bomber was sentenced today.

    A man who plotted to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison, a penalty that reflected some of his cooperation in telling international investigators about the workings of terror camps in Afghanistan.

    Still, Ahmed Ressam, 38, could have received a shorter sentence had he not stopped talking to investigators in early 2003. Prosecutors argued that his recalcitrance has jeopardized cases against two of his co-conspirators.


22 years? 22 years?

When he gets out at 60, he'll be old enough to collect Social Security! (if it survives)

22 years?!

What's the lesson learned here?

Plan to destroy a pretty important piece of American infrastructure, screw up, and get out of jail when your old enough to try again.

22 Years in jail... he'll no doubt connect with the Muslim population on the inside, and pollute how many minds?

What happened to life? and in isolation?

If there's ever an argument about moving the prosecution of acts of war into the criminal justice system, here's a perfect example.

But jk thinks:

This is indeed maddening, but I am guessing that there really is no mechanism to put this guy away. As it was foiled, there are no victims, I certainly don't know the law but guess that "attempted" anything is unlikely to draw severe penalties (unlike, say, cashing-in your IRA in at 58...)

What we need are serious treason/terrorism/conspiracy charges that could be levied against these guys, with death or life-without-parole sentences. But the confederacy in opposition to the Patriot Act would go bonkers.

It's still those who think we're at war and those who do not.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 4:04 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Actually my little part of the confederacy would be for defining such charges and penalties. I want them punished severely too, I just want to make sure they are the right folks. Whether the court system is the place to determine that is debatable, but it is the best we've got. I want to be able to preach democracy and the rule of law around the world with my head held high that we here in the US follow those rules no matter what the circumstances.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 29, 2005 2:41 PM

Dean Keeps on Giving

John Cole's Balloon Juice ridicules Howard Dean for his blaming W for Kelo

“The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is ‘okay’ to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is,” Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean’s reference to the “right-wing” court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court – Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court’s liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.


The problem that Cole misses is that the MSM will not call Dean on his untruths, their fact checkers are fully tasked with Ken Mehlman. Some folks read blogs, but a lot of folks will swallow this hook, line, sinker, and monkeyfish...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

The problem is that Dean's statement can be argued to be technically correct. It is "his" supreme court because of their ruling in Bush v Gore, and it is a "right-wing" court because of... their ruling in Bush v Gore.

What was it that the Clintonistas used to say? Move-On, or something like that.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2005 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't even mind the "right-wing" characterization. Untenable is that it was the damned lefties on the court who gave us Kelo.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 12:38 PM

Viva NAFTA, Si CAFTA!

I enjoy the internecine rifts around here, but was sad all day when I heard one of my blog brother's waxing prosaic on NAFTA.

I consider NAFTA a shining light in the late 20th Century, reason to believe that politics is still worth fighting for/about, and -- though pushed by a GOP House -- a great credit to the Clinton Presidency.

No, no free trade agreement will be perfect; actually the absence of legislation would make the whole world rich. But I take every crack in the dams and dikes that allows more trade through as a victory for wealth creation.

Mirabile non dictu, my pals at the WSJ Ed Page agree. Their lead editorial today calls for CAFTA's passage, based on the successes of NAFTA.

We are also told that Cafta can't work because the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 didn't work. And while it's true that Nafta didn't cure cancer or turn Mexico into Switzerland, those who argue that Nafta failed are ignoring the evidence.

In Nafta's first decade, annual two-way trade between the U.S. and Mexico almost tripled, to $232 billion from $81 billion. During that same period the U.S. created 18 million net new jobs and, even after the dot-com implosion and the recession of 2001, the current U.S. jobless rate of 5% is lower than it was (6.4%) when Nafta became law. U.S. productivity and wages have all climbed steadily. Ross Perot's prediction of a "giant sucking sound" proved to be a fantasy.
[...]
Nor have Nafta's benefits been limited to dollars and cents. When a rebel uprising, two political assassinations and a financial crisis hit Mexico in 1994, Nafta arguably helped to prevent the kind of political lurch to the authoritarian left that has been common in Mexican history. Nafta created economic and political interests in Mexico that had a stake in relations with the U.S. and global integration.

The economic competition induced by Nafta pushed Mexico's political system forward toward fuller democracy, helping to end 70 years of one-party rule. Compare this progress with isolated Argentina's reaction to its 2001 financial crisis, which has revived the authoritarian Peronism of the 1970s in Buenos Aires. Given Central America's own history of authoritarianism, this is no small point for Cafta. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez will be overjoyed if it fails.


When we started seeing economical, reasonable quality Fender guitars coming from Mexico, my buddy, Sugarchuck, called them "NATFA Strats." That made me laugh at the time, but it remains a pretty decent macro: we get cheaper guitars, they get jobs, and American luthiers can concentrate on more expensive guitars. Yeah baby!

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow says: "According to Investor's Business Daily's Brian Mitchell, CAFTA has become the White House's top legislative priority, with the fervent backing of Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas. CAFTA passed narrowly in the Senate, and there appears to be uncertainty about it's future in the House. Let's hope Thomas can round up the necessary support."

But johngalt thinks:

That the likes of JK and the editorial page of WSJ offer praise for NAFTA is, indeed, powerful evidence of its virtues. And JK's thesis of free-market economics as the elixir of liberty for the developing and authoritarian world is well received.

I might question some of the statistics provided. For example, what is "two-way trade?" If it is the sum of trade in both directions it says nothing about the growth of US exports to Mexico by itself. And the remaining rosy "effects" of NAFTA are not clearly tied to the existence of the agreement.

And then there's the importance of CAFTA to the Bush administration - the executive branch that looks at US citizens reporting suspicious activity on our national borders and see "vigilantes" and steadfastly ignores the illegal immigration crisis in this country at the apparent behest of well-placed business interests. Interests that will likely benefit from CAFTA as well.

Having said all this though, if it will really piss off Hugo Chavez as the WSJ asserts... Two Thumbs Up!

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2005 2:39 PM

July 26, 2005

Roberts Requests

From the Bleachers...

    Hill folks are saying that the Senate Judiciary Committee can expect to receive over 75,000 pages of documents relating the John Roberts' work as a young attorney working for then-president Reagan.

    The soon to be released documents will come from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, "They're not going to read it all."
Chappy adds...
    Don't count on this being enough paper for Schumer, Kennedy, Durbin and others.

*sigh*

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 6:00 PM

1st Sign of the Apocalypse

From the Washington Post...

    A new study by a liberal Washington think tank puts the cost of forcibly removing most of the nation's estimated 10 million illegal immigrants at $41 billion a year, a sum that exceeds the annual budget of the Department of Homeland Security.

    The study, "Deporting the Undocumented: A Cost Assessment," scheduled for release today by the Center for American Progress, is billed by its authors as the first-ever estimate of costs associated with arresting, detaining, prosecuting and removing immigrants who have entered the United States illegally or overstayed their visas. The total cost would be $206 billion to $230 billion over five years, depending on how many of the immigrants leave voluntarily, according to the study.


Whoa whoa whoa... liberal think tank?

I don't think I've ever seen a think tank labelled liberal. Conservative, right leaning, yes. Liberal? No.

Repent! The end is nigh!

Obviously the mass deportation option is not on the table, and I'm not sure it was ever seriously on the table.

    [Rajeev K. Goyle, senior domestic policy analyst for the center] said that he conducted the study, in part, to respond to conservative officials who have advocated mass deportations, in some cases immediately. Earlier this year, former House speaker Newt Gingrich advocated sealing U.S. borders and deporting all illegal immigrants within 72 hours of arrest.

    Will Adams, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), an outspoken advocate of stronger immigration laws, called the study an "an interesting intellectual exercise" by liberals that is "useless . . . because no one's talking about" employing mass deportation as a tactic.

    "No one's talking about buying planes, trains and automobiles to get them out of the country," Adams said. "The vast number of illegal immigrants are coming for jobs. Congressman Tancredo wants to go after the employers."


I like Tancredo's idea, but he shot his credibility right in the ass with the nuking Mecca remark. If only there was someone else in Congress willing to carry the flag on this idea.

Gingrich's idea is also very practical, if we could get local law enforcement to check on immigration status.

Bust them, then ship 'em out. It's a start.

But johngalt thinks:

I offered up a simple and thorough plan for ending the illegal immigration problem in "JK Supports McCain-Kennedy" below (http://www.threesources.com/archives/001841.html) but Tom's idea is at least productive, if not the final solution.

As for his credibility, any smudge on it is not his own doing. If a good man like AlexC in Pennysylvania believes that Tancredo said, "nuke Mecca" or "nuke" anything else, that belief has been carefully and deliberately inculcated in his brain by the MSM. (Denver's KHOW radio Peter Boyles interviewed a Denver Post columnist this AM and challenged her similar characterization of Tom's remarks. He closed with, "The next time you write a column like this, for Christ's sake, get it right!" After a pregnant pause she said, "Thank you Peter, I've gotta go.")

Tancredo started his hypothetical answer by saying that instead of just deciding what we would do in the event of a NUCLEAR TERROR ATTACK ON THE U.S., we should WARN the world that such an event would precipitate some "ultimate" response. Such a response might be, for EXAMPLE, to "take out their holy sites."

I've got more to say on this but I think I'll continue to reserve it for a blog post that I've been planning since this story first broke.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2005 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll wait for your post but choosing sides between media and Rep Tancredo is going to be difficult.

Nobody should be misrepresented, but I enjoyed seeing him get in a little trouble. He is trying to split the GOP in 2008 and I would like to squash his hopes as soon as possible.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 11:54 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Tom Tancredo wrote his own editorial in last week's Denver Post where he offered a similar explanation for his remarks as that johngalt states. My problem is more with the underlying attitude and strategy that brought forth the remarks. First, Tom made several comments regarding our war against Islam, and yes he did further clarify his meaning of Islamic extremists, but his plan to either deter the extremists themselves with a plan for retribution or force moderate Islam to act against them due to fear of retaliation against holy sites shows to me outdated 20th Century thinking. Are we still so naive as to expect a country, religion, or other target owning entity to stand up as the home or sponsor of the terrorist organization so that we may have classic method to strike back? Does Tom further feel that the concept of deterrent will be successful against extremists, or that such threats will provide the power to the people required to topple or change governments such that an Islamic uprising within the ranks will quell the terrorist menace? If he really expects his remarks not to be taken as throw away rhetoric then he needs to stand up with a real thought out plan. Otherwise I have to lump him in with Ward Churchill.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 28, 2005 3:53 PM

Let's Put Them In Charge of Health Care!

You have to laugh sometimes to keep from crying. Our beloved legislative branch is at it:

Snake Oil Additives

Never say Congress isn't willing to accept blame -- as long as it can assign it to someone else. Having mandated the use of the fuel additive MTBE, the Members now want to shake down the companies foolish enough to have made the product.

This is the real story behind the debate over MTBE, which has once again become the sticking point in the House-Senate conference over the energy bill. The House has passed modest liability protection for MTBE makers, while Senate Democrats are threatening a filibuster if there's any such thing in the final bill. If we're lucky, the dispute will cause the hot-air dirigible that is the energy bill to crash and burn one more time. But it's more likely the Members will "compromise" by dropping the House provision and thus blame private business for Congress's mistakes.
[...]
Refiners and other companies now face more than 100 lawsuits, even as they are striving to meet growing energy demand and more elaborate fuel specifications. Draining cash from these companies to finance trial-lawyer contingency bonanzas will not lower gas prices.

Bear in mind that the House liability waiver would only be for "product defect" lawsuits, which are the most frivolous and deadly because they only require plaintiffs to show that a company made the product for sale. Defendants would still be liable for larger MTBE spills, and the current Congressional negotiations include talk of some sort of industry-financed clean-up fund. In about 95% of spills, a responsible party has been identified and most are already paying for a cleanup.


I paid attention to this in the 1990s as I was quite concerned about MTBE and Ethanol’s effects on vehicles. I guess I'll have to confess to being wrong on that count -- but right about gub'mint meddling in general.

Markets work. While we're on that topic, Arnold Kling, an oxymoronic "fun economist" over at TCS is starting a new series on the effects of regulation -- a good excuse for even non-economists to learn about the CAPM. Jk gives it four stars!


July 25, 2005

'08 Straw Poll

Patrick Ruffini :: 2008 Straw Poll: "Just Right" Edition is there for your voting pleasure -- but there's no choice for Condi.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

The '08 race without Condi pretty lame. NRO and K-Lo have been pushing Romney, but George Allen seems to be the front runner.

Poor Bill Frist is the basement.

He can blame himself. How can he be President if he let's a minority in the Senate push him around?

Posted by: AlexC at July 26, 2005 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I think a strict "No Senators" rule is always worth considering...

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2005 6:29 PM

Hard to Please

A free copy of OpinionJournal's Political Diary is offered in lieu of Best of the Web today. It seems Anita Hill is not too wild about this nominee either.

"We don't know much about Roberts' political ideology, but we do know that his career has been built on membership in increasingly elitist institutions that include few women and Latinos or other ethnic minorities... Had these 'extraordinary' credentials set the standard for judicial nominations in 1982, Sandra Day O'Connor would never have been appointed. She never clerked. She never worked for a president. She never served as a federal judge" -- Brandeis University Prof. Anita Hill, writing in Newsday.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 4:35 PM

Hotel Souter

From Chicago Sun-Times

    People from across the country are getting behind a campaign to seize Supreme Court Justice David Souter's farmhouse to build a luxury hotel, according to the man who came up with the idea after a Supreme Court decision favoring government seizure of private property.

    ''We would act just as these cities have been acting in seizing properties. We would give Souter the same sort of deal,'' said Logan Darrow Clements of Los Angeles.

    Town Clerk Evelyn Connor has had to return checks from people wishing to donate to a hotel construction fund. A rival proposal from townspeople would turn Souter's land into a park commemorating the Constitution.


It's refreshing that even the townspeople are behind some sort of a "punitive" action. That's really the key support. Outsiders horsing around would never fly.

But Justice Souter is not without his defenders.

    Souter has declined to comment, but he has defenders, like Betty Straw, his sixth-grade teacher.

    ''I think it's absolutely ridiculous,'' she said. ''They're just doing it for spite.''


Boy, they're really going deep if all they can quote is his sixth-grade teacher.

Live Free or Die State... I love it!

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 11:00 AM

Good News on Roberts

Senator Ted Kennedy says he "threatens 'Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage' and the environment." The Wall Street Journal Editorial page asks "Is that all?"

I respect the opinion of Charles Krauthammer and other serious conservatives who worry about another Souter. Again, I am pretty sanguine thanks to the much larger number of also serious conservatives who support his nomination.

But I am most calmed by the words of the Senior Senator from Massachusetts. "I can imagine few things worse for our seniors, for the disabled, for workers and for families than to place someone on the highest court in the land who would put these protections at risk."

Yup. Now I feel better!

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM

Lt Governor Embarrassment

It should be listed as Pennsylvania, not Indiana, but that's besides the point.

Day by Day still cracks me up.

You'd think a politician would know better.

update: Well, the comic was fixed. The Governor is also in repair mode.

    Rendell said he thinks Knoll, 74, of McKees Rocks, meant no harm by attending the memorial service last Tuesday. He believes Knoll gave her business card to a family member so that Goodrich's family would have a contact within state government if they later needed help securing benefits.

    "She goes to so many funerals because she cares so deeply," Rendell said. "I don't go to funerals unless I'm invited. I go to wakes because they're public."


Do you give out your card Mr Governor?

If it warrants an apology, where's Lt Gov Knoll's?

Politics Posted by AlexC at 12:00 AM

July 24, 2005

Souteronomy

A great word, seemingly coined by Power Line

The question is: was Souter a liberal, or did he "grow" in office? Michael Barone writes in to comment that Souter let Lawrence Tribe pick his clerks (not an auspicious sign).

Barone further suggests that today's justices have too many clerks and that there would be more comity and fewer split opinions without them ("First, Kill all the Clerks," Shakespeare said!)

Barone underscores Roberts's possible immunity from Souteronomy:

As for Justice Roberts, he seems clearly to be a man who will not be moved away from his convictions by his clerks. This, even though his opinions and the accounts of him by those who have worked with him indicate that he pays respectful attention to those who disagree with him. In reading his opinions, I have been struck by how carefully and fairly he presents arguments for the positions with which he disagrees. This is not a guy who is going to come out the way I would like in every case. But it does seem to be a guy who will come out the way he would like in every case -- and is not going to be buffaloed by Professor Tribe's hand-picked law clerks any more than he is buffaloed by Professor Tribe.

I'm really not jealous of other blogs' hit stats or ad rates, but if I could get Michael Barone to write in one day with comments...

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM

Well Done, Lance

An inspirational American does what Eddy Merckx could not: seven tour wins!


lance_armstrong.jpg


More than an American victory (though I do love it when LeMond or Armstrong whups the French in their own race), it is more a victory for Cancer patients. I have heard two friends who have been diagnosed both reference Lance Armstrong. "If he can do it, we can."

Well done!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM

July 22, 2005

Pot Theft

From 6ABC

    Donald Nord won't be getting his pot back. Federal agents seized his stash and took some pipes, too.

    The Hayden, Colorado, man has a state-issued medical-use permit for his weed. No federal charges were filed against Nord, so he asked a county court to order the pot's return.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration agents refused and Nord sought a contempt citation. Now, a federal judge has ruled a local court doesn't have the power to hold the D-E-A agents in contempt.


If the feds have a law prohibiting marijuana, then they should charge him. If they haven't charged him, what right to they have to retain his property?

This guy's getting screwed.

But jk thinks:

Indeed.

Who cares about Roe? I want to see Judge Roberts's stand on Raich.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2005 4:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I heard that Roberts holds a narrow view on the Interstate Commerce Clause and Affirmative Action.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2005 12:12 PM

Kristol on Roberts

The Weekly Standard has been very supportive of the President, yet unafraid to attack (well, nooge) him from the right.

While Fred Barnes and William Kristol were both hoping for a fierce conservative in the Scalia-Thomas-Bork mold, today's editorial by Kristol makes a good point. It Takes an Establishment. He points out that radicals are needed for change yet establishments are required to govern.

Kristol thinks Bush is pursuing a long-term vision of the court with the Roberts nomination as an establishmentarian.

Roberts is no Bork, no Scalia, and no Thomas. He's probably more like the man for whom he clerked, Chief Justice Rehnquist--or the man Rehnquist replaced, John Marshall Harlan. A court with, so to speak, five Scalias would be fun. But it won't happen. A court with a majority made up of some Scalia-Thomas types and some Rehnquist-Harlan types is possible. Indeed, with his choice of John Roberts, President Bush has begun to create such a court, one heading towards a constitutionalist majority.

The piece ends with some kind words from a liberal lawyer who mentored under Roberts at a law firm.

"So I have nothing but a profound sense of respect for John Roberts: for his integrity, his intelligence, his humility, and his genuine human decency.

"All of that said, my best guess is that he would be a very conservative justice. And because he is so gifted and so decent a human being, he might become incredibly influential on the Court, moving it in ways that justices like Scalia and Thomas have been incapable. In short, he could ultimately be a progressive's worst case scenario."


Man when he says it like that...

Also, consider this bit of wisdom:

Let's not lose sight of this, either: Merit is a conservative principle. Selecting a first-class nominee, and refusing to bend to political expediency, is a conservative act. In this respect, the nomination of Roberts sends a signal that Bush understands the Court matters, and that on things that matter, he will rise to the occasion and scorn identity politics.

Color jk still cautiously optimistic...

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM

July 21, 2005

Twilight Savings Time

ThreeSources blogger AlexC hits an intriguing point in a post on his pstupidonymous blog.

Congressional alchemists once again believe they have found some free energy laying around, if we just move the clocks. 100,000 bbls of oil a day will be saved by adding another month of Daylight Savings Time, because lights would be used less in the early evenings.

"What about lights in the morning?" asks AlexC, later suggesting to end the whole thing.

Any Daylight Savings fans running around? Silence's hero, Benjamin Franklin, is frequently credited with the idea.

I was thinking that Air Conditioning represents much more use than lights, and was going to propose Twilight Savings time: set the clocks ahead 12 hours in the summer, so we can all work at night when it's cooler...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm a fan. I think we should use it year 'round. I once pondered changing my work schedule during standard time to unilaterally put myself on DST. I was fed up with not getting home until after dark in the winter months. My boss at the time, a miserable pain in the ass, forbade it. Loser.

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

Check out the cool interactive map at: http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2005 3:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Aha! Bad bosses aside, I think the heart of my question (at least the spleen) is: Does the gub'mint mandated time shift make sense or could it be handled better by the private sector.

And -- if you want it year 'round, that's an excuse for shifting the time zone -- not an excuse to change it twice a year. Innit?

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2005 4:03 PM

Zeitgeist

I don't know how many of you have seen Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" show on CNBC. I think it is indicative of a huge cultural shift. The investor class has now reached critical mass and a stock market TV show has crossed into pop culture.

I'll try to explain it to those who have not seen it, but you have to see this to believe it. You may know Jim Cramer. He was Larry Kudlow's co-host for a while on CNBC; he is a Harvard Law School graduate who went into business and journalism. He is an up-tempo and excitable guy who brings his excitable persona to stocks.

For one hour on CNBC, Jim rolls up his sleeves, jumps around the stage, takes phone calls, and gives irreverent stock advice with sound effects that he controls. The most exciting part of the show is the "Lightning Round," which Jim starts out by yelling "Are you ready, skee-daddy? It's time for the Lighting Round!" Then for two minutes, Jim takes calls without questions, they just name the stock or the symbol and Jim shows off his encyclopedic knowledge of the market. This is the part I watch for, and it really is breathtaking.

A caller might trade a quick "Boo-yah!" with Jim but there's no conversation. The caller says "P C U" and Jim says "Southern Peruvian Copper? I don't like South America, I don't like Peru, and I don't like Copper -- you figure it out!" Or hits a button that brings up Bulls or Bears; SFX include "Sell!Sell!Sell!," or a pig squeal for those who are not taking a little off a winner, or a truck reversing (for "'monback!" or back that truck up to load it full of stock). There are more but I am getting carried away just thinking about it.

Last night was the "Main Event," the first live show in its history, and it was extended to 90 minutes. This is what I wanted to post about, sorry for all the other exposition.

The auditorium was packed. This is unsurprising, I would have gone if I could. Had I, I would have been the oldest and stodgiest in the whole house. The show was packed with twentysomethings and thirtysomethings. I am pretty sure Cramer had the only tie (no wait – there was a pinstriped boxing announcer guy who would introduce segments).

Cramer was a rock star to this crowd -- one audience member said "You're not a rock star, you're a stock star!" They wore custom T-Shirts with Cramer quotes, or "Cramerholic," or "Cramerican." They yelled and danced like it was a Baptist revival meetin', they all yelled "Boo-yah!" and "Skee-Daddy!" Not one of them would have chosen to be anywhere else. The Beatles reception on the Ed Sullivan Show looked like a funeral in comparison.

And this brought my wife and me great joy. These are good folks who will guide this nation pretty well. They will choose liberty at the polls. And as long as Rep Pelosi, and Senators Kennedy and Reid assume the Investor Class is old, stagnant, and silent then liberty loving people will do well at the polls.


But AlexC thinks:

Does he do a couple of lines of coke before each show? TOO MUCH energy for this twenty-something.

My younger brother loves it though.

Posted by: AlexC at July 22, 2005 1:56 AM

Standing With Britain

unionjack.png

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM

July 20, 2005

Filthy American Imperialists!

Jim Hake emails "Project Friendship a success!"

Dear friends and donors,

What a day was had! Clouds, sun, rain and outrageous humidity, but together with the Public Affairs Marines at Camp LeJeune, Marine families, the local community and the MCCS, Spirit of America completed the packing of thousands of school supplies and hygiene kits heading to Iraq. More than 75 volunteers worked side by side to prepare for the shipment of goods Spirit of America had donated for the II MEF Marines deployed to Iraq. The items will be given to Iraqis as gifts of friendship from the American people. The goal is to help the Iraqi people and to build better relations between Americans and Iraqis.


MarineCorpsExchangeSmall.jpg


More photos, info, and a chance to help at the Spirit of America site.

Thanks to all who serve!

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 7:30 PM

'Nother Souter?

I hear that Anne Coulter is concerned; I am more worried about a couple of good friends. (Maybe they're on the Karl Rove payroll and are pushing AlexC's "too moderate" meme...)

I like what I am seeing in the blogosphere. Power Line was positive on him before the nomination, Scott makes trenchant rebuttals of Coulter's complaints -- and John says "Pop the corks!"

JOHN adds: Pop the champagne corks, conservatives. Roberts is a fantastic choice, a brilliant and bulletproof conservative. And it was fun to see Pat Leahy and Chuck Schumer on television tonight; they looked just awful.

After President Bush's terrific, upbeat presentation of Roberts, and Roberts' graceful, brief talk, Leahy and Schumer sounded like they had just dropped in from another planet. They were dour, hateful, and came across as sad and pathetic minions who have been sent on a hopeless mission by their bosses at "People for the American Way."


Glenn seems upbeat, and links to BeldarBlog's Why I'm not worried that Judge John G. Roberts will become "another Souter"
Thus, through people like former Solicitor General Ken Starr (and, perhaps, Chief Justice Rehnquist?) with whom John Roberts has worked very closely, and through privileged documents that Judge Roberts must have written himself while a government lawyer, Dubya and his staff certainly know vastly more about Judge Roberts' character and core beliefs than, for example, Poppy Bush ever could have known about David Souter or than the Gipper ever could have known about Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy. Instead, Dubya and his staff have the same kind of first-hand, pertinent, and highly reliable knowledge about John Roberts that Richard Nixon and his staff had about William Rehnquist. And that worked out pretty well over time, didn't it?
Again, for reasons of precedent and preservation of executive privilege, Dubya won't and can't share those private, confidential documents, nor those private, confidential personal assessments, with you, me, or the Senate. But he has them; they're incredibly meaningful; and we have every reason to believe that Dubya has made very, very good use of them. Don't misunderestimate your president, my conservative friends. Rejoice and have faith!

I saw Judge Starr on FOXNews and MSNBC last night.. He was telling the lefties not to worry about Roberts. I'm not sure he was the right messenger for the left -- but it did comfort me.

To my friends, I will echo Beldar. This President can mess up the little things. But he tends to get the big things right. And I am betting that he did his homework on this one.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 3:12 PM

SCOTUS Reverse Psychology

Blonde Sagacity sez...

    VERY IMPORTANT: Keep saying "He's too moderate, we don't like him." Say it over and over --it worked for Alberto Gonzalez (they hated him for the GITMO stuff, but wanted him once they found out that Conservatives didn't)...libs seem to fall for reverse psychology...LOL

It sounds like fellow blonde right-wing babe Ann Coulter got the message.
    And it makes no difference that conservatives in the White House are assuring us Roberts can be trusted. We got the exact same assurances from officials working for the last president Bush about David Hackett Souter. I believe their exact words were, "Read our lips; Souter's a reliable conservative."

Or did she?

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

It ain't necessarily faked. I received an extremely downbeat email this morning that imagined if Senators Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton were not in full apoplexy, then W has obviously picked another Souter.

I gave a sanguine reply. I like what I have heard, and I fully suspect that the Democrats have a careful plan to act nice and thoughtful (Schumer was really trying, if you can believe it). Then when something is disclosed, or a question is not answered, they will spring into life.

It is odd that a person would not make a public and clear position on Roe v Wade. That might be a sign of wobbliness or it might really be good politics.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2005 2:52 PM

JK Supports McCain-Kennedy

Wait, did I really write that headline? Call the paramedics!

First, two of my favorite Senators have introduced a bill that is heavy on Enforcement.

After nearly 20 years and numerous enforcement escalations, the undocumented immigrant population continues to grow -- and restrictionist lawmakers continue to insist that throwing ever more money, men and material into border enforcement is the key to fixing the problem.

Yesterday, Senators John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) introduced legislation that would authorize $5 billion over five years "to acquire and deploy unmanned aerial vehicles, camera poles, vehicles barriers, sensors" and other technologies. They'd also create a new 10,000-man army to raid businesses across America and make sure there are no illegal chambermaids working at Marriott. For this, we need Republicans?


The WSJ Ed Page and me -- mirabile freakin' dictu -- prefer a bill introduced by --ahem-- John McCain and Ted Kennedy.
A more promising reform was introduced in May by Senators John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.). Their approach is a welcome acknowledgment of certain realities -- namely, that enforcement-only policies have failed repeatedly and that wiser uses of limited government manpower and tax dollars are in order.

Based on the fact that the vast majority of migrants come here in search of work, Senators McCain and Kennedy aim to lower the level of illegal immigration by expanding our relatively few channels for legal entry to meet the demand. Giving economic immigrants legal ways to enter the U.S. will reduce business for human smugglers and counterfeiters. Moreover, it will allow our border authorities to concentrate their resources on chasing down real security threats instead of nannies and gardeners.

In short, the McCain-Kennedy bill would enhance homeland security without harming the immigrant labor market so essential to the country's economic well-being. But the measure's guest-worker initiative, which would allow undocumented migrants already here to work legally if they first pay sizable fines and undergo criminal background checks, has brought charges of "amnesty" from Republicans who call any "work and stay" provision a poison pill.

This "amnesty" charge may be potent as a political slogan, but it becomes far less persuasive when you examine its real-world implications. If paying a fine isn't good enough for illegals already here, what are the restrictionists proposing? Mass arrests, raids on job-creating businesses, or deportations? No illegal settled in a job or U.S. community is going to admit his status if he will then immediately be jailed or sent home to wait in line for years before he can get his old U.S. job back. Those who wave the "no amnesty" flag are actually encouraging a larger underground illegal population.


McCain-Kennedy. I'm going back to bed...

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Every once in a while a little pragmatism creeps into our ever more contentions political arena. Don't feel to bad JK, it is not a common occurrence so you should not have to hop on McCain or Kennedy's bandwagon again, hopefully saving your conservative head from a splitting headache. Now at the risk of exposing more of my liberal underpinnings I got stuck on one phrase in your post, "...the immigrant labor market so essential to the country's economic well-being." By this do you mean the use of legal immigrants paid legal wages and benefits or illegal immigrants with neither? I have to call into question the foundation of a business that cannot be profitable without illegal workers.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 20, 2005 1:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. I absolutely mean legal immigrants and legal wages. The thing that bothers me so much about the status quo is the illegality.

A single business that cannot prosper without illegal labor is likely flawed. By discussing "the immigrant labor market" in aggregate, the focus is shifted from a single business model to the economic issue of comparative advantage. Comparative advantage makes the whole country wealthier with the addition of lower cost workers.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2005 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So, we're expected to believe that an illegal settled in a job or U.S. community is going to admit his status because he'll "only" be asked to pay "sizable fines?" Or, if the benefits of this "legalization for sale" plan are sufficient to encourage the vast majority of illegals to opt-in, in their own self-interest, it's still supposed to be "good enough" to satisfy the restrictionists? Consistency alert!!

If the McCain-Kennedy bill doesn't secure the border against illegal entry, it's just another brick in the bureaucratic morass we call immigration policy. No amount of made-to-order government programs are going to correct the system we have now, where many immigrants make such a great effort to get here illegally so that they can get stuff for free.

- Secure the borders.
- Stop the handouts.
- Institute "official English" nationally.
- Allow unlimited numbers of non-criminal individuals to immigrate at will.

Problem (domestic immigration) solved.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2005 2:45 PM

This Just In...

For thsoe of you missing Taranto (as I am), I'll get this one. The top Headline in my Yahoo/AP news today:

Battle Over Nominee May Center On Abortion

You just can't get anything past those those guys...

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM

July 19, 2005

Golberg's New Book

K-Lo interviews Bernard Goldberg on NRO about his new book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.

I just finished this and, yes, you can judge this book by its cover! It's funny, and interesting, but it is pure polemic.

I was blown away by Goldberg’s Bias and Arrogance. Both books said serious things about why and how far Goldberg's peers in MSM had gone. I think both of these books were important, because Goldberg is no ideologue. He was a serious insider writing serious books.

A Hundred People is not serious. It's funny, and I agree with most of the members. (I would trade Senators Chris Dodd and Pat Leahy for the "Grand Theft Auto" guy and the "Fear Factor" guy -- but as he said, it's his list.)

I wouldn't tell anybody not to buy it, but I am worried that it'll detract from the importance of his other works. When I say "Bernie Goldberg really blew the lid off the media, people will say "Goldberg is just a right-wing hack"

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Tough to argue with the profitablity of being a right wing hack, it sells just like Grand Theft Auto and Fear Factor. (Hey, you offered up the components of the comparison, I just ran with it)

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 20, 2005 1:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Poor Bernie. He is the only left-of-center right wing hack in town. No small feat.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2005 2:44 PM

Clement for the Court

Looks like the nominee will be 5th Circuit Court judge Edith Clement.

I would have figured she would have been at least officially announced before the attacks began, but it was not to be.

On the radio this morning, I already heard George Stephanopoulous, the impartial ABC commentator, say "she has no paper trail."

Listen for that meme in the future, if she is the nominee.

Confirmed 99-0 four years ago, btw.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

A number of pro-life pundits are calling Clement a "surrender" nominee, (to Senate Dems). This largely for her statement that the abortion issue is "decided law." Limbaugh's not so certain that she's "pro-Roe" as her statement was that of a district judge with no ability to alter that law.

Not knowing any more than this about her I can only say, at least she's not certifiably pro-life as many Bush backers have been demanding. There's a good chance that, as I learn more about her, I won't prefer to see her go down in flames. So far, so good Mr. Prez.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

So, jg, You'd be happy seeing Justice Scalia or Thomas "Go down in flames" were there confirmation hearings happening at this time?

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2005 5:05 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Uh. I guess we're wrong. Karl Rove is a genius!

Posted by: AlexC at July 19, 2005 10:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, I don't consider Scalia or Thomas to be anti-Roe activists. Edith Jones, on the other hand...

And AlexC... What do you mean "we," white man!

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 11:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and as far as I can tell at this point, Roberts is a good choice as well. Not that I don't believe he disagrees with Roe, but I don't believe he considers it his mission in life to "reverse" it, somehow.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 11:53 PM

July 18, 2005

Spurlock

Parity is conserved. I tuned into "Scarborough Country" on MSNBC the other night and Rep. Joe from the panhandle, welcomed Morgan Spurlock, plugged his new show, and accepted everything he said uncritically. He even ended the interview with a little flattery of how Super Size Me influenced his friends in Congress.

That hurt. I don't always see eye-to-eye with Rep Scarborough, but I was pretty surprised to see him bamboozled, or sold out, or having eaten bad clams -- whatever.

Glenn at Instapundit links today to a Morgan Spurlock Watch blog that does a little fact-checking. Badly needed fact-checking.

The debut post asks "Why Bother with this Guy?"

It's tempting to dismiss Spurlock as an unserious guy whom serious people don't take seriously. That's probably true. But young people, people who aren't naturally skeptical, and people who are already suspicious of corporations do take him seriously. His TV show debuted to 3 million viewers. The NY Times recently fawned all over him. And of course, Super Size Me was enormously successful.

There's certainly no questioning Spurlock's talent with a camera. And he has a bit of charisma that makes him likeable, and believable.

The problem is that he's fast and loose with the truth. He's consumed by a loathing of business and capitalism -- to the point of refusing to allow accuracy to get in the way of making his point. And I think someone needs to hold him accountable. I'd like to prime the people who watch his show, read his books, and take his advice to take in Morgan Spurlock, Inc. with a super-sized portion of skepticism.


Some smart friends at work love this guy. They think it is some problem with my weird politics that I cannot enjoy Super Size Me.

It's a polemic. I tell them if they ate every meal at "The Mediterranean" (a nice Italian Restaurant across the street) they'd probably gain 100 pounds. Willfully eating too much for 30 days is not a reflection on the restaurant, it is a reflection on your own stupidity.

Besides its polemical value, I object dieterily to the film. I lost 70 pounds on the Atkins diet, actually eating at McDonalds a few times a week. Spurlock's bad facts will be rolled into a constitutional amendment mandating vegetarianism.

Maybe Joe Scarborough will come back to Congress to co-sponsor it...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:19 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Good work JK, you Rove confidant you, for "outing" the fact-bending documentary technique of Spurlock nee Moore.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 2:20 PM

Leak

AlexC is actually a covert agent for the C.I.A.

I thought y'all should know...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

JK, you never told me you are a close personal confidant of Karl Rove!

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2005 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Lookout Conspiracy Theorists -- I actually have met his sister, she worked with my brother-in-law.

AHA!

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 6:57 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Damn. Cover blown. And my neighbors thought all this travel was for big oil!

Posted by: AlexC at July 19, 2005 4:44 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

There's a difference between big oil and the CIA?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 19, 2005 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

yawn.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 2:06 PM

I Know How He Feels

A little honesty from Chris Muir:


daybyday07-18-2005.gif


...just how he feels...

Day By Day -- always on the ThreeeSources blogroll!

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM

Woodstein & Burnward

Loving politics gives a man no shortage of enemies. Plenty of folks to contravene, subvert, and oppose at every turn.

I don't think I am alone that I let it get a little too personal, but Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the great white President-hunters, were their sanctimonious selves on Meet The Press yesterday. I just have to bite down on a rolled up washcloth when I see those guys.

Russert asked, germane to the Rove-Plame-Wilson contretemps, whether Deep Throat was complicit in a crime.

Transcript for July 17 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com

"W. Mark Felt violated FBI and Justice Department policies by sharing with reporters information about the Watergate scandal, but it's not clear whether he broke any laws, several former federal prosecutors said. ...The former prosecutors said if they were to look into Felt's conversations with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward they would examine whether he violated federal rules that keep grand jury matters secret, whether he disclosed other confidential material that was part of the Watergate investigation or broke privacy rules by revealing the names of people who had yet to be charged with a crime."

Do you think Felt broke the law?

MR. BERNSTEIN: There was a conspiracy going on at the time, run by the president of the United States to undermine the electoral process in this country. A criminal presidency...

MR. RUSSERT: But did Felt know that when he started? He started talking to you four or five days after the break-in when he didn't know there was a conspiracy going on.

MR. BERNSTEIN: Actually, he did know there was a conspiracy going on...


I'm gonna have to say it. I'll allow some of my better -educated blog brothers to correct me.

The takedown of the Nixon administration is certainly not an unalloyed good, and I question whether it was a net good. I have no love lost for Nixonian Republicanism, mind you, and he clearly exceeded powers, broke laws and stepped over the line many times.

But when I look at the post-Nixon period, I think of the fall of Saigon and the rise of the Church commission, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, boat people and the foundation for the Carter Presidency.

Let me run a counterfactual here: Nixon finishes his second term, damaged somewhat by investigations but not chased out (think Clinton with worse hair). Bernstein says that there was "a conspiracy to undermine the electoral process" but Nixon won 49 states to one. This was not won by a break in, this was a clear landslide against Senator McGovern's polity. So the electoral process was not successfully altered.

Nixon is a little stronger in his second term to negotiate a more secure peace in Saigon, with US management of the changeover. We still lose South Vietnam to the communists, but millions of lives are spared. The anti-war Senators do not feel their oats and dismantle the US security apparatus in the Church commission. Ford does not Pardon Nixon and wins a second term (more "WIN" buttons). No Carter and no Church Commission -- perhaps no 9-11.

So, "Shallow Tonsil," or whoever leaked Valerie Plame's soi-disant secret identity is a low-down, criminal, varmint -- but "deep throat" and his brave benefactors (did they mention they kept his identity secret for 33 years? Several times.) are national heroes. I don't buy it.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 1:23 PM

July 16, 2005

Eminent Domain

The Kelo decision is going to affect a lot of cities negatively if this kind of attitude doesn't change.

    When Mayor Street declared his war on blight in Philadelphia, it is unlikely that he imagined the James J. Clearkin construction company as the enemy. The 87-year-old, family-owned business is located just off Castor Avenue in Juniata Park, in a modest, two-story office building that is as sturdy today as it was when the family mortared in the last buff-colored brick in 1950.

    Now, as then, the Clearkin company specializes in schools and churches, mostly Catholic ones. It still employs about 45 people. In the last decade, it has paid more than $400,000 in city taxes. But unlike some Philadelphia businesses, Clearkin has no complaint with the assessment. The family would be glad to keep sending their tax checks downtown.


[...]
    The Clearkins - James Jr., James 3d and Joseph - are so bitter about the city-sponsored foreclosure they have vowed to move their company out of Philadelphia. If they do, they will join other businesses evicted from the development site in decamping to the suburbs.

Philadelphia is notorious for fleeing residents and fleeing companies because of the high tax environment. Now they're chasing them out!

If I were a politician looking to break into local politics, be it city, township or county, I would run on a "no eminent domain" kind of platform.

No houses for offices... no companies for houses... roads, parks, maybe... but the city has to pay.

I'm still waiting for the WalMart pushing out a Planned Parenthood. That would change a lot of attitudes.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 9:00 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Hmm, wonder if there are any young guys in the Philadelphia area who might be tempted to enter politics...

What I like is the legislative solution. While we all wish they had defended property rights better, courts cannot force a municipality to take property.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2005 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think you understand AlexC. Planned Parenthood is a "good" civic citizen. A profit making business that builds Catholic schools and churches is a scourge on urbanism.

'Kelo' gives free rein to local governments to boot out anyone they have a grudge against, or who doesn't pay the "protection" fee under the table, as long as it can gin up some higher-revenue possible use for the acreage they occupy. Anti-American to the extreme.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2005 3:30 PM

Santorum's Gay Staffer

From Knight Ridder Papers

    The senior spokesman for Sen. Rick Santorum, R- Pa., Friday confirmed to a web log that he is gay.

    According to PageOneQ, an online gay and lesbian publication, director of communications Robert L. Traynham, said that he was an "out gay man who completely supports the senator."

    Santorum, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate leadership has been an outspoken opponent of homosexual rights and a leading proponent of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.


What's the story here exactly?

Did Santorum fire him? Would they rather that? How would that have played?

Oh... I get it. Conservative Republicans are supposed to hate gays. Yet somehow, Senator Santorum is standing behind him.

    "Robert Traynham ... is widely respected and admired on Capitol Hill, both among the press corps and among the congressional staff, as a communications professional. Not only is Mr. Traynham an exemplary staffer, but he is also a trusted friend confidente to me and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their eyes.

    "It is entirely unacceptable that my staffs' personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking for arguments to bolster my opponent's campaign. Mr. Traynham continues to have my full support and confidence as well as my prayers as he navigates this rude and mean spirited invasion of his personal life."


Mr Traynham's sexuality was apparently not a major secret in the Santorum office. Exactly who "outed" a somewhat outed man is not clear to me.

FYI.. The comments on the PageOneQ article are really disappointing. A lot of Uncle Tom talk.. (Robert Traynham is apparently black too)... Nazi comparisons... Come back to the reservation kind of talk.

It's like DemocraticUnderground or something.

Almost like a lot of hearts were broken or something.

But jk thinks:

This may be the best thing that ever happened to Sen Santorum. He gets "grilled" on this by media who want to expose him as a hypocrite, and he just calmy answers that it is no big deal, Traynham is a valued associted, &c. Santorum comes off looking very reasonable.

Just image the pain this must cause Andrew Sullivan...

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2005 10:35 AM

NAFTA

_41311669_cctvbombpic203.jpg

British police released a still frame image from one of their thousands of surveilance cameras in England, purportedly showing the four bombers on their way to carry out the deeds. I found the picture in a BBC article, but first saw it on FNC where the talking head was compelled to say this photo was of the suspects before the blasts. No, you don't say? You mean this wasn't after their worthless body parts were scattered all over London? Well, blow me down.

Something Dagny said prompted me to come up with the acronym 'NAFTA' to explain the life-hating Islamist's present status. "Need Another Four Terrorist Assholes."

But jk thinks:

Sorry, gang, I don't care for it. Associating free trade with terrorism? When we're trying to get CAFTA past some obstreperous Democrats (and lily-livered Republicans) -- No! No! No!

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2005 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sorry JK, when I look at NAFTA I don't see "free trade" I see a mixed-economy nation making deals with controlled-economy nations. Not much there that makes my heart go pitter pat.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2005 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno if Canada is THAT bad...

You’re scaring me, jg. If we'll only trade with countries that decry collectivism, that is just life the lefty protectionists that insist our trading partners conform to US labor and environmental standards.

We all win with free trade, and it gives the other nations a chance to trade up to US labor, environmental and freedom standards.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 3:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not so idealistic that I'd ban trade with any but perfectly capitalist nations. Heck, the US fails that test as I alluded in my comment. I'm not even explicitly judging NAFTA to be bad, although I'm sure I could find reprehensible aspects of it if I went looking. My only intention was to dissuade you from associating "NAFTA" with "free trade", and therefore holding it above expropriation of its acronym for satirical purposes. True free trade is an animal that hasn't been seen yet on this earth.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 2:13 PM

July 15, 2005

Good Flash for Friday

eclectech has a flash animation "tribute to charles clarke and his id cards"

Now that's good politics! I wish I had hired them when the US was getting Campaign Finance Reform! Good stuff.

Hat-tip: Samizdata

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:25 PM

Thin Skin?

Yahoo's Word of the Day is "insular." IN-suh-ler.

The example caught my eye:

insular
DEFINITION: (adjective) narrow or isolated in attitude or viewpoint
EXAMPLE: Americans are famous for their insular attitudes; they seem to think that nothing important has ever happened outside of their country.
SYNONYMS: bigoted, closed, restricted

It's not the most egregious (uh-GREEG-jus) anti-Americanism of all time, but I am a little unprepared for it in the context.

Oddly, the example doesn't appear on the definition page, or in Petersons.com, which is listed as providing the information.

One of the NRO writers once found a crossword puzzle clue that asserted Alger Hiss's innocence. Same deal, it's not PBS or the New York Times --you're just not expecting it.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

While we're on erroneous dictionary examples, I found this one while perfecting my understanding of the word "penumbra:" An area in which something exists to a lesser or uncertain degree: “The First Amendment has a penumbra where privacy is protected from governmental intrusion” (Joseph A. Califano, Jr.).

Since when? It's the fourth, not the first. Worse than that, privacy from governmental intrusion is an EMANATION of security from unreasonable search and seizure, not a penumbra. Sheesh.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2005 2:12 AM

July 14, 2005

Name Drop

I almost posted something when this editorial ran. Now that the contretemps has developed into a karfuffle, I must.

The story so far:

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Never say we aren't willing to help an editorial subject in distress, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm clearly needs some friendly advice.

Last month the state legislature buried the Democratic Governor's top legislative priority, a grandiose proposal to raise taxes on insurance companies, banks and thousands of small businesses that private studies said would have cost up to 20,000 jobs. Ms. Granholm's plan was widely criticized, including in these columns in March and in an op-ed article on the opposite page last Thursday by state legislator Rick Baxter, a Republican, and Hillsdale College Professor Gary Wolfram.

Ms. Granholm was not pleased, going so far as to denounce the op-ed as "treasonous for the state of Michigan." The authors' high crime? Exposing Michigan as a high tax state and criticizing Ms. Granholm for wanting to raise taxes. Her choice of words was no inadvertent slip of the tongue, by the way--a Howard Dean-like temporary loss of sanity. The Governor has used the "t" word repeatedly and has even suggested that Mr. Baxter "should be removed from office."


Hillsdale Professor Gary Wolfram was my professor for an online Economics 101 course I took at Yorktown University.

That makes me...er, still a nobody!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

But you're a nobody who's interacted with an almost somebody. Did I ever tell you the story of how I told Dick Cheney to do something, and he did! (Does that make me more powerful than Karl Rove?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2005 2:06 AM

Internecine

That's the title of jk's million dollar idea for a cable TV show (no doubt, pundit shows are real cash producers!) and I am giving it away.

It's the opposite of Crossfire. You have two conservatives for 10 minutes, then two moderates, then two liberals. But you discuss a topic on which they differ. So you get Bill Buckley and Bill Bennett to argue drug policy, Victor Davis Hansen vs. Paul Gigot on immigration -- you get the idea.

The show would be good because the opponents would greatly respect each other, and you would get an intelligence as they explored their differences that you do not get with Hannity and Colmbs yelling at each other.

I have been thinking of this for a few weeks but I was pushed to go public by Johngalt's comment: "remember I am an ally!"

I remember, and I love all my blog brothers (commenters included). I find it 1,000 more interesting arguing with an ally instead of an opponent.

Happy Bastille Day, mes frères

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

I think you're on to something, but on what subject do liberals disagree? Agreement with fellow travelers is the definition of being liberal these days. Any discussion of trumped-up differences between two liberals would quickly devolve into a listing of all the ways that Karl Rove is behind it all.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2005 2:03 AM
But AlexC thinks:

It's a cool idea.

What do liberals disagree on? Hmm....
* Who is more evil.... Nixon or Bush.
* Who is dumber.... Reagan or Bush.
* What's the ideal tax rate... 50% or 100%.

Posted by: AlexC at July 16, 2005 7:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I think that their tent is indeed smaller, but you do see moderate voices at TNR, plus some folks who have fallen off the reservation like Christopher Hitchens, Mickey Kaus. Bjorn Lomborg...

In a perfect world, you might find two who would discuss feminist vs. anti-war positions, environmentalist vs. immigration, and explore some of the rifts that are not explored.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 11:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I can envision the debates that AlexC proposes, but the battle lines of JK's hypothetical disputes elude me. Women shouldn't run the country because they'd be more warlike? We shouldn't appease our enemies (instead of defeating them) because that's what MEN want to do? We shouldn't outlaw lawn mowers because illegal aliens need jobs?

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2005 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Our war efforts are vastly improving the lives and opportunities of women in the MidEast. Sure, everybody hates President Bush, but somewhere there's a feminist who will admit this improvement.

Environmentalists, likewise, are very resource-conscience. They like the 1.1 child California family that buys Organic Food at the local co-op, but are made nervous by nine-kid immigrant families in an old minivan. Think Rachel Carson meets Tom Tancredo...

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

but, but, but -- I like Alex's too -- especially 50% vs. 100% tax rates...

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 5:31 PM

Terrorist Recruiting

I frequently hear people bemoan the fact that the Iraq war has been so good for Al Qaeda recruiting. Charles Krauthammer takes a good swipe at that in a point/counterpoint piece in this weeks Time Magazine. I love the end:

On 9/11, the U.S. was rudely injected into a Muslim civil war--the jihadists are intent on conquering the entire region and re-establishing an ancient caliphate--except that only the jihadist side was really fighting. By taking the fight to the Arab/ Islamic heartland, the U.S. has forced Muslims to commit. The most remarkable effect of the wars to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq is that, whereas on 9/11 we stood alone against the terrorists, today there are two large and energized Muslim populations--with legitimate governments building armed forces--engaged in the same struggle against jihadism as we are.

It is those allies who are critical in ultimately winning the war on terrorism. The terrorists may have recruited their new Atta, now splattered on the walls of the Baghdad mosque he has suicide-bombed. We have recruited tens of millions of Afghan and Iraqi Muslims--with Lebanese and others to follow--opposing that Atta as they attempt to build decent, moderate, tolerant societies.

I'll take our recruits


Hat-tip: Power Line

Posted by John Kranz at 4:17 PM

SCOTUS Does One Right?

It deosn't make up for Raich and Kelo, but the WSJ Ed page applauds a decision from the high court -- and even credits it with A Brand X Bump?

Between 2000 and 2004, nearly $2 trillion in telecom market capitalization dried up, and some 70 publicly traded telecom companies filed for Chapter 11 protection. So it's not irrational to think that last month's Brand X decision from the High Court -- which upheld last year's pro-market Federal Communications Commission ruling that local cable companies aren't required to share their broadband networks with competing Internet service providers -- has had something to do with reawakening the telecom sector. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's subsequent comments in these pages that the ruling paves the way for still more deregulation in telecommunications has no doubt also helped stir investors' animal spirits

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 2:10 PM

I'm A Liberal!

I like taking these tests. It's always fun to see where I lay.

    You would feel most at home in the Northwest region. You advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. Your neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."

(tip to TrekMedic)

But jk thinks:

jk's a little NW of you...

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2005 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Cool map! Finally, an alternative to the false left-right myopia. Notice that Stalin and Hitler are at the extreme edge of the same quadrant - that of government control over both the economy and liberty - while Ayn Rand is at the opposite extreme of the opposite quadrant - that of individual control over the economy and liberty.

We all agree that Hitler and Stalin were extremely bad, right? Even evil. So how is being their extreme opposite not extremely good? Huh Dad, huh?

If your strident goal is "balance" between these two ideologies then what does that make you? One part right to one part wrong, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2005 4:38 PM

The Chinese Oil Supply

From The Steel Deal has an interpretation about Chinese oil consumption drop that could be a revelation.

    China is in a bad spot vis a vis oil. They need it, they will need more of it and the price can only go up in the long run. What's a country to do? I'll tell you. For the last 5 years or so, China has been buying excess oil at acceptable prices and stockpiling it. Now, the CIA, will say 'oh they don't have the tank capacity' to 'store that much oil'. Bullshit, where do WE KEEP OUR RESERVES? Hmmm? That's right, in old salt mines. China has its share of old mines, salt and otherwise. They have been filling those mines up. And now they are near full.

and finishes....
    What does it all mean? I am glad you asked. Expect China to make a move on Taiwan very soon. Expect China to make a move on the oil fields in the South China Sea. Don't expect China to do a damned thing about North Korea ... except laugh.

Read the whole thing.

It looks spot on.

But jk thinks:

China is always worth worrying about, but I reject the characterization of the Unocal deal (and that of J. Robinson West, in a WSJ Guest Ed today).

China would be foolish not to create and stock oil reserves, irrespective of any military objectives.

If alarmist protectionists in the US are allowed to spike the CNOOC - Unocal deal, China might have to go looking fir oil militarily. If we give them the chance to further integrate into world markets, I think we advance the "Dr. Evil" threshold, that is, making it disadvantageous to pursue crime when one is making so much legitimate money.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2005 2:27 PM
But Steel Turman thinks:

I notice the headline @ Drudge is about China warning US that they will use nukes if we interfere with an invision of Taiwan. Timely no?

Posted by: Steel Turman at July 14, 2005 9:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What I'd like to know is, why can a totalitarian communist state official make flippant threats about nuclear first-strikes on another nation and there is not a peep of outrage from the US press, much less "world opinion?" And why is it that even the mere thought of using nuclear arms to fight Islamo-fascists in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, rather than risk the lives of American soldiers rooting out the filthy little cavemen, proves that Americans are "imperialistic warmongers of evil?" I can answer both questions with one word: envy.

In reply to JK's goal of giving China "the chance to further integrate into world markets" we must remember a critical distinction required for this strategy to work. There is no progress for freedom when that integration into world markets is by the state rather than by individuals. Governments should be barred, and I think will be in the Unocal case, from "owning" wealth. This is particularly true when said government is a totalitarian regime.

China cannot be a nation of free trade partners until they are a nation of free individuals. Any misguided attempts at the former, when engaged in with the Chinese government, do nothing but hinder progress toward the latter.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2005 10:29 AM

July 13, 2005

Ahoy!

I think that the Weekly Standard has been very smart to snap up some good bloggers to write for its website.

John Hinderacker has written some good columns, you might put Hugh Hewitt into this category, now Ed Morrissey (Captain Ed) has a good debut: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Left

And yet a sitting senator and presumptive candidate for the presidency makes these strange assertions without criticism from the establishment press. The only coverage her speech received resulted from her coarse and personal attack on President Bush, which the media seemed eager to pass to its readers. Obviously, our national media's editors did not read Mad magazine well enough during their formative years to recognize patent demagoguery when they report it.

The piece is rich with respect for MAD Magazine, and the reasonable suggestion that the pompous establishment characters they enjoyed satirizing would be as much on the left these days.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM

TNR does Che Guevara

TNR, bless their pea-pickin' liberal hearts, does a great service to the world with The Killing Machine. The article gives a realistic look at the faults and failures of Che Guevara, first enjoying the ironic capitalist enterprise that Che-wear has become.

It is not surprising that Guevara's contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth--except the young Argentines who have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: "Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué," or "I have a Che T-shirt and I don't know why."

Carlos Santana, one of my favorite guitar players in my youth, was shown at the Oscars wearing a Che image and a crucifix. Paquito d'Rivera (a favorite of mine now) had the decency to call him on it:

Which brings us back to Carlos Santana and his chic Che gear. In an open letter published in El Nuevo Herald on March 31 of this year, the great jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera castigated Santana for his costume at the Oscars, and added: "One of those Cubans [at La Cabaña] was my cousin Bebo, who was imprisoned there precisely for being a Christian. He recounts to me with infinite bitterness how he could hear from his cell in the early hours of dawn the executions, without trial or process of law, of the many who died shouting, 'Long live Christ the King!'"

I think this article might reach some of the right readership in TNR. The people that need to learn this aren't reading National Review.

Guevara’s brutality and violent nature is detailed, with emphasis on misogynist and racist elements that should rightful disturb the Left's Che-heads.

His stint as head of the National Bank, during which he printed bills signed "Che," has been summarized by his deputy, Ernesto Betancourt: "[He] was ignorant of the most elementary economic principles." Guevara's powers of perception regarding the world economy were famously expressed in 1961, at a hemispheric conference in Uruguay, where he predicted a 10 percent rate of growth for Cuba "without the slightest fear," and, by 1980, a per capita income greater than that of "the U.S. today." In fact, by 1997, the thirtieth anniversary of his death, Cubans were dieting on a ration of five pounds of rice and one pound of beans per month; four ounces of meat twice a year; four ounces of soybean paste per week; and four eggs per month.

(But they have universal health care.) Even Guevara's efficacy in guerrilla warfare is questioned.

LLosa ends with an unfavorable comparison to a real revolutionary.

n the last few decades of the nineteenth century, Argentina had the second-highest growth rate in the world. By the 1890s, the real income of Argentine workers was greater than that of Swiss, German, and French workers. By 1928, that country had the twelfth-highest per capita GDP in the world. That achievement, which later generations would ruin, was in large measure due to Juan Bautista Alberdi.

Like Guevara, Alberdi liked to travel: he walked through the pampas and deserts from north to south at the age of fourteen, all the way to Buenos Aires. Like Guevara, Alberdi opposed a tyrant, Juan Manuel Rosas. Like Guevara, Alberdi got a chance to influence a revolutionary leader in power--Justo José de Urquiza, who toppled Rosas in 1852. And like Guevara, Alberdi represented the new government on world tours, and died abroad. But unlike the old and new darling of the left, Alberdi never killed a fly. His book, Bases y puntos de partida para la organización de la República Argentina, was the foundation of the Constitution of 1853 that limited government, opened trade, encouraged immigration, and secured property rights, thereby inaugurating a seventy-year period of astonishing prosperity. He did not meddle in the affairs of other nations, opposing his country's war against Paraguay. His likeness does not adorn Mike Tyson's abdomen.

UPDATE: Hahahaha, here's a link to Che-Mart!

But AlexC thinks:

http://che-mart.com/

Posted by: AlexC at July 13, 2005 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nah, they'll just blame all the bad things attributed to Che on Karl Rove: "What other plausible explanation could there be? Come on, you'd have to be an idiot to miss the connection!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2005 4:31 PM

July 12, 2005

Cool T-Shirt

Donating to Britain seems odd ("coals to Newcastle?") but many folks would like to help. Here's a couple of ideas:

London Stands
Some cool T-Shirts with proud London captions. ($2 less PayPal goes to the Red Cross)

Buy a copper a pint!<

A UK blogger will take any PayPal tipjar contributions to his site and buy beer for Police, and emergency personnel.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 7:27 PM

Endorsement Retraction

I tried. But I will not be able to support Senator McCain's candidacy in 2008.

Byron York interviews McCain antagonist Bradley Smith on National Review Online

The interview throws three strikes at my once stated opportunity to forgive and forget:

1) It reminds me how bad and misguided McCain Feingold was, and hw it was Senator McCain's single issue. Painful memories.

2) It says that McCain is not finished abolishing our rights of free speech. With his signature bill an obvious failure, he plans to fix it by regulating more: "These days, McCain is promoting a new bill that would subject 527s to contribution limits. Like Mitch McConnell and other reform opponents, Smith believes that that would just send the big money elsewhere, perhaps to so-called 501(c)(4) organizations, which are allowed to accept unlimited contributions and engage in some political activity. Smith also worries about future attempts to regulate political speech on the Internet, where big media companies could be given a First Amendment press exemption on speech limits, while smaller website operators might be forbidden to make overtly political statements."

3) It reminds us of the Senators ego and pettiness. I'll grant that Smith is an opponent, but there is a verisimilitude to his story about Senator McCain:

“McCain has always refused to meet with me,” Smith says. “I tried to meet him once at a public hearing. He was at the table, and I went up and I said, ‘Senator,’ and I held out my hand. And he instinctively took my hand, and then he looked up and realized who it was, and he yanked his hand away and said, ‘I’m not going to shake your hand. You’re a bully and a coward, and you have no regard for the Constitution. I don’t have to talk to you. I’m not going to talk to you.’ It was right in front of a large number of people, so I don’t think he wants to talk to me.”

American Hero -- without question! suitable for the Presidency? I fear not. C'mon Condi, run!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM

Supply Side Cuts Work

Maybe I have mentioned this before...

The WSJ Ed Page today is ready to name names, who was right and who was wrong.

The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. jobless rate fell to 5% in June, the lowest since 2001. Federal tax revenues continue to rebound, at a nearly 15% annual rate so far this year (see below), and economic growth continues to average nearly 4% despite $60 oil and rising interest rates. Maybe it's time to give the tax cuts of 2003 the policy credit they deserve.

My Rubinomics buddies were all so certain that President Bush was exploding the deficit with irresponsible tax cuts, destroying the currency, and driving interest rates to the moon.

I said back then "So, you're short the 10-year?" These people seemed to know so much more than the bond market. "Short the dollar at $1.29 to a Euro?"

Thankfully, my friends do not have courage of conviction, so they were not wiped out. But we do need to give the occasional I -told-you-so, to ascertain that we treat the next slowdown with the economics of Art Laffer and Milton Friedman -- not Keynes and Galbraith.

The tax cuts worked and should be made permanent, the demand-side rebates did not and should ne'er be considered again.

Almost from the very day in May of 2003 when those tax reductions became law, the U.S. has experienced a robust expansion driven by investment and productivity gains, not by consumer spending. This is demonstrated by the nearby graph comparing the trend in consumption versus investment over the past five years. Consumer spending has been close to flat over the period with a modest dip at the very bottom of the recession. But investment has experienced a stunning U-turn.

One result has been a strong stock market recovery, especially in 2003 and 2004, with shareholder wealth rebounding by roughly $2 trillion since the market collapse that began in 2000. Another sign of growth is the return of venture capital funding for start-ups -- the leading candidates to be tomorrow's Dell or Home Depot. This market has recovered enough from its 2002 trough that the National Venture Capital Association says, "We're in the beginning stages of a new cycle of venture capital financing, and the capital gains cut has had a lot to do with that." Initial public offerings have also quadrupled since 2002, despite the new burdens of Sarbanes-Oxley.

One lesson in all of this is that not all tax cuts are created equal. Tax rebates and other temporary measures aimed at stimulating consumer demand don't work. Consumers aren't irrelevant, but prosperity is created on the supply side of the economy with the incentives to produce goods or services that people want to consume. So tax cuts in marginal rates that boost incentives to work and invest provide a much bigger bang for the buck.


The dark side, acknowledged by the column, is that spending has tried to keep pace, else we would see much larger deficit reductions with these big revenues.

The GOP has not only countenanced this spending, but they have lost faith in their successes already.

The other, albeit ironic, danger is that even many Republicans don't seem to recognize their tax-cutting policy success. Congress lacks the votes to make the 2003 tax cuts permanent, and even Mr. Bush missed the opportunity to push for permanence immediately after his re-election. Most of the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, or 2008 in the case of dividends and capital gains. But their impact will ebb if investors begin to worry that they are only temporary. Amid their many other priorities, Republicans can't afford to forget that tax-cutting remains their most important achievement of the last five years.

UPDATE: Donald Luskin (frequent guest on Kudlow & Co. and supply-sider extraordinaire) adds fuel to the fire, laughing at Paul Krugman's refusal to accept the conclusions of this chart:chart_luskin-7-12-05a.gif

But Silence Dogood thinks:

I chuckle as well at this chart with the years 2006-2011 in (est). If only we could take two points and extrapolate out a line.

That said, this fairly new process of temporary or phased out tax cuts is bunk. Talk about kicking the can down the road. This practice is just a vehicle for appearing to reduce the budgetary effect of the tax cut. If the cut is important enough to make it is important enough to make as a permanent change. We still have a Congress after all, so permanent is a relative term.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 13, 2005 6:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup. You have to cut the marginal rate to provide incentives to work, risk and invest.

Not sure I want to extrapolate that line, Silence, PJ O'Rourke said "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

The serious point is a desire for dynamic scoring of tax cuts -- the CBO says that a tax curt will "cost" $X Billion with no allowance for the additional revenue that he growth will bring in. That's what's gotta change.

Also check Larry Kudlow's response to the same editorial: http://lkmp.blogspot.com/2005/07/amen.html

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2005 7:20 PM

More on Rove

I grow tired of this non-story.

Captain Ed writes a short history and ends ...

    The only people engaging in a cover-up are the media -- the New York Times and Robert Novak. When they want this mystery solved, they'll tell us who leaked the name. Until then, they'll milk this for everything it's worth to embarrass an administration they dislike.

It's pretty clear Rove did nothing wrong. It's also quite clear that Judith Miller's source is someone other than Rove.

It's only a story because the Supreme Court sh*tstorm hasn't started yet.

But jk thinks:

I just hope that this media created story doesn't resurrect the TV career of Joseph Wilson. That man is a weasel. No wonder his wife chooses o work undercover.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2005 10:26 AM

July 11, 2005

NYAG Spitzer

He's becoming a mythical figure: Jovert meets Quixote. New York AG Eliot Spitzer is at it again:

The last time we read about former Bank of America broker Ted Sihpol, he had just been acquitted by a jury on 29 of 33 counts related to after-hours mutual fund trading. The judge had declared a mistrial on the other four counts, in which only one of the 12 jurors had held out for conviction. Yet last week New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that he will retry Mr. Sihpol on those four counts.

As acts of willful prosecution go, this one certainly ranks near the top. It's about as close as you can get to double jeopardy, since Mr. Spitzer's first presentation of the evidence was repudiated by all but a single juror.


You know, as a lifetime Denver Bronco fan, I have known the agony of defeat. Yet we didn't ask for a retry of the 55-10 loss to the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV.

I post this story because a) I don't think people hear about Spitzer's misdeeds unless they read the Wall St. Journal Editorial Page; and, b) because AG Spitzer is a growing force in the Democratic Party -- likely Governor on New York, which is a pretty good stepping stone to anything.

Senator Corzine and AG Spitzer make a good case that they are not anti-business, that by cleaning up the miscreants, they are pro-business. But they both overreach. And both come from a party that can frequently sound decidedly anti-business.

Like Bob Scrhum-style class warfare, I don't think that sells beyond a narrow party base. Spitzer has plenty of base in New York, but I don't know how much he can beat up Wall Street and still be successful as a politician.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM

July 10, 2005

Iraqi Terrorism Links

The President was vilified by the left for daring to mention Iraq and terrorism in his speech last week. As Ron Reagan, Jr., tried to tell Christopher Hitchens, the 9-11 Commission report is felt by many to exculpate Saddam Hussein's Iraq regime.

I recall the Commission's being a very politicized body, and that they eschewed bold pronouncements to assure a unanimous approval of the report.

The transformation from "we couldn't find any links" to "there cannot possibly ever be any links” seems tenuous at best.

John Lehman, a 9/11 commissioner, spoke to The Weekly Standard at the time the report was released. "There may well be--and probably will be--additional intelligence coming in from interrogations and from analysis of captured records and so forth which will fill out the intelligence picture. This is not phrased as--nor meant to be--the definitive word on Iraqi Intelligence activities."

Stephen Hayes has been a lonely voice; while everybody was parroting the NYTimes's interpretation of the 9-11 Commission report, Hayes found and reported a book full of connections. In this week's Weekly Standard, he reprises them in The Mother of All Connections. And adds new data:

There could hardly be a clearer case--of the ongoing revelations and the ongoing denial--than in the 13 points below, reproduced verbatim from a "Summary of Evidence" prepared by the U.S. government in November 2004. This unclassified document was released by the Pentagon in late March 2005. It details the case for designating an Iraqi member of al Qaeda, currently detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an "enemy combatant."

1. From 1987 to 1989, the detainee served as an infantryman in the Iraqi Army and received training on the mortar and rocket propelled grenades.
2. A Taliban recruiter in Baghdad convinced the detainee to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban in 1994.
3. The detainee admitted he was a member of the Taliban.
4. The detainee pledged allegiance to the supreme leader of the Taliban to help them take over all of Afghanistan.
5. The Taliban issued the detainee a Kalishnikov rifle in November 2000.
6. The detainee worked in a Taliban ammo and arms storage arsenal in Mazar-Es-Sharif organizing weapons and ammunition.
7. The detainee willingly associated with al Qaida members.
8. The detainee was a member of al Qaida.
9. An assistant to Usama Bin Ladin paid the detainee on three separate occasions between 1995 and 1997.
10. The detainee stayed at the al Farouq camp in Darwanta, Afghanistan, where he received 1,000 Rupees to continue his travels.
11. From 1997 to 1998, the detainee acted as a trusted agent for Usama Bin Ladin, executing three separate reconnaissance missions for the al Qaeda leader in Oman, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
12. In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars.
13. Detainee was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Khudzar, Pakistan, in July 2002


There are many examples in this fine piece. Those who deny any possibility are like the people who refused to look into Galileo's telescope -- ignore heterodoxy at all costs!

I'm currently reading Karl Popper, and he is pointing out to imbeciles like me that a theory cannot be proven true, it can only be proven false. I think some on the left could use some Popperian logic (in many respects!)

But Silence Dogood thinks:

The link between Saddam and al Qaida is that an Iraqi infantryman joined the terrorist group? Does this logic make Bush responsible for John Walker Lindh?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 13, 2005 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Hayes details considerably more than that. Read the whole piece. Also check out Claudia Rosett in today's OpinionJournal:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110006953

"Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn raise, with good reason, the question of why Saddam gave haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the men who in 1993 helped make the bomb that ripped through the parking garage of the World Trade Center. They detail a contact between Iraqi intelligence and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Malaysia, the year before al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers. They recount the intersection of Iraqi and al Qaeda business interests in Sudan, via, among other things, an Oil for Food contract negotiated by Saddam's regime with the al-Shifa facility that President Clinton targeted for a missile attack following the African embassy bombings because of its apparent connection to al Qaeda. And there is plenty more."

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2005 10:13 PM

July 9, 2005

Don't Read This

Unless you can handle verbal violence and a serious metaphorical beating of one of the squirreliest figures in American politics, don't read this interchange between Christopher Hitchens and Ronnie Reagan.

CH: Excuse me. When I went to interview Abu Nidal, then the most wanted terrorist in the world, in Baghdad, he was operating out of an Iraqi government office. He was an arm of the Iraqi State, while being the most wanted man in the world. The same is true of the shelter and safe house offered by the Iraqi government, to the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, and to Mr. Yassin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. How can you know so little about this, and be occupying a chair at the time that you do?

I no longer seek out aggressive punditry; I was into it during the Clinton Impeachment contretemps, but I now prefer calmer, internecine rifts.

Having said that, I would really, really like to see this takedown, I may go hunting for a replay.

Hat-tip: Insty

UPDATE: Here's the video!

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:06 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Chris Cronin thinks:

Abu Nidal was kicked out of Iraq in 1983. Hitchens interviewed him long before then. Pretending that Abu Nidal had anything to do with our reason for being in Iraq in 2003, a year after A.N. was killed in Iraq upon re-entering it, is stultifyingly absurd.

I admire C.H. quite a bit, but his facts support nothing.

I still have seen no good reason for us being in Iraq, other than the fact that we are there, and can't leave.

Let's bring the fight back to Afghanistan so the extra-national terrorists follow us there and the Iraqis will start paying attention to their country, not our occupation of it.

BTW, Zarqawi was in the northern territories before we got there either working with Kurds on a plan for secession from Iraq, or for disrupting Baathist control of Iraq. He was no friend of S.H, and we've never seen proof of it. Asserting it as true is without merit.

Posted by: Chris Cronin at July 9, 2005 9:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And what of Mr. Yassin and Leon Klinghoffer's murderer, whom Hitch didn't name? Do you have explanations for them as well?

Hitchens' point was that Saddam HAD supported terrorists during his regime, subsequent disfavor notwithstanding. Iraq may not have been "a center of terrorism" but it was indeed a terror sponsoring state (openly so when it suited its purpose), and an outlaw regime in the eyes of the UN (if it ever opened those eyes) to boot.

Despite these facts I too have reservations about our soldiers, our neighbors and countrymen, being in their sad country to do their dirty work for them. These brave men and women are risking their own lives to wage a careful, deliberate war against murderers in the midst of civilians, rather than more safely conducting stand-off bombing with every means at our disposal, which was and is morally justified. The one justification I see for this riskier form of warfare is that in Iraq, as in America and the rest of the west, there are those who love life and liberty and will fight for them if given a chance. By risking their lives to kill those who "love death like you love life" our troops are giving Iraqi patriots that chance.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2005 10:35 AM
But jk thinks:

You can disagree with Mr. Hitchens, but the telling item to me is RR's insistence that the 9-11 commission report completely exonerated Hussein's Iraq from all terrorism before and after. Abu Nidal, payments to the families of PLO suicide bombers -- all were wiped away by the 9-11 commission.

Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard is not even ready to disaow Iraqi involvement in 9-11 (we'll now provide a brief pause for all the lefties to roll their eyes). He's still at it in this week's Weekly Standard:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/804yqqnr.asp

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2005 11:45 AM
But Also thinks:

"Hitchens' point was that Saddam HAD supported terrorists during his regime"

Well, following that logic, Cuba would be justified in invading the U.S. for harboring the terrorist Orlando Bosch. Not only is he given safe haven in the U.S. but Jeb Bush actively campaigned to get him released from prison even though he was convicted of trying to blow up a Polish freighter after he had been convicted of blowing up a Cuban airliner killing 73 people. And his crimes don't end there.

This is just one example.

I still don't think that would justify an invasion of the U.S. and I don't think that Christopher Hitchens would argue that either.

Posted by: Also at July 10, 2005 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I know Bosch is a cause celebre of The Nation and the left. I am reluctant to establish equivalence between a lenient sentence given to a man Alexander Cockburn feels is a terrorist and Hitchens's claims Abu Nidal had a government office in Iraq.

I don't know the details, but Bosch was not convicted in a US Court for the airplane bombing. The suggested government ties are tenuous at best.

As a flippant aside, let me say that I hope we are a sufficient threat to Castro's sovereignty that he has a right to attack us. But I'll join you in hoping that our government was not complicit in facilitating the release of one who targeted civilians.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2005 11:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cuba has airliners? Wow. You really do learn something new every day!

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2005 4:23 PM

July 8, 2005

Now That's Journalism!

The AP lead says:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court pulsed with retirement speculation Friday, with rumors focusing first on the ailing chief justice, then the oldest member, and even the tiniest justice.

Tiniest?
Next came hints that the real retirement would be that of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the petite opera lover President Clinton put on the bench in 1993.

My question is: if Justice Ginsberg should retire, would President Bush be compelled to nominate another short person to her seat?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Short opera lover! Don't you be segregating out the opera lovers just because you prefer jazz.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 8, 2005 6:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And to top that they even cited a Drudge Report headline as news. They've lost all shame.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2005 10:17 PM
But Attila (Pillage Idiot) thinks:

He would have to replace her with another Ginsburg. I think Douglas Ginsburg's marijuana problem is well beyond the statute of limitations. (Although he's somewhat older than he was in 1987.)

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at July 10, 2005 5:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I like it! To think we could have had Ginsberg (or Bork) instead of Souter...

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2005 6:38 PM

Louis Jordan and Billy Eckstine

Scott Johnson pens a nice tribute to these two artists on the anniversary of their births.

I told Sugarchuck, on many longwinded occasions, that I thought Louis Prima really invented rock'n'roll, not Elvis nor Jerry Lee nor Little Richard. SC would say "not Louis Prima, Louis Jordan!" and it is hard to argue.

You probably know several of his hit songs -- "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," "Caldonia," "Let the Good Times Roll." Perhaps most striking is the sheer infectious joyousness of Jordan's music. For a taste of the good stuff, check out the thoughtfully compiled selections on the page devoted to Jordan by Chicago's WBEZ public radio. Jordan died in 1975; the music survives.

And as for Eckstine, I played "Satin Doll" on the night of our first date with the woman who became my lovely bride of 22 years. Without that tune (and "Misty") I would certainly be a lonely old bachelor.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM

All Britons still, II

A guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal asks:

LONDON -- Will they never learn? Anyone who thinks that the bombing of London might bring about any kind of favorable political result whatever betrays a fantastic historical ignorance of the true nature of Britain's capital city. No one, absolutely no one, whom I have spoken to since yesterday morning's attacks has expressed anything other than what one of them called "disgusted resignation" at the way our city has been violated yet again.

"London Pride" is invoked. The Noel Coward lyric "Every Blitz your resistance toughening/ From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown/ Nothing ever could override the pride of London town." As is the story of an elderly woman who says "It's ridiculous not being able to take trains home. If we didn't kowtow to Hitler, why should we to this lot?"

Rule Britannia!

UPDATE: Thanks to Publius for the illustration. I post it with pride.

unionjack.png

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM

All Britons still

The Spectator's editorial today confirms that -- George Galloway aside -- Britain will show the firm resolve of Churchill's heirs and will not choose the false security of Spain.

Which is to say that we in London, Paris, New York and the rest of the civilised West face a terrorist threat which cannot be said wholly to have been provoked by Iraq. These are people whose hatred of what they see as Western values is seemingly ineradicable. It is impossible to negotiate with them. Their grievance is not just with the war in Iraq or with the treatment of Palestinians by Israel but with the whole system of Western values that they find troubling and disturbing, not least the emancipation of women.

That's the enemy we face and the situation we face is victory. The piece contains an interesting fact: "...more British people died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre than in yesterday's brutal outrages..."

Nobody wants to lessen the barbarism or tragedy of the attacks, but it was pointed out on FOXNews yesterday that each attack has lost an order of magnitude in the death toll. These people are still totalitarian assholes -- but they are not winning.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM

Excusing Murder

With eminent domain and the strange Decalouge ruling, as well as retirements dominating the headlines, another SCOTUS ruling slid in under the radar.

    On Jan. 14, 1988, James Scanlon's body was discovered in a pool of blood in his Allentown bar. He had been stabbed multiple times, including 16 wounds in the neck and head. He also had been beaten with a blunt object, and his face had been gashed with shards of broken bottles found at the scene. After he had been fatally stabbed, Scanlon's body had been set on fire. Rompilla was convicted of murder and related offenses and sentenced to death.

    Scanlon was not the first victim of Rompilla's murderous impulses. At sentencing, the prosecution offered his "significant history of felony convictions involving the use or threat of violence..." as an aggravating factor in justifying a death sentence, including the 1974 robbery, slashing, mutilation and rape at knifepoint of a female tavern owner.


Seems pretty open and shut. This animal has been a mess for a long time. Society is better served by meteing out the ultimate penalty, as he obviously doesn't "get it."

But it's not. His execution was overturned.

    [Writing for the majority] Justice Souter first chides Rompilla's defense attorneys for failing to uncover what he deigns to be "a range of mitigating leads" about Rompilla's childhood, mental capacity and health, and alcoholism - all hidden deep in the 1974 rape file. He cavalierly dismisses their common-sense strategy. They sought mitigating material by interviewing the defendant and members of his family and consulting with three mental-health experts. Then they opted to beg for mercy rather than risk drawing the jury's attention to his violent past.

    Next, Justice Souter anoints these purported "mitigating factors" with a weight far disproportionate to their relevance. A guilty verdict establishes beyond reasonable doubt the degree of culpability underlying a crime. Once guilt is established, it's a fair question to ask why further investigation is necessary. Sentencing is a time for accountability, not for excuses about someone's "childhood, mental capacity and health, and alcoholism." It is the time when equal justice under the law is meted out to men who are created equal.

    Turning this constitutional principle on its head, Justice Souter suggests that justice demands that the Rompillas of the world be less accountable for their conduct than those from good homes, good schools and supportive parents. Furthermore, with fewer "mitigating factors" in their backgrounds, his skewed logic suggests that the "privileged" are more deserving of death sentences for capital crimes than their less-fortunate brethren.


Unbelieveable.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 10:00 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Absolutely proper evaluation, AlexC. Even in this "anything goes" climate of post-modern relativism, this IS unbelieveable.

Souter is a cancer on the US Constitution.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2005 3:10 PM

July 7, 2005

We Are All Britons Today....

Captain Ed @ Captain's Quarters speaks for many this morning...

    On July 7, 2005, let it be known that the world united behind our British brothers and sisters as fellow members of Western Civilization under attack by the forces of tyranny and oppression. We stand with our friends who have suffered a terrible act of war on their civilian population, a cowardly and shameful act that amply demonstrates the depths of depravity of the enemies of freedom and liberty.

    We are all Britons today.


John Hawkins picks up the reaction from the idiot brigade.

But jk thinks:

Indeed we are!

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2005 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Indeed. Now it remains to be seen whether Britons are still Britons, or if they decide to become Spaniards instead. Personally, I expect the upper lip to stiffen.

Posted by: johngalt at July 7, 2005 3:27 PM

Americans' Most Sacred Right

It's not free speech. The Federal Election Commission has asserted that it can regulate this partisan blog under the purview of Campaign Finance Reform. I guess the First Amendment works pretty well for pornographers but Americans ceded their rights to free speech with McCain-Feingold, and it was upheld by SCOTUS in McConnell

It sure ain't bearing arms. Though clearly enumerated as a distinct right in the Second Amendment, The municipalities of San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. have instituted de facto bans on gun ownership.

Cruel and Inhuman punishment? Brutal, violent, homosexual rape is so commonplace in our nation's prisons that it is a staple of TV and Film comedy. Capital punishment is permitted by many states; some on the right and left feel that violates the Fourth Amendment.

Search and seizure? I can be pulled over if my seat belt is not fastened or if I do not wear a motorcycle helmet, and with probable cause, my vehicle can be searched.

There's not too much quartering of soldiers in wartime, but I think we outgrew that.

The only real sacred right is to an abortion. I can wait three days for a gun license, but we can't make a young woman wait 24 hours. A 17 year old cannot buy a gun, but a 13 year old must be granted access to abortions without parental consent. I cannot erect an awning to shield my car without a permit but the city could not use zoning to move or disallow an abortion clinic.

The mere suggestion of parental notification or moderate regulations on when or what procedures may be used is a violation of our sacred reproductive rights. If it's to be the last right we get to keep, I'm sorry I am anatomically unempowered to take advantage of it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

That's the rant. The serious side, if I may, is to try and get a better handle on the Supreme Court as we discuss nominees' fitness for the bench.

Johngalt makes an eloquent case that: "There is no 'right to abortion' but there is the right to be 'secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects...' From the right to personal security the right to self-determination of all aspects of one's physical body is Constitutionally guaranteed against any and all interference by the state or by Congress.”

By this standard, we can extend this right to husband and father a plethora of new rights. Surely my soapbox of FDA infringement on the sale of pharmaceuticals is now unconstitutional. The government is withholding products from the marketplace that I will die without. That seems a lot more defensible than a right to abortion.

And with that right firmly ensconced, surely I have he right to smoke crack and so does my 17 year old son, nine year old daughter, &c.

The problem with the "newfound rights" (some of which I'd support fulsomely) is that, like Roe v Wade, they remove a State or locality's right to self-determination. Once everything is a Federal right, we can close up all of our local governments and their agencies -- and these are the only places that individuals have any real power.

Sorry gang, but while I am a squishy-moderate supporter of legal abortions, I cannot envision a good judge who would not strike down Roe v. Wade.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | What do you think? [12]
But jk thinks:

That's exactly my point, Silence. There is no enumerated right to abortion in the Constitution, therefore it should be left to the States to decide. States could legally regulate, outlaw or permit abortion, but SCOTUS has used the precedent of Roe to strike down state laws on parental notification and will likely disallow the partial-birth (D&X) ban.

Back to my original -- if highly sarcastic -- point, how are states and municipalities allowed to infringe so blatantly on the clearly enumerated right to bear arms? San Francisco can remove this right from its citizenry, yet Nebraska cannot institute a parental notification law. I seriously do not understand this.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2005 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sure you understand it JK. "The constituency that defends that particular liberty is the very one that is so eager to infringe on MOST of the others." And, the constituency that wants to infringe on this one is impotent to stop those infringements because infringing upon individual liberties is one of their prime directives as well. But because you understand it doesn't mean you have to accept it. The thing is, two wrongs don't make right.

The one thing Silence and I still can't abide is your Federalism argument in defense of infringement upon an individual liberty granted, in blanket fashion, by the fourth amendment.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2005 10:04 AM
But jk thinks:

It's the emanations & penumbras part of your "right" that disturbs me. The right to bear arms is clearly stated, the right to abortion is a made-up right based on a made-up privacy right. So I say, let the Supreme Court defend the clearly enumerated rights and leave everything else, per the Tenth Amendment to the States.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2005 3:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll stipulate this right is an emanation, but not a penumbra. The right to freedom from unreasonable searches of one's body emanates from the Fourth Amendment right "to be secure in their persons" because it doesn't say "to be secure in their bodies." Not much of a stretch there, is it? ("Unreasonable" meaning without probable cause that a crime against another's person or property is being committed. HERE'S where the real dispute lies.) This would only be a penumbra if this right to bodily security was somehow to a lesser or uncertain degree. But the right is absolute. Individual liberty is sacrosanct.

The real dispute in the case of abortion is whether an unborn fetus has an individual right to liberty himself. I've consistently maintained that one must first be "individual" to have individual rights. This is the only position that is fully defensible.

The Christo-fascists, among others, argue that everyone has equal rights whether they're strong or weak, good or evil, born or unborn, or even merely a zygote. This position is far from defensible.

When you consider how the concept of "right" has been manipulated by collectivists to mean "entitlement" you can see that a pregant woman is under no more obligation to carry to term against her wishes than a free man is to pay unjust taxes to support, say, an indigent mother, or her infant child, or her decision to abort. All individuals have the right to THEIR life, et. al, and no valid claim on any others.

It is true that this language never appears in the Constitution, or in any amendment, but this is the philosophy of individual liberty upon which the founders based their eloquent, if imperfect, prose. And it's the part that makes America the greatest nation on earth. To a true patriot, allowing "emanations" from said text in defense of individual liberty should cause him no fear or shame or guilt.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2005 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Comments will close soon -- I may get the last word!

Sorry, jg, you are putting words in my mouth. I said nothing about individual rights of the child, or really anything about abortion except that it is too far a leap for me from "secure in their persons" to "you cannot require parental notification for abortions" and "you must allow partial birth abortions -- because the Constitutions sez so!"

Every newfound right by emanation, as I said, is one less thing that I have a right to pursue legislatively. This patriot is scared quite rightly. "Secure in their person," huh? I think we'd better establish the right to universal health care! No fear or shame or guilt required, boys, we just protecting your liberty!

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2005 7:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't believe I put any words in your mouth. The words you cite were attributed to Christo-fascists (a term I believe I have coined) and unnamed "others." In mentioning those things here I'm just pointing out what ideas you're aligning yourself with.

So-called "partial birth" abortions, yes.
Abolition of parental notification, no.
And your universal health care analogy is vacuous. "Secure in their person" means secure from force at the hands of others, not from biology.

You do no service to your federalist cause by assailing liberties and drawing false analogies. Keep in mind, I'm an ally!

Cheers.

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2005 10:18 AM

July 6, 2005

Another Look at Kelo

I was excoriated, crucified, and slapped around with a wet herring when I meekly suggested in a comment that Kelo v New London did ]not anger me like Raich did.

Hindrocket from PowerLine has a piece in the Weekly Standard's website, Second Thoughts on Kelo and the second thoughts of one of blogdom's greatest lawyers kind of comport with my first thoughts.

Hinderocker goes a little farther than I want to, suggesting that the case may have been well decided -- I would certainly have dissented. But he does dare to enumerate the advantages of eminent domain and provide a more realistic assessment of its uses.

Today most significant development projects involve multiple uses and cooperation between public and private entities. While such projects can no doubt be subject to various abuses, they can also be enormously successful and of great public benefit--to take just one example, consider the spectacular renovation of Baltimore's inner harbor. Moreover, two factors minimize the danger that economic development projects pose to individual rights. First, they are carried out in the glare of publicity. Nothing in local government attracts more scrutiny or more criticism than such projects. Second, the Fifth Amendment requires that anyone whose property is taken for a public use be fairly compensated, and in practice, most takings are compensated generously. Thus, while condemnation can undoubtedly impose hardship on individuals, it is unlikely to result in gross injustice.

The principal threats to property rights lie elsewhere. In particular, regulatory actions often severely limit what an owner can do with his property. Unlike urban development projects, such regulations are often adopted in forums that are remote from, and unresponsive to, the political process. And what an owner generally hopes for in such situations is to be covered by the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of compensation for the loss of use of his property, which is automatic in the case of a condemnation.


SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Hinderacker is wrong. It is EMINENTLY clear that the case was wrongly decided.

H's problem is his thinking is so infused with pragmatism that he can defend principles when packaged together that he'd never endorse separately. He writes that since "the project includes a typical mix of public and private uses" (the vast majority of which are indeed private - a riverwalk, the boatramp portion of the marina, and a dubious museum being the identified public uses) the city's development entity is justified in using condemnation to clear the deck for the WHOLE project. Such slight-of-hand would make Houdini proud.

And H's claim that "most takings are compensated generously" is in dire need of substantiation. Let's start by asking for a statistical analysis of condemnation compensations nationwide, and then look at the number of property owners who settled for a nominal buyout offer from the developer with the 600 pound gorilla of eminent domain sitting in the anteroom. Our argument was never that eminent domain must be abolished, but that it must be strictly limited to purely public uses, as so stated in the Constitution. Kelo did precisely the opposite.

Hinderacker argued that if the Kelo decision had been reversed it "would have the practical effect of making such ['economic development'] projects virtually impossible. This is poppycock! It would have made them cost more, but what does the government care when they're spending taxpayer's money anyway, and private developers doing the city's bidding will simply pass their costs along, with a neat little "administrative fee" to boot. Some individuals may decide not to sell at any price, but when presented with the architect's plan for what their neighborhood will soon become, with highrises on all four sides perhaps, along with a check for a tidy sum and suggestion of what he could build in some cornfield somewhere, most will budge. And for those who don't, aren't these civic do-gooders (sorry Silence) trying to create mixed-use developments anyway? What could be more mixed-use than to leave a few of the original properties peppered throughout their grandiose new-urban dream? Still, there may be some who claim the "economic development" project is a taking of value from their property by the required zoning changes in the neighborhood. The only recourse of these individuals is to take the city to court. This is and expensive and exhausting process that may ultimately go all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States before the Constitional limits on the government can be enforced. Kelo, et. al., did this on all of our behalf, but the Court forgot why it exists.

And what is the cost of the decision the court DID reach? Oh, not that much really. Just the erosion of one of the key pillars of liberty left on earth - a man's right to his property. But hey, at least we still have a new Coast Guard Museum!

-

Those of us who refuse to play the "pay for play" game with our local government officials have long known that "you can't fight city hall." This abysmal ruling only makes that sad reality more prevalent and more potent.

Posted by: johngalt at July 7, 2005 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Very well said, jg, and I do not join "Hindrocket" in supporting the decision. I will sustain my original view that in the litany of bad SCOTUS decisions, Kelo v New London did not deserve the attention it received.

I love Chris Muir's DayByDay as much as anything on the Internet, but the sequence of Damon coming home to find his house missing is the best (and most humorous) example of over-the-top invective.

Silence: are you going to stand still and be called a "civic do-gooder" by Johngalt? If you need a second for your duel, let me know -- your honor has been impugned!

Posted by: jk at July 8, 2005 10:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

No no, wait! I was apologizing to Silence for impugning his name, not implying that he was such a "civic" do-gooder. Maybe that didn't come across clearly. (And the good editor over at the Weekly Standard must really be scratching his head, since I sent him this same comment in reply to the Hinderacker article, verbatim.)

As for "over-the-top" I'll just repeat myself: "Erosion of one of the key pillars of liberty left on earth."

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2005 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, if Silence accepts your apology, I will stand down...

Posted by: jk at July 8, 2005 6:07 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yes, please don't lump me in with the civic do gooders, especially in this case. I am right with you on the right to property and second your motion to hear more substantiation of the generous compensation. This would be generous compared to the current property rights? Before or after the area is deemed blighted or condemned? The blighted or condemned term is actively sought by developers to lower property values prior to an acquisition. After this, any analysis of how generous the compensation is a bit of a farce.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 12, 2005 5:33 PM

So, Ten Percent Can Die

I blogged in May that the FDA was considering pulling a Cancer drug because only ten percent benefit from it.

Well politics and personal ambition has prevailed over the minutia of saving lives, and the FDA has decided to re-label Iressa, preventing its use for new patients outside of clinical trials. Even though a gene test can now determine the exact 10% who can be helped by the drug. It seems that a company made a bureaucrat mad, so thousands of Cancer patients will have to die. The WSJ Ed Page comments:

What has changed is the politics. For starters, Dr. Pazdur no longer labors under the reform-minded former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan. Dr. Pazdur has also since stacked ODAC with people who share his anti-industry views. Most importantly, the unrelated panic over painkiller safety last fall has created the political cover for Dr. Pazdur to punish AstraZeneca for disobeying his wishes.

Some readers may find it hard to believe that life and death decisions about drug approvals and withdrawals would be made for political reasons. So it's worth pointing out that Dr. Pazdur has admitted doing so before. In 2002, the FDA rejected Erbitux, with Dr. Pazdur admitting it was a "good drug" but that it had a "bad development plan." Erbitux later became a clinical success against colon cancer.

But later that same year when the FDA approved a colon cancer chemotherapy called Eloxatin, Dr. Pazdur approvingly remarked "we want to send a message" about "the value in doing randomized trials." In other words, the less revolutionary drug (Eloxatin) got approved first because its makers had jumped through the right bureaucratic hoops.

The Iressa move is Dr. Pazdur's way of sending another "message" about the necessity of doing things his way. It isn't so much a withdrawal as a relabeling of the product. Patients currently on the drug will be able to continue with it. But come September no new patients will be able to start on it outside FDA-approved clinical trials. In other words, the option to use Iressa freely as a front-line cancer treatment will disappear.

That prospect doesn't sit well with patients like Sandy Britt, who believes Iressa saved her life after she was diagnosed with metastatic, stage 4 lung cancer late last year. "The first doctor gave me a death sentence," the 46-year Alameda, California, resident tells us. "She wasn't even going to treat me." But another doctor administered a genetic test that indicated she would be one of the 10% who respond to Iressa. "I've had an amazing response to it. They predicted I'd be dead now. Instead, I just got back from three weeks in Italy." As for Dr. Pazdur's decision, Ms. Britt asks a common-sense question: "This is a drug that works amazingly well for some people, so why take it off the market?"
[...]
Dr. Pazdur and his allies like to suggest that accelerated-approval advocates risk throwing science out the window. But in truth, there's no scientific reason to believe that large placebo-controlled trials -- in which treatments are tested against nothing, i.e., the proverbial sugar pill -- should be considered the "gold standard," as Dr. Pazdur believes. Withholding treatment is unethical in terminal diseases, and we have enough historical data about how cancer patients fare to judge new treatments without the need for placebo control groups.

This was the philosophy that the practicing doctors of ODAC implicitly endorsed when they approved Iressa; it was the philosophy promoted by former Commissioner McClellan; and it is the philosophy that Dr. Pazdur and his fellow FDA bureaucrats are challenging by pulling Iressa now that there is a politically opportune moment for them to do so. Never since the creation of the accelerated approval process in 1992 have the regulatory barriers to cancer research looked so oppressive.


Your tax dollars at work, folks. I am going to posit that the FDA has killed quite a few more people this decade than have the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM

July 5, 2005

Steyn on Live8

Need I say more?

Telegraph | Opinion | What rocks is capitalism... yeah, yeah, yeah

Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it.

There are thousands of incidents like that all over Africa every day of the week. Yet, throughout the weekend's events, Dave Gilmour and Co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to "start a revolution". Like Africa hasn't had enough of those these past 40 years?
[...]
Once upon a time, rock stars weren't rated by Moody, they were moody - they self-destructed, they choked to death in their own vomit, they hoped to die before they got old. Instead, judging from Sir Pete Townshend on Saturday, they got older than anyone's ever been. Today, Paul McCartney is a businessman: he owns the publishing rights to Annie and Guys & Dolls. These faux revolutionaries are capitalists red in tooth and claw.

The system that enriched them could enrich Africa. But capitalism's the one cause the poseurs never speak up for. The rockers demand we give our fokkin' money to African dictators to manage, while they give their fokkin' money to Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts to manage. Which of those models makes more sense?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:09 PM

What's Next, Socialism?

I have just encountered my first proper American roundabout.

There are some Boulder neighborhoods that plant a bush in the middle of a residential intersection and call it a roundabout. But Johngalt's neighbors in Brighton, Colorado have put up a real one to manage the US-85 Frontage Roads and Hwy 7 traffic. It's a real double roundabout, with real roundabout signs -- I thought I was in Old Blighty!

Beyond my shock of seeing it in Brighton (an old agricultural/meat-packing/not exceptionally progressive town), I have to admit that it cleans up a difficult intersection. They are probably a great idea -- I just hope they're not followed by National Health!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

I came across one in Anchorage last week. Blew me away.
Same setup as you described.. Seward Highway and some cross street/exit..... With the real signs and all.

Despite being the only one in the car, I said "Look kids! Big Ben!..... Look Kids! Parlament!"

Posted by: AlexC at July 5, 2005 8:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the food is better in Brighton (Colorado) than in Brighton (England). Just ask Jacques!

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2005 2:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know who's more upset, Jacques for losing the games or my buddies at Samizdata.net for winning them...

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2005 3:22 PM

Know When To Fold 'Em

PBS -- wince in agony! Its bias! Why do we need government TV anyway? Wouldn't it be great to kill its funding?

Well, yeah, it'd be great. I hate the idea of government TV and hate the smarmy implementation.

But I watched a spokesman being interviewed on TV and I said "we'll never beat these guys, no sense even tryin'." They can always run to Sesame Street when the interview gets tough. The folks trying to pull the funding come off looking like the banker in "Mary Poppins." It's just not worth it. We're going to have a liberal, partisan broadcast network funded by our tax dollars until the end of time.

Accept. Then read Jonah

More relevant, with the obvious exception of “Sesame Street,” the target audience for PBS isn’t remotely the poor. It’s the well-to-do. Yes, some poor folks enjoy symphonies and entire shows dedicated to shiitake mushrooms and fennel. I have no doubt that there’s some lunch bucket Joe who races home after clearing roadkill all day just to catch “Washington Week in Review.” But, come on, who’re we kidding?

And that’s the great irony of the restored PBS budget cuts. Because budget rules said the money had to come from somewhere, Congress raided social programs for the poor to give Big Bird back his $100 million.

Which brings up another bogus argument. When public broadcasting’s integrity is attacked, the PBSers harrumph that government money is only a tiny fraction of their budgets. But, they say without taking a breath, if you take even one penny of it away, it will destroy us.


Yup, sure glad I'm ready to move on...

Posted by John Kranz at 6:10 PM

5 Supreme Court Vacancies?

If the rumours are true, the Democrats are really going to regret losing last year.

Definately is Justice O'Connor...

Quite likely is Chief Justice Rehnquist...

Now comes a rumor of Clinton appointee and ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg...

    Rumors are already swirling about a possible third retirement after November. The most likely would be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who according to former Supreme Court clerks may be in poorer health than Justice Rehnquist.

And Bush 41's appointee and the generally not conservative David Souter.

    Here's a wildcard for you: I have it on reasonably good authority that an unlikely retirement might be on the way, too. A Supreme Court insider told me several weeks ago that Souter may well retire. He apparently told friends and family that he has always planned to step down upon turning 65, and that he'd rather return to New Hampshire year-round than continue to spend time in D.C. He's 65 now.

RightWingNews.com, which brought Souter and Ginsburg to my attention adds...

    Of course, Rehnquist is almost universally expected to retire soon and nobody knows how much longer 85 year-old John Paul Stevens can hang in there on the court.

Except for Washington and probably FDR, I bet no other President has ever had the opportunity to bring up so many nominees.

Dark days for the left and Democrats ahead. Dark days indeed.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 2:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

You don't understand -- he didn't win by a large enough margin to change the fundamental makeup of the court!

But seriously folks, even with fewer vacancies, a new SCOTUS could really end up a key component of the W legacy.

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2005 6:13 PM

Tom Delay's Trips

From the Washington Post...

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents.

    The filing is among hundreds of revisions from members of both parties who have amended missing or incomplete reports as scrutiny of lawmaker travel has intensified.

    The most expensive trip was not reported on Pelosi's annual financial disclosure statement or on the travel disclosure form that is required within 30 days of a trip.

    A more common violation among members filing corrections was to list a trip on the annual statement but not file the more detailed form about a specific trip. The House ethics committee plans to examine the tardy disclosures after being stalled since January in partisan disputes.


What did Congressman Delay do again?

Something about building a glass house.

Oh wait.

That was those other guys. :)

But Silence Dogood thinks:

Ah yes, the old everybody is doing it defense. Look out though, you might get reviewed by the House Ethics committee - ooh, not that.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 5, 2005 10:20 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm not defending it... I'm revelling in the rich irony of Democrats being guilty of the same thing Delay (and from what it seems, most of Congress) is guilty of.

It was criminal when it was just him. Now it's just embarrassing.

Posted by: AlexC at July 5, 2005 3:01 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yes, I too get the irony, although I sort of take it as a given that most members of Congress are ethically dirty. Then again we have no real punishment system for ethical violations so why should we be suprised that they continue or have become commonplace?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 6, 2005 12:26 PM

July 4, 2005

Star Spangled Banner

(To go with JK's post)

The Star Spangled Banner, one of the most difficult to sing national anthems, gets a bad rap from dirty hippies for being too militaristic.

I say "hogwash."

It's a beautiful song.

Especially if you know all four stanzas.

But jk thinks:

What a great piece -- thanks! I am a new convert to the song, and new converts are always the most fervent.

When I was young, I really did not understand the words. It is very unusual for the lyric to not make sense in single lines, you have to take a whole stanza at a time to "get it" (I think I was about 40 when I did...)

I also like the new melodic approaches you hear these days (sorry Burkeans). The guy who sings it a canella at the Avalanche games just nails it -- I cry every time.

Side note: I was a HUGE Asimov fan as a kid and I have been thinking of him lately (after reading David Deutch's "The Fabric of Reality," which all the Physics geeks at ThreeSources should drop everything and go read).

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2005 11:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the link AlexC. I'll read it aloud at our family celebration tonight - freemen all.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2005 2:17 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Here's a tip to maximize your Anthem experience.
You all know the words, and no one cares to hear you sing it anyway.

Focus on the singer.

If they're good, and really into it (not like fat-ass Roseanne), you can feel the emotions.

*MUCH* better.

JK's on to it... just listen, enjoy and weep in thanks.

Posted by: AlexC at July 4, 2005 11:52 PM

Happy 4th of July II

jkflag.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

This is our third July 4 in this house and I'm proud to say I've finally got the flag holder installed by the front door. "Long may she wave!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2005 2:06 PM

Deep Impact

It appeared that no cable news network provided live coverage of Deep Impact hitting Comet Tempel 1. So much for the 24 hours news cycle.

So I watched the NASA TV feed via the internet.

The mission to slam a coffee table into Manhattan was was successful!

The preliminary photos look awesome, I suspect as better ones come in some of them will make their way to computer desktops the world over.

More pictures are here.

Congratulations to NASA and the University of Maryland for providing us with one heck of a Fourth of July fireworks show... A job well done.

But AlexC thinks:

Is that coverage not embarassing? I've pretty much forsaken TV news (except local stuff)... when i turn it on to Fox, it's all Aruba, all the time.

The reporters all suckered Roger Ailes into open ended trips down there.

I'm embarassed for them.

Posted by: AlexC at July 4, 2005 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Of all the things government unjustly spends my tax money on, this is the one I object to least: space exploration.

I set the PVR to record the NASA channel and, armed with locating info from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/06/28/deepimpact.html, headed out to the hot tub with my binoculars. I'm pretty sure I had the comet located. I found Jupiter, low in the western sky and the brightest object around. (Also the only one with three moons visible in orbit!) Then, up and to the left, a bright star that had to be Spica. About a half-binocular field-of-view above and slightly left from Spica was a small dot not visible to the naked eye. I watched it for about 15 minutes, 5 before and 10 after the scheduled impact. Nothing. If anything it appeared to grow dimmer, or possibly a bit fuzzy although that could have been eye fatigue.

It goes without saying that the TV pictures were better. I had fun though!

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2005 2:03 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Johngalt, actually spending on science is Constitutional! Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8. "progress of science and useful arts".... of course the definitions of those could be subject to debate.

Damn you round earth! Damn you! It was all below the horizon.. you non-east coasters got a chance anyway.

Posted by: AlexC at July 4, 2005 11:48 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

We're all in agreement here, no news coverage? I was all set to have my trusty TIVO record the event, now all I needed was some event coverage to record. A NASA channels sounds cool, is that a satellite system? But come on, what else news worthy was going on at the time that was so important that no coverage was planned? Surely there must still be some broadcast equipment out Michael Jackson's way that could have been trucked over to JPL.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 5, 2005 10:27 AM
But AlexC thinks:

True story. NASA TV is on satellite and some cable systems. Typically watching paint dry is more exciting, but then there are those days...

But they do stream it online.

Posted by: AlexC at July 5, 2005 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

This is the patent and trademark provision Alex. Surely you detect no penumbra about government funding!

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2005 2:52 PM

Happy 4th of July


What encompasses the American spirit more than gathering with your neighbors and their children, sitting on your lawn and blowing up surreptitiously procured fireworks which your state forbids you from buying?

Save for throwing boxes of tea into the harbor, I dare say "nothing."

God Bless America in her 229th year.

America, F*ck Yeah! Posted by AlexC at 12:00 AM

July 3, 2005

Unborking the court

William Kristol offers a clarion call to the administration to succeed where even Reagan failed.

Reversing the Bork Defeat

ON OCTOBER 23, 1987--a day that lives in conservative infamy--Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by a Democratic Senate. Now, 18 years later, George W. Bush has the chance to reverse this defeat, and to begin to fulfill what has always been one of the core themes of modern American conservatism: the relinking of constitutional law and constitutional jurisprudence to the Constitution.
[...]
George W. Bush's has been a Reaganite presidency in the areas of foreign and economic policy. He has impressively adjusted Reaganite principles to deal with today's challenges. Now he has the chance to once again follow Reagan's lead by nominating a jurist as impressive as Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. And now he has the chance to surpass Reagan--by getting that nominee confirmed.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 1:46 PM

Live Grate

Good title for a good post over at Power Line. John Hinderocker tries to give Sir Bob Geldof and the boys a chance, but gives up and leaves with a reader's letter which includes this gem:

Time after time, the TV announcers reminded us that things are "even worse in Africa than they were before Live Aid 20 years ago!" Clearly, none of them considered this might tell us something about the efficacy of Live Aid and its use of cash to solve problems caused by massive political corruption.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

I glanced through the comments by some of the speakers.... did anyone mention Mugabe? Did anyone say, "hey... debt relief is not the answer?... Democracy is." ?

Posted by: AlexC at July 4, 2005 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, I mentioned Mugabe.

I spent last evening at an impromptu July 4th party hosted by a liberal friend and his more liberal wife in uber liberal Boulder, Colorado. There were a couple dozen others there, virtually all with varying degrees of vitriol in their liberalness. I wore my NewsMax.com, county by county, Red/Blue "Bush Country, My America" t-shirt.

My dear hostess "couldn't believe I would wear a shirt like that to her house." I replied that I thought she'd want to show her friends how "open minded" and "tolerant" she is. She said, "I'm not!" She brought up starving children in Africa. I brought up Bob Geldof. "Who," she asked? "You know, Live Aid?" "Oh, yes I know him." I paraphrased Geldof's lament that conditions in Africa are worse now than before the original Live Aid, and asked what that says about the efficacy of Live Aid or Live Eight. She became animated and then produced a mass-mailing postcard addressed to Condi Rice and produced by some lefty group whose name I've forgotten. It cited UNICEF with the statistic "30,000 children die each day from preventable causes" among other things. (Hmmm, I wondered. 10 million children per year seems like an awfully large number and one that may deserve scrutiny. I considered saying, "That's a lot of children. That number must include aborted fetuses," but I thought better of it.) As she handed me the card she said, "Even if you don't have any compassion for those people, it's in our best interest to help them so that the problems they have don't spread and affect us, because they will." I said, "I do have compassion for them, that's why I don't want them to live under the thumb of oppressive tyrants." She countered that "We put those tyrants in power." I said, "Robert Mugabe? He's not our guy. Where did he come from?" That pretty much ended our political conversation for the evening.

We spent the remainder of our time grilling various types of meat and releasing greenhouse gasses from municipally prohibited fireworks made in Chinese sweatshops by... children.

Happy 4th of July mister Geldof!

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2005 1:52 PM

July 2, 2005

Supreme Court Prediction

A prediction from the Polish Immigrant....

    ... that sometime between July 8th when Bush comes back from Europe and September a liberal cartoonist will draw 9 Iranian mullahs in robes worn normally by the justices of the US Supreme Court and call it Bush's Court.

    I think this will happen no matter whom Bush nominates. The chances of this happening will be close to 100% if he nominates a black woman, say, Janice Rogers Brown.


That's pretty cynical.

But probably very likely to happen.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 2:00 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

Silence,

I don't really see that the President's opposition will take on the "constructionist" label. These folks truly believe that the Constitution is a living document and that its penumbrae should be explored.

A strict constructionist (as I prefer) will use what is actually written in the Constitution.

I wish, in the wake of Kelo and Raich, people might see SCOTUS as something more than the abortion police, but perhaps I wish for too much...

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2005 1:21 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I certainly intend to take on the constructionist label as I think it will be applied to anyone whose beleifs match those of groups like Focus on the Family. It's a big ill defined term that will be misused and overused in the next few months. As I have blogged before I am a frim beleiver in the power of the 9th and 10th amendments and their design as catch-alls to limit legislative power. I agree completely on Kelo and Raich but my conclusion from those rulings is that it is proof we need an active court to prevent unchecked activism by the other two branches - legislatvie (Kelo) and executive (Raich).

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 5, 2005 11:03 AM
But jk thinks:

I lost you on that one, Silence. Before I rant on some meaning that I misconstrued, can I ask you to write up longer description?

You really believe that the court is not activist enough and is ceding power and purview to the other branches?

And, I'm not a member of Colorado Focus on the Family but, there is no right to abortion in the Constitution. Even though I am pro--choice, anybody who "finds" one will not be a judge I support.

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2005 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There is no "right to abortion" but there is the right to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects..." From the right to personal security the right to self-determination of all aspects of one's physical body is Constitutionally guaranteed against any and all interference by the state or by Congress.

No matter how you slice it, until a fetus is seperated from it's mother it is a part of the mother's "person." It is not an individual, and therefore has no individual rights.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2005 3:01 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Stunning as it may sound I am actually making the argument that we need a very activist Judicial branch. The last 25 years have seen a huge increase in executive power and for the most part a decrease in legislative power. The Judicial branch is about the only thing left maintaining a balance. Do the courts overstep their bounds on occasion? Sure they do, but so too do the other branches, hence the checks and balances system. The "enemy combatants" term created and defined by the Patriot Act is a classic example of executive over reach and legislative compliance.

I still side with johngalt on the abortion issue, he makes my point very nicely. The power to limit or abolish abortion does not exist in the Constitution either, try to find it anywhere and you will be left with an even more tenuous link than that which Raich uses between federal drug laws and interstate commerce.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 6, 2005 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, you and Johngalt teaming up on me -- as usual...

I appreciate the candor but the balance of power that concerns me is State vs. Federal. Every "landmark" decision from SCOTUS, and every new "right" discovered is one less thing that be decided by States or local communities.

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2005 10:00 PM

Rove as Plame Source

MSNBC's psychotic blowhard Lawrence O'Donnell says Karl Rove outed Valerie Plame.

    "What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

    "And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

    Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.

    Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, held in contempt for refusing to name sources, tried Friday to stay out of jail by arguing for home detention instead after Time Inc. surrendered its reporter's notes to a prosecutor.


You might remember Lawrence O'Donnell's on screen breakdown.

In any case, let's bring it out. Let's see who the source is.

And what if it's not Karl Rove? Will O'Donnell publically recant?

Why would someone from Time magazine tell Larry O'Donnell anything? I suspect it's just his case of BDS flaring up again.

If the source is not Karl Rove, this might be another example of his evil genius. Why in the world would the Bush administration controlled Justice Department be after getting the info? Why not just let it go? Let it get buried under the freedom of the press?

And if it was Karl Rove, why wouldn't the Time magazine type just say so? Are they suddenly on the President's side and willing to go jail? To protect Karl Rove? Are you kidding me?

What would that revelation say about Time in the eyes of the "liberal adoration"/"bush is evil" brigade?


July 1, 2005

Bush Nominees: The List

George Bush nominated Framer Benjamin Franklin to the Supreme Court today.
Democrats immediately denounced Franklin for his close ties to "Big Energy."

President Bush may also nominate George Washington to the nation's highest court, though the nominated General would face scrutiny of his environmental record.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 5:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Perfect!

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2005 2:30 PM

Supreme Court Vacancy

The first vacancy in 11 years is announced.

Sadly for Democrats, they were unable to elect Senator John Kerry in November, so we'll get to see them freak out at whomever the President nominates.

Even sadder is that Justice O'Connor is not exactly a conservative, so they're going to be down at least 1/2... maybe a whole vote to the other side. Changing the balance.

A few days ago, Democrat Leader Senator Harry Reid has already made his list of acceptible nominees public.

    Seeking a possible consensus nominee, Reid recommended Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

    Reid described them all as bright and able lawyers who would be strong additions to the nation's highest court.


The Senator has apparently never heard of Article 2, Section 2 of the US Constitution.

In any case, if (when) the President nominates someone other than the four listed above, expect the Democrats to bring out the bag of tricks. Filibustering, personal attacks, and endless stalling. Not to mention the incessant whining of a party with diminishing credibility.

With 55 Republicans to 45 Democrats, it's pretty clear that the new extra-Constitutional filibuster option will still be on the table.

Let us not forget that the 2006 Senate election season is already underway. Do the Democrat senators up for re-election in red states want to go against their electorate?

Senators like Bill Nelson of Florida and Ben Nelson of Nebraska could be pickups. Maybe Lieberman would also get on board. That gets you closer... 58.

Can Harry Reid keep his party in line? More importantly, can Frist keep Snowe and Specter and Lugar and McCain? (The usual suspects).

Despite a majority, and the Constitution on the President's side, this is going to be ugly.

It would sweet, if Chief Justice Rehnquist resigned now. It would throw the Dems against a wall. With two vacancies on the Court (a high profile court everyone, even the most politically disinterested, knows about) they'll be forced to do something and not stall.

The cherry on top of that pile would be the Chief Justice nomination process. The favorites are Scalia and Thomas, both favorites of the left.

It'll be a lovely time to watch politics.

SCOTUS Posted by AlexC at 4:00 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I guess we're both sick, sad puppies. But I am really looking forward to a good fight.

1) August news doldrums -- banished!

2) I think Rove can position things to make the left look unreasonable.

3) Maybe get a SCOTUS that won't make decisions like Kelo v New London. (Though sadly, O'Connor joined Thomas on the correct side of Raich).

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2005 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ask yourself if John Kerry had become president, and Republicans suggested he nominate a justice with "mainstream" views, how much deference would JFK give to the opposition party's sensibilities? ZIP. We'd be in for another Ginsberg! It's time now for another Thomas instead. (Readers know that Janice Rogers Brown is my dream candidate, but I predict Alberto Gonzales for this vacancy.)

What I'd like to see is some learned speculation as to the strategy of O'Connor's resignation preceding Rehnquist's, for I expect the latter to follow suit before the end of this President's administration.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2005 2:28 PM

4th of July Vulgarity

In homage to the pending July 4 holiday, WSJ published a commentary on "The pursuit of happiness" this morning. The essay, written by an FSU history professor, purports to credit the Christian notion of self-sacrifice for America's greatness, and to pin the blame for this "ideal" on such notables as Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and Aristotle.

Citing the words "pursuit of happiness" from the Declaration of Independence, the author lectures that "few today even know what the Founding Fathers meant by that curious phrase." Ah, well please tell us oh great one.

Here's his line of reasoning, in a nutshell:

- Aristotle and Cicero held that "happiness was the final end of human existence, the great goal of a life well lived."

- John Locke likened happiness as a natural law, where people are drawn by the force of pleasure and repulsed by pain.

- Knowing this, Jefferson listed the pursuit of happiness as man's natural right. "Happiness is the aim of life," Jefferson wrote, "but virtue is the foundation of happiness."

So far so good, but here's where the problem starts. Our fair author then deigns to equate classical notions of virtue with the Christian variety:

- "For in Christian, classical or Lockean terms, virtue at its highest meant serving one's fellow citizens, working for the public welfare, furthering the public good." BARF!

Nice try, fella. Aristotle and Locke didn't think that, and neither did Jefferson. Instead, as the professor himself cited,

Jefferson believed that happiness was ultimately in the eyes of the beholder. Hence the need for liberty to allow individuals to follow it where they best saw fit. No government could deign to tell its citizens where true happiness lay.

And neither can a pastor, a preacher, or a history professor from Florida.

Click "continue reading" to see the pointed response I sent to the WSJ. As of this posting they've not yet printed it.

Sent to WSJ opinion page in response to their article:

Few things can match the profanity of equating "serving one's fellow citizens" with the celebration of America's independence day. Independence from an oppressive monarchy is no great gift if replaced by any sense of servitude to one's countrymen.

Jefferson's "harmonizing sentiment" was the communion of values among Americans, but the cardinal values were liberty, self-sufficiency and personal achievement - the antithesis of "serving" others. Jefferson would spin in his grave at the thought of this collectivist ideal being attributed to him. When he said "virtue is the foundation of happiness" he meant 'be good' to others, not 'do work' for others. The difference between the two has altered the course of history.

None must forget this, the true source of America's greatness, and the proper focus on America's Independence Day.

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Hmm, this was a history professor? John Locke wrote at length about natural law (as opposed to the divine right of kings) and the natural right to life, liberty, and property. I have a vague recollection that even Jefferson's first draft was life, liberty and pursuit of wealth. Both were liberals of their time, but maybe with a dose of libertarian, little 'l' or otherwise?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 3, 2005 3:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes Silence, liberal and libertarian share the latin root liber, which means "free." But this doesn't explain the disconnect between liberals of the 18th century (classical liberals) and of today (post-modern liberals.)

The relevant definitions of liberal are a) Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; and b) Favorable to proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others.

The attitudes, views, and dogmas that classical liberals favored reform of and progress from were things like, the divine right of kings (as you cited), and non-scientific explanations of the natural world, i.e. geocentrism, a flat-earth, and the "wrath of God." The "new" (borrowed from classical Greece) ideas of the 18th century set the stage for the modern era of science and civilization, and the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people in the history of humanity.

But modern liberals have different established attitudes to oppose. They oppose the modern attitudes of... classical liberals! The source of this "tail chasing" behavior is rooted in the relativism of the final part of definition "b" above: "tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others." When "others" includes anarchists and Marxists that tolerance should be withdrawn or, at the very least, their views not adopted for oneself.

I've a favorite line from a John Mellencamp song: "If you don't stand for something then you'll fall for anything." I stand for individual liberty. From this, everything else I believe logically follows and conversely, everything that post-modern liberals believe ultimately must violate.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2005 11:14 AM
But jk thinks:

I think you'll prefer this description, jg, Happy 4th:

http://radio.weblogs.com/0107946/stories/2005/07/03/thePursuitOfHappiness.html

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2005 9:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Not really. The author doesn't appear to have a clear idea himself what "pursuit of happiness" means, and that murkiness is evident in his essay. His gratuitous shot at John Bolton didn't help.

To this description I would prefer the words of American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952), "Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."

Today I discovered another relevant Santayana quote, "Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment."

(From http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/authors/george_santayana_a001.htm)

Cheers!

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2005 1:21 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Classic Liberal, hmm, kind of like the sound of that. I always get in trouble in social political discussions if I claim to be a Liberal, I end up getting a bunch of arguments against positions I don't endorse. Much fun is made of liberals, the label, and how they are defined, especially as compared to how they have been defined in past times. But this is not gratuitous change so much as the term liberal is defined in relation to conservative as JG states, not limited to traditions and open to reform. The term Liberal itself is a relative term. If you really tear apart the term Conservative and look at it throughout history it does not really fare much better. Modern Conservatives do not support the divine right of kings or the rigid class systems of the 18th century. In fact, modern conservatism has in many respects divided itself among fiscal and social aspects, fiscal conservatives do not necessarily support socially conservative causes and vice versa.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 6, 2005 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I would call myself a "Classical Liberal" and have suggested that I am willing to cede the term "progressive" to the left if [my people] can have "liberal" back.

Ludwig von Mises's "Liberalism" defines what I believe about as well as any book out there.

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2005 1:25 PM

Let the games begin

Wow. The most difficult to replace justice steps down.

You'd have to think that Ralph Neas crowd might only fight 99% to see Rehnquist replaced by a another conservative, and that conservatives would find a squishy (if I may borrow Sugarchuck parlance) replacement for Ginsberg an improvement.

But this news throws the soul of SCOTUS (if there is indeed one left) up for grabs.

WASHINGTON -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring.

Justice O'Connor, 75 years old, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace Justice O'Connor.


It's to be a long and steamy --but fun-- summer.

Let me end with more wrath inducement. I have had numerous chances to object to Justice O'Connor's jurisprudence. But her personal story (read her autobiography!), personal honor, dignity, and personal love of country are unimpeachable.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM

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