September 30, 2005
Beef Wellington, Saag Paner
The UK has the worst reputation for cuisine. People always ask when I get back "How awful was the food?"
Of course the truth is, while England's indigenous cuisine may not be much to write home about, they brought great food back from all the ends of the world, most of which they had colonized. I don't mean this as a slap; they got the Magna Carta, the brits got Abu Mater and asian noodles.
Jonathan Pearce of Samizdata reports on Britain's first known curryhouse, circa 1805.
In my area of Pimlico, central London, there is an Indian restaurant right near my flat (aaahhh!) - said to be one of the oldest in London, dating back to the 1950s. But it appears that this now-established feature of culinary life has been going on since the age of Nelson, Wellington and William Wordsworth. An early example, in fact, of culinary globalization. It is not, in fact, all that surprising, since the desire for eastern spices and foodstuffs was an important economic incentive behind much of global trade at that time.
If you enjoy Indian food, not only will you not starve in the UK, you will come home to find our good ol' 'mercun Himalayan food distictly sub par.
Urgent Need To Face Reality
So says my liberal, Democrat, congressman.
SMART Democrats are going to come out of the hurricane relief project and concomitant budget battle very well. Leader Pelosi has already scored 100 points with her agreement to defer $70 million in highway earmarks for her district.
Is it all political? Hell yes. But it's damn good politics, much better than I have come to expect from the House Minority Leader.
Rep Mark Udall (yup, one of those Udalls) has launched his Senate bid in earnest today. He seeks Senator Allard's seat in 2006. And this is good rhetoric in Colorado. Damn good:
Rep. Mark Udall has joined Republican budget hawks on legislation that would give the White House new authority to pare congressional spending bills.
Our red state will have two blue Senators in the next Congress.
Party of the Rich
Noam Scheiber at TNR realizes that the GOP is no longer the party of the rich.
Ronald Reagan carried 17 of the 20 most affluent counties in the country in 1984.
Being Noam Scheiber, he jumps to the wrong conclusion and states (the next sentence, actually) "The upshot is that, while the party must still deliver tax cuts that primarily benefit the affluent, it must also spend lavishly to appeal to the working class."
I can't go along there, the lower income GOPers understand their benefit from tax cuts and do not clamor for more spending.
But Scheiber is correct to point out the divisions exposed by Katrina spending. I have ridiculed Democratic senators that I thought were economic dim bulbs (Michigan's Sen. Debbie Stabenow should have her own TV show) but the Rs I have witnessed are displaying a fearful amount of cluelessness.
Montana's Sen. Burns was facing a grilling from friendly Larry Kudlow last night. The subject was not-taking $4 million for a new parking garage to help fund hurricane recovery. This was suggested by the citizens but rejected by the city council. What was the Senator's opinion? "Well, Larry, these are 'earmarks' and they don't bust the budget." Kudlow enumerat6ed a handful of bike paths and a teleconferencing center and an indoor pistol range. Burns didn't defend any of the projects, he genuinely seemed stumped that anybody would object to any of this.
Who will capture disenchanted small-government voters? I cannot believe the Democrats have a shot. But if the national party cannot catch this zeitgeist, the GOP will be very vulnerable to a Perot-esque third party challenge.
And that, gentle readers, is how we got the first President Clinton...
September 29, 2005
DeLay v. Earle
I have little to say on l'Affaire Hammer [Good thing I have a blog -- can you imagine trying to get that by an editor? -- ed]
It's obviously a partisan gesture, but it will hurt the GOP's image. I think DA Earle got lucky with his timing: a good bit of the blogosphere who might normally jump in to defend Rep DeLay is exasperated at his intransigence on spending cuts.
With nothing to say, I'll link to the guy who does: Michael Barone. He makes a great point on Democratic Demographic advantages:
I have written in the past that Republicans have certain structural advantages in our nearly equally divided American politics. George W. Bush carried 31 states that elect 62 of 100 senators, and he carried 255 of 435 congressional districts while winning the popular vote by only 51 to 48 percent. But the indictment yesterday of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay points to a structural advantage for the Democrats: They have majorities in most of the counties containing the state capitals of our largest states. That means that political corruption cases are likely to be handled by prosecutors, judges, and juries that are largely Democratic.
Well, that and the media -- no wonder I feel like the minority with both houses of Congress and the Executive in our column...
Larry Kudlow - CNBC Website
I have always been surprised at the low level of web integration on CNBC TV shows.
Glad to say, the powers that be have added a Kudlow & Company CNBC web page at www.kudlowcnbc.com.
It is a quick link to the daily poll, previous polls, guest lists, &c.
Now on the Blogroll...
Hail, Chief Justice Roberts!
The Wall Street Journal reports that he has been confirmed 78-22. I like to win as much as the next guy, but am I the only one bothered that Justice Ginsberg got 93 votes, and John Roberts 78?
I guess it will not matter to the Chief Justice, as long as he was confirmed, but I am disturbed that 22 Senators think a well qualified person should be kept from the bench because they don't agree with some aspect of his or her politics.
Among the Senate's Democrats, 22 opposed the nomination, saying the candidate could turn out to be as conservative as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court anchors on the right.
Sorry Senator. Elections matter.
September 28, 2005
Goram Good Movie!
I expected it to be superb and the film met or exceeded all my expectations. Firefly fans will not be disappointed and those who have never seen the TV show will enjoy probably the best space pic ever.
Calling it the best space pic, one has to compare it to popular "franchise" films and there is no comparison. The sterile, pretentiousness of Star Trek cannot measure up to the reality of Serenity. While I have enjoyed Lucas's Star Wars movies since I was 19, the jejune plot lines and thin characters have been getting me down. Serenity truly is "Star Wars for Grownups."
The craft is so real, the mechanical failures are genuine. Not Scotty fighting the flux of dilithium crystals, but big hunks of the ship falling off in re-entry. A Red Dwarfish squalor that spells verisimilitude to anyone acquainted with machinery and Murphy's Law.
I'll give it four and a half out of five stars. It's cruel of me to withhold the last half from such a good movie, but I have one quibble. The TV show blended sci-fi and western into a perfect metaphorical frontier and showcased it with acoustic music: fiddles and dobros, horses and spaceships.
The movie doesn't have time to develop this. so the space and sci-fi part gets the whole show. I don't imagine that they could have pulled anything else off, but some of the Firefly fans might miss it.
Lastly, I will cross the street to avoid an "action" movie, one that substitutes special effects for plot and explosives for acting. Serenity has thought and dialogue but is also a movie with a lot of action well integrated into the plot. The film never lags. It moves along with story, events and Whedonesque one liners. The theatre in Denver was filled with the faithful; the whole audience would laugh out loud every few minutes.
It opens on Friday and I suggest you cancel any other plans and hit the theatre. It is rated PG-13 and I would take older kids who can handle the concept of flesh-eating monsters. It is violent (not prurienlty so), but the swearing is in Chinese, sex is kept to a few verbal references.
Good stuff! Here's the website and trailer.
September 27, 2005
When the heroes of the War are enumerated, Christopher Hitchens should be right there in that number. His constant, principled, and eloquent support of the quest for true liberalism against liberals has been stellar.
Andrew Sullivan started out in his league (and his camp) but got too distracted by domestic issues and then lost his gumption when things went poorly.
Hitchens's support has been resolute and indefatigable. I TiVoed his debate with George Galloway on C-SPAN. While I have lost my taste for that fiery, confrontational debate , I have to admit that those two were pretty good.
I was reading "Blood, Class and Empire" in the UK, and one of my associates' wives, a London
In Slate today, Hitch gives us Anti-War, My Foot - The phony peaceniks who protested in Washington. He knows who's who and where the bodies are buried:
To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.
The media treatment of the antiwar rallies make their Katrina coverage look good.
Hat-tip: Protien Wisdom, who links this to other media failures in covering these rallies. This is becoming one of my favorite blogs, and will be on the blogroll later today.
September 26, 2005
Arcane Item of the Day
Larry Kudlow dusts off a 19th Century economist to discuss the impact of weather on economics.
The British by repute spend a lot of time talking about the weather and the nineteenth century English economist William Stanley Jevons built a business cycle theory around it—or more precisely built a theory around the weather on the sun! As our readers know, we love classical economists and Stanley Jevons (as he preferred to be called) is yet another whose ideas might need to be dusted off. His theory (he first published on this in 1875) linked sunspots to the weather and, in a much more agrarian economy than we currently have, from the weather to crop production and thus economic growth. Now, there are those who have linked sunspot cycles (which have a cycle of 11 years) with hurricane activity (for example, Jill Hasling and John Freeman—ironically of the weather research center in Houston, Texas—published a paper in December 1993 on The Prediction of Tropical Cyclones or No Tropical Cyclones by Means of the Solar Cyclone Strike Index).
Besides the theories of Mr. Jevons, the article takes a serious look at how the destruction and reconstruction might affect certain sectors of the economy.
I call it a good read, but you know I like this kind of stuff.
September 25, 2005
Socialized Health Care
Yup, this is what we need in America -- bring the efficiency of Government and the compassion of bureaucrats to health care.
Samizdata tells the story of a hospital that ran out of mops. I think I liked the happy ending best:
After replacement mops arrived on Thursday, a source revealed that hospital staff celebrated.
Hate to beat up on our British brethren, but this matches another story I linked to on NHS care.
I owe a lot of money, but my wife is alive because of the amazing treatment received in private American hospitals.
Lots I like about Britain, but let's NOT import the NHS!
Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 PM
September 24, 2005
The MSM is Not Biased!
No, the MSM is lazy, arrogant, cowardly, and biased!
That's a joke but it's not. Bernard Goldberg is right to say that if you imagine a giant media cabal to distort the news for partisan advantage, you're wrong. And you come off as black-helicopterish.
The real problem is that media folk have many faults that just happen to augment their biases. The best example a guy could hope for is the current blog takedown of Petula Dvorak's WaPo piece, "Antiwar Rally Will Be a First for Many."
In this news piece, Dvorak discuses the appearance of one Patrice Cuddy, who will balance out the professional protesters at the Antiwar rally in D.C.:
Because of that sharp focus, they will be joined by novice protesters such as Patrice Cuddy, 56. Interviewed by phone yesterday, the former public school teacher in Olathe, Kan., said she had to pull off her gardening gloves each time a neighbor interrupted her yardwork to ask about joining the bus she had chartered to go to the nation’s capital.
You know, a middle-aged Kansas woman, who's not political, but Gosh Darn it! has decided she has to speak out against the war.
Fine. But as Spacecraft Blog finds out, with a few minutes on Google(r), This woman is a little more connected than the average retired Kansas schoolteacher: years of advocacy and an A.N.S.W.E.R. email address.
Assuming that the proxy servers at the Washington Post do not block Google, one can claim bias or laziness; I claim the dreaded combination.
I posit that Ms. Dvorak would check out a source who spouted wildly pro-Administration quotes. She would Google, check up to make certain that no Rovian stooge was leading her astray. Yet, a little laziness here helps the cause.
Stop The Bleating has access to this mysterious Google tool as well. He finds even more:
[S]he says openly, on her blog at Greater Kansas City Democracy for America: "I have been in the streets since the beginning of this war . . . " And she advises her readers at Kansas City IndyMedia (where she has been posting since at least February of '03) : "If you ever get an opportunity to go to one of these big rallies, DO IT! A Total rave thing without the drugs and alcohol."
That's laziness and no small amount of arrogance directed at the bumptious, bucolic residents of Kansas. What about those other, scurrilous charges I made? Let's look at another story, and a takedown of the Associated Press Wire Service! The takedown comes from Protein Wisdom.
Jennifer Kerr of the AP writes under the headline "Thousands of Anti-War Demonstrators March in Washington, London; Rallies Planned in LA, Rome"
Jeff Goldstein starts with the headline. Yes 2,000 is technically "Thousands" but...
the phrase “rallied by the thousands” is suggestive of a bit more than the bare minimum at which “thousands” is even pluralized.
None of these stories, including Kerr's will tell you the roots of A.N.S.W.E.R. in the Stalinist Workers' World Party, or the extremely radical backgrounds of the organizers.
Two things happen in this section that are worth pointing out—first, that we’re not told a thing about Becker, nor are we told about International ANSWER, a hard-left group that supports the insurgency, other than they are “anti-war” and helped organize the day of “protest, song, and remembrance of the dead”; and second, Cindy Sheehan’s role in the protest is presented in a way that is curiously passive—a sure sign that her credibility and influence is finally waning. Kerr presents her as the grieving mother of a dead soldier, carefully avoiding any of the attendant controversy Sheehan’s public statements in the wake of her celebrity may have attached to the anti-war cause.
This is cowardice. They will NOT break from the groupthink of their 60's inculcated peers and publish inculpatory material about the antiwar crowd.
Lazy. Arrogant. Cowardly. Biased. The whole package.
They are opening advance screenings across the country to bloggers, who agree to link and review it. Here is another link (the PR firm just sent an email that seemed to imply that I will have to arrive at the theatre 45 minutes early and beg to be let in). It is worth revisiting the site, they have updated it quite a bit since I linked before.
Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.
If my groveling skills are good, I will have a review for you next Wednesday!
I Voted for Coors!
But I hoped that I would get to like Senator Ken Salazar anyway. He made some moderate noises early on and, knowing he's in a red state, it seemed like the GOP might get a Lincoln Chafee for the other side.
I have been disappointed so far that the more powerful Dems in the Senate have seemed to pull him into the fold. I was pleased by his inclusion in the "gang of 14." That gave me some hope back.
Fast forward to today: What is his position on "Porkbusters" and the rediversion of some earmarks to hurricane relief? Umm, thoughtfully, Bush blew it and we must fire Mike Brown:
Porkbusters update: Sen. Salazar responds (sort of) (Combs Spouts Off)
I guess there's no law against a form letter, but this seems pretty weak.
September 23, 2005
WSJ Ed Page:
That was the vote count when the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in the 1990s, and it should have been the vote for John Roberts yesterday, instead of 13-5. The two Bill Clinton appointees are every bit as liberal as Judge Roberts is conservative, and they were just as unforthcoming during their confirmation hearings on how they would vote on specific cases.
I'm happy that the Roberts confirmation looks good. But my rightwing nutjob friends are right. There is ZERO legitimate reason to vote against Judge Roberts; the comparisons with Ginsberg make the Democrats look very bad. It is lucky for them that the media won't point this out to anybody.
UPDATE: I loved John Hinerocker's comment on Powerline:
This may be the most bone-headed statement of the year. I want to go back to the Ruth Ginsburg confirmation hearing and find where the Republican Senators asked her what kind of a mother she is. The feminists would have loved that!
Before I continue, what of the double possessive? I don't think it is legal, but I think it is right.
Anyway, Lee Harris pens a piece in TCS today that I think we might all agree with. He discusses the Nixon-McGovern race, but it reminded me of Reagan's vision of America, not as a land of the rich but a land "where everyone could get rich"
In modern politics, I don't see a clear delineation of the fundamental wrongness and unpopularity of wealth redistribution.
Harris listens to the waitresses disapprobation at McGovern's plan to limit inheritance, even though none will likely create an estate that will qualify:
The waitresses at Woolworth's disliked McGovern's welfare state politics because it was threatening to take away one of life's most important imaginary pleasures -- that of imagining yourself rich. Everyone who is not rich can instantly understand the world of pleasure that the impoverished hero of The Fiddler on the Roof gets from singing the song: "If I were a rich man…." What bliss it is to pretend you are wealthy! -- far far more fun, I would imagine, than actually being it."
The whole piece is great!
September 22, 2005
On Religion and Politics
I know a lot of libertarian-style-conservatives who get nervous at the mention of religion. A ThreeSources author even comes to mind...
I see a connection between faith and much that I admire. Freedom, patriotism and self-sufficiency seem to come naturally to many of those who are tethered to the world by a spiritual bond.
I've long been impressed by the piety of the founders of this nation, whom I revere. Jay and Adams are extremely religious; Washington and Jefferson may be less so, but they are a far cry from atheists.
I'm not a churchgoer myself, but as a political hack, I see a natural coalition among freedom lovers, devout Christians, and committed Jews. I give President Bush a lot of credit for opening a connection to the historically Democratic group: an evangelical Christian who has been a firm and fulsome defender of Israel.
What has me opening this bleeding wound on ThreeSources? A very thoughtful post by Attila on Pillage Idiot caught my imagination today. He defends Ryan Church of the Washington Nationals, even after the outfielder said some, like, kinda insensitive things about, like, Judaism.
Many Christians believe as part of their religious doctrine that acceptance of Jesus is necessary for salvation. Pardon me if I disagree with them. I'm a very committed Jew; I don't believe that Jesus is the Messiah; and I have no expectation of ending up in Hell, if such a place should exist. Yet, and this is very important, it's totally out of line to tell these Christians that their views are based on hatred. They are not. They are based on faith and love.
Attila, and JohnGalt, and AlexC and I all share a love of liberty and belief in democracy that transcends our Jewish, atheist, Catholic and squishy-agnostic beliefs.
As a hack, I believe that politics is about addition and not subtraction and that coalitions are powerful. Personally, my Catholic upbringing and the friends I have had make me very comfortable with people of faith, and people of all faiths.
Three cheers for those, like Attila, who can bury the hatchet. As a famous felon once said, "Can't we all just get along?"
Ninth Circuit Approved
-- but not endorsed, Samizdata links to:
I pledge allegiance to the curve
Counter Conventional Wisdom. It is what blogs excel at. I posted about a Nick Danger piece on RedState.org the other day that defied CW.
Today, Larry Kudlow linked to and agreed with that article, and this one about the President's response to Katrina.
In this piece, Thomas Lifson says that W has been misunderestimated again and puts the big spending response in context.
[an] important lesson the President learned at Harvard Business School is to embrace a finite number of strategic goals, and to make each one of those goals serve as many desirable ends as possible.
Lifson then shows how the President’s response serves these goals.
jk Agrees WIth President Carter
If that ain't a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what is.
But the voter fraud commission headed by our 39th President and Secretary Baker is noteworthy. That a liberal of the pedigree of President Carter has admitted that fraudulent voting is not outweighed by tales of minority disenfranchisement is significant.
An editorial in today's WSJ gives high marks to most of the panel's recommendations, but especially supports the ID requirement:
The voter-ID recommendations are particularly noteworthy, however, because for decades the left has maintained that voter fraud isn't a problem. In fact, it's increased in recent years. Former New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari, who served on the commission, notes bluntly in the report that, "In 2004, elections in Washington state and Wisconsin were decided by illegal votes." She continues, "In other states, notably the states of Ohio and New York, voter rolls are filled with fictional voters like Elmer Fudd and Mary Poppins."
This is a clear sign of national interest above politics, and I have accused President Carter of the opposite for several years.
September 21, 2005
When We're All Dead...
When we're all dead , you can say "JK, you were wrong!"
I am going to swim against the blogosphere tide a little here and admit that I am sleeping pretty well at night, in spite of the UPCOMING AVIAN BIRD FLU PANDEMIC!!! (Film at 11, with Natallee Holloway Pictures!!). Blogs have worked themselves into an irrational fear on this front (Oh. My. God! We're the only ones who know what's going on! The people watching MSM don't know. We're all going to die!)
President Coolidge famously said that if ten problems are roiling down the road at you, keep in mind that nine will roll into the ditch. I have no empirical evidence for my sanguinity, but I am counting on this to be one of the nine.
I have already survived the HETEROSEXUAL AIDS PANDEMIC of the 80s/90s, THE SARS PANDEMIC of the 90s/aughts, and it ain't easy in Colorado but I seem to have avoided the WEST NILE VIRUS PANDEMIC that is ongoing around here.
I was on the Atkins Diet through all the MAD COW DISEASE SCARES and I seem to have come through that.
When THE NATION RAN OUT OF FLU VACCINE in 2004, I neither got the flu nor voted for John Kerry.
I have Multiple Sclerosis. My wife had a severe stroke. I'm glad Andrew Sullivan has some flu medication squirreled away, so he will be spared incompetence from that nasty President Bush, but I am gonna tough this one out.
Like I say, if we all die, you can say “I told you so…”
Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM
Zone of Opportunity
I don't know if my beloved Republicans are up to it, but we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild the gulf with conservative ideas. I was happy to see homesteading and opportunity zones in the President's speech. But it is time to engage Congressional GOP members and push for an aggressive, conservative response.
The lead editorial in the WSJ today has a good idea:
The idea is to lure businesses back to the region through lower tax rates, incentives for new capital investment, and low-cost business loans and loan guarantees. So far the details are sketchy. But one promising magnet for capital is the small-business expensing plan, which allows firms to immediately deduct from their federal tax bill the first $100,000 of the cost of a new office, plant or equipment. We're typically against temporary tax incentives, but if anything warrants such a lift, the aftermath of Katrina does -- and especially as an alternative to the "Marshall Plan" for new federal spending via FEMA or a bureaucratic cousin that is already being proposed in Washington.
Pretty good stuff, but I think the NYTimes' John Tierney has an even better idea: abolish FEMA and put Wal*Mart in charge. Ahh, those rightwing kooks at the Times...
September 20, 2005
Go Big Pharma!
I haven't linked to Andrew Sullivan in many moons. To be honest, I stopped reading him after the elections in '04. He really has descended into Daily Kos territory, throwing away all of his conservative principles because he disagrees with the President on gay marriage. Sad to lose a great writer, but I couldn't possibly take any more.
One thing we do agree on, is the life giving and enhancing work of the drug companies and astonishmentat the antipathy they engender (maybe I'll get a "Poseur award" for that last sentence). Happily, Sully has been helped by new HIV drugs:
BACK FROM THE DOC: Just an HIV update. I've been on the new meds for a couple of months now and after a week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can speak of. My viral load - i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream - went from 141,000 particles per cubic mililiter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We're hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count - a sign of the strength of your immune system - has gone back into its normal range. Thank God for the evil pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of this period is written, I have a feeling we will look back with astonishment as we recognize that advances in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were arguably one of the most significant developments of this era. And yet the people who pioneered these breakthroughs were ... demonized and attacked. Baffling and bizarre. I'm merely grateful the attacks haven't stopped the research progress. They've merely slowed it.
The problem, brother 'drew, is that you don't know how much they have been slowed by the lack of capital. Would you invest in a firm that a VP candidate "swears he is going to fight" A sector that the tot bar has its eyes on?
The P/E multiple in this sector is waaaay lower than it should be. With more money, they could discover more amazing drugs.
AlexC emails a link to a very interesting article in RedState.org where Nick Danger preaches heterodoxy under the title "I. Heretic."
To me, the exciting thing about the blogosphere is that you can challenge conventional wisdom, get a hearing and people can agree or disagree.
"Nick " tells us that the national debt is not bad (I agree), that President Bush has a keen understanding of money and the ability to use it as a weapon. (I agree up to a point), that pork, per se, is not bad (losing me a little), and that pragmatism precludes small government (he actually sounds like me).
It's a good piece and well worth a read. I'll excerpt the part I most agree with. "What about saddling our beloved children with the national debt?"
Our children are not going to have to pay it back. Institutions are not individuals. For our purposes, institutions are immortal. If some of their debt comes due, they simply roll it over. They can do this perpetually. IBM probably has debt on its books that's been there since the 1920's. It's been rolled over several times. No one cares. So long as IBM sees opportunities for investing cash that return more than the interest rate, they will never pay the debt back... they'll just keep rolling it over. And then the Sun burns out. This can be a difficult concept for non-finance-types to understand. But it is crucial to understanding what's going on here. So long as the U.S. economy keeps growing... so long as we have opportunities to invest cash in ways that earn a higher rate than we have to pay in interest... we should keep rolling over our debt, and adding more as we can, forever. All these people who moan about the chillrun do not understand this game. The chillrun aren't going to pay it back. They don't have to. They're going to roll it over, and add more of their own. As will their children. Until the Sun burns out.
This needs to be said. The Democrats want to raise taxes to pay for Katrina. I'd like to cut spending, but increasing the deficit a half a percent of GDP is a much better choice than turning our back on successful tax cuts.
A little personal news. I was just informed that I have been accepted to participate in a clinical trial. The guy who blogs and whines about the importance of medical research will now put his soon-to-be-perforated body where his mouth is.
Oddly enough, though, it is a gub'mint funded study. The National Institute of Health wants to study the effects of two different manufacturers' products when taken together. My neurologist informed me that the pharmaceutical companies were not interested.
The two most popular treatments for my flavor of MS (RRMS) are Copaxone and Avonex. This study aims to test the value of taking both. I am one of 1,000 participants, all of whom will perform all of the eight weekly injections (OW!) and all of whom will be assured of getting at least one of the medications.
The odds are even (500-500) that I will get both. But 250 lucky souls will be injecting a placebo dose of Copaxone every day, and 250 will get a weekly, intramuscular "blank" of Avonex. All the participants, like me, have never taken any medication for MS. They call it "drug-naive, I call myself a virgin.
In addition to seeing my regular neurologist, I will also see a "blind" doctor who just evaluates me, get tests from the nurses at the research lab coordinating the study, and lie still for a very long sequence of MRIs every six months. For three years, the guy who runs from Doctors will be all but living with them. Like Jane Goodall, it's for science, man! It's for science.
The plus side is that I'll get three years of medication paid for, um, by you guys. And my condition has deteriorated in the past couple of months, it will be good to see what treatment can do.
I am excited to begin. Through heavy trepidation, I found that I was quite concerned that I would not be accepted. Some part of me wants to do this and I was happy to hear of my acceptance.
I will probably start medication this week.
UPDATE: Started today (Sep 23). Easy-peasy. No side effects, barely felt the needles....
September 19, 2005
One Man's Pork...
The "Porkbusters" project at Truth Laid Bear is a great idea and I excitedly clicked on over and scrolled down to find what CO-2 pork I could hassle my beloved, Democratic Congressperson about. Here it is:
Avista Adventist Hospital, Louisville, CO, gets $640,000 "for the Integrated Community Oriented Physician Initiative to develop common electronic medical record and practice management systems" from the HHS budget, despite the fact that many such systems exist off-the-shelf, and in open source form.
Silence and I discussed this over lunch once. After dealing with my wife's medical bills and now some of mine, it is clear that this could save billions of dollars.
Yes, you bet I prefer a private sector solution, but as Silence pointed out over fois gras or whatever we were eating that day, you may need a little enforcement to get everybody to play. (Language note: "enforcement" is "coercion" of which I approve.)
Sorry, N.Z., and sorry Glenn, but I will not be calling Rep Udall to demand that that (gub'mint chump change) $640K is rediverted to Katrina reconstruction.
I'm starting to feel like Tom DeLay...
September 18, 2005
Bush Derangement Syndrome
Anybody catch the big fundraising concert last night?
HOSTED BY LAURENCE FISHBURNE AND FEATURING WYNTON MARSALIS, HARRY BELAFONTE, TERENCE BLANCHARD, KEN BURNS, SHIRLEY CAESAR, CYRUS CHESTNUT, PETER CINCOTTI, BILL COSBY, ROBERT DENIRO, RENEE FLEMING, DANNY GLOVER, HERBIE HANCOCK, JON HENDRICKS, NORAH JONES, DIANA KRALL, ABBEY LINCOLN, JOE LOVANO, IRVIN MAYFIELD, BETTE MIDLER, TONI MORRISON, AARON NEVILLE, DIANNE REEVES, MARCUS ROBERTS, PAUL SIMON, MERYL STREEP, JAMES TAYLOR, MCCOY TYNER, ROBIN WILLIAMS, CASSANDRA WILSON, JEFFREY WRIGHT, BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO AND MANY MORE!
Sounds pretty good, huh?
I couldn't sleep ;last night as I was so offended by the naked politicking. Why I didn't expect it, I'll never know. Here's an upper-west-Manhattan event televised on PBS -- was I expecting Paul Gigot?
Actually, I expected the worst, but they lulled me into false confidence. Laurence Fishburne was awesome, highlighting the Crescent City as a uniquely American example of different races and socio-economic groups working together. Marsalis holds some views which differ from mine, but he spoke with his horn last night: cogently and beautifully.
Ken Burns came on, and I tensed up a bit but it was unwarranted. He was criminally pompous (this coming from a guy on probation!) but he was not out of line. One comment stuck with me. He used the line "shameful Diaspora" discussing the evacuees. I'm sure that sounds good, but what, Mr. Burns, is shameful about people in Maine, Minnesota, Colorado, California and Texas opening up their homes to fellow Americans? Should we make a big refugee internment camp in Arkansas?
Robin Williams -- he was funny once, I remember, now he just preaches in a comic voice -- threw a little red meat to the Manhattenites with [channeling a hurricane]: "I'll hit Kennebunkport, see how fast the relief comes..." The crowd roared its approval, more so than for any of the music. But then it ended, no harm, no foul.
We cruised along this way until Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte came on.
You have TiVo, jk, you don't have to watch!
I wasn't smart enough to act. I listened to every word these two vicious, despot-loving communists said. "The floodwaters revealed a poverty of imagination as we chose to put the shoulder of technology to the wheel of death rather than the wheel of life."
They did give a check for $200,000 to the "Higher Ground" fund, which benefits musicians and the music industry. But their words were hateful, I'll seek another avenue to help musicians (Instapundit has acknowledged another group).
Then Elvis Costello, in his capacity as Mr. Dianna Krall, sang one of Allen Toussaint’s old protest songs, with Toussaint backing him up. On the way onstage he says "I heard on the radio that CONSERVATIVES (surely I can talk, there are none here) say we're spending too much money on rebuilding, but [Costello stops to stare into camera seriously through his dopey-ass Bono sunglasses] no amount of money is too much!" (Cheers...) I respect both of those guys, but they were badly outclassed. No, Elvis, marrying a great jazz player does not make you one. You are still a pop star, enjoy it.
Now I feel like crap. I was gonna give 100 bucks, but now I am too angry to give but not self-aware enough to feel that that is right. Do I send a letter to Marsalis? It would sound awfully petty and petulant.
Yet the PBS-ers so arrogantly feel free to insult half their audience, even on a fund raiser.
I was feeling nostalgic for Kanye West on the NBC benefit…
September 16, 2005
Larry's On Board
Larry Kudlow echoes my belief that there is good polity in the President's speech from New Orleans last night. It's perhaps packed in with a lot of spending, but it is not "LBJ or FDR" as a lot on the right have protested:
So while Congress will flesh out the legislative details, it looks like private capital formation, business creation, and homeownership are key free enterprise approaches chosen by Mr. Bush to revive the Gulf Coast. This is very good. Perhaps Congress will waive any capital gains tax burdens to further attract capital. But certainly Bush has chosen not to create a new New Deal or a new WPA. There will be a lot of federal spending, but there will also be a large private sector component to the recovery plan.
I have been trying to absorb some punditry this morning. I sometimes change my position on a Bush speech up or down, but not today, I'm going with initial reaction.
It has surprised me how all-over-the-map the response has been. On FOXNews (Rupert Murdoch -- boo hiss!!!) after the speech, W got pretty good marks from Mort Kondracke, Nina Easton (Boston Globe) and Charles Krauthammer. Speakers Gingrich and Livingstone were both positive, as was Sen. John Breaux.
Then, I clicked over to MSNBC and you'd've thought the President spent a half hour killing puppies. Conservatives Tony Blankley, Tucker Carlson and host Joe Scarborough were excoriating the President. Former Clinton Aide Dee Dee Meyers had the sense to step back end say "if you guys don't like it..."
The jk position:
He also put his other agenda items back on track, with a comprehensive and sober speech. The imagery of Jackson Square was brilliant. Over one shoulder, St. Peter's, President Jackson over the other. General Jackson would not give up, would not rebuild an American City. And our nation’s religious heritage stands for rebuilding and redemption.
I give it a B+
September 15, 2005
Bush and Katrina
Peggy Noonan writes a great column today. I have been such a fan of hers for so many years but lately have failed to connect with her ideas and her lyricism. A friend has emailed after a few of her columns "She's on the crack pipe, again!"
Put today starts out with a poignant look at 9/11 which was legitimately personal for her. Her book, "A Cross, A Heart and A Flag," includes some of her best work. Then a perfect segue to Katrina and a realistic assessment of the damage done to the Bush Presidency. She has more and better perspective than me, but we share one idea I had this morning.
A couple of hours before reading Ms. Noonan, I thought: "This is W's first objective failure. He's done a dozen things that I’ve disliked, and a thousand things that Silence has disliked, but those are up for discussion. Yet NOBODY can completely defend the Federal response."
It might be "blood on the floor" as Jack Welch said yesterday, but nobody will defend Mike Brown. I wrote an essay once, saying that the best thing about W was the CEO Presidency, with serious achievers in important posts rather than political hacks. Noonan reminds all of us that Brown was a political hack, He surely gave money or knew somebody, he did not earn the job by competence.
I will go with Margaret that the second term is recoverable, and hope with my friends at the WSJ Ed Page that some enlightened thought is bought to the relief efforts: more Enterprise Zones and less WPA.
Mostly, it is just a great column. I did not excerpt a word, you can read it all here.
September 14, 2005
W: 2, UN: 0
I posted a very somber look at the rest of the Bush Presidency. As some of the waters recede and some polls improve, I'll back off of my most portentous predictions, but I'm still not up to sanguine.
Yet, I gotta say I still love this guy. President Bush addressed the UN and called for End of Trade Tariffs, Subsidies
UNITED NATIONS - Saying poverty breeds terrorism and despair, President Bush challenged world leaders on Wednesday to abolish all trade tariffs and subsidies — worth hundreds of billions of dollars — to promote prosperity and opportunity in struggling nations.
Yes, I get down on the failures of a governing GOP majority. But I will give the President credit for deft and firm handling of the UN, from exposing their pusillanimity on Iraq to sending John Bolton over on a recess appointment.
I may not be the happiest boy in town, but at least we're not watching President Kerry bowing and scraping to Secretary Annan.
SIDE-NOTE: Hop in on a very intelligent conversation among Andrew Ferguson, Ramesh Ponnuru, Scott Johnson and Russ Douthat about whether years of governing power has advanced conservatism.
Pig to Man; Man to Pig
Andrew Stuttaford in The Corner today:
Tom Delay (reported in the Washington Times ): "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget."
Man, DeLay sure does make me feel good about being a Republican!
Tom: You Could cut the mohair subsidy...
In the comments of my 9/11 memorial blog Silence writes, "...I just don't see how it is possible to find all who would do us harm so as to mount a pre-emptive strike." This is his essential argument for choosing defense over offense in the "War on Terror." Why does it seem like I've answered this fallacy before?
Since we can't find all who would do us harm we should not pursue any who would? That's like saying, "Since we can't protect every terrorist target from attack we should not protect any of them." Which, not coincidentally, is another good argument for taking the offensive in this war.
It would also help if the Bush Doctrine were actually a real component of America's foreign policy.
Silence finished by mocking the idea of "some media blackout conspiracy" to obscure the outrages of 9/11. Answer this then: When, pray tell, was the last time you saw this photo anywhere other than the internet?
September 13, 2005
In the Corner, Jonah Golberg nails Senator Joe Biden:
The man loves his voice so much, you'd expect him to be following it around in a grey Buick, in defiance of restraining order, as it walks home from school.
Bush Doesn't Care About Black People
The poll found that six in 10 blacks interviewed said the federal government was slow in rescuing those stranded in New Orleans after Katrina because many of the people in the Louisiana city were black. But only about one in eight white respondents shared that view.
The numbers were similar on whether the rescues were slower because the victims were poor, with 63 percent of blacks blaming poverty and 21 percent of whites doing so.
I'm going to guess there are more black people per capita in Africa and the Carribean than New Orleans. So how do you explain this?
"Any delay in increased funding means more lives lost and an even bigger cheque in the future."
The singer says the US needs to spend $2.5bn (£1.5bn) out of this year's budget to help tackle the Aids crisis.
He said Europe must also match the US contribution.
But he said the American donation was a big step in the right direction.
"The president's emphasis upon anti-retroviral treatment represents a true paradigm shift and is to be wholly welcomed," he said.
I guess Secretaries Powell, Rice and Paige were unavailable for comment.
Given that the GOP is aggressively courting black voters, and the GOPers are politicians foremost, why would they do something that would be against their interests?
It smells like nearly three weeks of the "Bush & Feds f'd up" drumbeat from the MSM and Democrats is finally sinking in.
I am completely down in the dumps. Partly from the Broncos' performance in Miami last Sunday, but no, it's political. We lost.
By "we," kimosabe, I mean all of those who would like to see some serious reform of tax policy and Social Security. The bloggers and commenters around here don't all agree on the particulars or the color of sky, but I think we all would like to see some bold discussions of flat-tax, fair-tax, Social Security accounts. All are legislative long-shots, but any one would be almost as exciting as privatizing the post office.
The Democrats, however, with the help of the media, have successfully stalled the President's agenda. He might come through on the Supreme Court nominations (or might not) but he will not be able to mount any bold domestic or foreign policy initiatives. The Katrina cloud will hang over the administration for a year or more and after that, it will be the last session and general lame-duckness will set in.
The Democrats already think that Katrina means that Judge Roberts will have to be examined more closely. And we cannot possibly cut taxes when our neighbors are living in shelters:
The estate tax seemed to be cruising toward inevitable demise. A Senate vote was expected around Labor Day, and the GOP appeared close to the 60 votes needed to permanently abolish taxes on inheritances. Katrina has set the vote back by at least a few weeks, as the Senate attends instead to legislation authorizing relief funds to the Gulf Coast. The hurricane has also provided an argument against repeal to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. He compared beneficiaries of repeal with hurricane victims, asking, "Shall we give [the estate tax revenues] to the wealthiest people in the country, or should we rebuild New Orleans?" The argument is a progressive classic: Not taxing the rich is the same as taking from the poor.
This is, sadly, going to work.
Federalism is dead too. As certainly as all the Federal failures will prevent making the extremely successful tax cuts permanent, all of the local and state failures will usher in sweeping new Federal powers. FEMA will now decide whether a tornado shelter is built in Lafayette, Colorado. The state national guards might be shifted under federal control so that incompetent governors will not slow rescue efforts. And very few people will take any notice of the liberties we will be handing over.
When the Abu Ghraib story broke, a Marine friend of mine called the miscreants “the six f***s who lost the war.” All wars and all politics are fought out in a media environment that is neither clever nor fair. Did the war effort yet recover from Abu Ghraib? Will the second Bush term recover from Katrina?
UPDATE: Mark Steyn disagrees:
Unlike other dead horses flogged by the media - Cindy Sheehan, torture at Guantanamo, etc - this was at one point a real story: an actual hurricane, people dying, things going wrong. But that wasn't good enough, and the more they tossed in to damage Bush, the more they drowned any real controversy in the usual dreary pseudo-controversy. After watching Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu threatening to punch out the President, a reader e-mailed me Kipling: "If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you."
Many have discussed Japan's elections as yet another global affirmation of the War on Terror, and support for President Bush from allies.
That's great, but it is also worth considering it as a triumph in economics. One of the world's -- no the world's -- most controlled private economy is looking to privatize the post office! I wish we could get a little of that juju over here!
The WSJ Ed Page is pleased as well:
Fortune favors the bold, and on Sunday it smiled broadly on Junichiro Koizumi. Japan's Prime Minister won a stunning victory in snap elections because he stood on principle and called the vote after a reform dear to him, post office privatization, was blocked by the upper house of Parliament. The electorate rewarded him for trusting them.
September 11, 2005
It's Official: Environmentalists Don't Care About Black People
Actually, they don't care about any people more than they do about snail darters and spotted owls and the like.
Kanye West charged last week that "President Bush didn't care about black people." West gave no reason for this claim, other than to gripe about non-instantaneous government relief operations and about national guardsmen being in Iraq. But Bush haters have been quick to blame everything from the "slow" relief to the existence of Hurricane Katrina itself on President Bush. Included in this list is the vulnerability of New Orleans' levee system to damage by major storm surges. But 'A Barrier That Could Have Been,' also from the LA Times, explains how that city could have had much greater protection from such surges if a 1974 Army Corps of Engineers project had not been scuttled by a federal judge, a new EPA regulation, and a local environmental group called "Save Our Wetlands."
"If we had built the barriers, New Orleans would not be flooded," said Joseph Towers, the retired chief counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans district.
Read the entire story if you've got the time. It's a predictable tale of special interests and government regulation.
Bush Panders to Blacks
I don't blog surf enough to know if my comment was an original one, but on Friday I wrote (third comment) that the Democrat charges of "FEMA failure" and "Bush doesn't like black people" were calculated to influence the extent of federal aid sent to hurricane victims by the administration - particularly the black, inner city victims. The LA Times has noticed what's going on too. They call it, "A Comeback for Big Government."
Indeed, it is the size of the administration's relief plan that has taken conservatives and others by surprise. At more than $62 billion and counting, the effort invited comparison with such undertakings as the government's Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II.
What's noteworthy, however, is that the Times trumpets the president's spending spree, contrasts it with his planned agenda, seemingly confident that the president has no choice but to dole out the tax dollars. Nothing but this wishful thought from a Heritage Foundation fellow suggests that the spending might be reigned in: "Once the emotional waters recede, then [the administration] will get down to the brass tacks of saying no." The problem with that scenario, however, is that once the "Mardi Gras Marshall Plan" gets rolling it will be damn near impossible to stop. No, the Times understands how the game of "blame the rich" is played, and they know the president has already lost the battle over how much the American taxpayer will have to shell out for the poor blacks of New Orleans' slums.
What's my better idea, you ask? Cut taxes and suspend regulations in the disaster zone.
As memorial to the vicious and hateful act of mass murder of free men by islamofascist cultists that we collectively know as "9/11" I am posting today a Robert Tracinski essay from September 10, 2002: "What Have we Lost?"
Tracinski explains that in addition to the buildings and lives lost that day, America has lost its self-esteem. This is true, at least, for the bulk of America's intellectuals and the MSM decision makers they have trained.
One year later, the hole in New York's skyline where the World Trade Center towers once stood is a visual reminder of something else that is missing: the ideas and attitudes that make a vigorous war in America's self-defense possible.
The idea that makes defending America possible is that the uniquely American way of life is morally just. The attitude that makes America's self-defense possible is the desire to kill our sworn enemies before they can deliver on their boastful promises to kill us. This attitude is a natural, evolutionary component of humanity. It exists in the hearts of all human children, until and unless it is varnished over by the "civilizing" influence of ivory tower intellectuals preaching "maturity."
For many of us, the immediate reaction to September 11 was more than anger. It was a livid indignation that demanded that America strike back with overwhelming force.
I would ask that teacher, "How is it more mature to cower in fear than to eliminate a threat to your mere existence?"
Tracinski ends his insightful essay with an an invocation to observe future 9/11 anniversaries, not as merely a memorial to innocent victims lost, but a celebration of America's glory:
By crippling the range of our minds and focusing on suffering instead of self-assertiveness, our intellectual leadership is trying to dampen our pride and blunt our resolve. September 11 should be the one day, every year, that we regain the sense they want us to lose--our sense of America's virtue and of her power--and when we resolve to use the second to defend the first.
September 10, 2005
WHO Can You Believe?
Here's a surprising report from the UN run World Health Organization (WHO).
As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.
There have been some 4000 cases of thyroid cancer reported, however.
Very interesting report, read the whole thing.
(tip to samizdata)
Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM
September 9, 2005
Adam Smith was Right!
HOLD THE PRESSES!!!! The Wall Street Journal (news pages, not the right5wing kooks I love) has discovered that that supply and demand thing might be real. Dig the headline:
Americans used 4% less gasoline amid skyrocketing pump prices last week than they did the week before Hurricane Katrina hit, the federal government reported. But whether that indicates consumers have decided to conserve or merely that they couldn't find all the gasoline they wanted isn't clear.
Of course, real economists realize that this is not price-induced conservation, but millions of Bill O'Reilly viewers conserving at the request of their favorite
September 8, 2005
A quick rant. But first, I will admit that the GOP does things I disagree with (cf. FMA and Terri Shiavo) and that they frequently fail to live up to their principles (cf. Highway Bill). My fairness disclaimer is now out of the way.
The Democrats are behaving less like a minority party and more like a permanent minority party. Yes, you have to criticize the opposition party in power when you aren't, but the caviling over Katrina has become nothing more than sniping. I think that the country recognizes that, and recent polls seem to back me up.
Calls to fire FEMA chief Mike Brown are likely the most unserious thing hat we have seen any party do in some time. Let me get this straight. In the middle of the worst disaster in the U.S., with 90,000 square miles destroyed and millions displaced, we're going to fire the head of the organization. Maybe we can hold some confirmation hearings for the new guy in the Senate next month and the citizens can listen on those 10,000 radios that are being distributed.
A serious suggestion would be bring another department in, or seek help -- some incremental improvement to the performance of FEMA. Calling for Brown's head in the middle of this is not credible.
You have to be serious to be a serious opposition party. The democrats have failed.
UPDATE: Well, it appears that jk has failed and the unserious Democrats have succeeded. Mr. Brown has been relieved of command. I think he's a media scapegoat but am happy that a military man is taking over -- the military have outshone Federal civilians in this disaster.
September 6, 2005
Tale of Two Cities
If you procrastinate and blog, somebody will always write what you want to say. Then you can just link.
When I heard that Texas had set up a procedure where all the evacuees went to same place in Houston and were dispersed from there, I thought "that is the difference between Texas and Louisiana." Texas will know where folks are and where they went, Louisiana will do everything ad hoc until the whole state is submerged.
Noemie Emery at the Weekly Standard does me several time times better in A Two-City Tale
The reason New Orleans slid so quickly from civilization into Third World conditions was that it was pretty much a Third World city already, and didn't have too far to go. In its violence, in its corruption, in its reliance on ambience and tourism as its critical industry, in its one-party rule, in its model of graftocracy built on a depressed and crime-ridden underclass that was largely kept out of the sight and the mind of vacationing revelers, it was much more like a Caribbean resort than a normal American city. Its crime and murder rates were way above national averages, its corruption level astounding. The latter was written off as being picturesque and perversely adorable, until it suddenly wasn't, as it paid off in hundreds of buses--that could have borne thousands of stranded people to safety--sitting submerged in water, and police either looting or AWOL.
And what about Houston?
It is now no surprise that Houston is the place where in days they built a new city in and around the Astrodome, that has taken in 25,000 refugees from New Orleans, and is planning to feed, house, employ, and relocate most of them. Houston is the place where the heads of all the religious groups in the city--Baptists and Catholics, Muslims and Jews--came together to raise $4.4 million to feed the evacuees for 30 days, and to supply 720 volunteers a day to prepare and serve meals. If New Orleans was where the Third World broke through, Houston was where the First World began beating it back, and asserting its primacy. Are we surprised that the star of this show has been Texas, home of Karl Rove and both Bushes, widely despised by the glitterati as sub-literate, biased, oppressive, and retrograde? No.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM
Our Economy Can Weather This
Larry Kudlow makes an important point on his Kudlow's Money Politic$ blog today.
After more than twenty years of deregulation the U.S. economy is flexible and resilient -- even in the face of short-run shocks.
There is no shortage of folks predicting dire economic ramifications from Katrina, and even hyper-optimist Kudlow admits it will shave a point of GDP growth off the nest quarter or two.
But as I type this, the water level is falling and the DJIA is up 141. Private Enterprise will get the oil supply back online, where it hasn't already. Kudlow reports:
As of this writing, half of the damaged refineries are back in action. That includes names like Valero, Marathon Oil, and Motiva, even while Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Exxon Mobil struggle to get their operations up and going in the near term.
This is an amazing economic engine. I'll steal Larry's column close:
It’s all we can hope for and more. Perhaps our economic success will help relieve the demoralization and misery left in Mother Nature’s wake. But one thing is for sure: Ours is a wealth-creating, opportunity-opening economy that does not teeter on the edge of destruction. We will move to new higher ground before long.
September 5, 2005
A Grey, Capable Sheep
Bill Whittle's TRIBES essay is another corker from Eject! Eject! Eject!
Whittle divides us, not into black/white, not into blue/gray, but into Tribes. He discusses capable vs. culpable, pink vs. grey, sheepdogs, wolves, sheep, and even a tribe just for Sean Penn.
He leads with the unpleasantness of actually defining tribes. I would like to think that all us good 'mericans are all one. But that is a "pink" thought and like most of those, it isn't true.
What if you, your workmates, friends had been directed to the Superdome. Can you argue with Bill?
Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself could have been herded into the Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion.
After reading it all, follow one of his commenter's links to a "tribe" that stayed in New Orleans, coalesced and "became more civilized."
NEW ORLEANS - In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming “tribes” and dividing up the labor.
UPDATE/RETRACTION: I wish I had chosen a different excerpt from the Whittle essay. I think the essay is valid and well worth a read (like all of his) but the assertion above of "a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion" is unfounded. The trouble with all utopian scenarios is that folks will not always be perfect.
My previous job was at a small (~60 employees) company that was populated with folks from my tribe. Yet am honor-system candy box for the homeless came up short every month. I was always amused by this as I thought it a scam. We had a private-enterprise competitor who provided machines, change, fresher product and better prices -- yet I have never forgotten that some of my workmates took candy and didn't pay. (It could have been Silence or Johngalt, I don't know...)
But I want to retract my agreement that tens of thousands of "my people" would have performed admirably.
Happy Human Capital Day!
I flew the flag today, of course. But part of me asked myself "why am I celebrating organized labor?"
I've read "Grapes of Wrath," seen the movie and have seen "Norma Rae." But organized labor is antithetical to everything I believe. They promote collectivism over individuality, bureaucracy over innovation, and promote stagnancy over Schumpeterian creative destruction.
This is the paragraph where I am supposed to type "Yeah, but I know they did a lot of great things in the past (Tom Joad) and we never could've got here without 'em (Norma Rae) and we should celebrate their achievements (Joe Hill)."
Poppycock, says, I! I posit that the good accomplished would have happened anyway and that the bad so far outweighs the good. These people have RUINED education, bankrupted good companies that were providing important products and services, and stifled innovation. I was told that General Motors cancelled development of the six-speed automatic transmission and the refreshing of two major car lines because they are spending too much on legacy benefits.
I may be asking the wrong group here, but does anybody want to stand up for the unions, past present or future?
In the meantime, I will celebrate the labor that has built this amazing economic machine, from the digging of the Erie Canal, to the guy who loads the Ginger Ale on the Wal-Mart truck -- Happy Human Capital Day!
UPDATE: AlexC emals a link to Blonde Sagacity: Happy Non-Labor Day It's not a ringing endorsement of organized labor...
Now THAT'S Funny
"When Sandra Day O'Connor retired, we insisted Bush appoint a centrist to replace her and maintain the balance on the court," said one unnamed Senator. "Now, we demand that the president name a right-wing, conservative, originalist to replace Rehnquist for that same reason."
September 4, 2005
Requiescat In Pace II
Atilla at Pillage Idiot speaks to Cheif Justice Rehnquist's determination and courage. It's easy to forget how liberal the court he joined was.
But those of us who were in law school when Rehnquist was only an Associate Justice have a more vivid memory of him as a principled and lonely defender of an approach to law that had been all but turned on its head during the Warren Court. Rehnquist got the nickname "Lone Ranger" by filing solo dissents and refusing to go along with much of the legal doctrine then prevailing. (It goes almost without saying that Rehnquist was the target of a disproportionate number of barbs in the law school show, a comedy written by students. Students today have a larger number of targets.)
UPDATE: Taranto does a Sunday Best Of The Web, including a transcript of Alan Dershowitz's interview discussed in the comments below.
Requiescat In Pace
Paul at Power Line does a better job than I could:
Chief Justice Rehnquist graced the Court for three and a half decades. I'm not sure that any Justice in our history has written as many good opinions. And even those who didn't like his opinions will remember him for his gentlemanly demeanor and excellent scholarship.
Put Michael Luttig on the court and elevate Clarence Thomas to Chief Justice.
September 2, 2005
Happy Labor Day
Some positive economic news for the long weekend.
The latest snapshot of the United States' jobs climate, released by the Labor Department on Friday, buttressed observations by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues that the hiring situation was gradually improving a bit of good news for workers as they headed into the Labor Day weekend.
But the future of the nation's employment picture is murky clouded by fallout from the devastating hurricane.
With a disaster area of some 90,000 square miles, this number might be the lowest for quite some time.
Do ye reap what you sow?
The lead WSJ Editorial today discuses civil disorder in the wake of Katrina.
One frequent reaction we heard yesterday is that the disorder in New Orleans is typical of Third World countries, something that was thought could never happen in America. This happens to overlook a fair chunk of U.S. history, some of it relatively recent, including riots and violence. But it is also a sign of complacency born of prosperity and the resilience of our legal and civic institutions.
I have to wonder if some of this is not endemic to New Orleans. I emailed a friend and N'awlinsphile yesterday that "Maybe I'm the rightwing equivalent of Mrs. Sheehan, but the place is lawless, scary, and unstructured on a good day -- that's really part of its charm."
We can see how the rest of the Gulf Coast fares, but I would suspect that centuries of corruption, and the unstructured lifestyle have set the worst possible conditions.
Lenin said "country was more than three missed meals away from revolution." I feared that the crescent city was always only a beniet away.
If only Tilden had defeated Hayes…
Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM
September 1, 2005
I am not as sanguine as Mr. Muir, but I wish our neighbors the best.
I’ll trust everybody ahs a good idea where they can send money to help hurricane victims. Sometimes, I find I have items (a case of band T-Skirts or whatever) that I feel might help, but there is never a vehicle for distribution.
I use CoffeeCup Software's DirectFTP to manage files on this site and on servers at work. The firm is located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and they will deliver items by truck:
Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM