April 30, 2006
Supply & Demand
Tim Russert had the Energy Secretary on this morning's Meet the Press to discuss high gasoline prices.
In today's show, Mr Russert, former demonstrated complete ignorance of supply and demand.
MR. BODMAN: For that reason.
MR. RUSSERT: No, think about that.
MR. BODMAN: You know?
MR. RUSSERT: Play it out.
MR. BODMAN: Demand is up.
MR. RUSSERT: Correct.
MR. BODMAN: Right?
MR. RUSSERT: Right.
MR. BODMAN: So you’ve got more demand, you’re going to force price up.
You’ve got, you’ve got limited supply, and you’re going to have…
Expose the Left has more of the transcript and video!
When Left is Right...
... and up is down.
I read DailyKos. Don't ask why. It just adds to my confusion.
Here's a post called Why Did The President Repeatedly Refuse To Kill Zarqawi?
"Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp . . . experimenting with ricin and anthrax . . . any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."
Rumsfeld and administration officials (including the President) repeatedly pointed to the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq as "evidence" of a Saddam-al Qaeda link (nevermind that Saddam Hussein was himself viewed Zarqawi as a threat and was trying to capture him).
If the President killed Zarqawi, he would have killed the ability to falsely link Saddam and al Qaeda and convince the American people that war was a necessary response to 9/11.
To recap, Zarqawi was in Iraq playing with WMDs before the war for oil and everyone knew it (except of course those who didn't, and don't believe it still), but we needed him to be there so that we could invade to steal their oil and fund Halliburton and the BushCo cronies. (Do I have that right?) Oh, and the President was negligent for not getting him before hand.
So... what's the answer?
More diplomacy? Yet another chance?
Because there's nothing quite so diplomatic as unilaterally launching missile strikes at camps inside a country we're not really friends with. It pissed off the Pakistanis a few months back and they're supposed to be on our side.
What's the right answer this time? I'm confused.
I guess ultimately the right answer is, "What ever Bush does, it's wrong."
The conclusion is great...
Yep. Going after these guys is hurting the whole operation.
Two Wrongs make a ???
Notwithstanding the leftist groups who've organized tomorrow's "immigrant strike" day, the temperature has cooled on the immigration debate since the April recess. But it will heat up again soon. In November JK predicted "an immigration win for the GOP" that included a compromise between senate and house immigration reform bills. In general terms, the senate measure is the "guest worker" program and the house brings the "border security" element. I don't doubt JK's prediction, but I do fear the result of a compromise between these two bad plans.
The senate plan to spend lots of money and create a new "citizenship scavenger hunt" program has been knocked around here quite a bit already. But what about the house's "hard line" approach? JK is critical of it as isolationist. I'm not sure though that he knows just how right he is. Robert Tracinski, one of the guys I "truck with" calls it "Americans against the American dream."
So why are so many Republicans coming out against the American dream?
I agree with Tracinski that the house has got it wrong. I hope that much of it, like the provision to make illegal immigration a felony that Dennis Hastert promises is already DOA, will be excised from the compromise bill but that's a heapin' helpin' of wishful thinking. I still hold that Charles Krauthammer had the right approach and we'd all better hope that any compromise looks a lot like his "wall first, questions later" solution.
April 29, 2006
Happy Birthday, Duke
Giants have walked the earth.
Edward Kennedy Ellington was born 107 years ago today.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM
Steve Martin is the great renaissance man of our time. I've enjoyed his stand-up comedy, attended a play he’d written ("Picasso at the Lapn Agile"), seen about all of his movies that created their own genre ("My Blue Heaven" is my personal favorite) and have read a few of his books. I really enjoyed the novella "Shopgirl" but had forgotten most of the story. I was happy to see the movie on DVD at my local Redbox.
I was happier to see that Martin had written the screenplay for his own book, and that he was starring in it. The movie is an American art film. There are no subtitles but "Shopgirl" has photographic quality cinematography. You just enjoy looking at the scenes and the color. It moves at an art film pace but it doesn't ever seem slow. I'd have to know somebody well to give it an all-out recommendation, but if you like that stuff, check this out. jk gives it four stars.
By sheer accident, movie night had a theme. The other film was also visually appealing.
"Casanova" surprised me at first. The scenery and costumes are stunning. The dialogue and humor is, well, silly. The look could have supported a very serious plot, but instead relied on jape and ribald comedy. The juxtaposition caught me off guard at first but I ended up digging it. Well worth a rent, jk gives it three-and-a-half stars, most of those for visual elegance.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I watch movies every Friday under the influence of MS drugs, side effects, and medication to mitigate the side effects. Nobody should actually take my film opinions too seriously…
Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM
Soak the Rich
So much for tax cuts for the rich.
It turns out that the income tax burden has substantially shifted onto the wealthy. The percentage of federal income taxes paid by those who make more than $200,000 a year has actually risen from 41% to 47% in recent years.
In other words, the richest 3 out of 100 Americans are now paying close to the same amount in income taxes as the other 97% of workers combined.
It's also a common myth that the rich are hording all the wealth, while the middle class stays stuck in economic quicksand.
The IRS data show that the share of all income earned by the wealthiest 10% of Americans has actually fallen since 2001. The rich are earning less of the total income but paying more of the total taxes.
During this economic expansion, the middle class is growing and becoming more prosperous. About 4 out of 10 Americans now make more than $50,000 a year -- that's up from 3 out of 10 in 1990.
There's more good news. Tax revenues over the past two years are up more than half a trillion dollars — the largest two-year increase in tax collections in history.
Bush cut the capital gains and dividend taxes, but guess what? Now those tax receipts are through the roof in the last two years.
Laffer curve, we meet again.
Gas price "fix?"
This gas price hysteria we've been subject to lately is really something else. The price of gas went from $2.50 a gallon, where everything was apparently hunky dory if the lack of attention it received was any indicator, to 3 bucks, which apparently signifies the end of days. For those like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (for whom every problem is a nail) there is only one possible explanation: Corporate malfeasance. The proof? Exxon Mobil's chairman recently retired and was awarded, gasp, a retirement bonus.
Very well then, let's just regulate the cost of gasoline nationwide so that "Big Oil" no longer has the latitude to gouge innocent consumers ever again. How about fixing the price of a gallon of gas at the pre-hysteria price of $2.50 per gallon, allowing increases only for the rate of inflation of the dollar. That ought to fix their wagon, and protect the consumer, right? Not so fast comrade commisar!
Check out the chart below that shows historical gasoline prices in constant 2006 dollars. (from www.factsonfuel.org)
If gas prices had been fixed at $2.50 (2006 dollars) in the past then we'd all have been OVERPAYING by more than 50 cents a gallon for the 22 years since 1984. Who's the gouger now mister price control?
While it's true that gasoline now costs roughly 50% more than when I was born, and roughly 20% more than when I got my driver's license, it still hasn't reached a record high price. The real cost of gasoline was greater than today's at two times in history: One was at the birth of gasoline as a motor fuel in 1918, and the other was the transition between the Carter presidency (when oil supplies were pinched and inflation soared) and the Reagan era, when supply tightness eased and inflation was brought back to earth. In all likelihood the prices we see today are as transient as those of the early 80's.
Is it possible that we'll see record high prices? (Over $3.25/gallon as an annual average.) Yes, but this wouldn't negate my transitory argument. It would merely illustrate the power of the government to add more costs than have been eliminated by efficency improvements made by "greedy capitalists." (Such a development would also be an awesome marketing tie-in with the new 'Atlas Shrugged' movie!)
April 28, 2006
MySpace: The End of the Internet As We Know It
Web2.0 is a hot buzzword.
So everyone's got to get in on the hype.
But the focus on the collaborative nature of these sites has been nagging at me. Sites like Friendster and Blogger that promote sharing and friend-making have been around for years with nowhere near the mainstream success. I've got a different theory. YouTube and MySpace are runaway hits because they combine two attributes rarely found together in tech products. They're easy to use, and they don't tell you what to do.
YouTube is actually pretty cool.
But I'm convinced you have to have a high threshold for pain to be a MySpace user. As a result of this article, I decided I'd see if any people from my high school were on there. (Bensalem Township HS, Class of 1995, btw)
Yes they are. (21 out of 450)
Unfortunately they have no self control when it comes to these pages. Is it possible to open up a MySpace page that doesn't peg your CPU @ 100% or kill your web browser? Not everyone wants to hear your favorite song when you load the page!
I finally opened up the web page source and found the host that serves the music, lads.myspace.com , put it in my hosts file pointing to 127.0.0.1 and now myspace is pleasantly quiet.
But that doesn't solve the problem of garishness. Which is why I bolded the above line.
Anyone can build a webpage. It's like 1995 all over again, except instead of obnoxious blink tags, we have superflous flash animations, multiple embedded videos, Bon Jovi and black text on a black background!
I shouldn't want to punch my computer when I want to see what old friends are up to.
I'm all for making the internet and computers easy. We all benefit.
I guess that's the downside of freedom to do what you want. No one's stopping you from being obnoxious... especially if you don't even realize it.
Everyonce in a while, the President drops a great line.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for your penetrating question. Plus, I am not going to hire you, if that is what you’re suggesting.
GREGORY:I was not suggesting that.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I would, except you can’t pass the background check.
That's a hot burn, right there.
Posted by AlexC at 2:57 PM
4.8% GDP Growth
Not that anybody cares, it's not as interesting as gas prices or anything, but:
WSJ.com - U.S. Economy Grew at 4.8% Rate In First Quarter, Fastest Since 2003 (Paid link)
The Street was looking for 5.0%, so the jump was already priced in. But the truth is that this is a perfect, Goldilocks economy. I fear Larry Kudlow is right, people are just used to prosperity, those under 40 haven't seen a real recession. Perhaps we can take 4% growth for granted, but not if we tax oil companies and send out $100 checks...
The Energy Plan
So I've been meaning to write a little about the latest plan from the Senate leadership on cutting prices at the pump.
But honestly, it's hard for me to get excited about.
Included is a $100 rebate on gas per year. At 18.4 cents per gallon in taxes, that's like getting a break on taxes for about 30 fill ups. Plus to get it will be no doubt byzantine. Yawn.
Taxing oil producers? Senators should know better than that. Companies don't pay taxes! Sure, they fill out the forms, but where does that money come from? That's right! The consumer!
Another call for drilling in ANWR, which is long overdue.
``We wouldn't be in the situation we are in today'' if President Bill Clinton had not vetoed legislation in 1995 to open the Arctic refuge to drilling, said Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
It's all too easy to blame Democrats for the high price at the gas station. Though Ann Coulter does a pretty bang up job of it.
But it's too much having to watch Democrats wail about the awful calamity to poor working families of having to pay high gas prices.
Imposing punitive taxation on gasoline to force people to ride bicycles has been one of the left's main policy goals for years.
For decades Democrats have been trying to raise the price of gasoline so that the working class will stop their infernal car-driving and start riding on buses where they belong, while liberals ride in Gulfstream jets.
Oh, and the hysterical global warming shrieking must end. Other types of shrieking to curtail would include "exhorbitant profits", "price fixing!" and "BushCo oil buddies". It's nonsensical and ungrounded in reality, and worst of all, it's lazy.
Ultimately it's all our fault. It's both a supply and demand problem. There's not enough supply, and there is too much demand.
Increasingly supply is at multi-fold.
2) Diversify refining locations. Putting a large percentage of our refining capacity in one spot that's in the crosshairs of storms is silly. One large storm takes it out. Severely curbing supply. Dumb.
3) Diversify the kind of supply. E85 and other blended fuels are a start. Biodiesel, obviously. Even CNG. The trouble is, those alternate fuels are not necessarily price competitive with petroleum. (This is also a chicken-egg problem, as well.)
4) Something like 70% of the world's oil reserves are under the control of state-owned industries. Central planning of business is very effective in collosally screwing things up. Where's the motive for those "companies" to extract or produce as much as possible? Plus there wouldn't be political reasons to jerk production levels around. The oil companies just want to get it out of the ground and down the pipeline.
That's a tougher problem to fix, however. ("war for oil" and all that)
Decreasing demand again has multiple facets.
2) Use hybrid tech. More MPG means more less need to tank up.
3) Easy to do is inflate your tires, drive the speed limit and use cruise control.
4) Some dollar level exists where driving will decrease because the price is too high. Isn't that what the climate change people (ie liberals & Democrats) want anyway?
In the end, we're all swimming in the stream of the energy market and government forces only tend to push prices in one direction. The wrong way.
April 27, 2006
Atlas Shrugged: The Major Motion Picture
So, if you were going to be the casting director of Atlas Shrugged, who would you pick?
I disagree with most all of this TNR Editorial. Yet, sometimes you must appreciate the rhetoric of the other side. The Editors call President Bush the lamest duck since James Buchanan, which I refute, but I loved the next line:
Second-term presidents often see their agenda stalled by gridlock. But haggling over substance at least has the excitement value of conflict and opposition. Bush, on the other hand, has seen his agenda die from within, of its own accord. The last years of Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Reagan were like watching an angry traffic snarl. The last years of George W. Bush's presidency are like watching a car resting on cement blocks in the front yard.
And I'm The Optimist
Yes, there's plenty of time. No it is not a fait accompli that the GOP will lose control in November. Yes, gerrymandering will protect the GOP. Yes the Democrats would have to run the table to grab either house.
With these disclaimers aside, I see a couple of things that worry me in the latest Wall Street Journal / ABC poll.
Republicans Sag in New Poll
Twenty-two percent -- ouch (what would I have told a pollster?) That is worrisome, but the larger issue is the issue of intensity. I came across this article on Instapundit. Here's the whole post:
REPUBLICANS ARE SAGGING IN THE POLLS: Maybe, in part, it's because Harry Reid is doing better than Bill Frist in fighting pork?
Politics is not Glenn's thing but he has a good pulse on the center-right, little-l libertarian, and they are pissed. Every day he has Sen. Trent Lott's railroad to nowhere or some such indefensible porkfest by a Republican.
The one thing they said about 1994 that sticks in my head is "nobody saw it coming. If somebody says they did, they're lying." I bet Jim Wright and George Mitchell were pretty sanguine in April '94. The thing that gives me hope is Tony Snow -- he might actually get some of the Administration's accomplishments across.
April 26, 2006
Texas Tea and Central Planning
Let's not forget.
If ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, or other private companies actually owned the reserves, the world would be in a much more secure position with regard to oil production. Instead, we are subject to the whims of figures like Chavez, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and must worry about the doubtful stability of their personalities and regimes. (To be sure, even a private reserve under such a regime would face the constant threat of nationalization or other interference.) In the mid-1990s, the world had more than 10 million barrels per day of spare production capacity. That figure has fallen to between 1 and 2 million barrels, which means that any significant disruption in supplies can cause prices to soar.
Really too much to excerpt, just go read the whole thing.
This "Long Tail" is Too Short
I have blogged many nice things about XM radio. I have it in my car, and the unit in my second car I set it up in my home office after the car was totaled.
Alas, they are taking the best station off the air. "Luna," which played Latin jazz has lost its radio slot at channel 95. It will still be available on-line or on DirecTV, but 95 now plays latin pop with a promise of more latin jazz on "Real Jazz" channel 70.
I'm keeping the radio in the car but have cancelled the second account. I suggest that this is a real flaw in the satellite radio business plan. To succeed, I expect they will need to get the long-tail subscribers. If there is not sufficient bandwidth, they will have to juggle and lose subscribers.
With 170 stations, they do have room for 24 x 7 traffic reports for several cities, and pro golf. My wife asks "can you imagine anything more boring that golf on the radio?" Umm, no., I'm not that creative.
Maybe they can shuffle or wait for new hardware, but what I thought was a future wave may just become a novelty.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:48 PM
A Ton of Coal
Popular Mechanics has a cool chart, comparing different fuels' capability to take a car from NY to California.
Four-and-a half barrels of crude to make 90.9 gallons of gas, fifty-three bushels of corn + a half bbl of crude for the 176 gallons of ethanol. My favorite was a ton of coal to provide the electricity. A ton of coal?
Get Used to the GOP Majority
JK recently lamented (in the comments) the likelihood of a Democrat takeover of the US House or Senate. I asked for evidence to support his pessimism, which he kindly offered (also in the comments above) including the weighty opinion of Michael Barone. But all of his arguments are general, not specific.
In rebuttal, I offer the specifics of this essay by Jay Cost that appeared on today's WSJ Ed page.
For the Democrats to take the Senate, they would have to defeat incumbents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, Missouri and Rhode Island; win the open seat in Tennessee; and hold seats against strong challengers in Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington. This amounts to a sweep of all 10 of National Journal's 10 most vulnerable races. Most would thus admit that the Senate is not on the table; those who make no such admission usually grow silent when asked to explain why they refuse.
I strongly suggest reading the entire essay. It is fascinating and informative on the subject of Constitutional history of democracy and the representative republic. (The founders apparently never intended the president or senators to be popularly elected!)
Freedom, Pragmatism, Optimism
Okay, so it's not up there with "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy." But I have been questioned for putting all three together. Allow me to defend.
I created this blog category early in the life of ThreeSources. "Freedom on the March" was a centering concept around here and it united me, AlexC and JohnGalt. We watched Afghanistan hold elections, saw positive signals from Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Ukraine, and eventually, Iraq. Close to 100 million additional people are living under a government they voted for when compared to President Bush's inauguration day.
The annual reports from the Heritage/WSJ Index of Economic Freedom show improvement (although the United States has fallen back, thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations). Yes, I am pretty happy with the advance of freedom in the world, although it is frequently messy.
The underreported story of the year is the business growth in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cars, mobile phones, and satellite TV are hot consumer items, and the rebuilding efforts are attracting those who can think big. The Wall Street Journal features a a guest editorial today (paid link) that highlights Afghanistan's attraction as "A Virgin Market."
KABUL -- The recent Yale graduate I was chatting with at a party here spoke Chinese and had lived in China, the seeming epicenter of all things capitalist. "Why did you decide to come to Afghanistan?" I asked. He stared at me. "This is the largest rebuilding and development effort in the history of the world. Who wouldn't want to be here?"
I believe the move towards freedom is inexorable. It may go in fits and starts, but it cannot be stopped. Hear me out:
1) Free economies always outperform non-free economies. That's a core belief to me and I could provide examples well into the night.
2) The more powerful economy -- over time -- will win an armed conflict. Like the Union in the US Civil War, they can persevere through mistakes and setbacks. Their opposition may have much going for it but they can rarely outlast a wealthier adversary.
3) Another core belief is that free societies innovate, learn, and adapt better than centralized, command-and-control. Professor Reynolds links to Strategypage for his underreported story of the war: the adaptation on troops using the Internet. Flight 93 is a testimony to free people adapting and using technology in war.
I'm talking glacial, continental drift time frames and rates here. Buffy would remind us that pain and hard times lie ahead. But I am still confident.
April 25, 2006
$32 a Gallon
That's what Evian water costs, and Ala at blonde sagacity wonders "[w]hy we aren't blaming the President and big business for water prices?"
Thirty two dollars a gallon -- now that's hard on "workin' fam'lies..."
AlexC Gets Results
CNN is reporting that Tony Snow will likely take the job as White House press secretary. This is a good thing. Snow is a strong, smart, savvy and principled person. He is also a remarkable human being.
Bush IS to Blame
Larry Kudlow (and JohnGalt in a comment below) remind us that there is more than supply and demand going on here. The energy bill that Bush signed, with great fanfare, includes an Ethanol mandate that is causing shortages in some parts of the country and driving up prices everywhere. Cui bono? I'd say ADM but the "alternative fuels" crowd still believes.
The Bushies have no one to blame for this but themselves. It is a self-inflicted wound and the ridiculous ethanol mess deserves much of the blame.
So, America, with all them-Willie-Nelson-subsidized-farmers, can't grow enough corn to make the Ethanol we need (don't laugh, this is serious!). No problem, we can import sugar-cane Ethanol from Brazil. No. Sadly, there is a $0.57 tariff on a gallon of Brazilian ethanol so it is cost prohibitive.
I'll defend the Oil execs, and I'll defend the President from demagogic attacks, but he is paying the political price of "compassionate conservatism, is he not?" This was a dangerous step into a more "mixed" economy, and the wages of that sin is 33% favorability...
April 24, 2006
Read the whole thing.
Tax Freedom Today!
Happy Days for Pennsylvanians.
After today, what we earn is ours!!
And, guess what – that day is today! According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania’s Tax Freedom Day 2006 is April 24. This year, it took 114 days for Pennsylvania taxpayers to earn enough income to pay all the federal, state, and local taxes collected by government. Nearly one-third of the year has passed, and we have just reached the point where taxpayers have started earning money for themselves.
From American Spectator's blog...
What can a government due? Only "progressive" taxation.... if a board of directors colludes to pay executives these kinds of figures, the only real recourse would be to remove the board of directors, but that's a shareholders responsibility.... not the governments.
Oh, and anyone that's worth $400 million dollars can probably figure out that they shouldn't pay themselves that much.
May I indulge? I read the Hugh Hewitt book and have been very disappointed with some Democrats that I thought I liked.
Rep. Jane Harman was on FOX News Sunday yesterday. When she came on, I said "Here's my second favorite Democrat (Rep Harold Ford is first)." When she spoke, you'd've assumed it was Leader Pelosi. All she did was attack the President (okay she's a Democrat) and the Iraq War (not so okay, she's ranking D on the Armed Services Committee). Let's say she went from two to 200 on my list yesterday.
Senator Bayh has gone left to fuel his presidential aspirations, Jane Harman sent away for her moonbat membership card. It's a matter of time before Harold Ford calls for nationalized oil and Sen. Lieberman wants to cut and run.
Another soi disant Democratic moderate was Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. The state that sends Jon Kyl to the Senate elected her to be Governor. The WSJ Ed page gives her low marks today. The state has a $1.2 billion and growing surplus (a lesser man would make his immigration points here...) and by the state constitution, they have to spend it or refund it. Guess how the battle lines form.
In the spending corner is Governor Janet Napolitano, one of the celebrated "moderate" Democrats running a red state. Earlier this year she proposed a one-year 22% budget expansion to $10.1 billion from $8.2 billion -- with the goodies spread far and wide across the government and especially to the teachers unions. That's nearly three times the rate of increase that the spendthrift U.S. Congress is contemplating. Ms. Napolitano is also floating a tax cut, but one microscopic in size and sheer gimmickry: for example, a three-day sales tax holiday for purchasing school supplies and a tax credit for buying environmentally friendly cars.
I hope she closed her eyes when she said "tax credit for environmentally friendly cars."
UPDATE: This WaPo story transcribes some of the exchange I was discussing, specifically the point that it is a double standard for the admist4ration to prosecute a leaker when the President has declassified information. How much do we have to fear Iran? Harman is confident that if the Iraqi threat was overblown, things should be just fine next door.
Harman picked up the point, saying, "Our intelligence is thin. I don't think we have enough sources." Referring to recent statements from Tehran that it had begun enriching uranium, Harman said: "Just the fact that the Iranian government is making a lot of noise doesn't prove their capability."
While I am Democrat bashing, the President has a clear constitutional authority to declassify information and share it with the American people. To compare a politically-driven CIA agent’s leak of sensitive national security information is specious. Will they really run with this?
April 23, 2006
All Is Lost
After throwing all I had into a vicious bout of optimism in a comment yesterday, I have been laid low.
The Everyday Economist links to a NYTimes story on the correlation between Presidential approval ratings and gas prices. Here's the chart, read and weep:
Review Corner II
On JohnGalt and Dagny's good recommendation, I picked up a copy of "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" by Ayn Rand.
I credit Ms. Rand as an influence. Her writings were like the bracing pitcher of ice water that is thrown over a sleeping drunk in an old western. "Atlas Shrugged," "The Fountainhead," "Anthem," and "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" shook me out of my folk Marxist stupor; her writings and the Reagan presidency really established my first serious adult worldview.
I had gone on to other sources and had not read Rand since Reagan’s first term. "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" was a good trip back -- highly appropriate to some recent arguments on this blog and good example of her clarity in thought and prose. I cannot list any serious grievance with anything in the book and I came out with new insights: the anti-statist objection to pulling out of Bretton Woods, the difference between duty and responsibility (argued on this blog as well) -- good stuff.
The Nixon-era essays and speeches hold up well for 30year old political discourse. I see some things she feared that have gotten better, but the dismantling of academia and the intellectual class are much worse. Her call to oppose those who teach our young people not to think is well heard. As is her call to have a philosophical center, based on reason, and to build your ideas on that foundation. This was the reason I was given this assignment; my political pragmatism seems un-centered to the Randians around here. (I don't mean "Randians" as insult and hope it is not taken as one.).
So, maybe somebody can explain to me why I enjoy and agree with her writings, yet I can never find a point of agreement with any of those who follow her writings -- a mystery for the ages.
She does caution against too close an affiliation with political parties, and I suspect she would not appreciate much of my pragmatism. Yet her homeland was liberated by a man of faith who was voted into office with a coalition of Catholics and Christians. Does anyone sense that she would have disapproved stridently of President Reagan?
In short, I enjoyed the book and found no quarrel with it. Anybody expecting a road to Damascus conversion away from political pragmatism will be disappointed. Perhaps I didn't get it.
UPDATE: To follow ThreeSources style, I provide a link to the book on Amazon. The good news is that it is only $7.99 or $15.98 with another (I snagged "For The New Intellectual"). The bad news is that these are Signet's "Centennial Edition" paperbacks and mine, at least, was printed in microscopic type on bad paper with margins so uneven the page numbers bled off the page.
Not many movies of note the past few weeks.
With that out of the way, this is a book review. I enjoyed Hugh Hewitt's "Painting The Map Red" far more than I thought I would. I have many disagreements with Hewitt but much respect. The respect went up after reading this book.
Hewitt is far more "social conservative" than me -- and he has a populist streak. He opposes gay marriage and is enforcement-heavy when it comes to immigration.
"Painting the Map Red" is a partisan book. He proudly quotes Benjamin Disraeli saying "I am a party man." He contends that it is time for partisanship, that the left wing has so taken the Democratic party off the rails that they cannot be trusted to win the war or to reign in an "imperial judiciary." For those who don't know him, he is a law professor and speaks in measured tones and prose. He is partisan without being an attack dog. I don't expect Democrats would agree with everything he says but suspect they'd find him readable and reasonable. I would love to read a book by a mutatis mutandis Democrat Hugh.
He also contends that the Democtratic party sees itself disintegrating and will try everything in the book to grasp power in 2008. After that, reapportionment will solidify Republican gains, and an out-of-party power might lose its bench of politicians and donors. Hewitt wants the GOP members and supporters to come together on core principles. (Win the war, confirm the Judges, cut the spending, lower the taxes). Truth be told, I could tolerate a wall on the southern border if it would keep Rep Pelosi from becoming Speaker and Senator Clinton from becoming President.
The book is smart, well reasoned, and readable. I would recommend it to any ThreeSources writer/reader. Again, no shortage of things I disagree with, but a trenchant summary of were we are and a cogent look forward to the next couple of elections.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM
Pius and the Market
There's only one answer to this problem ya know...
One reason is that most hybrids, unlike the Prius, are not distinctive. A Toyota Highlander Hybrid looks like a Toyota Highlander. A Ford Escape Hybrid is a Ford Escape. "So the hybrid becomes another powertrain option," said Anthony Pratt, an analyst with J.D. Power and Associates.
That means that consumers are increasingly putting hybrid systems through the same cost/benefit analysis to which they would subject any other high-cost option.
With those same looking cars costing $3,500 to $8,000 more, what's the point of buying one? Especially if it takes years to break even on it.
But there is another option.
The Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV, coming out this summer, will cost about $2,000 more than a regular Saturn Vue. It's sticker price will be about $23,000, making it the cheapest hybrid SUV you can buy.
Really the correct solution to this problem would be for the federal government to subsidize the purchase of a hybrid to the tune of the price difference between a hybrid and a regular version. I mean, when it comes to the environment, there's no problem the government couldn't solve, and no dollar amount too much.
April 22, 2006
Surgeons in Portland removed the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill, and the man survived, according to a report on the medical oddity in the current issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.
You might say to yourself, "Self, how can you forget about shooting yourself in the head twelve times?"
Well, it is twelve shots to the head.
No word on the length of the nails.
Why Aren't We Rich?
A good question from Jonathan Pearce at Samizdata.
He links to a book review "chronicling how filthy rich some prominent American leftists are. The usual collection of intellectual gargoyles are on show: Ralph Nader, Nancy Pelosi and Michael Moore" and wonders:
What intrigues me is why there are so few seriously, stinkingly, rich folk on the libertarian side of the street, so to speak. There are a few libertarian friends of mine with decent jobs, nice houses; some have inherited fairly serious money and do not have to work; but I don't know any of our number who has the sort of wealth described in Jason's book review. It is a paradox that celebrants of capitalism and market economics are often on their uppers, financially, in my experience, although my impressions are just that, impressions.
Certainly, a huge part is the belief that "I've got mine." I've always suspected that a Jon Corzine, or a pick-your-favorite internet millionaire are comfortable making it difficult for the next entrepreneur. But holy cow -- they have Corzine, Senator Cantwell, all the Kennedies, George Soros, Hollywood, &c.
Certainly some wealthy businesspeople support the GOP, but they tend not to be the ideologues that limousine liberals are.
Dark Days Ahead
It is my view that world events are bad and are going to get worse. Not that there will be a war -- there is already a world war. If you are informed about world events, you recognize this.
The blogger Fjordman has two good essays here and here. Excerpts are in the "extended entry."
Or read Dewey and Kant and investigate our educational system for yourself.
Muslim blogs are calling for violence against the Jews, the whites and the well-to-do. They say, “We must burn France, as Hamas will burn Israel.” The growth of the Islamic population is explosive. According to some, one out of three babies born in France is now a Muslim. Around 70% of French prisoners are Muslims. Hundreds of Muslim ghettos are already de facto following sharia, not French law. Some have pointed out that the French military are not always squeamish, but there are estimates that 15% of the armed forces are already made up of Muslims, and rising. How effective can the army then be in upholding the French republic? At the same time, opinion polls show that the French are now officially the most anti-capitalist nation on earth. France has chosen Socialism and Islam. It will get both, and sink into a quagmire of its own making. Some believe France will quietly become a Muslim country, others believe in civil war in the near future:
April 21, 2006
Shhh. It's a Boom.
Don't tell the media, but we are having a boom. So says Larry Kudlow:
Kudlow's Money Politic$: B-O-O-M
Be vewy, vewy, quiet -- you don't want to upset the Keynesians!
"On April 13, 2006, a message posted in Arabic on an Internet forum explained how to identify private American jets and urged Muslims to destroy all such aircraft," the TSA said in an advisory issued on Thursday and obtained by Reuters on Friday.
The TSA quoted the Arabic message as saying: "We call upon all Muslims to follow and identify private civilian American aircrafts in all airports of the world."
"It is the duty of Muslims to destroy all types of private American aircraft that are of the types Gulfstream and Lear Jet and all small aircraft usually used by distinguished (people) and businessmen," it quoted the message as saying.
Hmm. I always figured that stealing a plane from an airport and flying it into a supertanker or an oil refinery would be high on the list. Those guys are slow.
April 20, 2006
You have to be overly sensitive to take comments from left wing bloggers and get really upset, but it is funny that Joe Lieberman's challenger for the Democratic nomination to his Senate seat in Connecticut has to distance himself from his supporters
The challenge to Joe Lieberman
It would be interesting for, say a blogger or somebody, to compare the rhetorical temperature between Lieberman's Democratic primary and Senator Lincoln Chafee's GOP Primary next door in Rhode Island. I can't really think of an objective standard for comparison, could somebody else?
Also, I am struck that Republicans tend to admire Sen. Lieberman for his brave stands and pro-US positions. Many like me have questions about some of his positions, but I think most GOPers have come to respect his integrity.
I don't know that I have ever heard of any great love for Linc across the aisle. I'm sure the Senators dig him, but I've never heard a Democrat extol his "courage and clarity." This would be a fun comparison, we need to come up with a rating system.
Dearth of Death
Nearly 50,000 fewer Americans died in 2004 than in 2003, according to data based on about 90% of U.S. death certificates. The preliminary number of U.S. deaths in 2004 was 2,398,343, compared with 2,448,288 in 2003.
Color me shocked. What could be the cause?
Whoa there. I thought we had a health care crisis.
Like the "jobless recovery" and the "but what kind of jobs are they" we'll be hearing, "but yeah, living in in an Iron lung for thirty years, you might as well be DEAD!"
(tip to Ace)
I grew up in Denver and can barely tolerate it now. New Orleans and Boston were always fun for a three day trade show. But Minneapolis was a tertiary home to me. I have had family on both sides, friends, and business there, so I've spent some time and come to dig it. I’ll be there at the end of May, though I’ll be staying outside the cities.
Sadly, I think the little Marxists have completely taken over there, refusing to fight crime lest it offend some minority somewhere. Powerline calls it "Murderapolis." That is probably way too far but for a pleasant collection of friendly Midwesterners, good economics, pretty scenery, and happy Scandinavian-Americas it does have some scary places.
LILEKS takes a whack today. It seems Target Corporation (It was Dayton-Hudson in my day) cannot upgrade a store in its hometown.
Target would like to raze the store and build a gigantor UberHyperTarget with a grocery store and twice the shelf space and a petting zoo and underground NASCAR track, etc. But! The city wants to upgrade the entire area, make it a new downtown with the usual pedestrian amenities. This means bisecting the aforementioned blocks with a “spine” that connects dead old Southdale with the housing to the south.
A friend of mine tried to build a new stereo store in Boulder and was told his company would have to put affordable housing on top (umm, mightn't that be a little loud?) Again, I fight the fight nationally, and these little Stalins ruin everything on a local level.
(The same "Bleat" also has some kind words about "Firefly.")
The best reason to oppose minimum wage laws is philosophical: governments don't set wages, the market does. But there are a bevy (how many quarts in a bevy?) of practical reasons that support the premise.
Disturbing supply and demand will result in fewer jobs, unless the mandated wage is so low that it will have no effect. Thomas Sowell makes a great case that the law is racist, because it does not allow a minority group the opportunity to undercut other workers to get their shot. He offers the reductio ad absurdum that if the minimum wage were $100,000, racists could hire whatever workers were wanted for any job. Whereas, the marketplace would kill a company that tried that with no minimum wage.
Professor Bainbridge discusses California’s proposed hike in minimum wage and comes up with yet another reason why it's bad. It will encourage students to drop out, when we need more educated workers to compete.
If you stay in school, you sacrifice current wages for higher future income. If you drop out, you likely will have a lower lifetime income, but start making money immediately.
I'll give the Golden State credit -- they have the world's most resilient golden goose. The poor fowl is under constant attack from Rob Reiner and his ideological brethren, yet it limps along. Imagine the economic dynamo if that state's Hank Reardon's were let loose!
Hu and Cry, Strum and Drang
Always great when a Chinese leader visits because of the possibilities of stupid headlines.
The WSJ Ed Page resists this far better than I, with a smart lead editorial (free link) today on "The Long China View."
News flash: there are serious problems with China. Her devotion to human rights is tenuous at best, there is no appreciation for the sovereignty of Taiwan, much less Tibet. Bloggers are jailed, American citizens have been jailed. A more economically powerful China will threaten its neighbors.
So what's the big talk today? The Trade Deficit, a.k.a. the Capital Surplus. With all these real problems, we are going to jawbone a fake problem.
Over the past decade, China's GDP has more than doubled, lifting millions out of poverty and creating, for the first time in centuries, hope for a better future for its 1.3 billion citizens. All of this has been helped by the mainland's steady, if uneven, embrace of international legal and trading rules, which should grease the wheels for more liberalization in the future--and especially for the steady rise of a Chinese middle class.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sanguine about reforms and freedoms taking hold as an empowered middle class gets a taste for life and access to information technology. But the fact that this visit will be wasted on protectionism, and that nobody seems to mind is depressing.
April 19, 2006
Let it Snow
The Junior Senator From New York
Senator Clinton has been brushing up her conservative bona fides over the last year. To her credit, she has been a defender of the War on Terror and has been careful to distance herself from the wackier, left-wing ideas of much of her party.
She does seem to be in a good spot for 2008. She may be loved by the left enough to get the Democratic nomination, while appearing moderate enough to do well in the general.
It's a good plan, but I fear the real Hillary Clinton lives too close to the surface. Larry Kudlow describes a speech she gave to the Chicago Economic Club last week. Kudlow is no great fan of the Senator but said that "eyelids grew heavy as she droned on and on." For those who stayed awake, the message was a call for top-down, command-and-control, and government run economy. Tax cuts are not the cure all but "instead we need the 'right tax system [and] the right investment, including infrastructure. . . . decisions and policies that only all of us acting together through our government can make to set the stage for future prosperity'" Through the government.
Hasn’t Mrs. Clinton noticed the worldwide spread of free-market capitalism that has become such an enormous wealth creator across the globe — including Eastern Europe, India, China, and the rest of Asia? The economic growth principles of higher after-tax returns for work and investment, deregulation to limit government’s reach, and the privatization of government-run companies have become almost commonplace following the Reagan-Thatcher revolution of twenty-five years ago. But Mrs. Clinton would have us turn the clock back in ways that even her husband didn’t support. She defines her goals in terms of “a middle class life, education, health care, transportation, and retirement.” But all this is nothing more than a massive dose of government spending and regulating — a sure prescription for humongous taxes and a declining economy.
All of the things that her husband did as president that were right (Nafta, GATT, MFN for China) are all things the party runs away from. In debates, I suspect she'll never find words to say that her nationalized health plans of 1993 were wrong. She'll have good advisors, but that question will come up, and I can't imagine she'll have an answer ("That was 15 years ago” may work for some). I don't expect it will be hard to bring out these defenses of socialism.
LatteSipper Gets Results
After hearing of LatteSipper's displeasure, it seems Scott McClellan is leaving the White House Press Office
WASHINGTON - White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove is giving up his policy portfolio and press secretary Scott McClellan is resigning, continuing a shakeup in President Bush's administration that has already yielded a new chief of staff.
I'm tepid on McClellan. He did a good job but never sparkled like Ari Fleischer. His brother, Mark, was the only hope the FDA ever had, and he was promoted out of there.
All and all, I like the idea of a little new blood, especially in communications.
UPDATE: I had transposed the two brothers. It is fixed now and ThreeSources regrets the error.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM
It's hard to add to this compendium of conservative bigotry.
1. Emancipation Proclamation issued by...a Republican President.
2. Slavery abolished under...a Republican President and a Republican Congress.
3. Japanese interned under a Repub...no, wait...sorry, that was a Democrat.
4. (Percentage wise), more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. They must've had some ulterior racist motive of which only they were aware.
There are 10 others...
April 18, 2006
The Forgotten War
Friend of Threesources.com Bill Roggio is going to Afghanistan.
With that said, I will be embedding in Afghanistan some time in mid-May (date and unit to be determined). The war and Coalition reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan is not being covered sufficiently, and in fact the soldiers and Marines fighting there call it “The Forgotten War”. This will be an excellent opportunity to see the situation in Afghanistan first hand and report on the mission of our troops and the progress and setbacks in Afghanistan.
After Afghanistan, I plan on going to Northern Africa to report on the other forgotten war, and then will return to Iraq later in the year.
Bill did a hell of a job last time around in Iraq, I look forward to reading his stuff from Afghanistan.
His new blog will be found at http://www.counterterrorismblog.org/
UN to the Rescue
Associated Press reports -
Israeli UN Ambassador:
"A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority" ... Recent statements by the Palestinian government, Iran and Syria, including one by Hamas on Monday defending the suicide bombing, "are clear declarations of war, and I urge each and every one of you to listen carefully and take them at face value."(emphasis mine)
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
... called the escalating violence "very worrying." He also announced that the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers - the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia - would meet in New York on May 9 to discuss how to move the stalled roadmap to peace forward.
Whew! What a relief. The "roadmap to peace" is still alive!
This is breathtakingly naieve. It's like making sure the good china is safely arranged in the cupboard before that tornado on the horizon hits your house.
A Hit Piece
TNR writes a hit piece against Senator McCain, killing his Presidential ambitions by sidling up to hin from the left. I think I'm kidding, but I am not sure:
In the first two years of George W. Bush's presidency, McCain became, in the words of one prominent Democrat, "the leader of the loyal opposition." McCain voted against both of Bush's major tax cuts.
Would it be beyond TNR to try to abort the nomination of a most feared GOP candidate by killing his primary chances? Maybe not on purpose, but I don't think they'd mind it as collateral damages.
Next week: The Nation endorses Mitt Romney!
A Note of Skepticism
I enjoyed Glenn Reynolds's' "An Army of Davids," mostly because of its implications in my fealty to Hayekian systems. The forward looking chapters on dramatically increased longevity, nanotech, and "the Singularity" intrigued me but did not necessarily win me over.
I'm no Luddite, but there are problems which do not lend themselves to technical solutions. A good friend who understood analog electronics far better than I, once showed my some amplifier schematics, in Leo Fender's own hand. I thought the schematics were cool, but Alan gave me a tour: " Look! He's biased the wiper of the tone pot against the hot side of the pre-amp tube!!!" Maybe he said "the flay rod has gone askew on treddle!" But the point remains that a textbook amplifier design sounds like crap when you plug a guitar into it. Leo's wacky bias scheme, conversely, created the sound of an electric guitar for half a century.
I've recorded with "The Pod," which uses DSP (Digital Signal Processing) to capture the tone of popular amp designs and speaker cabinets. It's pretty good and is hard to beat for recording. But in a live scenario, all the kings chips have yet to put Leo's sound together again.
Kenneth Silber, in TCS, sounds the same concerns about the Strad, or Stradivarius violin, but you can make similar suggestions about "The Strat."
Perhaps someday advanced technology will outstrip the Strad, producing violins widely regarded as superior. If so, it still will have taken a considerably long time for high tech to outdo the work of a craftsman who lived before the industrial revolution. In any event, there will be an element of subjectivity to any evaluation of which violins are best. It seems likely that the best future violins will be regarded as notably different from Strads, and not readily amenable to a direct comparison. One consideration is that Strads, in the view of many experts, already are at their peak and perhaps moving beyond it. It also remains to be seen what new qualities and subtleties current violins will take on with age.
Both the amplifier and the violin seek a subjective tonal quality and there is something intrinsically unfair in holding them up. Yet both have successfully resisted huge amounts of technology.
April 17, 2006
UN, Hard at Work
About those top ten stories...
It happened on the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised his people "good news" about the country's nuclear program.
The following day, Iran announced that it had managed to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in the production of a nuclear bomb.
No, it's not a joke.
(tip to Tammy Bruce)
I love my Toyota and suspect the company is in good shape to increase shareholder assets. But I am convinced that hybrid cars have "jumped the shark." I was in a drive through yesterday behind a Toyota Prius and couldn't stop think of the South Park "Pious." Between South Park, and Popular Mechanics, I wondered if sales mightn't slump.
Now the right wing thugs at The New York Times Editorial Page have taken some whacks.
For years, most of the world's big car makers have shied away from building hybrids because while they are technologically intriguing, they are also an inelegant engineering solution — the use of two energy sources assures extra weight, extra complexity and extra expense (as much as $6,000 more per car.) The hybrid car's electric battery packs rob space from passengers and cargo and although they can be recycled, not every owner can be counted on to do the right thing at the end of their vehicle's service life. And an unrecycled hybrid battery pack, which weighs more than 100 pounds, poses a major environmental hazard.
You read it first on ThreeSources, kids, the hybrid craze is over.
Hugh Hewitt links to a WaPo story, Parks Feel '80 Percent' Squeeze. It seems park managers are being asked to operate at 80% of previous budgets. You'll want to grab a Kleenex before you read this:
But park officials in the field said the initiative was forcing "gut-wrenching" decisions that visitors will notice. At many parks, volunteers will take on larger roles, and there will be fewer interpretive ranger programs, the officials said.
At Rocky Mountain Natl. Park (a little more than an hour from my front door), they're forced to prioritize:
At Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, one of six visitor centers was closed and two water stations were shuttered as a result of the initiative.
I would ask every, non-military segment of the Federal Government to work at 80%. This happens in the private sector everyday and companies trim ineffective programs.
A Hundred Years
Give or take. The University of California, Santa Barbara, has a web site which includes digitizations of over 6,000 "Edison" cylinders. The oldest I heard was released in 1902.
The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project is well worth a peek -- and a listen. We read books and see photographs that are older, but there is something moving in hearing audio that is that old.
Cylinder recordings, the first commercially produced sound recordings, are a snapshot of musical and popular culture in the decades around the turn of the 20th century. They have long held the fascination of collectors and have presented challenges for playback and preservation by archives and collectors alike.
Way cool. Hat-tip: Pajamas Media
A Damned Thing
That's how it goes with the Iranians. The more they claim they've gone nuclear, the more U.S. intelligence experts -- oops, where are my quote marks? -- the more U.S. intelligence "experts" insist no, no, it won't be for another 10 years yet. The more they conclusively demonstrate their non-compliance with the IAEA, the more the international community warns sternly that, if it were proved that Iran were in non-compliance, that could have very grave consequences. But, fortunately, no matter how thoroughly the Iranians non-comply it's never quite non-compliant enough to rise to the level of grave consequences. You can't blame Ahmadinejad for thinking "our enemies cannot do a damned thing."
Colorado, like many states, has a referendum process for creating laws that the people want even when our "representative" government doesn't. On this, the 92nd anniversary of National Democrat Day, I'm officially announcing my plan for the establishment of Colorado as a "Sanctuary State."
A ballot initiative will be drafted, with all the legal provisions and protections that can possibly be envisioned to protect the measure from court challenge, resolving that "Until the United States government reforms the income tax system to a flat rate consumption tax and ceases redistribution of individual wealth through its myriad agencies and department, any and all residents of the great state of Colorado shall be exempt from compliance with any and all federal income, medical, retirement or other such taxes are are now or may be levied in the future."
OK, so it needs a little work, but you get the idea. This is the seed. If Austin and Los Angeles and cities like them can be sanctuaries for 20 million illegal immigrants, Colorado can be a sanctuary for 5.5 million people to own their own property without threat of appropriation. If the cowards in San Francisco can officially disobey a non-existent federal law, we can show them how to disobey laws already on the books. Tax revolt? You bet. Let's get something done. NED knows if we leave it up to "representative" government the only interests that will be represented are, the government's.
(So who's the pragmatist now!)
Bush Worshipping Loonies
A little name calling from TNR today, at least their web folks. Peter Beinart’s article is titled "When Right Is Wrong," but on the web, it is titled Why John McCain doesn't need Bush-worshipping loonies
Beinart thinks Senator McCain makes a mistake to align himself too closely with an administration that has its roughest days ahead of it.
A good point, perhaps, that three consecutive party wins are rare is combined with a less certain assurance that "George W. Bush's rapidly approaching lame-duck status, and the increasing power of congressional Democrats, means legislative gridlock and congressional investigations are highly likely for the next two and a half years."
Fair points, perhaps, but the "poisoned chalice" he seeks is the Republican nomination for President. The CW has always been that McCain would do well in the general if he could survive the primaries. Even with all his starboard shifts, I say it's far from certain that the GOP will nominate him.
But then, I'm one of those "Bush Worshipping Loonies..."
April 15, 2006
Happy Tax Day
We can't let the ides of April pass without comment. In my contractor days, I used to enjoy the party atmosphere of the downtown Denver post office at 11:30. These days, I've been anesthetized by corporate withholding (the greatest idea the "progressives" ever had); I filed two weeks ago and saw my federal refund deposited yesterday.
The WSJ Ed page has pushed this idea for a couple of years: instead of abolishing the AMT, keep it as a flat tax.
Our biggest objection to the AMT is that it is patently dishonest. First Congress uses the tax code to gain political credit by offering tax write-offs for social and economic behavior it wants to reward: buying a home, rearing children, driving a hybrid car, donating to the Salvation Army, caring for senior parents, creating savings accounts, and on and on.
Crushing of Dissent, II
I had posted a (paid) link to the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT's guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Professor Lindzen is skeptical on global warming projections. Without claiming it is fallacious, he pours cold water and humidity on some of the more outrageous claims.
The real focus of the article is the opprobrium heaped on scientists who do not preach the Gospel of man made climate change. In Gore (14:7) -- I mean Vanity Fair Magazine -- it is called a "threat graver than terrorism," by VP Al Gore, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and the noted atmospheric scientists Julia Roberts and George Clooney.
Nick Shultz, writing Vanity Scare in TCS, notes that the professional reputation of a noted, 94 year old scientist is slandered in the article because his views do not match Hollywood's.
The article in Vanity Fair is part of a so-called "Green issue" that includes a call to arms from Al Gore and friendly profiles on climate change alarmists such as NASA's Jim Hansen, Ed Begley Jr., Bette Midler, Ed Norton and many others. Since global warming is a "threat graver than terrorism," the magazine tells readers on its cover, it's cool to want to fight global warming. "Green is the new black," Vanity Fair tells us.
This article is free, and I have pasted the entire text of the other article in my post below.
April 14, 2006
Many at this site are excited about a strong primary challenge to Lincoln Chafee (RINO-RI). I threw cold water on this enthusiasm with my suggestion that a state that went 59%-39% for Sen. Kerry in 2004 was not too likely to send Phil Gramm, Jr, to the Senate.
The Washington Post highlights Chafee's troubles today.
Few paths to victory are more convoluted than the one Chafee must travel to win election to a second term this year in this strongly Democratic state. Chafee will face Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, a conservative, in the Sept. 12 GOP primary, and he must convince voters that he is "Republican enough," despite his numerous defections from the party and President Bush. If he survives the primary, Chafee then must hope that he can hold the Republican vote while wooing moderate Democrats and independents to stave off what is sure to be a strong Democratic challenge.
The article starts with the junior Senator from the smallest state cleaning out a horse barn (no comment for fear of inflaming Johngalt & Dagny) and even this hard-nosed pragmatist found it difficult to not hope for Laffey to oust him in the primary.
His voting record is execrable, but he does vote for GOP leadership. I'll miss that when his Democratic replacement is sworn in.
If there is an "outlier" in the Constitution, I think it is the promise to protect IP. TCS and Samizdata have robustly called for an elimination of patents, and anybody who has had any involvement with the process (I pursued a few at our last firm) realizes what an impediment to innovation they have become.
As a property rights guy, though, I find myself an IP guy. How could my beloved Pharmaceutical firms get a return on their R&D investment without patent protection? And even though I am a customer, I have to think this $73 million TiVo suit seems fair.
TiVo's victory could give the Silicon Valley company badly needed leverage as it faces an onslaught of competitors from the cable and satellite industries. Though TiVo helped create the product category for DVRs, which consumers use to record TV shows, EchoStar, of Englewood, Colo., has also heavily marketed the recorders to its Dish Network satellite customers and is now the top provider of the technology, by some analysts' estimates.
I have the EchoStar PVR (I think JohnGalt does as well) and am happy to see that existing customers are grandfathered in. Yet, without seeing the dates of delivery or following any details of the trial it certainly seems that the PVR has stolen the basic function of the TiVo. I call mine a TiVo so people will know what I'm talking about.
This appears to be a clear example of good patent law and IP protection.
April 13, 2006
Where is my Cafe Du Monde?
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page compares (paid link) the performance of private firms post-Katrina versus the performance of the venerable United States Post Office:
A week ago Monday the Times-Picayune reported that the U.S. Postal Service's New Orleans processing and distribution center would reopen the following day -- more than seven months after Katrina hit. The paper called it "a move postal officials say will all but eliminate maddening post-Katrina delivery times of a week or longer for letters mailed just across town." Not that things are completely back to normal. New Orleanians still don't receive magazines, "although that is expected within weeks."
Sadly, the lesson learned from Katrina was "Bush is an idiot" when a truly valuable lesson is "don't count on the government."
"The Escaped Prisoner"
That's the title of an upcoming book. Watch for it on Amazon.
Last month I blogged a video clip of the Arabic Ayn Rand. I thought a video would be worth a thousand thousand words but, alas, not a single comment was provoked.
Almost coincidentally, Robert Tracinski blogged the same video but since he gets paid to do so, he added his own analysis. I don't have the time to be original so I'll just plagarize him, since he is brilliant.
"This was Wafa Sultan's declaration of intellectual independence from Islam. It was a declaration, by an Arab speaking in Arabic to an Arab audience, that Islam is a backward, violent religion, and that a secular, free society—a culture of science, independent creative thought, and political freedom—is superior to the Islamic culture of faith.(Emphasis mine.)
Tracinsi concludes, "As I remarked when I originally covered this story on March 1, the reason I admire Wafa Sultan is that "She's no 'moderate Muslim'—she's an uncompromising firebrand in the defense of reason and freedom." Let us hope that this firebrand can set off a conflagration of independent thought. And let's do whatever we can to add fuel to those flames and spread them across as much of the globe as possible."
This is the sort of "nation building" that can actually succeed.
Is this not a better Iraq?
I confessed that while recent events had damaged the depth of my neo-Wilsonianism, I am still a Sharanskyite. I have not joined the Fukuyama-Will-Buckley club either. If I were Jewish, I'd be a neocon.
I will confess that living in Iraq in 2006 would suck somewhat. It is dangerous, unpredictable, and services are tenuous. Yet I am struck that LatteSipper (mmm, I'm a cappuccino guy but a latte sounds pretty good now) seems so convinced that the coalition actions have somehow "ruined" Iraq. Like Iraq was the idyllic Mesopotamian Eden depicted in the opening minutes of Fahrenheit 9/11.
I would choose dangerous freedom over stable tyranny any day of the week. My April 9 posting reminded us of the children's prisons and mass graves, the torture chambers, government rape.
As difficult as life can be, these people now have the opportunity to practice politics. Hundreds of newspapers are now published, Internet use is widespread. The political vessels have been revitalized pari passu, as the old Buckley might have said, with the rehydration of the southern marshes.
Austin Bay writes about unseen political infighting between clerics Sadr and Sistani in Sistani's Squeeze
Outsiders -- including U.S. government officials -- can bewail the Iraqi parliament's lack of progress in forming a government, but since the middle of March I strongly suspect the hidden story has been the Interior Ministry and the Iraqi nationalists' war on Sadr. It's a quiet police and political war waged with the blessing of Ayatollah Sistani. Creating a strong and stable Iraqi government (the so-called "national rescue front") is the goal. Sistani has advised Shia leaders to make concessions to Sunnis in order to establish a "unity government." That's an action anathema to Sadr.
It's a fascinating article as it stands. But it reminded me that I consider this an improvement over Saddam's dictatorship, not some broken mess that we have created.
Chocolate Bunny Outlaws
Last month AlexC blogged the Saint Paul, Minnesota "human rights director's" unilateral and unsolicited ban of easter bunny displays on city property. JK warned that, "If chocolate bunnies are outlawed only outlaws will have chocolate bunnies."
Now, via email, we dare to publish CARTOON IMAGES of chocolate bunnies.
Prepare yourselves for the backlash.
April 12, 2006
Crushing of Dissent!
The Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT writes a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, called "Climate of Fear."
He questions several global warming orthodoxies, among them, global warming's being the cause of the hurricanes:
If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less -- hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.
More interesting was his description of the contempt shown to scientists who refuse to play along.
But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
UPDATE: I have
Climate of Fear
There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?
The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science -- whether for AIDS, or space, or climate -- where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.
But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.
If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less -- hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.
So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested -- a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences -- as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union -- formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.
All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists -- a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.
Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.
And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited." Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming -- not whether it would actually happen.
Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.
Mr. Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.
A Pox on Both Parties
Today's NY Times editorial As the Ethics Panel Ossifies calls for the Democrats to get serious and force Rep Alan Mollohan of West Virginia to resign his seat on the House ethics committee, which the editorial calls "inert and feckless".
JK's Consumption Tax Plan
We have a small flame alight around here on consumption taxes. I pointed out that I really like the idea of a National Retail Sales Tax or "the fair tax." You can discuss the merits of different plans to compensate for the lack of regressivity or foreign sales, imports, foreign visitors -- there are a lot of details to nail down, yet any plan would offer big pragmatic benefits.
The biggest hurdle after getting legislators to reduce their own power is that pesky little Sixteenth Amendment. Without repealing that, we'll end up with income taxes and sales taxes and that will not help the economy at all.
I offer, therefore, my plan for moving to consumption taxes without repealing the 16th Amendment. Democratic leaders always say "jk talks a lot, but where’s his plan?" Here it is.
The model is the Federal Withholding bank accounts for employers and self employed. You open an account at the bank of your choice, but the withholdings deposited are controlled by the Government. You open an account for Uncle Sam. In my plan, every worker opens one of these accounts and the money belongs to the worker.
All of the worker's income is deposited into this account, withholdings and all: the Gross Pay figure on your check. The withholding amount is "internally escrowed." It is in your account, but you cannot withdraw it until your taxes for that year are paid. The money in this escrow can be borrowed by the government, so its cash flow is not changed. Since it is your money, the government is going to pay you at a six month T-bill rate. It's your money, you're loaning it to the feds.
All non-escrowed funds can be paid out. If you pay them to yourself, they will be taxed as income. If you pay them into an approved retirement account, Health Savings Account, Education fund, or approved deductible expenses they will not be taxed. Leave funds in the account at T-bill rates to defer income from year to year. You can now choose when you get paid and how much.
Your tax refund? File a return on the income you have removed from the account, and if your escrow has been overpaid, you write yourself a check for your refund -- or leave it in there at T-bill rates. We still have an "income" tax -- and many of its disadvantages -- but the worker now controls the timing and amount of taxable payments and is able to save or defer the rest.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM
April 11, 2006
Little likelihood of tax system overhaul
I found this article by Robert J. Samuelson on the lack of progress on the tax system overhaul interesting. I'd be interested to hear comments on his arguments for why the current system is unlikely to change and the benefits that would accrue from implementation of the plans proposed by the President's commission in November. Let the schoolin' begin.
A President's Best Friend
If George Tenet deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the certainly Scott McClellan is due one ... or at least combat pay. Check out the tenacity of this guy in the April 7th press briefing. Never gives an inch, never acknowledges inconsistency of positions, holds the line. Well done Mr. McClellan.
Don't Get Sick
Don't invest in Pharmaceutical stocks, don't go into research, and for NED's sake, don't come down with a chronic disease!
WSJ.com - Vioxx Jury Adds $9 Million To Damages Merck Must Pay
Tysabri, a godsend to some advanced MS patients was pulled from clinical trials last year. The FDA has now given the green light, but nobody will protect the manufacturer from one of these ambulance chasers. A potential but rare side effect is a fatal brain infection -- that'll play well to the jury! Best to just let patients suffer.
I rail against the FDA as a murderous bureaucracy, but at least it exists under elected, executive branch authority. The tort bar is not elected -- I'm not talking about John Edwards. These people are effectively setting policy for trials and treatments.
The medications I take are decades old, but when I need something "stronger" or a new treatment, it is unlikely I will be given the chance, or that enough dollars will be invested in the sector to fund research. Screw the fund raising walks, we'd be better off marching on Washington for FDA rand tort reform.
Sorry if I'm grouchy. And I apologize to people who need COX-2 inhibitors for their quality of life but are not allowed to make their own decisions in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
April 10, 2006
Can someone explain to me what, exactly, I'm looking at?
(Tip to Michelle Malkin)
Boston Globe on Pa Senate Blogging
Sometimes you have to wonder if reporters do prep work on their articles.
An example would be the Boston Globe on the impact of negative blogging on Senate races.
Does the story mention the names of those "sites" (plural) that call Casey too liberal?
Of course not.
How many are there? Well, I try to follow the PA Senate blogosphere closely, and I can only think of one obvious one. CaseyIsaLiberal.com, which hasn't been updated with a post since November. It's actually closed. Full disclosure, one of the contributors has joined SantorumBlog, but does not regularly post. (Still alive Jim?)
Another "anti-Casey" blog is TheRealBobCasey.com (sponsored by the Republican Federal Committee of Pa) seems lately to be highlighting his performance as a Treasurer more than anything else. Yes, I know about WheresCasey.com, but that's not a blog. It's an advertisement.
Ok, they don't link to all of those anti-Casey sites into the main article, but in a side bar, and it's only one. They have a gallery of "mudslinging sites" with screenshots.
And here's the funniest part. It's plain as day it's a stale site!! A blog on politics, especially this senate race, that hasn't blogged in months might as well be dead.
Just today MSNBC's Chris Matthews was bashing blogs for not having editors. "Writing must be fact-driven." That's all well and good. If only we had a positive example.
Can someone point to me the other anti-Casey "he's a liberal" blogs? You could make an argument about us, maybe, but generally I link to things with little commentary (being anti-Casey isn't our focus). If anything, the anti-Casey blogs and blog postings are from the left side!
It goes on.
Mike Panetta, who operates one of the sites, said he launched it in 2000 as a gateway to register voters and provide information about the campaign. But this year, he said, the site has taken on a more interactive quality, with contributors posting remarks. The site now commands 700 to 1,000 hits a week, he said.
In fairness, they didn't link to the site (or the numerous other ones), so it's a mystery. Googling for it, I think it's DumpSantorum.com. Kim Hefling's similar article from a few months back also points to DumpSantorum.com. Although it only seems to be getting 3 to 500 hits / week.
What's the 1,000 hits per week site?
By comparison, for the seven days ending today, we've got over 1,000 visits and 1,500 page views.
That's all the negative side of the blogosphere. There are positive pro-candidate sites. But they seem to all be from the campaigns themselves.
The campaign monitors opposing websites but can't do much about critical postings, she said.
''People recognize that blogs are subjective," she said. ''And other bloggers will chime in with their side of an issue."
Other bloggers like SantorumBlog.
Overall, no plugs for SantorumBlog (doesn't really bother me, we don't try to be a negative site), but man, I hate identifying some pretty fundamental problems. Like Caseyisaliberal.com, and maybe the DumpSantorum hits... so much for editors.
(crossposted at santorumblog.com)
The State of the Left
Jonah Goldberg at NRO thinks that the riots in France are telling for what they're rioting about: "These rabid rebels smashing their way through people and property alike, shouting revolutionary slogans and playing Robespierre in a FCUK hoodie are demanding . . . continued job security with paid vacations. Gone are the days of tearing down the system. Now is the time to burn a car for better dental benefits."
In typical Jonah fashion, he is funny with an underlying message. The Republicans may have atrophied as a governing power in the previous ten years (cf. ThreeSources blog), but the left always seems to be fighting to not tamper with Social Security (1935) or not change the Great Society (1965). Goldberg points out that it's now the left who have stolen his old boss's mantra and are "standing athwart history yelling stop!"
The smartest and most passionate thinkers of American liberalism are more actuary than revolutionary. Scan the pages of The New Republic or The American Prospect and you will learn that the sunny uplands of history can be reached not by sticking it to the man but by expanding the earned income tax credit and jiggling around some obscure provision of Medicare Part B. They're the rebels with a clause.
I suppose they have big ideas over at "The Nation." But the mainstream left and Democratic party and the left-of0center think tanks seem a little thin on the ideas side.
The rest of this article is worthy of discussion as well. He discusses a new book from Charles Murray called "In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State." He's going to replace welfare with a direct payment to every American. I'm gonna have to think about that one, but the point is that an idea is out there.
UPDATE: The statist left wins in France: WSJ:
PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac scrapped a controversial labor-contract law aimed at boosting youth employment, in a major about-face following weeks of strikes and mass protests by students and workers.
April 9, 2006
This is how I look when I express concern.
UPDATE: jk here, this is too funny. What a great site!
UPDATE II: My Charming Bride:
Good Economic News Kills
I think now we're plumbing the depths for bad news on a very strong economy.
The death rate rises in the year the economy expands and grows further if the lower rate of joblessness is maintained, Christopher Ruhm wrote in his study.
A 1 percentage point drop in unemployment is estimated to raise mortality by 1.3 percent or 2,515 additional deaths per year from heart attacks, the study showed. The mortality rate is similar for males and females.
It's a vicious cycle, I tell you. The dead people have to be replaced, further driving down unemployment, killing more people. Viva la full employment!
(tip to Ace)
An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations
Now he thinks he's Adam Smith! No, not fit to adjust the Scotsman's green eyeshade...
But last Friday's Wall Street Journal Editorial has stuck with me all weekend. I almost posted a (free) link to it, but I did not want to be accused of a "dueling links" war with my less-keen-on-immigration blog brothers. The WSJ Ed page boys, like me, enjoy the wealth that immigrants create and, like me, can appear diffident to enforcement because of the extreme benefits these workers provide. Just another column, pushing my side, albeit a great one:
Our answer is that a closed economy ultimately would make America a less competitive and hence poorer country--because we'd have less human capital, and because we'd be using the human resources we did have less efficiently. Among higher-skilled and -educated workers, pulling away the U.S. welcome mat means all of that talent would go to work creating wealth and jobs in other countries.
But the part I couldn't forget is the counterfactual they posit. Not the "Day Without a Mexican" scenario, but a realistic look at the world that many of the enforcement types want.
Eliminate the immigrant labor force and these jobs don't--presto!--start paying more to attract Americans. In a global economy, they're much more likely to disappear or move overseas as domestic employers find themselves less able to compete with foreign producers. And many of the same politicians who complained about "cheap" immigrant labor would then want to block the import of products that were once made here.
"So what if the price of a hamburger goes up?" my friends ask. I'll pay an extra couple of dollars, and my neighbor kid will work for $12/hour. The answer is that you might pay a few dollars more, but you might eat out less. More cost-conscious folks will eat out a lot less. There will be fewer restaurants built, plumbed and painted. There will be fewer places to eat, farther from home.
Frederic Bastiat talks about the "seen and the unseen." In this case, the seen is the unassimilated worker, the costs in public welfare, education and medical care. The unseen is the wealth that is created. And when I say wealth creation, I mean quality of life (more, cheaper restaurants closer to home) as much as more dollars, those restaurants will need computer programmers and drive my wages up.
Immigrants also increase the demand for labor, not just the supply. That is, they are also consumers who create jobs by buying goods and housing here. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan often pointed out how immigration has been driving housing demand. And if immigrants really were "stealing" American jobs, we wouldn't have had the remarkable job growth of recent years.
In the end, isn't national security preserved by our amazing economic engine? Be very, very careful what you are willing to trade our nation's wealth for.
CaptainEd (Time Magazine's Blogger of the Year, btw) is earning his keep lately by analyzing the Iraqi documents released to the public.
He paid for two independant translators to translate that documents. Three different translators in total, same message.
And he links to this...
on this page important information that the Iraqi regime has Transported the chemical and biological weapons to al-Rashad area, and pronounced a Military Prohibited area
this area is completely covered with trees & bushes
Nothing to see here, move along. Bush lied, &etc.
It's Brokeback day at threesources.com!
Saw this on Drudge.
Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said Saturday that the action was not related to the critically acclaimed film's plot involving a gay love affair.
"It was not the subject matter. It was the graphic nature of sexually explicit scenes," Wiffin said.
She said the officer, whom she declined to identify, failed to follow prison guidelines that require staff who schedule films to review them in advance for excessive violence, nudity or sex, as well as scenes involving assaults on correctional staff.
I can't imagine sitting around a staff meeting at the prison deciding what the next movie will be.
"I know! Let's show Brokeback Mountain!"
A prison movie like Wedlock is more my style. Prisoners wear explosives around their necks... and they are "bound" (hence the title) to another prisoner. If they get a certain distance apart (like in an escape attempt), their heads are convinently disconnected from from their bodies.
Oh, and the prisoners don't know who their partner is.
That's a prison movie.
Sic Semper Tyrannis
Winds of Change blog reminds us what happened three years ago:
The end of creatures who bear the official title "violator of womens' honour" (i.e. official rapist). Of torturing small children to make their parents confess. Of the people-shredders, into which victims were fed feet first. So the operators would not be deprived of the pleasure of their screams. The end of The 10 Plagues of Iraq.
Thanks to all who serve.
Elevator Talk, Redux
You know the rules. You have a brief elevator ride to explain your politics to a total stranger. (A Denver elevator, Boulder's aren’t big enough and Philadelphia’s are too big.) The door is closing, go!
I believe in personal freedom and individual empowerment. Both of these flourish in a bottom-up structure rather than top-down, command-and-control.
Right wing economists have long embraced this, calling it free markets, Adam Smith's invisible hand, or Hayek's distributed decision-making. But I am now seeing heightened interest on the left. Craig's list founder Craig Newark calls it "community," and New Yorker Magazine writer James Surowecki has written "The Wisdom of Crowds." Little-l libertarian blogger and UT law school professor Glenn Reynolds has highlighted the underlying technological advances in his "An Army of Davids." All these converge to expose the benefits of empowering individuals to make decisions with the facts they know.
I understand the temptation of the left to seek government solutions. The Federal government especially has massive resources and could wire every home for Internet or make us all buy hybrids or buy us all health care. All these solutions create and require centralized command-and-control, managed by some government bureaucrat who may or may not be competent, may or may not think like I do, and may or may not have my best interests at heart. I'd rather trust the 300 million consumers to try, find, and select the best programs than to have bright, educated people in Denver, Washington DC, or Turtle Bay dictate the answer.
The world laboratory of history has proven we Hayekians right. What I call "Classical Liberalism" after Ludwig von Mises's 1927 book, Liberalism, has raised nations out of poverty, empowered their citizens, and created massive wealth and innovation. Command and control societies, based on Marxism have sent affluent nations into poverty; stripped their people of rights, empowerment and personal freedom; and killed more than 100 million in the brutal police states that these societies require.
To achieve these goals, I vote Republican. While GOP politicians have disappointed me many times, they have consistently shown themselves to be better stewards of classical liberalism than the Democrats. I remain devoted to ideas and not party. Should some realignment or new movement create a Democrat party that espouses my ideals, I will join them. In my adult life, however, I have seen few examples of Democratic superiority on personal freedom. I tell my friends that "Republicans promise more freedom and frequently disappoint; Democrats promise less freedom and frequently succeed.”
On saturday, JK took the brave stand of (this is where I close my eyes... ) and reviewed Brokeback Mountain, an homage to two men and their love for one another which bucks traditional American frontier stereotyping.
As a public service, I will volunteer to review Brokeback Mountain's sequel "The Fur Traders" when it comes out.
(tip to ChicagoBoyz)
April 8, 2006
Quote of the Day
Nobody's motioned "Firefly" in months around here!
Samizdata's quote of the day to the rescue:
A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:52 PM
Breakfast at the White House
The attractive waitress asks Cheney what he would like, and he replies, "I'd like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit."
"And what can I get for you, Mr. President?"
George W. replies with his trademark wink and slight grin, "How about a quickie this morning?"
"Why, Mr. President!" the waitress exclaims "How rude! You're starting to act like Mr. Clinton!''
As the waitress storms away, Cheney leans over to Bush and whispers..."It's pronounced quiche."
Tech Talk: Outsourcing
A number of threesources contributors are involved in the tech sector.
Here's an article from IBM discussing a decline in American students studying Computer Science.
Gina: In the U.S., we've seen a decline in science and engineering degrees over the past ten years, while the number of newly declared computer science majors has actually declined by 32% over the last four years. Ever since the dot.com bust, there's been a steep drop-off. Clearly, women and under-represented minorities are leaving at alarming rates or not even considering science and engineering programs.
There are a couple of reasons: one is a myth, believed by parents, students, and high school guidance counselors, that computer science and engineering jobs are all being outsourced to China and India. This is not true. The percentage of the total number of jobs in this space is quite small -- less than 5%. According to a government study, the voluntary attrition in the U.S. has outpaced the number of outsourced jobs to emerging nations. Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S.
Apart from Mr. Hewitt
I'm in a glass house to throw stones at web page typos, but this one was funny.
I like Hugh Hewitt but disagree with him so frequently that I'm not really a regular reader. I bought his new book (I'm finishing some Ayn Rand first as a ThreeSources assignment) and look forward to it. I saw that he is doing a book-signing in Denver, and I do have a few autographed books that I enjoy owning (Larry Kudlow, Virginia Postrel, John Derbyshire, Rick Brookheiser).
Other side of town, I won't make it but was intrigued by this line:
More details are coming, so check back here to see how you can be apart of the this event.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM
Finally! The ThreeSources review of "Brokeback Mountain!"
I watched it last night and have to say that it's a good movie, but I would not call it a great movie. The pacing is very slow. Good cinematography and music compensate to a point, but I wanted to fast forward the storyline. The characters are compelling, and I found myself interested in what would happen.
I should say that I am an Annie Proulx fan, but I think this script is a lot more Larry McMurtry's. He adapted a short story into a long movie and Ms. Proulx's touches are scarce.
The gay scenes are tolerable for a reasonably enlightened, 21st Century guy. It's not homo-erotic like some of Ann Rice's work (she has made me nervous on a few occasions). If you can handle some big, hairy cowboys kissing for a few minutes, you'll be fine. (Just relax and think of England!)
Is that a recommendation? No. The film is pretty pretentious, as we are asked to pity these poor guys who were in Wyoming (Bush 69% - Kerry 29%) and Texas (Bush 61-38%) during the 60's and 70's -- not all enlightened like West Hollywood today. The pacing is very slow. If you're not crying for the beauty of the love story -- and I kinda doubt anyone around here will be -- you'll be waiting for it to end.
But it has made me pretty nervous around cowboys...Two and a half stars.
I spent the whole week waiting for Friday to get my fill of Victor Davis Hansen.
So far the Iranian president has posed as someone 90-percent crazy and 10-percent sane, hoping we would fear his overt madness and delicately appeal to his small reservoirs of reason. But he should understand that if his Western enemies appear 90-percent children of the Enlightenment, they are still effused with vestigial traces of the emotional and unpredictable. And military history shows that the irrational 10 percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.
So, please, Mr. Ahmadinejad, cool the rhetoric fast — before you needlessly push once reasonable people against the wall, and thus talk your way into a sky full of very angry and righteous jets.
April 7, 2006
Name for This?
None dare call it sedition.
The mayor also denounced a bipartisan congressional proposal that would beef up border security and allow as many as 12 million illegal immigrants to gain legal status.
Newsom, who has not been afraid to wade into controversial national issues such as gay marriage, appeared with a group of elected officials on the steps of City Hall to support immigrants, “documented as well as undocumented.”Newsom also signed a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, urging San Francisco law enforcement not to comply with criminal provisions of any new immigration bill.
“San Francisco stands foursquare in strong opposition to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Newsom said. “If people think we were defiant on the gay marriage issue, they haven’t seen defiance.”
What are the state's rights / federalism issues involved in something like this? I have no idea where to even begin.
Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth's surface.
Other studies show that increased water vapour in the atmosphere is reinforcing the impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientists suggest both trends may push temperatures higher than believed.
But they say there is an urgent need for further research, particularly at sea.
More research means more money. That's what this whole thing is about.
The Internet's Use
Some would say that the Internet is for communication, or it's for commerce, or it's for community.
I say it's for things like this.
Yesterday's hastily called press conference to announce a "huge breakthrough" in the Senate immigration bill was supposed to presage a rubber-stamp vote last evening. But Republicans who thought the bill should be more than another "immigration bill to end all immigration bills" insisted upon amendments. Frivolous things like,
"One amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that the border was secure before creating a guest worker program or granting legal status to illegal immigrants. Another would have the legalization program bar illegal immigrants who had deportation orders or had been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors."
This issue is way too important to rush into another band-aid compromise measure. The serious dialog in the comments to 'Immigration Politics' below have been illuminating, and promise more enlightenment if the conversation continues.
Wall First, Questions Later
Can't be done? Israel's border fence has been extraordinarily successful in keeping out potential infiltrators who are far more determined than mere immigrants. Nor have very many North Koreans crossed into South Korea in the last 50 years.
Of course it will be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. But sometimes necessity trumps aesthetics. And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty. The fence around your house is a perfectly legitimate expression of your desire to control who comes into your house to eat, sleep and use the facilities. It imprisons no one.
Of course, no barrier will be foolproof. But it doesn't have to be. It simply has to reduce the river of illegals to a manageable trickle. Once we can do that, everything becomes possible -- most especially, humanizing the situation of our 11 million existing illegals.
Disturbing revelations or liberal media blather?
Here are three different articles on information in the court papers recently filed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in "U.S. v. I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby" : Fox News , Washington Post , FindLaw (I was unable to get a story from the Wall Street Journal - they either didn't cover it or my non-subscriber status prevented me from finding it.)
April 6, 2006
I have been a big fan of Skype(r). Our previous company had hour-long conference calls, with participants in Ireland, England, South Africa, and Boulder. These conversations were free if everyone was at his/her computer and pennies if Skype credits were used to call a cell phone or land line.
I gave up my land line months ago and have never looked back, but...Working from home, I have hour long conference calls and the cell phone is not an ideal device. The speakerphone duplexes clunkily, and 60-120 daytime minutes for a boring meeting are difficult to bear.
I purchased 10 Euros (they rang me up at $12.60) of SkypeOut credits yesterday. I talked for an hour and my balance is now $12.55 The computer headset is comfortable and productive.
It is still a mystery what eBay is going to do with this not-so-little purchase, but I will give it high marks. Download a free client at skype.com, talk free computer-computer (I am berkeleysquarejz) and talk cheaply to phones all around the world. The quality is not perfect, but except in high traffic, it is perfectly acceptable.
Not a commercial, just an endorsement.
McKinney Body Guards
It really hasn't been her week.
More on the union influence in Philadelphia.
The facts: McClatchy is led by CEO Gary Pruitt in Sacramento, Calif. Its largest paper is the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul. McClatchy is buying Knight-Ridder's 32 papers for $4.5 billion plus the assumption of a $2 billion debt. McClatchy also announced it will sell 12 papers for a estimated $1.4 billion. Which? Those with "slow population growth."
Among those they're keeping:
The (Boise, Idaho) Statesman, The (Bradenton, Fla.) Herald, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, The (Olathe, Kan.) News, The (Lexington, Ky.) Herald Leader, the Center Daily Times (State College, Pa.), and Kansas City Star.
Not exactly union bastions.
Among those they're selling:
The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News. Guess what? McClatchy intends to sell all the Knight Ridder papers with newsroom unions!
The Mercury News out of San Jose isn't afraid to speak out. Columnist Mark Schwanhausser asks: Since "eight of the 12 papers to be sold are union shops, is it a referendum on unionized papers?"
Sounds like it.
But don't worry... there will no doubt be a buyer. How about the employees?
The hype has begun.
Against them will be an inspired Eagles team and 65,000 Birds fans giving T.O. a welcome only Philadelphia can provide.
Eagles fans hate Dallas like no other NFL team. That bum T.O. playing for them didn't help.
Posted by AlexC at 3:05 PM
American Sharia Law?
Here's an article which you must read in it's entirety.
April 5, 2006
Victory for the Unions
This is fantastic! Yay!
Street brokered the complex deal between the developer, Liberty Property Trust, and Plumbers Union Local 690, with support from State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo after the potty standoff was made public in The Inquirer and became a cause celebre for the city's environmental groups.
The agreement clears the way for Liberty to install 116 no-flush urinals in the men's rooms at the 58-story Comcast Center, and increases the chances that the 975-foot skyscraper will earn the title of America's tallest green building.
Liberty, however, was forced to accept a long list of conditions to open the way for the green devices. Most significantly, it agreed to install standard water lines with the urinals, although they are unnecessary and will not be connected. The plumbers contend this is a backup measure, in case the urinals don't work.
You got that? The Plumber's union was threatened by progress and new technology, so they extracted concessions to install pipes that are completely unnecessary.
If only the buggy whip maker's union was this strong.
I'm uncommitted in '08, unless Secretary Rice runs, in which case I'll quit my job and volunteer full time.
Massachusetts Gov. Romney has a good shot at my support. As Eidelblog points out there is a real moment of truth for the Governor's Presidential ambitions. Will he sign a "bullshit" law (that's Eidelbog's choice of words, I would never throw out economics jargon like that) mandating health insurance in the Commonwealth?.
It's not just in Massachusetts that government officials think they can legislate a free lunch, but this really takes the cake. It looks like Gov. Mitt Romney is willing to sign some form of the bill, proving he's as conservative as George W. Bush -- in other words, a big-government "compassionate" conservative, not a true Reaganite conservative.
We just missed handing one a Darwin Award out yesterday.
If you drive a dump truck with the bed up underneath electified wires, what do you thinkwould happen?
Maybe this guy shouldn't have been driving the truck at all!
Follow the link for pictures.
Posted by AlexC at 3:00 PM
Brett R. Steidler, 25, of Reamstown, Pa., mailed the explosive device in February 2005 because he was "extremely unhappy with the results" of the $8,000 surgery, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in court filings.
I think unhappy with the results would be an understatement. But I wonder if this guy is making up for something.
The lawyer is right. He shouldn't have been charged that way. Attepted murder maybe.
But am I the only one who thinks that a 4-8 year sentence for using a WMD is a bit low?
I'll leave thsi alone until June Sixth.
Posted by John Kranz at 2:22 PM
Public Campaign Finance
I have to widen my oppo reading. I have subscribed to The New Republic for a few years (long enough to watch them go from pro-war to anti-war). I have said nice things about Beinart, Foer -- and the pieces from Professor Howard Stunz are awesome. All that fun, and the smug feeling that I'm keeping up with the other side. Good stuff.
LatteSipper sent me a NYTimes Editorial piece and an Atlantic Monthly article. I may succumb to TimesSelect. Much as I hate to pay for Krugman and Modo, it is a legitimate business model and I could console myself with supporting David Brooks. I haven't read Atlantic Monthly in a while, I'll grab a paper copy -- any other suggestions?
Lest I think I am too close to TNR, they come out this week for public financing of campaigns. How tough it has been to regulate campaign spending before (yeah), the unintended consequences (I'm with you), then the call for public finance and this whopper:
The main argument against public financing is the cost. But the cost of public funding must be weighed against the fiscal benefits. According to Nancy Watzman of Public Campaign, public financing of congressional elections would cost about $1.5 billion every two years. By contrast, the current system encourages billions each year in business subsidies and tax breaks that lack any market rationale. And it results in legislation like the bankruptcy, energy, and prescription-drug bills that amount to a transfer of billions from the working and middle classes to businesses and their stockholders. By a modest estimate, an investment of less than $1 billion per year for public financing would free more than $50 billion each year that could be allocated or saved, depending on what Congress, free of the pressures of the system's subtle kinds of bribery, decided.
NO! The opposition to public finance is not cost. It is a belief in freedom! Who gets my money? If I want to support socialists, I can give to them, I can choose to give a lot to somebody I believe in, I can choose to give nothing.
This is against the grain of American politics, and is outrageously pro-incumbent. Anybody around here want to take TNR's side? They are serious folks, but I cannot go with them here.
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page has some ideas for the GOP "to use the few productive weeks it has left to establish a 2006 record and 2007 agenda that are worthy of re-election."
They, correctly, diagnose the malaise that has spread over the GOP base (cf, ThreeSources) and provide some suggestions which are more appealing than the "we don't suck as bad as the other guys" defense, which is sadly the only one I have got left if Congress doesn't get their WSJ today.
May we suggest a Plan B? How about at least fighting for the agenda that elected them the last time? It's obvious at this stage of the 109th Congress that little will actually become law, especially with Democrats able to filibuster in the Senate. But if Republicans were seen to be fighting for some principles, voters might actually decide it's worth showing up on November 7.
They suggest bold moves on topics all the Republicans around here could agree with: cutting taxes, health care choice, endangered species overreach, congressional reform. Even if they lose in Congress, they provide a reason for the Republicans to show up at he polls.
On election night in 2004, Democratic campaign consultant James Carville asked: Where did all these Republican voters come from? Unless Republicans set a new legislative course over the next seven months, a deposed House Speaker Denny Hastert may soon be wondering: Where did all the Republican voters go?
Black Holes for Olives
Astronomers have discovered a cloud of alcohol 463 billion kilometres long
PARIS (AFP) - Astronomers say they have spotted a cloud of alcohol in deep space that measures 463 billion kilometres (288 billion miles) across, a finding that could shed light on how giant stars are formed from primordial gas.
I'm thinking martini, you could never find enough salt to make that a margarita.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:21 AM
Craziest Idea Ever
I've seen Paris Hilton's videos.
Both of them.
She's no Mother Theresa.
... it's good enough for thee, but not for me.
However, Eric Pianka says his remarks about his beliefs were taken out of context, that he was just raising a warning that deadly disease epidemics are a threat if population growth isn't contained.
"He wishes for it. He hopes for it. He laughs about it. He jokes about it," Mims said. "It's got to happen because we are the scourge of humanity."
Obviously a death threat was over the line.
But he's only 1/5,000,000,000th of the world's population. He was angling for 90%!
Apparently that's not over the line.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney sounded more presidential than their Democratic counterparts. Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) seemed the most depressed or suicidal. And Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), sounded the most like a "girly man."
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin collected transcripts of 271 televised interviews, news conferences, town hall meetings and candidate debates conducted in 2004. The speech samples -- more than 400,000 words in all -- were run through a computer text-analysis program.
Read the whole thing... It's actually quite funny.
But the Democrats had better hair.
Oh electorate, thy art so unfair!
Posted by AlexC at 2:40 AM
April 4, 2006
The Best of Collection
For some reason, I was reading about the overthrow and desmise of Romania's communist leader, Nicolae Ceauşescu. I surprised to read that as he and his wife were facing their executioners, they began reciting the Internationale.
The first line of which is, "Arise, the damned of the earth."
Not sure how the Romanian translation is, but it would be some sense of karmic justice if they just got as far as the damned. Then BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.
Anyway... so I started reading about the Internationale. It's also a song.
Which I wanted to hear... I managed to track it down, which led me to the album above.
Apparently through the miracle of capitalism, you can get that album AND "The Best of the Red Army Choir" for only $39.96. Hell. You can even buy it used from 38 other comrades.
What a country.
The Opposite Of Progress...
The Everyday Economist gives us this Quote of the Day.
“There’s a power outage in the Capitol. No power, no product. The Dow is up 120. Draw your own conclusions.”
Jay Cost writes at RealClearPolitics about the DeLay resignation. He argues that House races are really referenda on the incumbent, not the administration.
The Administration Responds
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page publishes a response to Messrs. Buckley, Will and Fukuyama (Free link)
A small group of current and former conservatives--including George Will, William F. Buckley Jr. and Francis Fukuyama--have become harsh critics of the Iraq war. They have declared, or clearly implied, that it is a failure and the president's effort to promote liberty in the Middle East is dead--and dead for a perfectly predictable reason: Iraq, like the Arab Middle East more broadly, lacks the democratic culture that is necessary for freedom to take root. And so for cultural reasons, this effort was flawed from the outset. Or so the argument goes.
Peter Wehner answers the most serious arguments that war critics have recently raised: The War Is Lost (No, it isn't), The freedom agenda is dead (nope), .and George Will's assertion that the Middle East lacks a President Madison or Chief Justice Marshall:
and it lacks the astonishingly rich social and cultural soil from which such people sprout." There is no "existing democratic culture" that will allow liberty to succeed, he argues. And he scoffs at the assertion by President Bush that it is "cultural condescension" to claim that some peoples, cultures or religions are destined to despotism and unsuited for self-government. The most obvious rebuttal to Mr. Will's first point is that only one nation in history had at its creation a Washington, Madison and Marshall--yet there are 122 democracies in the world right now. So clearly founders of the quality of Washington and Madison are not the necessary condition for freedom to succeed.
(JohnGalt beat them to this with some recent comments, pointing out that Japan did not have a George Washington.)
I'd recommend the whole piece as a serious argument against serious concerns brought by serious people.
WASHINGTON -- Succumbing to scandal, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he is resigning from Congress in the face of a tough re-election race, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style.
Good for him. I imagine he will have a very successful post-Congressional career. And I believe that the party will be better poised for the 2006 midterms without him.
Not disrespecting him, but I also hope that this departure will allow the GOP to recover eh Spirit 0f '94. Leader DeLay, though an effective legislator, has come to stand for the incumbency party we dislike.
April 3, 2006
Everyone is linking to this, so why not.
They did neglect to mention that whole ridiculous spending thing.... but it's very well done.
Posted by AlexC at 8:35 PM
Sports in the News
It's sports day at Threesources.com!
Earlier JK turned me on to the VORP earlier today.
For the next installment.
Lynn Swann for Governor of Pa. Most of you remember Lynn Swann from his championship days at the Pittsburgh Steelers... eventually leading to the Hall of Fame.
With very limited political experience he's currently in a statistical tie with the current governor and consumate politician Ed Rendell. So of course that opens him up for attack.
But criticizing his Hall of Fame entry?
I'm guessing if we're talking football performance that's the best they're going to do all political season.
Nah. We're dealing with something else here, something that is best discounted. That kind of personal attack against an NFL Hall of Famer, an African American who performed remarkable feats throughout a splendid NFL career and is now seeking to help lift his home State above the gutter in which its current thuggish governor has been attempting to keep it, has no intellectual merit. Aside, that is, from determining whom he thinks possesses cooties.
Ugly, Wrong, Stupid, Anti-American, Anti-Life
Mr. James Lileks has some words for the likes of me.
There are those who do not like Daylight Savings Time – it’s false time, a patent lie; why not say the sun sets at midnight? You can believe these things if you like, but do not bring them up in my presence. By my lights, setting the clocks back is the unnatural part. As a night owl, I treasure the longer evenings, and few things put a lilt in this grey hard lump of anthracite I call a heart than stepping outside at eight and seeing the world has not been cast back in the black pit. I love Daylight Savings Time. For that matter I’m used to its conclusion; it’s actually become part of the rhythm of the year for me. When the clocks go back the day seems to contract; when they leap ahead – in a single bound, as though they’ve been straining at the leash – the day expands and exhales. It’s a wonderful thing. People who oppose it are ugly and stupid and un-American and wrong and evil and anti-life.
Perhaps this coalition will never hold. The PSFFBs* will never see the light.
Communists! [* PSFFBs: Pro-Spring-Forward-Fall-Backs]
Beisboll Been Berry Berry Good to Me
One thing I really dig about baseball is the endless persuit of statistics.
Now Rollins has his sights on breaking DiMaggio's 65-year-old record. There is a catch, though, because DiMaggio did it in the same season. The major league marks for longest hitting streak in one season and longest hitting streak spanning two seasons are separate records.
DiMaggio holds both marks with his 56-game streak in 1941, but there is a difference in the NL records: Pete Rose (1978) and Willie Keeler (1897) share the NL mark at 44 games. However, Keeler got a hit in his final game of 1896, so his run of 45 games overall is the first record Rollins can chase.
"You have to start over in your approach," Rollins said. "There's no pennant chase now, so I'm going to have to find other things to focus on."
Rollins' hitting streak is the ninth-longest over one season in big league history, and the longest in the majors since 1987, when Paul Molitor hit safely in 39 consecutive games. The old Phillies franchise record of 31 was set by Ed Delahanty in 1899.
The colder weather certainly won't help Rollins. He has never hit well in April, compiling a .227 average during that month over the last two years.
Rollins currently stands at 36 consecutive games with a hit, so he's got to get at least 20.
April 2, 2006
The bill: $303.
For him, money wasn't an object. He wasn't paying. You were.
Over the last two years, the state has reimbursed the veteran legislator $28,200 on bookstore spending sprees, a review of expense records shows. He spent $1,118 in September alone, making nine trips to bookstores.
This has allowed the Philadelphia Democrat to expand his personal library by more than 800 titles.
That's more than one book a day for the legislator who describes himself as "a voracious reader."
Cohen's book bill for 2004 and 2005 is more than what the Philadelphia School District spent to stock library shelves at the two high schools and two middle schools in his legislative district. The four schools, which have a combined enrollment of 5,000 students, spent $21,600 on books and periodicals in that two-year period, officials said.
In doing all that reading, Representative Cohen has apparently not heard of a library. The city is full of them. I bet they have a few of those 800 books in there. He should stop by one.
I heard they don't even charge you!
Some one ought to write How to be Fiscally Responsible: A Primer for Politicians. There's a book I wouldn't mind buying for these guys.
"The Republican Party is Split on Immigration" scream the headlines. We certainly have some disagreement around here. I don't see Democrats providing real leadership here, and I question that a united front is doing them much good.
I have had to face opposition to my views from Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson. A friend emailed this article with the Subject "Hanson." I thought it was the band. Of course, VDH has written a whole book about adverse effects of rampant illegal immigration and unassimilated Mexican people in has native California.
I have repeatedly made the case for a guest worker program, and said early that it could be packaged as a compromise with stricter security, resulting in a GOP win. I have faced the squeamish task of defending those who broke the law, those who refuse to assimilate, and even the ridiculous marchers who flaunted their ignorance and opposition to this country's ideals.
That's tough work for a law-and-order guy but I think that the economic advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and that a guest worker program is a step toward a legal, controlled process that recognizes the exigencies of 11 million folks who are, well, here.
A very good point made by the other side was poll numbers showing overwhelming support for enforcement. As blog pragmatist, I have to look toward victory but feel that the support is "a mile wide and an inch thick," and that leadership could show people the benefits and overcome the demagoguery that has plagued this issue.
Bill Kristol seems to back me up in this week's Weekly Standard." In Y is for Yahoo, Kristol indulges in some name calling to a Representative from my state. But he also repeats the truth that the electorate has not been that kind to those who espouse policies that can be thought anti-immigrant.
The leaders of what he calls "THE HOUSE CAUCUS TO RETURN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MINORITY STATUS--also known as the House Immigration Reform Caucus" all happen to be from safe seats. Statewide office holders have to be more moderate.
Dana Rohrabacher has represented a safe GOP seat in Orange County for almost two decades. He's chosen never to run statewide. In California, Republican governor Pete Wilson exploited the immigration issue to help get reelected in 1994, and the voters passed a Republican-backed anti-immigration measure, proposition 187. No Republican candidate except the idiosyncratic Arnold Schwarzenegger has won statewide since.
Adding these examples to Pete Wilson's temporary gains but long term GOP minority in California, I do not see this as an election winner.
The American people are worried about immigration. In a Pew Survey released last week, 52 percent of Americans saw immigration as a burden, while 41 percent said it strengthened the country; 53 percent support sending illegals home, while 40 percent endorsed a path to citizenship. Given the hoopla about illegal immigration, this division is in fact surprisingly close. In any case, it means GOP senators and congressmen--and presidents--have plenty of room to show leadership and to resist demagoguery. Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?
UPDATE: An AP/Ipsos poll shows support for guest worker programs.
The survey found 62 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans favored temporary worker status.
April 1, 2006
Pardon the pun. This is nuts.
"It's extremely bizarre," District Attorney Michael Bonfoey said in a telephone interview. "It's incredible the amount of ways that people can find to run afoul of the law."
Sheriff's investigators said Richard Sciara, 61, Danny Reeves, 49, and Michael Mendez, 60, admitted performing at least eight surgeries, including castrations and testicle replacements, on six consenting clients over the past year. None of the three is licensed to practice medicine, officials said.
These guys might find out how North Carolina's penal system works.
Each man faces 10 felony counts _ five each of castration without malice and conspiracy to commit castration without malice _ as well as eight misdemeanor counts of performing medical acts without a license. Each felony carries a maximum three years and three months in prison, Bonfoey said.
"Assuming that the victims consented to this _ and we don't know that for sure yet _ that doesn't make it a defense," Bonfoey said. "We can't have people who are not medical doctors lopping off limbs and other body parts."
In all seriousness, you have to ask yourself what business the sheriff of Haywood County has inside of this dungeon. It's on private property, it was probably done with consent. I can't imagine getting castrated unwillingly and not complaining.
Surely privacy rights advocates would jump to their defense.
... and since it involves multiple men in some sort of S&M situation, wouldn't gay rights advocates step up too?
Also begs another question. Say for example abortion is against the law in South Dakota.... and it's settled law. North Carolina also passes a similar measure.
Would "back alley" abortionists also be subject to this law, with this case as precident?
Would abortion-rights advocates step in, as well? This case sounds like a coalition builder! ;)
After years of tiresome conservatism, always siding with big business against the little guy, I've decided that I'm going to see the error of my ways, and become a liberal.
I'm burning my NRA card, and replacing it with an ACLU card.
Environmental issues should always trump economic interests and I'm ready to raise taxes on the rich. It's not confiscation, it's compassion (or is it compensation?) Social Security needs no repair, neither does Medicare.
I retain my membership in the Roman Catholic Church, however it's tempered with my own blend of abortion on demand and interest in hemlock, and I will not attend it's weekly services until women are welcomed into the Priesthood.
I'm tired of tirelessly defending the Bush Doctrine and all of it's attendant and necessary lies.
Iran? Don't worry about them. They need to defend themselves against the aggressive Israeli/Zionist state.
I think that our military should only be used at the behest of the UN, and only with their blessing. A corollary to that is that I believe Neville Chamberlain was misunderstood and peace should have been given another chance to work.
And don't you dare call me unpatriotic!
I'm out and I'm a proud liberal!
Of course, before the process is totally complete, I'm going to need a government run health care system to cover my lobotomy, as my government paid prescription of stupid pills are only a temporary fix.
I'm not a real man. I function as one and like a lot of the same things men do. Of course my grooming habits are not good enough for me to consider being gay. But some malformed, truncated Y-chromosome makes it impossible for me to enjoy action films.
Taking this into account, I have to provide a mixed review of Peter Jackson's "King Kong." I went to Redbox early yesterday and was very happy to find it in stock. The first 90 minutes were extremely good. Great narrative choice, compelling characters, solid acting. I was ready to give out some stars. A girl, a guy, a gorilla, a good movie.
Stephen King, in one of his non-fiction books, Danse Macabre, says that the problem with making a horror movie is that the director ultimately has to show his hand: let us see the monster. Jackson handles this with aplomb (movie reviewers get to use words like "aplomb"). Quick cuts of the beast from the POV of the blonde in his hand -- more good stuff.
Then, however, we get an hour of special effects and fight scenes. Some idiot put an hour of "Jurassic Park" in this perfectly good movie, Dinosaur fights dinosaur, Dinosaur chases human, big bugs are shot off humans with tommy-guns, Gorilla fights dinosaur, big bats chase people. The effects are splendid but YAWN! the storyline doesn't move an inch the whole time.
Then more action scenes back in New York, then an ending we've seen 100 times but was done very well. I like Jackson and I like the style of this film too much to pan it, but I can only give it three stars although parts of it are five star quality.
Posted by John Kranz at 9:16 AM