June 30, 2006
PA-12: Diana Irey on Fox
DB Light has video of Diana Irey on Fox & Friends up on his blog.
Topic for discussion was Congressman Jack Murtha's Haditha accusations. She's asking for an apology. Some of her would-be 12th District constituents want him to resign.
Posted just for you JK, because I know you're interested! ;)
Freedom of Speech?
If we can tell people that it's obscene to show pictures of children having sex (and it is), why can't we say it's obscene to burn the flag that is the symbol of this shining city on a hill, a flag for which many brave men and women have died? If it hurts women's feelings to hear sex jokes at the office and if that's illegal, doesn't it also hurt patriots' feelings to see the flag burned?
I don't get it. Why is protecting the flag less of a priority than banning song lyrics or dirty jokes or pornography?
What am I missing here? The flag is sacred. There is more than enough state interest in protecting to keep it from being burned. Can we reconsider this, please?
I really have a problem with hate crime legislation, but is burning a flag a hate crime?
French Apple Pie
Both the Senate and the National Assembly, France's lower house, voted in favor of the copyright bill, which some analysts said could cause Apple Computer Inc. and others to pull their music players and online download stores from France.
The vote was the final legislative step before the bill becomes law — barring the success of a last-ditch constitutional challenge filed last week by the opposition Socialists.
Currently, songs bought on iTunes can be played only on iPods, and an iPod can't play downloads from other stores that rival the extensive iTunes music catalog from major artists and labels — like Sony's Connect and Napster.
In a just world, Apple would stop selling iPods in France out of spite.
But alas, I predict capitulation.
James Pinkerton reviews Superman Returns for TCS: Zeitgeist in Tights. I had to admit that I am a lot more interested in the movie as politics (Truth Justice...) than in the movie as film.
Pinkerton addresses the points well
Are Americans ready for a post-George W. Bush "Superman"? You know, a sensitive guy, more thoughtful and reflective than the 43rd president -- but also better looking than John Kerry? If so, then "Superman Returns" might be the perfect post-Bush-era movie.
Yet another Superman dramatization becomes more notable for what changes than what it does. Superman has gotten younger and trimmer through the years, and obviously less into American exceptionalism.
So we come to yet another bit o' Zeitgeist that "Superman Returns" wishes to bite off: the 2006 movie as a metaphor for 2006 America. The superpower -- I mean superhero -- is shown as good, but flawed. He has made mistakes, most notably, not being sufficiently, er, multilateral with Lois. And he has paid a price for his go-it-alone unilateralism; he is now isolated from the ones he loves, and from those who love him, or should love him -- as seen in this poster. Whereas the old Superman blasted into our face with America-saving energy, the new Superman is pensive, even existential. He is not only alone, he is also unsure of himself; no cocked fists for him, his arms are extended and his hands open, as if he is trying to feel his way to a new place.
Here I must confess that I have never seen any Superman movies. I caught a hunk of a Reeve one on TV several years ago. I just watch other people watching Superman. Creepy, but the franchise never caught me as a lad, teen or soi disant grownup.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM
NC - 13th District
Vernon Robinson is running in North Carolina's 13th CD, against Congressman Brad Miller, whom he labels "ultra-liberal."
Here's the kind of political ad you almost never see, so it's bound to get national attention.
Unfit to Print
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page explains the decision of its news pages to publish details of the SWIFT tracking story for which the New York Times and Los Angeles Times are in so much trouble.
It's an interesting look at the story, the decisions, the difference between the two papers, and a speculation of how they would have handled the story. It's an interesting read and a free link.
The problem with the Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don't. On issue after issue, it has become clear that the Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush Administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it.
June 29, 2006
Mushrooms After A Rainstorm
Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, did not specify if the newly found weapons were also chemical munitions. But he said he expected more.
"I do not believe we have found all the weapons," he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, offering few details in an open session that preceded a classified briefing to lawmakers.
These things turning up this month is very odd.
Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania suggested the munitions were in fact the weapons of mass destruction that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein lied about, leading the United States to war.
"For those who claim that these weapons are not the weapons of mass destruction that the United States went to war over, I would refer them to 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions that Saddam Hussein violated," Weldon said. "It didn't say pre-'91 chemical weapons. It didn't say post-'91 chemical weapons. It said chemical weapons."
But Democrats dismissed such arguments and said the weapons were not the "imminent threat" used to justify the war.
"It's very difficult to characterize these as the imminent threat weapons that we were told we were looking for," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat.
Ugh. For the thousandth time...
That's the 2003 State of the Union.
jk Endorses VP Gore
I don't know that I get to endorse a Democrat for the 2008 Nomination, the Internet pundit charter is pretty ambiguous on this. But I very much hope it is Vice President Gore
First, it would make a lot of leftists happy and I am all about making people happy. Seriously, the left is disenchanted with Senator Clinton and I am not hoping for millions to hold their nose as they vote (even though I may). To that end, here's Martin Peretz on The Plank at TNR, admitting "OK, I'm a Gore Flack."
I confess: I did buy five copies of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. But that doesn't explain why the book is on nearly every one of the important best-seller lists in the country. This coming Sunday, it's number one on The New York Times paperback best-seller list. Last week, it was already number one on the best-seller lists of The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Denver Post. Book Sense, the weekly report of the Independent Book Sellers Association, also has it in the top place.
Beyond a happy Marty, and many friends who feel the same, I yearn for an ideological election. Senator Clinton would moderate her positions as her handlers dictated to secure 270 Electoral Votes. She would not likely call for socialized medicine, she'd likely be more of a Senator Kerry: hard to pin down for an explicit debate.
VP Gore would ameliorate a little but would "let his freak flag fly." (I use that as a compliment, by the way, as did Jimi Hendrix.) We could discuss Global Warming, and the War on Terror among some number of candidates with explicit positions. Nobody could tell you the difference between the Kerry and Bush Iraq positions in 2004, though most harbored a suspicion.
Go Gore! Let's have a real election. And please oh please oh please have Secretary Rice run. I don't want him to win or anything.
John Hawkins @ Right Wing News wants to make lemons of this morning's Gitmo SCOTUS decision.
Also, if the reasoning here is supposed to be that Congress hasn't approved of military tribunals, then let's put it up for a vote. My suspicion is that most Democrats would favor putting these terrorists through the American court system, which would mean long drawn out trials, the risk of classified intelligence sources being revealed, and lots of acquittals. On the other hand, Republicans would favor military tribunals, which would sidestep all of those problems.
So basically, we'll have the Democrats who'll be so concerned about the terrorists rights that they'd favor letting them beat the system and get loose to kill more Americans. On the other hand, the Republicans won't be very concerned about the right of foreign terrorists and their first priority will be protecting America. Protecting the rights of Al-Qaeda or protecting America?
That would make one hell of a 2006 campaign issue.
You Write The Headline
Here are the facts:
The U.S. economy grew at a 5.6% rate in the first quarter, stronger than previously thought and the fastest pace in nearly three years, but two gauges measuring inflation were lowered. Initial jobless claims rose slightly.
I'm thinking the headline is:
But I'm open to suggestions.
Ann Coulter writes about the NY Times' recent behaviour and famous traitors like Tokyo Rose & Axis Sally.
The federal statute on treason, 18 USC 2381, provides in relevant part: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States ... adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000."
Thanks to The New York Times, the easiest job in the world right now is: "Head of Counterintelligence — Al-Qaida." You just have to read The New York Times over morning coffee, and you're done by 10 a.m.
The greatest threat to the war on terrorism isn't the Islamic insurgency — our military can handle the savages. It's traitorous liberals trying to lose the war at home. And the greatest threat at home isn't traitorous liberals — it's patriotic Americans, also known as "Republicans," tut-tutting the quaint idea that we should take treason seriously.
As usual, it's good points mixed with Ann Coulter's "wit."
But I'm wondering... according to 18 USC 2381, it presupposes owing allegiance to the United States. What if you're an admitted post-nationalist? Are you exempted?
Oil Prices Going Down?
Kudlow says we're going to be surprised.
Recently I interviewed four oil-tanker executives who control a combined 85 percent of the oil coming into the United States. They confirmed market rumors that the amount of oil being stored on large carriers on the high seas is abnormally high. One of the CEOs even predicted the possibility of $40 to $50 oil in the next 6 to 12 months. In another interview, Chevron CEO David O'Reilly suggested that gasoline and energy demands have flattened in the U.S., and may be showing signs of decline.
June 28, 2006
Dummest. Move. Ever.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the claim by the spokesman from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
The group had recently claimed to possess about 20 biological warheads for the makeshift rockets commonly fired from Gaza at Israeli towns. This was the first time the group had claimed firing such a rocket.
"The al-Aqsa Brigades have fired one rocket with a chemical warhead" at southern Israel, Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the group, said in Gaza.
Israel is denying it, but if true, this is the end of the Palestinian "government."
East Coast Flooding
In southeast Pennsylvania, the local rivers & creeks are nearing record level flooding.
The Schuylkill will crest at lower-than-expected levels in Philadelphia. Big local creeks like the Perkiomen, Neshaminy and Brandywine have crested after soaring over their banks Wednesday.
A hundred miles north in Wilkes-Barre 150 to 200 thousand are being evacuated.
This is of Park Road at the Perkiomen in Schwenksville. The low spot in the road is a bridge.... well, used to be a bridge.
This is Perkiomen Bridge at Collegeville, taken from the parking lot of the Collegeville Inn. Yes, that's their parking lot. The bridge itself dates back to the 1790s, when the Pennsylvania legislature authorized a lottery to raise funds for its construction. The stone bridge was actually widened to three lanes in the early 1900s to allow for trolley traffic.
Thanks to my wife Rachael, who braved the deluge, while I'm out of town!
PA - 12
Since seizing his party's anti-war mantle, Murtha has become a great draw for Democratic fundraisers, helping his party boost its prospects for a congressional takeover. Naturally, this helps his party-leadership bid as well.
But at the same time, his outspokenness made him a huge target for the Internet right. His district went for John Kerry with only 51% in 2004. What originally seemed like a long-shot bid by Diana Irey (R.) to unseat Murtha has taken on new credibility as she raises money from the Internet and as Murtha makes more and more outrageous statements.
One of the downsides of a vocal leadership role for Congressman is that the local voters still have to cast their ballots.
Inside the 12th district, opinion is mixed.
"I think that makes the guys feel terrible when he starts, you know, bashing. I think you need to support the guys," Biesinger-Sliko said. "I think it's created a lot of bad feelings for the people whose families are over there."
.. and finally.
"Maybe they should have searched a little bit more" for weapons of mass destruction, Geiger said. "But once you're into it, you're stuck with it."
Wall Street Journal's Political Diary asks "Are Tom Tancredo's 15 minutes up yet?"
Yesterday's primary in Utah's Third Congressional District was positioned by the Rep Tancredo wing as a referendum on immigration. It is not clear that it remained clean after gambling and Satan entered the race, but Rep Tancredo's on a roll to challenge Kos and MoveOn.org for electoral irrelevance. All three of them want their whole party to follow them in the woods.
Holman Jenkins, in Political Diary, says:
The argument promoted by the anti-immigrant forces was that the Cannon race, in a district that remains strongly Republican and pro-Bush, would demonstrate that any Republican who voted for an immigration bill not focused solely on border enforcement was ingesting political cyanide. Late revelations that Mr. Jacobs had gambled in Las Vegas and hired an illegal Chilean couple undercut the clarity of his trumpet. And not helping was his complaint, confided to a newspaper editorial board, that "Satan" was militating on the other side. But Mr. Jacobs and his national supporters insisted the race was a referendum on guest worker proposals. So let's give them that.
Bad economics, bad politics.
UPDATE: Cannon won 63-33% in 2004 but trailed President Bush's 77-20%
Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM
Truth, Justice ...
... and all that stuff.
Yes, yes, good for you two jackasses. Aren't you just so clever. I bet Stalin and Kim Jung-il couldn't be prouder.
... and there's more.
Pew Poll: Hail Madam Speaker!
No, it doesn't suggest Rep Pelosi's party will prevail -- but it doesn't look too good. The new Pew poll highlights Democrat advantages in voter enthusiasm and in "who should control Congress?" Pew also invokes 1994:
Anti-incumbent sentiment has risen since April, and is on par with surveys taken on the eve of the critical 1994 midterm twelve years ago. Nearly a third of voters (32%) say they do not want to see the representative in their district reelected, up from 28% two months ago. And 57% say they would like to see most members of Congress replaced this fall, up from 53% in April.
Hat-tip: Sixers (Some guy named Alex)
Givin' It Away
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and TCSDaily have both taken some whacks at Warren Buffett for fervently supporting the death tax while evading it for his own fortune.
Mr. Buffett can do what he chooses, indeed that's the best benefit of having billions, is it not? I think he has the "lock the door behind me" mentality that has infected America's wealthy for centuries. I'll look the other way on that, but does anybody believe they'll do half as much good giving away $30 Billion than he did making it? I suppose some believe that, but they're in pretty short supply around ThreeSources.
The WSJ Ed Page goes a little deeper today. They mention the death tax, but also discuss the focus of the foundation and the probability of keeping it after the Gateses and Buffetts have become eligible to pay estate taxes.
Which is all the more reason to watch how well the two men now deploy their gifts. We can't think of two people less in need of our two cents than Messrs. Buffett and Gates. But since giving free advice is our business, we'd suggest that they put at least a smidgen of their money back into strengthening the foundations of the free-market system that has allowed them to become so fabulously rich. There's something to be said for reinvesting in the moral capital of a free society and trying to sustain and export free-enterprise policies.
That's an auspicious start, but I am still not hopeful.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM
June 27, 2006
Flag Burning Amendment in Flames
WASHINGTON - A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration died in a Senate cliffhanger Tuesday, a single vote short of the support needed to send it to the states for ratification a week before Independence Day.
The flag is sacred, not because of what it is, but because of the freedom for which it stands. Venerating your symbols more than freedom is a bad slope down.
UPDATE: Attila at PillageIdiot agrees and proposes a defense of flag protectors from assault charges.
DEFENSE FOR ASSAULT ON FLAG-BURNERS: It shall be a defense to a charge of simple assault that the person assaulted was burning or attempting to burn the American flag.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:33 PM
Mooooovin' On Up!
ThreeSources's own AlexC was noticed at SantorumBlog and has now been invited to blog with Sixers on National Review Online "The Right Eyes on the 2006 Elections"
I will add Sixers to the blogroll. Very cool, bro'. Don't forget us.
There's bullish news in the Wall Street Journal news pages today: Blizzard of Deals Heralds an Era Of Megamergers
There's no end in sight for this year's parade of megamergers.
Heightened merger activity is a better measure that Ann Arbor’s bogus "Consumer Confidence Level." Folks paying attention are willing to play with real money. This augers well for continued economic expansion.
Move over Soccer Moms and NASCAR Dads and "Queer Eye" Uncles (okay, I made one of those up), the new "it" voter is the Wal*Mart voter. This is according to John Zogby.
A Ryan Sagar piece in RealClearPolitics portends bad things for the GOP in this new, large, block.
Zogby finds that while 85 percent of frequent Wal-Mart shoppers voted for President Bush's reelection in 2004 (and 88 percent of people who never shop there voted for Sen. John Kerry), Wal-Mart voters have turned on the president dramatically. In a poll taken earlier this month, they gave Bush a 35 percent approval rating -- compared to a 45 percent positive rating from born-again Christians, 49 percent from NASCAR fans, and 54 percent from self-identified conservatives.
I have wondered just who is turning away from President Bush and find this a plausible explanation. These folks are not juiced by the SCOTUS picks and the tax cuts.
Wal-Mart voters are simply not a viable, reliable conservative constituency. When Pew looked at the opinions of those pro-government conservatives in a 2005 study, it found that 94 percent favor a higher minimum wage, 63 percent favor the government guaranteeing health care to all citizens, and fewer than half favor drilling in ANWR. What's worst: more than half of pro-government conservatives held positive views of both Bill and Hillary Clinton.
I had posted about "The Party of Sam's Club" last December. Zogby's got more data but it is the same story: making room for populism in the GOP. Sadly, the shift away from basic, Republican principles we have seen can be attributed to this. The high spending incumbents we love to beat up on around here have a very large constituency here that can be developed with gay marriage bans and flag burning amendments. All of which are much easier than limited government.
Defining the Mainstream
I think the size of the mainstream has been determined!
For an agnostic/atheist like myself lots of religious beliefs sound pretty nutty to me, but as Amy Sullivan keeps telling us we keep losing elections because people like me aren't sufficiently respectful of religious beliefs even though, you know, we generally are. And, now, from left to right, from Tap to TNR to the wingnutosphere, people are falling all over themselves to mock someone who had a perfectly mainstream belief apparently shared by millions and millions of Americans.
In related news, liking George Bush's job performance, might just be mainstream.
38% is right in line with 1998's definition of mainstream and way better than contemporary definitions of mainstream.
It's so good to be back in the mainstream again. Despite my disagreement with federal spending lately (really for a while), the line-item veto stuff has brought me back. Let's hope it passes.
June 26, 2006
Fool Me Once?
If this is true, Rush is done.
Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when officials found the drugs, among them Viagra.
Not sure what Viagra has anything to do with it. Other than a cheapshot.
Maybe he's got a prescription.
It would be odd for him to fly somewhere for the price break.
Update: Move along, nothing to see here.
The Wall Street Journal reminds us that it's been 10 years since the Khobar Towers were bombed by pig-tailed girl scouts.
Oh, I'm sorry.
We later learned that senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Spiritual Leader's office had selected Khobar as their target and commissioned the Saudi Hezbollah to carry out the operation. The Saudi police told us that FBI agents had to interview the bombers in custody in order to make our case. To make this happen, however, the U.S. president would need to make a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
So for 30 months, I wrote and rewrote the same set of simple talking points for the president, Mr. Berger, and others to press the FBI's request to go inside a Saudi prison and interview the Khobar bombers. And for 30 months nothing happened. The Saudis reported back to us that the president and Mr. Berger would either fail to raise the matter with the crown prince or raise it without making any request. On one such occasion, our commander in chief instead hit up Prince Abdullah for a contribution to his library. Mr. Berger never once, in the course of the five-year investigation which coincided with his tenure, even asked how the investigation was going.
Please read all of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's op-ed.
The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy,
"If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"
The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within minutes he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150- page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"
You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says the cowboy.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required." answered the cowboy.
"You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about cows. Now ... give me back my dog."
Proud to Stand for Nothing
He contends that Democrats don't need sweeping policy, or written manifesti. They are just swell guys who make all the right decisions at the right time. I appear to be putting words in his mouth but I am really not.
Alas, this is inherently a losing game for liberals. Here is the problem: Conservatism and liberalism are not really mirror images of each other.
Maybe one should send Mr. Chait a copy of Star Parker's book, "You Have to Stand for Something or You'll Fall for Anything "
This is exactly what drives me insane about Bill O'Reilly. He has no centering philosophy, proudly (and loudly) boasting that "I'm not ideologue." Well I am, and I've spent a lot of nice days reading very dull books to get here, William. When I vote for somebody, I want to have a good idea what he or she believes. I may be disappointed but we both acted in good faith.
And I realize that I do not appear philosophically rigid enough for a certain wing of ThreeSourcers. But the day I proudly argue -- as Chait does -- that I have no coherent, codifyable positions, just trust me to make good decisions, you can just shoot me.
Global Warming Consensus
Global Warming advocates like to claim that "the science is settled" and that "there is a consensus in the scientific community" which believes in man-made climate change. To disagree engenders quizzical looks and assumptions that you must be a creationist and a flat-earther as well.
The TCS scientists and columnists are faulted for the substantive funding they receive from petroleum companies. Perhaps that's legitimate, but I do not understand why the converse isn't true: government scientists have an equal or greater stake in perpetuating research.
So, my new buddy is the Alfred P. Sloane Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I don't think anybody ever accused MIT of hiring professors who don't know their science because they're right-wingers. I have quoted Richard Lindzen before, but today he writes in the WSJ Ed page about this consensus which is not a consensus.
When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know… They just don't know."
At War With America
Michael Baron says the New York Times is at war with America.
This was presumably the view as well of the "nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives" who were apparently the sources for the story.
But who elected them to make these decisions? Publication of the Times' December and June stories appears to violate provisions of the broadly written, but until recently, seldom enforced provisions of the Espionage Act. Commentary's Gabriel Schoenfeld has argued that the Times can and probably should be prosecuted.
The counterargument is that it is a dangerous business for the government to prosecute the press. But it certainly is in order to prosecute government officials who have abused their trust by disclosing secrets, especially when those disclosures have reduced the government's ability to keep us safe. And pursuit of those charges would probably require reporters to disclose the names of those sources. As the Times found out in the Judith Miller case, reporters who refuse to answer such questions can go to jail.
June 25, 2006
Plenty of WMD's in the news this week.
In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.
Ed Morrissey @ Captain's Quarters writes on what might happen next.
The question will be where they acquired these weapons. They do not have the research facilities to have developed WMD on their own. If they actually do possess them, it seems a probablility that someone supplied Fatah with WMD.
Who has WMD? What country stocked them, until three years ago? And where does Hamas and Islamic Jihad, at least, have themselves established? Syria -- who has long rumored to have received the Iraqi stockpiles in 2002 and 2003, just ahead of the American invasion.
The Palestinians have just tipped us off to where the WMD went, and now we know where at least some it may have ended up. The Israelis may not be alone in marching through Gaza and the West Bank.
No telling what prompted the Palestinian terrorists to reveal their posessions, (it's a stunningly stupid bluff) but it's been a busy week on the WMD front.
The Case Against Ethanol
The second and third alleged benefits are also likely emphemeral. Given that ethanol production requires substantial energy use, any reduction in pollution or greenhouse gases has to be minor.
So who benefits from ethanol subsidies? Corn farmers in the Midwest and the politicans who have caved to their interests. Taxpayers and the economy are the losers.
The greater Philadelphia area has recently had a 10% Ethanol blend introduced into the system. What does that mean?
Gas is still about $3.05 for the cheap stuff. In neighboring Berks County, but "outside" the area, I paid $2.83. I've always attributed the discrepancy due to the boutique blends, but it's never been so large.
Not to mention since the switch, our Mini Cooper has had trouble on it's first start in the morning. So much so that we switched from Premium to Midgrade on recommendation from Mini. I'm also convinced that my highway mileage in the Magnum has dropped from 27-ish to about 24.
June 24, 2006
With all the hullabaloo breaking out over Jerome Armstrong and Kos, my question is, "How come Jerome didn't see it coming?
Supporting the Troops
Next time a liberal huffs and puffs about Ann Coulter sticking her foot in her mouth, point to this "cartoon" in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
(tip to Blonde Sagacity)
See I can too like an action picture! (punctuate that sentence)
When I think of "action pictures" I group them into two, pejorative types. First is the insane premise. Watching "Speed," or "Red Eye," or "Firewall" I cannot suspend disbelief that far; there's insufficient foundation for the plot. The other type is the exploding buildings movies like Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds." All special effects, no plot.
Yet I can name a pile of movies with strong action that I enjoyed. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy ranks among my favorite movies ever. His "King Kong" was good if not quite up to LOTR standards. "Pulp Fiction," "48 Hours" -- even the "Blues Brothers" movies had car chases.
Last night I watched "16 Blocks" with Bruce Willis and Mos Def. It has a quorum of shooting and a manic bus blast through New York City. It also has a strong plot line, great acting, and a gritty urban noir feel even though it all happens in morning daylight.
Action pic, buddy pic, redemption -- this film has a lot of heart. jk gives it four-and-a-half.
Politician In A Car Accident
No, not a Kennedy.
Dodds, 41, of Rye, has not been charged with any crime.
The unsealed documents, which total more than 100 pages, pointed out that Dodds' clothes were dry, yet his shoes were soaking wet when he was found in April. He spoke of a head injury, but showed no bumps or bruises on his head and there was no damage to the car indicating that he had hit his head, police said. Also, no one saw or heard him cross the Bellamy River.
Of course, it's not until paragraph fifteen or so that you find out he's a Democrat.
June 23, 2006
I'm Joining the ACLU
Death to INCOME TAXES!
Australia, The Brave
That bravery breeds affection in America for another reason as well. Australia is the only country that has fought with the United States in every one of its major conflicts since 1914, the good and the bad, the winning and the losing.
Why? Because Australia's geographic and historical isolation has bred a wisdom about the structure of peace -- a wisdom that eludes most other countries. Australia has no illusions about the "international community'' and its feckless institutions. An island of tranquility in a roiling region, Australia understands that peace and prosperity do not come with the air we breathe, but are maintained by power -- once the power of the British Empire, now the power of the United States.
Australia joined the faraway wars of early-20th-century Europe not out of imperial nostalgia, but out of a deep understanding that its fate and the fate of liberty were intimately bound with that of the British Empire as principal underwriter of the international system. Today the underwriter is America, and Australia understands that an American retreat or defeat -- a chastening consummation devoutly, if secretly, wished by many a Western ally -- would be catastrophic for Australia and for the world.
1914? I did not know that.
Teacher's Union Endorsement
A friend of mine, James Babb, is running for a neighboring State House seat as a Libertarian.
He blogs, too.
Recently, he was seeking the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Educator's Association PAC...
As you can imagine, it was a fun time.
Did I mention he blogs too?
But wait there's more.
I asked them to support my plan to remove the compulsory nature government schooling. This seamed to horrify them. The ring leader informed me that the Pennsylvania constitution guarantees a free (and presumably mandatory) education. When I read her the actual wording: (The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.), the ring leader got very defensive and ended any discussion of the constitution.
Read the whole thing.
Starbucks Killing Their Employees
TCS joins me in criticizing the latest attack on Starbucks for having the temerity to serve products that people like.
Stop Doing What I Said is a good takedown of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). It includes an amusing look at the effort the company made years ago to force restaurants to switch to the trans-fat heavy oils they are trying to ban today.
Best is this gem about CSPI's teaming up with the Starbucks Union. (Baristas Local 17 perhaps?)
For the Starbucks campaign, CSPI teamed up with the union of Starbucks employees, which at the moment is all of about a dozen strong. The idea of suing a company that serves a beverage loaded with a stimulant for obesity is rather absurd on its face. There's nothing fattening about coffee. Of course, adding whole milk, sugary flavoring, and gulping it down with a toffee-almond bar is another story. But that's a decision Starbucks customers make, is it not?
They're killing those people! Giving them pastries! What can be done about this scourge?
More Right Wing Kookiness
I'll stop soon, but the Kos attacks have given me new pleasure reading TNR. The fabled right wing organ today discredits tax cuts, supply-side economics and The Laughter Curve
The supply-siders are back! OK, they never actually left. But they did seem to slink away for a while, as they habitually do when their predictions fall to shambles. Now, the economy is booming and they are claiming victory. William Kristol, editorializing in The Weekly Standard, exults the "wildly successful supply-side tax cuts." Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Stephen Moore gloats, "Tax collections for the past 12 months have exploded by 14.4%." It seems we have all died and gone to voodoo economic paradise.
They make the same argument that famed new-ager AlexC did:
Halving a deficit you inherited would be something to brag about. Halving a deficit you created, not so much. You don't see Bush's former chief domestic policy adviser Claude Allen boasting that he has returned half the merchandise he filched from Target.
Next, a little revisionism: "Second, it's not true. In 2004, the Bush administration released a suspiciously high deficit projection for 2004."
I don't remember everything, mind you, but I think I would have remembered Administration opponents' claiming that they had inflated the deficit numbers. They list some think tanks that did, but the WaPo and Times were pretty happy to do President Bush's bidding and trumpet the huge predictions.
What does work? Why Rubenomics of course:
The supply-side crowing presumes that, without deep and permanent tax cuts, the economy would have stayed in a recession forever. The "class-warfare groups," according to The Wall Street Journal's Moore, "pretend that this robust expansion would have happened without the investment tax cuts." How does Moore explain the fact that we had an even more robust expansion before the Bush tax cuts took place? (In case the Journal needs a reminder, it reacted to the 1993 Clinton tax hike with a series of hysterical editorials under the rubric "the class warfare economy," each illustrated with a guillotine.)
Hope Kos shuts down those crazy right wingers before they cause too much trouble.
The measure comes after a 12-year-old from Wayne was seriously injured when hit in the chest by a line drive off a metal bat.
Diegnan said, "We cannot protect every player against on-field injury, but we can correct a balance of power that has swung disproportionately in favor of hitters using increasingly lethal bats."
I'm in favor of the sound of a wooden bat, or the phony baloney "tink" of an aluminum bat, personally.
Call me "pro-choice" on bats.
But a line drive is a line drive is a line drive. Getting hit in the chest (or the face, i was) is part of the game. Keeping your eye on the ball is part of the game!
Up next is a bill to prevent hard tackling in football or checking in ice hockey.
Stupid. On a hundred levels.
Don’t even joke about it! The WSJ Ed Page points out that "On immigration, Mr. Tancredo is now the real speaker of the House."
The lead editorial (free link) today points out that Tancredo Republicans' do-nothing strategy is not a winner. Looking at the vulnerable races, it is more likely to hurt than help. And that's just the 2006 politics.
Even if all of this somehow works this election year, the long term damage to the GOP could be considerable. Pete Wilson demonized illegal aliens to win re-election as California Governor in 1994, but at the price of alienating Latino voters for a decade. The smarter Republicans--President Bush, Karl Rove, Senator John McCain, Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Florida Governor Jeb Bush--understand that the GOP can't sustain its majority without a larger share of the Hispanic vote. Making Mr. Tancredo the spokesman on this issue is a surefire way to make Hispanics into permanent Democrats.
I disagree with the WSJ Ed Page that this is unprecedented. The Democrats thought obstructionism on judges was a winner. If you catch former leader Tom Daschle in a coffee shop in South Dakota, you can ask him how that worked out.
June 22, 2006
Much Ado About Korea
It would appear that the North Koreans have a missile all fueled up on the launch pad. All ready to go.
What do we do?
2) Shoot it down from with our new-fangled missile defense system.
3) Let diplomacy have a chance. (again)
4) None of the above.
Right Wing Shill!
TNR Editor-in-chief Martin Peretz comes out for VP Al Gore: Why Al Gore is the Democrat's best bet for 2008
I was first for Al Gore for president when he ran in the primaries in 1988. He lost to Michael Dukakis in that year's suicide of the Democratic Party, an ignominious campaign by a smug and utterly disconnected governor from the only state that had voted for George McGovern. Jesse Jackson was the celebrity candidate, with his hip-hop language that some patronizing folk will still tell you is eloquence. Had Al Gore been the nominee in 1988, he likely would have defeated George Herbert Walker Bush, and the nation would have been saved the grim experience of his unlikely and uncomprehending dynasty.
Yet the Kos Kids cannot tell the difference between TNR and The Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard has yet to make a formal endorsement in '08, but I have a hunch it ain't gonna be Gore...
Blonde Sagacity links to the story of a beagle who dialed 911 and saved its owner. ALa asks Would a Cat Do This...?
The dog was trained to detect potential diabetic attacks by licking and sniffing Mr. Weaver's nose to check his blood sugar levels and pawing him. Belle resorted to dialing for help when Mr. Weaver fell unconscious.
TNR is Dead! Long Live TNR!
Latest CrashingTheGateGate news:
Sad, perhaps. But this is apparently the price one pays for crashing the gate.
That's interesting in light of the second outing of the Townhouse group. Which sets the course of the left wing blogs.
Of course, Jonathan Chait of The New Republic is forced to respond.
He has refused to link to our stories--except of course the minority that attack the left, all the better to display our enemy status--and declared us irrelevant and buried in the dustbin of history. Except now, two years after having unleashed his most terrible weapons, he has to bury us all over again. And so, he urges his readers, "If you still hold a subscription to that magazine, it really is time to call it quits." This is like the Catholic Church digging up the heretic it had already burned at the stake so it can excommunicate the corpse a second time.
I know JK subscribes to the New Republic, because he is a sensitive New Age guy. I'm tempted now to do so.
Irey for PA-12
Rep Jack Murtha has it all. In addition to his new leadership of cut-and-run, Robert Novak reminds us that he's a man with a past.
Murtha's Okinawa answer embarrassed Democratic House members who would not dream of criticizing publicly the former back-room pol who became an icon to the party's antiwar base last November by calling for an immediate troop withdrawal. His performance on ''Meet the Press'' reinforced dismay inside the party that Murtha, at age 74, has announced his candidacy for majority leader if the Democrats regain control of the House.
I gave a small contribution to his 2006 challenger, Diana Irey, it's the longest of shots but to quote Animal House: "This calls for a pointless gesture!"
Murtha may draw a few more targets on his back before November, who knows?
Crashing the Gates
So... how long until "Blogola" or "Kosola" gets renamed "Crashing The Gate-Gate"?
Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas did write the book afterall.
I bet when the mainstream media picks up on it.
Everything is a "gate" with them. Reliving the glory days.
Allow me to shamelessly link whore my other blog.
June 21, 2006
Remember "back in the day" when Republicans were stressing out over the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture on a bill, just to get a vote on it?
It was in regards to judges. But it really meant that any topic was open for this form of blockage.... and really for any reason.
These 46 Senators who are blocking the will of the majority of the Senate on the minimum wage are such famous up-or-down screamers as Orrin Hatch, John Kyl, Rick Santorum, and John Cornyn. Note also the "no" votes of Conrad Burns, Jim Talent, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and John Ensign. How is that going to play in this election year in their home states? Other notable no votes are would-be presidential candidates John McCain and George Allen.
Breaks my heart.
I Can't Quit You
Here's a horror story of someone trying to quit AOL.
There's too much to the transcript to post it. But it's annoying.
Good for him for posting it online.
What's the first rule of Blogola?
Don't talk about Blogola.
Here's an excerpt of an email sent by Markos Moulistas to the Townhouse, an email list of elite liberal bloggers.
Eventually Murtha and Kerry will hit the withdrawl with their ever extending list of "six months."
Iraq's National Security Advisor has an op-ed in the Washington Post about coalition withdrawl.
With the governors of each province meeting these strict objectives, Iraq's ambition is to have full control of the country by the end of 2008. In practice this will mean a significant foreign troop reduction. We envisage the U.S. troop presence by year's end to be under 100,000, with most of the remaining troops to return home by the end of 2007.
Big Box Shadows
I recommneded a recent issue of The American Enterprise Magazine. Among other things, it presented a contrarian picture of the effect of Wal*Mart on an area's other retailers.
The Detroit News takes up the torch today in Thriving in Wal-Mart's shadow
Conventional wisdom says that once mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Starbucks and other mega-brand juggernauts roll into town, mom-and-pop stores on Main Street are bound to get crushed.
There's a great evolutionary chain of retail in this country. As grouchy local merchants were displaced by Montgomery Ward's, Sears, J.C. Penney..Like Wal*Mart, the Schumpeterian Gales were never well received by their competitors or localities.
When people see -- and exploit -- the opportunities that these stores create, they can be a huge gain to other retailers.
Off topic side note: I was taken by one of the example towns in the TAE piece. I did a little research to investigate possibly moving to McCook, NE. I work at home anyway. They have broadband and it's a half day's drive to Denver or Omaha if work requires it. We're cooling on the idea but as I watch this area grow out of control, I'll keep an eye on the many sub-100K houses available there.
Hat-tip: Everyday Economist
Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM
At a lunch with ThreeSources friend Silence, I mentioned that I was unimpressed with every declared GOP candidate in 2008. Let's see, there's Senator "Abolish the First Amendment" McCain, Governor "Universal Health Care mandates" Romney, Leader "$100 checks all 'round!" Frist, holy cow! Secretary Rice is a patriot and I only hope that she will hear her country's call.
Silence surprised me by saying, mutatis mutandis, that he had the same concerns. Were I a DLC-kinda-D, I would be interested in Tennessee Gov Phil Bredesen, and hope that Sen. Evan Bayh might return to Earth before the primaries. Silence conceded that Gov. Mark Warner was interesting.
Russ Douthat puts his speculating spectacles on and looks at dark horses in a guest editorial in the WSJ today. (Paid link, sorry!) Douthat thinks it's Rudy’s year to run and he's not dissuading Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
Yes, Mr. Obama is young and untested; yes, there are older, better-qualified names in line ahead of him. But he's in the Senate, where presidential aspirations go to die, and his political stock may never be higher than it is right now, when liberal Democrats and centrists alike project their dreams upon him, undimmed by the disappointments and compromises of a long career. For the moment, he's part Clinton, part Roosevelt, part JFK and MLK; but in eight or 12 or 16 years, he might be John Kerry.
Douthat notes that it might be too soon for the young freshman Senator, but warns that Nixonesque Machiavellianism doesn't always work.
Wait too long, on the other hand, and time can pass you by. Think of the Democratic bigwigs -- Mario Cuomo, Sam Nunn, Bill Bradley -- who declined to take on George H.W. Bush in 1992, preferring to wait for a more propitious moment. More recently, Hillary decided that 2008, not 2004, was the perfect year to make her bid, and while she may yet be proven right, you have to wonder if she might have improved on Mr. Kerry's close-but-no-cigar showing against George W. Bush.
I love this stuff! Admitting you have a problem and all...
June 20, 2006
Who do that Voodoo?
Rich Lowry reminds us what the purveyors of CW thought of President Bush's plan to halve the deficit by 2009.
[C]ritics guffawed. The Boston Globe headlined a story, “Bush’s plan to halve federal deficit seen as unlikely; higher spending, lower taxes don’t mix, analysts say.” “Fanciful,” “laughable” and “all spin,” said the critics.
As Al Franken said in Deep Thoughts: "We all laughed when grandpa left the house at 6:00 AM to go fishing, but nobody laughed at night when he came home with some whore he'd picked up in town!" (Yes, Franken was funny before dour liberalism got him)
Well, it turns out that 2009 might be coming early this year. The 2004 deficit had been projected to hit $521 billion, or 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Bush’s goal was to cut it to 2.25 percent of GDP by 2009—not exactly as stirring a national goal as putting a man on the moon, but one that was nonetheless pronounced unattainable. This year, the deficit could go as low as $300 billion, right around the 2009 goal of 2.5 percent of GDP.
Hat-tip: Larry Kudlow
Whipped Cream & Donuts Have Calories???
Grab a Cappuccino and watch this video.
Some do-gooder activist group is upset because the FDA does not have the authority to mandate nutrition labeling in restaurants. They've filed suit with KFC and now want to go after Starbucks.
It seems that a double chocolate chip mocha frappucino with a cinnamon doughnut has 990 calories. They want the government to require nutrition labeling. Starbucks makes this information available on its website and in printed brochures "But that's not good enough!" for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Does any sentient being really think that double-chocolate chip mochas with whipped cream and doughnuts are diet food? The ABC News video is, of course, quite deferential to the activists. "They're just trying to help us be healthy, right?" I guess John Stossel was sick that day.
Not at ThreeSources! But the WSJ Ed Page credits a consensus among economists. Here's the editorial.
Finally a consensus has been reached on immigration. No, not among politicians, who can't agree on a rational immigration reform. The agreement is among professional economists.
On the DSS Cindy Sheehan
Day by Day -- always on the ThreeSources blogroll
Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM
The WaPo carries a story today that claims "Iraq War May Add Stress for Past Vets." PTSD claims at VA hospitals are up, and some think it may be triggered by war footage on TV.
Experts say that, although several factors may be at work in the burgeoning caseload, many veterans of past wars reexperience their own trauma as they watch televised images of U.S. troops in combat and read each new accounting of the dead.
I guess this is a legitimate news story although it seems pretty thinly sourced. A lot of "Experts say.." and "many believe..." I ask whether this bylined story is more appropriate than a story of troops rebuilding a school, or increased business activity. The WaPo and Times seem hard pressed to find room for stories like that.
June 19, 2006
Quote of the Day
From Zappa to Churchill. Larry Kudlow provides three Churchill (Winston, not Ward) quotes on Taxes, Regulation and Capitalism.
Click for the others.
Bush Ruins The Internet
The Bush administration prepares to wreck the Internet. That's the headline, and the subhead is equally subtle: "The Internet is an economic and social triumph; who could possibly wreck it? The Bush administration, natch."
TNR's knickers are in full elastic twist over net neutrality. It seems it is not about forcing users to pay their fair share for bandwidth, it's an Administration plot to derail freedom. Without Congressional regulation, FOXNews will load faster than CNN!
Most important, as Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig has argued, the Internet is not only a tool for economic growth, it is also a public commons for the exchange of ideas. It is where Americans can not only search for the best deal on a new digital camera, but also debate the country's future. Unlike the telephone, it is a medium in which thousands, even millions, of people can participate in the same discussion at the same time. Unlike television, it is interactive. But it can't function optimally if content is prioritized or filtered by telecom companies. Allowing companies to levy a toll on information providers is not just a blow to consumer choice--it's a blow to democracy.
I hope those of you with impressionable daughters will keep them away from this week's TNR. "Daddy, why does President Bush want to destroy Vice President Gore's Internet?"
Will the last Democrat leaving the plane of reality please turn off the lights?
Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM
Insty reports that Diana Irey will be on Fox News at 12:45 today (I assume that's Eastern time).
After Rep Murtha's performance on Meet The Press yesterday, I would love to see a strong challenger.
UPDATE: Video here. Send this woman's campaign some money!
June 18, 2006
Steyn on Democrats
Man, I enjoy Mark Steyn.
Today's is another good one about Democrats.
Talk about missing the boat.
Last summer's legislative pay raise raised the ire of an entire state.
Some people never learn.
"We have roughly 30-some members who can't apply for a credit card because their credit's so bad," Perzel said on the WITF-TV program, "and I know a lot of people out there watching this show have the same exact problem."
A member of the U.S. House or Senate makes $165,200 a year.
Most state lawmakers are paid $72,187, with annual cost-of-living increases and generous fringe benefits. Perzel is among the legislative leaders who make more than the base salary - nearly $109,000 last year in his case.
$30,000 / year.
I thought Sen. Frist bothered me
I cannot get this out of my mind.
James Waterton at Samizdata posts on the Weirdest father-daughter relationship ever. Being an Aussie, he has possibly never been to Arkansas, but the post refers to a serial Kos commenter by the handle of CheChe (I do not make this stuff up!).
CheChe takes the Kos Cause of Disapprobation for the day and puts it, MadLibs style, into the following tender parental anecdote:
I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago.
Always the daughter, always a new apogee in misery and dejection:
I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn't understand why the President would be spying on everyone. "Even my Grandma?" she asked pitifully. [...] When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, "Daddy" she said, "why are the Republicans doing this to the country?" Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.
I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn't understand why the President would be going to Iraq when so many things are wrong in this country. "Doesn’t Mr. Bush care about us anymore?" she asked pitifully.
Reading this post, I don't think my wife has ever seen such a look of misery and dejection as...
Diet Coke & Mentos
Johngalt says he's too busy to read Ann Coulter's new book. What has he been doing?
Jerome Armstrong: Crook or Shill?
Armstrong, 42, touted a dubious Chinese software company, BluePoint, beginning in 1999, without disclosing that he accepted "below-market" shares in exchange for the glowing reports he posted on a site called Raging Bull, according to a 2003 civil suit that named him as a defendant.
"Armstrong posted over 80 times on the BluePoint message board located on the Raging Bull Web site in the first three weeks [it traded]," reads the complaint, filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At no point in any of the 80 posts did Armstrong disclose he was paid for the service, the suit alleged. In fact, The Post has uncovered hundreds of Armstrong posts from 1999 to 2003, many supporting now virtually or entirely worthless stocks.
Armstrong denied to The Post that he did anything wrong and said the SEC made a mistake in charging him. "This was a long time ago and I settled the case without admitting or denying guilt, and I paid no fine," said Armstrong, who refused to comment further.
Well, he also agreed to no longer push stocks, nor to deny the SEC's charges.
Here's the entire court action.
Jason Zengerle at the Plank, no friend of the far left blogosphere, writes,
Update: Not true. It was Chris Bowers, the OTHER mydd.com guy. Mea Culpa.
What a great series this is! I've solved my problem by not caring who wins in the end. The Oilers put on a clinic last night of taking down a faster team with a strong physical game. Perhaps what I saw as cheap penalties in game three set this up.
We're headed back to Raleigh and the winsome cheerleaders for a game seven on Monday. As an announcer said last night, in every kid's dream it's game seven of the Stanley Cup finals.
TrekMedic, we agree on a lot of politics but you're making a huge mistake not watching this. Someday we'll have an Avs-Flyers series and this blog will go nuts, but this hockey is not to be missed.
The Subway Un-attack
Jeff Goldstein writes about the potential Al-Qaida NY Subway attack.
Whether or not any of this factored into Zawahiri’s thinking is dubious, I realize; but I have long suspected that one of the reasons we haven’t seen the kind of attacks on US soil that we see in, say, Israel, is that the US, should it ever decide to go on full offensive, simply cannot be effectively restrained, particularly if public opinion shifts toward a desire to see the enemy eradicated—and even if doing so requires a shift in the collective moral calculus of the nation.
My question is, "full offensive against whom?"
On September 12th, it was pretty obvious that Afghanistan was the problem. But today? Yes, al-Qaida is in Iraq. But we're already going after them.
Going against "radical Islam" is a pretty tall order, only because they can be found everywhere.
Saudi? Iran? Not to mention London, Frankfurt and Paris.
Private Property Rights
Geno's Steaks again...
The state antidiscrimination agency said, in a statement, that it encourages the use of English as a common language but compared the laminated placards near the shop's takeout windows to discriminatory signs in the country's past.
"Even though this may not have been the intent of Geno's, the presence of the sign harkens back to a time when signs stating, 'no colored allowed,' 'Whites only,' 'no Jews,' or 'no Italians or Irish need apply,' often greeted patrons of public places," said Stephen A. Glassman, the commission's chairman.
And now Six Flags?
Though his mother cut more than 2 feet of his hair, park officials were dissatisfied, he said.
"They told me I had to cut them even shorter or go home," DeLeon told The Washington Post. "They said they wanted an all-American thing. That's what they said to all the black people. I had already cut it a lot, so I just left."
Though I can't imagine why you'd need short hair to work inside a costume, that's their policy. The ACLU is involved in that one.
I used to work at a Boston Market. At the time, the dress policy was no hoop earrings, hair in a pony tail, for women, and for men, it was short hair, mustaches to the corner of the mouth, and side burns no longer than your ear.
It wasn't an issue.
When did people lose the right to run their businesses as they decide?
Both Geno's and Six Flags established those policies for business reasons. There are upsides and their are downsides. Can't we just leave it at that?
At the end of the day, you don't have to buy a sandwich from Joe Vento, and you don't have to work for or go to Six Flags.
June 17, 2006
Quote of the Day
It is Samizdata's and now it's mine!
In every language, the first word after "Mama!" that every kid learns to say is "Mine!" A system that doesn't allow ownership, that doesn't allow you to say "Mine!" when you grow up, has, to put it mildly, a fatal design flaw.-- Frank Zappa
Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM
AlexC questions the Dixie Chicks' patriotism (yessir, right here on this very blog!)
Hugh Hewitt and I are wondering about the 149 Democrats who voted against this resolution. What is in that text that a sitting member of the U.S. Congress would object to? It is not as if we ask them to not take bribes or request that they spend our money wisely.
But you don't need a crack team of whiz-kids and the latest JamesBondWear for this scheme. You hold a gun to the guy's head and say "What's your password?"
Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM
Dixie Chick Emily Robison...
"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."
But you know, you really shouldn't question their patriotism, while they question yours.
June 16, 2006
Do I wish Coulter had phrased what she said about the Jersey Girl a little differently? Yes, I do. But, on the other hand, would her comments ever have generated a debate if she hadn't been as acidic as she was? Probably not. Chairman Ann would also probably point to the fact that she's had 5 straight best selling books as evidence that her methods are very effective.
It's also worth noting that for all the hullabaloo about Ann's comments, comments that are just as rude & vicious as the ones Ann makes are the rule, not the exception on the left.
It's not the least bit unusual for liberals to call conservatives racists, Nazis, theocrats & fascists. They compare George Bush to Osama Bin Laden, call him a a chimp, and proudly talk about how much they hate his guts. They accuse black Republicans of being Uncle Tom's, they throw pies at conservative speakers on college campuses, and they send the most racist, misogynist hate mail you've ever seen to minority conservatives like Michelle Malkin. They claim conservatives hate poor people and want old people to die in the streets. They accuse Republicans of wanting to lock liberals in camps, rigging the elections, invading Iraq just so Haliburton can make a few extra bucks, and of engineering 9/11 for political gain.
Sharansky Blog Conference
Our blog's namesake held a telephone conference with bloggers. Pamela of Atlas Shrugs reports on the call.
Bush did a great thing bringing democracy to the Middle East . But the US has begun to backpedal. You speak of giving nukes to Iran. This is the policy of Clinton/Carter. And it failed horribly. It didn't work for North Korea it won't work now. We must actively support Iranian opposition
She has an MP3 download available as well. I have not heard it yet.
Is that true?
How have the nutroots helped Democrats? By picking losers and getting Republicans elected?
What does that mean?
James Pinkerton makes an interesting assertion in his TCS column
Recently I participated in a TCS-sponsored panel entitled "The Creative Class vs. Capitalism", in which I freely conceded that when Hollywood makes a consciously political movie, that film -- think "Erin Brockovich," or "Wall Street," or "Syriana" -- consciously leans left. But as I argued in this companion piece for TCS, the unconscious "metapolitics" of Hollywood are often completely different.
I cannot agree that it is so rare for Hollywood to climb on the leftist soapbox, but agree with his point. Hollywood must capture a spirit that is non-leftist to excite and entertain.
All the same, I doubt that "The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" will be coming soon to one of my review corners, but I don't have any exclusives on reviews.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM
Gateway Pundit asks Is Murtha in Trouble at Home?
One hates to get too excited, but Rep Murtha has stepped in it a bit of late. He won his district 73%-27 last time, but Senator Kerry only won 51-49 in 2004. This is not a Dennis Kucinich or Jim McDermott district, and the region boasts a strong military heritage.
Opposing Ms. Irey might be Rep Martha Blackburn, who would lose her title..
Coulter wins in a TKO
I don't think Ann Coulter has a lot of friends on this blog. She was criticized for her comments about the 9/11 widows, and I've taken a contra-Coulter position in an email thread with a good friend. I contend that she is bright and telegenic, and could do more good for the conservative cause without the bombast and with her acerbic wit turned down from 10 to 6 or 7.
When she came on Kudlow & Company last night, I was curious to see how Larry would treat her. Larry was pretty even, he had Lawrence O’Donnell as a guest to take her on.
I suppose O’Donnell has lost some brain cells since he left journalism and punditry to do Hollywood full time. But if Kudlow were a boxing ref, he would have stopped the fight early on. Coulter (the devil incarnate, we must remember) spoke in measured tones and clearly stated the premise of her book. She was pretty cogent in her defense of the 9/11 widow contretemps as well.
O’Donnell had no factual bases or serious points. He repeated her most dramatic and bombastic line ("enjoying their husband's death") as if that made his case. The line had just been read by Kudlow. In each exchange, she would speak rationally and O’Donnell would only get sarcastic or off topic. In the end he said that "he couldn't argue because he didn't know when she was being serious."
She was being very serious. She claimed that other victims' families are also tired of the four grandstanding widows, and she delivered a [I can't say "stunning disquisition" I'm on the wagon] trenchant summary of her book's thesis, that liberalism is practiced as a religion and that "they" don't want separation of church and state, just separation of your church and state. They will continue preaching the gospel of recycling and global warming in the public schools.
Pretty strong stuff, no one has said otherwise. Yet neither will anybody engage her rationally or factually. I didn't think I'd buy this one (I have bought most of her other books; with detractors like me...) but I was very impressed and will order it today.
I still wish I could turn her down a little, but I don't want to turn her off. Some things need to be said.
June 15, 2006
Larry Kudlow had Dr. Art Laffer on for the entire hour last night. Laffer even drew the famous curve (the Math guy in me really wishes he would trade axes to make it a function, but what you gonna do?)
Today, Larry preaches the Lafferian Gospel on his blog:
The AP pointed out this week that, "…The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that this year's deficit will be around $300 billion, significantly below a previous estimate of $350 billion, reflecting significant increases in tax revenues, reflecting the strong economy. Through the first eight months of the current budget year, which began on Oct. 1, government revenues have totaled $1.545 trillion, up 12.9 percent from a year ago….”
The New York Times's weekly stock performance.
I never thought this chart would make me happy. The world’s greatest newspaper loses asset value and I laugh? This firm has so readily discarded its reputation to pursue partisan politics, I can’t help but cheer as they reap what they’ve sown.
The Media Enablers
To most this is self-evident.
Unless you're a member of the press.
The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.
The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
A message not lost on the remains of Zarqawi and the remainder of his group.
All kinds of terrorist attacks take place in Baghdad, because that's where the cameras are.
Mary Katherine Ham links today to an online version of "The Federalist Papers"
I have added a new "Documents" section to the blogroll with this link, one to the Constitution, Electoral College, and the Declaration of Independence.
Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM
The Great Divide
It began widening and deepening after the first triumphs of Bolshevism, but there were old-fashioned-liberal "liberals" (and anti-communist social democrats) well into the latter half of the 20th century. It was as Bolshevism went into eclipse that the divide became something like a rift valley.
I think there is a reason for this. The liberals lost the constriction of having to distinguish themselves from communists. So that, paradoxically enough, we might attribute their declining sanity to the decline of communism.
The state-of-the-art device - called an iCarta - makes it easier for people to listen to beats while using the bathroom.
It is designed, according to the US manufacturers, to "enhance your experience in the smallest room".
The gadget, which costs around $99, or £54, merges an iPod docking station with a loo roll dispenser.
After music lovers have downloaded songs from the internet on their iPod, they can place it in a socket in the top of the dispenser.
I guess reading the newspaper, magazines or books in the can has become passe'.
It would probably be ok if you were taking a shower or a bath, but if you had a half bath?
It also begs the question... if you dropped it in the holder, would you put it on shuffle, and take care of business, or constantly fast forward and navigate the menus?
Oh, and iCarta is a silly name. No one's going to confuse me for a mature person, but I'm thinking iFarta is better.
JK Changes Allegiance
I am a Western Conference chauvinist. As such, I had been pulling for the Edmonton Oilers to take the Stanley Cup this year in a very good final series.
Along the way, I have been won over by the Carolina Hurricanes and their fans. I don't know if Silence still has civic pride from his days with Barn and Ange and Aunt Bea, but I was very impressed. Those folks love hockey in a non-obvious region of the country. Growing up a hockey fan in Denver in the 60's/70's was a bit lonely.
I think that the cheerleaders are a nice, southern, touch and the fat guys who sit behind them with bare-midriff outfits are very funny. The Mayberry jokes in the stands make me laugh as well.
The distinct lack of poise displayed by the Oilers put me over. Game three looked more like a remake of Slapshot than a serious attempt to win an away game. Last night was well fought and tough but had the distinct feel of attrition hockey.
The 'Canes have talent and class and some good fans. Now that I am on their side, they’re doomed. Bet the farm on Edmonton.
The GOP had a couple of good days n a row, and clearly that's enough.
Rep Jerry Lewis ($$ - CA), or as the WSJ Ed Page calls him, Earmarker in Chief, is out to demoralize what is left of the economic conservatives.
Sadly, it is not just Lewis or the GOP leadership. There seems to be little support for spending restraint.
More broadly, the Lewis episode underscores the link between Member-steered earmarks and the opportunity for corruption. Convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff openly boasted that earmarks were his political currency and he called the Appropriations Committee that doles them out a "favor factory" for lobbyists. Duke Cunningham parlayed earmarks into a Rolls Royce in his driveway, until his greed landed him in the pokey. We also now know that one of the major beneficiaries of the most notorious earmark from last year -- the $300 million Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska -- is a relative of GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski.
All this while the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee is under investigation.
No, I'm not ready for Speaker Pelosi but the status quo has got to be replaced.
If Republicans aren't spooked by the Lewis investigation, they should be. Here is one of their major barons under investigation for the kind of high-handed spending favoritism that voters detest about Washington. Republicans won the House in 1994 in part because the House Bank and Post Office scandals revealed the arrogance of a Democratic majority that believed it could do anything and voters would never send them packing. If Republicans don't change their behavior, earmarking could be the story that does the same for them this year.
UPDATE: Insty notes that it only took a couple days for former lobbyist and newly-minted GOP Rep Bilbray to blow off his promises of reform.
Despite these strong words to clean up the earmark process, Bilbray promptly voted YES on the T-THUD appropriations bill yesterday, which contained over 1500 earmarks ($), most of which weren’t even in the final bill, but secretly hidden in committee reports.
A new world record case of incumbency disease -- maybe we should term-limit to one day.
June 14, 2006
Evils of Capitalism
Former dirty commie hippie turned CEO.
The most important thing I learned about business in my first year was that business wasn't based on exploitation or coercion at all. Instead I realized that business is based on voluntary cooperation. No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the market place; employees have competitive alternatives for their labor; investors have different alternatives and places to invest their capital. Investors, labor, management, suppliers — they all need to cooperate to create value for their customers. If they do, then any realized profit can be divided amongst the creators of the value through competitive market dynamics.
In other words, business is not a zero-sum game with a winner and loser. It is a win, win, win, win game — and I really like that. However, I discovered despite my idealism that our customers thought our prices were too high, our employees thought they were underpaid, the vendors would not give us large discounts, the community was forever clamoring for donations, and the government was slapping us with endless fees, licenses, fines, and taxes.
On the road to Damascus, do any individuals go from capitalist to socialist? It seems like it's a one way valve.
I want to copy and paste the whole thing, but it's better if you just go read the whole thing.
Coffee for Cirrhosis
The other day I blogged about a new study that said 17 beers in one day (everyday) would be good for your prostate.
The obvious downside is liver damage.
"Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalised or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," says Arthur Klatsky at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Programme in Oakland, California, US, who led the study.
So.... if you drink 17 Bailey Irish Creme's and coffee, you'll be in tip top shape!
Drink up my friends.
June 13, 2006
Bush in Iraq
President Bush is/was in Iraq today.
No "fake turkeys" were served.
I wonder how many rehashes of the fake turkey story will be written by the commentariat in the next few days.
Geno's Imbroglio III
The politically correct police have begun their thought-crime prosceution.
The complaints were filed late Monday. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city claims the restaurant is guilty of "denying service to someone because of his or her national origin, and having printed material making certain groups of people feel their patronage is unwelcome."
The Inquirer spoke with the Rev. James S. Allen Sr., the commission chairman, who said it was the commission's job to get the sign removed.
"We think it is discriminatory, and we are concerned about the image of Philadelphia," he said.
In somewhat related news, Philadelphia's crime rates have gone up. Shootings are up 15.2% to 809 this year, and a hundred and sixty-six homicides so far this year. Up two from the same period last year, which was the biggest year for murder in eight years.
But back to Geno's.
Sanely another steak shop (though not Pat's "King of Steaks" across the street) has taken my advice.
It has posted a sign on the front door that says "feel free to order in any language. We will gladly serve you with brotherly love." The new eatery just opened on South Street.
South Street used to be the bohemian part of town. Now it's got the Gap, McDonalds and a Starbucks.
Regarding the earlier blog post and it's comments, here's a picture of Senator John Kerry eating his cheesesteak with
I'll give Joe Vento the last word.
Vento now says he's received national and local support since his sign gained national attention.
"No way is it coming down."
Update: Philly police officer "Wyatt Earp" says...
Go Up, Young Man
He added that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.
"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."
I guess asteroids raining down on us or alien invasion didn't make the list.
So Much for Fitzmas
The decision by the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, announced in a letter to Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, lifted a pall that had hung over Mr. Rove who testified on five occasions to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the disclosure of an intelligence officer's identity.
In a statement, Mr. Luskin said, "On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."
That sound you hear are the hopes of the liberal left being dashed against the rocks of disappointment.
June 12, 2006
The Democrat Agenda
The Democratic program will consist of bread-and-butter priorities: increasing the minimum wage, cutting costs of prescription drugs, reducing interest rates on student loans, rolling back subsidies for oil companies, and pay-as-you-go budgeting, according to party officials.
Hard to disagree with Andy Roth @ Club for Growth's blog who writes...
Isn't it kind of late in the game to introduce an agenda? I guess the plan was to run on Republican self-destruction for a while.
Platts (don't you read this everyday?)
But Browne, talking to German magazine Der Spiegel, said he expected prices to remain high in the short term.
Asked whether he though it possible that prices, currently trading above $70/barrel, were likely to return to levels below $40/barrel, Browne said: "Absolutely. Prices can hardly be expected to drop sharply in the short term, but it is highly likely that in the medium term prices will be at an average of around $40. Very long-term, even a price of $25-30 is conceivable."
He did not define short, medium and long term.
Cheap energy drives our economy. But it's also a testament to the strength of our economy that it's doing so well with high oil prices.
It would be out of control with $25/bbl oil!
Tip to Cato@Liberty who writes...
True story. The oil patch workers I work with are not concerned with "peak oil." At least not "global peak oil."
Sure, each field has a peak oil event. But the real key is dollar / barrel lifting costs. At some level, depending on the field, it's no longer economical to produce. Operations & Maintenance costs eventually become too high.
But peak oil? It's not an issue. Because globally, we'll never reach it.
Beer for Your Prostate
Drink up folks.
Dr. Richard N. Atkins, CEO of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, said the experiments are encouraging and "perhaps men could take it in pill form someday."
17 beers at a sitting.
I couldn't drink that much water, milk, soda!
Let Them Hate ...
... so long as they fear.
I am irresistibly reminded of a piece of cynical wisdom from the mouth of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, born of experience in dealing with the barbarians of his day: Oderint, dum metuant: “Let them hate, so long as they fear”.
It is best of all to be loved, of course. But Islamists will never love the khufr; not even the most self-abasing of the postmodern Left’s bootlickers can make that happen. The next best thing is that jihadis should crap their pants when they think about the death-from-above consequences of molesting Americans.
I would actually prefer to have them fear molesting “all civilized people”, rather than just “Americans”. Unfortunately, I don’t see the will to instill the required level of fear anywhere but in the U.S., and I don’t consistently see it here. Not a single Democrat is willing to talk about making the active enemies of our civilization fear its wrath, which is one of several reasons I can no longer consider voting Democrat.
The Angry Left
Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over; the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored.
In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press. The struggle in Iraq has been portrayed as a story of endless and increasing violence. Stories of success and heroism tend to go unreported.
It's ashame that parts of one of America's oldest political parties has positioned itself that good news from Iraq is bad news for them.
Ms. Mary Katharine Ham of HughHewitt.com fame has a stunning exegesis on TownHall.com today. (Yes I like that word, but it's pretty well placed here.)
She points out the Standard Operating Procedure of retracting page one stories in small type on page two. Then she lays out who said what and when as the media try to pull this one back in.
A couple of weeks ago, spurred by Congressman John Murtha's assertion that Marines in Haditha had killed civilians "in cold blood," the media promptly rushed to judgment, topping every story with Murtha's cold-blooded soundbite. When word leaked from Pentagon sources that there might be murder charges in the case, the media ran with the "maybe murder" story.
Part of me says that if you expect anything out of Time Magazine more important than "Brangelina's Baby," you deserve what you get. (Man, they owned that story! The Weekly Standard didn't even know what the infant weighed!)
[Insert standard disclaimer here: story in progress, no proof, under investigation...] It will be incumbent on bloggers to hold Time and Rep. Murtha accountable. Ham sets it up here. Keep this link.
Hat-tip: Insty. But don't everybody click over there at once and crash his server...
Green Party for Pa Senate
What flavor of whine is made from sour grapes?
Brunkhurst said Green Party leaders on the state level have given him approval to move forward but have not yet endorsed him.
His success will hinge on the volunteer support he can muster to gather the more than 1,000 signatures to qualify for a ballot position. Brunkhurst has established an e-mail account — email@example.com — where people interested in getting involved may contact him.
“... If the people in Lebanon County and District 48 want a candidate that has different credentials, I can be that candidate,” Brunkhurst said. “Over the next month, I need volunteers to help get the signatures, and I would need people who would be part of a campaign committee to get involved. ... I will need (their) time now and monetary contributions in August.”
Mr Folmer defeated Senator Chip Brightbill in one of the "ground shaking" primary victories a month ago. It's no secret in political circles that some connected elephant-type individuals were shopping around for a candidate to run a third-party campaign to draw votes away from Mr Folmer in this conservative district.
The list included a former candidate for Governor from that district.
Brunkhurst said he has received encouragement from friends in the GOP party, but he has not being prompted to run by Brightbill or his backers. But, Brunkhurst said, he feels that his candidacy will appeal to them and to voters who supported Folmer simply because he was not Brightbill but who may now have doubts about his qualifications.
To run for office, Brunkhurst said, he will need consent from the Green Party State Committee, and he makes no bones about using the minor party as a vehicle to get elected. He said he considered the Libertarian and Constitutional parties but felt the Green Party were more in line with his political philosophy.
The Green Party? Jeez. Some Republican.
Anyone registered with a political party after April 17 is not eligible to run as an independent, according to Elaine Ludwig, chief clerk of elections.
There is another method of getting on the ballot, Ludwig said, but it’s unorthodox. A willing minor party — the Green or Libertarian, for example — could allow a Republican to run under its banner, she said.
Property Tax Reform
Piccola and Conti’s plan incorporates most of the provisions of the Special Session on Property Tax’s Conference Committee Report on House Bill 39 and includes two additional components. Their proposal generates approximately $2.0 billion in revenues by selectively expanding the state’s Sale Tax Base in 2007 and using anticipated gaming revenues. The Piccola/Conti plan also establishes a “super backend referendum” to ensure that if school property taxes still exist after July 1, 2008, the voters must approve any increases.
Ever since I realized that as long as you pay property tax, you never really own your home, I've been an advocate of eliminating it.
This is a good step. Let's see how far it gets.
Maybe Joey Vento should have put a "we reserve the right to refuse anyone service" sign up instead.
The Philadelphia controversy has fed a national debate over immigration in which the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would declare English the national language and politicians have raised objections to a Spanish version of the national anthem.
The sign may violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, Lawton said.
"The complaint will say that the sign discourages patronage by non-English speakers because of their national origin and/or ancestry," said Lawton, whose agency enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws.
Geno's will be given a up to two weeks to respond and, if the agency determines the sign has violated the city ordinance, will be ordered to take the sign down. If the restaurant refuses, it will be subject to a $300 fine, Lawton said.
Mr Vento has no intention of taking the sign down.
Good for him.
I wonder if it's a $300 one time fine or $300 / day fine.
One from California said groups like his should be banned for representing "filthy, illegal alien invaders", he said.
"This is dividing this nation," he said.
Geno's or this "mulit-lingual" thing we've got going?
First amendment and freedom expression be damned!
Geno's is probably forty miles from my house. But it might be time for a sandwich.
Update: I take that first part back. He already has that sign. (thanks to Chris)
Ink by the Barrel
President Clinton's best quote in two terms was "Never pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrel." The PR department at General Motors is learning this.
I don't believe I've ever used the word "Kafkaesque," but I challenge you to read this mail exchange and call it anything else.
The NYTimes publishes a Thomas Friedman OpEd that accuses GM of being on the side of the terrorists for promoting SUVs. GM responds to this attack and encounters the letter length police at the Times, ultimately boiling down to a fight over the phrase "What rubbish!"
Hat-tip: Everyday Economist, who points out 'The newspaper with 'all the news fit to print' apparently could not find room for the letter or an op-ed response."
June 11, 2006
Saudi Arabia, a staunch U.S. ally, said it was stepping up efforts to repatriate all nationals held at the base in Cuba.
An Interior Ministry statement identified the two Saudis as Manei al-Otaibi and Yasser al-Zahrani but gave no further details about them. A Yemeni man also committed suicide.
Those meddling Americans (and their dog)! Let's blame them for the suicides.
I'm mean if it wasn't for those two buildings in New York, and that building in Washington (and the "potential" one).... let's not forget to blame the Americans for meddling in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let's blame the Yanks.
Kendrick said when he sought permission to use a song by the Christian band "Third Day," their record label's parent company, Sony Pictures, asked to see the film and agreed to release it in 400 theaters in late September.
But after the Motion Picture Association of America rated the film, Kendrick said he was told that it got the 'Parental Guidance' rating for being so openly religious. Kendrick said he's never heard of that criteria before and suggests it shows how much times have changed.
The Passion was rated R for it's violence (the scourging scenes were especially graphic). I can't recall any other openly religious movies lately. Perhaps VP Al Gore's An Inconvienent Truth.
Resident movie critic JK, any ideas?
As exculpatory evidence surfaces in the accusations against the US Marines in Haditha, I have not wanted to commit the same sins as the as the opposition. They are quite willing to hype the story and use it as a backdrop for other stories before any trial or any proof. These are folks who are still not sure Alger Hiss was guilty, but they have convicted the US Marine Corps all the way up the chain of command.
But I am going to join in the speculation. This is looking more and more like a ginned-up MSM bombshell. Sweetness and Light reports:
In the original version of this story, TIME reported that "a day after the incident, a Haditha journalism student videotaped the scene at the local morgue and at the homes where the killings had occurred. The video was obtained by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, which cooperates with the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, and has been shared with TIME." In fact, Human Rights Watch has no ties or association with the Hammurabi Human Rights Group. TIME regrets the error.
Yes we should wait. But as the other side feels free to sully the USMC and the war effort without facts or proof, I'm not inclined to wait for them to write the complete story.
And yes, blog brother AlexC beat me to it.
Last week, I motioned chasing members of Buffy, Angel and Firefly casts into new vehicles. This week I did the same, grabbing "Date Movie" with Allyson Hannigan. I was so convinced that it would be awful, I grabbed an extra film in case I couldn't bear it.
Well, Citizen Kane it ain't, but I ended up enjoying it. It's what it is, a silly R-rated comedy to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But, beyond having some good gags and clever writing, this film moves through successions of movie allusions, forcing you to place a well known scene. That ends up making it a fun movie, and the humor is not prurient like so much of that genre. jk gives it three-and-a-half starts. If you're in the mood for that, pick this one up.
The movie I expected to like was "Glory Road." I guess when I was five, black basketball players were an oddity. This Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer film follows the National Championship aspirations of Texas Western College in El Paso, in 1966. The tough coach leads a plucky team. With no recruitment budget, he sends his scouts to the streetyards to get talented black athletes from places like Gary, Indiana and South Bronx.
They experience culture shock in El Paso, encounter racism on the road, and have to fight for their dignity. I won't tell you who wins 'cause I wouldn't want to
-- OF COURSE THEY WIN, and that's the problem. I love this kind of movie but I am Bruckheimered out. It's a great and important story. The acting is good, the film is fun to watch. But it is just too predictable. When he does "Dreamer" about the little girl and the horse (the horse wins, too!) it doesn't seem bad because it is a feel-good kids' movie. This film has aspirations to be important and to tell an important story. For this, it needed some more adult conflict or deeper plot. I'll give it three; it is still worth watching.
The dog of the weekend was "Tamara." Why did I get it? The plot description was soooo very bad that I assumed it would be an ironic and comedic horror film -- a bit of self satire.
Tamara, an unattractive girl, who is picked on by her peers returns after her death as a sexy seductress to exact revenge.
Nope, that's a fair assessment. It's a B horror flick, with only an attractive star (Jenna Dewan) to recommend it. I cannot. One star.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM
June 10, 2006
Ho, hum. I expect so little of the Senate that I am never too disappointed. But their failure to repeal the Death Tax has caused my mentor, Larry Kudlow, to snap.
So the estate tax cut went down in the Senate, to the cheers of class warriors everywhere. Congratulations to Democratic senators Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Ron Wyden, and Mark Pryor -- all of whom voted against death-tax repeal after voting in favor of it a few years ago. At last, they’ve come to their senses!
It continues but the tone does not change. I completely agree but didn't expect anything better out of this lot. Rumors abound of a deal that will cut the tax or extend breaks. Republicans must choose "an issue or a bill." It's not that easy a sell, the class warriors will talk about "Paris Hilton." Go for the bill, guys and gals.
No one here has blogged about Google in a while.
But someone at the Google Blogoscope has compiled a list of censored searches at the Chinese Google.
The top 10?
what google censors
Human is censored? I guess a search like that could lead to "human rights"... but that's really casting a wide net.
Having done so, I can tell you that the story has a whiff of yet another mediagenic scandal like the TANG memos or the Plame “outing.” While the Marines quite correctly will not comment on the case pending the outcome of their investigation, I am not bound by those rules, and I will sum up the story for you.
June 9, 2006
The Geno's Imbroglio
Perhaps you may have heard of this.
Geno's Steak owner, Joey Vento, has really touched a nerve with a little sign on his cheesesteak stand that says, "This is America. When Ordering Speak English." Vento has been getting calls from all over the country.
"We got troops (that are) getting blown up, and here we've got this big, bad Joey Vento who's got the audacity to try to teach people to speak English in America where the language is English and if you don't know it, you're not going anywhere," Vento told NBC 10 News.
So, what happens to a customer who cannot or will not speak English?
"The bottom line is no one has ever been refused," Vento said.
Vento said his workers are happy to help non-native speakers and haven't turned anyone away.
First off, Geno's and it's neighbor across the street Pat's are the famous cheesesteak vendors in Philadelphia. Nevermind that they both suck. Real fans of the steak sandwich go to Tony Luke's on Oregon Ave under I-95.
Anyway... Here's an entreprenuer, Joey Vento, who decides to run his sandwich shop the way he sees fit. And there's an outrage?
Actually it's more of a "losing your mind."
For example, YoungPhillyPolitics.
Yeah. Civil rights. It's a good thing all the real civil rights problems in this country have been solved that we can worry about 8000 calorie paper wrapped heart attacks.
Phillyfuture.org has a round up of local links AND says this.
It's one thing to encourage and help immigrants learn English. It's another thing entirely to forget where you came from and take some stand that spits on it.
I can't help feel that the sign was put up for false reasons. That no one can be that hypocritical. That this is a publicity stunt and now we're all taking the bait. Pat's Steaks has been synomonous with Philadelphia cheesesteaks nationally. Now Geno's enters the national consciousness - for entirely the wrong reasons.
There are children dieing in the streets from gun violence seemingly every day in Philadelphia. This kind of story is a distraction from the real problems the city faces and can even serve to re-ignite racial tensions.
So there is only one way to say this...
Shame on Genos. Shame on them.
Of course both posts miss the point that at Geno's you still get your steak. You just have to order it in English.
Blonde Sagacity writes...
(Notice: the sign under the order counter is of Daniel Faulkner -the police officer that was murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal)
Ya know, I might go get some Geno's today...
I mentioned that Geno's main competitor is Pat's - "the King of Steaks". It's directly across the street. In the country I remember, Pat's would have a put up a "Se Habla Espanol" sign up and Geno's sign would end up coming down. And really, I wonder how many customers this would have really affected anyway.
At the end of the day, it's his store. If he wants to alienate (pun intended) non-English speaking customers who insist on ordering steaks in __________, that it certainly his right.
Zarqawi Killed II
Regarding Zarqawi's death, I wrote, I would have rather seen a capture THEN the execution, but hey.
To which John Galt replied... No way, AlexC. This is the best possible outcome. In fact, can we have a do-over on the Saddam capture? Hand grenades first, questions later.
How about a happy medium?
Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said Zarqawi tried to roll off the gurney to escape once he became aware of the fact that he was being taken into custody by coalition troops Wednesday night after two 500-pound precision guided bombs blew up his safehouse near Baqouba.
U.S. forces immediately made a visual identification of Zarqawi but were unable to interrogate him because he died of his injuries "shortly after" being pulled from the rubble, Caldwell said.
Caldwell indicated that U.S. troops "went into the process to provide medical care to him" before he expired. He did not elaborate on the medical assistance.
Justice, thy taste is so sweet.
No I.D. at the Airport
Harper told the identification checker he had no ID, and the attendant quickly wrote "No ID" with a red marker on his ticket and shunted him off to an extra screening line -- generously allowing him to bypass the longer queue of card-carrying passengers.
There Harper was directed into the belly of a General Electric EntryScan puffer machine that shot bits of air at his suit in order to see if he had been handling explosives.
TSA employees wearing baby blue surgical gloves then swiped his Sidekick and his laptop for traces of explosives and searched through his carry-on, while a supervisor took his ticket, conferred with other employees and made a phone call.
Meanwhile, a TSA employee approached this reporter, who was watching the search through Plexiglas, and said, "It's pretty awkward you are standing here taking notes," but he did not ask for identification or call for a halt to the note-taking.
The TSA supervisor returned from her phone call and asked Harper why he didn't have identification and to where he was traveling. But she was satisfied enough with his answer -- that he had mailed his driver's license home to Washington D.C. -- that she allowed him to pass.
At 6:30 a.m., standing 50 yards away on the other side of the glass screen, Harper phoned to say he now had two hours to kill, having gotten through screening perhaps even faster than he would have if he'd shown ID. He guessed he was able to get through without much hassle by being polite and dressing well.
In the pre-9/11 world I knew this was possible. I've been tempted to try it a number of times, but since I rely on being able to fly to keep the rain of my kid's head.
Tysabri Price Premium
"We're from the Government, and we're here to help!"
The Wall Street Journal news page reports that Tysabri will be released at a 20% premium to its debut price.
According to a posting on Elan's Web site, Tysabri will cost $2184.62 a vial, or about $28,000 a year, compared with a price of about $22,000 a year when the drug was launched in 2004.
So, they yanked it for 16 months and told the patients who were finding relief with it to just suffer. Now, the price has gone up 20%, ostensibly to cover regulations. One wonders if there isn't a bit of a legal slush fund in the new rate.
Privatize the FDA!
June 8, 2006
Viva La English
The Senate could not bring itself to declare English the country's "official language." The best it could do was pass an amendment to the immigration bill tepidly declaring English the "national language." Yet even that was too much for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who called that resolution "racist."
Less hyperbolic opponents point out that granting special official status to English is simply unnecessary: America has been accepting foreign-language-speaking immigrants forever--Brooklyn is so polyglot it is a veritable Babel--and yet we've done just fine. What's the great worry about Spanish?
Read it All
Death Tax Lives On
Republicans who voted the wrong way: Chafee and Voinovich
Democrats who voted the right way: Lincoln, Baucus, Nelson, and Nelson.
This 60 votes thing to get anything done these days is a real PITA.
I'll be darned. Bad day for jihad, today is.
The New Republic's The Plank.
Decision 08 has a bunch of quality quotes.
Great that we got Zarqawi, BUT
Spencer Ackerman at TNR online, finds The downside of Zarqawi's death
But it's also why, in a rather perverse sense, Zarqawi's death may in fact be a bad thing--carrying with it a potential downside for the United States and for Iraqis, and representing a windfall for Al Qaeda.
Ackerman's concern is that we've lost this larger-than-life figure on which we could blame everything. There are others cropping up everywhere.
AlexC, in a comment, links to a sort of scavenger hunt for specific memes
* Zarqawi wasn't that important.
But my favorite reaction so far is on a TNR's "The Plank" blog. Michael Crowley writes that Senator Biden will come to regret sharing this as a happy moment with the President.
I guess I understand what he's saying, but I question its wisdom--and not just because it's bound to haunt him in the 2008 Democratic primaries if he runs for president. Rather, I think Biden has the equation backwards: In fact, political weakness is likely the only thing that can convince Bush to abandon his stubborn principles and consider different strategies in Iraq. And just what is the bold stroke Biden thinks Bush has hidden up his sleeve and is saving for a moment of strength?
Count on these guys to find the dark side.
Good News on Drugs
The FDA will allow MS patients to try Tysabri after a 16 month hiatus.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page suggests Now Bring Back Vioxx
Better late than never, we guess. And as long as the FDA is considering drug comebacks, what about the unfairly maligned painkiller Vioxx? There's new evidence suggesting it's no more dangerous to the cardiovascular system than other commonly used painkillers.
For more than a year, patients who were seeing relief could not get Tysabri. But the FDA "has a public to protect!" How many dollars were chased out of the sector while the FDA was setting up a strict risk management program?
On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation's budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending.
I guess 0 was not an option.
hey hey hey....
Al-Zarqawi and seven aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles northeast of Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said.
"Al-Zarqawi was eliminated," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.
At the White House, President Bush hailed the killing as "a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror."
I would have rather seen a capture THEN the execution, but hey.
Update: Regarding Johngalt's comment, here's blogometer's comment.
Blogometer is a sort of round up of all blogs goings on. I highly recommend it.
“In today’s political climate, daily headlines and fast-moving events make it easy to lose the forest for the trees,” Bush counselor Dan Bartlett wrote in a memo this week. “But there is a clear tide of positive developments that reflect the president’s ability to get things done.”
Bartlett’s memo was dismissed as “happy talk” by Mark Halperin, political director of ABC News. And White House correspondent Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers noted that Barlett “found reason for optimism in Iraq ... on a day when gunmen rounded up 56 people at a Baghdad bus stop.”
Yet the White House remains convinced it is not getting a fair shake from the mainstream media.
“We hear a great deal about the problems we face,” Bush aide Peter Wehner wrote in an op-ed published Monday by the Washington Post. “We hear hardly anything about encouraging developments.
“Off-key as it may sound in the current environment, a strong case can be made that in a number of areas there are positive trends and considerable progress,” he added.
I suspect history will be much kinder to Bush 43 than the first draft is.
About Those WMD Documents
Captain Ed points us toward a recently translated document from Iraq.
1. A team from the Military Industrialization Commission when Hussein Kamel Hussein was conducting his responsibilities did bury a large container said that it contains a Chemical Material in the village (Al Subbayhat) part of the district of Karma in Fallujah in a quarry region that was used by SamSung Korean company and close to the homes of some citizens.
2. The container was buried using a fleet of concrete mixers.
How 'bout that?
Can we go check that out? You think that would be easy to narrow down.
June 7, 2006
The Last Word on CA-50
50 Congressional Districts! Damn. That's a big state.
Anyway, Michael Barone gets the last word on this race.
Basically, bad news for both parties.
Ok ok ok... Dean Barnett too.
You’d have to say the California 50th race was a winnable one for the Democrats, even if it weren’t the year of a putative Democratic tidal wave. After all, the former Republican incumbent now sports an orange jump suit. And yet, it appears like it won’t work out because the Democratic candidate just wasn’t up to snuff.
The Toronto Terrorists
I haven't linked to Lileks for a while.
But here's a must read.
Thanks AlexC!! I enjoyed that!! I recommend the "Destination Earth" video, too; here is what I say:
Once upon a time, people had a much cleaner epistemology -- for the non-philosophers, that means they could understand the world sharper and more clearly, because they followed better rules of logic and reasoning than most people now-a-day. (Well...should I say, simply, they followed rules at all!!)
Reviewer: jr0dy - - December 26, 2005
I highly recommend the cartoon. It gets a lot right, and is a joy to watch. You will be hard-pressed to find anything like it today.
Since you are rational and self-sovereign by nature, it is right and proper that you should be free in a social context -- i.e., that you should not be subject to coercion by other people. But that means only coercion they initiate; they are free to defend themselves against any coercive action you might make against them. It is proper that each person take whatever action he sees fit to take, as long as he does not initiate force against another.
One idea in "What We Have" which is wrong, is the idea that 'there are the same brains and brawn' in a dictatorship as in a free society. (The same ideas is seen implicitly in "Destination Earth.") They are totally off the track here -- downright derailed. Minds do not function under coercion. The society on Mars in "Destination Earth" could not invent and maintain the technology it did independently. Like any other dictatorship, it would decay and collapse under its own malignant weight. Minds, trained in the educational system to obey orders, not to see things independently, would stagnate through the years.
There are other features of the short film which make me call it lame, but We the Living will clear up enough...
Clinton vs Coulter
Ann Coulter really said something reprehensibly stupid today.
She also wrote, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
For some reason, the Junior Senator from New York decided to get in on it.
The New York Democrat and former first lady said she found it "unimaginable that anyone in the public eye could launch a vicious, mean-spirited attack on people whom I've known over the last four and a half years to be concerned deeply about the safety and security of our country."
... and she was right to.
Of course this means there's a rebuttal from Ann.
Hint to Hillary and other Democrat Coulter haters.
The more you talk about her, the richer she gets. Forget about her, eventually, she'll go away.
Just forget about her.
Here's a comment that surprised me from Phillyfuture.org
No liberal / leftists extremists? Is he serious?
Ted Rall is the most
CA-50: The Fourth Round
Hotline On Call writes about the Dems chances this fall.
But if Democrats plan on winning back the House, they’re going to have to win races in even redder territory. In fact, almost half of the Dems’ top pickup opportunities are in districts that Bush carried with over 55% in 2004.
So is this a local election year, or a nationalized election? I can't tell.
CA-50, Part Three
For those of you in a hurry, there are four memes that have emanated from the CA-50 Special Election. Pick yours and defend it to the death.
1) No big. GOP district, GOP win. Call me when something really happens.
2) This proves that the protectionists are right! He was tough on illegals, she invited them to vote. He won. The House is right!
3) Democrats can play too. Just discuss the point spread in 2000, 2002, 2004 and the special election -- obviously the Republicans are doomed!
4) If you're a member of the MSM, and you have been reporting on the closeness and the importance of this election as a harbinger, the correct response is: "the weather will be sunny today, and people are looking for Edmonton to come back in Game Two of the Stanley Cup finals tonight..."
Cato @ Liberty wonders why Big Oil doesn't stand up for itself like it used to.
It's actually pretty neat for the 1950's cartoon camp.
Dick Cheney Authorized it!
CNN.com - Legal war as Brangelina pic leaked - Jun 7, 2006
I fear I can never understand politics unless I understand people a little better. I don't give an owl's fart for celebrities (I hope the child is healthy and happy and all that) and the rest of the world doesn't care about the CA-50 special election.
Americans with Disabilities Act
John Stossel writes on regular Americans breaking the law.
So I asked him about Janofsky's example: If you come to me applying for a job, and your arm is in a sling, can I ask you why your arm is in a sling?
"You can ask -- you know what? I'm going to ask you to stop the tape, because we're getting into -- "
I was incredulous. "You want to check?"
The head of the EEOC had just said the law wasn't complicated, and every employer in America is supposed to obey it, but he had to consult one of his experts.
This is one of those articles that's infuriating to read.
Writing in the Allentown Morning Call, Professor John Reynolds of Moravian College in Bethlehem appeals to good old fashioned class-war when it comes to appealing to Senators Santorum and Specter to keep the Death Tax.
More on CA-50
William Young, the Penultimate Genius, writes...
And nobody is going to vote for it.
It's no secret that that is the plan for Congressional Democrats. Even with Bush @ 33% or 36%, people don't want to impeach for spite.
GOP Holds CA-50
Not a lot of warm fuzzies in the win, but I would have worried a lot if he'd lost,
Republican Brian Bilbray To Replace Cunningham In California House Seat
Also the great news that Rob Reiner's "tax-on-millionaires-for-universal-preschool" was going down 60-40. There's hope!
June 6, 2006
Beinart's Subhead is Wrong
I'll likely buy Peter Beinart's new book, The Good Fight : Why Liberals---and Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.
Yet his thesis has been undercut by his own magazine. They have a disturbing report that while we are all looking at Iran, the nuke-capable leg of the axis-of-evil may be prepared to test a missile.
The Japanese and South Korean press reported in late May that U.S. spy satellites had picked up indications that North Korea was preparing to test launch a Taepo Dong II ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. TNR has confirmed that the United States has detected significant activity at a North Korean missile test site and that the administration is very concerned that Pyongyang is preparing a launch. What's more, some U.S. intelligence analysts warn that the North Koreans may test a three-stage rocket capable of striking the western United States. "Suffice it to say, it's got people's attention," says one State Department official.
Why? Well applying too much rational thought to Dear Leader is a losing game. But the TNR piece points out an interesting dynamic:
At first glance it might seem like the North would have a lot to lose from such saber-rattling: It could drive the six-party nations closer together and, rather than succeeding in their attempts to lift sanctions, could result in further financial restrictions from Japan, South Korea, and China, countries with which the North does a substantial amount of business. But Michael Green, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Bush National Security Council senior director with responsibility for North Korea, says the North Koreans have shown in the past that, by creating a crisis, they are able to alter the diplomatic calculus. "The North Koreans have found that these crises are a good way for them to turn the chess board over and restart the talks," Green says. "In the past, by creating a crisis, they have gotten high level bilateral talks and even economic and aid assistance out of it."
Hell, a former US Secretary of State even brought wine!
Sorry Peter, you're my favorite lefty but the culture of military-loathing and abashed use of American power are rooted too deeply. President Clinton was a moderate and he taught North Korea how to kick the can down the road. Give me some neocons.
Today marks 62 years since Europe's liberation began.
I expect to be fully vegged out on History Channel this evening.
Thank you to all of the brave men and women who accomplished the impossible!
This sounds interesting.
Google is coming out with an online spreadsheet.
You can start from scratch and do all the basics, including changing the number format, sorting by columns, and adding formulas.
Upload your spreadsheet files.
That's the hook right there. Your existing spreadsheets are going to get sucked in, and work. I just wonder how well.
Bush on the Rebound
In early May, just 31% approved of Bush, marking the low point of his administration to date. A subsequent poll in May found a 33% rating for Bush. The current rating of 36% is in line with Bush's public standing in March and April.
Posted by AlexC at 10:54 AM
TCS has a good article about climate change. (Not something Gore would want to read; he wants reality to follow his bidding...that comes from his education...influenced by John Dewey...influenced by Immanuel Kant, who said 'reality is a social construct.')
Snowfall here in the Northeast and across much of the Hemisphere relate to decadal scale cycles in the Atlantic and Arctic. Two atmospheric oscillations which generally operate in tandem -- the North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillations -- have significant control over the weather pattern including storm tracks and temperatures in both Europe and the eastern United States.
As George Taylor summarized on this site in his story "Arctic Sea Ice -- Is It Disappearing?""A number of researchers have suggested that inflows of Atlantic water into the Arctic profoundly affect temperatures and sea ice trends in the latter ocean. Polyakov, et al (2004) are among these. The first sentence of their paper states 'Exchanges between the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean have a profound influence on the circulation and thermodynamics of each basin.' The authors attributed most of the variability to multidecadal variations on time scales of 50-80 years, with warm periods in the 1930s-40s and in recent decades, and cool periods in the 1960s-70s and early in the twentieth century. These are associated with changes in ice extent and thickness (as well as air and sea temperature and ocean salinity). The most likely causative factor involves changes in atmospheric circulation, including but not limited to the Arctic Oscillation"
The whole article is worth reading. It has some good graphics to help grasp the NAO/AO phenomenon.
In this post at Phi Beta Cons Blog, the last line says it all.
CNN reports that federal statistics released last week reveal that the gender gap is widening — with women in the lead. "Women now earn the majority of diplomas in fields men used to dominate — from biology to business — and have caught up in pursuit of law, medicine and other advanced degrees."
Thanks to Kant, here we have another application of attacking the law of identity. (As well as the technique -- followed by Seattle Public Schools in "defining" racism -- of attacking something by defining it out of existence.)
Modern Education's Results
Phi Beta Cons has another good post about the self-hatred being inculcated in out public schools and our modern society, leading to self-abuse.
Remember what SPS said about "racism?" They defined it to be a universal characteristic of "whites," inherent in their very being. Teaching children that they are racist by nature is teaching them that they are guilty of sin and evil by nature. Guilt leads to punishment.
Besides that, individual thought is stamped out in modern education; belonging to a group is taught as normal and natural. Individuality is abnormal. That breed self-distrust and self-hatred. The "be yourself" crap taught in schools goes only skin deep. "Love yourself" is a euphemism for accepting and valuing your psychological problems.
Besides that, reasoning is stamped out, too. There is a major absence of method and hierarchy in schools. Education occurs on a perceptual level, but when it rises to the conceptual level, it is only to the level of an arrested, stunted mind. Teaching is compartmentalized, lacking in connections, and does not build upon itself systematically.
Children are drugged up because of alleged "learning difficulties." Many "learning difficulties," are in fact, system-generated: students are so damn bored and have their minds so systematically attacked, they cannot learn. And so they turn against education and become problem students. Been there, seen that.
Coast to Coast Racism
The intellectual brothers of Seattle Public Schools have an exhibit in New York, as the Phi Beta Cons Blog reports:
The recent exhibit at the normally sober New York Historical Society, "Slavery in New York," based on the work of historians of slavery, was marked by distorted, sensationalistic, and one-sided history. Furthermore, it sought to cultivate inherited group guilt and purveyed contempt for white people. It seemed obviously aimed at making the case for reparations.
As Thomas Sowell explained in an essay titled "'Multicultural' Education," available at tsowell.com:
The way the media treats slavery, you'd think it was an American invention -- when in reality (which, yes, the media is pretty out of touch with) slavery was a horribly unfortunate import to this country. It has been practiced for millenia before the US was even a germ of a thought in any human mind. And one of the countries which practiced it was: Africa.
I'm a Whore
I went searching for old discussions on gay marriage and a Constitutional amendment. A post on Berkeley Square Blog in February 2004 attracted eight comments. I don't think anybody has to write more, it's all there.
My point, poorly stated in the post, was to allow the FMA as a political ploy, since it had no chance of passing. Watching Fred Barnes on TV last night, and reading the WSJ news pages today, I'm inclined to go along for the ride yet again.
Supporters concede they are unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate, much less the two-thirds vote needed to clear the Senate. But they hope the bill can help some embattled candidates at the polls.
Another news article says "expectations are growing that Democrats could capture at least one house of Congress, ending one-party dominance of the nation's capital and crippling President Bush for his final years" and I am dedicated to stopping that.
I will turn off what I believe in, bite my tongue, and let them do this kabuki dance. It polls well. I'm a whore and a serial metaphor abuser.
June 5, 2006
Wretchard brings the East Timor incident into perspective.
Liberalism as Psychology
Liberals press the issue because it makes them feel important, and they support it because it makes them feel morally superior. Whether same-sex couples actually end up “marrying” or not is irrelevant (except to homosexual-leftists, to whom social acceptance is a great ego need), as are the consequences of that. It’s the battle itself that matters to liberals, and as soon as the issue is resolved, you can bet the farm that they’ll move onto something else.
As I said, liberalism is a psychology, not an ideology. And as such, it’s unreasonable to expect it to be limited to a person’s politics; it should show through to many different aspects of a person’s life, and it does. Liberals tend to dominate fields like academia, the news and entertainment media, and the legal professions, and they populate the elite social circles, all because they’re so concerned with their egos.
Read the whole thing.
"The poor you will have with you always." Perhaps, but Arnold Kling has a way to drastically reduce poverty in the USA. As a side effect, it makes the organizations helping the poor more efficient, and gives individual taxpayers great latitude.
In TCS today, Kling discusses Libertarianism and Poverty. The whole piece is superb. But I am enamored with "his plan." He offers it almost as an afterthought and claims it may not be original. I've never seen it and I'd like to:
[O]n top of the current deduction for charitable contributions, we create a large charitable exemption, of, say $20,000. That would mean that you could donate up to $20,000 and have that amount taken off your taxes. Thus, the after-tax cost of your donation would be zero. For people whose annual tax obligation is less than $20,000, the income tax would essentially be optional. You could pay your taxes, or you could give an equivalent amount to charity.
Before the Randians get their knickers in full twist mode, you could support any 501CR3, I would give to organizations helping soldiers and veterans.
Yup, it's coerced "giving" but that will truly be with us always. I think most everyone could find something they could support. I don't know the numbers but suspect 20K may be too much. $10,000 would fund a ton of charity and still leave money to pay for the Kennedys' car insurance.
Economist's Dream, Pragmatist's Nightmare
Martin Feldstein has a guest editorial in the WSJ today that has required careful thought.
The Harvard Professor, whim I admire greatly, proposes a system of Tradeable Gasoline Rights (TGRs) that function much like a cap-and-trade system for pollution. The US decides how many gallons of gas will be legally burned (this is the part I don't like) and every American gets his or her right to burn that amount, pari passu.
Now, if you want to drive a battleship like [I won't name names but he picked me up at the airport in it], the government won't stop you or tax you or influence the manufacturer you choose to buy from (this is the part I do like).
But if you're gonna buy more than your allotment of gas, you are going to have to buy credits from a guy who, say, drives an MR2 and works from home. The bike commuting crowd (which I used to belong to) can sell their credits to buy Power Bars and the latest Shimano componentry. Credits are traded at Gas Stations at a standard cash value, but I might give my friend 625 gallons of credits to defray expenses for his generous airport transportation.
Feldstein is not trying to increase government regulation here, but to ward off the crowd who want to add gas taxes to encourage conservation. Compared to that, the TGR plan rocks.
If the price of a TGR turned out to be 50 cents, an individual who buys an extra 20 gallons of gasoline would use up $10 worth of TGRs. If he avoids the purchase -- by driving less, driving at speeds that use less gas, or driving a more fuel-efficient car -- he could sell the 20 TGRs for $10.
And it is also preferable to gub'mint fiddling with fuel economy standards.
Requiring higher mileage standards on new cars would do very little to reduce total gasoline consumption in the near term because each year's new cars are only about 10% of the total cars on the road. Unlike the system of TGRs that raises the effective cost per gallon, the new car standard would do nothing to change the behavior of owners of existing cars. But the TGR system would cause owners to economize on gasoline by driving fewer miles, driving at speeds that use less gasoline, using tires that improve miles per gallon, and servicing their engines to maintain fuel efficiency. And of course the higher effective cost of gasoline would also cause new car buyers to prefer more fuel-efficient vehicles.
In the end, however, even with private help, can you imagine our Government handling this? In addition to the out and out graft, who doesn't think they'd eventually be parceled out by race or some socially-engineered quantity.
Sorry Perfess'r, swing and a miss!
Jonathan Chait at TNR thinks he has discovered a new intellectual low: the Competitive Enterprise Institute and its anti-global warming ads.
Chait's column, titled On carbon dioxide, conservatives take Americans for fools first establishes his street cred as a lip-curled cynic:
I had always thought that nobody had a lower opinion than I as to the analytical capacities of the American public. Then I discovered the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Over here! Jonathan! The bald guy in the blue shorts! Yes, I believe it!
I think one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Global Warming debate has been the difference between pollution and products of combustion. Perfect hydrocarbon combustion produces CO2 and water. If carbon dioxide had a nice, non-threatening name, like "water" there would be less capacity to whip up furor about it.
Imperfect combustion releases carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates, and Nitrous oxide and nitrous dioxide. Newer, cleaner engines have reduced these impressively and the smog statistics show the effects.
The pernicious thing about reducing CO2 is that you cannot have combustion. And, Mr. Chait, it is a natural compound, and plants do indeed "breathe" it. The difference between curbing CO and CO2 emissions is a world apart and when somebody comes along to educate people on this, they are called names by TNR and have their motives questioned.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the former Vice President of the US, and a man who was nearly President, has released a whopper of a movie that is packed with the most outlandish over-predictions, bolstered predominantly by untruths.
Chait does not mention "An Inconvenient Truth." But he finds time to write a column about a think tank that is using petro-chemical dollars to present their side of the story, which happens to be factual.
The concept is so unpersuasive, even on its own terms, I can't believe that Americans are stupid enough to fall for it. People may be dumb, but if they were that dumb, the world would be a different place. There would be thousands of technicians on call to help us operate our flush toilets. Emergency rooms would be filled with people who attempted to clean out their earwax with steak knives
Well, Mr. Chait, I guess we agree that somebody is stupid.
UPDATE: Watch the ads here
I'm going to shill for a magazine, The American Enterprise.
Yesterday was a great Sunday, I did a few indoor chores and had some time to read magazines. The porn of punditry that pours into my house. I have a problem, yes, and all my nieces and nephews are enablers -- selling magazines for school fund-raisers "Uncle John, we're building a memorial to John Dewey and Karl Mark in the new diversity center, will you buy some magazines to support it?"
Anyway, I had time to read Reason, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The American Enterprise back to back. Reason is really growing on me. I thought I wouldn't renew but when my youngest nephew at Ernesto Guevara Middle School raises money for the Ward Churchill Defense Fund, I'll probably re-up.
TAE just comes out a few times each year, so it is a very inexpensive subscription. I'd really recommend this current issue, "Attack of the Snobs." It is worth it for the cover illustration alone.
TAE focuses an issue around a theme, so the cover story is really the whole book. They get great writers in rather than having a stable. This issue contemplates adversity to the preferences of most Americans. One hundred forty million shop at Wal*Mart, but a coterie of, well, snobs who don't need the employment or cheaper goods try to block them at every turn.
Wal*Mart, cars vs. light-rail, horizontal sprawl vs. vertical urban living: people vote with their feet and wallets. For better or worse, they buy SUVs, shop at big box stores, seek larger homes in the exurbs, and do all the things that the caricatures on the cover hate.
Buy this one or come borrow mine if you live in Colorado. This is a great and important issue. I've concluded that elitism is a larger driver of the red-blue split than most on either side acknowledge.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM
June 4, 2006
But now at last the media have their story. They're off the leash. And, if the worst rumors are true, those 10 Marines will come to symbolize the 99.99 percent of their comrades who every day do great things for the Iraqi and Afghan people. In 2004, in the wake of Abu Ghraib, I wrote that "there is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day."
Two years on, it's even worse.
Posted by AlexC at 11:46 PM
Scamming the Airlines
Lt. Michael Lista and Officer Joseph Chicano, both of whom have retired in the last two months, deny doing anything wrong. They patrolled Philadelphia International Airport for more than five years each.
The police department and the district attorney's office were investigating whether the officers received free vouchers for flights by volunteering to be "bumped" and cashing in refundable tickets that they never intended to use.
Heh. I like that one.
On the Web
The plan will allow web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.
Texas Governor Rick Perry said the cameras would focus on "hot-spots and common routes" used to enter the US.
This is a clever idea, except for the one tragic downfall.
The toll-free call in number. How long before it's rendered useless by crank calls?
Canada 2, Mexico 0
Not hockey. Not soccer. This would be the score for massive foiled terrorist attempts.
Alleged Canadian terror plot has worldwide links
Why it is a national security emergency to close the southern border?
June 3, 2006
Personally, I'd like to see more like this on blogs:
Ethics Training for Terrorists
The Denver Dailies led with this story:
US orders ethics training for all its troops in Iraq
Which made me wonder if our enemies would be reciprocating, and forcing terrorists to complete ethics training in Saudi Arabia.
When bombing civilians, take care not to injure women and children, unless of course they are Jews or infidels or they are just hanging around the target site...
Michelle Malkin has a post about the reporting on the Haditha incident.
It's a must-read.
A reader of Michelle's site sent a letter to the UK Times, which makes some great points:
I read about your "mistake" on Michelle Malkin's website. Your photo shows bound and murdered people. The captions claims that the US Marines did the killing when those people were killed by the very terrorists that the US Marines are there fighting. While I would love to give you and the Times the benefit of the doubt (that it was a mistake), I can no longer do that. If it was a mistake at all, it was due to a willingness at least, and more likely an eagerness, to be used as a propaganda piece for the terrorists and to bash the US led war and pander to the anti-war crowd.
And Mrs. Malkin links to a story of a massacre you will probably not hear about in the PC, anti-American media.
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraqi police on Saturday found eight [dead] north of Baghdad with a note indicating at least one of the men were killed in retaliation for the slaying of four Shiite doctors, authorities said.
I highly recommend you go look at the pictures and read the AP story -- you need to know what we are up against; or remind yourself -- but it is gruesome. It's like what happened in Germany...
Review Corner: He's No Angel
I'm sorry there was no "Review Corner" last week. Movie night was superseded by an impromptu birthday party and Buffy festival. Sugarchuck and family, whom we turned on to Buff, and a couple that they had enlightened got together for a viewing of the favorite episodes and some hyper intelligent geek chatter with overly educated people discussing favorite episodes, characters, demons, songs, &c. What a great night! We were introduced as "grand-sires."
Neither Buffy nor Angel is intrinsically "conservative" and fans span the political spectrum. But a lot of conservatives and libertarians like it: me, Jonathan Last, Andrew Stuttaford, Jonah Goldberg, and Virginia Postrel come to mind. I think one of the things conservatives appreciate is the idea of consequences. Actions have repercussions; redemption is difficult and may not even be possible.
Being a Buffy fan, I watch its actors in other vehicles and am usually disappointed. Alyson Hannigan is in some awful sitcom I see advertised during football games, David Boreanaz's "Bones" is okay but not spectacular. Of course, when it is a Joss Whedon or Tim Minear production this doesn't count. Nathan Fillion (Caleb) and Gina Torres (Jasmine) were great on Firefly and Adam Baldwin (Marcus Hamilton) rocked on Firefly and The Inside. IMDB notes that Baldwin is on an episode of "Bones" I will have to look for that.
[Here comes that tortured segue, hang on!] I rented "These Girls" starring Boreanaz and Caroline Dhavernas (from Tim Minear's "Wonderfalls"). I cannot complain about "Hollywood Values" as this film is Canadian, but its values were suspect at best. I gathered it was not "Old Yeller" when I read the synopsis: "During their summer between high school and college, three girls blackmail a slightly older hunk into having sex with them."
Boreanaz plays Keith Clark, hunky small-town husband (one has to be somewhat hunky to require blackmail for a tryst with Caroline Dhavernas). We meet his wife late in the film. She's nice and they have a two tear old, whom the character cares for. Clark grows pot, deals to the young folk of the town, plays poker, and rides with some moderately violent biker types. His lothario career starts willingly with the 19 year old babysitter Glory (Amanda Walsh). When her friends discover her extra-sit-ular activities, they decide that they must also avail themselves of this resource. When he resists, the blackmail card is played.
Kiera St. George (Dhavernas) could be a prequel for her Jaye Tyler character on Wonderfalls -- the slacker before she is a slacker with a degree. The film has an independent feel and the music is original sounding garage-band-rock or organic acoustic guitar. The plot is not cookie-cutter, though the hyper-sexed fundamentalist Adventist Lisa (Holly Lewis) was a little trite.
In the end, though, I cannot get past the fact that there are no consequences. [SPOILER ALERT] Yeah, Clark gets beat up but it is a tangential consequence. One girl gets pregnant but marries a nice guy and lives happily ever after. And everybody continues their life with this no more than a fantastic story of summer romance. No harm, no foul. I don't need tongues of fire smiting the philanderers or anything. But real life has consequences and I could not get past their absence in this film.
jk gives it three stars. jk's wife, a big fan of both Boreanaz and Dhavernas, "HATED IT!"
Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM
Update: Marxist Racism
Nicholas Provenzo at Rule of Reason Blog has some excellent commentary on SPS's racist definition of racism:
In response to the mountain of criticism it received for its definition of racism which included having “a future time orientation” and “emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology” [blogged about at ROR here], the Seattle Public Schools has issued the following statement [on their Website]:In response to the numerous concerns voiced regarding definitions posted on the Equity & Race website, we have decided to revise our website in a way that will hopefully provide more context to readers around the work that Seattle Public Schools is doing to address institutional racism. The intended purpose of our work in the area of race and social justice is to bring communities together through open dialogue and honest reflection around what is meant by racism and the impact is has on our society and more specifically, our students. Our intention is not to put up additional barriers or develop an “us against them” mindset, nor is it to continue to hold onto unsuccessful concepts such as a melting pot or colorblind mentality. It is our hope that we can explore the work of leading scholars in the areas of race and social justice issues to help us understand the dynamics and realities of how racism permeate throughout our society and use their knowledge to help us create meaningful change. This difficult work is vital to the success of our students and families. Thank you for sharing your concerns.
Notice also how they are not backing down from their position: "we have decided to revise our website in a way that will hopefully provide more context to readers around the work that Seattle Public Schools is doing to address institutional racism." In other words, we just don't get it. They are going to try to explain better -- or hide better -- the fact that they are racists, and that they are seeking to punish and flagelate "Whites" for their "inherent evil."
They also say "It is our hope that we can explore the work of leading scholars in the areas of race and social justice issues to help us understand the dynamics and realities of how racism permeate throughout our society and use their knowledge to help us create meaningful change." Well, it's those very "leading scholars" who informed SPS's defintions of racism, in the first place!!
If SPS had said they were getting new, rational scholars, there'd be some hope. However, SPS shows their continued irrationality and support of the overthrow of the "White establishment" (ain't no such thing!!) -- which will be violent, as Marxism -- in any form you choose it -- always is.
June 2, 2006
In Dar al Harb...
David Burge has a (satirical) list of Ten Things You Can Do To Save The Planet if you are concerned, after watching Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth:"
3. Crush a Third World economic development movement. One of the most pressing threats facing our environment is rising incomes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Only a generation ago, these proud dark people were happily frolicking in the rain forest, foraging for organic foods amid the wonders of nature. Now, corrupted by wealth, they are demanding environmentally hazardous consumer goods like cars and air conditioning and malaria medicine. You can do your part to stop this dangerous consumer trend by supporting environmentally aware leaders like Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro to foster an economy of sustainable low-impact ecolabor camps. ... 8. Phase out the entertainment industry by 2011. If there is one sector of our economy that typifies America's obscene energy waste, it is the entertainment industry. Every year untold gigawatts are consumed to power studio kleig lights, theater projectors, popcorn machines, and multi-city concert tours, with no discernable benefit to society. With your help, this destructive drag on our environment can be reversed within five years. Do your part by pledging to greenlight only those films that have recycled or incomprehensible story lines, and by signing preachy and unlistenable musical acts. By purging the entertainment market of its dangerous popular appeal, you will be reducing the public's desire to make wasteful and expensive SUVs trips to their local concert halls, cineplexes and video stores.
Meanwhile, in Dar al Islam...
Here is another case of Islamists' abuse of children (I understand they are used as screens in Iraq, among other places...):
A group of Palestinian children were sent towards the Gaza Strip border fence holding toy guns on Thursday in order to test the vigilance of the soldiers on duty.
HT: Little Green Footballs
Not to be outdone by their Azeri bretheren, some Lebanese had some good Islamist fun, too, as the AP reports (from the Sun Herald):
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hundreds of Shiite Muslims enraged by a TV comedy that mocked the leader of Hezbollah took to the streets of southern Beirut on Thursday night, burning car tires and blocking roads - including the highway to Lebanon's international airport, police and witneses said.
HT: Jihad Watch
Now for a lesson in cultural awareness and sensitivity (and in hypocrisy and Muslim wanna-be supremacy), please study the following images. (And don't riot!!!!)
Images from Palestinian Media Watch. Click here to see more, and to read about Palestinian child abuse: how they train their children to be suicide bombers and jihadists.
Meanwhile, over at UCI...
Another report on the coming of the Ismalic States of America, brought to us by Phi Beta Cons Blog:
The Muslim Student Union of UC Irvine recently held a "Holocaust in the Holy Land" week with signs proclaiming Israel as the "Fourth Reich" and horrendous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel declarations, such as "Israelis Love to Kill Innocent Children" and "Exploiting the Holocaust to Justify Genocide." Floods of misinformation flowed forth in hateful, belligerent speeches, and disagreement was suppressed or shouted down with cries of "Allah Akbar."
Frank Mickadeit writes that the feds are conducting an intense surveillance operation to detect potential terrorists in Orange County and that part of their program involves studying activist Muslim student organizations at the University of California at Irvine.
Chuck the Constitution...
...make way for Shari'a. Little Green Footballs reports, in "DePaul University Appeasement Goes on Trial :"
Here’s an update on the case of Thomas Klocek, fired from DePaul University for challenging the hatred espoused by Muslim student groups.
Prepare for the coming dhimmitude...
Our Southern Border
I agree with Harry Binswanger when he says:
The problem of "illegal" immigration can be solved at the stroke of a pen: legalize immigration. Screen all you want (though I want damn little), but remove the quotas. Phase them out over a 5- or 10-year period. Grant immediate, unconditional amnesty to all "illegal" immigrants.
Though we damn well need to screen, as the story below, from the Counterterrorism Blog, shows -- or take politicization and lies about Islamofascism out of the process, and let the CIA and FBI actually do their jobs. (And we don't need people coming over, bringing diseases with them, either.)
Thanks to IT expert and CT Blog regular reader Timothy Thompson, we learn the deportation case in Seattle against an African Muslim Imam is proving to be yet another indicator the US - Mexican border poses a very real threat to the Nation’s counter-terrorism efforts. Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed is the Imam of the Abu Bakr Mosque in Rainier Valley, Washington and was arrested by ICE agents in November for immigration removal (deportation) violations, allegedly stemming from his falsifying an application for asylum, per reports.
Mohamed is now reported to have agreed to give up his fight against deportation. There appear to be issues, however, concerning his true citizenship...whether he is really Kenyan or Somali, and to where he may actually be deported. As previously noted here, and here, while deportation to Somalia is legally possible for the US Government, physically accomplishing such a task is problematic.
Another One Bites the Dust
Over at the Counterterrorism Blog, they report that Gaddafi is worried about Charles Taylor being prosecuted:
It is interesting to see that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is slamming Nigeria for turning Charles Taylor over to face justice. News reports quote Gadaffi as saying such a move sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of Africa.
Dictatorship: An evil enterprise which needs to be eliminated from the human experience.
It's a Lie!
Dear Amazon.com Customer,
I have not purchased any Young, Neil film. I want an apology and I want my record expunged.
Why must it always be "You guys go first"?
The US foreign policy of pre-emptive strikes against any perceived weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat, its development of new types of nuclear weapons and the "Star Wars" missile defence shield risked fuelling a new global arms race, said Dr Blix.
Dr Blix's warning came in a report, released yesterday, proposing ways to bring about global nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament.
I suppose telling Iran to knock it off is out of the question.
Basically, Iran would tell you to go piss off, while the there are Americans who will say, "ya know.... that's a great idea."
Snakes on the Plane
An attempt to swat the snake only resulted in it falling to Coles' feet under the rudder pedals. It then darted to the other side of the cockpit.
While maintaining control of the single-engine plane with one hand, Coles grabbed the reptile behind its head with his other.
"There was no way I was letting that thing go. It coiled all around my arm, and its tail grabbed hold of a lever on the floor and started pulling," Coles said.
The latest snapshot, released by the Labor Department on Friday, offered a mixed picture of the jobs climate. Wage growth, meanwhile, slowed, a development that should ease concerns about inflation getting out of hand.
The count of new jobs generated last month — 75,000 — was the smallest since October, when hiring practically stalled as companies were jolted by fallout from the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Job gains for March and April turned out to be weaker than previously reported.
Being in the liberal media must be eternally depressing. It seems like you always need to find the dark cloud somewhere.
The Cooling Saucer
Nathan Smith, at TCS, suggests that the US Senate is playing its intended Constitutional role in the Immigration debate.
It is also a reminder of why the framers of the Constitution were wise to establish a Senate in the first place. Mark Steyn lampoons senators like John McCain and Arlen Specter as "presidents-for-life of the one-party state of Incumbistan." But that was the point of the Senate all along. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Paper No. 62:
It's a very good piece that also congratulates the Democrats for choosing the right side of an important issue.
Millions of libertarian and compassionate conservative Americans have a new reason to take a look at the Democratic Party.
He has some negatives to offer as well, but I'm going to make you find those for yourself. jk is Merck; you're the tort bar. You know what to do.
Pardon a little skepticism.
William P. Kucewicz pens a guest editorial in the beloved WSJ today (Free link, click away!) In it, he is pretty upbeat about the opportunity for effective sanctions against Iran
Condoleezza Rice, in signaling a new U.S. willingness to negotiate with Iran, also warned that "international isolation and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions" would follow if Tehran defies its international obligations by continuing to develop nuclear weapons. Although the likelihood of those sanctions increased yesterday after the Iranian regime rejected the U.S. offer, it has been the threat of such sanctions, and the crippling effect an international embargo would have on Iran's economy and exchequer, that have always been the likely catalysts for any possible negotiation.
Were we not still in the wake of "Oil for Food," I'd hop onboard the sanguine-train. Oh, and if China and Russia weren't pandering to Iran and Sudan, I'd feel better. And if I couldn't buy Cuban cigars and coffee (their coffee rocks!) in Ireland.
The fact is, somebody will end-around any sanctions to buy cheap oil. This will create a humanitarian crisis, yet will further enrich connected folks. Certainly long enough to develop noo-cyoo-lur weapons.
Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works!
Hot Dogs & Beer
Let's not forget the hypodermic needle thrown during batting practice.
The stinking bum.
I had to double check this wasn't a George Will column.
Libertarians and Uranium
June 1, 2006
As drivers called friends and relatives, up to a dozen cars lined up for a turn at a Lukoil pump vending premium at that price instead of the $3.29 at which it should have been set.
The rush Monday was short-lived, though.
Doylestown Township Police Chief Stephen White says a woman called 911 saying she had noticed the error when she used the pump, though she herself pumped "plus" grade correctly priced at $3.19.
That woman is, quite frankly, an @sshat. Why in the world would you call 911? Walking into the gas station would have been sufficient to remedy the problem.
I wonder what the official police code is "operator error on gas pump"?
"Attention all units, we have a code 193245, undercharging gas pumps!"
The Internal Revenue Service said the company "stepped up and embraced" the new requirement for companies with more than $50 million in assets to file electronically.
If GE had sent paper forms, the return would have stacked up eight feet high. Instead, it took up 237 megabytes.
No telling how much it costs GE to prepare that return, but it cost them between 500K and a million dollars to develop an electronic filing system.
It's no doubt that GE didn't not bring as many good things to life because of the burden of filing.
Hype for Me, Not for Thee
Josh at The Everyday Economist nails our former VP without even bringing up the ManBearPig. VP Gore says:
“I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”
Ummmm, okay, but TEE points out:
Now I want you to insert “Iraq” into the parentheses and re-read his statement. Now isn't that what Gore and many Democrats have accused President Bush of doing? So why then does Gore think its okay in this case?
ManBearPig. It's real!
Not About the Pay Raise
My turn to cover my home state...
Pat Toomey writes in today's Philly Inquirer...
The main reason so many Republican incumbents lost to little-known primary challengers was the accumulated frustration of the rank and file with elected Republicans who had abandoned their party's principles - especially the principle of limited government. This is a huge problem for Republicans holding federal office, too.
The danger for GOP majorities across the country this fall is that Republican voters may still be frustrated with their incumbents. In the fall, they won't have primary challengers through which to vent their frustration. But they can stay home. Republican officeholders have very little time left to demonstrate to these voters that it's still worth coming out to vote.
Pat Toomey has personally endorsed Rick Santorum.
Perry at Eidelblog asks Do these new college grads think they're in France? He is not too sympathetic for the 25 year-old NYU grad who has been "crying every day. It's just been really intense, between graduating college and trying to find a job. I just want to be happy and find something I can enjoy doing!"
Could anyone feel less for her than I do? By sending out a mere 30 resumes a month (one a day), she thinks she can find a job she'll enjoy doing, with the implicit requirement that it pay enough and be strictly 9 to 5. She's fortunate that someone replied, "Look, you don't know anything about the industry. Good grades and showing energy aren't enough. Do your homework if you expect to impress someone enough to land a job." That person did her a favor.
Tucker Carlson had an author on who was this woman's spiritual twin. Some (I don't think they are representative) are deeply convinced that things have "never been worse" for young people. Sadly, some people take them seriously, instead of giving them the "Waaaah" that they deserve.
As Goes The Keystone State...
If AlexC can publish Colorado items...
The Wall Street Journal carries a guest editorial today from GOP Senate candidate Mike Folmer. (paid link).
He discusses the "earthquake in PA" but I am surprised how easily his points can be extrapolated to the national scene.
My personal experiences working the campaign trail this past spring made it apparent to me that the political upheaval was due to a coalescing of two fundamental perspectives held by the rank-and-file: Government needed to be reformed; and the state Republican Party needed to be reformed, too.
Hmmmm. Sound like any other GOP politicians, or is this endemic to Pennsylvania?
A pollster on Larry Kudlow's show suggested a 40% possibility of the Democrats taking both houses in 2006. Even though I have argued for vigilance, that seems too high for a Senate loss. Then again, how scared were the Pennsylvania state legislators?
UPDATE: The whole editorial is available, click "Continue Reading..."
Contract With Pennsylvania
LEBANON, Pa. -- The Republican primary of 2006 in this state has been called a "political massacre," an "earthquake" and "payback." It has been discussed in media outlets across the country and across the political spectrum. Now, more than two weeks have elapsed since May 16, and pundits, editorial writers and political analysts are still trying to figure out what led to the defeat of 16 incumbent state legislators -- including Pennsylvania's top two state Senate Republicans -- at the hands of underfunded, and in several cases -- including mine -- unknown challengers.
Many, including some of those incumbents who lost, are crediting (or blaming) the huge pay raise of July 2005, which approved increases of up to 54% for elected officials and was passed under the cover of darkness by a Republican-controlled Legislature at the behest of a liberal Democratic governor, Ed Rendell. Some take a more philosophical approach, attributing the dramatic political shift to a general disdain for Harrisburg; others think it was due to a need for the people to take back control of the government from ineffective politicians.
My personal experiences working the campaign trail this past spring made it apparent to me that the political upheaval was due to a coalescing of two fundamental perspectives held by the rank-and-file: Government needed to be reformed; and the state Republican Party needed to be reformed, too.
Conservatives had long been chafing at the fact that an ostensibly conservative Legislature had linked arms with Mr. Rendell to raise income taxes, push up state spending to record levels, and expand both corporate- and social-welfare spending without any apparent means of accountability -- while a comprehensive property tax reform package continued to stall in the Legislature.
These people at the grassroots no longer viewed the state Legislature as a servant of the people but as an exclusive club for political insiders. They fumed as the legislators voted to increase their own pensions by 50%, in addition to excessive daily allowances just to show up for work, and at the practice of allowing members to take expensive junkets to resort locations.
It was as if the Republican Party leadership in the state capitol had forgotten everything they'd been taught by Ronald Reagan -- that the core values of the Republican Party were lower taxes, less spending and limited government.
Then came the notorious pay raise, and the camel's back was broken.
The pay raise particularly stung Republicans, for it was their political party that was in charge of the Legislature when this blatant violation of the state Constitution (and common sense) was rammed through. These Republicans, I came to understand, felt the time had come to clean their own house.
A critical part of such housecleaning requires viable candidates who are willing and able to challenge incumbent legislators, and who inspire passionate support among the voters. Conservative Republicans are not stupid; if they don't like the choices presented, they will stay home.
Rank-and-file conservatives do not gravitate toward candidates simply because they are not "the other guy." While the pay raise energized voters and gave them a reason to consider other options, it was the duty of the challengers to explain why they were better choices than the incumbents. It is my conviction that Republican voters were just as desirous of a positive vision that they could embrace -- a vision that demanded accountability and reform at the state level -- as they were to remove those incumbents who had failed to uphold the traditional ideals of their party.
And that is why "The Promise to Pennsylvania" was so important. The Promise -- drafted by my campaign and that of three other candidates -- codified the elemental Republican principles of lower taxes and less government and sketched out how these principles should be applied at the state level. For all intents and purposes, it was a Contract With America -- for Pennsylvania.
The Promise gave Republican voters an opportunity to re-evaluate exactly what it was they believed in. Did they want to continue down the path of higher taxes and growing government, or did they want to see real tax reform and constraints on spending?
For the many Republican reformers who won their respective primaries, the Promise holds the key for eventual victory in the fall. It is a standard around which other Republicans can rally, clearly outlining an agenda for the next legislative session and defining the critical, core issues for the party.
It is also my conviction that while the leadership of the Republican Party is still trying to figure out how it will deal with the fallout from May 16, it is imperative that the GOP come together in time for the Nov. 7 election. There are critical races to win -- most notably Rick Santorum's fight to beat back state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. and keep his U.S. Senate seat, and Lynn Swann's campaign to upend Ed Rendell and become Pennsylvania's first black governor.
I was a reluctant candidate. Family and friends urged me to consider public office, but it was only after much thought and consideration and prayer that I agreed. One factor that appealed greatly to me was the vision the Founders had of a citizen-legislature -- of a body consisting of ordinary folks who would fulfill their civic duty for a period of time and then step aside to allow others to do theirs. We've gotten away from that; but public service is not something reserved only for the rich or popular or well-connected. (I was outspent nearly 20 to 1 in my primary campaign against the state Senate majority leader.)
But the most important factor was that ideas matter. I have confidence that the Pennsylvania Republican Party can move forward victoriously not only this coming fall but in future elections. Yet in order to do so, it is imperative that we do not forget the principles that made the Republican Party great.
In many ways, then, the Pennsylvania situation mirrors that of the country as a whole.
Mr. Folmer, a tire salesman, is a Republican candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.