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! ;)

But jk thinks:

Danke schoen. I finally know how to pronounce her last name (EYE-ree).

She does seem green but I like to bet on a longshot now and then. The more exposure she gets, the more criticism of Rep Murtha will be out there. Pretty good way to spend $50 (irey.com).

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 11:47 AM

Freedom of Speech?

Ben Stein

    there are already immense exceptions to the doctrine of free speech. What occurs to little me is that if we can tell a man he'll go to jail for calling a black man a name that any child can hear a thousand times a day on rap radio stations, why can't we say it's also a slur to people's feelings -- especially veterans' feelings -- to burn the flag?

    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?

But jk thinks:

I like the comparison to hate speech. I support FREE speech which might include objectionable things like Illinois Nazis (I hate Illinois Nazis!) or flag burning.

The better comparison is McCain-Feingold. I wish all these Democrats had found religion when they were voting on that. Flag burning is smallball by comparison.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 11:39 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I agree, McCain-Feingold or the 527 "reform" are way bigger examples of destroying free speech.

If burning a flag is patriotic, and expressing "freedom of speech", I wish the pyromaniacs would wrap themselves in it first.

Posted by: AlexC at July 1, 2006 11:47 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm tough on politicians around here but it's a good time to celebrate a man who faced opprobrium to vote against both.

Two ThreeSources Profiles in Courage Awards to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Amendment I to the Constitution prohibits Congress from making laws "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" and yet, SPEAKING certain words has been made unlawful while ACTING in certain other ways is considered sacrosanct.

Everyone should always have the right to say, "America sucks" or "the flag stands for ______" (insert collectivist slur of choice). But nobody should have the right to burn the Flag in the public square, even if he owns said flag. There is no "self-evident" right of an individual to publicly and uncerimoniously destroy, with extreme prejudice, the preeminent national symbol of this country.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2006 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and Mitch McConnell makes me sick. His was the deciding vote in killing the amendment. He can't seriously believe that the lack of a Flag Burning Amendment will be any impediment to those who strive to emasculate the Second Amendment!

http://mcconnell.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=257826&start=1

While I agree with McConnell's argument about truth and reason, those who risk their lives for the flag on foreign shores should not be forced to stand by while it is piddled on back home. If we can pay veterans medical costs, we can protect the one symbol that means more to them than anything else on earth. The Constitution will survive such an exalted exception.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2006 3:36 PM

French Apple Pie

Yahoo/AP

    French lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation that could force Apple Computer Inc. to make its iPod and iTunes Music Store compatible with rivals' music players and online services.

    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.

Technology Posted by AlexC at 4:40 PM

Post-W America

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.

Or maybe not. Because it's always a question as to whether or not a movie succeeds in reflecting -- or, in rare cases, actually shaping -- the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times.


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.

Of course, in the end, Superman discovers his true place -- his heroic place. Speaking of his solitary vigilance, he says, "I hear everything." And yet he has no choice but to stay on duty, to protect the world: "Every day I hear people crying for me." So Americans can see the movie and be reassured: The world might not like us as much as it once did, but the world still needs us. That ought to be a good box to check off on the box-office Zeitgeist checklist.

So there you have it, Mr. and Ms. America: The latest Superman has a little bit of Jesus in him, but actually, not too much. He digs women, and they dig him right back, dammit. And now that he has learned a little, including a little humility, he would make a heckuva next president of the United States. Will you buy it? Will you make Singer and Superman richer than ever, in response to their retooled Super-script and focus-grouped Super-message? We'll know in the next few days.

My bet is that they have gotten it right -- or enough of it right. Supermoney awaits Superman.


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.

The Twilight Zone.

But jk thinks:

Miller does have a liberal record (90% ADA rating) but he won by 19 points in a 52-47% Kerry district. I cannot imagine Mr. Robinson's rhetoric will charge up the voters as much as the blogosphere.

There may be something in that commercial for everybody to hate -- he's a uniter!

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2006 1:04 PM

But jk thinks:

Compelling arguments and trenchant invective...

Rather than Santa Cruz's seceding, wouldn't it be better to keep Bolivia intact and use the pro-freedom (and attractive) protestors to force the national government away from collectivism.

(Side note: my in-laws hosted an exchange student from Santa Cruz. She would fit right in with this group.)

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2006 3:35 PM

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.

So, for example, it promulgates a double standard on "leaks," deploring them in the case of Valerie Plame and demanding a special counsel when the leaker was presumably someone in the White House and the journalist a conservative columnist. But then it hails as heroic and public-spirited the leak to the Times itself that revealed the National Security Agency's al Qaeda wiretaps.

Mr. Keller's open letter explaining his decision to expose the Treasury program all but admits that he did so because he doesn't agree with, or believe, the Bush Administration. "Since September 11, 2001, our government has launched broad and secret anti-terror monitoring programs without seeking authorizing legislation and without fully briefing the Congress," he writes, and "some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight." Since the Treasury story broke, as it happens, no one but Congressman Ed Markey and a few cranks have even objected to the program, much less claimed illegality.

Perhaps Mr. Keller has been listening to his boss, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who in a recent commencement address apologized to the graduates because his generation "had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government.

"Our children, we vowed, would never know that. So, well, sorry. It wasn't supposed to be this way," the publisher continued. "You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights," and so on. Forgive us if we conclude that a newspaper led by someone who speaks this way to college seniors has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it.


But Charlie on the PA Turpike thinks:

It's good that the WSJ has made their case. Pundits (notably Lionel) having been making hay that the Journal wasn't warned not to publish the story, but that the NY and LA Times were. At least there's a good reason to rebuke them.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Turpike at June 30, 2006 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, I saw it first in the Journal and wondered why they weren't getting more disapprobation.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2006 11:35 AM

June 29, 2006

Mushrooms After A Rainstorm

Reuters

    The U.S. military has found more Iraqi weapons in recent months, in addition to the 500 chemical munitions recently reported by the Pentagon, a top defense intelligence official said on Thursday.

    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 lawmakers, some facing tough election battles amid growing anti-war sentiment, called the discovery of the weapons significant.

    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...
    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

That's the 2003 State of the Union.

But johngalt thinks:

Another fair and balanced report from "al Reuters."

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:50 PM

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.

Do I think this should worry Hillary Clinton? Yes. Not because she hasn't written a book that was on the best-seller list. She may have even written two: It Takes a Village and Living History. But let's face facts. In contrast to Gore's writing his own three books, she didn't really write any of hers herself. And, frankly, they are not serious books anyway, although It Takes a Village is a warm and fuzzy volume purporting to be about children's policy. All you have to do is to take a look at her website to see how scattered her steely mind really is.


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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM

Making Lemons

John Hawkins @ Right Wing News wants to make lemons of this morning's Gitmo SCOTUS decision.

    So we can't put them in front of a military tribunal, but we can still hold them indefinitely.

    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.

SCOTUS War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 1:32 PM

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:
"Unemployment Soars"

But I'm open to suggestions.

But AlexC thinks:

Economy Grows 5.6%, Jobless Hardest Hit

Posted by: AlexC at June 29, 2006 12:04 PM
But jk thinks:

ROTFLMAO

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2006 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Economy Grows in Q1 - Year Not Over Yet"

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:53 PM

Treason

Ann Coulter writes about the NY Times' recent behaviour and famous traitors like Tokyo Rose & Axis Sally.

    There was no evidence that in any of these cases the treasonable broadcasts ever put a single American life in danger. The law on treason doesn't require it.

    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?

But jk thinks:

I'm not itchin' to jump in and defend the New York Times but the treason here -- and it is clearly treason -- is the leaker.

If I may go all Joe McCarthy for a moment, this person works for the United States Government and was willing to harm the government and citizens. I wish the Times showed better discretion, yes, but the traitor here is the leaker.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2006 10:29 AM
But AlexC thinks:

The leaker definately is a traitor. But that doesn't mean I can't call it the Paper of Treason.

Posted by: AlexC at June 29, 2006 12:30 PM

Oil Prices Going Down?

Kudlow says we're going to be surprised.

    The Energy Department just announced that crude oil supplies rose 1.4 million barrels to 347.1 million for the week ended June 16. Analysts had been expecting a drawdown, so this news caught them by surprise. More, crude oil supplies in the U.S. are now at their highest levels since May 1998, when oil was trading around $15 a barrel. Add in the fact that Canadian oil inventories are fully stocked, and the more imminent reality is of a sizable oil-price decrease -- not a huge increase.

    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.

On the web Posted by AlexC at 12:38 AM

June 28, 2006

Dummest. Move. Ever.

al-Reuters

    A spokesman for gunmen in the Gaza Strip said they had fired a rocket tipped with a chemical warhead at Israel early on Thursday.

    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."

Current Events Posted by AlexC at 10:51 PM

East Coast Flooding

In southeast Pennsylvania, the local rivers & creeks are nearing record level flooding.

    The NBC 10 area is battling its worse flooding situation in decades, as the rapid rise of the Delaware River threatens parts of cities from Easton to Trenton.

    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.

Here are a few pictures of the Perkiomen Creek River.

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!

But jk thinks:

Yikes! Stay safe!

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 7:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm in Alaska right now.

But with global warming thawing this whole place out, it's only a matter of time before we're inundated!

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 7:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Ummm, I was suggesting that your wife stay safe but you've a point. All those icebergs melting and all, it's pretty scary anywhere.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 8:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I knew what you meant. ;)
Funny, this internet thing.
Let's hope it's only a passing fad.

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 8:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hope you've given your friends and family careful instructions for protecting themselves from looters. Oh, and make sure she grabs one of those FEMA debit cards for you too!

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:55 PM

PA - 12

Robert Novak:

    Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) appears to be suffering "Daschle-itis," a figurative disease which makes entrenched incumbents become national celebrities and, in the process, risk alienating the voters that put them in office.

    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.

    Ruth Ann Biesinger-Sliko, 55, a physical education teacher who came to see a fellow teacher and six of her former students return from Iraq, said Murtha has lost her vote because of his negativity about the war.

    "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
    "I just believe everything he says is very true," said Cindy Saylor, 49, whose 19-year-old son was among those who returned home. "I think we need to get out of there. People are getting killed needlessly."

.. and finally.
    Tom Geiger, a 79-year-old World War II veteran, said he thinks Murtha is "50 percent right and 50 percent wrong."

    "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."

Congress Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at 5:13 PM

UT-03

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.

Polling in the district showed the split between the candidates exactly mirrored the 44-40 split between voters who wanted a soft approach on immigration and those who wanted a border clampdown. In the event, Mr. Cannon took the race by a wide 56-to-44 margin. The anti-illegal immigrant cause is nothing if not the property of a passionate, noisy minority whose clout might be expected to be magnified in a lightly-attended primary vote. What happened?


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.

    Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris, the two credited screenwriters for 'Superman Returns' have changed Superman’s famous motto, "Truth, Justice and the American way", to "Truth Justice and ... all that stuff". Seriously. No, really.
      Dan: "I don't think 'the American way' means what it meant in 1945." Mike: "He's not just for Metropolis and not just for America." Dan: "He's an alien, from Krypton; he has come to Earth to be kind of a savior for this world, not our country . . . And he has no papers." Mike: "What would happen with the immigration laws we have now?" Dan: "I'd like to see someone kick him out!"

    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.

But jk thinks:

I was disappointed when I first heard that "..and the American Way" had been expunged. But as a free trader, I have to accept it as a side-effect of exporting American intellectual property to wide international distribution.

It would not be "the American Way" to alienate a potential customer, nicht wahr? N'est ce pas?

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Millions of tired, poor, huddled masses did not risk everything to come to America mid-way through the 20th century because America was the land of "all that stuff." The "American Way" is freedom and opportunity. No other country can claim these as their guiding principles like America can.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2006 4:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said jg.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 4:49 PM

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.

While criticism of Congress is hardly unusual, the level of explicit anti-incumbent sentiment - against both individual members and Congress as a whole - is substantially higher than in most previous midterms. In 1998 and 2002, just 20% and 23%, respectively, wanted to see their member of Congress not returned to office, well below the 32% who take that view today. In those elections only about four-in-ten said they did not want to see most members reelected; currently, 57% of voters express that sentiment.


Hat-tip: Sixers (Some guy named Alex)

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:06 PM

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.

Capitalism has done very well not just by Mr. Buffett but also by the world's poor, as several hundred million Chinese and Indians might attest. African nations in particular need property rights and a rule of law as badly as they need vaccines. On that score we were encouraged by a report this week that the Gateses thanked Mr. Buffett for his gift by presenting him with a book from their personal library: Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations."


That's an auspicious start, but I am still not hopeful.


UPDATE: I forgot to lnk to another great post from Josh at Everyday Economist.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM

June 27, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment in Flames

Yahoo/AP reports:

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.

Know that I support the right of a Teamster, Veteran, or other patriot to punch the mouth of a flag burner. But as far as legal protection, put me down with Taranto and Instapundit.

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.

But AlexC thinks:

Thanks, but I didn't go anywhere! I'm still here!

Posted by: AlexC at June 27, 2006 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I meant after the inevitable fame, of course...

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2006 7:34 PM

Mega Mergers!

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.

In less than 100 hours starting last Friday, around $110 billion in acquisition deals were sealed world-wide in sectors ranging from natural gas, to copper, to mouthwash to steel, linking investors and industrialists from India, to Canada, to Luxembourg to the U.S.

The deals -- which included the marriages of Arcelor SA to Mittal Steel Co., Phelps Dodge Corp. to both Inco Ltd. and Falconbridge Ltd. and Johnson & Johnson to the consumer-brands division of Pfizer Inc. -- provided striking evidence that 2006 is on pace to be the most-active merger year in history, as measured in absolute dollars. The year-end tally could top $3.5 trillion, based on Thomson Financial figures.


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.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 3:53 PM

Wal*Mart Voters

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.

This is clearly not a voting bloc that Republicans can count on in 2006 or 2008.


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.

Hat-tip: Insty

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:46 PM

Defining the Mainstream

I think the size of the mainstream has been determined!

Atrios:

    As another Tapped commenter stated, "I'm no believer in astrology, or in virgin births, transubsantiation, or any number of very mainstream religious beliefs..." And, indeed, belief in astrology is quite mainstream. In 2003, 31% of the population, including 27% of Christians were believers (down from 37% in 1998 with 37% of Christians believing). I'm not entirely sure how to classify astrology, but presumably it falls under the general umbrella of religious/spiritual beliefs.

    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.
    President Bush's approval rating rebounded from its lowest point a month ago and now stands at 38 percent. That is five points higher than it was in May, though still weak enough to cause Republicans to worry about their electoral chances in November.

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.

But jk thinks:

That may be the secret of all those mainstream Democrats winning all those elections. In Israel, I'd bet 31% is a plurality.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2006 3:19 PM

June 26, 2006

Fool Me Once?

If this is true, Rush is done.

    Sources have confirmed to CBS4 News that conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

    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.

    While going through routine Customs inspection of luggage at Palm Beach International Airport upon his return from an international trip, Rush Limbaugh was detained by customs agents after they noticed a non-narcotic prescription drug, which had been prescribed by Mr. Limbaugh's treating physician but labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes. After a brief interview, Mr. Limbaugh was permitted to continue on his journey.

But Charlie on the PA Turpike thinks:

From the looks of things, Rush Limbaugh has little to worry about, saving for local Customs agents looking to make the local media for bringing in a big-fish.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Turpike at June 27, 2006 7:27 AM

Khobar Towers

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.

Iran.

    It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

    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.

Iran Posted by AlexC at 5:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

(Keep in mind millions of pig tailed girl scouts never blow up a U.S. Embassy. Be careful not to paint with a broad brush.)

I may surprise some folks around here, but I thought Director Freeh may have been too tough on the Clinton Administration. While the record is clear on their fecklessness, it was the Chief Executive's decision whether to publicly implicate a foreign country, not the FBI's.

I do not appreciate the current CIA's setting their own policy in opposition to the Bush Administration, I can't condone the FBI's doing the same to the previous administration.

Can I? I'd like to.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2006 6:37 PM

Questions

Via Email:

    A West Texas cowboy was herding his cows in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

    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."

But dagny thinks:

I think it's because I'm a farmgirl at heart but I think this is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh AlexC.

Posted by: dagny at June 28, 2006 11:31 AM

Proud to Stand for Nothing

Jonathan Chait reprints a Los Angeles Times column in TNR online today.

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.

Conservatives venerate the free market and see smaller government as an end in itself. Liberals do not venerate government in the same way, and we do not see larger government as an end in and of itself. For us, everything works on a case-by-case basis. Should government provide everybody's education? Yes. Should government manufacture everybody's blue jeans? No. And so on.

Now, it's true that conservative Republicans have done an awful job of limiting government. But that doesn't stop Republicans from communicating their ideology. Everybody knows what they stand for. They're for lower taxes, strong defense and less spending--even if they habitually fail at the spending part and have royally screwed up the defense portion of late.

But nobody knows what Democrats stand for because you cannot, and should not, formulate sweeping dogmas when you're operating on a case-by-case basis.


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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

And on a side point, Mr. Chait, I have a deal for you. Let's nationalize blue jean production and return market economics to education. Parity is conserved and I think we'll be much better off, if less stylish.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2006 1:49 PM
But AlexC thinks:

No they stand for something.

"We're not them."

Witness: phillyagainstsantorum.org I tried. But I can't find a mention of Santorum's opponent on that entire site.

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2006 3:13 PM
But dagny thinks:

I think I must be that philosophically rigid wing of ThreeSources that jk is referencing but I propose to look at the question this way. How much slavery is enough Mr. Chait (or JK, or anyone else who wishes to address the question)? Too dramatic? A slave produces and someone else owns what he produces. I produce and the government owns what I produce for the first half of the year (more or less).

Then Mr. Chait or some Democrat politician determines what is done with my money. He (any many others) state that, of course, the public schools must be funded. I don’t intend to send my children to the public schools (others have no children). Therefore my money is spent to educate others children. The slave’s work is spent to educate the master’s children. So if we take this dynamic one step further, this makes slaves of our country’s most productive individuals and masters of the least productive. The welfare system produces exactly the same dynamic.

Those who state that these items should be decided on, “case-by-case,” basis are saying that they should be the masters to determine where the productive output of others should be spent. So, I ask again Mr. Chait, “how much slavery is enough.”

Posted by: dagny at June 26, 2006 4:41 PM

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."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template -- namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average.
[...]
So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists -- especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce -- if we're lucky.


Environment Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM

At War With America

Michael Baron says the New York Times is at war with America.

    Bush administration officials asked the Times not to publish the story. Once again, the Times went ahead anyway. "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration," Bill Keller is quoted as saying. It's interesting to note that he feels obliged to report he and his colleagues weren't smirking or cracking jokes. "We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

    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.

Current Events Posted by AlexC at 1:47 AM

June 25, 2006

Palestinian WMDs

Plenty of WMD's in the news this week.

    The Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced on Sunday that its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons.

    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.
    Once the first chemical or biological weapon gets launched against Israel, that decision will have been taken out of their hands. The Israelis will almost certainly launch a massive strike against the Palestinians in both directions -- and while Hamas and Fatah do moderately well at targeting unarmed civilians, the IDF will slice through them like butter. And if the Palestinians expect the West to stop them, they will have miscalculated badly.

    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.

War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 7:16 PM

The Case Against Ethanol

Jeffrey Alan Miron

    The first alleged benefit is, in my view, routinely overstated. There is no "oil weapon" because Middle East oil producers must sell their oil somewhere. In a world market any refusal to sell to the U.S. is irrelevant.

    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.

But jk thinks:

For a couple of decades, the Colorado Front Range counties have had an "oxygenated blend" of at least 10% Ethanol or MTBE mandated in the winter months.

When it was enacted, my mechanic begged me not to put “that stuff” in my 1979 280Z. But driving 100 miles to refuel is a losing proposition.

I didn't test mileage or anything but after a lot of fear, I don't remember anyone having troubles. Are we paying more? Hell yeah, but that's government intrusion fer ya. (And I'd've dreamed of 24 mpg in that Z...)

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2006 4:18 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

"Given that ethanol production requires substantial energy use, any reduction in pollution or greenhouse gases has to be minor."

I've always been a believer in market-driven technology. At some point, demand for ethanol will produce:
1 - A sensible network of delivery, similar to the oil pipelines in place now

2 - Higher-yielding corn strains, capable of producing more ethanol per pound

3 - A more efficient method of converting the corn to ethanol.

Just a reminder, Brazil, which is swimming in sugar cane, has a mandate to go all-ethnaol by 2011.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2006 10:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, in a free market:

4 -- It will be shown to be non viable considering the climate at his latitude and the opportunity costs for arable American farmland.

Sadly, #4 will be not be given a chance. The Greens and the Ag lobby have both parties too frightened to concede that.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2006 10:49 AM

June 24, 2006

Schadenfreude

With all the hullabaloo breaking out over Jerome Armstrong and Kos, my question is, "How come Jerome didn't see it coming?

On the web Posted by AlexC at 12:43 PM

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.

mike0622.gif

(tip to Blonde Sagacity)

But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Lukovich and Tony Auth must have been separated at birth (and their mother oughtta be slapped!)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2006 10:13 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ugh. Tony Auth. I forgot about him.

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2006 1:49 AM

Review Corner

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:03 AM

Politician In A Car Accident

No, not a Kennedy.

    Police cast doubt on congressional candidate Gary Dodds' story that he crashed his car in an accident, wandered away in a daze, swam across a river and huddled in the woods for warmth until he was found a day later, according to documents released Tuesday.

    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.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 1:25 AM

June 23, 2006

I'm Joining the ACLU

No. Really.

Here's why.

    "The revelation of the CIA's financial spying program is another example of the Bush administration's abuse of power. The invasion of our personal financial information, without notification or judicial review, is contrary to the fundamental American value of privacy and must be stopped now. It seems the administration feels entitled to flip through all of our checkbooks. How many other secret spying programs has the Bush administration enacted without Congress, the courts or the public knowing? We need a full accounting of what information has been demanded by the U.S. government, how they have used it, with whom it was shared, and how they intend to repair this grave breech of trust. This program is a glaring example of how this government thinks nothing of widespread abuse of power.

Death to INCOME TAXES!

On the web Posted by AlexC at 9:06 PM

Australia, The Brave

Krauthammer.

    with action comes bravery, from the transcendent courage of the doomed at Gallipoli to the playful insanity of Australian-rules football. How can you not like a country whose trademark sport has Attila-the-Hun rules, short pants and no padding -- a national passion that makes American football look positively pastoral?

    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.

But jk thinks:

What a great and well deserved column. (An Aussie friend says he actually knows of a married couple named Bruce & Sheila, but I digress.)

I agree that Australia has been a staunch ally and dig further that they eschew what Krauthammer calls the "Yes, but" support of other allies. But in which conflict did Australia join us and Britain not?

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2006 10:31 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I think it's Vietnam.

Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2006 11:54 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

An outstanding column. No wonder Oz's national anthem is "Advance Australia Fair!"

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 24, 2006 12:16 PM

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?

    They asked me what I would like PSEA to do for me. I mentioned that I had heard that Ed Rendell had just received a sizable contribution ($235,000, his largest this reporting period) and that I would be happy to receive a similar contribution. I let them know that my commitment to improving education in Pennsylvania was at least as great as Ed's. They said state rep candidates usually receive $0 to $1,500 each.

But wait there's more.
    The ring leader took offense at the term "government school" preferring the term "public school." I explained that the Friends School is also open to the public. Funny that leaders of the STATE education association would take offense at the word government. I guess even whores prefer the term "lady of the evening."

    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.

Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at 6:33 PM

CrashingtheGateGate

That stings.

On the web Posted by AlexC at 1:38 PM

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?

My favorite line from the Starbucks story concerns the union, which apparently is concerned about the increasing heft of the Starbucks staff:

"The union contends that Starbucks staff gain weight when they work at the chain. They are offered unlimited beverages and leftover pastries for free during their shifts."
Good thing we have organized labor around to complain about companies who give employees free stuff (the typical "obesity's costs to society" arguments don't even fly here, given that Starbucks gives its employees comprehensive health insurance).

They're killing those people! Giving them pastries! What can be done about this scourge?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

I say "F them."

Charge them for the pastries, or make them "taste test" the food like the rest of us in food service used to do.

Posted by: AlexC at June 23, 2006 1:44 PM

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.)

And what will happen when the economy does slow down? Don't expect the supply-siders to confess that the tax cuts failed after all. Instead, they'll just return to their argument of four years ago--namely, that you can't raise taxes during a recession. That's the beauty of having a theory that can't be proved wrong. You never have to go away.


Hope Kos shuts down those crazy right wingers before they cause too much trouble.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

I stand by my comment.

Yes, I know things like 9/11 happened. National Security issues raised our expenses.

But the rest of the outlays?

Posted by: AlexC at June 23, 2006 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

We certainly agree that the government spends too much. I'm not defending that side; I will defend tax cuts.

The TNR piece in question points out that In 2003, income-tax revenue as a percent of GDP fell to its lowest point "since before the United States entered World War II." That lack of revenue had a serious impact on the deficit. And it was due to things that the President inherited or that happened on his watch.

That same year, the President's tax cuts were enacted and revenues have climbed far faster than any of the detractors suggested was possible.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2006 2:35 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Whew. Well then we're in agreement.

Posted by: AlexC at June 23, 2006 2:57 PM

Meddling Politicians

Why?

    Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr., a Democrat from Middlesex County, has introduced legislation requiring youths under age 18 to use only wood bats.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Why any bats? Why keep score? Can't we just sit them all down and tell them all how great they are?

Everybody's a winner!

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2006 12:22 PM

Speaker Tancredo

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.

Every poll we've seen says that the public favors an immigration reform of the kind that President Bush does. That's because, whatever their concerns about border security, Americans are smart enough to know that immigrants will keep coming as long as they have the economic incentive to do so. They also don't want the social disruption favored by the deport-'em-all Tancredo Republicans.

On policy, the country could do worse than pass nothing this year on immigration. We've muddled through for years, and at 4.6% unemployment the U.S. economy is easily absorbing the illegal workforce. But having turned the immigration issue into a rallying cry, Republicans have put themselves at political risk if they do nothing. If the GOP finds itself in the minority next year, we trust its restrictionists will stand up and take a bow.


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.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM

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?

1) Blow it up on the pad.

2) Shoot it down from with our new-fangled missile defense system.

3) Let diplomacy have a chance. (again)

4) None of the above.

But jk thinks:

Those war-mongering Clintonites, huh?

I must confess, I'd really like solution #2 but I have no idea how viable that is. Blast the freakin' thing out of the sky. No belligerence, just like parrying the punches of a three year old.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2006 10:02 AM
But AlexC thinks:

To be fair, I heard Jed Babbin, (no Clintonista) vote for #1. He says if the NorK's don't put out a "Notice to Airman and Mariners" before launching it, we have no idea where it's going. It would be prudent for us to destroy it the ground. He even said that position is UN-friendly.

(i don't buy that last part)

Posted by: AlexC at June 23, 2006 11:51 AM
But jk thinks:

#1 is not endemic to Clintonistas, I just remember Secretary Albright toasting his hairiness on completion of their agreement. I find it odd that they get belligerent now, but better to arrive late than never.

The paranoid side of me senses an attack on the Iraq war by Democrats who now claim that Iran and North Korea are more dangerous. I don't know that either situation would be somehow better with Saddam Hussein still in power but I certainly sense an undercurrent.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2006 12:02 PM

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...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:48 PM

Good Doggie!

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.

The dog used her teeth to press the number nine key, which the phone was programmed to interpret as a "911" call to emergency services. Ambulance workers answered the phone and, hearing nothing but barking at the end of the line, rushed to the caller's house in the city of Ocoee in Florida state.


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM

TNR is Dead! Long Live TNR!

Latest CrashingTheGateGate news:

DailyKos: TNR's Defection to the Right Is Now Complete

    It is now beyond clear that the dying New Republic is mortally wounded and cornered, desperate for relevance. It has lost half its circulation since the blogs arrived on the scene and they no longer (thank heavens!) have a monopoly on progressive punditry. We have hit their bottom line, we are hitting their patron saint hard (Joe Lieberman) and this is how they respond. By going after the entire movement.

    Sad, perhaps. But this is apparently the price one pays for crashing the gate.

MyDD: Who Owns The New Republic?

    Unlike the progressive netroots, which is primarily a network of independently owned and operated websites and email lists, The New Republic is owned by wealthy right-wingers. One quit the DLC in 1996 because he thought Bill Clinton was too liberal (seriously). The other is the chairman of a right-wing think tank. I can only imagine that because those two men probably know every rich Republican in the country, that everything The New Republic writes should be considered Astroturf from now on.

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.
    Kos announces in his headline, "TNR's defection to the Right is now complete." If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it is. More than two years ago, Kos launched what he called his "anti-TNR campaign," in which he declared us to be enemies of the people. Wait, sorry, wrong jargon--I meant, enemies of the people-powered movement. Some examples of the anti-TNR campaign can be found here, here, and here.

    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.

Heh.

But jk thinks:

TNR is a great American publication with a rich anti-Communist history -- and a way to get the Democratic view on things without much moonbattery.

As it happens, I was going to let my (digital-only) subscription lapse because I thought the lefties had taken over without Peter Beinart's firm moderating hand at the helm.

Guess you cannot please everybody. In the end, this is a question for the Democratic Party: are you going to let the Kos Kids take over or not?

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2006 5:08 PM

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.

Murtha proves there are second acts in American politics. I had forgotten that federal prosecutors designated him an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam investigation 26 years ago. I was reminded of it after Murtha became a candidate for majority leader, not by a Republican hit man but a Democratic former colleague in the House. In a long political career, Murtha has made bitter enemies inside his party who are alarmed by his new stature.


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?

Hat-tip: Taranto

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM

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.

On the web Posted by AlexC at 1:02 AM

WMDs

Allow me to shamelessly link whore my other blog.

Rick Santorum Says We Found WMDs

Iraq Posted by AlexC at 12:01 AM

June 21, 2006

Comeuppance

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.

Witness.

    The federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour for almost 10 years, and is worth less now that at almost anytime in the last 50 years. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 would be worth $9.09 today, 75% more than the current wage.

    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.

Really.

But jk thinks:

Perhaps more worrisome is that a majority of Senators in a Republican majority Senate favor increasing the minimum wage. Fifty-four copies of Tomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" STAT!

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2006 6:29 PM
But AlexC thinks:

By my count it's six republicans.
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2& vote=00179#position

It looks like the usual suspects.

Posted by: AlexC at June 21, 2006 7:39 PM

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.

On the web Posted by AlexC at 5:17 PM

Blogola

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.

    My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I'll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen. And without the "he said, she said" element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

Current Events On the web Posted by AlexC at 5:12 PM

Iraqi Withdrawl

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.

    Nobody believes this is going to be an easy task, but there is Iraqi and coalition resolve to start taking the final steps to have a fully responsible Iraqi government accountable to its people for their governance and security. Thus far four of the 18 provinces are ready for the transfer of power -- two in the north (Irbil and Sulaymaniyah) and two in the south (Maysan and Muthanna). Nine more provinces are nearly ready.

    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.

War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 1:23 PM

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.

That's news to Trish Wolfbauer.

The 26-year-old entrepreneur says business at her Roseville coffee shop has never been better since java giant Starbucks came to town. The fact that two of them opened within miles of her Trixi's Coffee shop only helped get Macomb County residents hooked on gourmet lattes, espressos and cappuccinos.

"Now that Starbucks is around, more people are willing to pay $4 for a cup of coffee," Wolfbauer said.
[...]
Independent specialty stores, boutiques and cafes are surviving -- and even thriving -- in the shadow of the retail giants through a mix of personal service, specialized skills and unique products. They fend off the mega-stores by catering to a specific clientele or carving out a niche that's small enough to keep the big retailers out.


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

Obama Oh-Eight?

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.

Would Mr. Obama win in 2008? Probably not -- though he's breaking records as a fund raiser, and sparking more enthusiasm from Democratic audiences than any of the other '08 hopefuls. As the New Republic's Ryan Lizza has pointed out, there will be no incumbents in 2008 to unseat, either in the primaries or the general election, whereas "if he waits until 2012, he will face the historically impossible task of unseating the incumbent president of his own party, or the historically difficult task of unseating the incumbent president of the opposition party." Meanwhile, 2016 and 2020 are eternities away. And as with John Edwards, a good showing in the primaries could make Mr. Obama the presumptive VP nominee -- while unlike Mr. Edwards, he'll have a Senate seat to fall back on if he loses.


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...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

I wish South Carolina's Mark Sanford would run.
*sigh*

Posted by: AlexC at June 21, 2006 1:27 PM
But jk thinks:

draftsanford2008.com is available, although draftsanford.com is taken.

Sanford, Rice, Pete DuPont -- there's still a chance.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2006 2:48 PM

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

But AlexC thinks:

I'm not sure I'd call that cause to celebrate.
Wasn't the deficit less then zero at some point in the past 10 years?

Posted by: AlexC at June 20, 2006 6:41 PM
But jk thinks:

President Bush inherited a recession, a disastrous market downturn, and the September 11 attacks.

To rejuvenate the economy, he proposed supply-side tax cuts and the Boston Globe et al sneered. This proves the Laffer Curve and the revenue power of tax cuts. Democrats will campaign to reduce the deficit by raising taxes. This proves who's right.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2006 6:50 PM

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.

But jk thinks:

Riza is making placards: "Government Out Of My Coffee!"

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2006 10:40 AM

Immigration Consensus

Not at ThreeSources! But the WSJ Ed Page credits a consensus among economists. Here's the editorial. stolen posted in full:

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.

In an open letter to President Bush and Congress last week, more than 500 prominent economists, including five Nobel laureates, proclaim that "immigration has been a net gain for American citizens." The letter adds that "while a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to the economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, gains from immigration outweigh the losses." Alan Greenspan often made this same point about the benefits of immigration while he was Federal Reserve Chairman.

What is striking about this immigration letter is that it is signed by economists from different fields of research, political affiliations and ideologies. It is possible that no other issue in the economic field, with the exception of the benefits of free trade, inspires such unanimity of professional opinion as immigration does.

Several years ago the Cato Institute surveyed the past presidents of the American Economic Association and the past chairmen of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Eighty percent agreed that immigration has had "a very favorable impact on the nation's economic growth," and 70% said that even illegal immigrant workers "have a positive economic impact." These experts agree that on balance immigrants don't displace native workers, depress wages or abuse welfare. If only these economic facts could break through an immigration debate that is dominated by emotion and political fear.


Immigration Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM

On the DSS Cindy Sheehan

daybyday06-20-2006.gif

Day by Day -- always on the ThreeSources blogroll

Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM

Bush's Fault

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.

"It so directly parallels what happened to Vietnam veterans," said Raymond M. Scurfield of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast campus, who worked with the disorder at VA for more than 20 years and has written two books on the subject. "The war has to be triggering their issues. They're almost the same issues."

At VA, officials said the Iraq war is probably a contributing factor in the rise in cases, although they said they have conducted no formal studies.


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.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 9:49 AM

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.


"Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon."

Click for the others.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:14 PM

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

PA-12

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!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh gave her a big plug today. He said the challenger to incumbent Rep. John Murtha (D. Pennsylvania) is "a babe. She's not just average looking, she's a babe!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2006 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, some video on her web page caused me to speculate that Marsha Blackburn (R_TN) would send money to Murtha to keep her "hottest woman in politics" title. (Just a little fun, kids, let's not get upset...)

I missed the appearance I posted about but wanted to see how she handled herself. She seems a little new to the stage in the web video but it’s hard to tell.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2006 4:23 PM

June 18, 2006

Steyn on Democrats

Man, I enjoy Mark Steyn.

Today's is another good one about Democrats.

    In that respect, the most significant portent for the Dems may not be their stupendous flopperoo in the California special election nor the death of Zarqawi nor the non-indictment of Karl Rove -- though, taken together, they render pretty threadbare the Democrat strategy of relying on Republican immigration splits, bad news in Iraq and the GOP's "culture of corruption." No, the revealing development is Joe Lieberman's troubles in Connecticut. Six years ago, he was the party's beaming vice presidential nominee. Two years ago, he was an also-ran for the presidential nomination. This summer, he's an incumbent senator struggling not to lose in his own primary to a candidate who's the darling of the anti-war netroots left. What's the senator done to offend the base? Nothing -- except be broadly supportive of the Iraq campaign and other military goals in the war on terror. He's one of a very few Democrats who give the impression they'd like America to win.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 10:38 PM

Being Broke

Talk about missing the boat.

Last summer's legislative pay raise raised the ire of an entire state.

Some people never learn.

    Speaking on a public-television program (ironically titled "Smart Talk") on Thursday, Perzel compared state legislators' salaries with those of tattoo artists.

    "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."


...
    When I see that a tattoo artist in the city of Philadelphia makes more than a legislator, I think there's a problem," said Perzel, R-Philadelphia. "I thought the members of the General Assembly were worth one half of what a member of Congress makes."

    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.


Tattoo artists?

$30,000 / year.

Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at 7:31 PM

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.

I sat down with her on the sofa and (as calmly as I could) tried to explain to her why the Senate Republicans want to drain the treasury in order to give every American a $100 check. I tried to keep my voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult - the rage and feelings of helplessness were just too much. I think my daughter could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words - nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, "Honey, I just don't know - I don't know what's going on in this country anymore..."

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.


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.

Poor kid!
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...

But AlexC thinks:

C'mon.

It's a little too good.

"CheChe?"

Posted by: AlexC at June 18, 2006 10:42 PM

Diet Coke & Mentos

Johngalt says he's too busy to read Ann Coulter's new book. What has he been doing?

Medical expiriments?????

Hat-tip: Samizdata

Posted by John Kranz at 6:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

How did you know?

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2006 1:08 AM
But jk thinks:

I recognized you in the videos. I won't tell anybody which one is you.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2006 10:01 AM

Jerome Armstrong: Crook or Shill?

Did you know?

    Jerome Armstrong, the political strategist who followed a famous Internet fundraising effort for Howard Dean in 2004 with a book on "people-powered politics," has a sordid past as a shill for a worthless dot-com stock.

    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,

    Uh oh. The rumblings about "Kosola" (i.e. Kos's and his friend and collaborator Jerome Armstrong's financial relationships with certain politicians) have migrated from various blog comments sections to Salon to, now, The New York Times, where the Opinionator formerly known as Chris Suellentrop lays them all out (behind the TimesSelect wall, alas). Most significantly, Suellentrop links the work Kos and Armstrong have done hyping Howard Dean, Sherrod Brown, and now Mark Warner (while one or both were on said pol's payroll) to an episode from Armstrong's past.

Jerome Armstrong is also newly elected to Pennsylvania's Democratic State Committee.

Update: Not true. It was Chris Bowers, the OTHER mydd.com guy. Mea Culpa.

But jk thinks:

Almost seems like an, I don't know, culture of corruption or something...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2006 6:31 PM

Hockey Clinic

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

And the best part is we now have a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. The entire season comes down to one, winner-take-all, 60 minute game. I'm hoping for an overtime match, so the whole season comes down to a single sudden-death goal. What drama!

Tonight. 8pm Eastern. NBC.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2006 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Well done, 'canes! What a great series...

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2006 9:52 AM

The Subway Un-attack

Jeff Goldstein writes about the potential Al-Qaida NY Subway attack.

    My preliminary thoughts are these: whatever you happen to feel about George Bush, one thing is clear: when it comes to defending the homeland against al Qaeda, he has not hesitated to act in a decisively proactive way once he and his advisors have settled on what they believe is the proper course of action. To that end, he has proven himself unafraid to use substantive military force and has proven himself largely immune to the opinions of both the western media and international elites.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Goldstein is right in that we could turn it up. If I can be forgiven an amp metaphor, they're dimed, creating all the chaos that effete luddites in a cave can produce without being seen.

We have headroom. We could triple the force used if the C-in-C felt it served American interests.

Sorry, I just watched Flight 93. It was a horrific attack and showed some bravery and thought. But after years of planning, and the sacrifice of lives from the key players, a group of ordinary Americans figured it out before it was even over. A weak horse and a strong horse, Mr. Bin-Laden, I'll let people choose...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2006 1:04 PM

Private Property Rights

Geno's Steaks again...

    The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, silent until yesterday on the "Speak English" signs at Geno's Steaks, says it backs its Philadelphia counterpart's decision to file a complaint against the cheesesteak shop.

    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?
    Jonathan DeLeon, 17, was hired at Six Flags America in Largo, Md., in March to wear the costumes of Sylvester and Daffy Duck. A few weeks later, he said he was told to cut his braids, which were at least 3 feet long.

    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.

But Mohamed alGore thinks:

BS like this, is beginning to convince my kids that they dont want to live east of the Mississippi, west of Nevada and be self employed in order to beat the hell out of paying taxes

Posted by: Mohamed alGore at June 19, 2006 3:59 PM

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

Patriotism II

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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM

Review Corner

Flight 93

5stars.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [2]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Did you mean "Flight 93?" Either that, or your Freudian slip is showing.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 17, 2006 6:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Corrected, thanks (It said "Fight 93"). Typing is a gift of mine...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2006 12:22 PM

Review Corner

Firewall

halfstar.jpg


It's not fair. I don't like these movies, I shouldn't rent them and pan them.

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

Questioning Patriotism

Dixie Chick Emily Robison...

    "A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."

    "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.

But jk thinks:

I will credit her with candor. I wish others of her ilk would be this honest.

Our country's history of establishing and spreading freedom is a great source of pride to me. Our flag stands for that. Seeing the soldiers, sailors, and marines who leave their families and fly around the world to get shot at in dust and sand and 140 degree heat brings tears of pride.

Ms. Robison does not think any of this is important and a lot of people (especially in the UK) agree with her. Not important. Not on the level of hair care or whether to have salmon teriyaki with organic greens, or asparagus tempura and tuna sashimi.

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2006 11:18 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

"A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."


Oh,..as opposed to that sickening display of UN-backed Bush-bashing the MSM serves us every night at dinner?

What a b***h!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 17, 2006 6:22 PM

June 16, 2006

Defending Ann

John Hawkins:

    Coulter is also brilliant, incisive, does excellent research, and has the guts to say things that other people won't. For example, although I think she went too far in saying that, the Jersey Girls were "enjoying their husbands' deaths," her larger point was absolutely correct: they're exploiting the deaths of their husbands for political purposes. Same goes for Cindy Sheehan, who has ruthlessly exploited the death of her son for politics' sake and has gotten her 15 minutes of fame and a pocketbook full of cash as a result.

    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.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 9:46 PM

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

[...]
Sharansky really believes that people want to live free. He cited Muslims that he knows that pray five times a day and live in free societies and are happy. He said we should not "create demons, we have enough demons." He has complete faith in the individual's desire to be free.

She has an MP3 download available as well. I have not heard it yet.

But AlexC thinks:

Speaking of which... I'm going to see Senator Rick Santorum, Daniel Pipes and Natan Sharansky on Monday night. They will be discussing Middle East peace.

If I get to ask a question of anyone, do you have any suggestions?
(other than plugging threesources.com!)

Posted by: AlexC at June 16, 2006 9:48 PM
But jk thinks:

When "A Case For Democracy" came out and President Bush delivered an inaugural address that Mike Gerson essentially stole from the book, the hope for freedom in the Middle East looked very bright.

I wonder if Sharansky is still hopeful after the setbacks and difficulties of the past year.

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2006 11:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

This business about giving Iran "nuclear technology" in return for "suspension" of nuclear enrichment activities defies reason. But, since Condi is at the helm of this freak show I'm inclined to give it some benefit of my doubt. Even if she's not the architect, I don't believe she'd sign on if she didn't see some point to what she's proposing.

And what is that point? My best idea to date is that they're going way, way, way out on a limb with regard to what they'll offer Iran's irrational government with the intent of either a) producing a crack in Iran's, thus far, impressive resolve not to negotiate that can then be parlayed into more realistic terms through further negotiation or b) demonstrating to the influential Iran friendly nations of the world, i.e. Russia and China, that even when we offer to basically give them what they're trying to produce they remain a non-diplomatic rogue state intent on mischief.

However this diplomatic dance plays out, let it suffice for me to say I have little concern that these offers will ever be delivered.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2006 9:48 PM

Reality Based

Political Wire

    The latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll shows the "netroots" as beneficial mainly to Democrats. Most Republican insiders claim "no significant benefit" while most Democratic insiders see their party as best able to harness the netroots. Only a very small minority, however, think the netroots will actually help the GOP.

Is that true?

How have the nutroots helped Democrats? By picking losers and getting Republicans elected?

What does that mean?

But jk thinks:

They generate $$$. Sadly, they pull their party so far to the extreme left that it cancels their fundraising prowess.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2006 6:22 PM

Hollywood Metapolitics

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.

That is, in the relatively few films in which moviemakers climb on their soapbox, the movie invariably touts some politically correct cause, such as global warming; but much of the rest of the time, Hollywood makes films celebrating the individual hero, the loner who bucks the system in pursuit of a dream -- and who usually wins. And "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" is no exception: This film, destined to be seen by millions of young Americans, is a paean to individualism, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking. There's not a lefty to be seen anywhere. And as noted, one would think that if environmentalists get wind of this film, they'll be picketing out front. But chances are that the Greens, as well as fans of mass transit, won't bother, because a) they know it wouldn't do any good, and b) films such as "Furious" are ubiquitous; this is what Hollywood cranks out routinely. And that's my point: The metapolitics of movies lean right.


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

PA-12

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..

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [4]
But AlexC thinks:

My copy was delivered on 6/6/06 from Amazon. I've only gotten to read the first chapter.

Her style is interesting. Each paragraph could easily be excerpted to stand on its own. It's almost like she writes knowing that she will be quoted out of context.

In anycase, her broader point about Liberalism's Saints has proved itself. She said something negative about the Jersey Girls, and seemingly everyone has lept to their defense (rather attacking Ann). Nothing about their victimhood has made them experts in any national security field, yet their have some kind of "don't criticize them" shield around them. Which they use for bashing the right and the administration. Cindy Sheehan, Michael Berg are also similarly sainted.

But you're right. She's smart and witty. Sometimes she lays it on too thick. But because she's smart, she knows it's going to sell books. Would she have been on Leno or Today otherwise? Probably not.

Posted by: AlexC at June 16, 2006 11:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's one good way to get a bunch of positive comments about Ann, JK. Just say, "I don't think Ann Coulter has a lot of friends on this blog." :)

I was a Coulter fan on this blog before being a Coulter fan on this blog was cool! (See my comment to 'Clinton vs Coulter' on June 7th.) She's got a great thesis in this new book. It's a point that Rand made many times before her death, and that I've repeated many times on these pages. But leave it to a woman of faith to make the important observation that all Christian churches are privately supported, while all leftist churches are almost exclusively funded by every single American taxpayer.

P.S. I'd buy her book too if I thought I'd have time to read it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2006 10:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I also wanted to thank JK for relating the Coulter/O'Donnell debate from Kudlow. I enjoyed reading it and would have never known about it otherwise.

But I'm not surprised in the least. O'Donnell is what's affectionately known as a blowhard.

In the spirit of the Coulter/O'Donnell exchange, and tying in with your assertion that Coulter is unpopular here, I'll be surprised to see ANY substantive criticisms of her appear in the comments to this post.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2006 10:29 PM
But jk thinks:

RE: O'Donnell, yeah he's a blowhard but he used to be a smart one. He argued with passionate and bright people on "Hardball" and "The McLaughlin Group." The last two times I've seen him, he just ranted against the Swift Boat Vets and Coulter, neither time bothering to make a point.

I guess I'm the Anti-Coulterite around here. AlexC let her have it a bit for the 9/11 widows remark, and I know she is Silence's personal, blonde, bete-noir.

I think that her bambacity makes her less effective than she could be. I criticize her but buy her books and support much of what she says. I doubt if she hates me too much.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2006 12:31 PM

June 15, 2006

Dr. Laffer

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….”

Hmmm…

Looks to me like Art Laffer’s counterintuitive, low-tax approach to maximizing economic growth, while simultaneously generating enormous revenues in Uncle Sam’s coffers is still alive and well. To think otherwise defies history and common sense.

Higher after-tax returns to work, invest, and take entrepreneurial risks promotes greater capital formation, employment, and wealth. To put it simply: Americans produce more when it pays.

Unfortunately, (despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary) most Democrats still stubbornly cling to this idea that Americans needs higher taxes. Why these tax-crazed zealots refuse to acknowledge the resounding success of lower tax rates throughout the years is beyond me.


But AlexC thinks:

Dude. I think it is a function.

It's a parabola.

"y = - (x ^ 2)"-ish....

Posted by: AlexC at June 15, 2006 9:35 PM
But jk thinks:

As soon as I left the keyboard, I knew I would be challenged. Yes it is a function, but as Dr. L draws it, it is a function over y (a parabolic tit as it were...) I would have drawn tax rates on the x-axis to make it a function in the classical sense of no more than one y for each x.

Pretty lame complaint, yes, but I have so few peccadilloes, you have to let me keep this one.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2006 11:13 AM
But AlexC thinks:

You must have seen a different version.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxable_income_elasticity

The linked is tax revenue (y) as a function of tax rate (x).

Posted by: AlexC at June 16, 2006 10:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, the Wikipedia version is how I'd show it.

Laffer draws it with tax rates on the y axis and revenue over x. That's how he drew it on the fabled napkin for Cheney and Rumsfeld, and he's not too keen on changing it for a bunch of math and economics wannabes like jk.

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2006 11:10 AM

Schadenfreude

The New York Times's weekly stock performance.

nyt_chart.gif
Hat-tip: Pajamas Media where PJM wonders if the family will buy the stock take the company private.

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.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM

The Media Enablers

To most this is self-evident.

Unless you're a member of the press.

    "Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

    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.

Surprise!


Document Links

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

David Warren:

    The division between what is loosely called Left and Right, or "liberal" and "conservative", which emerged in the 18th century, is no longer a shallow one. ("Left/Right" was the Continental divide, "liberal/conservative" the equivalent in the Anglosphere, for the two factions of the Enlightenment party.) It used to be shallow, and the trench between sides could be hopped back and forth, as recently as the Edwardian era.

    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.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 4:07 PM

iPod Accessories


Eventually, someone's got to say "enough."

    It gives a completely new meaning to the phrase 'rock 'n' roll'. For boffins have invented a cutting-edge gadget combining a portable music player and a toilet paper dispenser.

    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.

On the web Posted by AlexC at 1:09 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Internecine alert!

I've been too busy to watch hockey this season, which is a disappointment to me since I consider playoff hockey one of the greatests spectator sports on Earth. But I did see much of the 2nd, 3rd and overtime periods last night. I didn't see a single cheerleader (and now feel cheated having read your kindnesses) but I did see plenty of hockey. Damn good hockey.

I could see how Carolina made it to a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in this, the chamionship round of the cup chase. Their team play was impeccable, their positioning in Edmonton's passing lanes uncanny, and their drive and determination in the corners and around the net was impressive. But Edmonton are not laying down. They matched Carolina at their own game, and beat them.

I'm pleased not just because Edmonton won, but because hockey season is not yet over. Even one more game as good as this one is worth planning your day around, not to mention that there might yet be a game 7.

I appreciate your willingness to give credit where due and to reward innovation in this most storied sport. I even admire your ability to set aside parochialism for the team from our time zone (just a thousand or two miles north). But good NED, man, how can you root for a HOCKEY team named after a TROPICAL weather phenomenon? They should be called the 'Carolina Sleet' instead! Sheesh.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2006 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Valid points all. I don't remember seeing the cheerleaders last night either. I'm thinking that the folks at NBC are less enamored with them. Over on the bull-ridin-and-goat-ropin' OLN channel (which I had to upgrade my Dish service to get), the fetching young ladies got a lot of airtime.

I agree on the name and my wife also ridicules their logo. The Buffalo-Carolina series was "The Horse's Heads" vs. "The Swirly Things."

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2006 3:14 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Flyers ain't in it, I ain't watching it! ;-)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 15, 2006 9:53 PM

Porcine

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.

This spring, House Republicans elected new leaders and promised to restrain earmarking. But this week the House is busily approving a $68 billion Treasury, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill stuffed with more than 1,500 new earmarks at a cost of some $900 million.

They include $500,000 for a scenic trail in Monterey, California; $1.5 million for the William Faulkner Museum in Oxford, Mississippi; $500,000 for a swimming pool in Columbus, Ohio; and $500,000 for an athletic facility in Yucaipa, California. Several of these projects, including the athletic facility, have been promoted by Bill Lowery's lobbying firm -- the very firm in the middle of the Jerry Lewis probe.

Yesterday, Jeff Flake of Arizona and other Members offered amendments to strip the earmarks, but they lost those floor votes by a wide margin. Our favorite: a $500,000 earmark for renovating a swimming pool in Banning, California. The same pool had already received a $250,000 earmark in each of the previous two years. Mr. Flake's floor proposal to strike the swimming hole subsidy got all of 61 votes.


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.

Plus, he voted NO and NO and NO and NO on each of Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments.

Bilbray claims to be a fiscal conservative, but so far he’s off to a bad start.


A new world record case of incumbency disease -- maybe we should term-limit to one day.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM

June 14, 2006

Evils of Capitalism

Former dirty commie hippie turned CEO.

    At the time I started my business, the Left had taught me that business and capitalism were based on exploitation: exploitation of consumers, workers, society, and the environment. I believed that "profit" was a necessary evil at best, and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole. However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Excellent!

Sadly, folks like Maria Cantwell and George Soros and John Corzine do go the other way -- after they have made their money in a free market, they pull up the drawbridges to keep the hoi polloi from joining them.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 1:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I would suggest that each of us writes a 250-500 word post on this (The Randians can have more :). Where we agree, where we diverge. He has really nailed many of the questions I have about where we converge.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 1:21 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Hear hear! (and from the Left no less) Buy that man a beer (or 17)! I fear where the Right wants to take us, and I know they can accomplish it. I want what the Left espouses (for the most part) but know they have no concept of how to get there. What we need to do is create and empower the Middle.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 14, 2006 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Silence, you are ThreeSources own Morton Kondracke -- and I say that as a huge compliment!

I don't trust the middle. I see it populated with You and Mort, but then 200,000,000 who lack strong views, ideas, or conviction. Rather than empower the Brangelina worshippers, I would like to realign the parties to better suit the likes of Mackey and Craig's List's Craig Newmark. Both of these have impressed me with matching the idealism of the left with the proven Hayekian mechanisms of the right.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 3:38 PM

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day.

flag.jpg

Long may it wave!

America, F*ck Yeah! Posted by AlexC at 10:06 AM

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.

But wait!

    Drinking coffee may shield the liver from the worst ravages of alcohol, a study of more than 125,000 people suggests. The risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver dropped with each cup of coffee they drank per day.

    "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.

But jk thinks:

Perry at Eidelblog links as well, and seperately offers this Thought for the Day:

"Keep your libraries, keep your penal institutions, keep your insane asylums... give me beer. You think man needs rule, he needs beer. The world does not need morals, it needs beer. It does not need your lectures and charity. The souls of men have been fed with indigestibles, but the soul could make use of beer." - Henry Miller, "Make Beer For Man" (1925)

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/thought-for-today.html

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 2:20 PM

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.

But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed page says:

"This message reminds American GIs that they're fighting in a noble cause with support on the home front. It tells the terrorists that they aren't close to the political victory they seek of driving the Coalition out of Iraq. It tells the Iraqi people that they can afford to take a risk and join the police or assist the new government with more confidence that the terrorists won't be able to exact revenge. And it gives the Maliki government more political and military options as it considers how to restore order to Baghdad, among other dangerous places."

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 10:08 AM

Geno's Imbroglio III

The politically correct police have begun their thought-crime prosceution.

    Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations has filed a pair of discrimination complaints against Geno's Steaks over its policy asking customers to order using English.

    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.

    Steaks On South is responding to the controversy with its own sign.

    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 swiss provolone and tomatoes.

cheesesteak.jpg

I'll give Joe Vento the last word.

    "Anybody who is here who is a proud American has to learn the English language. That's what that sign says. You don't want to speak English, you don't want to be a proud American. Get out of the country then."

    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...

    How fun is it to see the libtards screaming about the sign Joe Vento posted at Geno's Steaks: "This is America. When ordering SPEAK ENGLISH! "? Yeah, how dare he make a policy decision for his own business?

But silence dogood thinks:

Funny thing is, at my local Chipotle it would be much easier for me to order in Spanish, if my Spanish were that good, based on the language of the employees doing the serving. My sign would say "Order in any language, but expect blank stares for those other than English" If your goal is to communicate, and the purpose of language usually is, then you must use the language that is understood. In this country that means English. Order in Swahili if you like, but don't expect to get what you ordered. The sign is not discriminatory, it is quality control. Any nationality will be served but an order in English will ensure your satisfaction.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:45 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

When I was in Spain I really appreciated the good humor and patience of the waiters who helped me order food there. I am glad there weren't any "Spanish Only" signs up in the resteraunts there.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 13, 2006 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hear there's a major problem with young English speaking people flooding the food service sector in Spain and refusing to learn the local language. Lifelong Spanish speakers are finding themselves unable to communicate with businesses in their very own home town. And yet, no backlash. Those Spaniards... so compassionate!

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:35 AM
But AlexC thinks:

It's an amazing thing that English has become the recognized international language of commerce everywhere but here.

Posted by: AlexC at June 14, 2006 10:02 AM
But jk thinks:

Actually, the Spanish culture is in far greater peril from English and American culture than is ours from Spanish language and Mexican culture.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 10:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

All of these observations are true, but the most important one is this: Only in America do we ENCOURAGE the diminution of our own language and culture.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:36 PM

Go Up, Young Man

Stephen Hawking...

    "We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out.

    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.

But jk thinks:

ManBearPig!

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2006 1:39 PM

So Much for Fitzmas

NYTimes

    The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove.

    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.

But silence dogood thinks:

Yeah, boys engage in tomfoolery. It takes real overly self assured men to really screw things up.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:56 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Oh yes, and I beleive the other argument in the Clinton era went something like "if he didn't do anything wrong, we wouldn't have had to spend so much money investigating him".

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Tomfoolery? Democrat attempts to manufacture "culture of corruption" examples can hardly be dismissed as practical jokes.

And if replacing a murderous dictatorship with a self-interested representative government is "really screw[ing] things up" then let's screw up some more, and damn fast.

By the way... did you notice that the de-facto leader of al Qaida was "neutralized" last week? Man, that USAF is some bunch of screw ups.

Seriously Silence, when I read that first comment I wondered why you forgot to include "neener neener." You've got better chops than that.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 3:15 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Did I miss a neener, neener opportunity? Damn. Seriously no one has to manufacture the culture of corruption, it has existed at least since Roman times. The only reason the Republicans are having more issues with it is that they are the party in power, fewer folks are trying to corrupt the minority party. As to the culture part, that has more to do with ethics definitions muddied for years by legalisms from both parties. It always amazed me how much more cut and dried the ethics rules were for me when I worked for a defense contractor than they are for the politicians that award the contracts.

And now for something completely different (to borrow from Monty Python) Silence's parable:

A homeowner has a horrible wine stain on his carpet so he calls a carpet cleaner. The cleaner conducts a phone conversation with the homeowner to assess the situation. He concludes that the combination of Bordeaux and that type of cut-pile warrants immediate and aggressive treatment, for the stain may continue to soak through fibers until the whole carpet is ruined. He arrives the next day to clean the stain, which as he surmised is very bad. It is so bad in fact that the only treatment is douse the affected area with lighter fluid and then the surrounding area with fire suppressant and burn the stain. His truck however is a little low on fire suppressant, but the chance of the stain spreading is so great he decides the treatment is necessary anyway. Unfortunately the fire does get out of control and begins to spread. In an attempt to control the blaze he piles all the most flammable materials in an area over in the corner away from which the fire is spreading. To his consternation a breeze through an open window, common this time of day, changes the fire's course and ignites the flammables. Through heroic efforts he manages to stem and then finally after several hours extinguish the fire. Now the cleaner must replace the carpet, and fast. He calls his buddy who sells carpet on the side to get a replacement piece. Lacking proper tacking tools he opts for an adhesive and even though it says the surfaces have to be clean and dry, his buddy assures him it will work anyway. They work feverishly and glue down all the carpet, but unfortunately as they reach the last corner they notice the first corner starting to peel up. They press it back down only to see it peel somewhere else. Round and round they go for an hour attempting to get the carpet to adhere. Finally in disgust the cleaner sends his buddy away and hires a carpet installer to properly install new carpet. The installer does not have the proper shade of gray though, so he substitutes a nice blue but does a fabulous job on the installation and the new carpet is flawless. The homeowner inspects the new carpet and declares the job a complete success.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 14, 2006 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Would I be disbarred if I said "Neneer-neener?"

I sense we may be agreeing that the "Special Prosecutor" function is fraught with peril. Better to encourage transparency and allow the voters to make decisions.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You've got me speechless Silence. I've already used the word "Huh?" once this week and that is my limit.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2006 2:28 PM

June 12, 2006

The Democrat Agenda

San Francisco Chronicle

    Democrats will introduce a domestic agenda for the 2006 campaign this week, confident that their opportunity to pick up seats is the best in a generation, yet divided over how much an agenda will matter.

    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...
    Aside from the subsidies (which is a good idea, and an even better one if they extended it to ALL industries), this list is nothing but price controls and higher taxes. That’s the best they can offer?

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.

But silence dogood thinks:

I'd buy into the student loan rate reduction as well. These are after all 100% guaranteed loans, you can't get much lower risk than that.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Huh? The reason they're guaranteed is because defaults are covered by our tax dollars. If interest rates are reduced it's not by well-heeled bankers developing social conscience - it's by subsidizing them with more of our tax dollars.

Why is college education so expensive? Because the demand is astronomical. College has become the 13-16th grades of secondary school. And for what purpose? Mostly to delay matriculation from Barone's Soft America to Hard America.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 3:19 PM

Cheap Oil

Platts (don't you read this everyday?)

    Oil prices are "very likely" to fall from current levels of around $70/barrel to $40/barrel in the medium term and could dip as low as $25/barrel in the longer term as new reserves are developed, BP chief executive John Browne predicted in an interview published Sunday.

    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...

    The interesting thing to me about the “are we running out of oil” debate is that those who know the most about the oil business and with the most at stake in the answer - the major investor-owned oil companies - by and large aren’t worried. The further away you get from the oil producers themselves, the more you encounter worriers.

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Which do you think will appear in the Smithsonian transportation museum first: Hummer or Prius?

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:35 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It depends. How heavily armed is the Hummer?

50 caliber roof mounted lead throwers?

Posted by: AlexC at June 13, 2006 3:08 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Yes, but what you are (correctly) saying is that it is more about production capacity and production and refining costs than about finding resources. As to the power and knowledge of Exxon and BP executives, their companies are really small potatoes compared to the big boys, the governments of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. Which of these is so stable that their investing in oil production infrastructure for the long term is a good bet?

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, I think Iraq is probably the most stable of those you cited. But Silence is right. American oil companies really should get off their asses and start producing from the known resources in and around our own country. What the heck are they thinking?

(Sorry, I've been in an unusually beligerent mood ever since the MSM failed to find a cloud around the silver lining of al Zarqawi's al destruction.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:45 AM

Beer for Your Prostate

Drink up folks.

    Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

    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."


The catch?

17 beers at a sitting.

I couldn't drink that much water, milk, soda!

But jk thinks:

If I HAVE to...

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2006 9:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The science behind this discovery must still be a bit tangential. I'm curious about what the original premise was and how closely observations matched expectations.

That said, I have long maintained that beer is a health food. Unless you drink 17 of them a day, that is. The MSM just can't figure out how to dig deeper than the pat sound bites in stories like this.

So it's gotta be 17 beers, huh? Every report on the story has the same number: 17 beers. Sixteen would have no benefit (from the xanthohumol, that is) right? Wouldn't eight and a half beers have half the effect? Wouldn't one beer have one seventeenth? Please.

And what exactly do they mean by "beer?" Samuel Adams Premium Lager easily has 17 times the hop content as Budweiser. And forget about "lite" beers. American brewers' idea of hops in lite beer is to bottle the stuff in the adjacent room to where hops are stored for use in ACTUAL beer.

But the news is still good. Better than what's being reported, in fact - analogous to Iraq war reporting.

Drink with pleasure my brothers. As the good brothers of Andechs Monastery call it, beer is "Pleasure for body and soul!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:45 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Can I get a prescription for that?

How about highly hopped "Medicinal Beer" as a new marketing trend?

Beer, it makes men stronger and women more beautiful, how can it not be considered a wonder drug?

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:17 PM

Let Them Hate ...

... so long as they fear.

    In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists — who then set him free on learning he is an American because they don’t want to end up like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi so recently did.

    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.

War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 10:34 PM

The Angry Left

Michael Barone

    It comes down to this: A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there -- a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women -- and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.

    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.

But johngalt thinks:

That's been a Rush Limbaugh line since the Saddam statue fell in Baghdad.

The left's confusion is easily explained. They saw their ideals fail when attempted in the real world laboratories of the Soviet Union, DPRK, Cuba, France and, to a lesser extent, most of western Europe. Why wouldn't they expect capitalism and individualism to fail when nut jobs like Reagan and Bush attempt to realize their ideals both here and abroad?

Silly Democrats. Selfishness works!

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:50 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Too well I'm afraid. Sunni selfishness, Shia selfishness, etc. The nut jobs I am worried about are the ones on the receiving end of our largesse. Johngalt said it best when he claimed that freedom and liberty only work when they are the most important ideals, above religious dogma, political constructs and other quests for power.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:30 PM

Haditha

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.

Because no one had yet been charged, and no one was leaking the Marines' side of the story, many became concerned that the slanted coverage might affect the fair treatment and presumption of innocence to which American servicemen are entitled. One of those people was Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms, a former Marine lawyer who the Washington Post quoted out of context in its eagerness to get an Abu Ghraib reference into the story.

This week, the media is backing off of its original tone, and it's time to highlight corrections so they don't end up being relegated to the back of the paper and the back of people's minds. So, I give you the Top 3 things to remember about Haditha that the press would like you to forget.


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...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

For the record, you've used "stunning exegesis" at least once in the seventeen times you've used that word. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at June 12, 2006 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Maybe I can claim it as Taranto claims "Kerfuffle."

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the trial of the Haditha soldiers ends with the same outcome as that of Ilario Pantano (http://hotair.com/archives/vent/2006/06/12/ilario-pantano-warlord/) then I'd like to see them take Murtha, Time, NY Times and a few select other "drive-by" media outlets to civil court seeking punitive damages for slander.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:55 PM

Green Party for Pa Senate

What flavor of whine is made from sour grapes?

    Mt. Gretna businessman and life-long Republican Bray Brunkhurst confirmed yesterday that he is planning to run as a Green Party candidate so he can challenge Republican Mike Folmer and Democrat John Liss.

    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 — brunkhurst2006@yahoo.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.

    Rumors have been flying since the primary that a well-known Republican challenger supported by Brightbill loyalists would enter the race.

    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.

More...

    Election law, however, will not make finding that person an easy task.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Well, if he has a Yahoo email account, there is no doubt he is serious. Am I being domainist here? If you're running for office, go to GoDaddy and buy a domain. Maybe he does belong in the Greens after all...

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 4:54 PM

Property Tax Reform

Finally?

    Senate Majority Whip Jeff Piccola (R-15) and Senate Caucus Chairman Joe Conti (R-10) today joined efforts to unveil a compromise plan that will move the Commonwealth in a direction to eliminate - not simply reduce - property taxes.

    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.

Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at 3:40 PM

Geno's II

Maybe Joey Vento should have put a "we reserve the right to refuse anyone service" sign up instead.06122006genossign.jpg

    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations will file a complaint later on Monday, effectively opening an agency case against Geno's Steaks of South Philadelphia, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director of the agency.

    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.

    Roberto Santiago, executive director of the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, said he received around 50 "hate" e-mails in response to his criticism of the sign.

    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?
    "I'm really saddened by these individuals who are upset by having to be tolerant. I'm glad I'm living in an America where comments like Mr. Vento's are out of order."

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)
capt.7db9963cb0964580b7dadf866ba2bd56.english_only_cheesesteaks_px106.jpg


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."

But johngalt thinks:

The problem is not that the Times can afford more ink, but that GM wouldn't know what to do with it in the first place. Times editorialists are masters at deception, distraction and distortion. Poor little ol' GM only knows how to bend over backwards trying to please the environannies the Times caters to, only to be kicked in the teeth for their trouble.

See my comment above under AlexC's 'Cheap Oil' post. GM will have the last laugh (as long as they don't forget how to make cars that run on petroleum.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 3:06 PM

June 11, 2006

Laying Blame

Reuters

    A lawyer for Saudi nationals imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay said on Sunday he held U.S. authorities responsible for the deaths of two Saudi prisoners who hanged themselves at the U.S. naval base.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Well, perhaps if we followed the enlightened retention and interrogation procedures of, say Saudi Arabia, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. We should aspire to be more like them.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 9:31 AM

That's Odd

NBC10.com

    The Rev. Alex Kendrick, who directed and stars in "Facing the Giants," said it was produced for only $100,000 by using members of his Georgia church for both cast and crew.

    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?

But jk thinks:

Narnia, though I suppose there is one level of indirection.

As long as the movie ratings are voluntary and somewhat useful, I don't see too much room for abuse. I cannot imagine anybody will not see "Facing the Giants" because of a PG rating.

Jay Nordlinger at National Review points out that he went to a high school play. It featured course language, debauchery, &c. Yet the theater and program explicitly warned attendees that the play featured "herbal cigarettes and gunfire."

This culture has changed. Someday we might try to catalog whether it has been for the better or worse.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 9:38 AM

Haditha Corrections

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.

In fact, Time had originally reported that it was Human Rights Watch who had provided the tape. They then retracted that and claimed that it came from Hammurabi which works with Human Rights Watch. And now they have backed off even that.

Note that even now Time still does not correct the intentionally false portrayal of the source of the videotape that they gave in all of their original stories and interviews.


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.

Hat-tip: Insty

And yes, blog brother AlexC beat me to it.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I've said it several times on other blogs: If Haditha went down as a massacre of unarmed civilians (as reported), why didn't we hear of mass demonstrations right after it happened? Why didn't the terrorists' mouthpiece, Al-jazeera, not run with this story 24/7 when it broke? They seem to be rather conspiciously quiet on the topic.
Hmmmm,.....

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 12, 2006 2:34 PM

Review Corner

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

Kudlow Snaps

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!

Our rich people don’t need another tax break. No, they need higher taxes. And they should be vilified, too. That’s right: America should attack rich people. In fact, we must abolish wealth, which is a tremendous drag on our economy. It’s high time that we made the rich poor.

As for all the xenophobes who want to deport the illegal immigrants who toil in this economy, may I respectfully suggest that their generals (i.e., Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, and Tom Tancredo) consider expanding their dragnet? Let’s deport rich people, too!

These rich people are bad for America. We don’t need their ingenuity, their entrepreneurship, or their capital investment. In the name of egalitarian socialism, the only thing we need from them is more tax dollars. We now tax their incomes as salary, corporate profits, dividends, capital gains, and at death. But we must do better.


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.

But AlexC thinks:

Here's an example: http://gort42.blogspot.com/2006/06/what-kind-of-big-government-do-you.html
"the Senate voted on eliminating the ESTATE TAX. This tax affects very few people and after they pay it they still have a few million left over. Must be rough."

They're not going to miss it! Soak 'em!

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 11:08 AM

Google Searches

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?

    democracy
    rights
    human
    human rights
    army
    mao zedong
    what google censors
    tiananmen
    bird flu
    bbc

Human is censored? I guess a search like that could lead to "human rights"... but that's really casting a wide net.

But jk thinks:

Pick at that scab! Pretty soon, none of us will be on speaking terms with another.

I will concede that CW has gone entirely your way; even a lot of Google people think they were wrong.

Yet I stubbornly hold on to my contention that it is no different to ask British Petroleum not to sell gas that contributes to global warming. We should remove the "consciousness" from corporations and let them be bound by the invisible hand. Maximize the asset value of shareholders and let others fight for universal rights. Donate some money if you want.

Professor Reynolds contends that they have lost their cool factor with the China deal and the censoring of conservative blogs. People are eyeing them skeptically and boycotting. For what it's worth, I'm a Yahoo guy by tradition and inertia but I wouldn't claim they had done much better.

My last company was almost bought by the "Dogpile" folks. They are nice and bright, check out dogpile.com.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2006 1:05 PM
But AlexC thinks:

BP should continue to sell gas because that's always been their goal. (Well, really it's make money)

Make fuel.

Google's whole point was to provide information. When they go deliberately tampering with the information, not for some technical reason, but for a governmental reason, that's where people get pissed.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Aha! You found it yourself. Google is not in business to provide information, they are in business to sell advertising. Operating in China allows them to sell more advertising.

If you talk to a Google engineer (which I do not recommend) they like to say their business is "raising the world's IQ." By providing hobbled Google to the Chinese instead of a state owned solution, I would say they had succeeded on that point as well.

You might have a compatriot at Banana Oil. Ian has to experience the firewall firsthand http://blog.ianhamet.com/index.php/archive/2006/06/01/1859/ Plus his quote from "The Fountainhead" will be well received.

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 12:32 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ok, mea culpa. Google's business NOW is to make money. They used to be about finding information. The two google founders worked on it as part of PhD work.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah but the $117 BBBBillion market cap is not a referendum on their research, it exists to pursue business opportunities.

I know we'll never agree on that but don't you see a danger in asking a corporation to pursue some greater good than increasing asset value? It's going to be far more frequently employed by leftists who'll want an agenda you don't agree with.

How about companies make money and bloggers save the world?

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 6:19 PM
But AlexC thinks:

All I'm asking is that a corporation persues their stated ideals. If it's "do no evil" I'm at a loss as to how that fits with "kowtowing to a evil political system."

If they're going to do the latter, they should drop pretense of the former.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:23 PM

Haditha Hoax?

The American Thinker...

    Evidence accumulates of a hoax in Haditha. The weblog Sweetness & Light has done an estimable service gathering together the articles which cast substantial doubt on the charge of a massacre of civilians at Haditha . Because the blog is too busy gathering and fisking the news, I offered and the publisher accepted my offer to put what he has uncovered in a narrative form.

    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.
genos.jpg

    Order in English only. That's the new rule at one of south Philly's most famous cheesesteak places and it is cooking up a lot of controversy.

    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.

    Some would say, a cheesesteak is not a constitutionally protected right, therefore, being denied one really does not mean anything. But, in reality, it is so much more important than that. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the "CRA") makes it so. According to the CRA, "[a]ll persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." 42 U.S.C.S. Sec. 2000a(a). It could be credibly argued that language is an indicia of national origin. Some people only speak Spanish, Cambodian or Chinese. To deny them the ability to order food based on their language necessarily relates to their national origin. In my mind, this is paramount to discrimination. Also, the racial classification of "Latino" could be implicated in terms of this language dispute.

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.

    This is sad and infuriating at the same time. Not only is there a complete lack of empathy in displaying the sign, there is zero recognition of personal and cultural history.

    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...

    Vento says that his grandparents came from Italy and though they may not have spoken perfect English --they made an attempt to learn the language...

    (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.

pats.jpg

But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'm siding w/ Vento on this one. How many times have you entered a Wendy's/McDonald's/BK and struggled to get the counter staff to understand you, when YOU are the one speaking English?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 10, 2006 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I have had my rights stripped from me as well. I know the pain and anguish.

At Juan's burritos in Socorro, NM, Juan would serve you mexican food right out of his kitchen unless the Health Inspector had shut him down that week. It was great stuff. Juan good naturedly would feign deafness if a customer wanted "two burritos, please." Yet "dos burritos, por favor" sent his (not altogether clean) knife into a flurry of activity.

I cannot imagine "cheez, with" would take much more polyglotism than "Grande pollo burrito, por favor" Hell, they almost taught Senator Kerry how to order!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2006 12:54 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ahem... that's "cheeze wit."

About Senator Kerry, Pat's "King of Steaks" failed. Kerry ordered his steak with Provolone and Tomatoes.
Completely and utterly wrong. For trying to be "regular guy" he ended up looking like a schnook.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:55 AM
But jk thinks:

My mistake. Of course, when I come to Philly, I'm expecting you to order for me.

I remember the Kerry thing, I found that very amusing. "Could I have a Lite sandwich with some crumbled Feta cheese, and a side of escargot?"

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 11:45 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Alex...minor correction: Kerry tried to order his steak w/ Swiss cheese and had to settle for Provolone.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 12, 2006 2:31 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Swiss! Ha! They speak French in parts of Switzerland! ;)

Posted by: AlexC at June 12, 2006 3:10 PM

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?

    "Zarqawi was alive when U.S. forces arrived on the site," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said in a satellite interview from Iraq. "The Iraqi police arrived first, they found him in the rubble, put him on a gurney of some type."

    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.

America, F*ck Yeah! Posted by AlexC at 5:08 PM

No I.D. at the Airport

How 'bout that.

    At 6 a.m. the next morning, Harper handed this reporter a green, self-addressed stamped envelope[ with his ID] and entered the checkpoint line, which even at that early hour was filled with travelers facing a 20-minute crawl to the magnetometers.

    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.

According to Christopher Raymond, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. the increase "is not a shock" given that the drug, which will come back with restrictions, will become more of a niche product. Mr. Raymond also said the increase is reasonable considering that Biogen and Elan will have to spend resources tracking every patient that takes the drug, as the FDA has required.

The drug will become available to patients on a roll out basis by July this year.


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!

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM

June 8, 2006

Viva La English

Krauthammer

    One of the major reasons for America's great success as the world's first "universal nation," for its astonishing and unmatched capacity for assimilating immigrants, has been that an automatic part of acculturation was the acquisition of English. And yet during the great immigration debate now raging in Congress, the people's representatives cannot make up their minds whether the current dominance of English should be declared a national asset, worthy of enshrinement in law.

    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

But jk thinks:

Si.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2006 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

¡Funcionario!

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:36 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Just remember: buy your cheesesteaks from Joe Vento at Geno's Steaks!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 9, 2006 9:16 PM

Death Tax Lives On

Club for Growth

    The Senate voted 57-41 to proceed to the Death Tax repeal bill (60 votes were needed). The official tally hasn’t been posted yet, but here are the key votes by my count:

    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.

Politics Posted by AlexC at 7:15 PM

Roll Ups

Counterterrorismblog

    a few hours ago, while an Al Jazeera journalist was interviewing Abu Kadama, Zarqawi's brother-in-law in Zarqa, Jordan, the broadcast was suddenly interrupted, most probably by Jordan. Because when the journalist came back on the air, he said that Abu Kadama had just been arrested by Jordanian services. Then a second sudden interruption occured, and when the Al Jazeera anchor appeared, he announced that his journalist colleague had also been arrested by Jordan.

I'll be darned. Bad day for jihad, today is.

War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 5:58 PM

Enthusiasm

The New Republic's The Plank.

    there's the guy who called into the "Diane Rehm Show" this morning and choked up with tears as he recounted, "I woke up this morning and learned my country had dropped a bomb on someone's head...." Meanwhile another caller wanted to know how many innocent civilians had been killed in the raid (not an unreasonable question, I hasten to add--but this caller, too, displayed roughly zero enthusiasm for Zarqawi's demise).

Decision 08 has a bunch of quality quotes.

Atrios:

    I’m supposed to give the obligatory “YAY USA!” cheer here, but while it’s good to get the bad guys I don’t really think it’s going to improve much. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Steve Benan:

    [W]hile it’s no doubt good news that Zarqawi is no more, it’s worth remembering that Bush wasn’t willing to hit this known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location based on air-tight intelligence before the war even began.

Jihad War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 5:34 PM

BUT

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.
* What took so long.
* Women, children, and/or endangered species were also killed. Good color commentary
* There will be lots more like him.
* The insurgency will be stronger now.
* Yeah, but what about Haditha?
* Yeah, but where is Osama?
* Zarqawi's death is a tragedy and Bush is to blame (I can't make this stuff up, folks)
* Zarqawi killing violated Executive Order forbidding assassinations, or Geneva Conventions.
* Zarqawi was alive but troops let him die or killed him a la Che
* They should have captured him
* Bush made Zarqawi a terrorist.

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.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM

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.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, is a so-called "meta" analysis of data from 138 separate drug trials involving about 140,000 patients. It found that high doses of ibuprofen -- commonly sold over the counter as Advil and Motrin -- and of the prescription pain reliever diclofenac raised the risk of adverse cardiovascular events by roughly as much as such COX-2 drugs as Vioxx and Celebrex.

We thought Merck made a mistake in withdrawing Vioxx from the market in late 2004. It's pretty clear now that Merck could have done better by patients -- and avoided feeding the tort lawyer frenzy that now threatens to destroy it -- by merely slapping a stronger warning label on Vioxx.

The lesson in both these cases is that all drugs have risks as well as benefits. The FDA now recognizes the right of MS patients to take the small risks associated with Tysabri in order to slow the progression of their disabling disease. Those suffering from debilitating pain should also have a right to take Vioxx, or ibuprofen, if they so choose.


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?

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [2]
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I'm not entirely enthused.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at June 9, 2006 11:35 AM
But jk thinks:

Don't know you well enough to read that, mdmh.

Tysabri is a lot more severe than anything I am looking at, I just want the government to get the hell out of the way for people who are developing new things.

Plus, Avonex + Copaxone don't seem to be doing much; I might be in the market for something more intense when the clinical trial I am in ends in a couple years.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2006 12:56 PM

Spending Cuts!

It's a start!

    House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs.

    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.

But jk thinks:

It's not zero because of journalism like that practiced on Boston.com. "Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding..." "...could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs."

HOLY COW! Cable has done everything they do better except preaching at us and condescending. Yet I'm sure the "SAVE ELMO!" emails will start around again. It will be tough to strip $115. If I were a betting man, I'd bet you that they won't.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 11:28 AM
But jk thinks:

"Extreme Mortman" has the lugubrious history of cutting PBS funding:

http://www.extrememortman.com/politics/flipping-the-big-bird/

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 4:31 PM

Sha-na-na-na

hey hey hey....

good bye.

    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and beheadings of hostages, has been killed in a precision airstrike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. It was a long-sought victory in the war in Iraq.

    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.

    Blogosphere reaction to the death of Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi grows faster than can possibly be read, let alone commented on. So far though, some quick generalizations can be made. Like last week's arrest of the Toronto terror suspects, this is by and large a righty blogosphere story. Lefty comments are perfunctory, if they exist at all.

Blogometer is a sort of round up of all blogs goings on. I highly recommend it.

But jk thinks:

Sentor Durbin would've demanded a trial. Nope, this is a great day for freedom!

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

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.

I heard on Fox (evil anti-UN) News that a woman and child were believed among the dead. I'm watching with great interest to see if any of the lunatic left condemn this killing of "innocents."

This Zarqawi killing news is fabulous progress toward life, liberty and prosperity in Iraq, and an absolute tragedy for the "It's Bush's Fault" crowd. Daily Kos must be in full mourning mode. (Damned if I'm going to go there to find out.)

In requiem: "Enjoy your so-called virgins, Abu Musab."

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2006 11:49 AM
But jk thinks:

And let us all hope it is actually 72 small, white raisins.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 12:27 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Johngalt, you simply must follow this link.
http://www.redstate.com/story/2006/6/8/8655/22796

Posted by: AlexC at June 8, 2006 3:02 PM

Victories

Examiner.com

    In addition to success with his nominations, Bush also is presiding over a booming economy and is even scoring some foreign policy advances, although Iraq remains bloody.

    “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.

    We received information that state the following:

    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.

But jk thinks:

We might find Jimmy Hoffa.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 9:44 AM

June 7, 2006

Anger Management Issues?

Nah

But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'd go just to annoy Kos. Hey, if MoveOn and ACT-Up can disrupt NORMAL events, why not give it back to them?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 7, 2006 11:20 PM
But AlexC thinks:

That's what those ProtestWarrior guys do!

Posted by: AlexC at June 8, 2006 12:19 AM

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.

    Democrats had hopes that an enraged Democratic base would turn out in larger numbers proportionately than an apparently discouraged Republican base. That didn't happen. That's not a good sign for Democrats in November. Republicans won in 2002 and 2004 in large part because they won the battle of turnout: John Kerry won 16 percent more popular votes than Al Gore, but George W. Bush won 23 percent more popular votes in 2004 than in 2000. The totals from the California 50th suggest that Democrats are gaining only a very small advantage in differential turnout this year, even though the national polls show Bush in much worse shape than in 2004 and suggest that Republican Party identification is down slightly.
...
    The bad news for Republicans is that there is now more splintering on the right than on the left. Back in 2000, some 2 percent of voters nationally voted for Ralph Nader, even though there was no hot-button issue like Iraq to differentiate him from Al Gore. Less than 0.5 percent in contrast voted for Pat Buchanan. Conservatives were more unified than liberals. Now it seems to be the other way around. Discontent with Bush and/or the Republican Congress over immigration, spending, pork-barrel projects, the Dubai ports deal, the Republican leadership's protests over the search of Democrat Bill Jefferson's office—you can probably add a few items to the list—has now evidently got more voters on the right willing to cast a protest vote.
Overall, he calls it worse for the Democrats.

Ok ok ok... Dean Barnett too.

    If Busby does go down to defeat, (which given the support she has received from the nutroots seems all but inevitable), and her ridiculous “misstatement” is a leading cause for said defeat, then the entire episode should prove instructive for those of us in the pundit class. It is true that the Republican Party has become frustrating on a good day, pathetic on a bad one. But in order to win all the individual races out there, the Democrats will have to provide a superior alternative. Given the state of the Democratic Party, this promises to be no easy feat.

    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.

Congress Current Events Posted by AlexC at 11:06 PM

The Toronto Terrorists

I haven't linked to Lileks for a while.

But here's a must read.

    You're an enlightened world citizen. Your T-shirt says "9/11 was an inside job." You're pretty sure we're living in a fascist state, that President Bush taps the Dixie Chicks' phones, Christian abortion clinic bombers outnumber jihadis, and the war on "terror" is a distraction from the real threats: carbon emissions and Pat Robertson. Then you learn that 17 people were arrested in a terrorist bomb plot. How do you process the information? Let's take it step by step.

Current Events Jihad Posted by AlexC at 11:01 PM

"Defending Yourself"--Comment

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!!)

Following the post of AlexC (thanks!!), I highly recommend you watch the short cartoon “Destination Earth”, made in 1956.

Here is a good review of it:

Reviewer: jr0dy - - December 26, 2005
Subject: Makes Economic Sense

This was a great piece of animation and an even better explanation of market forces. Essentially, Ogg is any statist, command economy that publicly owns the means of production - most likely an allusion to Stalin, particularly because of his mustache. The sequence that shows the Martian energy source as an enslaved Martian running on a gear is probably allegorical for the fact that under Stalin's rule, his economic plan consisted primarily of collectivizing farms, seizing all crops produced, and selling them and using the money to invest in state-owned industry, despite the mass starvation of those working the farms. A theme of Austrian economics, particularly F.A. Hayek's variety, is the fact that collectivism is slavery - which is exactly what it is shown as in this film. Competition, the use of market forces to more efficiently distribute scarce resources, is obviously the better alternative. I also loved the way in which Ogg arbitrarily chose the Earth as Colonel Cosmic's destination - a great critique of central planning, as essentially all decisions made by planners are misinformed and to a large degree arbitrary. Only the free market can provide reliable information and provide a guide as to where resources would be best allocated. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the way in which it showed that the oil industry has its own costs with which it must contend, showing why it cannot simply be distributed freely, as some people seem to think it should be. Furthermore, price acts as a signal and a method through which oil can be rationed and distributed to those that need it most urgently. When price is high, it acts as a signal not only to current oil producers to rev-up production and increase quantity supplied, but also acts as a signal for new producers to enter into the market. This is where competition comes into play. The more firms acting in a market, the higher the liklihood that some will invent new cost-cutting measures that will allow them to cut prices and supply the consumer with more oil at a cheaper price, essentially the paradigm of any free economic system. Our own economy was consistently a laissez-faire prior to the Progressive movement of the early 20th Century - it worked, plain and simple, and it was the most efficient and best for all involved; there is no "optimism" necessary. I do not consider this film propaganda in the least, but instead a call to return to the economic system that served us so well in the past. Sure, perhaps a laissez-faire system would be the best for the oil companies that produced this film, but the truth is it would be the best for anyone and everyone; the film serves as a great example of the way in which the private ownership of the means of production can bring about an unprecedented high standard of living, and in the Martian case, facilitate the overthrow of a totalitarian dictator. The Martians did not want to be forced into going to see Ogg and Colonel Cosmic speak, let alone labor for Ogg as he told them to, they wanted to do their own thing, decide how best to apply their own faculties and labor to better themselves - shouldn't everyone be given that ability? C'mon Americans, if the Martians gained this ability, shouldn't we reclaim it?

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.

Unfortunately, the film makers did not grasp that capitalism is based on natural, individual rights. It is NOT based on "competition." Competition is a secondary by-product -- one that has great benefits, as the film points out, but still secondary.

Yes, they point out the importance of freedom, but still, that is not fundamental enough. What grounds freedom in reality? Only the concept of natural, individual rights can do that. You have freedom in society because, in this universe, you are rational and self-sovereign, and own what you create -- if you are the cause of something, it is proper to you...i.e., it is your property. That applies to the good you do, and any harm or evil you do -- you are responsible, and reap what you sow.

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.

It would be better if the film makers pointed out how capitalism is based on reason and objectivity -- but that would be way too much to expect of them...

The short cartoon “Make Mine Freedom”, from 1948, is also good, but not as good as "Destination Earth." And it has the same shortcomings.

The short “What We Have”, from 1950, is lame. It white-washes communism and totalitarianism. If you want to see what totalitarianism is like in practice -- outside of living there -- read We the Living by Ayn Rand. Rand tells it like it is: harsh, brutal, and hazardous to human health.

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...

But johngalt thinks:

Excellent stuff, Cyrano. Thanks.

Another film in the same vein, although feature length rather than a short, is the 1944 adaptation of Pearl S. Buck's 'Dragon Seed.' If you can get past the idea of Katherine Hepburn as a Chinese woman the movie is quite excellent. (It's also notable as a part of the filmography of actress Agnes Moorehead. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? ... She played Samantha's mother Endora on TV's 'Bewitched.')

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:51 PM

Clinton vs Coulter

Ann Coulter really said something reprehensibly stupid today.

    Coulter writes in a new book, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," that a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands perished in the World Trade Center act "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them."

    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.
    "Perhaps her book should have been called 'Heartless,'" the senator said. "I know a lot of the widows and family members who lost loved ones on 9/11. They never wanted to be a member of a group that is defined by the tragedy of what happened."

    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.

    'Before criticizing others for being 'mean' to women, perhaps Hillary should talk to her husband who was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick and was groping Kathleen Willey at the very moment Willey's husband was committing suicide.'

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

    Just a question: Why do extremists like Ann Coulter (any *current* examples of her ilk on the left? anybody?) get air time and page space by the media to espouse such hatred?

No liberal / leftists extremists? Is he serious?

Ted Rall is the most odious obvious example.

But johngalt thinks:

Haven't found the goods yet but local talk radio host Mike Rosen, whom I trust implicitly, says the "enjoying their husband's deaths" comment is taken out of context.

She's a firebrand, yes, but let's see an example of factual error from her. I don't think you'll find many.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:56 PM

CA-50: The Fourth Round

Hotline On Call writes about the Dems chances this fall.

    Much of the Dem post-primary spin has centered on the fact that Francine Busby performed capably given the Republican nature of CA 50.

    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.

Congress Politics Posted by AlexC at 8:35 PM

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..."

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:49 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

5) Oy. http://mydd.com/story/2006/6/7/101138/8639

Posted by: AlexC at June 7, 2006 8:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Hah! That's yet another way to look at it that we didn't think of!

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 9:48 AM

Defending Yourself

Cato @ Liberty wonders why Big Oil doesn't stand up for itself like it used to.

    Check out this 1956 short film produced by the American Petroleum Institute. Now THAT’S what a self-confident, take-no-guff industry looks like. Someone should tell “Big Oil” to take it’s thumb out of it’s mouth and start defending their right to exist.

It's actually pretty neat for the 1950's cartoon camp.

Oil and Energy Posted by AlexC at 4:12 PM

Dick Cheney Authorized it!

CNN.com - Legal war as Brangelina pic leaked - Jun 7, 2006

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The celebrity magazine Hello! launched legal action on Wednesday against Internet sites that printed a leaked exclusive shot of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with their infant daughter.


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.

But AlexC thinks:

Who cares!?!?

Posted by: AlexC at June 7, 2006 4:22 PM

Americans with Disabilities Act

John Stossel writes on regular Americans breaking the law.

    I confronted Gilbert Casellas, head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Clinton. He said the ADA is a wonderful law, and had the nerve to say it isn't complicated. "None of this stuff is rocket science," he said.

    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.


Death Tax

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.

    A vote on taxes is not just about money. It's also a vote that makes plain our leaders' priorities and commitment to all Pennsylvania children and families. When they call the roll on repealing the estate tax, will our senators put aside ideology and vote to provide the revenue needed to provide for the common good and the very programs and services they recently sought to insulate from President Bush's misguided priorities? Or will they cast a vote to make a handful of the super-rich even richer?

But jk thinks:

A Political Science professor. People are paying money to send their kids to Moravian College and be inculcated in this folk-marxism nonsense.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2006 2:11 PM

More on CA-50

William Young, the Penultimate Genius, writes...

    But as I've argued many times, the donkeys are clueless, planless, idealess, hate-America/hate-Bush anti-war types who only want to get back in power so they can empanel their own to hold "investigative" hearings that would harass the Bush Administration, the military, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the DHS, and FEMA. Plus, they'd try like hell to impeach Bush just because. Just because. That's a waste of time.

    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.

But jk thinks:

Sadly, though, that is not so much a Republican win as a missed chance to lose.

Bush won in 2004 by eleven points, Duke Cunningham, I mean Rep. #84117954, won by 22 points the same year.

I'm always optimistic, and the Dems sure have their fair share of troubles, but I am successful in my fight against over-confidence. Rs don't have to vote for a D, they just have to stay home.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2006 2:29 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Taranto says Gore and Kerry got 44% in that same district. That's all a Dem can get there.

Posted by: AlexC at June 7, 2006 4:19 PM

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

Mr. Bilbray emerged victorious in the race to fill the House seat once held by imprisoned Randy "Duke" Cunningham after a costly and contentious contest against Ms. Busby, a local school board member who had run against Mr. Cunningham in 2004.

With 90% of precincts reporting, Mr. Bilbray had 56,130 votes, or 50%. Ms. Busby trailed with 51,292 votes, or 45%. "I think that we're going back to Washington," Mr. Bilbray told a cheering crowd of supporters.


Also the great news that Rob Reiner's "tax-on-millionaires-for-universal-preschool" was going down 60-40. There's hope!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Running against the GOP's "culture of corruption" did wonders!

Posted by: AlexC at June 7, 2006 11:04 AM

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.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM

Operation Overlord

Today marks 62 years since Europe's liberation began.

Battle of Normandy

I expect to be fully vegged out on History Channel this evening.
NormandySupply.jpeg

Thank you to all of the brave men and women who accomplished the impossible!Normandy_cemetery.jpg

But jk thinks:

THAT, friends, is a quagmire!

Thanks to all who have served. And thanks, ALex for reminding us that this day is more than the date which matches my phone prefix )6/6/6).

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 1:39 PM

Google Spreadsheets

This sounds interesting.

Google is coming out with an online spreadsheet.

    Create basic spreadsheets from scratch.
    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.
    Upload spreadsheets or worksheets from CSV or XLS format - all your formulas and formatting will come across intact.


That's the hook right there. Your existing spreadsheets are going to get sucked in, and work. I just wonder how well.

Google On the web Posted by AlexC at 10:56 AM

Bush on the Rebound

Yay! 36%

    The latest USA Today/Gallup update on George W. Bush's presidential job approval rating finds 36% of Americans approving of the job Bush is doing, while 57% disapprove. This represents a modest improvement in that measure from recent weeks, a finding mirrored in several other national surveys.

    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

Climate Change

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.

Over the last decade the behavior of the NAO/AO has been similar to the 1930s and 1940s (Taylor, 2005) when the NAO moved from a positive to increasingly negative state. Interestingly, that was the last time the Polar Regions were this warm and the summer polar ice this thin and reduced in coverage (Polyakov et al, 2004). Unlike Antarctica where the ice sits on land, in the arctic it is floating on water and the water from one ocean (the Atlantic) can readily flow beneath the ice and if unusually warm, melt more of the ice from beneath.

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"

By the way, this latest mode of the North Atlantic Oscillation is the one that Dr .William Gray talks about that favored the sudden increase in Atlantic hurricane activity since the middle 1990s. Last year, Atlantic temperatures were the warmest on record, helping contribute to the record 28 named storms.

Snowfall has been on the increase in parts of the United States and the world to record proportions in recent years even as summer snow and ice levels reach multi-decadal lows. The changes relate to natural cyclical changes in the Atlantic Ocean and atmosphere that favor both more tropical activity in summer and more snowfall in winters.

The whole article is worth reading. It has some good graphics to help grasp the NAO/AO phenomenon.

Environment Posted by Cyrano at 10:53 AM

Modern Sexism

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."

This is not news. It makes perfect sense, since women also outnumber men in college and dominate the rankings in elementary and secondary school. Why are the boys failing?

In January, Newsweek ran an interesting cover story investigating "The Trouble With Boys." In "Sexism in the Classroom," my analysis of the article, I quoted a stunning statistic that underlies the root of the problem. The statistic, "In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes," lends credence to a quote from Lindalyn Kakadelis of the North Carolina Education Alliance: "[Blame it on] 30 years of a politicized attempt to remediate societal unfairness to girls." The boys aren't broken, but maybe the system is.

Even the Newsweek article admits, boys are being treated "like defective girls."

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.)

Education Posted by Cyrano at 10:47 AM

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.

AP:

CHICAGO - Nearly 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say they have purposely injured themselves by cutting, burning or other methods, a disturbing phenomenon that psychologists say they are hearing about more often.

For some young people, self-abuse is an extreme coping mechanism that seems to help relieve stress; for others it's a way to make deep emotional wounds more visible.

The results of the survey at Cornell and Princeton are similar to other estimates on this frightening behavior. Counselors say it's happening at colleges, high schools and middle schools across the country.

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.

Education Posted by Cyrano at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

This self-abuse thing is completely foreign to me, although I have known children who resorted to it. Cyrano's analysis of the cause is, I think, exactly right.

Human beings, as rational animals, are born with the innate ability and need to reconcile all they know. When they are taught ideas that contradict their knowledge of reality, something's gotta give. Without dependable rational adults to help resolve the error the resulting conflict often renders the child's brain into the same state as that of the android "Norman" in the famous Star Trek episode "I, Mudd." (The logically contradictory loop initiated by the statement, "Everything I say is a lie" causes Norman's "brain" to overload and fail.) http://www.ericweisstein.com/fun/startrek/IMudd.html

Cyrano has revealed the single most important factor in the continued excellence of western thought, or even it's very survival: Our children must be taught to reason and to discern balderdash from reality.

Al Gore serves as an excellent contemporary case study.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2006 2:58 PM

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.

Except for a brief mention in a short preview video, the exhibit omitted treatment of the massive African involvement in the slave trade, detailed in the current issue of Academic Questions by Sheldon Stern, "The Atlantic Slave Trade: The Full Story."



As Thomas Sowell explained in an essay titled "'Multicultural' Education," available at tsowell.com:

The widespread revulsion which this hideous institution [slavery] inspires today was largely confined to Western civilization a century ago, and a century before that was largely confined to a portion of British society....The resistance put up by Africans, Asians, and Arabs was monumental in defense of slavery, and lasted for more than a century. Only the overwhelming military power of the West enabled it to prevail on this issue, and only the moral outrage of Western peoples kept their governments' feet to the fire politically to maintain the pressure against slavery around the world. Of course, this is not the kind of story that appeals to the multiculturalists. If it had been the other way around—if Asian or African imperialists had stamped out slavery in Europe—it would still be celebrated, in story and song, on campuses across America.

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.

Slavery Posted by Cyrano at 10:16 AM

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.

One is Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine. A gay-marriage ban on the 2004 ballot in the Buckeye State is widely credited with drawing evangelicals to the polls and helping Mr. Bush narrowly carry that state. But Mr. De-Wine opposed that measure, citing objections to language that he said would invite lawsuits. That is one reason he appears to have trouble rallying social conservatives. This year, Mr. DeWine is a sponsor of the Senate amendment, which doesn't include the language he objected to previously.


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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:13 AM

June 5, 2006

East Timor

Wretchard brings the East Timor incident into perspective.

    Twelve innocent persons killed by a mistake in judgment, not by a teenaged soldiers, but the senior foreign commander on the scene who ignored the advice of his advisers. This caused an incident that almost threw an entire country into civil war, though there were tensions before that. And what was the foreign response? Don't cooperate with the investigation; then deny you said you wouldn't cooperate with the investigation. The finally cooperate when you've got no place else to run. But oops. This isn't a rogue state -- like America. This is the UN. Look to follow this story on page 55.


Liberalism as Psychology

Hmmph.

    Let’s take an easy example, same-sex marriage (I’ll come to many more examples later on). Liberals see themselves as fighting the “bigots” on behalf of the “oppressed” minorities, and they constantly compare the battle to the civil rights movement. It isn’t anywhere near, but they do it because it makes them feel important, which is also the reason why this is an issue at the national forefront today.

    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.

But jk thinks:

I think his piece dovetails nicely with the TAE issue I was hawking below. I enjoyed the piece and agree with most of what Beltt says.

Be forewarned, however, that there is a new internecine issue we have to fight about: his example of gay marriage. I want to get government farther away from marriage, not set it up as sole arbiter. Me and Sen. Arlen Specter.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 9:48 AM

Poverty. Solved.

"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.

A charitable exemption would have the effect of shifting resources from government to private charities. I believe that would be a net plus for people in need.

A charitable exemption would increase the proportion of money going to NGO's that comes from private donors rather than government. I think that the effect of this would be to reward NGO's more for effectiveness and less for their ability to work the system to obtain government funding.

In his book Good and Plenty, Tyler Cowen argues that tax-incented charitable gift-giving has been good for the arts in America, because support for the arts has been decentralized. The idea of the charitable exemption is to mobilize those sorts of decentralized solutions to address other needs.


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.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 7:21 PM

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.

The 50 cent price of the TGR would have the same incentive effect as a 50 cent gasoline tax. But while a gasoline tax lowers everyone's real income, the TGR system creates winners as well as losers. Someone who receives 800 TGRs for a year but only needs 500 would pocket $150 by selling his unwanted TGRs. But even such individuals would still face the right incentive: Every extra gallon consumed would reduce their net cash by 50 cents.

Advocates of a gasoline tax argue that it would produce extra revenue that could be used to reduce the budget deficit or to finance equally large cuts in personal taxes. My own guess is that the increased revenue from a higher gasoline tax would be more likely to finance additional government spending, just as it does in Europe.


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!

But AlexC thinks:

So what happens when you're a pizza delivery driver?

I'm hearing that pizza's going to cost a whole lot more, or I'm going to have to go pick it up instead.

Posted by: AlexC at June 5, 2006 9:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Again, compare it to a big tax on gas to reduce consumption. Your 'za will cost the same, but if you don't drive, you can tip the driver with some of your TGRs (of course, he'll probably use them to buy weed).

It's too much tinkering for me, but it does beat a straight tax.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 9:42 AM
But silence dogood thinks:

Sounds an awful lot like a stamp tax. It also seems very ripe for individual misuse and government meddling. I would prefer a tax, but a state one not federal. I would like to see more of my gas tax dollars go directly to funding the upkeep or expansion of the roads in my state. Currently much of our gas tax goes to the feds and then our Reps and Senators try to out pork each other to get it back. Thus I pay for bridges to nowhere in Alaska and the Robert Byrd rest stop on the Robert Byrd expressway just after the Robert Byrd bridge.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 7, 2006 2:07 PM

Who's Stupid?

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.

The institute is a conservative think tank in Washington that is less embarrassed than most conservative think tanks about raking in gobs of money from oil companies and propagating views that happen to comport precisely with those of their donors. It has been running ads attempting to cast doubt on the notion that fossil fuels bear any relation to global warming.

The oil companies'--sorry, I mean the institute's--approach to this challenge is to make people think fondly of carbon dioxide. It turns out to be a deeply misunderstood molecule. "We breathe it out," a narrator explains in one ad. "Plants breathe it in." We see an image of a young girl in pigtails blowing on a dandelion. The ad proceeds to explain that all this good stuff faces some sinister, amorphous peril. "Now, some politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What will our lives be like then?" Plants will suffocate for lack of carbon dioxide! Little girls blowing on dandelions will be thrown into prison!

Can anybody actually believe this?


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

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

I read the section you mentioned twice when I read the article, the prison terms for little girls convicted of dandecide are Chait's words, not the commercial's. Michael Moore in "Bowling for Columbine" took the accepted-as-over-the-top Willie Horton ad, and added graphics to make it worse. Chait does the same here.

I added links so that you can see the ad. I challenge you to find one thing in it that is factually incorrect or even overblown.

You're tired of overblown rhetoric and welcome rational debate, put 'er there buddy! It is the "warmies" that over-hype and use doomsday scenarios that are unfounded. The rhetoric is 100 times more overblown on the other side.

No, that's overblown. It is only 83.4 times more overblown. I really shouldn't exaggerate.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

And I didn't mean to dodge direct questions. I would not counter the existence of man-made smog.

CO and NOx are clearly poison in all but small quantities, without a trained dentist's supervision. Although they occur naturally, adding more to the atmosphere seems an easier sell as a no-no.

Back 'round to my point. I like this commercial for pointing out the difference. And it gets bonus points for pointing out the lifestyle advantages of using energy for wealth creation.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 6:19 PM
But jk thinks:

And the word I was looking for is "dandeleocide." My mistake.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 7:39 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

No problem JK, the whole premise of the ad is not factual. There is a current attempt to label CO2 as a greenhouse gas, which factually it is. There is no attempt to label it a pollutant, the ad does not point out the difference, it mixes the two completely.

So what is factual in the ad? We do exhale CO2 (no mention of the all important quantities) plants do absorb CO2 (breathing it would require a respiratory system, but I'll give them that one), and the burning of fossil fuels for energy has developed civilization to how we know it today.

Overblown rhetoric? How about the image of the gaunt woman grinding grain with a stick? Kinda ignores a few centuries of civilization don't you think? Even completely removing the use of fossil fuels would still leave us a long way from that, but images of a farmer plowing a field with a horse or a water wheel grinding grain doesn't pack quite the punch of a malnourished woman with a stick. The words are not stated, but the implication is clear that controlling CO2 emissions is going to cause you to take time away from writing code to grind your corn meal with a stick to make your dinner. Ditto for the implication that something as natural as CO2 could not possibly be bad for you.

It is not so much what you say, as how you say it, or for complicated scientific topics like this how you mix pieces of real science with a bunch of so called common sense mumbo jumbo. How dare we allow the mixing of toxic, explosively unstable metals with poisonous chemicals (table salt).

Dandelions are lawn terrorists and combatants and should be locked away indefinitely, and we should contemplate building walls around our lawns to control their movement.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 6, 2006 10:21 AM
But jk thinks:

I strongly disagree that people are not moving to label an regulate CO2 as a pollutant. If not directly, they throw it in a basket with its unfriendly cousins. The point of the ad is to pull it out and look objectively at what it is.

Are you proposing the rock as the technological advance to the stick? Because most of the ones which come to my mind use energy. Yes it's a long way from here to there, but the Institute makes an important point that using less energy is going to cost us.

(Don't knock the stick -- my wife's preparations for Y2K were to buy an old fashioned coffee grinder and some bottled water. We have a wood stove and figured we could live without everything else. The grinder has a place of honor now as the bullet we dodged.)

In the end it baffles me that we see this so differently. They don't say we're going back to the stick, they show the benefits of innovation. VP Gore, conversely, says that the trade center memorial will be underwater. I think we're comparing poetic license to polemic.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 1:34 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

No, I think we will have to disagree on this one. On the cataclysmic scale it is tough to beat total global destruction, or at least massive flooding, but to imply that with limited CO2 emissions we are headed for African subsistence is a bit of a whopper as well. I also extremely dislike the slippery slope argument that CO2 will soon be a full fledged pollutant. If we take the slippery slope concept to its conclusion, we should never decide anything for fear that our politicians will misuse the information.

Everything uses energy JK, at least anything that does work over time. I was simply thinking that stock footage of Amish folk in this country would be a much closer approximation than an image obviously from an impoverished African nation.

Coffee grinder and bottled water, I love it. Conservative you may be, but that is very bohemian.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 7, 2006 2:39 PM

TAE

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

Haditha: Steyn

Mark Steyn

    For three years, coalition forces in Iraq behaved so well that a salivating Vietnam culture had to make do with the thinnest of pickings: one depraved jailhouse, a prisoner on a dog leash with a pair of Victoria's Secret panties on his head and an unusually positioned banana. "Just look at the way U.S. army reservist Lynndie England holds the leash of the naked, bearded Iraqi," wrote Robert Fisk, the dean of the global media's Middle Eastern correspondents. "No sadistic movie could outdo the damage of this image. In September 2001, the planes smashed into the buildings; today, Lynndie smashes to pieces our entire morality with just one tug on the leash."

    Down, boy.

    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

NBC10.com

    Authorities are investigating whether two Philadelphia police officers got nearly $10,000 worth of free plane tickets by consistently buying refundable tickets on sold-out flights.

    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.

But jk thinks:

At the risk of being called situational in law-and-order*, it is hard to side with overbooking airlines over some Philly cops.

*You know who you are!

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 11:09 AM

On the Web

BBC

    A US state is to enlist web users in its fight against illegal immigration by offering live surveillance footage of the Mexican border on the internet.
    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

Well before police tactical teams began their sweeps around Toronto on Friday, at least 18 related arrests had already taken place in Canada, the United States, Britain, Bosnia, Denmark, Sweden, and Bangladesh.


Why it is a national security emergency to close the southern border?

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

Volume.

Posted by: AlexC at June 4, 2006 9:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Why? Because the police, the army, and every other element of the government across our southern border is completely corrupt. Despite widespread socialism, Canadians still have enough selfishness to investigate and interdict terrorist plots against themselves OR us.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2006 3:37 PM

June 3, 2006

Haditha: Comments

Personally, I'd like to see more like this on blogs:

A Young Girl Reading by Fragonard.jpg
"A Young Girl Reading" by Fragonard

Alchemy by Daniele Anjou.jpg
"Alchemy" by Daniele Anjou (Not sure if this is copyrighted...if you find it is, tell me!!)

But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Two things stick in my head about Haditha:

1 - Whenever we (being Westerners) screw up in the Arab world, the news coverage is usually about all of the rioting that follows the incident. There wasn't any rioting in Haditha, even though its a "hotbed of terrorism."

2 - Al-Jazeera would never pass up an opportunity to make the West look bad, yet when this occurred, AJ was rathe silent. Why no 24/7 coverage of the allegations?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 4, 2006 11:26 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah. Twenty one dead today by a terrorist. Nobody involved will ever face ethics training or an inquest -- or, sadly, much disapprobation from the Western left.

I don't think any of us say this to excuse. If guilt is proven I hope punishment ensues. But the capacity for media to ignore perspective is disturbing.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2006 11:35 AM

Ethics Training for Terrorists

The Denver Dailies led with this story:

US orders ethics training for all its troops in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Seeking to quell outrage over allegations that Marines went on a killing spree against unarmed civilians in Haditha, the top US general in Iraq ordered all American troops in the country to undergo additional ethics training, the military said yesterday.


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...

But Jacob thinks:

Your comment is nonsensical. First of all, what does Saudi Arabia have to do with anything? The war is taking place in Iraq, against Iraqi's, not in Saudia Arabia against the Saudi's. Second, Saudi Arabia is a US ally in the War on Terror. Are suggesting that it is, in fact, a terrorist haven? Third, you're suggesting that because terrorists kill women and children without justification, then we should be able kill to women and children without justification. Logically doesn't that mean that we would be no different from the terrorists?

Posted by: Jacob at June 3, 2006 7:15 PM
But jk thinks:

No, our ethics training sets us apart.

Point taken that I should be more careful not to disparage our ally. Make it a Pakastani madr -- no, wait...

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2006 7:20 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

That's the trouble with allies these days, you just can't tell which side they are on.

Ethics training, sheesh.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at June 3, 2006 11:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, Jacob, if "we" kill women and children without justification then "we" too are terrorists. However, the fact that terrorists kill our women and children (and fathers and brothers) without justification is, in fact, justification for killing anyone with any relationship to terrorists.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2006 3:21 PM

Haditha

Michelle Malkin has a post about the reporting on the Haditha incident.

It's a must-read.

Terrorist Artrocity Blamed on Marines haditha wrong 002.jpg

Terrorist Atrocity in Hadith-Proper Attribution.jpg

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.

Your "mistake" deserves front page coverage and all newspapers (especially those in the middle east) should be saturated with your apologies. Think about what your mistake does ---- creates anger, rage, and hatred (which is destructive enough in and of itself) that will probably be directed at those from the US (or West in general). Your story and photo and caption created a ripple that can and will destroy lives.

Too many mistakes and too much biased news --- you will be judged by your actions and will not be given the benefit of the doubt.

Sincerely, Gregory

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.

Five of the slain men were security guards at a hospital complex in the capital who had been arrested by Iraqi police on Thursday, Lt. Col. Adil Al-Zihari of the Diyala police 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...

But jk thinks:

Your reading list is considerably different from mine, Cyrano. I have to ask a question: "Do sites like LGF, Jihad Watch, Michelle Malkin, and their ilk not have a lot in common with our enemies' intolerance?"

I don't want to draw moral equivalence between a riot and an angry blog screed. That is a huge difference of which I am always cognizant. But, like CAIR, these people always seem to be trolling for things to get angry about, righteous indignation being the default setting for their blogs.

Yup, we are WAAAY more tolerant than our adversaries. I accept and applaud that. And there are very few posts that I individually do not agree with at most of those sites.

Yet a huge portion of the right wing blogosphere is consumed with this. Cui bono?

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2006 5:10 PM
But Cyrano thinks:

Well, since 9/11, there is a lot to be angry about. Anger is normal, natural, and valid -- when appropriate. And 9/11, 7/7, and Islamofascism are appropriate reasons.

What were the conservative blogs like before 9/11? What were other blogs like before then, for that matter?

Maybe it's not a "conservative blog" thing, but a cultural thing. Maybe for proper contrast we need to go back to the 50's or 20's, when people in general were more benevolent and had better manners.

But I'd say an unequivocable "no" to your first question. LGF, JW, and MM have good reason to be angry, as I said above. JW, as the name applies, was formed to inform us of global jihad. LGF and JW would both be glad to publicize and celebrate "moderate Islam" which denounced terrorism. But there are few takers, so they don't report on that much. MM is a hard-hitting columnist, yes, but don't let the cultural context throw you off her scent and call her an angry nut-case. Once upon a time, as I said, she would have been called a hard-hitting columnist.

If there is a blog that reports on modern beauty and rational achievement, PLEASE let me know. I don't know of such a place. (And regardless, it is still absolutely crucial to keep detailed track of Islamofascism. It would be irresponsible not to.)

Posted by: Cyrano at June 3, 2006 6:19 PM
But jk thinks:


Let's see...beauty and rational achievement...that would be ThreeSources! Rational and aesthetic folks who recognize the physical and philosophical dangers of the enemy we face without needing to be "whipped up" by the latest batch of anti-Americanism.

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2006 8:31 PM
But Cyrano thinks:

:)

Posted by: Cyrano at June 4, 2006 12:35 AM
But Cyrano thinks:

And I'd like to see more things like the movies "Executive Suite," "Meet John Doe," "Deadline U.S.A.," "Brigadoon," and "Holiday Inn." GREAT movies. Though, having some plot to them, and therefore a conflict, there is necessarily some "anger" evoked by the movies. But the conflict is a foil for the good; the movie does not focus on evil or psychosis, as so many modern movies do.

"Deadline U.S.A." is a good Bogart film, in which he plays a newspaper editor, having a few good lines like 'we will fight tyranny, whether local or international' and 'we will fight wrongs, whether by predatory wealth, or predatory poverty.' I recommend the movie. If only we had more people like that working on newspapers today!!!

Posted by: Cyrano at June 4, 2006 12:45 AM

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.

Warm regards,

Caprice D. Hollins, Psy.D.
Director of Equity & Race Relations
Seattle Public Schools

I love how the Hollins’ apology still manages to make a muck of it, this time attacking the “unsuccessful concept” of the “colorblind mentality.” Yeah, you know, that old chestnut that leads one to actually believe that race is immaterial to what one thinks or does. And I also love the ode to “open dialogue” and the desire to avoid an “us against them” mindset. Sure, your mentality may be failed, but we still can talk about it.

I take the above as proof that one can be an utterly flaming idiot who attracts national attention through their buffoonery and still not get fired from the government’s public school system.

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.

Education Posted by Cyrano at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jake thinks:

"you know, that old chestnut that leads one to actually believe that race is immaterial to what one thinks or does"

It IS an old chestnut and it IS an unsuccessful concept. Race is NOT immaterial to what one thinks or does. That's the point exactley (among others) that the Seatle board is making. The dynamics of race do indeed "permeate throughout our society". The best way to understand how this works (and therfore change it's effects) is through dialogue, which again is exactley what the Seattle board are trying to foster.

And incedently, there was nothing in that statement that led me to believe it was an "apology". I personally don't think the Seattle board have anything to apologise for. It's unfortunate that most people misread the section on cultural racism in their original definition, hence the revision, but their's certainly no reason for the board to have to apologise.

Posted by: jake at June 4, 2006 1:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I would concede that race affects our outlook, actions, and impacts American life significantly.

The original post referred to an assertion by the Director of Equity & Race Relations that individualism (the glue that binds the factious, fractious voices of ThreeSources together) was intrinsically racist, and that collectivism was some sort of antidote.

The idea that a child would be taught by the government that individual achievement is racist is appalling.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2006 8:40 PM
But dagny thinks:

The fact that dynamics of race, “permeate our society,” does not excuse the severe inaccuracies in the SPS definitions of racism.

Additionally, conversations on race should not overshadow the appropriate purpose of any school which is to teach children, among other things, to reason, write, and spell. Invariably, when you encounter someone who doesn’t do two of these things properly, he also neglects the third.

Posted by: dagny at June 5, 2006 1:41 AM

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.

HT: Never Yet Melted Blog

Humor Posted by Cyrano at 11:52 PM

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.

From a distance, troops noticed four apparently armed Palestinians approaching the border north of the Kissufim crossing.

When the four were some 400 meters from the fence, the soldiers realized that they were children, who looked to be about 13 years of age, and that their guns were toys.

The Gaza security fence has become the scene of almost daily incidences of would-be infiltrations from the Gaza Strip, attempted terror attacks, and occasionally exchanges of fire. Earlier Thursday, IDF forces arrested two unarmed Palestinians who breached the fence in order to cross into Israel.

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.

The trouble began shortly after a TV show on Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. - a privately-owned Christian channel - in which an actor spoofed Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, wearing the Hezbollah leader's trademark black turban and sported a similar beard and spectacles.

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!!!!)

piss-liberty AlRisala 25 May 202006.jpg

lady liberty alhayataljadida 090604.jpg

AlQuds lady-liberty-prostitute 220505.jpg

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.

Islam Posted by Cyrano at 9:39 PM

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."

An eye-witness reports that "I understood that day, standing alone, what it felt like to be a Jew in pre-war Germany. I understood how fearful the hostages in Iran must have felt when the U.S. Embassy was taken over. And I understand the double standards that occur when it comes to the UCI administration in taking a position to facilitate peaceful dialogue."


But there is some good news Phi Beta Cons also brings us:

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.

When asked whether citizens should be concerned about these groups, the FBI agent answered, "That is another tough question to answer." She did tell Mickadeit that the FBI is aware of large numbers of Muslims at UCI.

Islam Posted by Cyrano at 9:17 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Vynette Holliday thinks:

What do I think? I think that the citizens of the world can no longer afford the luxury of catering to the 'sensibilities' of religious folk - including Muslims.

There is only one way to attenuate the threat posed by militant Islam and that is to introduce doubt into the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslim believers.

Instead of side-stepping in fear of giving 'offense', strike at very heart and soul of the problem.

And what is that?

Why, the Qur'an itself!
This fountainhead of fervour and discord, supposedly an exact word-for-word copy of tablets existing eternally in heaven:
makes demonstrably false claims
is based on identifiable 'fables'
is replete with historical and other errors
is not worthy of faith, let alone lives

To argue endlessly about what is meant by this word, or that word, or this idea, or that idea, is worse than pointless when the whole book can be, and has already bee, swept away by an even mildly rigorous scholarly examination.

Question the provenance and content of the Qur'an, publish fearlessly, and confidence in the Qur'an as the word of Allah will be severely shaken, just where it should be - in the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims.

There is no other way!

Posted by: Vynette Holliday at June 3, 2006 12:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

All of these criticisms of the "Qur'an" apply in equal measure to the Holy Bible. And yet, here we are: 97% of Americans profess a belief in some sort of "personal God."

Only 3 percent of us appear to understand that such a notion is unworthy of faith, let alone lives.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2006 3:31 PM

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.

...

He is guilty of a thought-crime, challenging the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel mindset which has come to dominate the DePaul campus. Klocek’s challenge to this new campus orthodoxy occurred in a cafeteria during a student activities fair last September. For 15-20 minutes, Klocek, who is Catholic, not Jewish, confronted a group of 8 students manning two tables for the groups Students for Justice in Palestine, and United Muslims Moving Ahead. Klocek says he argued that the materials the groups were disseminating were one-sided..

...

He says he told the students that Palestinians were Arabs who lived in the West Bank and Gaza – that they had no unique national historical identity. He challenged one student’s assertion that Israel was behaving like the Nazis. He stated that while most Muslims were not terrorists, pretty much all terrorists these days were Muslim.

...

The campus has welcomed representatives of the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad to campus. The scurrilous propaganda “documentary” Jenin Jenin has been shown on campus.

...

The University wasted little time after hearing of the students’ complaints about Klocek. The students first met with their advisors and then with a series of University administration members. They said that he had insulted them and their religion and (imagine this!) acted as if he was right and they were wrong. DePaul accepted the charges in toto and without holding a hearing (to which Klocek was entitled) quickly suspended the Professor.

The Muslim students also sent out an email to a large population at DePaul declaring a fatwa on Klocek for insulting Islam. With the recent history of the murder of Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands, and the secret life of Salmon Rushdie for more than a decade since the Iranian fatwa directed against him, one might have expected DePaul to have viewed this email as possibly threatening to Professor Klocek, and as potentially criminal behavior.

Prepare for the coming dhimmitude...

Islam Posted by Cyrano at 8:55 PM

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.

That issue aside, the deportation case against Mohamed, who is suspected by the Government of having ties to and supporting radical Islamists, identified that he originally entered the United States by being smuggled in from Mexico in 2000.

On June 15, 2005, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, a Lebanese citizen and illegal alien, was sentenced in Detroit to 54 months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah. The investigation leading to Kourani’s prosecution and conviction, that was conducted by ICE and the FBI, revealed that Kourani’s brother was the chief of security for Hezbollah in Lebanon. The investigation also revealed that Kourani sponsored Hezbollah fundraising meetings in his Dearborn, Michigan home.

The Kourani investigation identified that he, too, was smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

Immigration Posted by Cyrano at 8:29 PM

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.

"This also means that every (African) head of state could meet a similar fate -- this sets a serious precedent," he said. Indeed it does. If one butcher goes down, others may follow. For Gaddafi, that must be a terrifying prospect.

Gadaffi, more than any other leader except perhaps Blaise Campoare in Burkina Faso, has good reason to fear Taylor's testimony. It was Gaddafi who trained not only Taylor and his thugs for Liberia, but also Foday Sankoh and other leaders of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, Laurent Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Campaore's troops who assassinated president Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, and on and on. My entire blog is here.

Dictatorship: An evil enterprise which needs to be eliminated from the human experience.

Dictatorship Posted by Cyrano at 8:17 PM

It's a Lie!

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased Young, Neil films, you might like to know that Neil Young - Heart of Gold will be released on DVD on June 13, 2006. You can pre-order your copy at a savings of 35% by following the link below.


I have not purchased any Young, Neil film. I want an apology and I want my record expunged.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:04 PM | What do you think? [3]
But sugarchuck thinks:

Southern man don't need him around anyhow!

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 2, 2006 6:18 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

You gotta respect a Lynyrd Skynryd quote. Didn't old Neil record the flight 93 song "Let's Roll" or something like that? I guess his recent anti-Bush album puts him in the doghouse around here. I still have vivid memories of his "Out of the Blue and into the Black" from my first laserium show as a young teenager so maybe I just harbor a soft spot for the guy.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at June 2, 2006 9:42 PM
But jk thinks:

(It's your password today, Silence!)

I can handle anti-Bush stuff pretty well. My larger complaint against Young, Neil is his representation of "the 60's." I'm pretty tired of the generation that is so proud of its role in ending the Vietnam War (who cares about the killing fields of Cambodia or the boat people -- we got our way and my Sociology professor said we care).

I'm also a dedicated non-fan or Young, Neil's music. I'm glad you have happy memories, I think of long-haired college kids singing his songs badly on the Pearl Street Mall.

['Course, when I was a kid we didn't have no "Laserium" we drank beer and took No-Doz and somebody moved a flashlight across the ceiling -- and we liked it!]

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2006 1:00 PM

You First

Why must it always be "You guys go first"?

    The US must abandon its "war on terror" to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, according to the former United Nations' chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix,.

    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."

War on Terror Posted by AlexC at 3:07 PM

Snakes on the Plane

For real!

    "Nothing in any of the manuals ever described anything like this," the 62-year-old Cross Lanes resident said. But the advice given 25 years earlier from his flight instructor immediately came to mind: "No matter what happens, fly 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.


Holy crap!

On the web Posted by AlexC at 2:52 PM

4.6%!

CBSNews

    Job growth faltered in May, with employers boosting payrolls by just 75,000. Yet the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.6 percent, the lowest since the summer of 2001.

    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.

Economics and Markets Posted by AlexC at 12:13 PM

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:

"The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions... [A] body which is to correct this infirmity ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure of considerable duration."

A recent example of an "intemperate and pernicious resolution" motivated by "violent passions" is the Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437, passed last December, which would build a big wall along the southern border and declare illegal immigrants "felons." Because senators are fewer, with more scope to deliberate -- and because they are elected less frequently and so are less vulnerable to the voters' knee-jerk reactions -- they disdained HR 4437 and instead passed the far wiser and more ethical Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.


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.

(Memo to Democratic websites and bloggers: Over the next few weeks, you will be getting visits from people who had previously written you off, but who were impressed by Senate Democrats on immigration reform. Try to be hospitable. Clean up your language. Also, since House Republicans have now moved into what immigration foe Mark Krikorian calls "loyal opposition" to the White House, Bush-supporters may be the swing voters in 2006. So you might want to tone down the Bush-hatred a bit.)

Since the health of democracy is served by party competition, the resurrection of the Democrats is another reason to cheer the passage of CIRA.


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.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM

Effective sanctions?

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.

There's simply no getting around the fact that you can't eat petroleum. Iran's 132.5 trillion barrels in proved oil reserves--10.2% of the world total--are of little benefit unless they're earning money. A trade embargo would hit Iran especially hard, because its economy and government budget are inordinately dependent on petrodollars. Oil shipments account for about 25% of GDP, represent 90% of total export earnings and provide as much as 50% of fiscal receipts.


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!

Iran Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

It would work with an Allied naval blockade.

The best point made by this article is that the mighty industrial juggernaut (USA) is not, in fact, impotent against this puny but ambitious theonutcracy whose oil exports produce 90% of total export earnings.

And another thing...

Where the H. is Al Gore on the intolerable policies is Iran? Forget about nuclear warheads, they not only don't tax gasoline, they subsidize it! Their domestic consumption (of imported gasoline) has been growing by 8-10% annually. And why not - it only costs 40 cents per gallon.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2006 2:23 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yes, isn't that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at June 2, 2006 9:48 PM

Hot Dogs & Beer

Krauthammer

    Leave it to the good people of Philadelphia, whose football fans once famously booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus, to come up with the perfect takedown of the most inflated (in more ways than one) superstar in contemporary sport. With the visiting Barry Bonds at the plate and needing just two home runs to tie Babe Ruth's iconic 714 lifetime homers, the banner was raised: "Ruth did it on 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.

America, F*ck Yeah! Posted by AlexC at 1:06 AM

Libertarians and Uranium

Hmm

    If you let ordinary law-abiding folk have it, they'll find much better uses for it. Especially after a few of them have experimented with it for a while. Some of those uses will end up making it much easier to survive the inevitable advent of nutcases with nuclear weapons. (Not to mention plagues, natural disasters, and global climate change). And, of course, all of them will add up to lots more liberty and wealth for everyone, which is always worth a certain amount of risk.

But jk thinks:

Prohibition certainly didn't work in the 1920s/30s. Legalization would remove economic incentives from the dealers. Legalize and tax it!

Am I serious? Is he? I really can't tell.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2006 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The problem with this idea is that most (or many, or at least some) people don't know how to or just won't handle it properly to avoid causing harm to others by mere proximity.

A commenter on the original site writes, "There really isn't anyway (sic) to use them [nuclear weapons] that won't cause more problems than it (sic) solves." Excuse me, does this person not understand the very nature of terrorism?

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2006 2:36 PM

June 1, 2006

Party Pooper

NBC10.com

    Motorists lined up for a brief fueling frenzy at a pump in Doylestown, Bucks County, selling premium gasoline for 32.9 cents a gallon.

    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!"

But jk thinks:

I'd've called NYAG Eliot Spitzer...

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2006 10:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

This sounds like good ol' human error on the part of the gas station, but Denver recently witnessed a station giving away full tanks of gas... for FREE!

If you watched the story to the end you found out that it wasn't the station, but a local church pastor, footing the bill. And he'd set a limit of $3000 at which time the windfall abruptly ceased. Publicity stunt I guess. He probably drummed up a few new parishoners in the process though.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2006 2:40 PM

24,000 Pages!

Tax reform anyone?

    Taxpayers who gripe about long returns have nothing on General Electric Co., which filed a 24,000-page tax return this month.

    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.

Economics and Markets Posted by AlexC at 1:25 PM

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!

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Cyrano thinks:

Amen. It's another example which goes to show that Gore's thinking and ideas are based on feeling and what he wants to be true -- not on fact. His ideas are NOT objective, based on what reality and reason say. Accordingly, Gore "takes" himself outside of reality, and therefore outside of moral, practical consideration. (But he obviously grants some recognition to reality, else he could not survive...and he would be certifiably insane, which he is not -- he is simply irrational and immoral.)

Posted by: Cyrano at June 1, 2006 7:02 PM

Not About the Pay Raise

My turn to cover my home state...

Pat Toomey writes in today's Philly Inquirer...

    Yes, the legislative pay raise in Pennsylvania contributed significantly to the energy supporting challengers' campaigns, but it was not the main driver of the political bloodbath.

    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.


...
    Frustrated Republican voters, fed up with big-government Republican incumbents and seeing credible challengers supported by conservative institutions, made sweeping changes.

    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.

Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at 12:33 PM

Waaaaaaah!

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.

Note that the reporter used "deigning," which many people tend to misuse. The word involves condescension. However, if that's the attitude the recent grad shows, that she's "deigning" to apply for those jobs, then it's no wonder only one out of 30 bothered to reply.

Welcome to the real world, kids. This is the United States of America, not France. In this country, you're not just expected to work hard, but with smarts and resourcefulness. Above all, you will learn humility, especially when you realize you won't get paid what you think you're worth. It's called supply and demand: you're not as indispensable as you think you are, and even if you're really good, odds are that you are not the company's only option.


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.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM

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.

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.


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
By MIKE FOLMER
June 1, 2006; Page A15

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.

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 10:22 AM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

JK, I want to say there were 30 retirements and 14 primary upsets.
There might be 15 strong challenges in the fall. This is out of 50 Senators and 202 Reps. That's like 20% turnover, not counting the fall.

Considering that prior to this year the #1 and #2 reasons for legislative change was retirement and death, this is a big deal.

Posted by: AlexC at June 1, 2006 11:28 AM

Don't click this. Comments (2)