July 31, 2006
"It is time. After 25 years of hearing from nothing but the stay-at-home moms and why it's so wonderful to stay at home, it is time for another message," Hirshman said.
Hirshman said women could only lead flourishing lives if they have a career outside the home.
"My most important message is that women are bearing the full burden of housekeeping as well as childbearing, and that combination makes it very difficult for them to work in the public or larger world," Hirshman said.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Linda Hershman is pro-choice. Except when it comes to raising kids.
For the record, my wife is one of those "highly educated" stay at home moms. She wouldn't have it any other way.
More GITMO Abuse
Incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by "cocktails" of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.
They've been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small "bean holes" used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate.
Oh wait, it's Americans. Where do I check my outrage? At the door?
Alien Life Forms
Two points of micro-agreement between me and Jonathan Chait: good for leftists who try to reach out and understand that peculiar breed of American who doesn't vote for progressives. And, no, it's not working.
Chait's LAT columns are reprinted in TNR Online, presumably so they can annoy more people. Today he discusses a new TV show to sympathetically portray Calista Flockhart as a conservative television pundit.
Indeed, the point of the show seems to be casting conservatives in a sympathetic and understanding light. As Jon Robin Baitz, a writer for the show, explained: "It's very, very interesting and compelling to us to try and understand this, to leave behind some of the smug presuppositions of the two coasts ... to look at evolving patriotism and evolving traditionalism."
Patronize much? "It's interesting to try to understand these inferior people and a real testament to our writing skill that we can do it." I'm sure they would have hired a real conservative but they don't know any.
Chait and I both think this will end badly, but for different reasons. He doesn't think they need to reach out and he wonders "[W]here are the right's efforts at outreach? You don't hear conservatives mourning their lack of common ground with the English department at Columbia University. In fact, it's incredibly rare to find a conservative who understands liberalism as anything other than hatred for the rich and a desire to hand over our foreign policy to the United Nations."
I think it will fail because the writers see it as an outreach project. The show's producer "assured the public 'She's not Ann Coulter. She's not insane.'" Whew. Because, y'know, hiring a thin blonde actress ...
I don't spend a lot of time defending Ms. Coulter around here, but if you think she is insane, you are not qualified to write about a conservative. Ms. Coulter is bombastic and frequently offensive, but she is quite rational and cogent.
Our "outreach," Mr. Chait? We read the New York Times, watch CNN at the airport, listen to NPR, watch Hollywood movies and TV shows like "The West Wing." We know you're there.
If you want a flicker of hope, I heard from many conservatives that Alan Alda's character on "The West Wing" expressed conservative views more eloquently and clearly than do any of our politicians.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:08 PM
Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine takes his teenaged son o see the New Woody Allen movie and notes:
The entire audience was geriatric. There wasn’t a person in the theater — in a decent crowd, by the way — who was under 50 and most won’t see 60 again. Not one hair follicle — those left — carried its natural color of youth. My son personally lowered the mean age in the place by 30 years.
Insty linked to it, but I can't say that I am surprised at all. I was playing a party game a few years ago with people slightly younger. I forget the game. But the card would say "kinds of cheeses" and your team would shout out answers as one member furiously typed them into a computer.
Every topic was a race of furious typing with the buzzer cutting off answers. Until our team got "Woody Allen movies." I got "Sleeper" and "Bananas," somebody got "Annie Hall," then we sat in stone silence waiting for the buzzer.
These folks were all younger, hipper, and more liberal than me, yet his movies meant nothing to them. I've seen "Sweet and Low" since then. The jazz was nice, but Woody's dour view of life pervades it, and Sean Penn is not one of my personal faves either.
Anybody going to defend the great director around here? I'm guessing not, but, you ever know.
July 30, 2006
That's my new nickname for the hapless prime minister of Lebanon, who recently declared: "We will not negotiate until the Israeli war stops shedding the blood of innocent people." He was also quoted on Fox News this morning as having said, "We will not negotiate until there is an immediate, unconditional cease-fire" and something to the effect of, "This deliberate killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable."
The PM seems to be echoing the attitude of one Khalil Shalhoub who, on the scene of the demolished building full of people screamed, "Why are they killing us? What have we done?"
Well, for one thing, an IAF spokesman claimed that Hezbollah was intentionally packing civilians into buildings and firing missles from them. "OK" I thought, "that's entirely plausible. Now show us all pictures to prove it!" Within moments, FNC announced EXCLUSIVE VIDEO. ("Free" Video, after a short cimmercial message, of course.)
As many government leaders throughout the western world rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against calculated, deliberate, and ongoing aggression from Islamist fanatics they should ask themselves one question: How will these diplomats feel about tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by an Iranian nuke if their diplomatic efforts on behalf of Hezbollah, in the name of "innocent" Lebanese civilians, are successful?
BB'see' No Evil
JK's Saturday post on the Seattle "hate crime" shooting largely ignored by the MSM is an apt lead-in to reprint a post by WSJ Opinion Journal's James Taranto. I lifted the whole thing verbatim, though with attribution (first item.)
The BBC reports on one of the "prisoners" that "Hezbollah wants most" in its ill fated bid to arrange a swap by murdering and kidnapping Israeli border guards. BBC writes, "Israel will not exchange them for the prisoner Hezbollah wants most, Samir Qantar, who attacked a block of flats in Nahariha in 1979, killing a father and his daughter (the latter by smashing her head in)." The parenthetical gives barely a glimmer of the true inhumanity of his crimes.
Click continue reading to get the whole story...
"When Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers two weeks ago, provoking the current conflagration, the Shiite terrorist outfit apparently intended to use them as bargaining chips to demand the release of prisoners. Press reports often discuss this as if there were an equivalence between the Israeli soldiers, who committed no crimes but were simply defending their own country within its borders, and Arab terrorists. So it's worth pointing out just who the "prisoners" in Israeli hands are.
It's good to be da mayor
It's certainly good to be "America's Mayor..."
"America's Mayor" had a Gotham rib steak, which he washed down with three 12-year-old Macallan scotches. Giuliani left a 22 percent tip and was last seen outside the place exchanging pleasantries with Lindsay Lohan, who was walking toward Soho House.
Hat-tip: Sixers, with the Taranto-ready headline "Crist says civil unions 'fine'"
Posted by John Kranz at 1:29 PM
As someone who has purchased books by Paul Johnson, you might like to know that Slavery, Family, and Gentry Capitalism in the British Atlantic: The World of the Lascelles, 1648-1834 (Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series) is now available . You can order your copy by following the link below.Hmm, I don't recall purchasing books by Paul Johnson. (Perhaps that came with my Neil Young order). The book in question is $99 (free shipping with Amazon Prime), 396 pages, and published by the Cambridge University Press.
What the mail should have said was:
As someone who has purchased dull books that nobody else ever buys, you might like to know that Slavery, Family, and Gentry Capitalism in the British Atlantic: The World of the Lascelles, 1648-1834 (Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series) is now available . You can order your copy by following the link below. This book is ranked 116,267 and will look good on the table even if you never make it past the Introduction.
July 29, 2006
If You Get Your News From Time...
Credit Time Magazine. They have found and promoted the two worst bloggers of all time. First, Andrew Sullivan moved his Daily Dish over there. Andrew was once my favorite blogger and it pains me to call him one of two worst. But he left the rational plane many moons ago, and seems to have only spiraled down. I visited his blog to get the link and the headline is: A New GOP Low.
Playing the anti-gay card against a promising Democratic candidate in Ohio ... because he and his wife have no children. What do you expect from the party of Rove?
I'm guessing he finds a new low everyday. But at least he is blogging and everybody knows who he is and what he does.
Insty reports "The end of days is near" when he links to 'Wonkette' named Time.com Washington editor
"You can only write three-sentence posts for so long before you start to crave the comparatively literary world of newsmagazines," she wrote in an e-mail message.
I gave up on Time before I ever saw a blog, but have these people lost any concern for reputation?
When I saw Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the cover, I thought "People who get their news from Time probably consider this news." To give Ms. Cox this important -- and one might think serious -- position is more than I can believe.
Glad it works for Mom.
A Pakistani man goes into a Jewish center in Seattle, shoots six women, kills one, and says "I'm a Muslim-American. I'm angry at Israel." To the MSM, he is a lone wacko, his ethnicity is not important.
Can I be the social conservative today? The public's right to know includes secret government plans to monitor terrorist finances overseas, but we can't handle knowing that the War on Terror has had a skirmish in Seattle, Washington?
Gerard at American Digest reports: it was, like Sept 11, a normal day:
I SIT BEHIND a shaded window in a small bungalow on top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. It's a smooth summer day. It began chill but warmed. In front of my porch, the lawn sprinkler makes slow sweeps. Across the street, the school playground plays host to a pick-up game of half-court basketball and a passel of kids on bikes and skateboards, all protected by the helmets and pads modern American parents feel compelled to encumber their children with; that no fall should result in a bruise or a scrape or a moment's discomfort to otherwise mar their standard "perfect" childhood in our standard broken home. It is as if we knew that, not being able to protect our children from our own selfish self-absorption, we have compensated by protecting them from falls.
Hat-tip Roger L. Simon, who reminds us of a Trotsky quote. "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
July 28, 2006
Top 25 of the Last 25
How about another blast from the past?
eWeek picks the top 25 products of the last 25 years.
Stop Discussing, You're Confusing People
If you include frequent commenters, we have a pretty broad spectrum of views on climate change, though we certainly lean skeptic.
I'm all for continued research, just don't let the 535 Atmospheric Physicists in the District of Columbia decide. Here's TCS with a report on two Congressional hearings.
Only Wegman [Edward J. of George Mason University] and his colleagues found -- as did a National Academy of Science's panel previously -- that Mann's statistics were fundamentally flawed. They were prone -- as two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre, found in an ad hoc statistical investigation -- to create hockey stick shaped graphs.
Shhhh! Stop discussing the issues, you're confusing people...
July 27, 2006
Three out of Nineteen
Club for Growth has created a scorecard for every congressional representative, based on his/her votes on Rep. Flake's 19 contra-porcine amendments.
Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake's 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks.
And if you expected Colorado's Second District (Boulder and environs) to be inclined more towards statism than taxpayer freedom -- well, give yourself a gold star. Democratic Scion and former Boulder mayor, Mark Udall, scores a big 3-for-19 on opposing pork.
Axis of GOPeasement
I keep thinking I could support Senator McCain if I had to. What a great Commander-in-Chief. Other days I think, nah, I'd like to have a Republican.
Hugh Hewitt posts an excerpt of an interview with the other Senator from Arizona. He confirms that Sens. Graham and McCain are holding up judicial nominations. Who needs Pat Leahy?
Reading Poll Results
The Wall Street Journal (news page) is confident that they can accurately asess their latest poll:
WASHINGTON -- Republicans haven't persuaded a dissatisfied American public that their stewardship is succeeding. But the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests how they might survive midterm elections anyway: attack Democratic foes and separate themselves from President Bush's struggles.
That's the CW and it is being practiced by many candidates. This article names Maryland Senate Candidate Michael Steele by name in his disappointing "anonymous" swipes at the President. Yet I cannot see why Congressional Republicans are so eager to dump the 39% President and throw their lot in with the 25% Congress.
Hugh Hewitt laid out a good strategy for all Republicans to come together in his recent book "Painting the Map Red." He created "12 words" that all Republicans could rally around. Win the War, Confirm the Judges, Cut the Spending, Lower the taxes. Sadly, Hewitt himself compromised it as soon as the books shipped. He added "secure the border" and made it 15 words. I suppose next week, he'll add "Queers Cain't marry" and we'll have a real talk-radio manifesto in the works.
Individual candidates who want to win by running against their own party are making a mistake. Juntos Podemos, amigos.
July 26, 2006
Amazon Cap Loss
Insty links to this BusinessWeek article on Amazon's stock tu8mble.
The online retail giant reported net income of $22 million, compared with $52 million in the second quarter of 2005, even as net sales rose 22%, to $2.14 billion for the period. Both the net income and revenue figures fell slightly short of analysts' cautious second-quarter estimates, which had taken into account heavy R&D expenditures
I suppose if Amazon tanks right after Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail" comes out, I will have to admit my detractors were right.
Posted by John Kranz at 9:01 PM
Long Tail Imbroglio
Or maybe it's a full contretemps. Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal questions the data and the premise of the book.
It would be wonderful if the world as Mr. Anderson describes it were true: one where "healthy niche products" and even "outright misses" collectively could stand their ground with the culture's increasingly soulless "hits."
Chris Anderson defends himself on his blog. (The Anderson link is free, the WSJ link is paid).
I'll take it as a compliment that I now warrant a proper Wall Street Journal takedown for crimes of...well, I'm not quite sure what the crimes are. But Lee Gomes has tried mightily to find flaws with the Long Tail theory and deserves a response of some sort. I have no doubt that there are many parts of my analysis and data that could be improved. Unfortunately, Gomes, in his haste to find them, stumbles over statistics and more, and in the end simply makes a muddle of what might have been an interesting debate over the magnitude of the Long Tail effect.
As an impartial observer with an admitted emotional attachment to The Long Tail, I'll have to give it to Anderson on points.
Might he have over-enthusiastically extrapolated data into a trend? That's possible, although I think we have seen countless anecdotal examples of the long tail in action.
Gomes, in my opinion, disproves claims that Anderson did not make. Anderson, for one, does not predict that you're going to make it big with a niche selection on iTunes. But he does describe the changes that enable a small, unsigned player to offer and sell music -- and be found -- on iTunes.
That is a valid trend and Anderson has developed it for years, from his magazine article in Wired, through his blog, and the book. I counsel skepticism in everything, but would dismiss those who are overly dismissive of the long tail.
Glenn Reynolds links to this Target®/American Red Cross First Aid Emergency Preparedness Starter Kit on Amazon. It's $29.99 (AlexC will get a shiny penny back on his $30) and is probably a decent idea.
If disaster hits Lafayette, Colorado, I don't want to wait for the National Guard to pull up. But at the same time, I don't know what I'll need four ponchos for. I've got flashlights and batteries, bottled water, dog food, and enough ammunition to defend my AA cells.
Professor Reynolds worries more about bird flu than I do but there’s not much around here that could close things down for more than a couple of days. I'm going to chance it.
The Customers who bought the emergency kit, Amazon informs me, also bought: Pop Bottle Science, Crisis Prevention Handbook, Fundamentals Medical Kit, a 1GB Memory stick and "Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home." You guys laughed when I bought the hand coffee grinder for Y2K! Italian home cooking? One GB memory?
Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM
Larry Kudlow continues a theme that he discussed on his TV show yesterday. Think what you will about the details and policy behind Senator Clinton's "American Dream Initiative" unveiled in Denver (sorry I missed it, I had to work) it's good politics. Everyone on the panel agreed it is miles ahead of Nancy Pelosi's "thin gruel" and that it has some resonance. Even Larry likes the personal savings accounts.
Larry wonders where the GOP response is.
Right now it strikes me that the GOP is snoozing. Democrats are guzzling highly caffeinated Starbucks coffee, while the Republicans sip their decaf. Democrats are working 24/7, while the Republicans are taking mid-afternoon siestas. It reminds me a lot of 1994, but obviously in reverse.
I hear Clinton's plan as:
1. More taxes
But I am a partisan and my vote is not up for grabs. Many others will hear "Investment." (We're not taking your money, we're investing it!)
The panel agreed it was not so much a Presidential step forward for Senator Clinton as it was a more serious plan for Democrats in the midterms. "They don't have a plan" will be stricken from the GOP playbook -- well, on domestic policy.
On the same topic, ThreeSources friend Everyday Economist got an Instalanche for his
How Can You Not Love the Market?
The Wall Street Journal reports that even slackers have marketable skills.
When David Estalote wanted to learn to play the piano, the 27-year-old New Yorker sought out a teacher at a local music college. To learn to play golf, he took lessons from a pro at his grandfather's country club. When he recently decided he needed coaching to play a videogame better, he turned to a teenager who lives 1,200 miles away in Florida.
A man wants to buy, a man wants to sell, the Internet allows them to trade. Adam Smith would be proud.
July 25, 2006
When Is a Wedge Not a Wedge
I subscribe to TNR just to disagree with it, but Noam Scheiber has a piece online today on political effects of the stem-cell debate, and I am still pondering his premise.
It starts with good news for me. The subhead reads STEM-CELL RESEARCH ISN'T A WEDGE ISSUE. And I am quite concerned that the Democrats have found a good one. The thesis of Scheiber's article is that a successful wedge issue plays into its own sub-text.
For example, how is it that Bush used the Iraq war to his advantage in 2004 even though more than half the country had serious reservations about it? The answer is that the debate wasn't about the Iraq war per se. It was about Bush's toughness and resolve on the one hand, and Kerry's weakness and indecisiveness on the other. By running on the war's metaphorical meaning rather than the war itself, Bush managed to unite his own side and split Democrats--a textbook wedge maneuver.
Remember, we're reading TNR here. Yes, I assert that the GOP was demonstrably tougher. But he questions whether the ESC debate divides the same way.
The flaw is to assume that the Republicans who disagree with Bush on the stem-cell issue represent a potentially large source of Democratic gains. Mellman, among others, flirts with this fallacy when he notes that "stem-cell research emerged as an important 'sleeper' issue in the last campaign." He's right about one thing: All the attacks on Bush's opposition to stem-cell research--who could forget Ron Reagan's speech at the Democratic convention?--probably did persuade voters that Bush's position was wrong. Unfortunately, many of these voters ended up supporting Bush anyway. According to a poll released by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation not long after the 2004 election, roughly half of all Bush voters favor "research using stem cells obtained from human embryos" that would otherwise have been discarded. It turns out most voters don't punish politicians who disagree with them on the stem-cell issue.
So far, so good. This time I'd like to agree with TNR, but the debate might well split the libertarian-Republicans from the evangelical. I would think that any way the Democrats can exploit that will be to their advantage (consider Ryan Segar's Atlantic story -- this could help them in the West).
What concerns me the most is the reason Scheiber gives for this issue not working. He claims a strong undercurrent of concern with bioethics.
On one side of this debate are those who believe biotechnology is mostly a force for good, and that reining it in is basically reactionary. On the other side are those more troubled by the moral and ethical questions raised by advances in biotechnology. The problem for Democrats is that the American public splits a lot more evenly on these questions than it does on the narrower question of whether to extract stem cells from discarded embryos.
No, Silence, not all the forces of anti-modernity are on the left. These numbers concern me more deeply than a good issue for the other side. Beyond ESC research, I have a hard time naming items that are ethically questionable. Cloning and designer genes seem outside the mainstream enough to be ignored. A majority think that science needs more control? I hope he is right about the effect but wrong about the reasons. Now, who's cherry-picking?
Not Crazy About It, But I'd Sign
So, what does everybody think of the Pence-Hutchison compromise? If it will bridge ThreeSourcers, it might keep the GOP together for a couple more years.
Speaking for myself, I'd pretty anxious for compromise and am willing to not get everything I want. Most any compromise would be an improvement over the status quo.
The WaPo reports that "White House officials, including presidential adviser Karl Rove, have been told of the framework but not the details. A Republican close to the White House said President Bush 'won't be crazy about it, but I think he would sign it.'"
The best thing about it is a chance to get conference committees talking again. I'm not calling for more talk in the MidEast, but I think the Senate and the House might do better by talking.
Life Imitates "Night Court"
(Apologies to James Taranto for the headline...)
There was a great line in the old TV show "Night Court." Ambitious lawyer Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), hears discussion of the Nobel Peace Prize. He says "I'd kill for one of those."
Fast forward a couple decades, and life has caught up:
Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush
Hat-tip Everyday Economist
July 24, 2006
Jeff at protein wisdom relates an unusual story:
I don’t what to make of this, but I was out picking up lunch from a small middle eastern restaurant near the university when three men, their faces partially obscured by green and yellow bandanas, launched an orchestrated strike on me using heavy falafel balls and what I think must have been shanklish.
I've been there. I think it's the first MidEastern restaurant in the Denver area. More importantly, I salute Jeff's right to self-defense. If there's a march or a scotch tasting on his behalf, I'm there.
Three not-really-political books from three authors with very different politics have coalesced into a trilogy for me.
Last year, I enjoyed James Surowecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds." I was prepared for a big Hayekfest, and the New Yorker author wasn't quite ready to go that far. Still it is a good book, and many people who don't think or vote like me quote it favorably. They just call it "community" instead of "the market."
A few months back, I added Glenn Reynolds's "An Army of Davids." He quotes Surowecki, and the themes of these books reinforce each other nicely.
This weekend was a book I have anticipated for a long time: Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail." I grabbed onto the long tail early, boring everybody at my last company with constant insistence that "this is what we do!" A quick search shows 23 references to "long tail" on ThreeSources and 16 on my old Berkeley Square Blog.
The book did not disappoint. I would recommend it to anybody who has a passing interest in culture, music, economics, or business. It is a great book in its own right, and I'll be shipping a few copies to folks I have been boring with its premise. But I'm struck at its capacity to bind the Reynolds and Surowecki books into a common view, and how well that view supports my deep belief in individual empowerment. Workers control the means of production without statism. The invisible hand steers and controls the throttle.
The opposition to the book has all centered around the shared cultural loss of our not watching "I Love Lucy" every week. Our parents could discuss little Rickey's antics over the water cooler. By contrast, I get to watch whatever I want and I can discuss it on the blog (Firefly/Serenity 20 mentions); I frequently trade emails with blogger and Buffy fans all over the world.
A friend emailed this review weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until I had read the book. It’s a good example of the genre. Fortune magazine Senior author Marc Gunther has his knickers in a twist over "The extinction of mass culture."
I'll credit Gunther with trying to see the advantages of the new rules. Equal parts nostalgia and job security keep him from embracing the economics of abundance. Neither I nor my friend miss the days of limited selection at the local record store (though you could buy some papers, man...) Both our tastes live pretty far down the tail.
Definitely five stars for this book: check it out!
Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM
Not sure what happened friends, but the "comments approval" feature has been turned on. If you submit a comment, it will not show until one of us "approves" it. What's more, the page it returns has an odd stylesheet and looks, umm, bad.
If you submit one, I'll approve it and I will switch it back as soon as I figure out what the hell is going on.
No, we’re not crushing dissent.
UPDATE: Unless the power goes to my head... It seems to have fixed itself as mysteriously as it busted. email jk [at] threesources [dot] com if you have trouble.
Back in tha Day
I got on the internets in the fall of 1995, as a young and dumb freshman at Drexel University.
One of these days, my 3 year old daughter will come across this page, and say, "Daddy, in 1996, the internet was LAME!"
... and with a tear in my eye, I'll say to my grown up daughter, "Yes, Veronica. The internet was lame back in the day."
"All I had was a 9600 baud modem and we were glad to have it!"
.... and perhaps some thirty years down the road beyond that day, my grandson will come across that page and say "Grampa, how could use use the interweb back in 1996? It was so ugly!"
"Yes, grandson, it was, but the porn was way easier to find."
But until that day, all I can say, like my parents and their gold / avocado colored 70's era kitchen.... "We didn't know any better."
July 23, 2006
How I learned to love the market.
One of my favorite radio talk show hosts, Michael Medved, is a thief.
But he's changed his ways. Thanks to market based innovations.
After a lifetime of taking hotel soaps and shampoos, a bath product dispenser has changed his life.
Some interesting email over the weekend relating to ThreeSources discussions:
GASOLINE / ETHANOL
EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
Senator (then VP candidate) John Edwards said at a rally in Newton, Iowa: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." Sixty thousand Ohioans voted for President Bush. Christopher Reeve died. I'll leave it to the other side to draw causality.
ThreeSources own JohnGalt said "when I take it upon myself to dismantle the present practice of Federal funding of research I will not start with the branch of human biotechnology that holds the greatest promise for the future of humanity since penicillin." I'll give jg factual and style points over Senator Edwards, but both are putting quite a bit into promise.
For the record, I do not object to ESC research, or even its funding with my taxes. Yet, the fact that adult stem cells and umbilical blood are more developed in actual therapies makes restrictions on Federal funding even more acceptable to me. That the Edwardses of the world are telling people that mama won't be cured because of this President's allegiance to the religious right is more than I can bear.
The President has an allegiance. To his word. He said, plainly in 2001, what he would and would not do. This stunt to discredit him shows him to stand by his principles. Even though I do not share this particular one, I'll stand by him.
MARRIED 68 YEARS
July 22, 2006
Redstate points to a ludicrous idea from "do-gooders."
All I can imagine is an economy where the government gives people these credits. Controlling "capital" as it were.
Sounds like a recipe for a disaster.
July 21, 2006
Free To Choose
Josh at Everyday Economist graces ThreeSources with a link today (he chooses the demonstrably evil WSJ/AlexC position on the penny over mine). More importantly, he posts Part Three of Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose."
These are incredible. Block out an hour over the weekend and catch at least one. He has been posting them weekly.
UPDATE: Never enough of Dr. Friedman -- Sugarchuck sends this link along to a Tunku Varadarajan interview with Milton and Rose (who've been married 68 years).
ALa at Blonde Sagacity brings up something I wondered about, but was too bashful to post. I was pretty surprised there were 25,000 Americans in Lebanon, and I rolled my eyes at their Katrina-sized complaints that they were not rescued more swiftly and in more style.
ALa makes me look like Rep. Pelosi by comparison:
Can someone PLEASE explain to me the whining and complaining and finger pointing about Americans not being able to get out of Lebanon?! Why the hell would you be in Lebanon to begin with?! And why is it the government's problem when despite State department travel warnings and advisories you decided to go to a country in the Middle East that sit next to Israel and Syria and elected Hezbollah to its Parliament?!
I’m glad we protect our citizens, and after the Cedar revolution hope for good relations with a stable, modern, pluralistic Lebanon. But I saw a guy on TV complain that he spent 16 hours on a four hour boat trip. With all due respect, Sir, “Waaaaah!”
UPDATE: We've been topped by the Motherland. Samizdata reports that "Omar Bakri Mohammed, the Islamic preacher thrown out of Britain for inciting Muslims to violence and calling for the Islamisation of the UK (quote: 'The life of an unbeliever has no value, it has no sanctity'), wants the Royal Navy to evacuate him from the fighting in Lebanon.
Perry de Havilland rightly calls this "chutzpah."
Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM
What's At Stake
I'm more optimistic about the GOP's chances of keeping the House in 2006. It seems even Kos is pessimistic.
Lest complacency overtake you, Hugh Hewitt reminds us who would be empowered in a Democratic 110th:
Eight voted against the resolution [supporting Israel] and four voted "present. All but one, the libertarian leaning Ron Paul, were Democrats, and not just backbenchers. Conyers, Dingell, Rahall, Stark and Abercrombie are ranking members --and presumptive chairs if Democrats regain a majority in November-- of Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Resources, the Health Subcommittee of Ways and Means, and the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of Armed Services, respectively.
Aside from Rep. Paul providing yet another reminder why I don't join the capital-L Libertarians, this should not be forgotten. Many think that losing the 2006 elections would teach Republicans a lesson. Their hearts are perhaps in the right place, but the price is too steep.
July 20, 2006
Subsiding the Rich(er)
Does the PA government really need to be involved in this business?
State Sen. Jake Corman said it's the second round of funding through the Hybrid Electric Vehicle program.
The initial rebate program issued $1.5 million in rebates in fewer than 10 months.
Let's call it what it is, a handout to the rich.
Hybrid owners make on average $100,000 per year.
An average family's income? $70,700
I can't really help it. I am living in the United States of America, which is ranked 150th in the new economics foundation "Happy Planet Index." The UK, by comparison, ranks 108th, just below Libya and just above Laos. "Blimey! At least we're not stuck in Laos, old chap!"
Tim Worstall :at TCS links to this story but doesn't seem too convinced.
The actual listing of countries according to the "Happy Planet Index" has Cuba in 6th place, Vietnam 12th, Bhutan 13th and Sri Lanka 15th. You might notice a pattern. All the countries are absolutely dirt stinking poor. The index was, I have to assume, deliberately set up to produce such a result for our friends at the nef (as Madsen Pirie, my part-time boss at the Adam Smith Institute calls them, the non economics foundation) are proud followers of the environmental ideas first laid out in Blueprint for Survival. That is, that we'd all be much happier leaving this capitalism stuff alone and living as happy peasants. Tending our own fields, craftsmen working with local resources to make the few tools we need and rarely, if ever, straying from walking distance of our hut.
I am unhappy because of my carbon footprint. My iPod and air-conditioning and cappuccinos are cool and all that, and access to modern medical care is allright in a way. But how can I be happy? The happy people are all on Vanuatu. Worstall finds this Wikipedia reference:
"Some of the villages are known as kastom villages, where modern inventions are restricted, the inhabitants wear penis sheaths (Bislama: namba) and grass skirts, and the children do not go to public schools. According to anthropologist Joël Bonnemaison, who has studied the Tannese extensively, their resistance to change is due to their traditional worldview and how they "perceive, internalise, and account for the dual concepts of space and time."
With a good fitting and well styled penis sheath, I'd be very happy. Worstall is worried about his (108th ranked) homeland:
I'm sure that this Index will make it across the pond at some point and be hailed as a new and excitingly meaningful way of proving that the Industrial Revolution was all a bad idea. When it does, you'll now be forewarned for the exercise was constructed to prove exactly that. Machines bad, wealth bad, progress bad. The authors are really not sure that we should ever have left the Stone Age.
Me, I'm worried that this will make it into the public school curricula.
jk Breaks with the WSJ Ed Page
Well, they like the drug war more than me. Other than that, it is pretty unusual for me to differ with Paul Gigot and the folks on the Ed Page.
But I will boldly assert independence and give two cents worth of punditry in favor of ditching the penny. WSJ Ed folk think that it sends a bad sign about our willingness to defend our currency.
A Penny Unsaved
I don't remember much of Bretton-Woods when I was a lad, but it seems that some epochal inflation is normal. The Brits don't use the hay'penny anymore and the editorial cherry-picks an inflationary time period.
The US also stopped minting $10,000 bills -- was that an admission of deflation? The penny is a waste of government resources to mint and is a drag on retailers to process and manage. Boot it.
Though I am for stopping production, it will never happen in my life. Demagoguery will keep it around.
Ms. Postrel, Call Your Office
The Front Page of the WSJ offers an interesting aggregate today, validating Schumpeter and Virginia Postrel.
Deleting a couple of stories on the Mideast and the Fed, here's the business news:
Whose winning? Apple led by its cool iPod and Motorola with its cool Razr. New features are lifting Nokia sales.
In the tech commodity arena, Intel and Dell are adjusting to the new terrain. H-P has new leadership and is succeeding against Dell, Intel is looking, even though its new duo-core chip is coming out to great reviews, the mega-cap tech player cannot woo Wall Street. Yahoo takes a digger of astronomical proportion by announcing a key new feature is late. Pharmaceutical firms must innovate or die.
In short, capital is finding best uses in the free market and innovation is making our lives better. Just another day living in freedom.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM
July 19, 2006
Odd Military Installation
Hard to Please
Robert Clayton Dean at Samizdata tells An old joke
Three white collar prisoners are hanging around the yard comparing notes:
Naked Man, Stolen Pigeon
SUFFOLK [Virginia] — A naked man clutching a pigeon was arrested over the weekend after beating the bird against a car.Attila at Pillage Idiot notes a story with all the key elements: "a naked man, a stolen bird, flailing, and the police."
Sometimes you have to come to terms with what you accomplish in life. Some people devote their lives to changing the world for the better. Some people start businesses to create products that alter the way in which people live. And then, some people post idiotic stories about naked people.
The Birth of Modern Conservatism
You can argue about the birth, but the announcement was Ronald Reagan's speech at the 1964 GOP Convention. (Imagine the world if Goldwater had won!)
Larry Kudlow gives us a taste.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits--not animals."
Posted by John Kranz at 3:25 PM
Glenn Reynolds said it best. The good news is that we finally have a presidential veto. The bad news is that it is on stem-cell research.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will use his first veto on Wednesday to stop legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research championed by top scientists and desired by most Americans.
JohnGalt was biting his tongue in a comment below, as we both praised President Bush for his muscular reaction to terrorism and his refusal to ask Israel for a cease fire.
Unclench your jaw my friend. This issue is complex. I am guessing that we are on the same side in a way. Using a pro-life argument to block scientific research rubs me the wrong way, and I'm guessing that is what disturbs you.
On the other hand, kimosabe, we are talking about Federal funding of research. Private companies can do what they want. Applying limits to Federal Funding seems very legitimate even if don't happen to agree with the reason. I'll allow you to make the case for Federal funding.
As a pragmatist, I just want to crawl back into bed. I work at home now and the temptation is always there. The GOP leadership was both foolish and myopic to allow this to transpire. This puts the President in a very bad light and will hurt Republicans.
The Glenn Reynolds argument will seize the issue. Every bill that he did not veto is now suitable for highlight. The farm bill, porcine appropriations: every bill is now subject to the question why X was okay but Y was worth a veto.
The Senate did not have time to pass a resolution supporting Israel, but we can embarrass the President with a little political gamesmanship. A bad, bad day to be a Republican.
103" Plasma Screen
Must. Find. Spare. $50,000.
Measuring 2.4 metres by 1.4 metres and weighing 215 kg, the 103-inch panel is bigger than a double-sized mattress and almost as heavy as an upright piano.
It would probably through the floor into my basement, but it would be awesome.
I thought the DNC talking points after the renewal of combat in Lebanon included the line that "This is World War III." I surmised that they wanted to be able to claim that World War III began under Bush's leadership... that warmongery begets warfare.
I just listened to former supreme commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark in an interview with a local talk radio show. The first questions for the general were, "Who is our enemy and what is the name of the war we are currently in." Simple enough questions, right? Fat chance.
Clark said only Republicans like Newt Gingrich or (can't remember the other guy) call this "World War III" or "World War IV" respectively. Alternately, the General says we are not even engaged in a war. Instead, we have a "loose conglomeration of individuals trying to pursue their own ends." He admitted that they use terrorism as their method, but his solutions were all "law enforcement." The natural question then is, "Whose laws?"
The big picture of the Clark interview is that he can't see the big picture in human events. Doesn't he read the Australian newspapers? (Or he sees it but is forced to deny it because Bush named it first: Axis of Evil.) Those who deny any link between al Qaida and Iraq also deny any link between either of them and Hamas or Hezbollah. Or Iran.
In answer to the questions the General never answered:
OUr enemy is every nation, organization, or "loose conglomeration of individuals" who practice Islamofascism and attempt to impose it on others by force.
The name of the war is "The Islamist War."
There, now let's go win the frackin' thing.
UPDATE: On last night's show, Bill O'Reilly said, and I paraphrase, "Regarding the war on terror, Americans can be divided into three camps: One says bomb the crap out of them, the second says it's all America's fault, and the third says I don't want to hear about it, let's go to the beach." Dagny and I are proud members of the "bomb the crap out of them" camp.
Arithmetic of Pain
It has been a few years since I have enjoyed being on the same side of an issue as Alan Dershowitz. He is reflexively leftist but he is a bright fellow and nobody can question his passion. He wears it on his sleeve.
In a guest editorial today in the WSJ, the Harvard Professor makes a good point about terrorists. They are culpable for casualties on both sides.
While Israel does everything reasonable to minimize civilian casualties -- not always with success -- Hezbollah and Hamas want to maximize civilian casualties on both sides. Islamic terrorists, a diplomat commented years ago, "have mastered the harsh arithmetic of pain. . . . Palestinian casualties play in their favor and Israeli casualties play in their favor." These are groups that send children to die as suicide bombers, sometimes without the child knowing that he is being sacrificed. Two years ago, an 11-year-old was paid to take a parcel through Israeli security. Unbeknownst to him, it contained a bomb that was to be detonated remotely. (Fortunately the plot was foiled.)
The MSM need to pick up this point, and it would be helpful to share it with our European allies. The cop is not guilty of murder, the hostage taker is.
July 18, 2006
Thus far, the IAF managed to intercept a number of trucks transporting rockets from Syria to Hizbullah, including trucks laden with the 20mm-diameter rockets with warheads like the one that hit the Haifa train depot Monday, claiming eight lives. Maj.-Gen. Eisenkot said he would be very surprised if official elements in Syria were unaware of these transports.
I have this funny feeling that this war isn't going to end in a week or two.
Ted Nugent is an interesting fellow.
Here's an interview by a reporter from the UK's Independant.
"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."
More Farm Subsidies
CHANDLER, Tex. -- On a clear, cold morning in February 2003, Nico de Boer heard what sounded like a clap of thunder and stepped outside his hillside home for a look. High above the tree line, the 40-year-old dairy farmer saw a trail of smoke curling across the sky -- all that remained of the space shuttle Columbia.
No doubt if farmers had the time, Senators Harkin and Grassley would co-sponsor a bill to reimburse farmers for damage by extra-terrestrial debris. Willie Nelson and John Cougar could do a big concert.
Now with 11% Less Bias!
The NYTimes will trim an inch and a half of its flagship papers' width to save costs, reports rival Wall Street Journal: New York Times to Shrink Width of Pages, Cut Jobs Minorities, Women hardest Hit, no doubt!
NEW YORK -- The New York Times plans to shrink the size of its pages in 2008, making them one-and-a-half inches narrower, the newspaper said in its Tuesday edition.
Despite their abysmal stock slump, revenues are reported up 1.6% (well, it's single digit) over last year but the gain is due to about.com, not the military secrets division on 42nd Street.
The Times reported that net income rose to $61.3 million, or 42 cents a share, in the second quarter, from $60.8 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. The most recent quarter's results include an after-tax charge of four cents a share for costs associated with job cuts announced in September 2005, while the year-earlier period included a charge of four cents a share for staff reductions announced in May 2005.
Maybe it they could trim the entire inch-and-a-half from the left...
The World We Don't Want
The lead editorial in today's Wall Street Journal (Free link) presciently correlates the current Israeli conflict with the Ghost of Iran future if Tehran's nuclear ambitions are not stopped.
The war between Hezbollah and Israel is a tragedy for its victims, but it could also be a clarifying moment if the world draws the proper lessons. To wit, this is a preview of what the Middle East will look like if Iran succeeds in going nuclear.
All the more reason to let the superior Israeli armed forces establish superiority and damage the arms turned against them.
The better and necessary response is to let Israel's counterattacks continue until Hezbollah's military power is substantially degraded. As for the G-8 and the U.N., they can be constructive by moving swiftly to impose sanctions on Iran for rejecting the generous offer to negotiate directly with the U.S. It's clear now that Tehran perceived that offer, which was promoted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, as a show of weakness.
July 17, 2006
Stand with Israel Rally - NYC
Pamela from Atlas Shrugs attended the Stand With Israel Rally in NYC today and gives a weblog report. She has great coverage on her site 'Atlas Shrugs' including some great photos of Hillary swallowing her bile when Elie Wiesel said, "Thank God Bush is in the White House."
Great stuff Pamela! Check it out.
UPDATE: Here's the Rush Limbaugh program transcript of Pamela's "breathless" call to the show on Monday. Man, she was on fire! (And if you look close on Pamela's post, you'll see that the very first trackback ping is: Three Sources!)
Opponents of the administration like to fault the president for arrogance and unilateralism.
I keep hearing their concern that we have "green-lighted" Israel to continue raids against Hezbollah and Hamas. Is it not arrogant to think that we give permission for a sovereign nation to defend itself?
July 16, 2006
Brain Salad Surgery
Michael Kinsley is recovering from brain surgery.
Okay, I have been a little tough on the Randians around here. We butt heads (that's a verb, not a subject complement) often over my political pragmatism, and have discovered deep impasses in thought (see Elevator Talk).
But I wanted to call reason-and-rationality-911 yesterday at an impromptu family lunch. A young family member who is very bright said "my science teacher told me [THE WORST FIVE WORDS TO START A SENTENCE IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE] that for the first time, our life expectancy will be lower than the previous generation."
The rest of the family (this was an all liberal fest) jumps in. "It's 'cause of McDonalds! We're all too fat!" I try to keep quiet at these events but this was too much to bear. I suggest that it's a statistical anomaly or a pure lie. It's wrong and I don't believe it.
The discomfort and quiet is thankfully short, and in a few minutes they're discussing the new book by VP Gore and hopes of seeing the movie. I assembled a common thread of the afternoon with belief in unproven things merged with factual data -- and no interstice between. Like a cop, there's never a Randian around when you need one.
A little Googling does turn up some published if not factual basis for science teacher's claim.
In 2002, Dr. William Klish of Texas Children's Hospital told the Houston Chronicle: "If we don't get this epidemic [of childhood obesity] in check, for the first time in a century children will be looking forward to a shorter life expectancy than their parents." Since then, Klish's statement has entered the lexicon of obesity scaremongers, making its way into countless articles, editorials, and even Congressional testimony -- all without so much as a shred of credible research to back it up. Klish himself has told the Center for Consumer Freedom that while he is the originator of this pessimistic prognostication, his claim does not come from "evidence-based research." Rather, he explained, "It's based on intuition."
I hold with Shakespeare myself “There are things in heaven and earth, Horatio, not dreamt of in man’s philosophy.” I am sympathetic to religion and even to haunted houses and some new-agey spiritualism (all discussed during the lunch). But in the end you must, like Bentham, bifurcate between what is provable and what is believed. Else, you will believe whatever your science teacher says.
Iranian Nukes? We'll Soon Know
We knew this was coming sooner rather than later when we witnessed the "elections" of Ahmadinejad in Iran and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. When the "imperialist" American administration and the "Hitler" and "Ghengis Khan" like Israelis did nothing to provoke open warfare with Iran, those swell Iranian mullahs grew tired of waiting. As Robert Tracinski writes, "If, in the face of repeated threats and provocation by an aggressive dictatorship, you refuse to go to war, the war will eventually come to you." Two years after the 'forward strategy of freedom' swept the Syrian army out of Lebanon, Hezbollah was under growing pressure to leave as well. No reasonable person should have expected them to leave peacefully. (What do you think they are, pluralistic democrats? No, they're Islamofascists you fools!)
A timely example of such a fool is Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who said on Fox News Sunday this morning that, essentially, it's Bush's fault! Dodd attributes the military action in south Lebanon to diplomatic failure:
"It seems to be that you have to go beyond just understanding the friendship, which is important, but for Israel's benefit and our own, we have missed, I think over the last number of years, the ability to really engage in the kind of diplomatic efforts in the middle east. From 1967 up until the end of the Clinton administration, every administration has remained very, very engaged in the middle east. This administration unfortunately has seen the word diplomacy and negotiation as somehow a favor to your enemies. I think unfortunately we've allowed this time to elapse over the last several years, the resolution 1559 was adopted two years ago, and the administration's done nothing in my view to really insist that the Lebanese rid southern Lebanon of Hezbollah and so this time has gone through without really engaging in the process thus we find ourselves today, Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. What it's doing is absolutely necessary. If Lebanon and Syria will recognize that those soldiers need to be returned and also Hezbollah has to get out of southern Lebanon then I think you could bring a cease-fire about."
To be fair, it has been nearly five years since Islamofascists unilaterally slaughtered 3000 American civilians with airliners. But despite this, why is Dodd still endorsing the realpolitik appeasement cum stability strategy of the past thirty years? Does he genuinely believe that it will lead to regional and worldwide peace if we just give it another decade or three to work itself out?
I can't say whether it is a symptom or a cause of America's confusion in general, or Dodd's in particular, but there is clearly a filter in place between the events of the mideast and the front pages of America's news media. Compare some recent news excerpts in America to those in, notably, Australia:
WSJ- 'World Leadership Reacts To Escalating Mideast Violence'
AP (via Houston Chronicle)- 'Hezbollah rocket barrage kills 8 in Haifa'
And, in the most offensive of my three examples,
Chigago Tribune- '2 dead on Israeli warship; jets attack Lebanon anew'
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on Lebanon early Saturday, targeting bridges, fuel depots and gas stations in the east and south, security officials said."
""You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a taped statement broadcast Friday. He vowed to strike even deeper into Israel with rockets."
The clear message to American voters: The "cycle of violence" continues and Hezbollah/Lebanon are defending their sovereignty from Israeli aggression.
In contrast, Australians read the following headlines:
The Australian- 'Militants' missile hits ship with Iranian troops' help'
"A military official said the group was also believed to have longer-range projectiles that could hit the Israeli commercial hub of Tel Aviv."
The Australian- 'Strikes to intensify in four-stage strategy'
Fifty caches, some hidden underground and in private homes, were reportedly destroyed. It is unclear what percentage of the 13,000 missiles known to be in Hezbollah hands that accounts for."
"In the second stage, which began early on Friday, warplanes attacked the heart of Hezbollah power, shattering high-rise buildings in south Beirut housing the militia's command structure as well as the home of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who was reportedly trapped for a while in the underground command centre when the building above it collapsed."
"The third and fourth stages are still secret. However, the sources said the operation calls for each of the four stages to be more powerful than the previous one."
"Israeli officials say the international community will not force Israel to stop before its goals are achieved."
Sydney Morning Herald- 'With US backing, Israel determined to go for the kill'
Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants - with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike."
"Israel and the US would like to hold out until Hezbollah is crippled. "It seems like we will go to the end now," said Israel's ambassador to the US, Daniel Ayalon. "We will not go part way and be held hostage again. We'll have to go for the kill - Hezbollah's neutralisation."
These stories give a far different perspective on the current munitions exchanges: Israel is under attack by Iran-sponsored terrorists embedded in a third nation, Lebanon. Hezbollah rockets target Israeli civilians while Israeli laser-guided bombs target, Hezbollah rockets. Contrary to the protestations and accusations of one Christopher Dodd, the Bush adminstration has clearly been working in concert with regional and world governments to lay the groundwork for Israel to help Lebanon exorcise Hezbollah from its cities and countryside without manic diplomatic attempts to protect the terrorists.
Dodd warns that, "This could spin out of control to such a degree that we have a major, major war in the middle east." The reality is that the cold phase of that war has been raging since at least 1979, with Iran's Islamic revolution. Iran has decided it is time to turn up the heat on this war and it certainly appears that Israel, the Bush adminstration and key western governments anticipated it, were prepared for it, and are in the process of winning it.
There is little reason for concern that Israel's defense forces will fail in this effort. The two areas of concern are that diplomatic failures will allow allies like France and Russia to reverse course and, more ominously, that Iran's threat that attacking Syria " ... will definitely face the Zionist regime with unimaginable damages" portends their possession and imminent detonation of a nuclear bomb. Let us hope that western intelligence and military authorities have this matter as well in hand as they appear to have Hezbollah's rockets.
July 15, 2006
Free To Choose
Josh at The Everyday Economist has the second episode of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose posted.
This one's an hour almost but certainly worth every minute. Beyond great thought and economics, enjoy young Don Rumsfeld joining the panel discussion to represent a captain of industry" and a look at state of the art audio equipment in the late 1970s.
The tail is getting pretty long when you can watch this instead of fishing shows.
UPDATE: If you don't have 56 minutes and change, at least fast forward the slider to 55:50 and hear Dr. Friedman say:
In my opinion, the strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power, whether that person is a government official, a trade union official or a business executive. It forces them to put up or shut up. They either have to deliver the goods, produce something that people are willing to pay for, are willing to buy or else they will have to go into a different business.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM
July 14, 2006
I Chose Sides Long Ago
I stole the flag image from Larry Kudlow. He writes exactly what I believe.
Israel is doing exactly what is has to do. It’s messy, but it’s appropriate. Israel has every right to defend itself. Their freedom, democracy and independence depend on it. Their very existence is at stake.
Purple Mountains Majesty
Virginia Postrel links to an RCP recap of a Ryan Sager article in Atlantic that excerpts his new book (you with me?) Like her, I roll my eyes at claims that libertarian-minded voters are a new crucial voting block, but like her I am intrigued with Sager's thesis. How can I not like an article about people who think like me and live where I live?
He points out that The West and The South have been a solid GOP block but that The South is evangelical and socially conservative, while The West is more libertarian with less of a natural majority to play with.
While after the 2004 election, plenty of people took note of the fact that a shift of 60,000-odd votes in Ohio would have handed the Electoral College to John Kerry, less remarked upon was the fact that a shift of a similar magnitude in the Southwest would have done the same trick. Fewer than 70,000 votes among Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico -- with their collective 19 electoral votes -- would have swung the election just as surely as Ohio's 60,000. And with George W. Bush having won by margins of 5 percentage points, 3 points and 1 point, respectively, these were swing states by any definition of the term.
I dismissed Josh at Everyday Economist and Perry at Eidelblog for putting too much trust in rhetoric from Kos and Rep. Pelosi. Commenters on their site say they're staying home. As his Rove-ness taught us, that's all that needs to happen for Democrats to win.
I think Sager is also right that where "God, Guns and Gays" might keep the South, it will not work in Colorado. I'm going to grab this issue of Atlantic and encourage everybody to read the RCP excerpt. It's stunning in a way, and provides a complete written description of his belief. There is some term for that...
Climate consensus? A report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, refutes the "hockey stick" as being a small slice of available data. The WSJ Ed Page calls it WSJ.com - Hockey Stick Hokum (Paid link, sorry!)
It is routine these days to read in newspapers or hear -- almost anywhere the subject of climate change comes up -- that the 1990s were the "warmest decade in a millennium" and that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.
The charge is that they airbrushed away hotter periods in the Middle Ages and focus on just part of the curve. I could show temperatures from December to July and show good warming trend as well.
July 13, 2006
Just What We Need
"If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hasn't this happened before? The entire Islamic world decides to get it on with Israel only to get taught a lesson.
The gift that keeps on taking...
It took us three years and tens of millions of dollars, but dammit, we may get that smug little Scooter Libby...
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, debutante Valerie Plame (the secret agent in Who's Who) is suing the Vice President. The Washington Post reports
The former CIA agent whose identity was leaked to reporters by administration officials filed a civil lawsuit today against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide, top presidential adviser Karl Rove and other White House officials, accusing them of conspiring to destroy her career out of revenge.
If this does not inculcate a wave of support for "loser pays" in the electorate, nothing ever will.
Posted by John Kranz at 8:01 PM
Freinds Don't Let Friends...
Two blogs I enjoy for economics more than politics are posting a little politics this week.
Perry at Eidelblog discusses the big-government history of the GOP as a reincarnation of the Whigs.
I used to consider myself conservative, even one with libertarian leanings, but I realized that conservatives want limited government only as a means to an end. Prof. Bainbridge, a genuine conservative in the vein of Russell Kirk, has admitted as much. "Classic liberal" would serve well, and in fact that's what my patron saint Bastiat is described as. However, I refrain from using that because most people would confuse that with modern liberalism.
Call yourself a "Classical Liberal," Perry. Everybody is confused anyway and it is a positive step in our taking that word back as Mises used it.
Josh at Everyday Economist links and ties this into good rhetoric from Leader Pelosi and even Markos Moulitsas Zúniga.
I pointed to the post by Kos yesterday about libertarian Dems and many readers dismissed his writing as empty rhetoric. However, that rhetoric will win the Democrats elections and may even attract my vote. The Republicans have long claimed to be the party of limited government and lower taxes. The former is no longer.
And I wouldn't mind President Clinton's devotion to free trade, either.
But I had to spread a little pragmatism outside ThreeSources. I just cannot see any recent Democrat legislation or policy that can be described as pro-freedom. Rep Pelosi says she’ll use higher taxes to pay debt and will fight earmarks. I certainly believe her on the high taxes part.
Democratic constituencies will oppose free trade, school choice and limited government. I wish there were a better option to the sclerotic Congressional GOP but at this time there is not.
July 12, 2006
I think James Lileks is one of the greatest writers of our time. I have a bunch of his books and I've given many away for gifts. His "screedy" stuff rings with joy. He displays an easy patriotism to which I relate.
That’s the key line, right there. Not because he admits to looking down on people who put up a flag on the Fourth; that’s hardly unusual in the thin moist demographic stratum he occupies. It’s not that they don’t like the flag, necessarily, and it’s not that they don’t enjoy the Fourth, but put the two together and people might get the wrong idea. No, what amused me was the sight of a writer who’d burrowed so far up the aperture of his warm narcissistic cocoon he has no idea how he comes across. I have liberal friends who fly flags without apology or worry, because they’re Americans, because it’s the Fourth, because they love their country, and because they don’t believe that trinity is the property of the other side. Which it isn’t. When it comes to struggling to get the flag on the pole just right, we’re all in this together. But to Mr. Stein, these are people to be looked down upon. Places deserving of a sniff and a snort. Cringe, O Banner-deck’d exurb jingo-huts, at the withering Looking Down Upon, exacted with bone-dry scorn by a professional thinkerator.
But when you read the original column, you get the feeling James went too easy on him.
Stein is "in a tizzy" because a Realtor has -- sit down for this -- put a small American Flag on his lawn. The subhead asks "When a realtor sticks the Stars and Stripes in your front yard, do you trash it or stash it?"
So the reason I didn't want to put a flag outside wasn't because I disapprove of our international policies. It was because I didn't want to associate myself with the other people who put them up, and with their unquestioning, tribal, us-versus-them, arrogant mentality. Though I love being American, I don't want to proclaim it as the sole basis of my identity.Flying it proudly is not an option for Joel Stein. Eek. He's in a tizzy. poor chap.
I've seen the American health care system up close and personal lately. Between my MS diagnosis and treatment and my charming bride’s stroke, I am catching up on quota for all those years in which I never saw the inside of a hospital.
One thing that always surprises me is the seriousness of doctors and nurses when it comes to waiting. When I first saw a neurosurgeon (after ignoring symptoms for more than a year), I was checked into the hospital, wheeled in for an afternoon of MRIs and referred to a neurologist in less than four hours. For her stroke surgery, my wife was flown on a helicopter between two hospitals in the same county to save time.
Last week, a therapist wanted her to check out skin blisters on her hands. We saw her doctor in an hour, the dermatologist's PA an hour after that, and the dermatologist the next morning. Even though nobody seemed to be particularly alarmed (and it was thankfully nothing worrisome) taking a few days to see what happened was never an option.
Against that backdrop, I read NHS patients 'facing longer wait' with amazement. This is not the back woods of the Amazon but, sadly, it is the home of George Orwell.
Half of NHS patients are currently waiting longer than the Government's 18-week maximum target from GP to treatment, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday.
The average is seven weeks. Other fun facts for those who long for socialized medicine: In the US, about 20% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer die from it, it's more than 50% in the UK. Only 40% of diagnosed cancer patients in Britain ever see an oncologist.
I look forward to free market advantages improving health care as they have laptops and cell phones (read Glenn’s Column in TCS) but HillaryCare may be on its way back. Put me down as a "no."
Hat-tip: Mona Charen who quotes P.J. O’Rourke: “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait till it’s free."
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! No!
Those wacky Clintonites! You never know what they'll say next.
Robert Rubin writes a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal extolling the benefits of free trade and rallying support for Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Vietnam.
Our economy has benefited greatly from relatively open trade and capital markets and openness to immigration. PNTR for Vietnam would be one more step in that direction.
Yeah! Right on! There's some Rubinomics I could agree with.
Sadly, it degrades logarithmically. He calls for PTNR with Vietnam but says we have to entwine it with, well I'll let him say it:
Having said all this, as we adopt PNTR for Vietnam, we also need to recognize that the emergence of China, India and other emerging market nations -- predominantly in non-Japanese Asia -- as potentially large markets, but also as powerful competitors, has created a change of historic proportions in the global competitive environment. It is therefore all the more critical that trade liberalization and our market-based economic system, which have been absolutely central to our success, be inextricably linked with addressing our fiscal deficits, including our entitlements, and a powerful domestic program to promote U.S. productivity, and to help those dislocated by change with reestablishing themselves in the mainstream economy and with some measure of economic security.
The Democrat talking point for this week is that the tax cuts aren't as swell as the Administration -- and ThreeSources -- says because the 90's were better. I'm all for Clinton officials promoting their successes but, as usual, they highlight the wrong things. They should demand accolades and approbation for their devotion to free trade. President Clinton signed NAFTA, GATT, and started China with a PNTR and ushered them into the WTO.
But they don't want credit for the things they did that worked -- they want credit that the other things they did did not ruin the economy. "We raised taxes and saw growth!"
Rubin cannot now even lobby for free trade without adding that it should be coupled with government coercion.
Sweet Land of Liberty - Please Take a Number
Here's a cartoon for JK. The Allen Forkum analysis that accompanies it on the coxandforkum.com site is also excellent. He cites the same WSJ editorial that JK did two days ago, and singles out the arbitrary legal immigrant quota as largely responsible for the ongoing crisis. Forkum also challenges the WSJ assertion that "the conservative silent majority is pro-immigration" by referencing a blog poll of right leaning bloggers who favored the House bill to the Senate's 44 to 6. I can't see the connection between "conservative silent majority" and bloggers, but the result is strikingly similar to the tone on right leaning talk radio.
Personally I suspect that many conservatives would temper their opposition if given the conditions on legal immigrants that I offered in my comments yesterday:
1) That they learn English, some basic US history, and show personal initiative to assimilate themselves into "The American Way." [...] 2) Reverse America's drift toward democracy, i.e. "mob rule" and the "tyranny of the majority." America is a "Republic madam, if you can keep it."
Forkum speculates that many of these right leaning bloggers are primarily concerned with American security in a post-9/11 world, but I suspect a general fear of negative unintended consequences of more and more immigration, legal and otherwise. Conservatives rightly distrust the government to prevent these consequences, given the track record of the last 20 or more years. The most threatening of these consequences is the one addressed by my condition number 2: As things stand today, there is a genuine risk that one day a majority of Americans will vote to make Spanish our official language, not to mention scores of other initiatives that would effectively make the US more like Mexico than the land of liberty we grew up in.
The opposition is not, therefore, to immigration per se, but to the threat of statism that illegal immigrants are a visible component of. The less visible elements include John Dewey's postmodern educational system, the widespread acceptance of altruism as a moral code, and the mythical belief that America is governed by democracy. All of these elements are promoted to varying degrees by one or both of the two dominant political parties, so they have become mainstream beliefs. (Worse yet, one party promotes ALL of them, all by itself!)
Unless Americans defend the ideas that American exceptionalism is real, that every man is entitled to his own property, and that the Constitution limits the powers of the government to infringe the rights of individuals, the forces of statism will destroy the beloved institutions that empower those ideas. The Americans who make up the so-called "conservative silent majority" understand this threat, though perhaps not its causes or champions. The simple fact that they're willing to fight against it in whatever way they can is encouraging.
July 11, 2006
$66 Billion in Unearned Guilt
I've been thinking about how to blog this story since it broke: Megabillionaire Warren Buffet recently donated (evading the estate tax in the process) $37 billion of his $44 billion in personal wealth to a charitable foundation established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Combined with the $29 billion already under foundation control the resulting $66 billion is five times the wealth of the next largest, the Ford foundation.
I won't belabor the contradictions of Buffet praising the estate tax as an "equitable tax...in keeping with the idea of equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged." Or of his criticism of "dynastic wealth" coupled with the likely, though I haven't been able to document it, multi-million dollar inheritances he'll leave his own children.
I'm most interested in the issue raised by John J. Miller on the Opinion Journal page of July 7th. "The Microsoft mogul and his wife should not leave their foundation to posterity," he writes.
I fully agree with many points made in this editorial. For example:
"Surely there are better reasons to embark upon the world's biggest grant-making program than to salve the conscience of a guy who has no business feeling guilty in the first place."
But Mr. Miller's principal point is not just that a charitable foundation should be used to further the values of its benefactor(s), but that it must necessarily be constrained to shut itself down after some arbitrary number of years for fear of the "harmful trend" of "an organization that exists in perpetuity, clinging tightly to its assets and ever further removed from its benefactors and their intentions."
It seems to me that if you want your wealth to live on and contribute in your image after your passing, you'd want it to do so for as long as possible. The trick here is to build something that can't be highjacked by others for their own purposes after your passing. This is exactly the problem that faced the founders of the United States government. So here we have another instance of resignation that nothing can retain its original nature and purpose against the pressure of revisionism.
The irony here is that the Gates Foundation, which has chosen to make a positive difference in the areas of global health and American education, has an opportunity to counteract such pressures. The reason the American Constitution, the American government and the American way of life are under threat today is precisely because of revisionist pressures endemic to modern American education. If the Gates Foundation threw even a fraction of its weight behind a return to accurate and objective teaching of American history and civics it could single handedly save the nation from apathetic disintegration.
Alas, such an effort is unlikely from a man who says, "We really owe it to society to give the wealth back."
Take Senator Joe Biden out for a Slurpee(r)
How Much Immigration Costs
It is all happening here in Colorado, as Governor Owens has called a special session to recraft a bill to pass the state supreme court. Brendan Minter of the Wall Street Journal examines the politics and economics of the debate. His short column is far more informative than the daily stories on local TV news (recent storms have forced me to watch). He discusses the GOP's hopes of retaking the state legislature and speculates that Owens might use the issue to re-ingratiate himself with the party faithful after he stood with the tax raisers in 2004.
What caught my eye and that of an emailer was this attempt to calculate the costs and benefits of illegal immigrants to the state:
The one good thing to come out of the political wrangling in Colorado is that voters have been treated to a state-wide debate over how much illegal aliens actually cost in government services. Estimates range from as high as $1 billion a year to as low as $31 million. The Denver-based Bell Policy Center issued the latter estimate after finding that illegal aliens receive about $225 million a year in non-mandated state services, but pay between $159 million and $194 million in property, sales and other taxes. The issue is too hot for anyone to point out that illegal immigrants working as day laborers cost the state what the working poor as a whole cost the state--a bit more than they pay in.
I have read a bucket of these studies now, and I flatly reject that an accurate accounting is possible.
Bastiat talks about the seen and the unseen. The scourge of my life is that my positions always seem to rely on the unseen. You can't possibly compare an economy without illegal immigrants to the one we have and compute any realistic numbers . There are too many variables. Here's my seen and unseen:
Seen. Immigrants cost money in public schools and emergency services.
Unseen. Immigrants fueled the housing boom (call it a bubble if you want, it has created trillions of dollars of wealth). Immigrants rent lower cost housing, providing income to those who with to move up. Immigrant labor reduces the cost of larger homes, facilitating the opportunity to purchase something larger. The trade generates income for financial services and brokers. Most importantly, the higher values allow people to refinance and use the income to start business or purchase consumer goods.
You cannot tell me that anybody has successfully and accurately tabulated how much wealth that has added to our economy. So I tell people, but I am swimming upstream.
My emailer suggests I am doomed because of cultural arguments as much as economic. Crime committed by a Spanish speaker plays into a narrative and reinforces a concern. The same crime committed by "Dirt Bag Dick and his motorcycle meth buddies on their way to a Klan meeting isn't going to have the same impact in Iowa or Minnesota or Green Bay as someone from somewhere else bringing that behavior in. It's not fair, but that is what you are really fighting when it comes to illegal immigration." (I get pretty good email. He had me until he tried to sell discount Cialis...)
My optimism is predicated on the inefficacy of legislators -- they will have to compromise, and a compromise will be mostly good. More enforcement IS better; higher legal immigration IS better; a legal path to citizenship would be better.
I liked Brendan Minter's piece because of the caution to GOP candidates’ hopes of riding this train to stardom.
July 10, 2006
Thirty Three and 1/3
Thirty three leaders of the modern conservative movement signed a statement endorsing Reagan's vision on immigration.
Jack Kemp (former congressman from New York);
I'm doing myself a favor calling myself one third, but I proudly add my name to their paper.
The WSJ Ed page carries their letter and a lead editorial detailing its support.
Our own view is that a philosophy of "free markets and free people" includes flexible labor markets. At a fundamental level, this is a matter of freedom and human dignity. These migrants are freely contracting for their labor, which is a basic human right. Far from selling their labor "cheap," they are traveling to the U.S. to sell it more dearly and improve their lives. Like millions of Americans before them, they and certainly their children climb the economic ladder as their skills and education increase.
Both of those links are free, check them out.
Economic Gains Widen Pay Gap
I might give up my "You Write the Headline" features. Even though I have been amused, we're amateurs and they are professional journalists. How can you parody Economic Gains Widen Pay Gap? That's the teaser link to the WaPo Well-Paid Benefit Most As Economy Flourishes
Wages are rising more than twice as fast for highly paid workers in the Washington area as they are for low-paid workers, an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post shows.
Things are bad, bad, bad. Let's blame Schumpeter:
"Three years ago, we would have had to hire more people to handle all our new clients," said Joe Martin, a vice president. "Now, we rely on new technology to pick up that work."This is how the Washington Post reports good economic news. Yesterday, the New York Times complained (see How Could This Happen?) that the record revenues are coming from Corporations and not individual income tax.
Keep in mind that this is a story of stronger than expected tax revenue and its capacity to lower the deficit. Now enjoy these quotes:
"The long-term outlook is such a deep well of sorrow that I can't get much happiness out of this year," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a former White House economist under President Bush.
To be fair, they did include a Pat Toomey quote claiming vindication for supply siders.
Any more good news, and we're all gonna have to kill ourselves.
What else is out there?
Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, would not describe the program but said it was significant enough that the administration should have briefed him and others voluntarily, without waiting for them to learn of it through government tipsters.
``There was at least one major -- what I consider significant -- activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on," Hoekstra said on ``Fox News Sunday." ``Some people within the intelligence community brought to my attention some programs that they believed we had not been briefed on. They were right."
Ed Morrissey continues to dig through Iraqi files.
Another point seems rather interesting here. The third paragraph seems to match up pretty well with the CIA/DIA description of the mobile laboratories discovered shortly after the invasion of Iraq.
Ace of Spades:
For that, we order Dr. Hazem Anwar Alnasery, assigned to the Health Department Center, and Dr Mothny Abas, president of the Central Health Testing Department, to be members of the Anthrax Operation Room. This order will not cancel the previous order assigned to Dr. Mostafa Fathee, president of the Central Health Testing Department and president of the Health Research Institute. Thanks.
Maybe they were just fans of the band Anthrax, and the "Anthrax Operation Room" plotted ways of getting them to tour in Tikrit.
Philly Suburbs: Ground Zero for 2006
The Philadelphia suburbs were first labelled a key national battleground in 2004. If Bush could pick up the area, he stood a very good chance to take the entire state, which itself was a toss up. I think the President visited the state some 25 times.
2006 is the same way, except this time it's for control of the Senate and the House.
In addition the Casey/Santorum Senate race, there are also three competitive House seats that Republicans need to defend.
PA-6th pits Lois Murphy against Jim Gerlach in a rematch of 2004's race.
The 7th district pits former Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak vs 19 year Congressman Curt Weldon.
Bucks County's 8th District has Iraq war vet Patrick Murphy vs one term Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.
Between Rendell/Swann for Governor, Casey/Santorum for Senate and these three races, there's going to be a lot of money spent in the area this fall.
Kansas State House
Jeff Ippel is a Republican, involved in a three-way primary race for a seat in the Kansas House. His wife, Pam, is unopposed in the August Democratic primary _ for the same seat.
Pam Ippel, whose platform emphasizes health care and funding for education, said she was the first to enter the race for an open seat from this Kansas City suburb.
I thought dinner at the Carville/Matalin household was difficult, could you imagine if the husband won his primary?
Naturally, other Republicans aren't happy.
"It's an absolute sham. They're trying to confuse voters and manipulate the process," agrees Republican state Rep. Eric Carter, who is giving up the seat to run for state insurance commissioner.
and then there's this comment.
"It's about time the moderates started pulling this stuff," Aistrup said. "Conservatives have been running stealth candidates for years."
July 9, 2006
Somebody Else's Fortune
I highly recommend "The Colorado Wok." The food is very good, the people are friendly, the prices are great, the portions are huge. I'd like to arrange to meet JohnGalt and Dagny there someday. I'd buy lunch if I could arrange in advance for them both to get the fortune cookie I received today:
Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage
Pa's minimum wage has risen from $5.15 to $7.15 per legislation.
That isn't because Rissinger objects to paying more than the $5.15 minimum, which has been mandated since 1997. He already does. The least Rissinger pays a new worker is $5.25 an hour. If that worker does a good job, he or she doesn't stay at $5.25 long.
Rissinger is among several midstate employers who said unskilled teenagers seeking their first job have the most to lose from the minimum wage legislation, which Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged to sign as early as today.
The increase is a defeat for the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, which contended the bill would mean fewer jobs for unskilled workers.
"I don't think this legislation is going to create one single job," said Kevin Shivers, director of the federation's Pennsylvania chapter. "Employers are going to reduce hours or come up with other solutions, such as buying technology to do the job instead of bringing more people on."
How Could This Happen?
ThreeSources-friend Sugarchuck emails a link to this New York Times piece and asks why we all keep going back to the NYTimes when we know it will end badly. Click on over to "Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit" and I think you'll agree.
WASHINGTON, July 8 — An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief.
Think of how big the revenues would have been with that stupid-ass tax cut! Wow! Who expected this? What a freakin' surprise.
We go back to the NYTimes, kids, because it is a quality product and we have trained ourselves to laugh at nonsense like this. It's so funny to me. "They" have NPR and The New York Times, which provide product of such quality that conservatives deign to be insulted just to use it. And they think our secret is FOXNews and Rush Limbaugh. In the right mood, I can find this humorous.
Support Your Local Statist
I may not agree with ThreeSources own collectivist, LatteSipper, on everything but I have always admired his sincerity and devotion.
He is riding a Century (+8) in November and is raising money for a good cause. I encourage y'all to drop by his web page and sponsor him.
I will be participating in El Tour de Tucson as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program. Team in Training is a nationwide non-profit organization that is dedicated to the eradication of blood cancers including all forms of Leukemia & Lymphoma. Money Magazine has rated Team in Training as one of the top 10 charities in the United States because more than 75% of the funds spent by the society go directly to benefit research and patient services.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM
July 8, 2006
If you must, enjoy the irony of a government subsidized TV series opposing government intrusion into free markets. But either way, take some time (47:23) and watch Josh's video posting on The Everyday Economist this week.
It is part of the PBS series “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman. If you have some time today or over the weekend, you should definitely choose to watch this video.
I could not agree more. You get an episode of Dr. Friedman's show, an introduction by Ahhnold before he was Gov. Schwarzenegger, and a panel discussion at the end hosted by Linda Chavez (before she wasn't Labor Secretary).
There's nothing on the blogs on Sunday, hockey season is over and football hasn't started. Watch it.
Fires: Bush's Fault!
"I see this as one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States," said study coauthor Thomas Swetnam, director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Lots of people think climate change and the ecological responses are 50 to 100 years away. But it's not 50 to 100 years away—it's happening now in forest ecosystems through fire."I guess the science is settled. The Director of Tree Ring Research and all says so in the Journal Science, picked up by Yahoo! News I suggest the increased population in forested areas and the devotion of academics and greens to wilderness preservation spiked in the late 1980s as well. I further suggest that the list of articles on this week's online version of the journal Science is telling:
This is an extraordinary fact, although you may be reading it here first. Most in the mainstream media would rather tout the faults of American capitalism than sing its praises. And of course, the media will almost always discuss supply-side tax cuts in negative terms, such as big budget deficits and static revenue losses. But here's another suppressed fact: Since the 2003 tax cuts, tax-revenue collections from the expanding economy have been surging at double-digit rates, while the deficit is constantly being revised downward.
My headline: "Economy Expands By the Size of China: Rich Still Getting Richer"
This week I had a Chilean Merlot. I'm not a Merlot drinker, but if you get a good, earthy one from the Southern Hemisphere, they can be pretty good -- wait, I was going to review movies; I know next to nothing about wine. Of course, I know less about movies. Somehow ignorance disqualifies on one but not the other. Funny.
I was probably the only guy who was disappointed with "Proof" because it didn't have enough math in it. I bet their focus groups didn't track that.
If you can get over the fact that it is not really about Mathematics, it is a good movie. Good acting from Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. Jack Gyllenaal does a great job and his character goes the full two hours without kissing any guys, which is always a relief. The narrative is good, the plotline is interesting.
Perhaps I'm fatigued with Hollywood's exploration of "the links between genius and madness" (from the Proof website). Amadeus, A Beautiful Mind, et al -- nobody wants to celebrate intellectual achievement when they can explore personality flaws. Oversensitive? Perhaps. But where are the movies about American geniuses who were regular folk, like Walt Whitman, or -- oh never mind.
Three and a half stars, but don't expect to learn any math. Maybe someday they’ll dramatize John Derbyshire’s Prime Obsession. Then I can sell my autographed copy on eBay.
Jobs Numbers Disappoint
I flippantly suggested that headline writers would ignore the historically low unemployment and a rise in wages to focus on the nonfarm payroll jobs increase of only 121000. ADP had predicted numbers 273,000 higher than the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BizzyBlog thinks "Somebody's got some explaining to do" about the difference. I think Larry Kudlow is correct on a favorite theme of his: the household survey captures entrepreneurial activity and self employment more accurately and with far less latency than the BLS numbers.
At first blush, today’s jobs number looks soft at 121,000. But so far, unreported by the mainstream media, is that household employment rose a gargantuan 387,000. This comes on top of last month’s 288,000 gain. Over the past three months, household employment is up 242,000, compared to 108,000 for the corporate payrolls number.
I disagree with BizzyBlog that the current jobs growth cannot sustain the 4.6% unemployment figure.
There are more things in the economy, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your Bureau of Labor statistics.
July 7, 2006
Review Corner Preview
With Taranto on holiday, it hardly seems worth blogging.
I have taken my medication -- and the two glasses of wine that so effectively squash the side effects -- and I will watch "Proof" with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. All of my friends (well, both) have told me I must see this one. Reviews to come, have a great weekend.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:50 PM
You Write the Headline
U.S. EMPLOYERS ADDED 121,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in June, an improvement from the previous month but below expectations. Wages rose sharply. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.6%.
I'm going with the classic: "New Jobs Figures Disappoint."
July 7th marks one year since the Pennsylvania legislature made the biggest political mistake in a long time.
At 2 AM, after days of "hard work" finishing up odds and ends, to reward themselves, they decided to give themselves a payraise. Depend on your position and seniority it was a raise worth anywhere from 16% to 54%!
... and it ignited a firestorm, leading to the defeat of a Supreme Court justice last fall, 40 some retirements and 17 primary losses.
So how to celebrate?
How about a giant pink pig INSIDE the statehouse?
The group called for additional changes to the pension and healthcare system for lawmakers and for lobbyist reform.
"No one can turn a blind eye to organized gluttony. Nor can we afford to take one step backwards," said Eric Epstein, coordinator of Rock the Capitol, one of the group's attending today's news conference.
Several of the groups said they plan to return at 2 a.m. -- the time the law was passed -- in remembrance of it.
That pig's amazing. Statewide tour... spent a week on the Capital steps.... and now INSIDE!
Bonuses & Evasion
Now this is odd.
Powerline links to an Iraqi document which came out as a result of Project Harmony.
It is the "Bonus Record for 2003."
But then we have these categories: "Chemical;" twelve employees got bonuses. "Nuclear;" nine employees got bonuses. "Missiles;" seven employees got bonuses. "Biological;" nine employees got bonuses. I suppose those words might mean something other than the obvious. But what?
As much as one document can prove anything, this seems to demonstrate that Iraq was secretly producing and hiding chemical weapons as of September 1999.
Senator Rick Santorum was involved in releasing the documents which were released as part of Project Harmony.
July 6, 2006
Save Us From Spoiled Milk
New Yorkers enjoy an extra set of protection that we do not.
Perry at Eidelblog details a city ordinance to protect its vulnerable citizenry from spoiled milk.
In its benevolence, government at all levels has uncountable regulations and statutes just for what we ingest. It's the tip of the iceberg that the FDA's legions must approve pharmaceuticals and inspect and/or supervise food production. New York City, for example, has decided that milk's usual expiration dates are too long. Once fluid milk is pasteurized, it's legal to sell it only within 96 hours of 6 a.m. on the next day (which is about three days earlier than what most dairy producers stamp on the containers).
Perhaps Colorado doesn't care if its hardworkin' taxpayers drink sour milk. Or perhaps New Yorkers are considered too bashful to speak up and complain when a vendor has sold them something old.
Perry wonders about "The Freedom to Assume Risk." Finding some brave souls who dared to purchase raw milk from an Amish farmer in Ohio, before government stepped in to protect us.
And he quotes Bastiat's "The Law" essay more than I say "stunning exegesis." How can you lose?
MEXICO CITY Jul 6, 2006 (AP)— The ruling party's Felipe Calderon won the official count in Mexico's disputed presidential race Thursday, the culmination of a come-from-behind campaign for the stiff technocrat. But his leftist rival also declared victory and said he'd fight the election in court.
Whew. Talk about dodging a bullet. An Obrador victory would have been such a setback.
Wheel of Dharma
I have blogged before about India. With all eyes on China, India's free market economics may well propel it past its Asian cousin.
Everyday Economist has a YouTube video today, "I Am India." Josh hopes to post a free economics inspired video every week and I encouraged him to continue. This video is a look at a modern emerging nation. It is not a compendium of statistics, just a look at people enjoying freedom and the affluence it generates.
Click on by, and suggest he keep this weekly feature.
Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
The President is Sixty today, and celebrating with some self-deprecating humor.
WASHINGTON - The most powerful man in the world turns 60 on Thursday and he just can't seem to stop talking about it. Barely a week has gone by this year that
Many happy returns. Next week, President Ford will be 93, the oldest a President has ever lived.
UPDATE: Thanks to an emailer for the correction. I had said that Bush pere was going to be 93. ThreeSources apologizes for the error.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:59 PM
July 5, 2006
Dems Still Surrendering to DPRK
The hullabaloo (not yet a kerfuffle) over baby Kim's Fourth-of-July fireworks show amongst the media and Democrat pols is truly baffling. "Madeline Albright tells us that North Korea is stuck in the 1950's as a society, to which I say, "Didn't they have electric lights back then? I don't know, I'm not that old." But the point is, how can you impose economic sanctions on an economic null?
"General" Wesley Clark and Governor/Ambassador/Senator Bill Richardson calmly lecture that this is just North Korea's way of "behaving like a spoiled child" in order to "get our attention" and "force us to negotiate incentive agreements" with them. Then they both suggest, in the very next breath, that we engage them in direct talks. Clark says, and I'm paraphrasing, "We are the world's superpower and it is our responsibility to defuse this situation, and the only way to do that is to talk with them." He also said, "We need to work with them, and work against them." Multilateralists hearts must be all aflutter at this stunning display of nuance.
My prescription for North Korea: Exactly what the adminstration has done, and nothing more. If these missiles got close, they'd have been swatted. If one gets through and, NED forbid, a nuclear warhead explodes on US soil, there's a special red button in the Oval Office with North Korea's name on it.
A Little Adam Smith
Here's the segue: July 4 makes you think of 1776. Adam Smith published "Wealth of Nations" in 1776. So, on the fifth, here's an excerpt thanks to Virginia Postrel
The annual produce of the land and labour of England, for example, is certainly much greater than it was, a little more than a century ago, at the restoration of Charles II. Though, at present, few people, I believe, doubt of this, yet during this period, five years have seldom passed away in which some book or pamphlet has not been published, written, too, with such abilities as to gain some authority with the public, and pretending to demonstrate that the wealth of the nation was fast declining, that the country was depopulated, agriculture neglected, manufactures decaying, and trade undone. Nor have these publications been all party pamphlets, the wretched offspring of falsehood and venality. Many of them have been written by very candid and very intelligent people, who wrote nothing but what they believed, and for no other reason but because they believed it.
She adds: "Some things never change." I think she's wrong; twenty-somethings can get on TV now to whine.
Insty links to some interesting weather news: No Tornadoes Confirmed In Nebraska-Kansas Area This Year
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Hastings are feeling lucky this year.
This might be a good trend, Sugarchuck tells me moving to McCook, NE is a good idea. Weather is one thing that gave me pause. Don't tell everybody, but the Front Range of Colorado has a perfect climate. A few hot weeks in the summer, a few cold weeks in the winter, all four seasons, and 300+ days of sun. I'm never in a rush to give that up.
Damn President, didn't sign Kyoto.
State of the (D) Party
Dueling editorials in the Wall Street Journal send an interesting message about the future of the Democrat party. You guys want the good news first?
In Democrats for Tax Cuts, the ed page suggests that beltway Democrats get out more and see the successes local Ds are racking up with supply-side economics. Rhode Island, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona are seeing Democrats cut taxes to keep their states competitive.
A handful of Democratic Governors have also signed tax cut bills in recent weeks. Arizona's Janet Napolitano agreed to a 10% across-the-board cut in income tax rates, and Oklahoma's Brad Henry signed into law a budget that will cut rates by nearly 20%, from 6.25% to 5.25% and abolish the state estate tax.
The Bad news? The national party's becoming too antiwar for Senator Lieberman. An Independent Joe sees his pursuit of the Independent ticket as "a remarkable commentary on the mind of the Democratic Party these days."
This antiwar passion isn't confined to the Internet fever swamps, by the way. Already, George Jepsen, a former Connecticut senate majority leader and former state Democratic chairman, has endorsed Mr. Lamont. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who may run for President in 2008 on an antiwar platform, also pointedly declined to endorse his Capitol Hill colleague when asked about the race recently on NBC's "Meet the Press." In the small favors department, Mr. Feingold did allow that Mr. Lieberman was a swell guy.
I think Gov. Richardson would be the only shot at seeing one of these tax cutters on the national stage anytime soon, but the chance of their beliefs being embraced seem remote.
July 4, 2006
AlexC Gets Results!
Google is apparently unwilling to risk further disapprobation from ThreeSources. By the time I hit it, they were in the spirit of the day:
What a gift to live in this land and be free to do the things we do here at ThreeSources. Long may she wave!
July 3, 2006
Sen McConnell on Flag Burning
It seems the Republicans at ThreeSources have found something else to disagree on. (Though we all feel it is wrong to end a sentence with a preposition.)
I have been rather strongly opposed to the flag burning amendment. Simply put, I think it wrong to put a symbol -- no matter how sacred -- above freedom.
I suggested in a comment that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was deserving of two profiles in Courage awards. First, he opposed McCain-Feingold all the way to the Supreme Court as all the media were leading Kumbuyas with supporters from both parties. He should wear McConnell v FEC as a badge of honor.
I suggested a second for him for opposing the flag amendment. This time standing apart from his GOP Caucus, but both times choosing freedom of speech and a defense of the First Amendment as protecting political speech.
JohnGalt disagreed and provided this link to a press releases explaining his vote. JG found it unconvincing but jk finds it a perfect description of my beliefs. I provide a link to encourage everybody to read it in full.
I don’t share the slightest shred of sympathy with any who would dare desecrate the flag. They demean the service of millions of Americans, including my father and the brave men and women currently fighting the War on Terror. They deserve rebuke and condemnation—if not a punch in the nose.
JG finds the comparison to the Second Amendment tenuous but I do not. These rights are granted absolutely in the Bill of Rights and I am tired of our officials picking and choosing the ones they feel should be honored.
Our country is sacred and exceptional for its ideas. I cannot put a symbol -- even one I cherish -- above those ideas.
Hail to the Queen
Good. An organization which recognizes that men and women are essentially the same: rational animals. We have differences in how that essence is expressed and realized -- thank goodness! -- but we are both rational, emotional, self-sovereign, and responsible.
The Independent Women's Forum was established to combat the women-as-victim, pro-big-government ideology of radical feminism. We seek to restore, strengthen, and extend that which promotes women's well being by advancing the principles of self-reliance, political freedom, economic liberty, and personal responsibility.
They have some good articles and news releases on their site, about Iraq, the culture, modern feminism, economics, modern education. They don't buy into the nonsense that capitalism is for men, or that women prefer socialism. (Where the hell did that come from??? Those people need to talk to Molly Pitcher. There is more about her here, and some good artistic renditions here.)
From what I read, IWF seems to live up to its name. Check them out. Give them some support. We need more women like that in America!!!
They had an essay contest on the topic:
Please discuss your experience on college campus as an independent woman. How has your college or university helped or hindered your intellectual and personal growth? Please describe what you think it means to be an independent woman in the year 2005.
In a news release, IWF said:
When we first launched this essay contest,” said Bernard [IWF President Michelle Bernard] during the award presentation, “we had hoped it would help us identify some promising young women and gather stories from young women around the country about their experiences on college campuses. I am so impressed with these young women who took the time and initiative to write about the important topic of what it means to be an independent woman today. Each of the winners…recognized that to be an independent woman today is to believe in yourself, to recognize that you have choices to make and that those choices will determine your future.”
The winner was Alexandrea Valenti, who ended her essay by saying:
Today, being an independent woman is to recognize that the liberal ideology is not consistent with traditional feminism. Supporting affirmative action programs that treat women as inferior is not feminist; charging men with all the ills of the world is not feminist; supporting government entitlement programs that are a substitute for men as provider to women is most certainly not feminist. A truly independent woman takes pride in personal responsibility and does not expect anyone – whether a husband, a father, or the government – to fill the roles that men once filled in our lives. Likewise, an independent woman does not charge those women who freely choose to stay at home and nurture a family as “submissive” and “weak,” for it is these strong women who are raising the future of America and preserving the traditions that make this country the greatest in the world.
The second and third place essays are available to read, also.
Joementum or Nedrenaline
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman will collect signatures to get on the ballot as an independent!
Lieberman, 64, a three-term senator whose outspoken support of the war in Iraq has brought months of grief and inspired a strong primary challenge from Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, intends to announce his decision this afternoon at the State Capitol.
Even should he lose in August -- and the most recent public poll shows him leading Lamont by 15-percentage points among likely primary voters -- Lieberman would retain his status as a registered Democrat, but his name would not appear on the ballot line with other Democrats.
Lieberman began making courtesy calls to leading Democrats late this morning.
If he's defeated by Ned Lamont on the eighth, but wins in November, will he have any obligation to cast a vote for Senate Majority Leader Reid?
The two candidates were separated by fewer than 401,000 votes, with more than 36 million counted in a preliminary tally by electoral officials. The conservative, Felipe Calderon had 36.6 percent to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's 35.5 percent, according to results from 91.4 percent of polling places.
I don't know if it's good or bad, but liberals are all the same the world over...
Thousands of Lopez Obrador's supporters had gathered in a steady rain in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza, chanting "Lie! Lie! Fraud! Fraud!" after the delay was announced.
Fraud is always the first thing they claim, it's never "maybe our ideas aren't that great."
July 2, 2006
And I Just Endorsed VP Gore...
Anti-Charisma Senatitus survivor, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), has announced his candidacy for 2008.
UPDATE: And the title is a joke, I still hope it's Gore.
"This was an unintended consequence of the farm bill," said former representative Charles W. Stenholm, the west Texas Democrat who was once the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee. "Instead of maintaining a rice industry in Texas, we basically contributed to its demise."But, gosh darn it, we tried! This quote is from a WaPo story that details $1.3 Billion in farm subsidies which go to those who do not farm.
EL CAMPO, Tex. -- Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.
Two things I do not understand:
The second question is less rhetorical: why is the Ag lobby so strong?
Chris Bowers at the liberal blog, MyDD asks....
Whew... if the media is right wing, where does that put me?
For the record, my vote is "clueless media."
The Case Against Campaign Finance Reform
If there was ever a study of the corrosive effects of money on the political system, it's the 30th Senate District in Pennsylvania.
In the pursuit of the Republican nomination for the seat, Jubelirer by far spent the most: about $1.4 million.
About a half-million of that was spent in the last weeks of the race, according to his post-primary campaign finance report.
John H. Eichelberger Jr. — who won the May 16 primary and faces Democrat Greg Morris in November — spent $254,509. Jubelirer spent about that much in newspaper, radio and television advertising in the post-primary period.
Eichelberger paid about $88,000 for advertising out of about $145,000 spent during the post-primary period.
Of note in Jubelirer’s most recent report is support from more than two dozen attorneys. Out of 59 contributions of $250 or more, 28 came from people listed as attorneys. Jubelirer is an attorney, although he has said he stopped practicing law about 25 years ago.
The challenger, Blair County Comissioner John Eichelberger was outspent nearly 6 to 1 and still beat the incumbent Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Jubelirer in a three way race 44% to 36%.
As proprietor of the dogsforbush.com site (though AlexC, JohnGalt and I are all represented), I don't have to push my bona fides as a dog lover. So I grabbed Disney's "Eight Below" about the Antarctic sled dog team requiring rescue.
Move over, Bambi and Dumbo, Disney has a new film to mentally scar another generation of youngsters. I weathered Bambi's mother's death alright as a youngster and have been able to see Dumbo leave his mom in the cage without having to be on Oprah or anything. Eight Below is very sad for a long time. I confess I wanted it to end through much of it "Okay, heartwarming rescue time, watching these dogs' hardships is getting to me..." This may be too much for little kids even if they're over 40. jk gives it two and a half stars.
Next was "Annapolis." The part of Louis Gossett, Jr. is played this time by Tyrese Gibson. The movie is good but we've seen it before: scrappy kid barely makes it into officer training. Tough sergeant is tough because he has to be. Scrappy kid is gonna quit the academy...
Since I had seen this plot (Where's Debra Winger?) I focused on the Zeitgeist. That's a pretentious term even for me, but TNR was discussing the Superman Z-geist, so I felt entitled. We spend two hours in the Naval Academy and encounter no patriotism whatsoever. There is a joke in one scene:
"Why are you here?"
I paraphrase but the only mention of patriotism is to disavow it as a motive. While I don't remember Richard Gere delivering a lot of speeches on American exceptionalism, it seemed to be missing here.
For all my complaints, It's not a bad two hours; jk gives it two-point-five.
July 1, 2006
Beleated Birthday Wishes
Not too late to celebrate two important birthdays. Thanks to Perry at Eidelblog
Blogantine reminded me that today is [Frederic] Bastiat's birthday. It's also shared by Thomas Sowell.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM
So if (for whatever reason) you wanted to know where the Vice President's wife shops, what would you do?
1) Stalk her?
It's not a top secret, obviously, but c'mon.