Thursday, September 30, 2010

RealClearPolitics - One Nobel Year Later: It's a Hard World After All


Why did he get that Nobel Peace Prize again? Oh yeah. Because he isn't George W. Bush.

But this administration reminds me of the famous takedown about Keynesian economics, that said everything that is true is not new, while everything that is new is not true. Aspects of foreign policy that have carried over from the Bush administration are among the successes of this one; innovations by this one have usually made bad enough situations arguably worse.

Without a defendable record, Democrats try pounding the table


"It is a lawyers' adage: If you have the law on your side, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have neither, pound the table. Forgive the Democrats for their current table-pounding."

RealClearPolitics - Rallying Progressives is the Right Strategy


Dionne is cheerleading again. While the election was bound to close with Democratic panic, the difference this time around comes down to two important themes: the "progressive" leadership and bloggers will be there, as will the public employee unions and other union leadership. But that is not enough to win. Not even close. Independents are abandoning the Democrats as being too ideologically left and anti-business, and with two years of proof on both counts, they simply do not have time or the capability to re-write history. They will probably salvage the Senate, and might limit House losses. But governorships and state houses and senates are blowing up, and reapportionment is coming. This loss has catastrophic consequences for Democrats. And no amount of community organizing or cheerleading is going to change that.

Why Do They Hate Us? - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education


The general public hates academia because, well, they are hateable, and because academia looks down on those who are not in academia. But there is more to it on both sides and this article explores that relationship pretty well.

Now, More Bad News: The ‘New Normal’ is Here to Stay -


Through the Instapundit: We may not get back to "normal." This might be it. Not a pleasant thought.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hoover McGovern = Obama - Dick Morris & Eileen McGann - National Review Online


It's a valid argument.

Rep. Waxman backs FCC reclassification as legislative effort breaks down - The Hill's Hillicon Valley


Rep. Waxman is in the running for Most Arrogantly Anti-Business Politician in the US, and is universally recognized as the World's Ugliest Democrat.

White House gets political advice from Dukakis - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room


Excellent. Getting political advice from Michael Dukakis is a lot like getting medical advice from Hugh Laurie; the difference is that "House" is still on the air, while Dukakis' last political gig saw him get blitzed by G.H.W. Bush.

Liberal groups plan One Nation rally in D.C.


Good luck with that. There is so little excitement on the left, you might have trouble filling a moderately-sized Starbucks at this point. But, hey, keep hope alive. Or something.

Obama: government 'can't create jobs' - Josh Gerstein -


Nice of the president to notice. Now, if he could find it in his heart to stop making business the bad guy, stop changing the rules of the game, stop piling on new regulations and governing boards and provide a little certainty to the economy, maybe business can start hiring some people and we can get the country back to work.

Progressives: Obama remarks are ‘condescending’ - Politics - White House -


It must be wonderful to be so wonderful. People who are against the president in ANY regard are stupid, shortsighted, mistaken, or evil, and anyone who questions whether he actually knows what he is doing is probably a racist.

It reminds me of the old Damon Runyan line: "Shut up," he explained.

Brown vs. Whitman: Somebody Had to Win - Newsweek


I have long advocated a "None of the Above" line in elections. If that line "wins" the vote, you throw out both candidates, bar them from trying again for the seat, and have another election. As often as necessary.

Youth Vote Shifts Right | The Weekly Standard


After a 2008 election where young people voted in droves for the "Party of Change and Hope n'Stuff," they are shifting significantly to the right on a myriad of subjects. Turns out hope and change, at some point have to be defined. And the definition basically means "you won't be finding jobs in your field, and your student loans are due."

Democrats Losing Support of White Women: Gallup Poll Data - The Daily Beast


Corollary: White women are the largest proportion of people in the Tea Party Movement. Surprised? Not a huge majority over white men, but significant and getting larger.

2010 shows liberal contempt for voters � Don Surber


True enough. I haven't seen much of anything like this ever, but elite opinion appears to be that most citizens are idiots or tools.

Which would explain all the people who voted for Democrats last time around.

Tea Party Has Elites on the Run - Rasmussen Reports™


Why Christopher Lasch was right...

Victim of Secret Dorm Sex Tape Commits Suicide - ABC News


This is just desperately horrible. Someone turned a webcam on a young gay man, and broadcast it over the net. The young man committed suicide.

YouTube has an assortment of videos now connected to something called the It Gets Better Project. If you know someone young, gay, and having problems, send them there.

Obliterating a generation -


Morris is often wrong on specifics but he spots trends well, and this one hardly needs a detective. The only question for the fall, really, is "How bad will it be for the Democratic Party?" Anything on the order of 1994 will be devastating. Paradoxically, however, it might mean re-election of the president if Republicans read too much into the win.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RealClearWorld - The Middle East's Worst-kept Secret


Interesting. Nations states act in their own self interest, as self defined. Amazing. Hard to believe.

Rise of manscara: Millions of male groomers admit to wearing make-up for night out | Mail Online


This is not good. From the country that brought men "moobs," we now have "manscara" or "guy-liner." Sad.

Can't we just go back to when guys wore hats, smoked a bit, drank more than a bit, didn't dance, and didn't talk much?

Pajamas Media � Venezuela’s Election Lunacy: Results and Consequences


Venezuela goes to the polls, the opposition has a majority and picks up significantly less than half of the seats in the Assembly. What? Welcome to ChavezWorld, where fun loving dictator and cartoon socialist Hugo Chavez presides over 25% inflation, economic collapse, and political unrest and fear. But no worries! Next week, he will exhume Simon Bolivar (again!) and ask for intellectual assastance!

Antaeus and the Tea Party -


Fish gets it. He very often does.

How a handful of liberal bloggers are bringing down the Obama presidency : Peter Daou


The mistake Progressives made was in thinking the president is a progressive. The mistake conservatives make is thinking he is a socialist. What he is is a redistributionist politician in the European, Social Democratic mold, and if civil liberties take a hit, it is because he has larger fish to fry. And the sharper tacks in the jar have caught on.

85 Minnesota jobs experts bounced from jobs |


The ironies are staggering.

Monday, September 27, 2010

SteynOnline - Steyn on America


Steyn, on target.

Commentary � Blog Archive � Soros Unmasked


If there is a hard left group out there that is NOT funded to a significant degree by George Soros, I would be thrilled to find it. I attach a fairly comprehensive list of his beneficiaries.

Soros and his foundations have had a hand in funding such noteworthy leftist organizations as the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy; the Tides Foundation; the Tides Center; the National Organization for Women; Feminist Majority; the American Civil Liberties Union; People for the American Way; Alliance for Justice; NARAL Pro-Choice America; America Coming Together; the Center for American Progress; Campaign for America's Future; Amnesty International; the Sentencing Project; the Center for Community Change; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Human Rights Watch; the Prison Moratorium Project; the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; the National Lawyers Guild; the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Coalition for an International Criminal Court; The American Prospect;; Planned Parenthood; the Nation Institute; the Brennan Center for Justice; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Security Archive Fund; the Pacifica Foundation; Physicians for Human Rights; the Proteus Fund; the Public Citizen Foundation; the Urban Institute; the American Friends Service Committee; Catholics for a Free Choice; Human Rights First; the Independent Media Institute; MADRE; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; the National Immigration Law Center; the National Immigration Forum; the National Council of La Raza; the American Immigration Law Foundation; the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee; and the Peace and Security Funders Group.

Venezuela election loosens Hugo Ch�vez's grip on power | World news | The Guardian


Possibly the beginning of the beginning of the end for Hugo Chavez. One can hope.

He's President, not a superhero: The left has been too quick to jump ship


No, the president is not a superhero. Neither has he proven to be much of a leader, which is the major problem. People follow leaders, and if times are tough, they stay the course (recognize a theme?). FDR convinced people that times would be better, and even when the Depression hung on, the people did not despair. The president got legislation passed and thought that was enough. It isn't.

Poll: Only 38% Would Vote Obama - The Daily Beast


The poll shows only 38% of voters are willing at this point to re-elect the president. The article also suggests, correctly, that at a similar point in 1994, President Clinton was in similar straits. Certainly, President Obama has the opportunity to reverse things, and toppling an incumbent president is always hard, but he shows little sign of transitioning to the center politically like Clinton did. But it is still a long two years.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Re-Examining Carter

A few days ago, I posted a link from CBS's 60 Minutes about Jimmy Carter and the Carter Presidency. In that story and video, former President Carter suggested that his presidency had been a success because of significant legislative achievements, and that the only reason his was viewed as a failure was because he hadn't been re-elected. I said he might have a point, at least in the context that he had accomplished more than people were willing to credit him with. But with that point comes a number of other issues he might well have avoided stirring up.

Maybe it is time for a re-evaluation of his presidency, but it definitely needs to be objective and focused in three areas: Foreign policy, domestic programs, and governance.

In terms of foreign policy, he clearly presided over a mixed bag. While there were accomplishments in the Middle East and elsewhere, Carter's basic naiveté regarding the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea (as well as Panama, Cuba and Nicaragua) contributed to a significant expansion of Soviet influence throughout the world. He negotiated a SALT Treaty with Moscow that the Senate blankly refused to consider, thinking it a very bad deal indeed for the US. Much of Africa either went directly under Communist control, or governments were assailed by burgeoning Communist insurrections. In Central America, Cuba was the continuing wild card, but Nicaragua moved from a US ally to a Cuban satellite regime, and several other Central and South American countries found themselves pushed hard by homegrown, Havana and Moscow supplied insurrections. And the UN firmly moved from an organization normally sympathetic to US causes to one usually antagonistic toward them. Sadat/Begin notwithstanding, the world was definitely a more precarious place when he left office than when he arrived.

In terms of domestic policy, deregulation had a significant effect on the economy, and Carter did nominate Paul Volcker to the Fed. We got a Department of Education (which didn't help much), and a raft of new regulations in other areas (which didn't help at all). His backpatting reference to his legislative batting average is entertaining. He had a Democratic Congress and a quiescent Republican opposition. He should have gotten things passed, and he did. He also had horrendous relations with Congressional leadership, who found him dogmatic, naive, judgmental and petty. By the end of his term, the Democratic leadership in Congress hated him, and the loathing was mutual.

But it is in governance where Carter falls precipitously to the ground. The president must lead, and in that sense, it hardly matters whether programs get through Congress. What matters is the confidence on the part of the people and the Congress and the military and the press that someone is standing by the wheel, and is in charge. As event after event spun out of control, Carter spent his time minutely examining problems and forgetting big picture perceptions.

In all, if not a failed presidency, certainly one that was significantly flawed and definitively cut short. Successful presidents do not have primary opponents, and Kennedy had a chance to beat him. And successful presidents tend not to get pounded in re-election bids; Carter's election night was done just after the polls in California closed.

I would suggest that there is more to the Carter story than a simple "Jimmy Went to Washington and Couldn't Hack It" meme, but "successful" is not the word I would use to describe his WHite House tenure.

Katherine Kersten: Radical Islam gets the better of free speech |


Pay attention. This is not going to be the last time people in the US get targeted for exercising the First Amendment in a way that extremist Muslims do not like. We will either need to get used to it, or start fighting back against it. Choose one or the other. I choose fighting back.

10 questions with “DUPES” author Paul Kengor


Liberals have no interest in examining the old Soviet archives, and why would they? Who wants to read that their heroes were tools?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Goldman Sachs’ 10000 Women Dinner: Pleas for Afghan Women - The Daily Beast


Out of everything we have managed to do right in the last ten years, one of the most important and signal achievements abroad has been the emergence of Afghan women as a moral, political and intellectual force, both at home and in the larger world. We helped them to escape the chains of the Taliban; it is incumbent upon us to make sure they do not return to their previous condition.

Interview With Marc Faber: It Is Not A Matter Of If With Hyperinflation, But When


Economics is called the dismal science because it so often brings bad news. Like now.

John Kerry: Democrats’ woes stem from uninformed voters -


Leave it to John Kerry. Confronted with voters who are angry at Washington, furious at historic spending levels, and incandescent at the condescension of politicians toward the public, Kerry blames clueless voters for the upcoming Democratic election deluge.

Democrats should run on Bush tax cut issue -


I like Reich. He is an honest liberal economist, but he is also wrong here. Two problems. The top 5% of income earners pay over 53% of income taxes. Taxpayers in the top 50% pay over 94% of all income taxes. So it isn't really unfair to suggest that they might deserve a cut, too. But there is also this: what is the US median income? Answer: about $50,000, give or take. We could even expand it to $75,000 and still leave an interesting question of why Democrats want to keep the tax cuts up to $250,000. Well, consider that upper income professionals from doctors to university professors to lawyers fall in that range, and you hit significant Democratic constituencies. In short, they want to keep those tax cuts because that is where their campaign contributions come from.

Barack Obama: the Great Unravelling of a One-Term President? - Telegraph


Piling on from the UK. The president can't even catch a break from the foreign media.

Chapman throws fastest pitch ever recorded - MLB - Yahoo! Sports


Figure that a major league quality fastball runs from 92 to 95 mpg. An extraordinary fastball clocks in at 97 or 98. A remarkable arm hits 100. Chapman blazed 5 mph faster than that. At 60'6" distance from the plate to the pitching rubber, I have no idea how you would begin to pick that up, much less hit it. And if the kid has ANY movement on it AT ALL, batters are trudging up, listening to the wind shriek past, and returning to the dugout.

EDITORIAL: Black Panther case: Red hot - Washington Times


Heads will roll, and they deserve to.

Obama's Could-Have-Been-Worse Presidency - Newsweek


This is praise with loud damns. If Fineman has to spin this administration as one where things sucked but might have sucked more without them, the Dems have not only lost this fall, but have probably lost in 2012 as well.

Democrats Are Facing an Identity Crisis - Newsweek


One might term Clift the voice of left-center Washington, but if you do and you read this, you find disillusionment and near despair. There is a big difference between ramming through legislation and governing, one the president and his administration seem entirely unable to comprehend.

Forbes’s Obama Critique Spurs Fact Checking and Media Soul Searching -


Dunno. I've come back to the original article a couple of times. D'Souza stitches together a whole lot of disparate elements of the president's writing and history to make a fairly coherent storyline based on an anti-colonialism worldview. On the other hand, the same basic themes can be read in pretty much any undergrad who goes through an Ivy League school and accepts the "prevailing wisdom." Add in the Alinsky mindset via ACORN and organizing in Chicago, and you arrive at essentially the same place. It doesn't have to be this complicated. Unless, of course, you are trying to sell books or something.

Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries -


I say it's spinach, and I say to hell with it. My brother is more succinct. His mantra is: "Vegetables are not food. Vegetables are what food eats."

Pandering and the Defense Appropriation

We already know that the US Senate failed to pass the recent defense appropriations bill. Defeated by filibuster, the Republicans were joined by two Democrats, effectively killing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) repeal and the "DREAM" act in one side-pocket carom. From what I am able to gather, no one expected any different outcome.

So why try passing it at all?

Well, politics. Duh. Defense bills tend to be popular and politicians generally lose no votes by supporting them. In fact, they usually benefit, since defense bills tend to be larded up with pork of all kinds. Given that basic popularity - surprise! - legislation is often attached to them that is only tangentially (if that) relevant to the main purpose of the bill.

Such was the case here. DADT deserves specific, open debate, preferably after the completion of the military review of the policy. If there is no reason to continue it (and, frankly, I can see none), then the policy deserves an up and down vote, independent of other considerations, putting everyone on the record of approving or opposing it. Which is part of the reason it was attached to the defense apporpriation. Politicians love wiggle room.

As for the DREAM act, that was Harry Reid in full pander mode. For a solid year, Democrats held an absolute majority. They literally could have passed anything, and in some instances, did, without any Republican votes at all. If they had wanted to pass immigration reform (read "amnesty") they could have. And they chose not to, because, other than with the specific, affected demographic group, the issue is not a political winner nationwide. But by bringing DREAM up for a vote, even in the form it arrived, Democrats hoped to ignite some sense of urgency in one of their key voting constituencies. It may even work. But it was breathtakingly cynical, even for Washington.

In the end, both sides got fodder for their political ads this fall. And the rest of us got another dose of realpolitik.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Enraged vs. the Exhausted -


Noonan points out an interesting fact: the Tea Parties contain more women than men. And they are livid at the size, scope and arrogance of government.

Pajamas Media � Is Barney Frank Nervous? Bill Clinton Coming to Rescue in MA


The title says it all. Bubba is coming to the rescue. Not the president. And Frank could lose this one, being intimately tied to all manner of political disasters.

Ad Rage - Reason Magazine


Yeah, couldn't possibly be because their policies suck and people hate them the more they hear about them. Couldn't be that. Instead, the problem is those pesky corporations, saying nasty things about all of those hard working, selfless Donkeys.

Um. Sure. Blame your beatdown on whatever you want, but the facts are clear.

Famed Obama 'Hope' poster artist losing hope - Yahoo! News


If you are losing the guy who made your iconic "Hope" poster, who do you have left in your corner?

Like most of us, Velma Hart just wanted a little reassurance at Obama's town hall


In voicing her concerns, she voiced them for many...if not most of us. And the answers she got were deeply unsatisfying.

Obama approval hits new low -


This shows no signs of bottoming out. Unless he changes his policies and the general demeanor of his administration very sharply, very quickly, we are looking at a one term president.

Voting Rights Official Calls Dismissal of Black Panther Case a 'Travesty of Justice'


This is an ugly case on lots of levels, and if it is found ultimately that there was an institutional refusal to proceed in civil rights cases against black defendants, the blame goes up to the top.

University of Illinois denies Bill Ayers emeritus status -


After all of these years, I am still shocked and dismayed that Ayres got a teaching position, tenure, and the respect (at least in part) of the university community, considering his actions and the things he advocated as a founding member of the Weathermen/Weather Underground. Ayres was a domestic terrorist, and while I agree that people have the ability to change and repent their actions, nothing in this man's career or writing suggests he regrets much of anything, other than that he "didn't do enough."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Russia has "natural claim" to Arctic resources, says Kremlin


Russia has always been the obnoxious uncle who scratches, farts, picks his nose and cannot be brought out in mixed company. Nothing changes in Russia except the name of the boss. From Tsar to General Secretary to President, the song remains the same.

College professors go big for Democrats - Andy Barr -


There's a shock. Another shock arrives when you consider how many of the rich donate to the Dems as well. It's documented. You can look it up.

Environmentalism as Religion


Exactly. People who profess not to believe in anything generally end up believing in everything...including any number of preposterous lunacies. Like, well, a ecology in a religious sense.

On the Constitutionality of the Individual Insurance Mandate


Abstract of a larger paper as to why the individual mandate will fall on appeal.

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down Health-Care Reform? - Newsweek


I am not a lawyer, for lots of reasons. But I can read the Constitution as well as the next person, and I cannot see how the individual mandate can stand and we can still pretend to have a federalist sort of government.If the mandate stands, there is virtually no impediment to government regulation of ANYTHING at all, and not even the Warren Court would have traveled so far. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy to strike. Maybe even Breyer with reservations.

Palin Is the New McGovern - The Daily Beast


Beinart is the ultimate stopped clock. He is right every so often, and when he is, he convinces himself that the phenomenon happens far more often than twice a day. The GOP is not going to nominate Sarah Palin, whether she runs or not. At this point, Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie or even Mitt Romney would have to be seen as more electable. And since 1964, when there really wasn't anyone else, Republicans have nominated plausible candidates; in contrast, Democrats have found themselves drawn to the party edges, with McGovern in 72, Mondale in 84, Dukakis in 88, and Kerry in 04. None were remotely centrist. The GOP doesn't make that mistake. It makes others.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Woodward Book Portrays Obama Aides’ Battles -


This will be interesting. Woodward tends to get a lot of access, and what he uncovers tends not to be flattering.

RealClearPolitics - Video - Obama: "Mexicans" Were Here "Long Before America Was Even An Idea"


The president is given a great deal of credit for his smarts. So why is he forever making simple mistakes like this one? As noted: USA, declared independence 1776. Mexico, declared independence 1810.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ajami: Rauf and Islam's Encounter with America -


Fouad Ajami with a rather profound - and startling - insight. In a survey by Elaph, "the most respected electronic daily in the Arab world," 58% of respondents thought the Ground Zero mosque was a bad idea. Moreover, by a 63 to 37% spread, respondents "accepted the good faith and pluralism" of the United States.

If you read one article this week, make it this one.

What Will Congress Accomplish During The 2010 Lame-duck Session? | The New Republic


Agreed. Probably not much will happen, and what does will pretty much require fairly broad support across parties.

EPA climate rules take step forward - The Hill's E2-Wire


The last thing we need right now are more environmental regulations. Congress refused to pass cap and trade because of economic concerns. Those concerns do not change just because the source of the regulations is EPA rather than Congress. Expect a two year delay that will become indefinite.

Jimmy Carter: My Presidency Was A Success - 60 Minutes - CBS News


I have gone after Mr. Carter from time to time. I pointedly supported Ronald Reagan in 1980, but still believe that Carter gets a bum rap in certain quarters. While he had a number of high profile missteps, he also accomplished a very great deal, including the Panama Canal Treaties, peace between Israel and Egypt, and significant deregulation of interstate business domestically. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the Carter presidency. He insists that the biggest reason he has a reputation as "failed" is because he was not re-elected. He might have a point.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Employment generation disappointing: LA City Controller - International Business Times


Would have been a far sight more effective if the government had simply used a significantly smaller portion of the money to give the unemployed $50,000 for the year and counted it good. They would have used it to pay bills and buy groceries, etc, putting it back into the marketplace and stimulating the economy at hugely less cost.

A Few Simple Words on Tolerance

What is tolerance?

It might be easier to define it by what it is not. Tolerance does not consist of cheering for the opposition. It is not being joyful at the prospect of differing points of view. It is not agreement. It does not consist of buying into even the tiniest iota of someone else's point of view.

It is putting up with people you might generally consider to be the blankest sort of slackjawed morons because they have every right to say what they think, unimpeded by your outrage, real or feigned. This is the price you pay for being tolerated by people who may very well consider you to be wrong, idiotic and degenerate, at best.

In a sense, toleration is the essence of civilization. It is being civilized, and understanding that freedom of speech and democracy is hard work. It is truly very heavy lifting sometimes, and it is tempting to believe the worst of those with whom we disagree.

We have no right to demand that people respect our opinions or accept us and our beliefs; what we all must insist upon, however, is our unimpeded right to have them.

Researchers report first case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in an active college football player


Ok, this is scary. If signs of CTE are possible at 21 with no history of concussion, what kind of health issues are we looking at in the future with athletes in their thirties and forties?

President Obama picks Elizabeth Warren ... and thumbs his nose at the Senate


The President loves the democratic process...unless it thwarts what he wants. Then he goes around it. He did it with Craig Becker at the NLRB. He has done it at ICE by having the agency refuse to deport non-violent illegals, and now he has done it with Elizabeth Warren.

Democrats and the Tea Party - Beware of Anger, Take Advantage of Anxiety -


Democrats calling the Tea Parties extreme, after the last two years, is very much the pot calling the kettle black. It was Democratic triumphalism and the concomitant Progressive shift in Washington that birthed the Tea Parties in the first place.

Putin's Grand Illusions - Newsweek


President-in-Waiting Putin is a public relations savvy oligarch who presides over a potentially powerful (Russia is always at least potentially powerful), basically corrupt oligarchy. Nothing new here. The new part arises with the understanding that Russia remains peripheral to world power, and is not resurgent. Considering Russia's fading demographics, its best days may be past.

Wary of Jerry Brown - The Orange County Register


Brown has seemingly been around forever, from his days as Governor Moonbeam (thank you, Mike Royko!) to his latest incarnation as reborn fiscal conservative. What he is, mostly, is a politician capable of adapting to changing circumstances with alarming ease.

The nightmare of union power is back again - Telegraph


I never lived under the conditions described, but I was keenly aware of what was happening in Britain because, well, I watched them, concerned that the US was next. Thatcher and the Tories broke union power and the US never had similar problems. But now, union power in Britain is recurring. History eventually repeats as burlesque.

A Presidential Tax Cut For Liberal Elites


Entertainingly, pointedly brutal. If a "middle class" income might best be tagged at around $75,000, why extend the tax cuts up to $250,000? Because that is where the Democratic constituency at the top end lives. Duh. Read the article.

Tea Party Mocking Needs To Stop


The only thing the media's excessive mocking and snark has accomplished is to make Tea Party activists much more politically savvy and guarded with their conversation. But it has not remotely halted the coordination of individuals within the movement nor stymied the intellectual revolt that has both parties in an uproar.

Unions Find Members Slow to Rally Behind Democrats -


Big Labor's overwhelming support of the Obama candidacy and the vast amounts of money they donated to the Democratic Party in the last couple of election cycles bought them tremendous influence in Congress and at the White House. Paradoxically, they might have reawakened Labor Reaganites: union members concerned with the leftward drift of government who vote against Democrats based on their own, personal conservatism.

The Tea Party Paradox - National Journal Magazine


It's actually not hard to read. The Tea Parties are bad news for the Democrats, since they have shifted independents decidedly rightward and spiked the Progressive agenda. But that does not necessarily make them good for the GOP, either. Ask Bob Bennett, Mike Castle and Lisa Murkowski. None will be returning to Congress. The Tea Party movement is a fiscally conservative, small government advocacy assortment of independent minded people who justly see Democrats as too liberal and Republicans as insufficiently committed to conservative principles. And they have discovered that they have the power to be heard and felt at the ballot box. This one is not over...not by a long shot.

Obama's Muslim Mess


If the last three terrorist acts on American shores were perpetrated by self-proclaimed Muslims acting in the name of Islam, why is it a problem if we point that out and wonder aloud at the meaning of it all?

Things look different on the border than they do in New York City


Along the border, things look different than they look in New York. Just a fact.

Sacrificing for a Greater Good - Asharq Alawsat


Interesting discussion of whether the Ground Zero mosque was a good idea, from a moderate Islamic point of view.

Macro and Other Market Musings


An excellent blog to follow, top to bottom, for basic and not so basic understandings of macro economics. I learn something every time I stop in.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The American economy: The great debt drag


Dead on. Things are more than a little scary for a whole lot of people out there, but if we can get businesses hiring again, we might dodge the worst of this.

The wrong target - The Economist


John Boehner is a decent, classic Midwestern pol who is probably no more liberal or colorful than former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert. And the Administration is going to have to work with him as Speaker.

Was politics behind the government's decision to preserve the UAW's pensions?


Um. You think? Let's see. Salaried workers, retirement plan, promised pension...result? Fraction of promised benefits. Retired UAW hourly employees, retirement plan, promised pension...result? Hey! They get full retirement, paid in part by the government bailout! Key question I would love to see answered: "[W]hy did the administration make pension obligations to the UAW sacrosanct in the first place?" Bankruptcy could just as easily have vacated the obligation.

Myths and Truths About the “Ground Zero Mosque” - Forbes


I've plowed this field before. The building is close enough to Ground Zero to have been damaged in the attacks, the imam seeking to build the mosque is interestingly sketchy when it comes to his views of 9/11 responsibility and terrorism, and people have every right to be against building a mosque at that location. Ultimately, the question at this point becomes vital: If this imam is concerned with building bridges of understanding and trust between Americans and individuals espousing the Muslim faith, shouldn't he consider building the mosque elsewhere?

On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View - Seattle Weekly


And from the Islamophobia front...a cartoonist who suggested an "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day" was forced into hiding because some moronic, humorless, intolerant imam issued a fatwa against her life. Earlier story here.

Activists upset with Facebook -


These people need to grow up. Facebook is a free service, and if they do not want to allow amorphous groups of people to use its service to contact people who may or may not be interested in their point of view, they have the right to restrict them.

Fear - City Journal


This is precisely the point I have been making for some time now. Why care two shakes about some obscure, peckerwood preacher unless you are afraid of what happens? THAT, my friends, is Islamaphobia - not the discussion of why Islam is different and what we need to do in reference to it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Toy Gun Still Costs 8-Yr-Old, One Year Later


Explain, please, why kids taking toy guns to school is something to hyperventilate about? You don't want them playing war? Guns are bad? Use small words, so the school board can understand.

Laminated Linen Protected Alexander the Great


One more reminder, if we needed one, that the only difference between our ancestors and ourselves is the accumulation of knowledge we take advantage of on a daily basis. In terms of ingenuity, we have NOTHING on them. One more example.

Extremists Are Taking Over GOP


Resident WaPo "Oh Dear" Dionne bewails the loss of moderate Republicans. While it might be true that GOP primary voters are more conservative than average voters statewide, it is also true that Democratic primary voters are far more leftwing than the same sample of voters. One might as well moan about the loss of moderate Democrats, but he does not do that.

The Buckley rule - Charles Krauthammer


Of course, Buckley also endorsed and helped elect Joseph Lieberman, but given that the Republican in question was Lowell Weiker, probably more liberal than Lieberman and about as crazy as Lyndon LaRouche), it still makes admirable sense. Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and the Delaware GOP forgot this one.

White House Should Retract Insurance Industry Threats


The major players in this Administration consistently manage to take a bad situation from their perspective and make it catastrophically worse. Even Democrats are running from Obamacare, and this flap starring Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius reminds everyone - again - what Congress wrought and why no one is out defending it this fall.

Why It's Time for the Tea Party - Peggy Noonan


Nice diagnosis of why the GOP fears the Tea Parties: They evolved to critique the Republican Party's leftward drift.

Tea Party’s already won -


This was really the entire point of the Tea Party movement. No one went in expecting to create a separate political party or to topple the powers that be. The intention was a great deal more level headed. What they wanted to do was stop the leftward march of Congress in both parties. This has happened. The Progressive agenda is dead now, and the strong likelihood of rollback on Obamacare and the Recovery Act looms dead ahead.

WJLA-TV fires veteran anchor Doug McKelway, cites insubordination, misconduct


This one is hysterical. The anchor is fired after being suspended for telling the truth on the air. No good deed goes unpunished.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thomas Sowell: The “Achievements” of the American Intelligentsia


Thomas Sowell is a hero of mine. Perhaps the most indispensable public philosopher of our time, he has a habit of saying the right thing at precisely the right time.

Tea Party Win Shows Voters in a Mood for Vengeance


A bit too much cheerleading and "Look, you still have a chance to do something about this, Dems!", but the basic premise is solid. Voters who supported insider Republicans (who lost) are not likely, on the whole, to support Democrats out of spite. More than likely, they will take a breath, think it over, and support the nominee of the party. Democrats may have a slightly better chance with O'Donnell than they would have with Castle, but they are still at the bottom of a very tall credibility hill trying to push Obamacare and the Stimulus, like Sisyphus, back up the slope.

The Era of Expert Failure


Problem: While an expert is likely to know a lot about one particular thing, they will likely not know a lot about a lot of things. The danger evolves when an expert is given broad latitude over things they know and things they know they don't know (but assume they can find out) as well as things they don't know they don't know. The last is most dangerous, because you never discover what that is until it blows up in your face.

Gun turned up after hands went up and pants fell down


Apparently, the officer pulled the suspect's pants back up after they fell to the ground, and noticed WHOOPS! a gun in his pants pocket. Said suspect claimed illegal search and the court ruled for the arresting officer. Now. Can officers make suspects turn their stupid hats front to front?

GOP moans about losing chance to take control of Senate with Castle defeat


Seriously. Taking the Senate was a long shot regardless, and the mainstream nominee simply had too much baggage, and, yes, was not conservative enough in a Tea Party GOP. Instead of whining, try supporting the nominee and see if you can win this thing.

Face of the tea party is female -


Apparently, the Tea Party movement itself is primarily female as well. Interesting to know, given that women are generally viewed as a natural constituency of the Democratic party.

The Crash, Obama and the Disappearing Dem Majority


Kuhn has a strong, though hardly singular point. The president won election due to the economic collapse that citizens, rightly or wrongly, laid at the feet of the party in power, i.e, the Bush Administration. Which was reasonable. What was NOT reasonable was the perception among the Left that an Obama victory was philosophical in nature and the sign of a political realignment. In fact, and poll after poll has borne this out, Americans simply wanted to try another hand on the tiller to see if the new guy could get the ship of state off of the rocks. Instead, we have run further aground.

Rogue States - Reason Magazine


Obamacare, Nightmare #1: Funding the high-risk pool of individuals without health insurance. At this point, some 7 million people might possibly qualify, with, perhaps, 200,000 actually covered with federal funding. Question: Where does the money come from to fund the rest? Answer: Either the states, or nowhere at all. And the states, unable to print money and burdened with their own funding issues, simply do not have the cash. And they are going Howard Beale at the prospect of having to find it.

America's New Terrorist Networks


I'd read about the report, but have not read the report...yet. Today. Worth a look.

Reid adds controversial immigration measure to defense bill -


It's all about the politics. After largely ignoring Hispanic interests within the Democratic party up to this point, the perception is that inserting DREAM legislation in the defense bill will result in a failure to get 60 votes. This, in turn, will prompt Reid to pull it from the bill to gain passage, but not before realizing some small, partisan advantage by making the GOP go on record as having opposed it. Lost in the calculation is one salient fact; Hispanic activists are not stupid and they can smell cynicism every bit as well as anyone else.

Chinese think tank warns US it will emerge as loser in trade war - Telegraph


China has some problems with basic economic theory. Ok. It dumps its US holdings on the market. Which lowers the value of the dollar worldwide relative to other currencies. Which makes it cheaper worldwide for people to buy goods and services from the US. Explain, please, how this hurts the US? Use small words.

Swimming in chlorinated pools can lead to cancer


This just in. It's official. Everything causes cancer.

Christine O'Donnell upsets Mike Castle in Delaware Senate primary


Whether you like it or not (and, clearly, most political observers do not), the Tea Party movement is making itself heard in shocking fashion. The Establishment ought to be running more than a little scared.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lawsuit on Obama health plan likely going to trial


It's more interesting than this. Apparently, Obamacare lacks a severability clause (which allows sections of a bill not stricken down by the courts to survive intact), resulting from the fact that the House passed the Senate version, which lacked one. In essence, this makes the argument simple: if ANY part of Obamacare is unconstitutional, the whole bill falls. And the individual mandate will, I suspect, be overruled - by SCOTUS, if not earlier.

TARP: Success that none dare mention -


The fact that it stopped the catastrophic bleeding to one side, we are still confronted with two uncomfortable truths: 1. The mindset that fueled the sub-prime mortgage crisis is largely unchecked; and 2. There is still some question as to whether it would have been better in the long run to simply let the market evaporate Bear-Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG in one fell swoop. Capitalism being, after all, defined by Joseph Schumpeter as 'creative destruction." Regardless, a nice overview of post TARP realities.

Henry Waxman: Democrats would push climate legislation in 2011


The economy isn't in bad enough shape, apparently. Give him another chance, and Henry Waxman is determined to make things even worse.

In France, You Can Pump Your Own Wine by the Liter, Gas Station-Style | Geekosystem


This makes me four or five different kinds of happy. Now, if we could just come up with a system for self-serve Guinness...

Stephen Williamson: New Monetarist Economics


After Krugman, hammer and tongs. And he has a point.

Man-Made: Baby Boy's Development May Predict Young Man's Success


Feed your boy early and often: apparently, growth in the first six months of life predicts his masculine characteristics throughout life.

The imam behind the New York mosque enjoys his megaphone


Milbank pretty much dead on target.

What the Earth Knows: an article by Robert B. Laughlin


This ties into the George Will piece listed below. Robert Laughlin talks about the condition of the earth at present qua earth seen through the prism of geologic time. Thought provoking.

George Will: Earth Doesn't Care What Is Done to It


More sensible conversation from Will.

Violent crime continues to plummet as gun ownership skyrockets


Courtesy the Instapundit.

Concerning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Recently, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips rendered up an opinion on the military's policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) regarding gay service members. Citing 1st Amendment and the Due Process clause, she ruled it an unconstitutional intrusion into the lives of gays and lesbians serving in the Armed Forces, and noted that the policy does nothing to promote military readiness or maintain good order in the services.

Predictably, I have a problem with her decision, because I find her opinion a drastic overreach of judicial authority. On the other hand, I have no problem AT ALL with the result. DADT was never more than a stop gap between complete intolerance of homosexuality within the Armed Services up to its implementation, and open acceptance of gays and lesbians within the ranks. It was, in its time, drastic, though still incremental, change.

I served in the USAF between 1983 and 1987, and during that time homosexuals would be discharged when discovered. In spite of that, I knowingly served with gays and lesbians; many of them. I have absolutely no doubt about that, and neither did anyone else, even if no one came out and said what everyone knew to be irrefutable fact. And nothing, precisely, NOTHING, happened either way.

We all did our jobs. When we were not on duty, we went our separate ways. On duty, I have no knowledge of anyone being creeped on in showers or propositioned in bathrooms; if there were propositions, whatever the polarity of the participants, things were kept private between consenting adults. In short, the military survived just fine and so did we.

So why do I have a problem with this judge making this ruling at this time?

Because military justice and military behavior are not, strictly speaking, covered under the Constitution. The military is a special case, carefully circumscribed and subject to its own rules and regulations.

Service members do not face civil justice for crimes they commit in the military; they face military justice because the standards of behavior and deportment are a very great deal more strict and rigid. They have to be. In the military, what you are allowed to say, how you are allowed to behave, and what you are allowed to do are regulated and deviation is proscribed. The reason is obvious. In wartime, in battle, and under pressure, everyone from the highest ranking general to the lowest buck private has to know how the people around them will behave, and that behavior, in mixed services, always involves how people relate to each other.

For these and many other reasons, fraternization has always been frowned upon as being deleterious to good order. But while fraternization between males and females can be avoided in the most stressful situations simply by segregating one from the other (females are not allowed to serve on the front lines, for instance), how can anyone stop single sex fraternization if one cannot tell the difference between gays and straights? The short answer is that you can't. The longer answer is that you can, but you have to be persistent. DADT basically suggests that the military won't go looking for homosexuals if service members don't make an issue of their sexuality.

Whether any or all of this was necessary is debatable, and it probably should be debated. At the time the policy was put into place, society was still coming to grips with the emergence of gays and lesbians into the mainstream. In that atmosphere, DADT was a significant improvement over the policies previously in place, which basically came down to giving suspected homosexuals a bad conduct discharge. And while DADT appears restrictive and, in some respects, unjust today, we need to remember that issues considered unthinkable a scant ten years ago today are being debated openly, and that is all to the good.

Frankly, the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is already coming. I do not expect it to survive another election cycle, and it will come as a result of changing societal norms and the evolving perceptions of what works and does not work within the military itself. I find that to be a good thing. And it is even better if the agreement is broadly reached and concluded, rather than narrowly decided by one judge writing in Riverside, California.

Stabenow: Female pols superior to men - The Michigan View


Clearly, she has a right to her opinion, even if she is delusional. In a just world, she would have to explain her opinion to Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Johnson and FDR, just for starters. Throw in Richard Russell, Tip O'Neill and Robert Byrd, just to make things interesting. You'll note that all are Democrats; we don't want to shock the Senator by having her humiliated by Republicans, too.

Faiz Khan, associate of Ground Zero mosque imam, believes 9/11 was "inside job"


Hard to believe this is in any way helpful.

Final round primary voters in 7 states set tickets


If your state is voting, and if you can, go vote.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Islam must turn other cheek - The Detroit News


Precisely so.

The Money of Fools - Thomas Sowell


Thomas Sowell is indispensable. We have but the one, and can use multitudes. Dead on target, as always.

What Went Wrong for Obama and the Dems - Newsweek


Howard Fineman on what happened to the President's mandate for change (hint: it didn't exist), and what the fall's elections portend for the future of his presidency. - Values Added: American Muslim


Views of Islam that are in sharp contrast with those represented in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan...or among Islamists. Excellent.

Government Stifles Criticism of Obamacare


Not exactly what one wants from their government...

The Problem with Islam

If we choose to measure Islam by the relatively evolved standards of Western Civilization, we find Islam very much lacking in basic respect for individual freedom and political autonomy. And even if we choose not to look at Islam from our own, admittedly biased perspective, we still objectively find that people who live in the West have more freedom, more wealth, and more opportunities to do what we want when we want to do it. Also, if one happens to be female, living under the Western democratic tradition means that a woman may own property, may not be considered the property of either her family or her husband, and may follow her dreams of education, work, or personal advancement wherever they take her.

But we are not supposed to look at these things objectively, lest we be thought xenophobic or ethnocentric. Personally, however, I find nothing wrong, at all, with the idea of looking objectively at systems of government or societal organization and considering where I would choose to live, given the choice. And, given the choice, it would not be in a country dominated by Islam.

In the West, we have a long history of government dominated by religion. The Protestant Reformation was merely the first hammerblow to that domination by the Catholic Church throughout Western Europe, and echoes of that struggle remain. The Spanish Inquisition, the repression of the Huguenots, the burning of apostates and rival claimants to the religious mainstream all grew from a simple, brutal fact: The Church had more power over the lives of its adherents than did the governments of the countries in which they lived. Princes and potentates knew that and had to take it into account.

But through long centuries of the Enlightenment and reformation, we managed to grow out of our medieval period. We have adopted, in ways large and small, bulwarks against religion in our secular laws and democratic governments. In the United States, we have a separation between church and state, and we take it with deadly and resolute seriousness. We guard against the hand of religion in our laws, and we fight back at the first sign of religious influence in our government or laws.

Islam, by contrast, has had nothing on the order of a reformation, and its adherents insist that laws and government be in accordance with Sharia law, i.e., the word of Allah and His Prophet Mohammed. To greater and lesser degrees, countries with large Muslim populations have instituted Sharia, though there continues to be questions of interpretation, depending on one's sect; Sunnis view Sharia somewhat differently than Shia, who have a different view than the Sufis, and doctrinaire differences proliferate. But it is also true that among Islamist Muslims, generally followers of Wahhabist beliefs, Sharia comes down to subjection of individuals and states to the will of Allah, as interpreted by them. Given all of this, what we see in countries dominated by Islam is a willingness on the part of the general population and, most particularly, the fanatics, to subsume both individuals and the state to religion.

It is also true that the governments affected by this mindset have a somewhat different opinion, one quite probably shared by kings and princes of our own Western past. What they desire and try to accomplish is the channeling of Islam to support their own ambitions and governments, and some have been quite repressive in the pursuit of power over religion. Hosni Mubarek in Egypt outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing it as a threat to his rule. King Hussein of Jordan periodically had skirmishes with zealots, and Saddam Hussein subsumed religion to his own cult of personality. But for every example of state subsuming religion, there are other, more current, examples of Islamist fanatics manipulating governments for the sake of religion. We see it in Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Iran; we see attempts being made in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia; and we see rather more long term plans moving forward throughout Western Europe.

It is important to be religiously tolerant. It is a Western virtue I am loath to abandon, but does that mean we must continue to be tolerant of those who are, in return, intolerant? Why is it that we in the West refuse to hold others to the same standards we hold ourselves to? If religious freedom and freedom FROM religion are ideals we hold and aspire to, I see nothing wrong with holding our friends, allies, and potential friends or allies to equally high standards.