May 30, 2003

Catchin' Up On Buffy

Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard says: "'BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER' is the best show in the history of television" and gives his favorite ten episodes in Where Do We Go from Here?
Wow. Pretty high praise. Then Andrew Stuttaford opines that "No, there are a couple better..."
Okay, so guys who are smart enough to read Oakeshott are arguing whether this teen show I have missed for seven years is #1 or #3. Hmmm. I am trying to catch up. I have watched a few and, yes, there is something to them. Not watching much TV dramas or sitcoms, I catch all the good ones in reruns but this one got right by me.

Posted by jk at 05:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Weekly Column

Where jk describes where President Clinton was better than W, says that VP Gore may have handled 9/11 effectively and lauds two gub'mint bureaucrats. Man, you gotta read that!

Posted by jk at 12:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

May 29, 2003

Now it's too small...

No tittering in the back, class! I am talking tax cuts here!

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) cannot understand why poor families are not getting tax rebates. And Brian at Wunderkinder agrees with her.

Senator Lincoln's problem is that we are not rebating taxes to those who pay no taxes. She is upset about this after she opposed all of the tax cuts as being "fiscally irresponsible," "driving up the deficit," &c. Now the complaint is that we didn't take the opportunity to take billions from people who make $20,100 and give it to those who make $19,900.

Posted by jk at 12:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

Her Blondeness

I confess. I always enjoy reading Ann Coulter and frequently agree with her. Yes, she goes over the top a bit and I've never come to terms with the contretemps at National Review Online, but she has an acerbic humor that conservatism lacks (our own Paul Begala, she just happens to be smart, honest, and more attractive).
She's not for everybody, but her whack at global warming is awesome!
"Since then, evidence disproving 'global warming' has been pouring in. God knows how many trees had to be sacrificed to print new data refuting global warming."

Posted by jk at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 28, 2003

Stealing my Column

In the spirit of Jayson Blair, I think I may just steal my weekly column this week from the Wall Street Journal. In Health Insurance on the Web (paid site only, sorry) they propose a free market solution to Health Care: it is called competition.
"New Jersey's regulators, for example, have the power to tell insurers what kind of policies they must offer, and its regulators can enforce those restrictions on companies from other states trying to sell policies to New Jersey residents. That's why you can buy a mortgage or an automobile on the Internet from anywhere in the country, but you still can't shop around for a family health policy."
...
"Then there are 'guaranteed issue' rules that require insurers to accept everyone who applies, no matter how sick. This sounds great. But if people know they can get insured when they're sick, they're less inclined to buy insurance when they're healthy. This shrinks the overall insurance pool, raising prices again. States like New Hampshire and Kentucky repealed guaranteed issue after it nearly wrecked their insurance markets."

Posted by jk at 09:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 27, 2003

Letter from Canada

I got an interesting email today. Forwarded a few times, so I cannot vouch for its veracity, but there is a good point. Why did Canada break off from the US, what does she gain, and as the letter asks "What now for Canada?"
"A century of moral capital, accumulated painfully in the Boer War, two World Wars and the Korean War, is now utterly spent. At least the French acted in self-interest -- trying to protect $35-billion in oil and arms contracts with Iraq. What treasure did Canadians get in exchange for renouncing our title as a reliable ally?" Click "Continue..." to read the whole letter.
David Frum pointed out that when the case of Mad Cow was found in Alberta, PM Chretien could have sure used a friend in the White House, to whom he could turn for help.
I don't suggest vindictiveness but we have a right to choose our friends and allies.

What now for Canada?
We know what now for Iraq: Liberation and reconstruction, like Germany and Japan after the Second World War. For the U.S., the U.K. and Australia: Moral vindication and a new and invigorated alliance, informally dubbed the Anglosphere.
For Germany: Economic loss and strategic marginalization, as U.S. Military bases there are gradually relocated to friendlier countries like Poland, Bulgaria or Romania.
For France: Dashed dreams of presiding over a European Union Counterweight to the U.S. By fomenting a parliamentary rebellion against Britain's Tony Blair and publicly belittling Eastern European countries that backed the U.S., Jacques Chirac has fractured the united Europe that he had hoped to lead.
For Iran and North Korea, the two remaining countries in George W. Bush's Axis of Evil: A powerful lesson about the difference between the willpower of this American president and the last one.
For the UN: A collapse in credibility on par with the League of Nations, and for the same reason -- caviling in the face of evil. This affects more than just the talk-shop called the Security Council. It also delegitimizes the UN's pet projects, from the anti-industrial Kyoto Protocol, to the star chambers of the International Criminal Court, to the eugenics programs of the UN Population Fund.
The UN's reputation of high-minded morality has been shattered; Kofi Annan is no longer a politically correct symbol of a futuristic, international harmony. He is now seen for what he is: An unelected, unaccountable diplomat from Ghana who is paid a huge sum to act as a lawyer for the world's dictators and America-haters.
But what now for Canada?
A century of moral capital, accumulated painfully in the Boer War, two World Wars and the Korean War, is now utterly spent. At least the French acted in self-interest -- trying to protect $35-billion in oil and arms contracts with Iraq. What treasure did Canadians get in exchange for renouncing our title as a reliable ally?
We were once influential in the great matters of the day. In 1941, we hosted Churchill and Roosevelt off the coast of Newfoundland; in 1956, we helped broker a resolution to the Suez crisis. We used to punch above our weight in international affairs. How different things are now.
Take last week's war summit in the Azores. If Bush and Blair had been the only leaders there, Canada's absence Could be understandable -- we are not in their military league. But the Spanish and the Portuguese leaders were there, too. That is a club to which we ought to belong. We once did. We no longer do.
We are not even on America's official list of 45 allies, published by The White House last week. Azerbaijan is on the list. So is Mongolia. Palau is, too. Most people didn't even know Palau is a country. Now They know. Because now it matters!
We're not on that list. But don't worry. Our prime minister has been making new friends. You see, the day after Chretien was not invited to the Azores summit, he held his own summit, in Ottawa, with Joaquim Chissano. Who's he? Why, he's the president of Mozambique, a country of 20-million people with just 90,000 phone lines, where the life expectancy is 35 years, and where per capita GDP is $1,300.
He's not on the White House list of allies either.
"Canada looks forward to this opportunity to further our political and commercial relations with Mozambique," gushed Chretien.
That's our league now.

Posted by jk at 09:45 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 26, 2003

Lincoln's Letter to Mrs. Bixby


Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts:
DEAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln.

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to The Harvard Classics

Posted by jk at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Memorial Day

On this military remembrance holiday, originated as Decoration Day in 1868 to memorialize the dead on both sides of America’s Civil War, I would like to share a few famous quotations on the subject of war. They all appear on one of my favorite web sites, Freedom’s Nest: Anti-conservative. Anti-liberal. Pro-freedom.

The fact that slaughter [in battle] is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.
- Carl von Clausewitz

Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.
- Demosthenes

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.
- George Orwell

A war is not won if the defeated enemy has not been turned into a friend.
- Eric Hoffer

We have a solution for war. It is to expand the sphere of liberty.
- Rudolph Rummel

And finally, here is Cox and Forkum's Memorial Day post.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:22 AM | What do you think? [1]

May 25, 2003

An "itty-bitty" tax cut

Three cheers for President Bush. After his persuasive efforts with congressional leaders summoned to the White House, the US Senate on Friday voted to agree to the federal tax cut bill passed by the House on the previous day. All that separates the bill from implementation is the president's signature.

The measure drops stock dividend and capital gains tax rates to a maximum of 15 percent and lowers all marginal income tax rates across the board. This tax cut is actually larger than the one President Bush lobbied for in the first place but uses a classic congressional ploy, the sunset provision, to camouflage it’s larger significance. Although the tax cut is admirably large and will provide substantial “stimulus” to our economy I agree with Tom DeLay’s assessment that this is only a first step in tax relief.

There are so many things to say in praise of this paring back of the welfare state in America, but it can well be summed up in the words of Rush Limbaugh, “The economic slowdown is officially over.”

UPDATE: Today on Fox News Sunday, Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman was asked about the sunset provisions in this tax cut, "if you were president, would you allow those tax cuts to expire, and taxes to go back up in the years 2005 and 2008?"

Lieberman's responses included, "...these folks are making a bet...and the problem is they're betting our money." This quip supports the belief of 79 percent of Americans in a recent poll that Congress "thinks of tax revenues as their money to spend as they wish," while only 14 percent believe Congress thinks of it as "taxpayer money to spend carefully."

He also said, "we need $150 billion [in cuts] this year, and no more after that for a while." My interpretation of candidate Lieberman's answer to the question asked is, "Why, of course I would."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [1]

May 23, 2003

Dear Andrew,

Andrew sez: "True fiscal conservatives might want to rethink their long-standing preference for Republicans."

One, two, three....ok, I've considered it -- and decided against. His point is how well many Democratic State legislators and Governors have done on spending vis-à-vis Republicans. That's a good point and I'll assume that he's right.

But the national Democrats' spending is certainly more aggressive than their colleagues across the aisle. I cannot see how putting Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Clinton, Sen. Kennedy in charge is going to cut spending.

Lastly, I'd like to compare what they're spending on. My (admittedly partisan) guess is that more of the Republican spending is on defense and other constitutionally mandated activities.

And they're free from Pork? Of course not, Sen. Stevens and Sen. Lott are bringing it home in buckets. I won't defend it but I will say that they are competing with or placating the Dems.

Posted by jk at 09:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

Diets, Fast Food, Free Markets

Got it all today in my weekly column. It may be a bit disjointed but I promise it's all there. Cheers, jk

Posted by jk at 08:10 AM | What do you think? [2]

May 22, 2003

3 Minutes to Ruin Your Day

As blogger Damian Penny (Daimnation!) says, "Next time a European complains about how unsophisticated we North Americans are, remind them of Austria's 'Eurovision Song Contest' entry" Watch the video if you've a strong stomach...

UPDATE: This is a good blog, henceforth to be found on the blogroll...

Posted by jk at 03:00 PM | What do you think? [1]

Naive spelled backwards

Taranto scores in Best of the Web Today:
"France's President Jacques Chirac 'is preparing to embarrass President Bush at the forthcoming G8 summit in France by laying out an agenda heavy on environmental, development and economic issues and light on the fight against terrorism,' London's Daily Telegraph reports. It's not clear why such irrelevant exhibitionism should embarrass anyone but Chirac.
"The summit will be held in the lakeside town of Evian, named after the French word for 'naive spelled backwards.'"

Posted by jk at 02:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

May 21, 2003

American-style gun control comes to Iraq

This NY Times story (believe at your own risk) reports that allied authorities in Iraq are about to implement a ban on fully automatic rifles, along with other more destructive weapons. “Only Iraqis authorized to use military-type weapons because of their police or military duties will be exempt.” So Iraq will have a similar situation as exists in the United States, with the police having more firepower than the citizens they protect.

This makes perfect sense in postwar Iraq, on a temporary basis, but the real question is why do we have a virtually identical policy on automatic rifles in America, where civil disorder on the scale of that in Iraq hasn’t been seen since the civil war?

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:01 AM | What do you think? [2]

"Whack-a-mole"

Way back in March, during the “Saddam Hussein era,” I blogged that many of those against the forceful overthrow of Saddam’s government endorsed a “whack-a-mole” strategy for dealing with international threats. Yesterday, Cox and Forkum posted a January 2003 print cartoon making the same analogy, although it focuses specifically on the threat of al Qaeda terrorists. Rather than endlessly whack the individual moles, the cartoon suggests pulling the plug on their sources of power: Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In a closely related cartoon we can see that, as the anti-war activists claim, it really IS “all about oil.”

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

Letter from Iraq

The Weekly Standard has reported that things are not as bad in Iraq as we hear. Yet I also read what I believe to be reliable sources that say it's out of control. I'm in Colorado; I have no idear. But here is an interesting letter from a Marine. Click "Continue..." to read the whole letter.

Semper Fi, Neil, and thanks for your service.

Just wanted to check in and say hello and tell you that everything is fine here in Al Hillah, Iraq, (Babylon). I am living right near the ruins of Babylon and got a chance to walk through the ruins and check the place out. It is amazing to see the history that has been bottled up here for 30 years or more. I actually was in "Daniel's lions den." Also got to see the famous lion of Babylon. Today the Marines re-dedicated a WWI British cemetery that had been trashed by the regime. There are UK soldiers buried there from the Al Kut battle in WWI and from Gallipoli. There is even a headstone with the name "Harry Potter." The regime had destroyed a cross and a local resident had a picture of it from 1972 and he gave it to the Seabees who rebuilt it for the dedication. Those Seabees are magic men and women. They are mostly reservists and all great at what they do. The Iraqi people were also very happy to help and said that they liked the cemetery as it was once a nice peaceful place and now it's back to good condition. Up until 2 weeks ago it was being used as a trash dump.

Also wanted to give you all straight scoop on the efforts going on here. The Marines and Army have made great strides in maintaining order and making this place stable again despite what you read in the press. As we know, some of them like to concentrate on the "conflict" angle and like to report bad news because it sells, but I can tell you I honestly see good things everyday. The people of Iraq are generally happy that we are here. I drove to Najaf and Karbala the other day and people were coming out of their homes to wave to us and the kids all line the streets and say "GOOD MISTAH!".

There is alot of work to be done and I read alot of stuff in my job that has press reports of people protesting and wanting us to leave, but in the Marine AO, I can tell you that people are glad to have us here. We are training up their local police forces and trying to work with the good ones and flush out the bad ones. Things are improving on that front. The food situation is really good and people have enough food and water. There is actually a train heading north to our area with 800K metric tons of food - talk about a big dinner. The crops here are about to be harvested and that is good too - date palms were recently sprayed and farmers have water in their fields. We are coordinating with all kinds of Non-government agencies, who don't necessarily like to associate themselves with the military, unless they need security. They are doing good work too here. They assessed all our areas "permissive" which means more agencies can come in and work with reasonable expectation that it is safe. Schools are getting back to normal and hospitals are working. Flights have arrived with food and some of them commercial. Marines ate breakfast with a local school that wanted to show their appreciation. People seem generally relaxed and working toward fixing things. I think whatever protesters are around are olds regime supporters who are mad they don't get free stuff from Saddam anymore . Gas is still an issue, but we're trying to fix that too. People wait in lines for gas, but they have it and busses are taking people where they need to go. It doesn't help that their own people looted most of the power grids and public utilities, but we're fixing that too. Schools and universities are getting back to business and power is steadily resuming. Interestingly, some areas are better than before and alot of the breakdown in services happened before we even got here. One town had all 16 garbage trucks stripped of parts, but the Marines and Seabees are fixing them up so that trash can be collected. When you think of all the things that make a country run down to water and garbage, we've made HUGE progress in getting things back on track, so listen to the media with an eye of caution. Most of the media have not come down to the Marine AO because there is no bad news. Today a little girl was brought to the gate. She was 2 and recently had a hernia operation that had gone bad. We took her in and MEDEVAC'd her and her family to receive treatment. Those little things are the things that never make the news. Little by little things are getting better and you can be so proud of the young Marines and sailors that are out here making things happen instead of criticizing from back in the states.

So that's what's going on here from the horses mouth. Hit me with any questions you have and I'll be glad to answer them if I can. And if you hear people talking bad about what the US is doing now, think about how hard it would be in your town to restore order. These folks are on track. Imagine, less than a month ago, there was a war!

I'm looking forward to coming home and relaxing with the family. I miss all you guys and look forward to this summer.

Take care!

Semper Fi

Neil

Posted by jk at 07:30 AM | What do you think? [1]

May 20, 2003

The Republic trembles

Benjamin Franklin, after signing the United States Constitution proclaimed, "Gentlemen, we give you a Republic - if you can keep it." A recent development shows yet again how the foundation of that Republic is trembling. This draft articles of impeachment of President Bush, plus Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft, consists of seventeen relativistic political gripes against the current administration. According to the website it appears on, the draft was concocted by a former U.S. government official, Attorney General Ramsey Clark of the Johnson administration. While all of the arguments are largely or completely specious, and the effort to impeach obviously will go nowhere, some of the charges are noteworthy.

Charge 15 condemns the adminstration for the act of investigating and preempting middle-eastern Islamic terrorists in the U.S. by investigating and surveiling middle-eastern and Islamic individuals. They villify this practical approach as "racial and religious profiling." High crime? Hardly. Misdemeanor? Nope. Demagoguery? Getting warmer!

Charge 17 proposes that the President should be removed from office for rejecting various international treaties and withdrawal from others that we're already signatories to. The last time I checked, this is a major component of the job description for "President of the United States of America."

(One wonders why the charges of "selected, not elected," and "tax cuts for the rich" were omitted from the list.)

Yet the most incredible and sinister charge is number 6. In order to make the charge seem legimate, AG Clark elevates both "the Charter of the United Nations and international law" to the status of "Supreme Law of the land," (yes, THIS land) as described "under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution." Chilling? Brrrr.

That a former legal officer of the federal government can soberly make such a claim is a bright flashing warning sign to all of us who value individual liberty.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [2]

I Shouldn't Post This...


...but I gotta.

Posted by jk at 09:56 AM | What do you think? [1]

May 19, 2003

SF: End of the Line

His Derbness has a great column today on homelessness in San Francisco.
"When you cross the United States from the east coast, San Francisco is the end of the line, the last stop on the long cross-country trail. It is also the end point of liberalism, as foreseen by Rudyard Kipling: the point at which 'all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins.' You can't go any further than this geographically without falling into the ocean; you can't go any further than San Francisco has gone in yielding to the 'rights' of people who acknowledge no balancing duties, no responsibility whatsoever to their fellow citizens, nor even to their own persons. "
I have not been there for a few years but I have heard enough of these stories -- also from far more liberal Chris Matthews -- that I have lost any desire to go back. Every American has an intrinsic love of San Francisco. Look what a couple of decades of Willie Brown and Diane Feinstein have wrought.

Posted by jk at 09:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 17, 2003

France vs. Colorado

I once blogged ( favorably) about my Guv snubbing Consul General Jean-Luc Sibiude of France, by denying a meeting. John Miller, thinks this may have started a trade war.

"Two weeks later, Jean-Francois Boitton of the French embassy in Washington, D.C., retaliated. "I draw from your comments," he sniffed in a letter to Owens, 'the conclusion that I should strongly discourage French firms from considering investing in a state where they are not welcome.' He went on to write that the governors of Maryland and Mississippi recently 'extended a warm welcome to French investors.'"

As a free trader, I roll my eyes at economic blackmail. As a proud resident of the State of Colorado, though, I am ready to rumble. "Not one penny for tribute!" (Miller debunks this great quote in the article--it appears Pickney never said it. Oh well, c'est la vie).
Posted by jk at 12:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

William Kristol on the NYTimes Imbroglio

"Still, the simple truth is that a great democracy like ours deserves a first-rate newspaper of record. And the New York Times isn't it."
Bill Kristol writes a thoughtful non-screed on the problems on 43rd Street.
America's Next Great Newspaper is realistic and magnanimous, yet it reaches a dire conclusion:
"Even if Raines were to go, everything we know about Sulzberger suggests his next pick would be no improvement. Fundamental regime change at the New York Times is not in the cards. Inspections and sanctions won't work. Even the French can't help. The Times is irredeemable. The question is whether a new newspaper of record will replace it."

Posted by jk at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

May 16, 2003

Self-Blogging

There is a great line in Moss Hart's play "You Can't Take It With You" where we find that one of the characters became a writer "when a typewriter was delivered by mistake." That's me!

Now that I have done two columns, in two consecutive weeks, I can call it weekly. I'd be most honored if any of you dropped by to read. The first two, like the blog, reflect my appreciation for free market economics. Read today's

Posted by jk at 09:34 AM | What do you think? [2]

May 15, 2003

WELCOME!!!

I don't use three exclamation marks lightly, but I've just read the greatest news! Larry Elder has changed his voter registration to "Republican."
"So, after much soul-searching, on Friday, May 9, 2003, I filed to change my voter registration to the Republican Party. Not because I find the party pure -- indeed, many Republicans like Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. Yet, because of my Republican friends such as Congressman David Dreier, R-Calif., writer-director-producer Lionel Chetwynd, and many others, I have a greater understanding of the day-to-day difficulty of moving intransigent Democrats, and some Republicans, in the right direction. I can exercise greater effectiveness cajoling, pushing and advocating on the inside, than nagging as an independent from the outside."
Larry Elder's "Ten Things You Can't Say In America" is an incredible book and his columns are always sagacity-packed. Libertarians are needed in the GOP, not only for their votes and resources -- but also for their ideas. I am hoping for a little-l renaissance in big-R land. Larry Elder is a great start!
The Weekly Standard had a list of at least three Senatorial races that seemed to go Democratic because of a Libertarian candidate. I am skeptical of this type of electoral math. But if it is true, you can hardly think that Libertarians' beliefs were served by sending Maria Cantwell and Debbie Stabenow to the US Senate.

This will be my new crusade: bring recalcitrant Libertarians into the GOP. Maybe I'll start with JohnGalt...

UPDATE: There is a good discussion on this topic at samizdata.net.

Posted by jk at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [2]

Lady Thatcher

Giants have walked this planet. Read every word of this Times Online piece. She takes a whack at the French, praises President Bush (and Labor PM Blair) and is so purely Maggie:
"Lady Thatcher warned that America and Britain faced a 'pervasive culture of anti-Westernism' that needed to be challenged. 'There are too many people who imagine that there is something sophisticated about always believing the best of those who hate your country, and the worst of those who defend it.'"
Like Andrew Sullivan, "I miss her."

Posted by jk at 09:09 AM | What do you think? [1]

May 14, 2003

SARS and Freedom

Medicine is not my thing. A poignant comment of SARS would be completely beyond my faculties. But Claudia Rosett at the WSJ has drawn the line between tyranny and SARS.
"Former unelected president Jiang Zemin, now cast as the bad cop, is presumed to be tussling with his unelected successor, Hu Jintao, cast in this round as the good cop. The truth is that all Communist Party members who have a hand in the command of China are complicit in the system. And they still fail to grasp the principle that tyranny is wrong. They seem chiefly sorry not that they run a repressive state, prone to breed and spread trouble, but simply that in this case, they could not hide it."

In the same vein, Mark Steyn has a nice riff on socialized medicine's complicity in not stopping or identifying the disease in Toronto. Mark is tough on the health care system but he draws a devastating timeline that shows malfeasance and malpractice.
"In rural China, SARS got its start through the population’s close contact with farm animals. In Hong Kong, it was spread by casual contact in the lobby, elevators and other public areas of the Metropole Hotel. Only in Canada does the virus owe its grip on the population to the active cooperation of the medical profession. In Toronto, the system that’s supposed to protect us from infection instead infected us. They breached the most basic medical principle: first do no harm. Even after they knew it was SARS, Scarborough Grace kept making things worse."

Posted by jk at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

May 12, 2003

Sen. Byrd, II

Kathleen Parker is no more impressed than I am at Senator Byrd's carping. She likens Sen. Byrd and Rep Waxman to the Taco Bell Chihuahua:
"As one-two punches go, the Byrd-Waxman sally was a bad day for nerds everywhere. Performing a whiney duet of the desperate, they managed to evoke images of skinny boys studying the quarterback's swagger for clues on cool. It's almost as painful to watch them contort in envy as it must have been for them to watch Bush, a stud muffin no matter what his other flaws, arriving on a testosterone bullet to the cheers of 5,000 sailors."

UPDATE: Staying on-topic, don't miss "Cox & Forkum"

Posted by jk at 02:37 PM | What do you think? [2]

Amost Heaven, West Virginia

Some sights you'll want to be sure not to miss on your next visit to the state:
The Robert C. Byrd Highway; the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam; the Robert C. Byrd Institute; the Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center; the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program; the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope; the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing; the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse; the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center; the Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center; the Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center; the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building; the Robert C. Byrd Drive; the Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex; the Robert C. Byrd Library; the Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center; and the Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center.
A letter writer in washingtonpost.com lists these to contrast with Senator Byrd's remark that President Bush's carrier landing and subsequent speech was "flamboyant showmanship."

Thanks to WSJ opinionjournal!

UPDATE: Actually, the list comes from a (very good) Ann Coulter column.

Posted by jk at 01:27 PM | What do you think? [1]

May 10, 2003

Whither Global Warming

Well, after a morning spent shoveling our "10 year drought," I really enjoyed yet another fine article by James Glassman at TechCentralStation.com. TCS is a great site for business, politics and tech with a proclivity toward the debunking of junk science and bringing true scientific rigor to climate change and environmentalism. Glassman sees a change in the debate:
"Until very recently, the global-warming debate was dominated by the views of radical environmentalists, politicized scientists and global bureaucrats seeking new mega-projects - all, for reasons both sincere and cynical, falling on the naturalist side of the argument. But since last summer's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, there's been a pronounced change in the air."

Posted by jk at 02:52 PM | What do you think? [2]

May 09, 2003

W as 'Hottie'

JohnGalt has posted some very serious material for your Friday and I am going to push it down the page with frivolity. Sorry!
But you gotta read this WSJ piece on my beloved President's appeal beyond tax cuts:
"She looked carefully, grinned and said, 'He's a hottie. No doubt about it. Really a hottie. Why haven't I noticed this before? He looks so much better than Michael Douglas in that movie we saw,' comparing the tired, indifferent megastar of 'The American President' to the totally present leader of the free world."

Posted by jk at 12:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

9/11 Legacy: A Monument to Death and Destruction


Click image to enlarge (photo from Daniel Libeskind's web site)

Imagine in the aftermath of the tragic terror attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11, with dozens of buildings damaged or destroyed and thousands of people murdered, that the city and state of New York erected a 1600 foot tall monument to honor... the destroyers. Ludicrous, you say? It could never happen? Well, look at the picture above and you'll see with your own eyes that it is true.

This March 10 Newsweek story documents the selection of the design pictured above as the "winning design for the WTC site." But if it is ever built it will be a tragedy of American cultural mutilation. The designer, Daniel Libeskind, is portrayed as a "revered avant-garde theorist" who never built a real building for the first 20 years of his career. Now his design to rebuild the most important site in modern history is being praised because it is "contemporary" and "innovative design." While I am wholly in favor of these ideas, I can also judge for myself the symbolism of an architectural creation, and this one is abhorrent.

Just look at the towers themselves. The roofs are all slanted toward the epicenter of the destruction of the former towers, and two of them even have additional facets representing the collapse of the floors above. Far fetched you say? Hardly. Look at ground level where the former towers stood and you will see half a dozen prismatic shapes symbolically representing the remains of the collapsed upper floors of the surrounding buildings. And the arc-shaped decorative roof encircling the southwest quadrant of the site represents a radiating shock wave eminating from an implied focal point of destruction.

And one of the centerpieces of the design, the 1600 foot tall latticework tower, bears an eerie resemblance to the sole feature that remained of the original towers - the corner section of the base of one tower. This new tower, with no outer skin and listing to the side of and partially attached to the adjacent building, is a cold steel symbol of architectural destruction.

It is no accident that the tallest structure of this design is lifeless and empty compared to the rest of the new structures which are all less than 70 stories tall. The idea being expressed by this cutting-edge, "world-class radical architect" is that no building (and no man) must dare to rise above those around him. It is a monument not only to death and destruction, but to mediocrity, conformity, and egalitarianism. It is antithetical to everything good that America stands for. It must never be built.

It is time for America to shine a giant spotlight into the night sky in the shape of the letters "H.R." America's WTC redevelopment must be designed by someone else - the real-life incarnation of Howard Roark.

Note- I have been sitting on this story since March due to the more pressing matter of Liberating Iraq.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [0]

NASA Respects status quo more than the truth

It was clear from the days following the Columbia disaster that problems in the NASA bureaucracy contributed to the crash. Now the investigating board, appointed by the NASA administrator himself, is citing national defense privilege and promises a Warren Commission-like result of the investigation.

"Under the board's policy, none of that testimony will ever be shared with the public or members of Congress. And none will be summarized in the board's final report, which is due out this summer."

Congress and the President must not allow NASA to sweep their embarrasing organizational dysfunctions under the rug. The memories of the lost astronauts and the safety of those who follow them demand that the truth be told.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

Democrat Obstruction Day

An e-mail from the National Republican Senatorial Committee hughlights a dubious day in our history: Democrat Obstruction Day. Sen. George Allen says:

"It's been two years to the day since President Bush sent the United States Senate his first batch of judicial nominees. This was a distinguished group of men and women from all walks of life. These well qualified individuals would make outstanding judges and would adhere to a proper judicial philosophy.
"The Senate Democrats' strategy of obstructing the President's nominees from getting a fair up or down vote has unfortunately led many people to mark this two-year anniversary with a dubious label 'Democrat Obstruction Day'.
"The Senate Democrats' current efforts continue as they signal their intentions to hold simultaneous filibusters on highly qualified nominees like Priscilla Owen and Miguel Estrada. The Democratic threats don't end there because they are also threatening to target other judicial nominees for potential filibusters."

Posted by jk at 09:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 08, 2003

Pessimism of the Left

Scott at Wunderkinder takes a whack at the far-left (what he calls "The insane wing of the Democratic party, led by Ramsey Clark and Susan Sarandon and all the rest"). He makes some good points about their privilege and disingenuous tactics. But my favorite is this:
"But perhaps the worst thing, to me, is the overriding pessimism of this crowd. They no longer believe in America. They've convinced themselves that America does not, and will not, exist, no matter what they do. So they sit back, they read, and they take potshots.
"They fight amongst themselves to see who can come up with the most half-assed comparison between a Republican and an infamous character from history. "I'll give you a buck for an odious connection between Richard Perle and Idi Amin."
"They no longer fight to fix what is wrong with our country. They move into our colleges and universities, they write books about who ruined America and why it cannot be fixed, and then they teach our children how America is broken and cannot be fixed."

Posted by jk at 01:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

An Iraqi Poet

Very powerful guest editorial in the WSJ today, available on the free site.

"No, believe it or not, Iraqis of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions were liberated by young men and women who came from the other side of the world--from California and Wyoming, from New York, Glasgow, London, Sydney and Gdansk to risk their lives, and for some to die, so that my people can live in dignity.

"Those who died to liberate our country are heroes in their own lands. For us they will be martyrs and heroes. They have gained an eternal place in our hearts, one that is forever reserved for those who gave their lives in more than three decades of struggle against the Baathist regime."

Posted by jk at 07:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 07, 2003

John Derbyshire

I suppose reviewing a book signing is about as far down the Journalism/Literature ladder as you can go [No, jk, blogging is!] but I have to say that I had a great time last night at the Boulder Bookstore to meet John Derbyshire (of National Review Fame) and get an autographed copy of his book, "Prime Obsession."

I was a Math major for the first leg of my long and non-contiguous college career. Like Derb, I love it and like Derb, I have to question whether I would have made it as all in that field (as opposed to millions I made as a musician). He spoke of Math and mathematicians, the publishing business, and about the Riemann Hypothesis. A good night out and I am looking forward to the book.

Here's the schedule of future events.

Posted by jk at 10:21 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 06, 2003

Blogging Myself

When I started blogging, it was my intention to pen some original essays and columns. I quickly got hooked on plan old blogging, which is fun and fills a function. But I have decided to do a weekly column of my own. They will be short as I have a terse writing style and am very lazy.

The first column is about stores I visit that provide good macro examples of good economic precepts:

"I don't have the readership to sell advertising. I don't even have verbal permission to mention these firms, much less encouragement. I bring these institutions up because each in its way validates my belief about economics and politics. Theory in a book is debatable, history is subject to interpretation, and real life has too many variables to stand up to rigorous proof. Yet I see proofs on a macro level, all the time."
Comments on the blog or mail to jk [at] berkeleysquarejazz [dot] com -- thanks!

Posted by jk at 06:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

Mr. Glover's Neighborhood

Posted by jk at 01:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

May 05, 2003

Good Economics

Samizdata is one of my favorite blogs. They had this short item yesterday:

"On May 4, 1626 American Indians agreed to sell Manhattan island to European settlers for $24 in cloth & buttons. As with most free market transactions, all parties involved were satisfied with the deal: the settlers got land to homestead, the Indians received exotic manufactured goods that were beyond their ability to produce."

There are 15 comments as I write this, most of which are very intelligent. I was brought up on the idea of "the Indians sure got ripped off." This post brings up the fact that they were not. Comment writers also point out that Manhattan is valuable now because of its development. Somebody questions the sellers' claims to ownership. And a couple of folks have a go at computing current value for $24.

Posted by jk at 01:20 PM | What do you think? [4]

May 04, 2003

Looting at the U.N.

Now, this is too good! TIME.com reports:
"Hunger pains can apparently turn even the most upstanding diplomat into a looter. At noon on Friday, food workers at the U.N. headquarters walked off their jobs, calling a wildcat strike. The result: none of the U.N.'s five restaurants and bars was staffed. The walkout left thousands of U.N. employees scrounging for lunch--eventually, the masses stripped the cafeterias of everything, including the silverware."

Obviously, anything done without the imprimatur of these sagacious diplomats would be illegitimate. Let's get these guys taking care of Iraq right away -- I am convinced!

Posted by jk at 08:26 PM | What do you think? [1]

May 03, 2003

It's Swastika-Tit Man!!

A Rabbi complained about the swastikas in this Coca-Cola promotional toy. I think that is just the tip of the iceberg in this collection of bad taste.

Apparently, the figure is called 'Robowaru.' Coke is offering its Hong Kong customers: "a Robowaru figurine as part of a set of characters from the long running 'Robocon' animated series, which originated in Japan about 30 years ago.

"The swastikas look like a Nazi icon and are also similar to a Buddhist symbol that is common in Asia."


Thanks to The Corner!

Posted by jk at 01:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Mr. Carter, meet reality"

Duplomacy.GIF

My favorite editoral cartoonists, Cox and Forkum, introduce the appeasing FORMER President to one of the realities of making deals with dictators. This makes one wonder if this FORMER President has ever attempted "diplomacy" with the current regimes in Syria or Iran.

Cox and Forkum offer commentary on their own cartoons about the dictators of North Korea and Cuba.

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:12 AM | What do you think? [3]

May 02, 2003

Mises would be proud!

The blog, "Reflections in D minor" has a good post about a favorite topic of mine: reclaiming the world "Liberal." Reading Ludwig von Mises's book "Liberalism" makes me want to cry for losing that word to the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Lynne S. Writes:
"I hereby declare the term 'neo-conservative' to be null and void! In the last congressional election a lot of Liberal Democrats voted Republican, not because we have shifted to the Right but because the Democratic Party has abandoned us to chase after the votes of a handful of anti-American Left-wing extremists." A good piece, read it all.

And WE MADE THEIR BLOGROLL!! Thanks, folks -- I will happily reciprocate!

Posted by jk at 04:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

W!

A letter to The Corner from a retired USAF Colonel:

You just can't conceive of how much we love this guy. He commands an unprecedented amount of loyalty and respect among the armed forces. He not only walks the walk, he gets the trap (Navy talk). We don't think of him as a stud; he is so much more than that. He is the guy you hang with in the flight room, the guy you hunker down in the bunker with. He is the commander that is the first on the field and the last off. He is the guy you kneel down and pray with prior to putting your life on the line one more time. He is much more than a stud, he is a fighter jock. There are few in all of the armed forces who wouldn't march into Hell for him.

(The picture is from AP/Yahoo)
Posted by jk at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [2]

Happy "May Day"

abolish_work2.jpg

The "May Day" holiday, founded in 1889 by the "Second International" in Paris, commemorates the violent events of early May, 1886 in Chicago arising from a general labor strike over a mandatory 8-hour work day. According to this web reference, "Our Daily Bleed," "on Monday, May 3, a fight involving hundreds broke out at McCormick Reaper between locked-out unionists & non-unionist workers McCormick hired to replace them." (Click on "continue reading" to see complete text of this reference.) At another protest the following day an "unidentified" individual threw a bomb that killed seven police and injured 67 others.

These events illustrate the true role of trade unions, which is to elevate the power of groups of nameless, faceless bodies above the power of individuals. Despite their rhetoric for "empowerment" of the worker, their anarchist tactics and vicious treatment of non-unionized workers proves their real concern is for the power of their gang. The unions use this power to coerce employers to pay workers more than the free market of available labor would dictate, and to keep unproductive workers on their payroll.

In contrast to such collective economic measures, the only natural and sustainable form of economy among free men, and the only one devoid of coercion, corruption and violence, is unregulated capitalism. It is also the only way to eliminate poverty. As Edwin Locke states in this editorial, "It is time to rephrase Karl Marx: Workers of the world unite for global capitalism; you have nothing to lose but your poverty."

From http://www.eskimo.com/~recall/bleed/0501.htm:

MAY DAY! MAY DAY! MAY DAY!
Hundreds of thousands of American workers, increasingly determined to resist subjugation to capitalist power, poured into a fledgling labor organization, the Knights of Labor.

Beginning on May 1, 1886, they took to the streets to demand universal adoption of the 8-hour day. Chicago was the center of the movement. Workers there had been agitating for an 8-hour day for months, & on the eve of May 1, 50,000 were already on strike. 30,000 more swelled their ranks the next day, bringing most of Chicago manufacturing to a standstill.

Fears of violent class conflict gripped the city. No violence occurred on May 1 — a Saturday — or May 2. But on Monday, May 3, a fight involving hundreds broke out at McCormick Reaper between locked-out unionists & non-unionist workers McCormick hired to replace them. The Chicago police, swollen in number & heavily armed, quickly moved in with clubs & guns to restore order. They left four unionists dead &many others wounded.

Angered by the deadly force of the police, a group of anarchists, led by August Spies & Albert Parsons, called on workers to arm themselves & participate in a massive protest demonstration in Haymarket Square on Tuesday evening, May 4. The demonstration appeared to be a complete bust, with only 3,000 assembling. But near the end of the evening, an individual, whose identity is still in dispute (possibly a police agent provocateur), threw a bomb that killed seven police & injured 67 others.

Hysterical city & state government officials rounded up eight anarchists, tried them for murder, & sentenced them to death.

On 11 November 1887, four, including Parsons & Spies, were executed. All of the executed advocated armed struggle & violence as revolutionary methods, but their prosecutors found no evidence that any had actually thrown the Haymarket bomb. They died for their words — not their deeds.

250,000 people lined Chicago's street during Parson's funeral procession to express their outrage at this gross miscarriage of justice.

For radicals & trade unionists everywhere, Haymarket became a symbol of the stark inequality & injustice of capitalist society. The May 1886 Chicago events figured prominently in the decision of the founding congress of the Second International (Paris, 1889) to make May 1, 1890 a demonstration of the solidarity & power of the international working class movement. May Day has been a celebration ever since.



Posted by JohnGalt at 09:39 AM | What do you think? [2]

May 01, 2003

Diversity in name only

Doing my part to keep things going while JK is gone... David Horowitz, long-time civil rights activist and currently director of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture details the ways in which academic leftists largely control the thoughts of students in America's universities.

"In the sixties and seventies centrist liberals controlled academic faculties. Because they were committed to pluralistic values, they opened the door to Marxists and other political ideologues. But as soon as the ideologues reached a critical mass on these faculties, they closed the doors behind them. The feudal hierarchies of the university made it relatively easy to create the closed system that is evident today."

"But my greatest gratification came afterward,... What this black student told her roommate when my speech was concluded was how much she had learned by coming to the event. "Everything I have been told all my life," she said, "has been a lie."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:21 AM | What do you think? [0]
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