June 28, 2003

Vive la Sabine!

The Telegraph (which reads even better when you're over here, by the way) highlights the growing popularity of 21 year old Sabine Herold who is talking liberty in that dark corner of the free world that we call France.

"The French long for a Margaret Thatcher to tame the over-mighty public sector trade unions, but despair of ever finding one. In the cafes of Reims, speaker after speaker deplored the weakness of President Jacques Chirac in the face of union opposition, with many echoing the withering Thatcherite critique launched against him by the 21-year-old student Sabine Herold in Paris."

Thanks to Samizdata, one of my favorite blogs, which has honored us with a slot in their blogroll. wooohooo!

Posted by jk at 01:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 27, 2003

Affirmative Action

Dan Henninger is one of the best.
Today, he contrasts the moral unambiguity of The Civil Rights Act with the bureaucratic entanglements of Grutter v. Bollinger.
"'The Law School's admissions program bears the hallmarks of a narrowly tailored plan. . . . it must be 'flexible enough to consider all pertinent elements of diversity in light of the particular qualifications of each applicant, and to place them on the same footing for consideration, although not necessarily according them the same weight.'
"Stare at that language and you don't quite know what you're supposed to do. Look at the Rev. King's language on the Mall and you know exactly what you're supposed to do."

Posted by jk at 06:40 AM | What do you think? [6]

What's Your Obit?

Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100

"Foe of Integration." After serving in the U.S. Senate for 52 years, That's the phrase Adam Clymer of the NY Times picks for the obituary headline. I wish Mr. Clymer a long and happy life but I wonder if his obit mightn't say "'Major League A**hole' dies in freak spatula accident."

I find it hard to shed crocodile tears for the Dixiecrat. But I am working on treating my political foes with respect. And I think that a NYT obit can be a little more generous.

I don't know that the Times need practice "De mortuis nil nisi bonum," but I think that the headline is inappropriate. The copy could point out that the Senator was controversial and fought on the segregation side. But I'd have kept it out of the headline. Am I taking this wrong?

UPDATE: The Microsoft spellchecker suggests "replace 'Dixiecrat' with 'Dixie Rat.'" I guess I am swimming upstream. RIP Senator.

Posted by jk at 02:22 AM | What do you think? [4]

Shout it from the rooftops!

You're not going to see this story get a lot of play, but the environment is improving. The Wall Street Journal sez (paid site only, sorry!):

"The professional green lobby is in the pessimism business. Some catastrophe always looms; we're running out of oil, the ozone layer is vanishing, or something. The EPA report -- which used data from 30 agencies, states, Indian tribes and non-profits -- found that America is turning greener all the time.

"The air is cleaner, for example, with major pollutants declining 25% over 30 years despite more people, cars and a larger economy. Of 260 U.S. metropolitan areas, 212 have pollution levels that are trending down. The days across the country in which air quality violated a health standard fell to 3% in 2001 from 10% in 1988.

"But the point the lefties miss is that only a prosperous country can afford to pay for those externalities. America only developed the political consensus to clean up the environment in the 1970s, after it had become a society of two-car garages. The key to future green progress is maintaining the free-market growth and innovation that can produce hydrogen cars or find a way to turn wind into cheap power."

Liberty can fill your heart, make you wealthy, clean up the environment, cure disease...amazing stuff, no?

PERSONAL NOTE: The quotidian details of my UK trip are being posted to my lovely wife's blog, tat ergo sum.

Posted by jk at 12:54 AM | What do you think? [7]

June 26, 2003

To column or not to column

To column or not to column,
that is the question
.

jk's not here to stop me from writing again.
Could me fun.


I'm supposed to be a liberal. I'm a woman. I'm a minority.
The thing looks like this on paper.
Woman+ Minority +Victim (if jk has sex in the oval office and I write a book about it and get millions in advance) = Liberal.

Victim. Let's see. I have too much fun not being a victim and since I didn't have older brothers I pretty much had to learn to fend for myself.

Women are powerless beings. I've been used and abused by my very powerful, therefore over sexed, husband. I make fun of Tammy (Stand by your man, give him to arms to cling to...) and stand by my man because it's just sex. I run for Senator. I win. I write a book from a victim’s perspective, make lots of money and other like-minded people tell me how smart and strong I am. I kept my last name but go by my husband's (the Womanizer) last name. I'm going for Pres. why not, women love victims. Who wouldn't vote for a woman who's been used and abused? Hell we're women, who hasn't been used and abused. We need the system to protect us. Free health care, abortions on demand and free daycare. Can I just have a cup of coffee and call it even? How about a fair tax system?

... to column or not to column, that's the question...
Whether tis more noble not to expose my messy mind
or post my ranting.
I'm going for the Ranting.
It's a hell of a lot more fun to be a crazy woman.

Later dudes!!

Did I mention that I'm the world's best Hillary fan? I love her. I hope she write a book about it taking a village to raise a Latino (Black, Asian). She could have a whole series. I'm at the book signing already.

Posted by Riza Rivera at 03:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

Affirmative Action is Crap

The joys of being a minority are I get to say stuff like that and I get to call whiny minorities, whiny minorities. Other than that I'm pretty much like jk. He can't call whiny minorities, whiny minorities. It's Racist.

All my life I have fought people thinking I am where I am because Mr. big Liberal gives me permission to get an education and work. If you're brown and could be a dirty (fill in the blank) everyone starts talking to you like you don't speak English or they are offended because I don't speak Spanish. Do they mean Spanish or Castilian? Spain ruled the Island for centuries. We lisp, so it's Castilian. My favorite: they assume I'm a wetback. The Pacific is kind of a big ocean to swim across.

Things don't change. Still same old stuff left over from the last century. Why, because we don't know how to treat people equally. Animal farm all over again. Some animals are more equal than others.

How about these simple rules. You take a test, you pass, you go to college. You apply for a job, you're the best, you get hired. You do your job well, you get more money and a promotion.

Don't even get me started on celebrating diversity.


jk's gone to England. He can't stop me from giving my two cents.

Later, I'm off to see the wizard. He's giving me a heart.

Posted by Riza Rivera at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [2]

June 25, 2003

Coffee Man in Tea Land

Well, I'm off. I will write a column or two in the UK but probably won't post much.

I'll let you know about the Tea This presents a rare link to The Guardian: "As boffins reveal the recipe for the perfect cuppa, we find the best sites on Britain's favourite beverage."

Posted by jk at 08:43 AM | What do you think? [1]

June 21, 2003

Must Read Steyn!

I know, all of his columns are must-read but this one summarizes J.K. Rodham's popular Billy Clinter books:
"But in the fourth volume events take a grim turn, as the careless schoolboy becomes aware that Professor Starr has in his laboratory a magic dress that could destroy all his and Hillary's plans. In Billy Clinter and the Chamber of Semen, Billy realises that he spinched while he was apparating, which had never happened before. This is all the fault of Moaning Monica, the intern who haunts the anteroom at Housewhites and has the rare power of Parcelmouth, the ability to look into the eye of the Basilisk, the world's smallest snake, without being petrified. Is she a Niffler or a Death Eater? Billy cannot be sure. He looks to Housewhites' giant shambling groundskeeper Reno to protect him, but she's busy raining down fire on strange cults. As the book ends, their old friend Albus Bumblegore fails to become Headmaster of Housewhites after insufficient chads are found in his sorting hat."

Posted by jk at 03:10 PM | What do you think? [1]

June 20, 2003

New Column

This week, in "Checks and Balances" I steal a riff from Jonah Goldberg and develop it into "Goldberg's Law." Britney Spears, Madonna, and Christopher Hitchens are mentioned. I, of course, hope you like it!

Posted by jk at 10:29 PM | What do you think? [5]

The Paucity of posting...

...shows no sign of abating. I will be out of town for a few days, then out of the country for a few weeks. Check every member of the Berkeley Square Blogroll everyday. If you want to a running travelogue (travelblogue?), I will be posting to my darling bride's blog, Tat Ergo Sum.

Posted by jk at 03:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Chuck Berry Knew It

"I'm so glad I'm livin' in the USA!" sang Mr. Berry over his cherry-red Gibson ES-335.
Mona Charen picks up the chorus in "Just another day in the life of freedom." She enumerates the denial of basic liberties in Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Nigeria...you get the idea. She contrasts that with the academic belief in an evil America. Good stuff!

Posted by jk at 03:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 16, 2003

Azadi, Arak, Eshgh!

Glenn Reynolds asks: "How do you say 'Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!' in Farsi?" Pejmanesque answers: "Azadi, Arak, Eshgh!" and The Everlasting Phelps gives us the flag. Spread the word...

Posted by jk at 02:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Jonah on OpinionJournal

Jonah Goldberg pens the OpinionJournal - Extra column today with a review of (whack at) Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media?" It is a good single-column-length piece that captures media bias and refutes the ludicrous new accusations that the list is toward starboard.
"Why did conservatives feel a need to set up parallel media channels, with all the effort that entailed? Because the existing structures--elite newsrooms, plus the academic, publishing and entertainment industries that intertwine with the news business--are so hostile to conservative views that the only way to compete in the public debate was to set up shop across the street."

Posted by jk at 01:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 15, 2003

E-Mail from Tehran

The Beeb web page has a collection of e-mail from Iranian protesters.
"I had a telephone conversation with my nephew who is 22 and lives in Tehran. He told me that he had never in his life run the way he did two nights ago when he went to the demonstrations in Tehran. The vigilantes had ran after him with chains and clubs, the reason being that he saw them beating a girl to death and she was bleeding. He said four of them were at her and kicking her in the head, stomach and another one was beating her with the chain he had. So he shouted you sons of the bitches, leave her alone, you animals..... Then they ran after him and luckily he managed to escape from them."
-- Shahrokh Biniaz, Kuwait

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan

Also, ZogbyBlog, brings links to a blog "Notes of an Iranian Girl" and the admonition "If you have a strong stomach, follow her links"

I confess to a feeling of "be careful what you wish for" with these. I want revolution in Iran but feel sorrow reading about the torture and beating these people endure for their shot at liberty. Good luck, brothers and sisters. Good luck.

UPDATE: Whom else but Michael Ledeen to turn to for this:
"You never know what will provide the spark for revolution. The most you can expect from a good analyst is the recognition of what the Marxists used to call a "revolutionary situation," but the crucial ingredient is impossible to measure (which is why the so-called social scientists have never been very good at predicting revolutions). It can only be sniffed out, and the revolutionaries are the first to know. They smell rot and fear coming from the corridors of power. They smell tell-tale odors coming from the undergarments of the doomed leaders. And they sense a wavering of will, a growing pattern of panicky response."

Posted by jk at 07:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Mid-East tension not result of race

The so-called "Palestinian question," bringing terror and bloodshed to the residents of Israel for over fifty years, has always been portrayed as a conflict between two racial groups: Jews and Arabs. But a funny thing happens to Arabs who live in a democratic, capitalist state. They start to think like Jews.

A June 4 USA Today story, "Foreign distrust of U.S. increases," (full story available for fee) compares the results of international opinion polls showing that favorable opinion of the U.S. has decreased by ten to twenty percentage points over the last year in countries such as Germany, France, Turkey, Indonesia and Jordan. This development, considered "very troubling" by Clinton's U.N. ambassador and Secretary of State Madeline Albright, is blamed on President Bush. Clearly this is a reaction to Bush's willingness (in certain instances) to "pull and shoot," in the words of Liz Stitely.

But the more interesting survey question was this: "Can the state of Israel and the Palestinian people co-exist?" Eighty percent of respondents from the Palestinian Authority said, "No." But in Israel, 68 percent of Jews and 62 percent of Arabs (yes, there ARE Arabs citizens of Israel) said, "Yes." So here we have evidence that race can be irrelevant in the decision to live in peace. To negotiate for peace with people who deny that peace is possible, as is the Bush administration's apparent strategy, is futile and idiotic.

Posted by JohnGalt at 01:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 13, 2003

The Best Review

...of Senator Clinton's "Living History" has gotta be Matt Labash's "Resume Imitates Life."
"Hillary's first scratch'n'sniff book."
"To label 'Living History' as being merely boring would be to owe a groveling apology to Bill Bradley."
"But a responsible reviewer wouldn't merely recount the fictionalized non-fiction, self-aggrandizement, and partisan myopia that plagues this book, though there's much to recount. He would tell the reader that the most important thing they need to know about "Living History" is not to buy it."
"By the third time I read Hillary assert that she doesn't take herself too seriously, I knew that I was seriously in for it. By the tenth time I tripped over a paragraph that read like it had been wrenched from a bad alumni magazine ('What I valued most about Wellesley were the lifelong friends I made and the opportunity that a women's college offers us to stretch our wings and minds in the ongoing journey toward self-definition and identity'), I was praying to be struck with blindness. By the fiftieth description of a meaningless foreign trip that she took, such as the one to Dhaka, Bangladesh, a place she 'long wanted to visit' because of attractions like the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research--I was begging for death."

Posted by jk at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

Not Imperialist Enough


Peter Beinart is a thoughtful and intelligent liberal voice. After he took over The New Republic, I started reading it frequently. Now I think it has grown a lot more partisan, which I guess is its mission. But I am disappointed.

Exhibit A is Beinart's TRB this month: Ugly Stepfather. The whole thing is worth a read but the short version is that Beinart is upset that we're not enforcing order in Liberia, which is a de facto colony to him because they named their capitol after James Monroe.

But consider the view from Liberia. To the west is Sierra Leone. In 2000, with limb-amputating rebels converging on the capital, Britain sent 2,500 troops to save its former colony from catastrophe. Two years later, a democratically elected government rules a united country, 500,000 people have returned to their homes, the rebels have been vanquished, and a war-crimes tribunal pursues their leaders.

So Britain fixes Sierra Leone, and France is held up as a brave model in Côte d'Ivoire. While the bums in the Bush administration can't get their Wilsonianism up for petroleum-free-Liberia.

This bugs me on a few levels. The Côte d'Ivoire protection of our brave French allies is colonialism writ large. Sierra Leone was a bloodbath for many years. And I am really supposed to believe that the TNR crowd would be behind a military incursion into Liberia? To be fair, most of them were pretty hawkish in Iraq.

But I don't believe it. Beinart is whacking my pal, W, pure and simple. I came to expect a little better.

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

June 12, 2003

Chinese Tan Lines

Okay, tasteless. Sorry!

Posted by jk at 03:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Democrat Confused by Efficacy of “Pulling and Shooting”

While it was in a sort of backhanded way, someone actually voiced praise for Bush on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ program yesterday. (Click the headline ‘Bush Pushes Medicare Drug Benefits Plan’ and fast forward to about 5:45 in the audio clip.)

Soccer mom Liz Stitely of Evanston, Illinois, a Democrat, is worried about terror attacks in America. She believes that, “President Bush wants us to be scared, because if we’re scared then all the war that he’s instigating, we will back him.” But later she continues, “The one thing about him that I think is kind of compelling as a leader is that Bush is gonna like pull and shoot, and while I don’t believe in pulling and shooting I think that, ya know, no one’s gonna call his bluff and in that way I think he’s got something, ya know, which I would never have said. Yeah, I don’t even know if I believe myself now. It’s very confusing.”

So while Ms. Stitely would prefer a world where it isn’t necessary to use force in self-defense, she’s strangely comforted when someone does it for her, in her name, but against her principles. It’s a very sad thing when a modern liberal’s relativistic principles cause her to disagree even with herself.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [4]

Insider Trading

Larry Elder starts a two part interview with Dean emeritus Henry Manne of the George Mason University School of Law. We had a good discussion in the comments of this blog a few days ago: as good a discussion as you can get with three guys who would all remove "insider trading" regulations. Professor Manne adds a corporate governance issue:
"I don't think the scandals would ever have erupted if we had allowed insider trading . . . because there would be plenty of people in those companies who would know exactly what was going on, and who couldn't resist the temptation to get rich by trading on the information, and the stock market would have reflected those problems months and months earlier than they did under this cockamamie regulatory system we have."

Posted by jk at 09:49 AM | What do you think? [0]

You always hurt...

...the one you love. So says Dick Morris in National review Online today. I never know how much to believe from Mr. M, but at the very least, he spins a great yarn. Rebutting claims in Sen. Clinton's book, he sez:
"The real reason I was reluctant was that Bill Clinton had tried to beat me up in May of 1990 as he, you, Gloria Cabe, and I were together in the Arkansas governor's mansion. At the time, Bill was worried that he was falling behind his democratic primary opponent and verbally assaulted me for not giving his campaign the time he felt it deserved. Offended by his harsh tone, I turned and stalked out of the room.
Bill ran after me, tackled me, threw me to the floor of the kitchen in the mansion and cocked his fist back to punch me. You grabbed his arm and, yelling at him to stop and get control of himself, pulled him off me. Then you walked me around the grounds of the mansion in the minutes after, with your arm around me, saying, 'He only does that to people he loves.'"

Life is worth living again -- thanks, Dick!

Posted by jk at 09:22 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 11, 2003

Don Regan, R.I.P.

I'm not sure when he wrote it, but Don Regan, who died Monday night, has a guest editorial in the WSJ today and it is available on OpinionJournal. He goes to bat for W's tax cuts as a replay to President Reagan's. And he takes a whack at Lord Keynes. How can you go wrong?
"Thanks to President Reagan, we know a lot more today, although it seems that many in Congress didn't get the memo. We know that tax cuts spur economic growth by improving incentives to work and invest and by making more money available for new ventures and small business, where the real job growth occurs in our economy. There are many examples of this in recent history, from the Kennedy tax cuts of 1962, through the Reagan cuts of 1981 and 1986. We also know that deficits do not cause inflation or cause interest rates to rise. Although the deficits during the Reagan period were higher (as a percentage of gross domestic product) than the deficits projected today, interest rates declined after the Reagan tax plan was adopted."

Posted by jk at 08:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 10, 2003

jk and Ralph Neas...

You can go the People For the American Way -- Legislative Alerts and Updates page on the PFAW website so that you can easily send an email to oppose the William Pryor nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

OR-- you can edit it to support the nomination and have the satisfaction of using PFAW resources against them. I decided to do it the Maureen Dowd way:

I am writing to ask...the confirmation of William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This nominee has amassed a staggering record...in his current post as Attorney General for the State of Alabama...basic constitutional principles as Pryor has proven...does...deserve a lifetime appointment to our federal courts.

For example, Pryor...has filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold...law...

Further, Pryor has offered steadfast support inside the court ...for...juries and ...the state judicial building. Pryor has outspokenly deplored...right-wing activism...and ...has...place on the federal bench. Please confirm...


Posted by jk at 05:52 PM | What do you think? [1]

Waksal Doesn't Walk

ImClone Founder Sam Waksal Given 7 Years. I am a law and order guy but I cannot see this. Let's look at the story:
-- This guy starts a company to cure colon cancer (boo! hiss) It employs a lot of folks who pay taxes.
-- They develop Erbitux, and demonstrate its efficacy helping serious cancer patients live longer (what a lowlife!)
-- The FDA (before my man McClellan takes over) denies approval even though the treatment results are positive (They presumably don't like the color ink the form was filled out in, and Dr. Waksal is too "showy")
-- They leak it to him that rejection is imminent
-- He tells his daughter and father, and the family sells stock on "insider" information.
-- Martha Stewart sells some stock (Hmmmm)

Okay, dumping the stock was wrong. Somebody bought it and took a bath. But seven years? Will a street hood get seven years if he kills me? Would not a substantive fine and disgorgement of income be a better plan?

And, by the way, new trials show that Erbitux is effective. Oh, too bad, 15,000 people died and Dr. Waksal is going to jail, Martha Stewart's in trouble. But the FDA had the public to protect. Thank God for Dr. McClellan, let's hope he sweeps clean. And I propose free soap-on-a-rope for Dr. Waksal. This was a gross miscarriage of justice.

UPDATE: A great comment supports my thesis and carries it a little further if I read it right. But my heroes, Larry Kudlow and James Cramer, think this is good prosecution: that "he didn't believe in the country, the system, or his own product." I don't know. Seven years...

Posted by jk at 01:04 PM | What do you think? [6]

New Column

jk applauds a free market solution to traffic congestion: HOT lanes.

Posted by jk at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [5]

June 09, 2003

Just a movie

I gotta work -- but enjoy this jewel from The Dissident Frogman (via Samizadata)










UPDATE: WPost reports on a recent mass gravesite: "that likely contained the remains of political prisoners and army deserters killed in the days or weeks before President Saddam Hussein fell from power" Thanks to Daimnation!

Posted by jk at 01:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 07, 2003

Hitch does stand-up

You really can't make this up, can you? Well Jayson Blair could...[RIMSHOT!]
I guess this is for real, it's in the Financial Times. They cover a Christopher Hitchens stand up comedy routine:
"'The reason I like P.G. Wodehouse and Oscar Wilde is that they teach you to take frivolous things seriously and serious things frivolously,' Hitchens replies. 'It's all a complete farce, you understand, we're born into a losing struggle. In the meantime, I think, I must show some contempt and defiance and the best means of doing that that I know are irony and obscenity.'"
Amazing

Posted by jk at 03:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 06, 2003

D-DAY

The Federalist has a tribute to those died. Their newsletter points out:
"...speaking of Franco-American relations, it was on this day in 1944 that 156,000 American and Allied forces landed on the Normandy coast in a courageous endeavor to liberate France and turn the tide of war. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower told his troops: 'You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade.... The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.... Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. Let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.'"
One more day of thanks to all the brave men and women who have served this nation.

Posted by jk at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [1]

Larry Kudlow -- a Bull's Bull

Larry Kudlow gloats a little in NRO Financial today.
"Just two weeks since the passage of President Bush's tax cut -- one that strengthens economic incentives by raising after-tax investment returns by over 40 percent -- the bellwether Dow has gained more than 400 points.
"Once again, liberal negativists are being proven wrong. They were wrong when the economy quickly lifted-off following the passage of the supply-side John F. Kennedy tax cut in the 1960s and the big Ronald Reagan tax-rate reductions in the 1980s. They were wrong again when a cut in the capital-gains tax rate powered technology investment in the second half of the 1990s.
"And they are doomed to repeat their failed liberal thinking once more today."

On his TV show (the BEST TV show), Kudlow & Cramer, last night, it was a feeding frenzy: both hosts are bullish and they brought in three guests who are all going long. It made me want to pawn some guitars and buy Merck. The Pharmaceutical sector is up 40% this year. See my column on Dr. McClellan.
Things are looking up -- take it from a down-and-out dot com-er, Free markets will roar again.

Posted by jk at 09:30 AM | What do you think? [1]

Lone Star Tort Reform

The WSJ Editorial Page highlights Texas's new tort reform bill in WSJ.com - Ten-Gallon Tort Reform. (Paid site only, sorry!)
"The numbers tell the story. Texas is down to three medical liability insurers. Fourteen of 17 have disappeared in the past two years alone. In some parts of the state, there are 300 lawsuits for every 100 doctors. No matter that 85% of these suits fail; at $20,000-$40,000 a pop to put up a defense, doctors can't afford the sky-high insurance rates. Thank the trial lawyers. Of the state's 254 counties, 154 have no obstetrician. Wide swaths of Texas, the nation's second most populous state, have neither a neurosurgeon nor an orthopedic surgeon.
"That said, legal reform didn't happen in Texas because its politically powerful and well-heeled plaintiffs' attorneys developed a conscience. It happened in large part because Texans started putting Republicans in office. The Democratic Party/trial attorney co-dependency is well-known in Washington. But in Texas, their coziness is legendary. For decades the Texas tort bar had its way with the Democrat-controlled legislature and many courts around the state, which elects its judges.
"Things started to change some in the mid-1990s when George W. Bush replaced Democrat Ann Richards as Governor. It was the election last November, however, that finally made real tort reform possible. For the first time in 130 years, the GOP found itself in control of the legislature. A similar scenario has played out in other places, such as Arkansas and Georgia, where serious reform efforts have followed party changeover. Tort reform is now one of the sharpest dividing lines between our two major parties."

Perhaps this is a good example of Federalism in action. The battleground here should be the States. As states adopt sensible guidelines, business and their tax revenues will follow.

Posted by jk at 09:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 04, 2003

Next Step: The Speeding Tax Stamp

There are so many philosophical issues involved in this story it boggles the mind, but the salient point is that the government's "authority" to levy taxes is the most powerful and most easily enforced "law" now existing in the "land of the free." Never mind that drug trafficking is illegal, these tax stamps are required by law or else the act is, what, double-secret illegal? And the tax rates are truly ludicrous: $98 on an ounce of pot worth a hundred bucks, and $200 on a gram of coke or speed worth about a hundred bucks. And if you don't move the goods in 90 days the stamps expire and you have to pay the full tax again in order to remain "legal."

This is preposterous. The next ridiculous tax stamp will probably be for speeding, at twice the cost of a speeding ticket and expiring monthly! And if you're caught speeding without a tax stamp they can fine you double the tax plus $10,000, summarily confiscate your property to cover the fines, and jail you for 5 years. I'd gladly trade the "war on drugs" for a war on insane taxation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [3]

Malibu Babs

Michelle Malkin takes a whack at Barbra Streisand's stunning hypocrisy:
"Now, this multiple home-owning, custom-built SUV-riding, California coastline-hogging diva has lobbed a $50 million lawsuit at an eco-activist who posted photos of her massive estate on the Internet. Malibu Babs says the litigation is about protecting her privacy."
If you haven't seen her little grass shack, the photos are online.

UPDATE: KILLER NEW CARTOON series on the blogroll (thanks, Lileks!) Check out DayByDay. (June 3 is Barbra, June 2 is Byrd, then NYTimes...

Posted by jk at 09:17 AM | What do you think? [5]

First Blog Election

Hugh Hewitt raises an interesting point. The 2004 elections will be the first to be massively influenced by blogging. The junkies were there in '00, but now Hewitt's Big Four are really capable of driving news cycles (cf. Former-Leader-now-Senator Trent Lott).
"The power of synchronized blogging is still somewhat incipient. The first generation of bloggers are individualists, and unlikely to coordinate their activities. But if blog alliances do begin to develop among them, the ability to drive the news cycle in a particular direction will be immense. "

Posted by jk at 08:53 AM | What do you think? [3]

Economics

Robert D. McTeer delivers a brief and sprightly Commencement Address to Economics Graduates defending the "Dismal Science" from enemies foreign and domestic. This guy will be the next Fed Chair I believe, in 40 years or so when Mr. Greenspan steps down. Read it all, it's short and fun.
"Economics majors understand the nonintuitive reality that real progress comes from job destruction. It once took 90 percent of our population to grow our food. Now it takes less than 3 percent. Pardon me, Willie, but are we worse off because of the job losses in agriculture? The would-have-been farmers are now college professors and computer gurus or singing the country blues on Sixth Street."

Posted by jk at 08:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 02, 2003

Baghdad Internet Cafe

Iraq: Baghdad Opens First Internet Center

"Hay Adel, or Zone of Justice, is a place that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago in Baghdad. It is Baghdad's first professional Internet center, allowing Iraqis a first-ever chance to freely communicate with the outside world via the Internet.
Although a few small Internet businesses exist in the Iraqi capital, they often have old computers and charge prohibitive fees -- over $4 an hour. Hay Adel, by contrast, has more than 40 new computers, a fast satellite connection, and charges just over $1 an hour.
The center is already doing a booming business. Most of the customers are looking to get in touch with family members living outside Iraq."
Thanks to Buzzmachine

Read this and Mark Steyn's travelogue before you get too hung up on how America is "losing the peace."

Posted by jk at 01:31 PM | What do you think? [7]

All In Print is News That Fits

That title was a joke about the Soviet Paper Pravda in a great old comic strip, "Wordsmith."
But it really does fit the NY Times. Robert Goldberg (that's "Papa" to Jonah fans) whacks the Grey Lady today in National Review Online. A lead story cites a study which disputes the efficacy of new schizophrenia medications.
"But here's the problem. There is no study. A search of the American Psychiatric Association website listing all the papers that were presented came up empty. Dozens of other papers and posters on new schizophrenia medicines were given at the APA, demonstrating their benefits as well as Zyprexa's superiority. But the 'study' Goode cites is not even a study; it is raw data not submitted to a journal for peer review, and indeed not even in paper form. It was discussed at something called a data caucus."

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

Rap and Rap Sheet

John McWhorter despairs at the bad image violent rappers provide for black America in today's OpinionJournal - Taste Page.
I think the article is right and revealing. One paragraph especially caught me. I have loved blues, jazz and Motown soul my whole life. Black Americans have created almost all the great American music. McWhorter says "Blacks under a certain age feel [rap] music as their poetry, rattling off extended selections as readily as Russians recite Pushkin."
"But this is a lowdown, dirty shame. I am just old enough to remember when whites were making the sourest, nastiest pop music while blacks were making the sweetest and truest. White kids listened to hideous screaming while funk and soul were black America's soundtrack. As a kid in the 1970s I was conscious of that contrast and proud of it. The civil-rights protesters a decade before, who made the lives of 'the hip-hop generation' possible, would have been appalled to hear the likes of Jay-Z, and we would be hard-pressed to claim that they would have been somehow missing something in that judgment. They accomplished a lot more, too, than any rapper's sideline donations to community efforts ever will."

Posted by jk at 09:38 AM | What do you think? [1]
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