July 31, 2003

No jk today

I won't even try to keep up with Melissa on ZogbyBlog today. She has an AEI panel of Women, and a hilarious Canadian faux-pas. Great stuff!

Posted by jk at 01:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 30, 2003

WSJ Editorial Salutes Rep Pelosi

The Wall Street Journal Ed page celebrates "A Free Trade Majority" as free trade agreements passed easily for Chile (270-156) and Singapore (272-155). Great news and especially notable as:

Seventy-five Democrats deserve credit for voting in favor of both pacts, including two top Members of the House leadership, Nancy Pelosi (California) and Steny Hoyer (Maryland). Dick Gephardt, chasing Howard Dean to the left, notably joined the 128 Democratic opponents; so much for the hope that he was revisiting his trade position as he aims for the White House. If he somehow wins the Democratic nomination for President, Mr. Gephardt would be the most protectionist major party candidate since Hoover.
As for Republicans, no fewer than 195 voted with their President. The 27 who opposed him included the usual suspects from Southeastern textile states and Northeast liberals who answer to unions. The number of genuine GOP protectionists of the Pat Buchanan stripe could fit into a phone booth. All in all, a good show, and an optimistic portent for the Latin American and global trade pacts to come.

Posted by jk at 02:24 PM | What do you think? [2]

July 29, 2003

The Dean Candidacy

Chris Caldwell in The Weekly Standard writes:

It's more accurate to say the race has become Howard Dean versus a half-dozen blow-dried shills for an intellectually exhausted party who are now, as one New Hampshire newspaper put it, "scurrying around New Hampshire--boring people."

That's a great line with some truth behind it. Caldwell takes a more serious look at Dean's Candidacy and his chances for success. If the party is trying to replicate '92, I think Howard is a pretty convincing cast for Governor Clinton.
Caldwell makes an interesting point about fund raising. It seems Dean can raise big money in small hunks, rare for a Democrat:
Republicans outraise Democrats by 63 percent to 37 percent among penny-ante donors--those who give under $200. The GOP retains that advantage at all levels up to $100,000, although it steadily narrows as the dollar amount rises. Once you hit $100,000, the Democrats really begin to clean up. They hold a fundraising advantage that widens rapidly as the numbers get more stratospheric. In contributions of over $1 million, they outraise Republicans by 92 percent to 8 percent.

Umm, that would be "The Party of The People," yah. I got it.

Posted by jk at 08:42 AM | What do you think? [2]

July 28, 2003

Now, a commercial

Nah, just a recommendation. I like to promote businesses that are novel and promote free market ideals.

As a player and protector of property rights, I am not too keen on piracy of recorded music. The Industry (capital I to denote nefariousness) however, is so brain dead and so out of touch with its customers that it is hard to support its absolute opposition to mp3s and file sharing.

EMusic is a great legal outfit that allows subscribers (from $10/month) to download tons of great music. I don't know the arrangement, but these good folks have almost all of the Concord Jazz catalog available, plus a lot of great latin stuff (Just got two Celia Cruz CDs -- RIP, Queen C!)

You can sign up for 30 days free to try it out. I don't know if the non-jazz sections are as strong, but you can find out -- fer nuthin'!

Supporting a legal distribution method might bring Schumpeterian-gales of reform to the big-bad music Industry. Check it out.

Posted by jk at 04:01 PM | What do you think? [1]

Paul Gigot in Iraq

I know I'm becoming a broken record, blogging the Wall Street Journal Ed page everyday. But the more optimistic view of Iraqi reconstruction is starting to take hold, and I endeavor to push it along any way I can.
Paul Gigot travels with Paul Wolfowitz, sees the new city council in Najaf and talks to some soldiers and marines who have a different take than Peter Jennings:

The U.S. media have focused on grumbling troops who want to go home, especially the Third Infantry Division near Baghdad. And having been in the region for some 260 days, the Third ID deserves a break. But among the troops I saw, morale remains remarkably high. To a soldier, they say the Iraqis want us here. They also explain their mission in a way that the American pundit class could stand to hear.
"I tell my troops every day that what we're doing is every bit as important as World War II," says one colonel, a brigade commander, in the 101st. "The chance to create a stable Iraq could help our security for the next 40 or 50 years." A one-star general in the same unit explains that his father served three tours in Vietnam and ultimately turned against that war. But what the 101st is doing "is a classic anti-insurgency campaign" to prevent something similar here.

Thanks to all who wear the uniform!

Posted by jk at 01:41 PM | What do you think? [2]

July 27, 2003

Adios, El Jefe?

Paul Marks at Samizdata has a sanguine outlook for a Castro-free Cuba. He lists her economic assets and quotes a Castro speech that claims he will not accept EU aid. Taken together, things do not look too good for the murderous thug.

It is ironic that such an important source of income for Cuba (perhaps more important than tourism) is from people in the United States sending money back to their families.

A regime that depends on the population being supported by people living in the 'great enemy' can hardly be considered a strong one.


Amen to that. While I am not quite so optimistic, it has been nice to see some reduction in the left's fawning apologies. Hope springs eternal.

Posted by jk at 10:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 26, 2003

BBC "Reports" alleged IL Duce "Death"

Mark Steyn in the Telegraph

The Mussolini I know - the Mussolini who says, "Mister Robert, if only more Englishmen could make linguini as good as yours" - has a full head of hair, like Harpo Marx. But, if he is dead, then following the disastrous setback of D-Day, this is just more bad news for the Allies.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan

Posted by jk at 08:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

Sun Rises in East, Said to Set in West

The New, Improved New York Times sez:"Iraqi Informants' Tips Grow After Brothers' Deaths"

WASHINGTON, July 25 -- In the three days since American soldiers killed Saddam Hussein's sons, informants have produced a stream of new tips, some of which have led to major raids in the last 24 hours alone, military officers in Iraq said today.

The first 15 paragraphs of the story are positive. At ppg 16, this chestnut appears:
But General Odierno warned of possible car bombings and suicide bombers, and said that while attacks were fewer in numbers, they were becoming more sophisticated. He said the guerrillas were using remote-controlled bombs that could be detonated from about 500 yards away, and wire-controlled explosives that could be set off from more than a mile away.

But I'd have to say that that is fair and accurate. Even the NYT recognizes that progress is being made.

Posted by jk at 08:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 25, 2003

A truly fissiparous incubus.

Mr. Buckley is at it again. In a column about the soi-disant (I can play too, Bill, just not in your league!) Kennedy curse, he actually says: "A truly fissiparous incubus."
Okay, public service time. Merriam Webster gives:
fissiparous -- tending to break up into parts : DIVISIVE
incubus -- an evil spirit that lies on persons in their sleep; especially : one that has sexual intercourse with women while they are sleeping -- although in context, I think he may be going for definition #3 -- one that oppresses or burdens like a nightmare.
Enjoy your weekend and kids, please: stay away from those fissiparous incubi!

Posted by jk at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [1]

Bad Reasons for 400

The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial today takes another look at the House's overturning FCC ownership rules.

Fox owns 37 of the 1,340 stations in the U.S., and the rules would allow it to buy, oh, maybe another five. Even Rupert Murdoch will need more than a few new outlets in Topeka and Palm Springs to effect world domination.

The editorial points a lot of reasons that 400 reps voted to rescind reform. All of them are bad:
Democrats complain that a higher cap is a sop to the "conservative" Fox network (never mind that the rule will also let Dan Rather's employer, Viacom, into more markets). A few Senate Republicans--such as Mississippi's Trent Lott--feel their home state "liberal" media has been mean to them and see the caps as a way to get even.

I join the WSJ Ed page in hoping that W supports Michael Powell on this.

Posted by jk at 08:22 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 24, 2003

New jk Column

This week (after a long absence) jk gets back to work and shares his heartless and churlish response to 9000 good people who lost their jobs in "Mr. Schumpeter, Call Your Office!"

Posted by jk at 01:19 PM | What do you think? [3]

"Engrenage?" non - "Quagmire?" dream on

"Author and Middle East expert Amir Taheri spent several days on the ground in Iraq last week and found reality to be starkly different from what is so ubiquitously reported." That is the gist of this NY Post report.

I think this excerpt says it all-

The flower stalls along the Tigris are also making a comeback.

"Business is good," says Hashem Yassin, one florist. "In the past, we sold a lot of flowers for funerals and placement on tombs. Now we sell for weddings, birthday parties and gifts of friendship."

Thanks to our friend Russ for bringing this to my attention.

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:19 AM | What do you think? [1]

400-21

Worse than a Broncos-Eagles score (sorry, Zogby-ites I had to!), our illustrious House has decided to roll back the clock and ensure that regulation stays mired in the 1950s.

I wrote a short column about Michael Powell last May. I put the FCC Chief as a great example of our "CEO President's" bringing the best and brightest to government.

Chairman Powell is Colin Powell's son. As much as I respect Dad, Michael's policy and beliefs comport better with mine, and he clearly is the better for spending fewer years with the striped-pants crowd at the State Department. He is pushing to bring FCC Regulations into the 21st Century. Regulations on ownership that were crafted when America got its news from Eric Sevareid can be relaxed now that many get news from Andrew Sullivan. Chairman Powell understands the effect of cable TV and Internet information sources and he believes in the free market enough to fight for a more modern approach.

He fought Republican appointees in his own Department to pass these reforms. Now the troglodytes in the House have voted 400-21 to overrule him.
The trouble is, circuit courts have already ruled these regulations' being illegal. This is not over. It is a good fight and it is important. Rolling back regulation is another tax cut to investors.

Posted by jk at 08:38 AM | What do you think? [2]

July 23, 2003

Redneck Haiku

My brother sends me "Redneck Haiku!" Hahahahahaha! (Thinking of you tomorrow, big guy!)

DESIRE
Damn, in that tube-top
You make me almost forget
That you're my cousin

BEAUTY
Naked in repose
Silvery silhouette girls
Adorn my mudflaps

REMORSE
A painful sadness
Can't fit big screen TV through
Double-wide's front door

DEPRIVED
In WalMart toy aisle
Wailing boy wants wrestling doll
Mama whups his ass

OPTIONS
Unemployment's out.
Hey, maybe I can get on
Disability

BLAZE
Distant siren screams
Dumbass Verne's been playing with
Gasoline again

A NEW MOON
Flashlights pierce darkness
No nightcrawlers to be found
Guess we'll gig some frogs

EXUBERANCE
Joyous, playful, bright
Trailer park girl rolls in puddle
Of old motor oil

ALONE
Seeking solitude
Carl's exwife Tammy files for
Restraining order

HATRED
I curse the rainbow
Emblazoned upon his hood
Gosh damn Jeff Gordon

OFFERINGS
Tonight we hunger
Grandma sent grocery money
To Jimmy Swaggart

DRAMA
Set the VCR
Dukes of Hazzard Marathon
At 9 O'Clock

NO SIGNAL
White noise, buzzing static
Call Earl; satellite dish
needs new descrambler

IMPOUNDED
Sixty-five dollars
And cyclone fence keeps me from
My El Camino

GATHERING
In early morning mist
Mama searches Circle K for
Moon Pies and Red Man

Posted by jk at 02:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

Comments Welcome on Comments

I helped KBZ at ZogbyBlog rework the blog so that comments appear on the front page without clicking to read them.

I got to like it and have tried that here -- let me know if you like it or hate it. It is very egalitarian, everybody can blog here and reach our massive audience.

Posted by jk at 02:11 PM | What do you think? [2]

Tony Blankley on W

I wrote another letter to Andrew Sullivan today. His clarity, resolve and eloquence on the Iraqi liberation have been stunning. His courage against the NYTimes and BBC has moved mountains and catalyzed recognition of their biases.
I told him as much, but I also said, again, that I think he is being too hard on W's domestic policy. Much is hard to defend but there is NO small government choice in '04. Would you rather have (gasp!) President Gephardt?
Tony Blankley reminds the faithful of the unfortunate exigencies of plurality politics:

This is why politics is an art, not a science. Whether a liberal or a conservative, a president must intuit the narrow point at which his base is still motivated to strongly support him but is not fully satisfied. As Richard Nixon once observed, if your base is happy, you are doing something wrong. That is not a cynical observation but a practical one. Unless you can persuade 50 percent plus 1 of the electorate to share your view, you have to appeal to at least some voters beyond your base.

Then again, Jonah reminds that Nixon also said "The world must be overpopulated. Everywhere I go, there are big crowds..."

Posted by jk at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

Today's Vocabulary Word

From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus:

My friends in the China-freedom community are quite happy because the word laogai has now entered the Oxford English Dictionary. If the word gulag is known, so should laogai be: "(in China) a system of labour camps, many of whose inmates are political dissidents." Laogai is the Chinese expression for "reform through labor." (Reminiscent of Arbeit Macht Frei, no?)
We at NR once published a piece by the grand dissident Harry Wu on Laogai, and why the word should be as familiar and notorious as gulag. It was Wu's conviction that the growing awareness of Gulag -- both as a thing and as a word -- helped shift or harden world opinion against the Soviet Union. It is to Solzhenitsyn that we owe thanks for the understanding of Gulag -- again, as both a thing and a word -- and it is, of course, to Solzhenitsyn that we owe thanks for so much.
We owe Harry Wu, too. Indeed, because of him, a lot of us don't need the OED to define laogai.

Posted by jk at 11:21 AM | What do you think? [0]

Sour Grapes

I stumbled across a liberal blog yesterday while searching for the phrase "sixteen words." Reading the gripes of Bush haters angry that we won the war in Iraq and are making progress toward "winning the peace" made me think of this excellent Cox and Forkum cartoon on the State of the Union hysterics.

It also led me to ponder... wouldn't most steadfast opponents of the liberation of Iraq be puffing their chests with pride right now if the deed had been done on Clinton's watch? Imagine the humanitarian Karma points ol' Willie could have claimed! The rest of the Clinton library would have become a mere appendix to the hall of self-aggrandizement chronicling the President's brave and selfless devotion to the helpless victims of a brutal tyrant. (And isn't that the legacy of the Clinton presidency in a nutshell - self-agrandizement of his selflessness?)

Given the former President's guiding convictions however, this is obviously a rhetorical question.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 22, 2003

"The British Government has Learned"

...that Uday and Qusay Hussein are dead. We know this because U.S. Army Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez showed them the bodies, and not because the BBC told us so. (Homepage link entitled "Saddam sons 'dead' " still leads to "Page not Found" as of this posting.)

UPDATE: Roughly an hour ago, the BBC finally completed the page their "breaking news" link pointed to. Still under the original title of Saddam sons 'dead.' the Bolshevik Broadcasting Co. goes on to say a U.S. commander is "certain" the two are dead and that U.S. Central Command "confirmed" the deaths. [Quotes are the BEEB's, not mine.] Who do these guys think they are, "Reuters?"

The most reprehensible statement in this "news report" is its final paragraph: "The BBC's US State Department correspondent, Gordon Corera, says the news of the deaths could not come at a better moment for a government facing growing political pressure over claims it exaggerated intelligence, and over daily casualties among US troops in Iraq." Since when is the bald assertion of one of their own "journalists" considered "news?" This whimpering can be translated thusly: "Crikey! I can't figure out how those bloody Yanks always seem to pull a rabbit out of their hat with this incessant pulling and shooting."

Posted by JohnGalt at 02:15 PM | What do you think? [1]

A little Army Talk

I hate it when a blog says "read this." The great thing about a blog is that you get to decide where your valuable reading time will be spent.
But read this. It's a letter from a Colonel in Special Ops in Iraq. The language is pure Army. The optimism is pure American and the candor is pure Special Ops.

Hey Guys, sorry it's been so long since I've sent anything but a quick note to you individually. However things have been pretty hectic since the end of hostilities and the start of the real war. Despite what the assholes in the press like to say over and over about the Ba'ath Party and Feydaheen.
2) It isn't any worse than expected;
3) Things are getting better each day, and
4) The morale of the troops is A-1, except for the normal bitching and griping.

And from there on, it gets really good. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.

Posted by jk at 01:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

Vous Got Mail

I am going to steal this short editorial from the good folks at Dow Jones, and reprint it for people who do not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (heretics that they may be).
This is Economics applied to language and is a microcosm of Old Europe's problems and America's vitality. Immigration, competition and free trade are not intuitively beneficial until you see the degradation of a culture that shuts its doors.


Vous Got Mail
France's Ministry of Culture has banned the word e-mail. Henceforth, at least for the purposes of affaires d'Etat -- government documents, publications and Web sites -- the French term courrier electronique, or the snappy contraction courriel, will be de rigueur. "Evocative, with a very French sound, the word 'courriel' is broadly used in the press and competes advantageously with the borrowed 'mail' in English," says a statement from the Ministry, translated by the Associated Press.
A pedant might point out that the notion that mail is un-French is a canard. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word mail has its origins in the Middle French malle, meaning "a courier's bag for letters."
The French don't seem to object to e-mail's E for electronic -- barely distinguishable from electronique -- but maybe they should. Electronic is derived from electron, which was coined in 1891 by George Johnstone Stoney, an Irish physicist. Stoney derived electron from electric, a word that comes to us from Greek via Latin. Since French itself is a Latinate language, it would seem the Ministry of Culture is willing to stomach electronique in spite of its connections to l'ile verte.
All of this strikes an English speaker as tres stupide. What makes English great, after all, is its openness to new words from all over the world. Whereas English is the melting pot of languages, the French seem to view their tongue as a souffle -- exquisitely delicate and always in danger of falling. Early in the 20th century, French was one of the world's premier languages. Is it any wonder that by the fin de siecle English had surpassed it to become the undisputed lingua franca?

Posted by jk at 09:06 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 21, 2003

No fewer than 60 mass graves

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, as usual leads the way. Two great pieces are available on its free site.

Current Editor, Paul Gigot, reminds us of the genocide and environmental devastation of the Marsh Arabs:

To reach the ninth level of Saddam's Inferno, you take a plane from Baghdad south to Basra, then hop an open-air 40-minute helicopter ride in 118-degree heat to what was once the world's closest approximation to the Garden of Eden.
For centuries this region was among the world's lushest fresh-water marshlands, a cradle of ancient civilization and home to the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. Today this particular marsh village looks like the surface of the moon, only bleaker.

Then former Editor, Robert Bartley, keeps his eye on the big picture and chides those who refuse to:
A sane world would recognize, and eventually maybe even this one will, that the most important Iraqi development of the last week or so was the formation of the 25-person Governing Council. While of course still tenuous, it represents the first step toward a pluralistic Iraqi government, and toward consolidating the huge geopolitical gains President Bush won by toppling the Saddam's murderous regime.

The BBC/NPR/DNC overreach is starting to crumble like the Saddam statues.
[Cross posted to ZogbyBlog]

Posted by jk at 06:35 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 19, 2003

A Window into Modern Chinese Ideology

Through my subscription to www.geostrategy-direct.com I have learned that there is now an english language version of the Chinese "PLA Daily" newspaper online. The website claims to have been founded, in the english version, on March 5, 2003 "under the leadership of the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army." (I guess this isn't much different than the NY Times.)

This appears to be a gold mine of blogger material, and I intend to exploit it for all it's worth. I'll start by examining one of the speeches of Chairman Jiang Zemin published in 2002 by the Chinese "Foreign Language Press" entitled, 'Jiang Zemin on the "Three Represents."

I don't have a copy of the book, but it appears to be posted online in it's entirety. The first installment is dated February 25, 2000 and entitled, 'How Our Party is to Attain the "Three Represents" Under the New Historical Conditions.' It is interesting reading, but presents some challenges to interpret its meaning due the imprecision of translating Chinese into English.

It begins, "To run China well, the key lies with our Party, that is, the soundness of the Party's ideology, its style of work, its organization and discipline, its fighting capability, and its leadership level. This was what Chairman Mao and Comrade Deng Xiaoping always emphasized during their lifetime; this is also a basic experience our Party has gained from long years of practice in leading the people in revolution, construction and reform. Whether or not we can meet the requirements of the new situation and new tasks and build our Party into one that is more compact in organization, more uniform in action, more solid in unity and more vigorous in vitality, has an important bearing on the prosperity of the cause of the Party and the people and the long-term stability and peace of the state."

So the Chairman of the Chinese communist party is lecturing that the key to "run[ning] China well" includes "the soundness of the Party's ideology" and "its fighting capability." These factors have an "important bearing" on the "stability and peace of the state." Not surprising, really, but let's look further.

By referencing another speech from the book, on June 28, 2000 entitled, 'The New Situation and New Circumstances Facing Ideological and Political Work,' we can see what this soundness of ideology and fighting capability are required to counteract. "It is worth noting that since the October Revolution the capitalist countries have spared no pains to launch attacks of all kinds against the socialist countries, including ideological infiltration as the major form of offensive. The drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union were closely related to the long-term ideological infiltration from advanced capitalist countries. At present, China is the largest socialist country in the world. It is developing continuously, and becoming more powerful and prosperous all the time. Hostile capitalist forces are intensifying the implementation of the "Westernization'' and "disintegration'' political strategies through various ways and means, in an attempt to subvert the leadership of the CPC and China's socialist system. They will never change this political scheme of theirs. Over the past few years, they have ceaselessly used human rights, democracy, freedom, ethnicity, religion, the Dalai Lama and Taiwan issues to attack us. They have colluded with the so-called "democratic movement elements'' who exile themselves abroad and antagonistic elements in China, in an attempt to take colluded action. The struggle between us and domestic and overseas hostile forces in the field of infiltration and anti-infiltration and subversion and anti-subversion will be protracted and complicated. This is a main manifestation of class struggle that still exists and will continue to exist for a long time to a certain extent in China."

So to oppose the ideas of "human rights, democracy, freedom" and other "hostile forces" the Party must nurture "the soundness of its ideology" [ok, no problem there] and its "fighting capability" [in case the ideology is not sound, they can defend their incorrect system, beliefs and ideas by the power of force]. Those of us who understand that a system ensuring individual human liberty is the only moral system know that the Party's plan is destined to rely on force since their ideology can never be sound.

And Jemin alludes to this as well. "But if ideological and political work remains weak or is neglected, erroneous ideological trends will spread, which will confuse people's thinking, lead to disunity and create serious consequences. The political turbulence in 1989 was a grave lesson. We must have a sober understanding that owing to complicated international and domestic factors, we have a great deal of work to do in the ideological and political field, and the contradictions and struggles in our country's ideological and political field are protracted and complicated, and will become extremely acute under certain conditions."

A "grave lesson" indeed.

More to come on this mother lode of collectivist thought in future weeks.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:56 AM | What do you think? [1]

July 18, 2003

Ho-hum, another mass grave

ABCNEWS.com : Another Mass Grave Found in Northern Iraq

In the latest in a series of grisly discoveries, the U.S. military said Thursday it found another mass grave this one in northern Iraq and thought to contain the bodies of up to 400 Kurdish women and children slain by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Who cares, any WMD yet? Any yellowcake exports from Niger?

[Cross posted to ZogbyBlog]. Havin' some fun over there, there is a lot of activity and I think I may qualify as the site's left-winger!!!!

Posted by jk at 04:20 PM | What do you think? [3]

Cap!

The Wall Street Journal makes a guest editorial from Casper Weinberger available today on its free OpinionJournal site.
The yellowcake kerfuffle seems so insane that the President's defenders just ignore it. The former SecDef rides to the rescue with a devastating piece:

Completely frustrated by their inability to belittle, sneer at or just plain falsify about the victory of our troops in Iraq, opponents of the president are now reduced to using bits and pieces of non-evidence to contend that we did not have to replace the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein.
[...]
The real unanswered questions are these:
* Did anyone seriously believe we went to war because we had a British report that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger?
* What would all of the Democratic presidential candidates have done if faced with such reports, and all the others, about Iraq's efforts to acquire biological and chemical as well as nuclear weapons? Would they have ignored the reports?

[Cross-posted to ZogbyBlog]

Posted by jk at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [1]

July 17, 2003

Lileks Rules!

Hugh Hewitt gives "props" to James Lileks (and Mark Steyn) in The Bleat Goes On on The Weekly Standard's Daily Standard.

Steyn and Lileks are laugh-out-loud writers and pundits with punch. Lileks, incredibly, delivers five mirth-inducing reads for free each week on his website. His Sunday column for the Strib is a homey, chatty, and unfailingly amusing look at the ordinary absurdity of life--a welcome break from the sermons and raised eyebrows of the opinion sections and book reviews. It is written for an audience of Minnesocoldians, but it absorbs the attention of even jaded California denizens. Like his Newhouse columns, Lileks's Strib work could run in every paper in America.

I post this because I like Lileks, but also because it highlights the free market for journalism and opinion that the Internet has created. I can't imagine giving up Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, James Lileks and Andrew Sullivan to read what the local papers provide.

Cross posted to ZogbyBlog

Posted by jk at 12:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Life

I just came home and there was a message on my answering machine that said "I am calling about that trailer for rent."

I thought I'd be a nice guy and call back and tell him that he'd dialed the wrong number. The number he left was answered by a woman who wasn't renting a trailer and had no idea of anybody who was. She seemed slightly upset that I had disturbed her.

This is an amazing planet sometimes...

Posted by jk at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [4]

July 15, 2003

Free Trade

Irwin M. Stelzer at The Weekly Standard gives high marks to Bob Zoellick for promoting free trade directly through bilateral Free Trade Agreements in Trading Up.

America aims to lower worldwide barriers to trade and has offered "to eliminate tariffs on goods and to slash agricultural barriers and subsidies . . . if others join us."
Unfortunately, "others"--which may be diplospeak for the European Union--aren't jumping on the free trade bandwagon. Despite some minor rejiggering of the E.U. subsidy program, French farmers remain among the world's most cosseted, paid to produce goods that compete unfairly not only with American agricultural products, but with the produce of desperately poor African farmers.

I'm an administration fan but am not so sanguine as Mr. Stelzer (whom I respect enormously). We have to lead on free trade, we have to fight our farm-belt senators and unions, then lead by example. Let's not wait for France: "Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works!"

[Cross posted on ZogbyBlog]

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

July 14, 2003

Better Living Through Chemistry

Here in the prime agricultural region of Weld County, Colorado, we don't mess around with "organic" herbicides. When we got weeds to kill we "burn" 'em with the most advanced chemical broadleaf plant poisons we can find. In our case it was 'Clarity' and 'Amine 2-4D' to kill a motley crew of weeds that compete with my forage grasses for water, sunlight and soil nutrients, and that are objectionable to our horses for a number of reasons. Although the weed population is relatively high now, once they are brought under control and the grass gets healthier and more dense, the grass will naturally choke out the weeds on its own.

Click on "continue reading..." to see a picture of the awesome machine that applied these miracle chemicals to our 20 acre hay field in less than half an hour.

This is the RoGator 854 post-emerge sprayer. It has twin hydraulically positioned boom arms with folding tips that cover a spraying path 80 feet wide! It has hydrostatic drive (no gears and driveshafts) and a 200 HP, 600 lb.-ft. 6-cylinder Cummins turbo diesel engine. It can cover croplands at up to 32 mph.

Those darker green plants you can see just ahead of the RoGator are weeds. There is also bindweed that stays close to the ground where you can't see it that's getting fried here as well. After the application was finished I told the driver, "I can almost hear those weeds dyin'!" I was very happy that I live in the richest and most advanced country in the world, where I can kill 20 acres of weeds with a phone call and a personal check.

Posted by JohnGalt at 02:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Playing for another team

Your buddy, jk, is blogging over at ZogbyBlog for awhile. I made my first post today.

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

July 08, 2003

A Great Rant

Friend of this blog and friend of liberty, unigolyn, says some strong and stirring words about North Korea and the world which permits its atrocities. Read it.

Posted by jk at 02:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 9 in Iran

The clock is ticking and it will soon be the ninth. As we have rightfully celebrated the courage of the American Revolution and the signers of the Declaration, let us hold our hearts for those who will risk life for liberty in Tehran.

I won't wind up JohnGalt by soliciting prayers on the blog but let us hold these folks in our thoughts and our hearts. It IS worth it folks -- good luck and Godspeed.

UPDATE: SMCCDI is not a Roman Numeral but is the "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran." At its website, you can donate, learn, and marvel at young people who want their birthright of liberty.

Posted by jk at 01:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

The Party of McGovern

Lawrence Kaplan from The New Republic has a devastating piece in today's Wall Street Journal about the fecklessness of 2004 Dems in foreign policy.

"[T]he Democrats smell blood. The good news here is that, after a decade of touting microinitiatives, school uniforms, and Fleetwood Mac tunes, the party of Harry Truman has finally rediscovered its voice on national security issues. The bad news is that it's the voice of George McGovern."

PERSONAL NOTE: Just three more days in "old blighty" I will be home and blogging full force by this weekend. New pictures are up at Tat Ergo Sum.

Posted by jk at 01:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 05, 2003

Cheers from Dublin!

guiness.jpg
Thinking about you, JohnGalt. Here's a picture of the Guiness Brewery

Posted by jk at 06:08 PM | What do you think? [1]

The Anglosphere

There may be hope.

I was despairing at the undercurrent of anti-Americanism in England. Not just Guardian readers -- I have talked to a few very intelligent folks who define themselves as "pretty conservative." These folks all believed in the writings of Michael Moore and that Bush tried to squelch his voice and stop publication of his book. The war was about oil, Bush lied to Blair on WMD, yadda yadda, you know the score.

Tonight we come home, and a teenaged girlfriend of one of the boys living here says "Happy Fourth of July!" She tells me that she has American flags in the basement, can name all 50 states and that she is going to be American when she's older.

I told her we'd love to have her.

And there are always the fine folks at Samizdata. Perry has tried to invite me to the London Blogger Bash (now). I wish I could go but it was not meant to be.

Posted by jk at 05:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 04, 2003

Declaration of Independence

Giants indeed, JK, were America's founders. The Declaration of Independence is the purest reflection of their objective idealism, and the dedicated support of its signers is what made them giants:

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh read excerpts from a speech by his late father named, "The Americans who risked everything." (subscription site) You can listen to the excerpts he read, (about 5 minutes) including the moving story of one of the 56 signers of the Declaration, Abraham Clark of New Jersey, whom England forced to choose between his continued support of the Declaration and the lives of his two sons, captured officers in the Continental Army. He chose liberty.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 03, 2003

Happy 4th

It is the 4th over here -- I beat you guys!

This is a special day. I hope that I could be half as brave as the signers of the Declaration. Giants have walked this Earth. I am humbled to follow them.

Click "continue" to read President Bush's 4th speech. Also, consider a visit to our British cousins at Samizdata for a great look at the 4th from the other side.

An Independence Day Message From President Bush

“On July 4, 1776, our Founders adopted the Declaration of Independence, creating a great Nation and establishing a hopeful vision of liberty and equality that endures today. This Independence Day, we express gratitude for our many blessings and we celebrate the ideals of freedom and opportunity that our Nation holds dear.


“America's strength and prosperity are testaments to the enduring power of our founding ideals, among them, that all men are created equal, and that liberty is God's gift to humanity, the birthright of every individual. The American creed remains powerful today because it represents the universal hope of all mankind.


“On the Fourth of July, we are grateful for the blessings that freedom represents and for the opportunities it affords. We are thankful for the love of our family and friends and for our rights to think, speak, and worship freely. We are also humbled in remembering the many courageous men and women who have served and sacrificed throughout our history to preserve, protect, and expand these liberties. In liberating oppressed peoples and demonstrating honor and bravery in battle, the members of our Armed Forces reflect the best of our Nation.


“We also recognize the challenges that America now faces. We are winning the war against enemies of freedom, yet more work remains. We will prevail in this noble mission. Liberty has the power to turn hatred into hope.


“America is a force for good in the world, and the compassionate spirit of America remains a living faith. Drawing on the courage of our Founding Fathers and the resolve of our citizens, we willingly embrace the challenges before us.


“Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a safe and joyous Independence Day. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.”

Posted by jk at 07:48 PM | What do you think? [1]

Comments, Comments, Comments

Greetings from the southern coast of England. Thanks to JohnGalt for trying to pick up the slack. The Iranian story is certainly the one to watch.

I wanted to draw folks to the comments. There are some good discussions going on the environment, education and media bias. Thanks to Russell and CDB.

I was chatting with an older fellow in the pub last night. He was very interested in my "American" position on the Iraq war. The two yanks he was speaking with (me and my friend, Lou) split 50-50 on the question. Our new friend seemed torn. He saw the valor and value of liberation but was very skeptical of how things are turning out (I'm sure he watches BBC "News"). It was fun, I wished we had had more time. Hit my "travelblogue" on my wife's tat ergo sum to see where I am.

Posted by jk at 05:07 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 02, 2003

July 9, 2003: Iranian Independence Day?

With America's independence day just around the corner, thousands of Iranian students and perhaps millions of Turkisk-speaking ethnic Azeri Iranians are preparing for large uprisings against the theocratic regime of Iran. July 9 is the anniversary of student uprisings in 1999 against the mullahs who rule Iran. There appears to be renewed interest in individual liberty in Iran now that Saddam has been routed. "Iraq has given the masses in Iran the belief in themselves that they need to be free. They are not scared of the clerics any more," said Mahmudali Chehregani, a linguistics professor and popular former MP currently championed by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback to help instigate regime change from within Iran.

The mullahs aren't just standing idly by, of course. They have announced that Tehran University's campus will be shut down from July 7-14, and students staying on campus over the summer will have to get a new access pass making it easy to identify potential protesters for punishment.

For daily updates on events in Iran you might want to check out the Iraniangirl blog and IranMania news.

UPDATE: If jk can step on a post, there are a few more blogs that have done a great job tracking the Iranian Revolution: Pejmanesque, Zogby, and of course Michael Ledeen. "Azadi, Arak, Eshgh!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:51 AM | What do you think? [1]

Education

Education problems seem intractable. I see vouchers as a panacea, being a free market disciple. On the right track, I am happy with the Bush Administration's Teacher Liberation (so called by the WSJ Editorial Page). Rod Paige is facilitating the chance to draw teachers from society instead of teachers' college. I know a lot of people who are interested in teaching and would be good, but two years' certification just to take a 60% pay cut scares them off. They'd take the pay cut because they want to try meaningful work. I think this could be a big help. WSJ says:

"The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is unhappy, so the Bush Administration must be doing something right when it comes to education reform."

Posted by jk at 03:38 AM | What do you think? [3]
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