November 30, 2003

The Face of Capitalism

Berkeley Square blogger Cyrano has turned me onto a new site: CapitalistChicks. From their "about page:"

Say the word and what image comes to most minds: a grey-haired, sour-faced man in an expensive Italian business suit? Pu-leeze!!!! I've seen today's Capitalists. They are younger than ever. They are ambitious and hardworking. They wear mini skirts, track pants and Silver Tab jeans. This gross misperception needs to change.

And this mother-daughter team is a perfect choice to change it. The site has some good articles, a photo page that features attractive capitalist women and a picture of Ben Stein, links to a dating site for Randians and profiles of business women.

Posted by jk at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 29, 2003

Good Movie!

I finally saw Master and Commander yesterday. I have read several of the Patrick O'Brian books and was really looking forward to this movie. Usually, Holllywood will massacre your favorite books, but when I heard that they had cast Russell Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey, I thought to myself "they get it."

They did. It is an excellent film. Five stars from jk.

(Speaking of film, the TRAILER from "Return of the King" made me shake. I bought tickets for the 10:30AM show the first day.)

Posted by jk at 03:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 26, 2003

Nine Brave Republican Senators

Deroy Murdock celebrates the nine Rs that voted against the Medicare Bill. It's a rare day when I go with the Senate and not W, but as Murdock intones:

This is a dark day for believers in limited government. To see MPDIMA emerge from a reputedly Republican Congress is especially galling. Still, if there are any rays of sunshine this morning, they are the nine Republicans who voted against this act of fiscal vandalism. Some of them spoke with refreshing candor about this dreadful measure.
A dark day indeed. As an optimist, I hope that Karl Rove now has his Medicare and Education bills, and that the profligacy may now end. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...
    Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island
    John Ensign of Nevada
    Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
    Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
    Trent Lott of Mississippi
    John McCain of Arizona
    Don Nickles of Oklahoma
    John Sununu of New Hampshire
Opinion Journal's Political Diary calls it a big tent. It is certainly an ideological mix
Posted by jk at 01:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Angels of Freedom

 

My brother sent me these photos of an Air Force C-130 releasing flares to repel heat seeking missiles. They are called "Angel Decoys" based on the pattern.

Thanks to all who wear the uniform for their service Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Posted by jk at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 25, 2003

Socialized Medicine

I have just spent an hour and a half at the Boulder County Drivers License Hell-Torture-Government-Aggravation Establishment. My lovely bride renewed her license (five minutes work, tops). They had the obligatory rude bureaucrat, although the young man that helped my wife was pleasant and professional.

You really want these people taking over the hospitals? It's a cliché -- but it is true! I have intelligent friends who do.

I spent three days in the hospital last month. Yeah, it's expensive but I got an afternoon in the MRI machine at a moment's notice, checked in in about an hour and the staff was superb. All of this was vital to getting a diagnosis and beginning treatment that was very successful. My three nights in the funky robe were pretty fun compared to the Drivers License place.

Don't do it! We're chasing capital out of the pharmaceutical sector with the Medicare bill. Don't sovietize the whole health care system.

End of rant.

Posted by jk at 07:56 PM | What do you think? [5]

Democrats and Cops...

As in "there's never an obstructionist Democrat around when you need one..." Wouldn't it have been great if they had filibustered this turkey?

The energy bill and the Medicare bill make me hide my head in shame as a Republican. I was pretty despondent until I heard W's Whitehall (three pillars) speech. I think he gets the big things right but I hate the spending. And legislators -- whatever their party -- need to be kept in line. I am a supply-sider and not a deficit-hawk by any stretch -- but the pork is gettin' me down. I was even agreeing with Senator Snowe. Now That's Scary!

WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled Congress sent President Bush (news - web sites) historic Medicare legislation Tuesday, combining a new prescription drug benefit with measures to control costs before the baby boom generation reaches retirement age.
I hope it has some cost control left...
Posted by jk at 04:37 PM | What do you think? [7]

November 24, 2003

Jonah! Jonah! Jonah!

I like and read everything Jonah Goldberg writes, but it has been a while since I've read one that I really think to be a home run.

Today's G-File is out of the park. You know the old trick to splitting a candy bar -- one splits, the other chooses. Jonah takes that theory to the culture war:

Which brings me back to Harrington's pie. If conservatives have such a lock on the culture these days, as Al Gore, Al Franken, and others keep insisting, why don't we just switch sides? The Left can have Fox News, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, the lavish offices of National Review and The Weekly Standard, as well as Sean Hannity's and Rush Limbaugh's airtime. The gangs at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation will clear out their desks, give John Podesta the code to the Xerox machine, and tell Eric Alterman where in the neighborhood to buy the best gyros.

In return, we'd like the keys to the executive bathrooms at ABC, CBS and NBC, please. We'd like the cast of Fox and Friends to take over The Today Show's studios ("and tell Couric to take her Cabbage Patch dolls with her!"). We want Ramesh Ponnuru as the editor of the New York Times and Rich Lowry can have his choice between Time and Newsweek. Matt Labash will get Esquire and let's set up Rick Brookhiser at Rolling Stone (that way they won't have to change their drug coverage). Andrew Sullivan can have The New York Times Magazine. Robert Bork will be the dean of the Yale Law School and the faculty of Hillsdale and Harvard will simply switch places. Cornell West will be airbrushed out of The Matrix and Harvey Mansfield will take his place (though convincing him say anything other than "you call that a haircut?" will be hard). NRO will get the bazillions of dollars spent by the editors of Salon and Slate, and those guys can start paying their authors with chickens and irregular tube socks made in Albania.


Then we get Jonah's take on "South-Park-Republicanism." Great column -- read it all.

Posted by jk at 04:18 PM | What do you think? [1]

November 22, 2003

Conservatives for Gay Marriage

David Brooks is an excellent choice for the NYTimes. He is not too frightening to liberals, and he represents conservative ideas robustly and artfully.

Andrew Sullivan points out his column on gay marriage, and it is excellent. I like it because it is not about gay marriage, it is about marriage. Why it is so important and why it would be good for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike.

I feel deracinated from the conservative community when I read The Weekly Standard or National Review hyperventilating about Goodrich. I'll hang with Sullivan and Brooks on this one:

The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.

When liberals argue for gay marriage, they make it sound like a really good employee benefits plan. Or they frame it as a civil rights issue, like extending the right to vote.

Marriage is not voting. It's going to be up to conservatives to make the important, moral case for marriage, including gay marriage. Not making it means drifting further into the culture of contingency, which, when it comes to intimate and sacred relations, is an abomination.

Posted by jk at 12:36 PM | What do you think? [3]

November 21, 2003

Harsh language and intemperate rhetoric

Lileks promises and delivers both today in a Bleat that defines the genre.

First, some cute toddler stories, then he warns "Harsh language and intemperate rhetoric follows. You've been warned."

He then takes down the producers of Nightline:

...not only covered the Jackson case in detail, but bumped coverage of the Whitehall speech, which was the most important speech since the Iraq campaign began and arguably the most important speech of the war
[...]
Nightline, supposedly the Thinking Person’s Late Night Show, was split about whether a repudiation of 50 years of foreign policy was slightly more important than the arrest of a washed-up, crotch-grabbing yee-hee! squeaking nutball who was probably the horrid pedophile everyone already thought he was.

Then he takes a whack at Salam Pax (where the language does get rough, for at least four letters):
Let me explain this in simple terms, habibi. You would have spent the rest of your life under Ba'athist rule. You might have gotten some nice architectural commissions to do a house for someone whose aroma was temporarily acceptable to the Tikriti mob. You might have worked your international connections, made it back to Vienna, lived a comfy exile’s life. What's certain is that none of your pals would ever have gotten rid of that “scary guy without the hideous moustache” (as if his greatest sin was somehow a fashion faux pas) and the Saddam regime would have prospered into the next generation precisely because of people like you. People who would rather have lived their life in low-level fear than change your situation. I understand; I would have done the same. I’m not brave enough to start a revolution. I wouldn’t have grabbed a gun and charged a palace. I would lived like you. Head down, eyes wary. When the man’s too strong, the man’s too strong. But let me quote from a Guardian story on your life:

“Like all Iraqis, Salam was familiar with the dangers. At least four of his relatives had gone missing. In the past year, for no apparent reason, one of his friends was summarily executed, shot in the head as he sat in his car, and two others were arrested; one was later freed and another, a close friend, has never returned.”

The rug was soaked before we got there, friend. Cut the clever café pose; drop the sneer. That “Rambo” crap is old. Iraq needs grown-ups. Be one.

Posted by jk at 09:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 20, 2003

How to freak out Gov. Dean

I highly recommend the OpinionJournal Political Diary. $3.95 a month gets you daily email from John Fund, Holman Jenkins, Jr., and other WSJ Ed Page staffers' daily diary of the political scene (somewhat of a blog on email). Today's has this gem under the title "Time to Short Dean, Inc?":

"It's like his supporters are a cult. At the Jefferson and Jackson dinner in Des Moines last weekend, it was tons of screaming kids, but they weren't from Iowa. They'd been bused in from across the Midwest . . . Afterward, there was a party at the Fort Des Moines and they acted out Dean's stump speech, waving their arms and mouthing the words, like it was 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show.' Dean was there, and at first he was smiling, but after a while he looked pretty freaked out." -- Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi on the Dean campaign, quoted in the New York Daily News.

Posted by jk at 12:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

Poetry vs. Lyrics

How 'bout a little music today? J. Bottum is a truly exceptional writer at the Weekly Standard website. His "Dakota Thanksgiving" from last year is a masterpiece. Today, he writes a short piece on art songs, setting poetry to music:

Why is the setting of poetry to music so dreary? Something there is in poetry that doesn't want to be lyrics, and every one of the performances sounded like an extended introduction to a Broadway tune--without the tune.

Amen, Brother Bottum. Can I add vocalese to this? I know a lot of people like it, and it is a very demanding form of jazz vocals that requires serious chops to pull off. But like Bullwinkle's magic, that trick never works!

I heard a piece this week on Denver's beloved KUVO Jazz 89: some very pretentious lyrics grafted onto a John Coltrane sax solo. I wanted to gnaw my arm off to get away. Sorry, man, it was meant to be a sax solo -- the phrasing is not right and the lack of structure is not conducive to lyrical content. And, yes, it's too long. Maybe break it up with a saxophone solo...

Posted by jk at 09:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 19, 2003

Andrew defends W

With an accent they can understand, Andrew Sullivan defends President Bush from the London protesters in a Sunday Times piece: London Calling. Good Stuff!

Afghanistan? We have just seen a new constitution unveiled which both embraces Islam and protects religious minorities and women. If it weren't for Bush, the Taliban would still be in power. Iraq? One of the worst tyrants in history has been toppled, 300,000 mass graves discovered, the marshlands of Southern Iraq are coming back to life, the Kurds and Shia can plan democratic futures, and Bush's policy is still declared a disaster because a few thousand remnants of the old regime, combined with other regional terrorists, are still fighting! The notion that this policy has already failed relies on so raising the bar of success that only a miracle would pass muster. Come back in five years - the only reasonable time period by which to judge Iraq's reconstruction - and we'll talk. Meanwhile, some $20 billion of aid money is coming from American pockets to rebuild a country devastated by totalitarianism. And the architect of this astonishing act of humanitarianism is compared to Hitler in the streets of London. It makes no sense. None.
[...]
So I hope the protestors enjoy their days of rage. Dictators have come and gone in London - from Assad to Mugabe in recent times - and the protests have been minor and sporadic. But a man who, for all his faults, has actually liberated more Muslims from terror and oppression than any human rights group on earth, will be pilloried, attacked, booed and maligned. He'll be fine. So will Blair. Both are idealists - one in favor of turning Iraq around for liberal internationalist reasons, the other a reconstructed conservative with a "neo" now fastened to his front. But for differing reasons, they have both arrived at the same conclusion: to have their eyes not on the passing hysteria of crowds or the snap judgments of pundits, but on the difficult acts of responsibility and persistence that history eventually judges. And judge it certainly will.

Posted by jk at 01:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Jackson Sought on Molestation Allegations

Dang! I thought it was Jesse -- I am a very bad man, hoping for tragedy to befall a political opponent.
But, no -- it's only Michael.

Posted by jk at 12:41 PM | What do you think? [0]

Yes Sir!

Army Maj. Gen. Swannack Jr., Commander, 82nd Airborne Division offers an upbeat and clear-headed assessment of exigencies in his section of Iraq in a Live Video Tele-conference from Baghdad. It's lengthy but very interesting.

What I'd like to tell you upfront about Al Anbar province is that the government is operating day to day by Iraqis out there; very successfully, the government is being run by Iraqis. Governor Burgess and the departments out there are very successful in the day-to-day operations. They have a budget; they're using the budget as provided by the ministries in conducting the business there.

Thank you for your service, General! And thanks to samizdata for the link.

Posted by jk at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

Great Speech!

W's address at Whitehall Palace is an exceptional speech, well worth a read.

He gives homage to the special relationship between Britain and the USA, makes a few good jokes, and acknowledges the anti-war protesters without conceding ground to them:

I've been here only a short time, but I've noticed that the tradition of free speech -- exercised with enthusiasm -- (laughter) -- is alive and well here in London. We have that at home, too. They now have that right in Baghdad, as well. [...] Those in authority, however, are not judged only by good motivations. The people have given us the duty to defend them. And that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men. In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force.
UPDATE: I heard the speech on C-SPAN last night. It is awesome. My brother-in-law called me and said "November 19, 2003: I said that this man will someday rank among the greatest presidents." I agree.
Posted by jk at 10:10 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 18, 2003

Message from the Front...

Opinion Journal's Best Of The Web brings us a request from AP to eliminate a wire photo:

"PHOTO ELIMINATION: Editors, Photo Editors, Librarians, eliminate from your systems and archives DV115 transmitted Nov. 17, 2003, due to obscene gesture,"

We guess he means to let us know what he thinks of the way the press has been covering the war. Shame on the AP for this outrageous suppression of dissent.

Posted by jk at 02:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bush to Outsource Lawmaking to India

Here's a funny email from frequent commenter, Silence Dogood:

Bush Lays Off Congress; will Outsource Lawmaking to India

Washington - Citing the growing cost of running the Federal government
and the need to cut costs in order to reduce the budget deficit,
President Bush announced today that he was laying off all 535 members of
Congress and transferring lawmaking operations to a legislative support
center in Bangalore, India. "Hey, outsourcing is the way to go these
days," said Bush at an impromptu news conference where he announced the
decision, adding, "the American people want to see less government
waste. Since every one of those ex-Congressmen had a salary of $150,000,
this move will cut our costs by over $80 million per year, and that's
not even counting what we'll save on health insurance and retirement
plans." Sources indicate that the Indian replacements will be paid
approximately $250 per month.

The outcry from the newly laid-off Senators and Representatives was
swift. Ex-California Senator Diane Feinstein said, "This is absolutely
outrageous. How can a bunch of replacements over in India run Congress?
What do they know about filibusters and committee hearings?" As she was
being escorted out of the Hart Senate Office Building by U.S. Capitol
Police officers, Feinstein complained that the newly-terminated
lawmakers were only given ten minutes to clean out their desks and leave
the building.

"I think it's a great idea," said Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking
from a secure undisclosed location. "The American people were fed up
with that expensive do-nothing Congress which didn't always give the
President everything he asked for. Our new Indian replacements will be
much more cooperative to the President, which is what we all want." Asked
whether the outsourcing may be unconstitutional, Cheney noted, "That's
up to the Supreme Court to decide, but as you know, they usually see
things our way."

The new members of Congress seem thrilled with the attention they are
receiving. Speaking from the offices of All-India Legislative Support
Centre Ltd. in Bangalore, new Mississippi Senator Ramchandra Shektar
Gupta told reporters, "The Indian people are very hard working and we
will do our best as U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen. And we are going
to have some fun too. Just think: we have $2 trillion of the American
taxpayers' money to spend!"

Posted by jk at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [1]

November 17, 2003

A History of COllaboration

In Case Closed, Stephen Hayes documents CIA knowledge (and Senate communication) of links between al-Queda and Iraq. Andrew Sullivan says "let's not let this story die." The NY Times will try to ignore it, and the traditional media will follow (To learn more of this, read Bernie Goldberg's OUTSTANDING "Arrogance.") But the blogosphere will keep it out there until it is accepted or discredited.

The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.
Posted by jk at 11:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 06, 2003

The Onion

In "Americans Demand Increased Governmental Protection From Selves," our friends at The Onion nail it:

NEW YORK -- Alarmed by the unhealthy choices they make every day, more and more Americans are calling on the government to enact legislation that will protect them from their own behavior.
[..]
"It's not just about Americans eating too many fries or cracking their skulls open when they fall off their bicycles," said Los Angeles resident Rebecca Burnie, 26. "It's a financial issue, too. I spend all my money on trendy clothes and a nightlife that I can't afford. I'm $23,000 in debt, but the credit-card companies keep letting me spend. It's obscene that the government allows those companies to allow me to do this to myself. Why do I pay my taxes?"

Thanks to Berkeley Square blogger Cyrano for the tip.

Posted by jk at 03:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

Hitch!

I will, again, recommend Christopher Hitchens's "The Long Short War." It is a great book and a great historical record of the reasons for war outside of politics and revisionism.

To get a little flavor, read Restating the Case for War - Waiting for Saddam to change is what got us into this mess in the first place. in Slate. Good stuff, and sobering to a still-believer such as me:

I have noticed lately a distressing tendency on the part of those who support the intervention in Iraq to rest their case largely on underreported good news. Now, it is certainly true, as I have said myself, that there is much to celebrate in the new Iraq. The restoration of the ecology of the southern marshes, the freedom to follow the majority Shiite religion, the explosion of new print and electronic media, the emancipation of the schools and universities, and the consolidation of Kurdish autonomy are all magnificent things. But those who want to take credit for them must also axiomatically accept the blame for the failure to anticipate huge lacunae in the provision of power, water, and security.
Posted by jk at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [1]
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