January 31, 2004

Funny, funny, funny

Allah Is In The House: gives you the Democratic primaries so far in captioned pictures. This is so funny -- you will laugh 'till milk comes out your nose.

Hat tip Cecile (see next post)

Posted by jk at 03:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

A day at Al Franken High

I had good teachers and bad teachers, but I thank NED I never had to deal with Cecile du Bois's teacher.

Cecile had the temerity to suggest that women might have a slightly easier time today than when Mary Wollstonecraft wrote "Vindication on the Rights of Women." Of course that was unacceptable to her teacher, but it gets worse. In the ensuing discussion, Cecile let it slip that she was not a big fan of affirmative action. Her teacher ridiculed her and allowed other students to laugh. Threats of physical violence ensued after class.

All because she thought for herself. You don't have to agree with her (though I do). You have to agree that it's alright to think in class. Her friend suggested that she just do and say what others do and say.

Today's lesson has been accepted by the friend: just go along, get along. Write one of a hundred essays comparing Wollstonecraft seminal feminist manifest to the latest Julia Roberts movie and smile and nod.

Brian at Samizdata writes a moving piece on this topic and asks people to visit Cecile's (very good) blog and leave encouraging comments there or at Samizdata.

Posted by jk at 03:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

What a cool blog redesign

My favorite blog, Samizadata, has just added a cool new look to its great writing, insightful posts, and articulate comments. Five starts, check it out!

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

January 30, 2004

Back From the Lone Star State

Sorru for light (non-existent) posting this week. I was down in Austin, where they seem to hate W even more than in Europe. Wow!

Thanks to johngalt for keeping up -- I got a kick out of the Al Franken thing. And the NED discussion is much fun.

See you next week with more bellicose ravings...

Posted by jk at 05:16 PM | What do you think? [7]

January 27, 2004

Al Franken's Principled, uh, Tackle

Isn't it great that America has people like Al Franken whose principles are clear and universal? The NY Post reports that Franken brought the full force of his principles to bear in defense of the civil right of mean Dr. Dean to speak freely. He did so by tackling one member of the assemblage who was engaged in the despicable act of... speaking freely. The nerve!

"I got down low and took his legs out," said Franken afterwards. He added, "I'm neutral in this race but I'm for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down." So I guess he's for freedom of speech if you have a microphone so that you don't have to yell to be heard. A pity the man didn't have a megaphone which undoubtedly would have dissuaded Franken-stein's "body-slam."

"I was a wrestler so I used a wrestling move," Franken said. Hey, wasn't that the defense used in the Lionel Tate case? "Tate has said he accidentally killed Eunick while he was imitating pro-wrestling moves he had seen on TV."

The Post reporter informs us, "The tussle left Franken's trademark thick-rim glasses broken, but he said he was not injured." No word on the condition of the contemptible "shouter."

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:14 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 26, 2004

"Straight talk from your friends"

"Dear Mr. President, CUT UP THE CREDIT CARDS!!!" This is the message from a growing number of conservatives who strongly support this President but feel growing disenchantment with his triangulation on domestic policy.

John Fund reports on last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that, "Rather than just kvetching about all this, CPAC attendees held several seminars on how to fix the problem." (There go those conservatives again, actually working toward progressive change!) And the suggestions are good ones to boot. From a federal version of Colorado's TABOR (taxpayers bill of rights for you out-of-staters) to automatic continuing resolutions that would freeze next year's spending at last year's levels. As CA Rep. Chris Cox pointed out, "government would continue, and we would find it could work just fine at lower levels."

Coincidentally, Dagny and I were discussing this yesterday. I said that I have been of the opinion since the first year of this administration that the Karl Rove plan for the first term is to beat the Dems at their own game, i.e. "bread and circuses" in order to secure re-election. My thinking, perhaps wishfully, is that the second term will be where the fiscal reform will occur. NED help us if it doesn't.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:24 AM | What do you think? [9]

January 24, 2004

Kudlow & Cramer

I leave you guys for one week and fly overseas -- and look what happens! Kudlow & Cramer has been cut from the prime-time CNBC lineup. K&C and Buffy are the only reasons to own a television.

I got a comment to an old post from somebody in Orange County who was also disappointed:

... was disappointed to learn the Kudlow & Cramer tv show on weekdays at 8pm on CNBC in my area is no longer shown at that time. Can you tell me how I can obtain Kudlow & Cramer's email address so I can voice my opinion on the change. I enjoyed their program very much and have learned a great deal through them.

Amen. The address is kudlow-cramer@cnbc.com I encourage everybody to send a dignified but assertive missive.

I am looking forward to Dennis Miller's Show on CNBC -- but not at the expense of K&C!

Posted by jk at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [8]

January 23, 2004

Vintage Jonah

Jonah Goldberg in his syndicated column:

I thought President Bush's State of the Union address was fine. It wasn't outrageously long. He drew a bright line between himself and his critics on the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, Social Security Reform, etc. He delivered it well, and the nudity was tasteful and integral to the plot.
When he's on, there are none better.
Posted by jk at 05:28 PM | What do you think? [5]

Wing Sings The Carpenters

Andrew Sullivan had a link to this yesterday. But I am still enjoying it today. Listen to Wing showcases a New Zealand performer. I'm sure many people see my music as I see hers but I will make sport all the same. Don't leave the site without hearing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Close To You."

My birthday is in May if anyone is looking for a present for me...

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

Jack Welsh for President

Jack Welsh, the former CEO of GE, pens an excellent piece on leadership today. He admits he's a Bush supporter but he critiques the Democratic candidates very fairly on his leadership rules which he used at GE. The Four E's:

Basically, my process assesses four essential traits of leadership (each one starting with an E, a nice coincidence). One, successful leaders have tons of positive energy. They can go go go; they love action and relish change. Two, they have the ability to energize others--they love people and can inspire them to move mountains when they have to. Three, they have edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions--no maybes. And finally, they can execute. They get the job done.
It's hard to pull out a paragraph. I hate bloggers who say "read the whole thing" but I'd suggest it.
Posted by jk at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [4]

January 22, 2004

Jessica Jackson

You've GOTTA subscribe to the OpinionJournal Political Diary:

President Bush is making inroads with young people. Democratic Congressmen were still gabbing yesterday about the enthusiastic response his State of the Union message received from Jessica Jackson, four-year-old daughter of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois. Viewers saw the president stop as he entered the chamber to give young Jessica a hug. Later, television cameras captured her cheering enthusiastically for his speech. "She thinks he's Prince Charming," her father explained afterward. "She was clapping for tax breaks. I told my colleagues, 'I think she's a conservative'"

--John Fund

Posted by jk at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [8]


The joys of being the token Minority on this blog is that I get to write about all kinds of fun things like immigration (from a personal point of view )and what it's like to give an oath of Citizenship. jk is jealous but he's lucky, he will never know the fear of being asked to leave the county you love.

Background: I came to this country because my mom said so. My dad wasn't crazy enough to argue when my mom's survival instincts kick in. She went to the American Embassy everyday for months. Finally, we had to call in some big favors, a Don, a VP of the Philippines and others. My mom was on a mission. We're going to America! So we loaded up the plane and moved to Youngstown, Ohio. Mom is an RD with a masters (Iowa State). They gave her a job. We're here months before Marcos comes to power and the people live under a Dictator. The Don's kids are taken by Marcos and killed. Give me all the business, you get to die a poor man in San Fran. Imelda had the guts to show up at his funeral.

So here we are in America. Okay by me in America. The land of Big Dreams and the road's paved with opportunity. We didn't leave poverty to get here. We had maids and servants. We came here because this is the land of Opportunity and Dictators like Marcos can't come into power. (Some may think Bush is a Dictator, but when was the last time you worried that all your letters would be read and anything you say against Bush means someone gets to be prisoned or killed? When was the last time your brother was killed for speaking out against Bush. I met a cousin who was sent to America because he spoke out against Marcos. His life was saved because it's not good to kill a General's son.)

We had to report to the Immigration office. Not a bad idea when our goal is to be a citizen. We're here for five years. In that time, we learn to be Americans. We speak English, it's a national Language of the Philippines, right up there with Tagalog and Spanish. My parents didn't teach me how to speak Tagalog because it might make becoming an American harder. My older sister spoke Tagalog and four other dialects but my parents told her to speak English.
We have to prove ourselves worthy to be Americans. You see, being an American, to me, is the highest honor and the most precious gift, I had to earn it. We were tested. We had to know how our new country works. We had to know what the Constitution is in order to defend it. That is what they asked of us when we give your oath of Citizenship: to give up allegiance to my place of birth, to defend this country and it's Constitution, to bear arms on behave of this country when required by law.

I became a citizen when my parents did but it was so important that I give my oath of Citizenship. That is the day I celebrate my citizenship, the day I gave my oath. I was 9 years old and in the third grade. Every year I read my oath. My mom asked me to read it when I was a kid. Now I read it because I have to. I have to remember why it is that I gave my oath. I remember and I will never forget.

Amnesty. Illegal aliens. Don't give them Amnesty. Give them the right to work here and if they can prove themselves worthy, give them Citizenship. It's right and it's fair.

These are the requirements:

If you are interested in applying for U.S. citizenship, first make sure that:

you have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (with exceptions; for example, the time period changes to four years if you got your green card through an application for political asylum, and to three years if you got your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and are still married to and living with the citizen. There are other exceptions for refugees and U.S. military personnel)

you have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years (or half of the last four or three years, if you qualify under one of the exceptions above)

you have lived in the district or state where you are filing your application for at least three months

you have not spent more than a year outside the United States

you have not made your primary home in another country

you are at least 18 years old

you have good moral character (in particular, this means that you have not been convicted of a crime, have not failed to pay taxes and have not failed to register for the draft)

you are able to speak, read and write in English

you are able to pass a test covering U.S. history and government, and

you are willing to swear that you believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution and will be loyal to the United States.

For all it's problems America is a great place to live. Americans have a pretty good system of government.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

These are the words that I was asked to defend. I will never forget.

Posted by Riza Rivera at 11:15 AM | What do you think? [0]

Low Carb Investments

I am intrigued by the effect of Atkins and other low-carb diets on the sales of food products.

James Glassman does a nice piece on it today in NRO Financial.

Can investors profit from the low-carb craze?

While the Atkins diet has its detractors, who often caricature it as a frivolous, all-you-can-eat, steak-and-martini regimen, it has clearly changed the way Americans eat. Sales of eggs, which are condemned in low-fat diets for being high in cholesterol, have surged. Sales of orange juice, which Atkins followers avoid because it contains 26 grams of carbs per cup, have fallen. Sales of Diet Pepsi (0 grams of carbohydrates) are up 7.6 percent, while sales of regular Pepsi (39 grams per can) are down 1.8 percent.

I've lost five stone (that's 70 lbs) on Atkins and feel great. It horrifies me to think of carrying more weight around with my Multiple Sclerosis. I would be in a wheelchair.

Thanks to the invisible hand, this means additional variety and availability of low carb foods -- go Adam Smith!

Posted by jk at 10:49 AM | What do you think? [9]

January 21, 2004

The Truth is Told

Silence is right, we are losing out high tone around here. Before it's regained, I have to point out The George W. Bush Conspiracy Generator. You too can -- in seconds -- generate your own conspiracies. Here's mine:

George W. Bush caused the Cubs to lose to the Marlins in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series so that Rush Limbaugh and white men could kill minorities.

Hat tip to Melissa at ZogbyBlog.

Posted by jk at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [9]

Who Wants to be a Millionare?

Meet The Millionare Next Door

These people cannot be millionares! They don't look like millionaires, they don't dress like millionaires, they don't eat like millionaires, they don't act like millionares--they don't even have millionare names. (From: The Millionare Next Door)

Who becomes wealthy? They are businesspersons who have lived in the same town all their adult lives. They own a small factory, a store, or a service company. They married once and remain married. They live next door to people with a fraction of their wealth. They are compulsive savers and investors. Eighty percent of America's millionares are first-generation rich.

Seven Common denominators:
1. They live well below their means (Frugal).
2. They allocate their time, energy and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficent.
6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
7. They choose the right occupation.


1. About half of the wives do not work outside the home. The number one occupation for those wives who do is teacher.
2. They live on less then 7 percent of their wealth.
3. Most of them are homeowners. About half have occupied the same home for more than twenty years.
4. Most of them have never felt at a disadvantage because they did not receive any inheritance.
5. They wear inexpensive clothing and drive American-made cars.
6. Most of the wives are planners and meticulous budgeters.
7. They have a "go-to-hell Fund". They have accumulated enough wealth to live for a few years without working.
8.They are fairly well educated.
9. Only 17 percent have attended private schools.
10. They believe that education is extrememly important for themselves and their offspring.
11. They are tightwads (frugal).

The Millionare Next Door
Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.
William D. Danko, Ph.D.
Pocket Books
(c) 1996 by Thomas J. Stanley and William D, Danko
I like this book.

These are the people the Dems are going to raise taxes on. The people who dream about becoming millionares. The ones who pinch pennies until they scream, the ones who buy what's on sale.

They're not talking about raising the taxes on people in Hollywood. Meathead and the guy who plays a pres on TV wouldn't like that. Let's start taxing people for living the American Dream. You dream big and we (dems) tax you. Sounds good to me. Kerry/ Edwards/Dean (doesn't matter) in '04.

Posted by Riza Rivera at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [2]

January 20, 2004

The Bad Ol' Days

Hey, remember the bad ol' days when we had a Democrat in the White House and our only recourse to the madness this spawned was to tell jokes about him? Well, in honor of John Kerry's big "comeback" in the Hawkeye Caucii, here's my update of an old Hillary joke sent to me yesterday by a good friend:

John Kerry beats the odds and gets elected President and is spending his first night in the White House. As he's drifting off to sleep the ghost of George Washington appears before him. Realizing his incredible opportunity, Kerry asks, "How can I best serve my country?" Washington replies, "Never tell a lie." Ouch, thinks Kerry, I don't like the sound of that.

The next night the ghost of Thomas Jefferson appears. Kerry asks, "How can I best serve my country?" Jefferson says, "Listen to the people." Hmmm, thinks Kerry, I don't really like that either.

On the third night the ghost of Abe Lincoln appears. "How can I best serve my country?" asks Kerry. Lincoln says, "Go to the theater."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:27 PM | What do you think? [4]

I wanna be the loose cannon

I wanna be the loose cannon! It's my God given right to be the loose cannon. I'd be good at it. Come on jk, Run for Pres for the Dems. Please...

I could talk about how I love Iowa because real people live there. I'm really the Pickle Queen and all my friends are dills and sweets. I could give a really good stoned out stare. People can wonder if I'm stoned to keep from saying crazy things or if I'm stoned so people have no idea what I'm saying.

I could have really cool friends like meathead and a guy who plays a pres on TV and we can talk about how we likes real people in Iowa.

Real people in Iowa, that can be my cause. I'll take care of the real people in Iowa. Sorry you're from Kansas, you're not real. But we can pretend you're from Iowa and we can talk about real people stuff.

Come on, what ya say? Do it for me!! Run for Pres on the D ticket. I'll make sure you win. I'll be crazy. I'll tell people I haven't seen you in months expect when we're sitting around the table talking about how hard it is for real people.

Could we go over the chart of real people again? How come the Easter Bunny isn't real? He's kind of cute.

Do it for me!!!
Love, The Pickle Queen

Posted by Riza Rivera at 03:00 PM | What do you think? [2]

Louder, Governor!

Even lefty, Iowa Democrats aren't going to elect this guy. The Republic is in good hands, kids -- sleep well.

I think other candidates will be harder for President Bush to beat, but I am happy to see the Democrat party pull back from the precipice.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan The picture is here.

Posted by jk at 11:10 AM | What do you think? [3]

The Nano-V

Jazz, Guitars, and Right Wing Politics. Cornell University has built "The Worlds Smallest Guitar." I think the flying-V style was a good choice.
The strings of the nanoguitar are silicon bars, 150 X 200 nm in cross section and ranging from 6 to 12 mm in length. The strings vibrate at frequencies 17 octaves higher than those of a real guitar. The device is "played" by hitting the strings with a focused laser beam. Vibrating strings create interference patterns in the light reflected back. The detected patterns are electronically converted to audible notes.

The ability to make tiny things vibrate at high frequencies opens the door for many potential electronics applications. For example, cell phones and other wireless devices use the oscillations of a quartz crystal to generate the carrier wave on which they transmit or to tune in incoming signals. A tiny vibrating nanorod could do the same job in less space while drawing only milliwatts of power. Supersharp filtering is another possibility. They may also detect vibrations to help locate objects or detect faint sounds to predict machinery or structure failure.
Hat tip to Silence Dogood for sending me the link...
Posted by jk at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 18, 2004

Postrel on Hayek

Virginia Postrel, whose Dynamist blog is always available on the Berkeley Square Blogroll, has written an excellent piece in the Boston Globe: Friedrich the Great.

Hayek and his mentor, Ludwig von Mises, are heroes to me. Postrel's piece provides a good background to those who are unfamiliar with Hayek, and a great homage for those who dig him. I wonder how the readers of the Globe received the piece? That paper is noted for its left wing readership.

Postrel shines:

But Hayek turned out to be ahead of his time, not behind it. Arguing with the social engineers of the mid-20th century, he grappled with problems equally relevant to the 21st century. He anticipated today's rage for biological metaphors and evolutionary analysis, today's fragmented and specialized markets, today's emphasis on the legal institutions needed to make markets work, even today's multicultural challenges.


As Hayek pointed out, the key thing is to have the decision rights and the information co-located," says Brynjolfsson. "There are at least two ways of achieving that. One is to move information to decision maker. The other is to move decision rights to where the information is."

This analysis, which applies as much to culture as to economics, informs Hayek's best-known work, "The Road to Serfdom," which he wrote as a wartime warning to a popular audience. Published in 1944 and dedicated "to the socialists of all parties," the book argued that the logic of socialist central planning implied the erosion of personal freedoms. Britain's well-intended socialists were headed down the same path as the National Socialists whose rise Hayek had witnessed in Austria.

By The Way: her Why Buffy Kicked Ass piece from last year was good too...

Posted by jk at 05:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 17, 2004

The AP Editorial Wire

The title of this AP wire story, Bush Speech to Frame Re-Election Agenda caught my eye. I though it odd to characterize the State of the Union Speech like that. I clicked the link to see if someone was quoted as saying that.

The copy is so blatantly biased, you quickly forget the subtle bias in the headline:

Restricted by record budget deficits that blossomed during his administration and approach $500 billion, Bush has little room to propose costly initiatives.

But he will urge Congress to make recently enacted tax cuts permanent over the next decade and will push for action to deal with the rising cost of health care, White House aides say. He will revive his contentious plan to allow younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security (news - web sites) taxes in the stock market.

Bush is not expected to use the speech for tough talk on national security. He did that last year in laying out the case for war against Iraq; the year before he branded North Korea (news - web sites), Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil."

I don't know that anything in the article is wrong. I am sure re-election counts heavily in the speech. But it is presented not as the SOTU. It is presented that those crafty Republicans have staged a political infomercial to interrupt the Iowa Caucus:
Bush will step into the election-year debate Tuesday night with a nationally broadcast speech. It is wedged on the political calendar between Monday night's Iowa caucuses and the leadoff presidential primary in New Hampshire on Jan. 27.

Too sensitive?

Posted by jk at 11:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

Welcome to Dublin!

One of our local colleagues, making sure the lads don't go thirsty. Pictures and travelogue at tat ergo sum
Posted by jk at 05:19 AM | What do you think? [2]

January 15, 2004

Silent Running...

Sorry I haven't been posting but my Internet access has been very limited in Dublin.

I am having great fun and working hard. I will post pictures and extended descriptions soon. Tomorrow (Friday) I fly back to the UK where I'll have easier access and possibly more time.

This evening I had a long and loud discussion with a gaggle of W-hatin' Europeans. What fun. More to follow, more to follow...

Home Monday night. Take care! -- jk

Posted by jk at 08:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Who Wants an Eco-car? Very Few

"Somewhere, Steve McQueen is smiling," is the title of a humorous political evaluation of this year's North American Auto Show on yesterday's OpinionJournal page. The whole essay is hilarious, but here are some favored tidbits.

The moguls and their elaborately coiffed dates and wives were hardly in attendance to celebrate new breakthroughs in high-mileage technology. They instead perused a pack of super cars producing enough horsepower to move Mount Rushmore.

Four hundred horsepower is not unusual. Three hundred horsepower can be found under the hoods of literally dozens of sedans and SUVs. Two hundred horsepower is simply not worth mentioning.

Countering this trend is a nearly invisible collection of hybrids and tiny urban vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is displaying its Euro-version "Smart Car"--a two-seat midget that resembles a Parisian phone booth on wheels. It will arrive in the American market next year, no doubt with a stern warning to never, ever drive the thing within three miles of a Kenworth or Peterbilt 18-wheeler.

There is no debating that hybrids and fuel cells make sense in terms of the environment and reducing fossil-fuel dependence. But until these new powerplants can equal current conventional gasoline engines in terms of performance, cost and durability, auto makers will respond to the harsh realities of the marketplace. No amount of government mandates, media pressure or high-minded pontifications can replace the simple laws of supply and demand.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [4]

Liberty League reprise

Readers who don't carefully monitor the commentary on this blog really miss a lot of interesting discussion. One example is the debate over the validity and necessity of a "Liberty League," which you can scroll down to or just jump from here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:06 PM | What do you think? [10]

January 09, 2004

Bush and Immigration

First, God bless the blogosphere. This is a tough and huge issue with a million facets: political, economic, security, cultural and moral. I have enjoyed reading other opinions before I rush to my own.

Many of my favorites have come down strongly against the President. John Derbyshire, Victor David Hanson -- almost everybody at National Review is fulminating, Melissa at ZogbyBlog has written a thoughtful but very charged piece against it. This post started its inchoate life as a comment to her.

On what came to be my side, I read equally thoughtful posts by Alex at Pstupidonymous and Andrew Sullivan. The Wall Street Journal Ed Page unsurprisingly comes out in favor this morning. I am pro-growth, pro-Immigrant. Another of Melissa's commenters accused W of simultaneously pandering to Hispanics and "Cheap Labor Conservatives." I guess I am a paid up member in the CLC.

In our defense, it's more than cheap labor, it's economic dynamism and comparative advantage. Immigration is great for the economy unless the immigrants are terrorists. That's what this plan is about.

It also codifies an economic reality. These people are here and are part of the economy. I love Michelle Malkin and John Derbyshire and VDH, but they live in a dream world if they think we can find, process and deport millions of workers.

Citizenship would be amnesty, and I would oppose it. This is a legal, traceable framework. As WSJ's Political Diary said, it's Good Politics and Good Policy.

Posted by jk at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [1]

Since President Bush Declared...

Just got this email from a good friend (and Navy Reservist -- thanks for your service!) I cannot vouch for the veracity of any individual point, but...I think we all get the idea.

NPR, without fail, ends every segment involving loss of Coalition life with the phrase "this brings the number to N of American soldiers killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat..."

This email enumerated what has been less reported:

"Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1..."

...the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty7

... over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.

...nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.

... the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

...on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts-exceeding the pre-war average.

...all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.

... by October 1, Coalition forces had rehabbed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than their target.

... teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

...all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.

...doctors' salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.

...pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.

...the Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq's children.

...a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals. They now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.

...we have restored over three-quarters of pre-war telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.

... there are 4,900 full-service connections. We expect 50,000 by January first.

...the wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.

...95 percent of all pre-war bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.

... Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.

...the central bank is fully independent.

... Iraq has one of the world's most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.

... Iraq (has) a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.

...satellite dishes are legal.

...foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for "minders" and other government spies.

... there is no Ministry of Information.

...there are more than 170 newspapers.

... you can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.

... foreign journalists and everyone else are free to come and go.

...a nation that had not one single element-legislative, judicial or executive-- of a representative government, does.

...in Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.

...today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.

... 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.

...the Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.

...Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.

... for the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.

...the Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.

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

January 08, 2004

TNR Endorses Lieberman

Many lefties and Democrats seem completely disconnected from reality to this admittedly partisan observer. The good folks at The New Republic, however, continue to impress. I may not agree with half of what they say, but I have enjoyed reading intelligent commentary from "the other side." A person of any political stripe can subscribe to the electronic-only version for $20 a year.

I just finished their endorsement of Senator Lieberman.

I wouldn't vote for him unless Snoop Dogg were to get the GOP nomination, but he's clearly the best of this year's pack. I can actually picture the Republic's surviving such an administration. TNR sez:

The deep irony of Lieberman's campaign is that many Democrats view him as timid. But how much courage does it take for Dean to throw red meat to the party faithful? The Democratic Party is racing back to the '80s, with interest groups enforcing litmus tests on everything from partial-birth abortion to steel tariffs, and party activists dangerously out of touch with a country that feels threatened by terrorism, not Donald Rumsfeld. Dean has helped create this mood of self-righteous delusion, and his competitors have, to varying degrees, accommodated themselves to it. Only Lieberman--the supposed candidate of appeasement--is challenging his party, enduring boos at event after event, to articulate a different, better vision of what it means to be a Democrat.

Twenty bucks, guys, and it's digital only so your friends need never know...

Posted by jk at 04:56 PM | What do you think? [2]

January 07, 2004

From U.N. to Liberty League

A truly great, and provocative article on the folly of the U.N. experiment was posted today on Capitalism Magazine's website

The author, Alexander Marriott, makes many excellent points and the short article is well worth reading, but the gist is this: "The United States ought to withdraw from the United Nations, which would leave it as a body without bones. We should then propose a new international alliance; a natural, consistent and rational alliance of nations that has something in common, their love for individual liberty. Automatically off of the list of nations is France, a socialist country that cares nothing for individuals, those in France or elsewhere."

I would fully support such an initiative if it guaranteed the national sovereignty of all member states, i.e. none could be compelled to act in contradiction to its own interests by the power of the majority. After all, the moral is the chosen, not the obeyed. I would also point out that the United States itself is only a few hundred Florida votes short of the socialist, liberty-hatred that got France blacklisted from the League before it's even formed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 05:05 PM | What do you think? [6]

Those California Govs

I think President Reagan would enjoy these words from Governor Schwarzenegger:

"We do not have a tax crisis; we do not have a budget crisis; we have a spending crisis. We cannot tax our way out of this problem. More taxes will destroy what we are trying to save which is jobs and revenue" -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, in yesterday's state of the state speech.

The same state that gives us Xavier Bacerra and Barbara Boxer elects these two giants. I love this country! Hat tip: OpinionJournal Political Diary.

Posted by jk at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 06, 2004

Petition Supporting Armed Forces

Sign An Open Letter in Support of America's Armed Forces if you would like. There was some negative language in the beginning that I didn't care for, but I am a sucker for signing these, and it ended well:

The effects of the liberation you won in Iraq and Afghanistan are reverberating throughout the region: The Saudis will hold municipal elections. ...Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents. ...Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms. ...The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian -- a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.

When we examine the events of the world today, the words of George Washington's First Inaugural Address ring strangely true: "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." And now the preservation of that sacred fire is passed on to Iraqis, Afghanis, and others, thanks to your faithful defense of the Republic.

You -- the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine -- have had no small part in these events, and for this we offer our heartfelt thanks.

Posted by jk at 05:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

The State and Diet

In Gorge yourself stupid, Andy Duncan at Samizdata finds a great quote from Ludwig von Mises:

[Modern socialism] is totalitarian in the strict sense of the term. It holds the individual in tight rein from the womb to the tomb. At every instant of his life the 'comrade' is bound to obey implicitly the orders issued by the supreme authority. The State is both his guardian and his employer. The State determines his work, his diet, and his pleasures. The State tells him what to think and what to believe in.

He spots the state connection to diet, which has bugged me since I, like him, have been on the Atkins Diet:
Now I could mention how clever it was, in 1944, for Von Mises to spot the increasing role, in the 21st century, for our illiberal friends at a certain UK newspaper, but let's take a closer look at the subject of diet, something Professor Mises told us in 1944 the totalitarians would feel bound to try to control us with, for whatever miserable reasons they dream up.

By my count, that means Mises predicted WWII, the cold war, the rise and fall of 20th century socialism, and the state's nannying opposition to diet plans. Awesome.

Posted by jk at 01:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Happier Days

"Happier Days" was the title of the head-noogie picture.

A friend sent me a few of these - these two were my favorites...

Posted by jk at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 05, 2004

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world

With over 4 billion souls on the planet there's always someone willing to do anything. Get this one though: Somebody actually consented to being killed, dismembered, and eaten by, apparently, a homosexual blind date. Oh yeah, I'm not making this up.

And the clever vegetable-genocidists over at PETA took the opportunity to make one of their favorite analogies: "People who eat meat feel disgusted by human flesh. Vegetarians feel disgusted by any sort of meat."

There are a hundred-and-one pertinent responses to this acid-trip of faulty reasoning, but my favorite was posted as a blog comment on FreeRepublic.com by 'muir_redwoods' - (14th comment) "So one carnivore finally, actually gets the permission of the animal he is going to eat and PETA still has a problem with this nutcase's menu choice."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:49 PM | What do you think? [3]

News You can Use

Punditry from the people! WSJ's Political Diary gives us:
Las Vegas Odds on Becoming the Democratic Nominee

Howard Dean -- 1/3
Wesley Clark -- 7/2
Dick Gephardt -- 7/1
John Kerry -- 12/1
John Edwards -- 12/1
Joe Lieberman -- 20/1
Al Sharpton -- 200/1

(From the Bodog SportsBook)

Posted by jk at 02:27 PM | What do you think? [2]

Free Trade!

The WSJ Ed Page, in "The Case for Cafta" (paid-site only, sorry!), points out that he complex regulations are "far from [a] free-trade nirvana" but they still support CAFTA because:

Still, the most important goal of free trade is opening domestic markets to competitors offering high quality goods and services. Once locals can lay their hands on the world's best imports, consumers have more disposable income and producers have access to components that make them more competitive. Export markets develop. So Central Americans will be markedly better off under Cafta even with its warts.

That's the main thing to remind the protectionists and the Gephardt-iacs, and those who insist that the deal be crafted to favor American exports. Free trade rules both ways.

My pet project is still a freedom-freetrade zone where nations that offer self determination to their citizens will get advantages to goods and markets.

Posted by jk at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 04, 2004

European Friends of Liberty

An antidote to the steady diet of Anti-Americanism eminating from 'Old Europe' can be found in Don Rumsfeld's "New Europe." Specifically, in Poland. That's the story from this Thomas Friedman column that a Polish friend emailed me last week. (It's considered an "archive" at this point so it's no longer available for free but I'll reprint it in its entirety as a public service.)

I think the key point here is not just that Poles are "pro-America," but that they are "pro-Liberty." The misidentification is understandable, however, since Liberty is the greatest and most indispensable component of what is known as "Americanism," and this pro-Liberty idea is what President Bush should continue to spread around the world.

Entire column is below, with my favorite parts in bold.

December 28, 2003
Where U.S. Translates as Freedom


I found the cure.

I found the cure to anti-Americanism: Come to Poland.

After two years of traveling almost exclusively to Western Europe and the Middle East, Poland feels like a geopolitical spa. I visited here for just three days and got two years of anti-American bruises massaged out of me. Get this: people here actually tell you they like America without whispering. What has gotten into these people? Have all their subscriptions to Le Monde Diplomatique expired? Haven't they gotten the word from Berlin and Paris? No, they haven't. In fact, Poland is the antidote to European anti-Americanism. Poland is to France what Advil is to a pain in the neck. Or as Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins foreign affairs specialist, remarked after visiting Poland: "Poland is the most pro-American country in the world including the United States."

What's this all about? It starts with history and geography. There's nothing like living between Germany and Russia which at different times have trampled Poland off the map to make Poles the biggest advocates of a permanent U.S. military presence in Europe. Said Ewa Swiderska, 25, a Warsaw University student: "We are the small kid in school who is really happy to have the big guy be his friend it's a nice feeling."

Indeed, all the history and geography that Western European youth have forgotten, having grown up in a postmodern European Union, are still central to Polish consciousness well after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. "We still remember many things," said Jan Miroslaw, 22, also a Warsaw University student. "We are more eager to cooperate with America rather than just say `no.' [The West Europeans] just don't remember many things like the wars. They live too-comfortable lives."

No wonder then when young Poles think of America, they think of the word "freedom." They think of generations of U.S. presidents railing against their communist oppressors. There is a huge message in this bottle. In the Arab world, because of a long history of U.S. support for Arab autocrats, who kept their people down but their oil flowing to us, America was a synonym for hypocrisy. In Poland, where we have consistently trumpeted freedom, America means freedom. We need to remember that. We are what we stand for.

Poland's becoming a member of the E.U. will give the U.S. an important friend within that body a counterweight to those E.U. forces that would like to use anti-Americanism as the glue to bind the expanding alliance and that would like to see the E.U. forge its identity as the great Uncola to America's Coca-Cola.

But as powerful as Poland's bond to America is these days, we dare not take it for granted. Poland has some 2,400 troops in Iraq. That's the good news. The bad news is that roughly 75 percent of Poles oppose their deployment. Polish officials will tell you Poland sent troops to Iraq to help keep the Americans in Europe. But the public doesn't make such connections, and most people don't understand what their boys are doing there or what Poland is getting out of it. (How about a few extra visas for Poles?) If the U.S. ends up in a mess in Iraq, so will Poland. Many "old" Europeans will then laugh at Warsaw, and that would be highly corrosive for Polish-U.S. relations.

At the same time, once Poland is fully ensconced in the E.U., its young people will grow up in that postmodern E.U. nirvana, where anti-Americanism is in the drinking water. Sadly, many education and public diplomacy programs the U.S. directed at Eastern Europe after the fall of communism have been cut or redirected to the Muslim world. Bad timing.

There is now a competition between the United States of America and the United States of Europe for the next generation of Poles who don't all have their parents' emotional ties to the U.S. "and the U.S. is losing this competition," says a Polish foreign policy expert, Grzegorz Kostrzewa-Zorbas. "The new generation in Poland likes American pop culture, but it has less contact with American high culture like education. It is so much easier for young Poles to go to university in Germany or France."

Given Poland's geography and history, there's a limit to how far it will drift from America. Poland will never be France. But we shouldn't assume it will remain the Poland of 1989 forever, either, and if it doesn't, that could have real consequences for America's standing in Europe.

Maureen Dowd is on vacation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 05:51 PM | What do you think? [1]

January 03, 2004

Defend Free Markets!

Email from AlexC over at Pstupidonymous

> hey man..
> free market capitalism is being attacked on a Railroad messageboard..
> can I enlist you to help?

Well, I'll do my part for free markets! Alex is holding up his side against a phalanx of gas-taxers and SUV banners. Pretty fun if you like a good scrap!

Go to http://www.railroad.net/forums/messages.asp?TopicID=20250 and scroll to the end. You have to be a member to post but it is free.

UPDATE: I'll leave you folks to your own devices. Some of the members are trying to drag the discussion back on-topic.

Posted by jk at 09:42 AM | What do you think? [8]

January 02, 2004

Greetings From Mortar Land!

Running a blog has its ups and downs, but it's a blast. I've met some people who have changed my life -- or at least made it much more interesting.

Major Jay Greeley, of the 101st Airborne left a comment on an old posting I had done linking to a Paul Gigot column in the Wall Street Journal. The Major knew Paul and his family from way back and they had played football together for many years.

We traded a few emails. He started the subject line "Greetings from Mortar Land" and I just got his permission to share them. This great American has come out of retirement to go to Mosul as a safety officer. His first message pointed out that four rounds of mortar fire had landed within 500 ft of his tent that day. He told me to "remain calm and get low!"

But yesterday's missive knocked me out:

God Bless you and your family.. in the next year..

He has blessed me with this assignment. I serve soldiers...and my job is to
protect them and get them home. I have the best job and that is a fact. I
placed 20 more barriers yesterday that will prevent a car or truck from
cashing a gate. We will place more later too... that is to say we are
beefing up and not letting our guard down. Yes the ICDC guys are helping
everywhere and that frees up Americans. The local police are taking hits
too, but we are giving them new tools to help them get the crooks. It's
1930s all over again.. the mafia did not go away in Chicago when they caught
Al Capone...it did not go away when we caught Saddam...but
it has been cut significantly.

So all the best and just keep me informed.. I get to my email about 3pm
your time, every day.

ALL the best ..


"Blessed with this assignment." If I EVER complain about anything again you guys let me know.

Thanks to all who serve.

Posted by jk at 08:51 AM | What do you think? [1]

January 01, 2004

Happy New Year!

Too funny! Thanks to Chris Muir at Day by Day. Have a great 2004 everybody!

Posted by jk at 09:54 AM | What do you think? [0]
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