February 29, 2004

"This President" Blows it Again

"This President always makes decisions late, after things have happened, that could have been different had the President made a different decision earlier."

With this, John F. Kerry placed the blame for civil strife in Haiti squarely at the feet of GWB. Never mind the utter ambiguity of this statement (all the better to claim multiple different meanings from it in the future) what decision does JFK propose Bush should have made earlier? I'm actually embarrassed I didn't see this answer coming... Give them money! What else?

"By giving to the insurgents the power to veto an agreement, they effectively said, 'Unless you two reach an agreement on the sharing of power, we're not going to provide aid and assistance,'" Kerry said. "So he empowered the insurgents to say, 'No, we're not going to reach agreement.' ... So the result is that you almost inevitably had the clash that you have today."

Yes, it is clear that every problem in Haiti is a result of the non-different decisions made not early enough by "this President." Yawn.

Kerry didn't go far out on a limb with this blame game, however. This is standard Democrat party fare. "What we need to do, first of all, is allow Haiti to have the resources. The World Bank had approved a $500 million loan that this country has blocked," Sharpton said. Outrageous! Who wouldn't loan half-a-billion bucks to such an up and coming economic powerhouse?

Hey, don't these guys know we're running a deficit?

UPDATE: When I posted this blog I tried to find a recent story linking the situation in Haiti to the ongoing Venezuelan self-coup of President Hugo Chavez. Drudge delivered this morning, via Reuters: 'Chavez calls Bush 'asshole' as foes fight troops'

One demonstrator carried a banner reading: "Bye bye Aristide, Chavez you're next," referring to Haiti's leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who fled into exile on Sunday in the face of an armed rebellion.

But the firebrand populist vowed to defeat any attempt to unseat him and threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States from the world's No. 5 crude oil exporter should Washington try an invasion or trade sanctions.

"Venezuela is not Haiti and Chavez is not Aristide," he said.

Chavez certainly seems to be feeling the heat. Keep in mind that Kerry openly charged the U.S. should have continued to prop up the Aristide regime.

Posted by JohnGalt at 07:34 PM | What do you think? [2]

February 28, 2004

Dennis Miller rants on Haiti

On Thursday DM had a few words to say about the situation in Bill Clinton's Haiti. After a dissolve from street fighting Haitians...

"Of course that would be Haiti - land of the misspelled grafitti death threat. Hey folks let's cut to the chase. This is a revolution in Haiti, or maybe it's just their yearly Pro-Am machete festival, or maybe they got their voodoo all mixed up, I don't know. All I know is I'm glad I'm not there and it's very hard to tell the bad guys from the bad guys in the rarified heights of Haitian politics."

"You know when I first heard last week that France was threatening to send in troops I didn't like it. What happened to all that frog preening about asking the U.N. first? I mean they do this all the time. Every time a bribe-happy French multi-national company gets the slow pay treatment on a cheese and truffles bill someplace in west Africa suddenly the place is crawling with Jean Claude paratroopers two days later. We try to save the world from a madman in Iraq and we're the bad guys! You know what, I've thought about it and I say send the French into Haiti. Send the whole French army. Let the garlic chomping French taxpayer pay the bill to clean up this mess in Haiti. It's their former colony. I wanna see Pepe le Peacenik in Paris try to sort out a dirt poor country where everybody has HIV and a hundred years of furious pent up colonial rage. You're welcome to it. Haiti's an island too, so the French generals will need to come up with, for the first time I might add, a battle plan that doesn't involve retreating. Meanwhile we in America can all sit back at the U.N. and take pot shots at them. All's fair in love and world politics (kiss) mon cheri."

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

February 27, 2004

States' Rights

A little fun on Friday from an old friend of mine (who would faint if he read this blog):

A father watched his daughter playing in the garden. He smiled as he
reflected on how sweet and innocent his little girl was.
Suddenly she just stopped and stared at the ground. He went over to her
and noticed she was looking at two spiders mating.
"Daddy, what are those two spiders doing?" she asked.
"They're mating, "her father replied.
"What do you call the spider on top, Daddy?" she asked.
"That's a Daddy Longlegs," her father answered.
"So, the other one is Mommy Longlegs?" the little girl asked.
"No," her father replied. "Both of those are Daddy Longlegs.
"The little girl thought for a moment, then she stomped them flat and
said "Well, it might be okay in California and New York, but we're not
having any of that crap in Nebraska!"

Posted by jk at 01:35 PM | What do you think? [1]

Efficient Markets 1, Jovert 0

I am not a big Martha Stewart fan. She gives money to Democrats and labels the shelves in her linen closet. But I am happy to see that Stewart Judge Throws Out Fraud Charge in the AP today.

NEW YORK - A federal judge on Friday threw out the most serious charge against Martha Stewart (news - web sites), an accusation that she deceived investors in her media empire by claiming that her sale of ImClone Systems stock had been proper.

This was prosecutorial abuse. The obstruction of justice charges seem legitimate, let the jury decide. (Although how do cover-up crime you haven't been charged with?)

The whole insider trading is really a part of an efficient capital market to me. Let's let Martha go and spend our time on Enron, WorldCom and other serious serial fraudsters.

By the way, don't forget that Erbitux works.

Posted by jk at 11:18 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 26, 2004

Albright Lied -- People Died!

Linking to Instapundit is a true coals-to-Newcastle endeavor. But holy cow, Glenn hits a home run with this one. It seems that "No smoking gun" has been found in Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial. The InstaPundit suggests:

No doubt we'll see handwringing, doubts about intelligence reliability, and charges that the Clinton Administration "sexed up" intelligence and misrepresented
Milosevic as a genocidal dictator in order to build support for unilateral action that even Wesley Clark called technically illegal -- but justified on the basis of an "imminent threat" of genocide, one that is now, of course, completely undermined by the absence of a "smoking gun." Massive criticism of the Clinton Administration's warmaking, which landed us in a "Balkan quagmire" from which we have yet to extricate ourselves, is sure to ensue.
Yeah, right, that's going to happen.

The Balkan war is my favorite trump card in an argument over the Iraq war. No UN approval, no immanent threat, no WMD. Yet no hand-wringing from the left.

For the record, I have come to believe that it was a good idea for the US to intervene. President Clinton and Secretary Albright did the right thing.

Posted by jk at 03:23 PM | What do you think? [1]

Post 9-11 Seriousness?

I love shame! Good old Catholic guilt could solve so many of the world's problems...

An AP story says Clear Channel Head 'Ashamed' of Programs

John Hogan, president of 1,200-station Clear Channel Radio, told members of the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee he was "ashamed" of the "Bubba the Love Sponge" show. The program, which aired on stations in Florida, recently brought a $755,000 proposed fine from the Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) for sexually explicit content and other alleged indecency violations.

I don't want new FCC rules or any government censorship, but I would like to see these guys clean house a little. This small step gives me hope.

Posted by jk at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [2]

February 25, 2004

Point of Order

Some good discussions are going on in the comments. Inestimable Berkeley Square Blog folks are ironing out art, same-sex marriage and economics.

Dagny asks "Where did the comments go?" I have the blog set up to show only the six newest, but if you click on the comments or on the permalink (the time) you will see all of them -- no thought police around here!

Posted by jk at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

The Last Word on Gay Marriage

Pretty self-important of me to think that I have the final word on a contentious issue, but I am no shrinking violet.

Tell me where I am wrong. It doesn't Matter!

The conservatives are NOT GONNA GET A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT! No way, no how. There will be a lot of loong and boring speeches, but hey will not get it through the Senate, and they would be lucky to get half the states to ratify.

And the liberals will win some judicial victories but they do not have a standard-bearer. None of the Democratic candidates want to touch this hot potato.

Stalemate. Let's worry about things that really matter. As Andrew Sullivan says:

What is really at issue here is the simple but immensely difficult principle of the separation of politics and religion. We are fighting not for our country as such or for our flag. We are fighting for the universal principles of our Constitution, and the possibility of free religious faith it guarantees.

Andrew also likes to point out that there is not even support in the conservative community:
All true conservatives need to rally to protect the Constitution from being used unnecessarily for wedge politics. I'm delighted some are. More will.

It was disconcerting that I agreed with Senator Ted Kennedy over President Bush when NPR did dueling quotes this morning. But I am going to not worry about it. It's all politics, nothing is really going to happen.

Posted by jk at 10:33 AM | What do you think? [8]

Hawk Will Leave When Pigeons Are Gone

I think this man bites dog story actually embodies a number of metaphors for American soldiers' efforts in Iraq.

"The hawk entered the store through an open door while chasing a pigeon last Saturday." US forces entered the lawless countries while chasing tyrannical terrorists.

"The brown bird's three-foot wing span casts a moving shadow across the concrete floor, causing customers and workers to duck and cock their heads..." The fearsome land and air forces cast a moving shadow across the countryside, causing residents to shrink away in awe...

"It wasn't a pretty sight," said Terry McGuire, assistant manager. "Some of the customers were upset. Some said it was the neatest thing they had ever seen." It wasn't a pretty sight. Some of the citizens of Iraq and the world were upset. Some said it was the neatest thing they had ever seen.

"Workers said about 15 pigeons were living in the store, but since the hawk arrived, few are left." Tyrannical terrorists had been ruling the countries, but since US forces arrived, few are left.

"Local wildlife experts say the hawk will likely leave when the pigeons are gone." As my childhood mentor and Marvel Comics creator Stan "the man" Lee likes to say, 'Nuff said.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 24, 2004

Jobs reports not so bleak

Virginia Postral has written so in a NY Times Magazine piece and answers many critics on her Dynamist Blog.

These are real people with real jobs. We are getting a false picture of where jobs comes from 1) because the BLS survey doesn't break out some of these categories 2) because these growing occupations disproportionately involve self-employment or unincorporated partners and 3) for unknown reasons, even some employees who should be picked up on the payroll surveys aren't, at surprisingly high rates that no one can explain.

Again. I am one of the "Three million jobs lost under Bush!" Trouble is, I am working. And I have hired four others, each of whom shows up as a job loss.

Postrel's Magazine piece is good, as are her blog posts defending it.

Posted by jk at 03:36 PM | What do you think? [0]


OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today spotted this headline:

"IRS to Focus on Tax Cheats, Not Making Friends"--headline, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 22


Posted by jk at 02:59 PM | What do you think? [2]

Outsourcing, Part II

Politicians may lie or be ignorant of Economics, or both. But Perry at Samizdata knows the truth and will tell you. Blogging on this weeks Economist, Perry tells it like it is:

When people look at cases of folks loosing their jobs in the USA or UK because an Indian or Philippine call centre can do it cheaper, and then call for this to stop, they are not looking beyond the first causal link of costs and benefits. Moreover, they are ignoring that we live in an extended and (largely) capitalist society which is extraordinarily good at dealing with such problems when the 'invisible hand' is free to work its 'magic'. Some people are losing their jobs, ergo, this is bad and must be stopped... this rather like concluding as the world seems intuitively to be flat, therefore it must be flat. By this logic all labour saving devices should have been declared 'employment destroying devices' and banned long ago.

This will be a long election cycle. Nobody believes or will admit to believing this truth.

Posted by jk at 12:58 PM | What do you think? [4]

"Human Corporation" Begins Campaign

"The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions -- for tax cuts and against them; for NAFTA and against NAFTA; for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act; in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts." This was one of the humorous parts of GWB's address to Republican governors tonight, but there were some serious points as well.

"Our opponents say they approve of bold action in the world, but only if no other government disagrees,"he said.

Speaking of his Democratic critics, Bush also said, "They now agree that the world is better off with Saddam [Hussein] out of power. They just didn't support removing Saddam from power. Maybe they were hoping he'd lose the next Iraqi election."

And there's this from the full transcript, available on Fox News but not CNN: "The other party is still not finished selecting its nominee. Yet this much is already certain: Come November, the voters are going to have a very clear choice. It's a choice between keeping the tax relief that is moving the economy forward, or putting the burden of higher taxes back on the American people. It is a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence, or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger. The American people will decide between two visions of government: a government that encourages ownership and opportunity and responsibility, or a government that takes your money and makes your choices."

And all this with only two mentions of NED! Not bad for a man Ralph Nader claims is really a corporation, masquerading as a human being.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:44 AM | What do you think? [7]

February 23, 2004

Washington's Birthday

Curious, at least, that I got this from a "British" blog. Samizdata's Quote of the day:

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master - George Washington

Happy birthday, cuz! (I am proud to be 2nd cousin, 13 times removed of our first president).

Posted by jk at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Don't Get Sick

I have written before about my fondness for Dr. McClellan. I was saddened to hear of his promotion because he is so needed at the FDA. The Wall Street Journal Ed Page agrees. The following is Drugs and the Man, stolen in its entirety from the good folks at Dow Jones.

Ever wonder why elected leaders have so little influence over the federal bureaucracy? Consider the migration of FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, who President Bush just nominated to run Medicare and Medicaid at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Don't get us wrong, Medicare needs an able manager, especially with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said to be eager to leave after the election. Dr. McClellan has demonstrated the political skills that will be essential to giving the new Medicare reform law even a tiny chance to succeed by attracting private insurance options.

But Dr. McClellan also leaves the Food and Drug Administration after only 16 months in the job. He was finally confirmed in October 2002, after the White House struggled to find a candidate who could run Ted Kennedy's anti-private-sector traps in the Senate. (Dr. McClellan came from academia, which Teddy believes is less corrupted by profit.) If Democrats block a new Commissioner's confirmation before the election, President Bush will have had his man running the FDA for only one-third of his entire first term. This is happening more frequently across the entire government, too often making Presidential leadership a mere formality.

So the probability is that the FDA will once again return to bureaucratic autopilot, and to its institutional overcaution in approving even life-saving new drugs. The Bush Administration has never seemed to appreciate how important the senior FDA post has become, and how faster approvals for cancer drugs for the terminally ill fit naturally into "compassionate conservatism." We hope Mr. Bush challenges the Senate with a replacement who is every bit as aware as Dr. McClellan has been of how bureaucratic delay costs lives.

Maybe I am a broken record on this, but this bureaucracy is costing tens of thousands of lives every year and stifling pharmaceutical innovation. Sadly, the "new sheriff in town" is leaving. Who else can get by Senator Kennedy?

It's a sad day for anyone who needs medicine that hasn't been invented yet.

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

February 22, 2004

Is This Good?

Partisan or Patriot? My first reaction on hearing that Ralph Nader will run was "There is a God! (NED?) And he is smiling down on the GOP this year!"

But I am souring. Quickly. Maybe it is this cold I can't shake, but this is like the Dem's nominating Dean: I want President Bush to win but I also want a real race. Not because it is exciting but because it will sharpen my candidate to run a good race. And more importantly, it is good to have a choice.

Should we turn our next conflict over to the UN? I say no but let's have a clear choice. I think a lot of people who don't like W will vote for Nader, as will many people who feel constrained by a two-party system. I see Bush winning with 48%, Kerry 44% and Nader with five or six. That puts my man back in the White House but subjects us to four years of "He never won a majority!" and "The people don't really want to follow this mad cowboy!"

Am I too pessimistic? Even if I am wrong, who is looking forward to six months of hearing Nader's insane middle-ages-economics? Not me!

I'm going back to bed.

Posted by jk at 09:54 AM | What do you think? [5]

Senator Kerry's Record

The Vietnam thing is perfect Shrumian politics. John Kerry served in Vietnam. Ergo, nobody can question anything he has ever done related to national defense: that would be "questioning a hero's patriotism."

I see on Yahoo news that's it's already started. Thankfully. AlexC at Pstupidonymous has the goods. It's a great piece-by-piece illumination of the Senator's votes that have harmed national security.

Posted by jk at 09:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 21, 2004

Administrative Leave for CU President and Boulder D.A.

Last Wednesday, University of Colorado Head Football coach committed a sin against liberal elite sensibilities: he called a spade a spade. In a press conference dealing with the statements of former CU football player Katherine Hnida, Barnett said among other things, "It was obvious Katie was not very good," Barnett said. "She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."

These "disturbing" remarks "showed a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the allegations..." said CU President Elizabeth Hoffman. As a result, she suspended him (with pay) from his position and an interim replacement has been named. But what happens when Ms. Hoffman makes disturbing remarks of her own showing a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the allegations against Barnett? She gets away with, "I misspoke."

What did Hoffman say? " . . . He went on for two or three, four, I don't know how many minutes expounding on what a horrible player she was, essentially demeaning her before the world and saying because she's a bad player it was OK for the guys to rape her," Hoffman told NBC.

In a later attempt to explain her careless remarks, Hoffman said, "I was referring to the public's perception and the interpretation of his remarks." She added, "I do not believe coach Barnett feels that her performance would ever justify sexual assault of any kind, nor do I think his comments should be interpreted that way." But that's exactly how she interpreted them in justifying his suspension. Hoffman has exhibited reckless and inconsistent leadership during this episode and should be placed on Administrative Leave.

But there's more to this story than the unprincipled leadership of CU's President. There's also the personal political and ideological vendetta of Boulder's freshman District Attorney, Mary Keenan.

Denver attorney Dan Caplis, a legal analyst and KOA-AM radio talk show host, doesn't mince words about Keenan.

"She didn't bring the rape charge because she didn't have the evidence," Caplis said. "So she's willing to charge these guys publicly with a crime that she couldn't prosecute. That's an outrageous abuse of her office."

While making no judgement on the merits of the rape charges which must undergo legal due process, Betsy Hoffman's rash administrative action justifies identical measures against both herself and Boulder D.A. Keenan.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:06 AM | What do you think? [2]

February 20, 2004

Day by Day

Chris Muir at Day by Day writes the best cartoon strip in the world, and has been a great friend to Berkeley Square Blog.

He is pushing for well deserved syndication and is asking his Internet readers to mail syndicates and local newspapers. He has all the addresses and directions at his web site. This is a good cause, kids!

Posted by jk at 09:11 AM | What do you think? [0]


Some Iraqis are going to audit the abysmal performance of the U.N. "Oil for Food" program. The WSJ Ed Page reports in Oil for Saddam that KPMG and the London-based international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are going to document just how bad this program was:

It's bad enough that, in the name of respecting Iraqi "sovereignty," oil-for-food used Iraqi resources to throw Saddam a lifeline, sustaining his command economy and palace lifestyle. But it's a global scandal if Saddam Hussein also had carte blanche to use the U.N. program to distribute billions of dollars in contracts to reward his supporters and apologists abroad.

The U.N. office administering oil-for-food -- led by longtime U.N. bureaucrat Benon V. Sevan -- appears to have been happy to look the other way while all of this took place and now refuses to take any responsibility for the way the program was abused.

Sorry friends -- this was the alternative to Iraqi liberation: the continuation of "containment" which included financial and logistical support for terrorists, children's prisons, environmental destruction to persecute the Marsh Arabs, and a continuation of those wacky Hussiens' high-rent lifestyle.
I'll vote with The Dissident Frogman: no WMD, WDM:

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

February 19, 2004


It is frightening when no one has the courage to take the right side of an issue. Now that Mr. Mankiw dared speak the truth, the dunces are indeed arrayed in confederacy. George Will nails it:

It is difficult to say something perfectly, precisely false. But Speaker Dennis Hastert did when participating in the bipartisan piling-on against the president's economic adviser who imprudently said something sensible.

John Kerry and John Edwards, who are not speaking under oath and who know that economic illiteracy has never been a disqualification for high office, have led the scrum against the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, N. Gregory Mankiw, who said the arguments for free trade apply to trade in services as well as manufactured goods. But the prize for the pithiest nonsense went to Hastert: ``An economy suffers when jobs disappear."

Ouch! Mr. Schumpeter rolls in his grave. Sadly, nobody will stand up for economics against panic. This is shaping up to be my least favorite issue in 2004. Republicans and Democrats will rush to parrot protectionism over dynamism.

Posted by jk at 12:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

February 18, 2004

Anti-Gay Marriage

I have been silent to supportive of the push for gay marriage. I do not see it undermining my marriage and it seems anti-libertarian to have the gub'mint define what it is and isn't.

But I finally heard a good one against it. Holman Jenkins points out in the OpinionJournal's Political Diary that there are economic costs:

With couples lining up in San Francisco, let's stop talking about "gay" marriage. There's no such thing: Public officials aren't inquiring into the sexual proclivities of people seeking marriage licenses. We're talking about same-sex marriage, which means any two people (perhaps even same-sex relatives since any genetic concern disappears) could make themselves eligible for the panoply of benefits that apply to married couples. The most important but least talked about: Social Security benefits.

Right now, 17% of Social Security payments go to people whose sole claim is their membership in such couples. That's roughly $85 billion a year. Dependent spouses are entitled to payments of up to 50% of a retired worker's benefits. Widows and widowers are entitled to benefits after age 60, 65 or 67 (depending on circumstances). So are divorced widows and widowers in marriages that lasted ten years or more. Federal law currently prevents same-sex couples from collecting any such benefits, but court challenges would be instantaneous once new state laws authorizing such marriages take effect. A Gallup poll found that 65% of voters believe gay couples should have the same Social Security benefits as heterosexual married couples. But there's one big fly in the ointment: There's no way to restrict these benefits to the authentic "gay couples" that the Gallup majority has in mind.

Ouch. I do not want to deny gay couples their shot at a formalized monogamous relationship and the privileges thereunto appertaining. But it is not hard to envision convenience marriage of all types escalating: immigration, Social Security, it is a Pandora's Box. I don't think that my position has changed, but there is now some doubt sewn in.

Posted by jk at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [14]

Metaphor Of The Day

The good people at Snopes say this one is true:

This picture of the statue was made by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad. This artist was so grateful that the Americans liberated his country, he melted 3 of the fallen Saddam heads and made a memorial statue dedicated to the American soldiers and their fallen comrades. Kalat worked on this night and day for several months. To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms. It is currently on display outside the palace that is now home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped and shown at the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.
Hat-tip: Andrew Sullivan
Posted by jk at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [5]

February 17, 2004

Iraqi Elections

In the backwater of Dhi Qar province, about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad, a 29 year old American has organized elections in 16 out of 20 if the biggest cities by the end of this month.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for this WaPo article, In Iraqi Towns, Electoral Experiment Finds Some Success:

For a civilian administration often criticized for its isolation and disproportionate presence in Baghdad, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Dhi Qar has demonstrated a flexibility and improvisation more commonly exhibited by the U.S. military in Iraq.

In each election, Bradley has started with a preparation committee of unaffiliated residents. Beginning a month before the vote, they come up with conditions for candidates: minimum age, no Baath Party affiliation and an often contentious education requirement. Judges from outside run the voting, and lately, nongovernmental organizations have played a growing role.

The hard-to-forge ration cards, a slip of computer-generated paper, identify the head of the household. While some have contended the former government abused the system, Bradley said he believes 95 percent of families in the province have ration cards. Voters with the cards then prove they belong to the family. In the early elections, Iraq's patriarchal society meant only men voted, so Bradley changed the rules to give two votes to each family -- a red stamp for women, a blue stamp for men.

Women voting next door to Saudi Arabia -- I like it!

Posted by jk at 12:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Atkins-versary

A personal note. One year ago today, a 260+ lb jk started the Atkins Diet. I'm now on maintenance and weigh between 191-195. My loverly bride has lost 30 lbs, plus nightly heartburn, high blood pressure. We are both sleeping better and enjoying constant energy, without the mood and energy swings we now associate with sugar highs.

I hate to tell people what to do, except "Vote Republican." But I would encourage anyone to take the Blood Sugar Symptom Questionnaire. It is amazing how many unusual symptoms went away when I changed my eating habits.

I will stay off the pedestal for another year but I find Atkins very easy to stay on. I get to eat all I want of very good food. There are now thousands of new products, so that your favorite "I just couldn't live without _________" is probably available in a low carb version.

One year down, I will essentially be on this all my life (who knows if my GOP affinity will last that long?)

Posted by jk at 11:54 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 16, 2004

Kerry Insults the South

You thought Governor Dean was in trouble for offending the South, I think Senator Kerry may have steeped in what may not be 10WD40.

The headline reads: "Kerry Blasts Bush's Daytona 'Photo Op'"

Kerry, who has a commanding lead in the race to oppose Bush this fall, chided the president for taking time out Sunday to attend the Daytona 500, saying the country was bleeding jobs while he posed for a "photo opportunity." Bush had donned a racing jacket to officially open NASCAR's most prestigious event in front of some 180,000 fans. "We don't need a president who just says, `Gentlemen start your engines'," Kerry said. "We need a president who says, `America, let's start our economy and put people back to work."
The implication that anything is more important than NASCAR will fall on some deaf ears. For myself, I think the Senator may sound a little pompous and boring, but maybe I'm just partisan (yawn).

UPDATE: John Fund agrees in the OpinionJournal's Political Diary:

...compounded yesterday by Mr. Kerry's bizarre decision to trash Mr. Bush for an appearance in Daytona that was obviously hugely welcome by fans and participants alike.

Mr. Bush never fails to be lucky in his choice of opponents. First it was Ann Richards, then Al Gore and now John Kerry. Mr. Bush always ends up with rivals who can't cure themselves of an urge to express contempt for him personally in ways that register (rightly) as contempt for millions of voters too. Telescoping Mr. Bush's recent difficulties into troubled re-election prospects may be premature after all. Mr. Kerry is already grotesquely overplaying his Vietnam credentials, likely to boomerang in the fall. Now, in a mood of premature triumphalism, he seems intent on turning himself into a blue-state snob too.

Posted by jk at 03:01 PM | What do you think? [2]

Cheap Guitars

Skinny blogging this President's Day. The Weekly Standard has a great piece supporting the Iraq War. NRO and the Wall Street Journal are silent.

How about Samizdata. says I? The brits will be at work!

Better still, Christopher Pellerito, a yank on Samizdata writes about something I have witnessed but didn't put together with its cause. There are a lot of good, cheap guitars today. Why? Globalization:

One trend that Driscoll does not pick up on is that this is also happening with guitars. Just as American streets are filling up with Korean-made autos (more Korean cars are sold here than German cars) the American guitar shops are filling up with Korean-made (and now Chinese-made) guitars. The Korean manufacturer Samick now accounts for almost half of the world's guitar production. Even Gibson, best known for its estimable and pricey Les Paul (see photo below) is offering high value from its Epiphone series guitars (which Samick builds for them in Korea.) If you have ever picked up a surviving 'bargain' guitar of the '60s in a pawnshop or a secondhand guitar store -- a Harmony, Kay, Eko, etc. -- you would likely find cut-rate construction, weak intonation, mediocre playability and thin-sounding pickups. But today's 'bargain' brands offer workmanship and playability that sometimes give the premium brands a run for their money. Danelectro, for example, makes hip, great-sounding guitars that are easy to play and can be had for about US$200.


Driscoll is right that we are not going to see a lot of major innovations in electric guitars anytime soon, in large part because the players themselves are somewhat resistant to change. (Even the most avant-garde noisemakers tend to prefer traditional guitar designs.) What we are seeing instead is global capitalism commoditizing electric guitars and making quality instruments more affordable than ever for a generation of young players.

I have two Danelectros -- they're great.

Posted by jk at 11:59 AM | What do you think? [7]

February 14, 2004


Homer Nods!

I posted a picture of John Kerry and Jane Fonda over the weekend. The photo was bogus. It was cuaght by our own Johngalt and also it was the subject of the joke segment at the end of Fox News Sunday. Click on "Continue" if you want to see it and read my original post.

Were I in a position of more power here, I would apologize to Ms. Fonda for the slur--but that would be inappropriate...

I don't think these photos really endear Senator Kerry to veterans. Thanks to Alex at Pstupidonymous for this. It really is much better than that other picture.
Posted by jk at 10:53 AM | What do you think? [4]

February 13, 2004

Number Five with a Bullet!

I have received several emails and a few comments to an old posting about Kudlow & Cramer. I have been happy but surprised to lead the charge to get the greatest show on TV reinstated to prime time.

This blog comes up #5 on Yahoo and #6 on Google for the search "Kudlow & Cramer"

So, you want to complain, write to "Kudlow-Cramer@cnbc.com" or:
c/o CNBC
900 Sylvan Ave
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

Posted by jk at 04:20 PM | What do you think? [1]

Media Standards

I will join Virginia Postrel in complementing US Media for holding back on the Kerry bimbo scandal. This story looks worthy of burial before it gets traction. But Brother Hugh Hewitt seems right-on in asserting a double standard:

The New Republic's Peter Beinart and I mixed it up today, when after dancing around the fact that he and the staff at TNR had been discussing the Kerry allegations he chastised me for bringing up the DrudgeReport's allegations on air without any evidence for their veracity. Trap sprung. I asked Peter for the evidence supporting the allegations that Bush was a "deserter" or "AWOL", allegations that he and the TNR staff have been rolling about in for days. The only "evidence" he could cite was General Turnipseed's alleged charge.


But while Beinart and his colleagues of the left have no problem covering the Bush story and shifting coverage from the lack of evidence for the charges leveled at Bush to their dissatisfaction with the completeness of the Bush denials, they are feigning shock that a report from Matt Drudge on alleged Kerry infidelity should be mentioned outside their newsrooms.

Hmmmmm? Peter? Hat-tip Instapundit

Posted by jk at 04:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Think Globally, Dance Locally

Jonathan Pearce at Samizdata thinks that we have "Globalisation" to thank for the music of Norah Jones.

Ms Jones's success and background got me thinking on an important cultural point. We are led to believe, for example, that globalisation will lead to the extinction of local, unique cultures and the replacement of a sort of mushy global soup. And yet as the writer Tyler Cowen showed in a recent excellent book on the cultural riches possible via globalisation, the growing mix of different cultures possible on today's world is making possible new directions in areas like music and art. Norah Jones, with her mixed ethnic background and her fusion of country and western, blues and soul music styles, is a living embodiment of what Cowen means.

My odd tastes (hey -- I call them eclectic!) usually divide me from the pop world but I have been nuts about Ms. Jones since I heard her on the listening headphones at Barnes & Noble.

I haven't heard the new disk yet -- but I expect to remedy that this weekend. Interesting but not far-fetched to see her related to globalization, which I am also nuts about. As usual, the comments on Samizdata are as good as the postings.

UPDATE: The new disc is pretty good. Shhh don't tell Riza, it's her Valentine's Day present. Shhh.

Posted by jk at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [1]

True Friends

There's much talk around the world about how much "everyone" hates us. We know this is complete crap of course, but when we hear an account of an individual member of the plurality that supports us it can still be quite moving.

Any North American Hockey fan, perhaps even the Europeans, know Don Cherry. Apparently he's under fire in the Great White North for questioning the manliness of French-Canadian and European hockey players for wearing visors over their face when they play. (He contends that it leads to more violence since the players are less fearful of injury, and the stats appear to back him up.)

The reason I blogged this though is for what he said about America after a Montreal crowd booed our national anthem. The Journal writes...

When Montreal fans booed the U.S. national anthem at a hockey game last March in the wake of the Iraq invasion, Mr. Cherry responded by apologizing to his "American friends." Goaded by his co-host, Mr. Cherry lamented those who wouldn't offer "moral help" for a neighbor who'd always been first in line whenever Canada found itself in trouble. But this is the part that, when I read it out loud, brought me to tears: "And when they needed us," he went on, "and all they said, all they needed was to say, 'We back you.' They didn't want any troops. Just say we back you. When the chips were down we turned our back on them."

A true friend may not always be in a position to help you, but he will never ever do anything to hurt you. Sometimes, as in Cherry's case, that means standing up to one's neighbors and saying, "I'm sorry, you are wrong."

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [1]

Oh, Never Mind

The FDA approved Erbitux yesterday. Now that Sam Waksal is in jail, Martha Stewart is in court, Martha Stewart's company has lost 38% of its market capitalization, and 100,000 have died of colon cancer. Now the FDA has decided that it's okay.

I knew the Wall Street Journal Ed Page would cover this, and they don't disappoint (paid-site only):

One of the most shameful chapters in the history of the Food and Drug Administration ended yesterday with the approval of Erbitux to treat late-stage, metastatic colon cancer. Erbitux finally got the green light, the agency noted without apparent irony, "under FDA's accelerated approval program."
I blogged about the cost of regulation in denying Americans access to broadband Internet. I should be ashamed of comparing that to tens of thousands of preventable and delayable deaths.

I remain a big fan of the new FDA Chief McClellan. He is trying to reform this bureaucratic nightmare. Faster, please. Faster.

Posted by jk at 09:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 12, 2004


I never thought Mr. Trudeau's artwork would be gracing Berkeley Square Blog, but I remembered this. I think we'll be tired of seeing it soon, but not yet:
More at: www.doonesbury.com

Posted by jk at 04:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Democrats for Bush

Tagline: "Because nobody ever asked for a piece of elephant..." This blog offers a compendium of defecting D's, including the blog's author:

I started this site after talking with a former college friend and classmate, Josh from BushBlog2004, about how I've just been dismayed at how my party swayed from the ideals I hold so dear. He set up the site at my request, and when I see a story in the news or on the internet that proves my point again, I bring it here to share with a small corner of the world. I'm an avowed Democrat, I voted for Clinton twice as well as Gore. If some of my fellow Democrats could get passed their absolute hatred, they would be surprised to see how central Bush's agenda really is. Do I agree with the President on every issue? No - I'm pro-choice, and I'm not happy at many of the environmental restrictions that have been rolled back, and the fiscal mismanagement is reason to be angry. But are we better off with him at the helm, are we a safer nation because of his actions in Iraq and the war on Terror. You bet your ass we are. The next time you want to shout AWOL - remember that merely 12 years ago we were screaming at Republicans for attacking our candidate for avoiding the draft. The next time you want to scream about the War in Iraq being an act of unilateralism, remember how we backed our Democratic President for going to NATO, not the UN, to oust Milosevic in the Bosnia.

And I'd also like to thank the deluge of hate mail I've received in my inbox today. I'm sure that when my parents immigrated to the US from India a mere 30 years ago, they must have had dreams one day that I would be called a racist.

Posted by jk at 04:26 PM | What do you think? [7]

Steyn on Kerry

It's getting good. Drudge says an intern story is ready to break that Kerry foes predict "will ruin Kerry."
I've learned to give Drudge stories a day or two to shake out, but must admit the new level of scrutiny on the junior Senator from Massachusetts is fun. Jeff Jacoby has blasted him today:,

Equivocating politicians are sometimes accused of trying to be "all things to all people," but few have taken the practice of expedience and shifty opportunism to Kerry's level. Massachusetts residents have known this about their junior senator for a long time. Now the rest of the country is going to find out.

And Mark Steyn explains to our British cousins that Senator Kerry's real gift is his ability to look big in a fight:

The only relevant lesson from Vietnam is this: then, as now, it was not possible for the enemy to achieve military victory over the US; their only hope was that America would, in effect, defeat itself. And few men can claim as large a role in the loss of national will that led to that defeat as John Kerry. A brave man in Vietnam, he returned home to appear before Congress and not merely denounce the war but damn his "band of brothers" as a gang of rapists, torturers and murderers led by officers happy to license them to commit war crimes with impunity. He spent the Seventies playing Jane Fonda and he now wants to run as John Wayne.
Posted by jk at 01:15 PM | What do you think? [5]

February 11, 2004

Jonah on Kerry

Okay. I'm feeling a little better after reading Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online today. Partly because of this line:

The Democrats seem to have succumbed to a terrible bout of wishful thinking, like Michael Moore bringing a condom in his wallet to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit-photo shoot.
And partly because of his trenchant case that the Kerry momentum is a bubble, and that the candidate has some legitimate baggage:
Sure, the American people like guys with military experience. But they don't melt at the sight of them. Bill Clinton defeated two war heroes, and Al Gore served in Vietnam (as a military journalist) and lost. Ideas matter. Policy matters. John Kerry may have lots of foreign-policy experience, but time and again he's culled the wrong lessons from it.

He voted against the first Gulf War, for the second one, and then against the money necessary to keep the peace, i.e., to "nation-build," which was once one of the Democrats' very few real foreign-policy ideas. Ask him on a Tuesday why he voted the way he did and, sure as shinola, he'll give you a different answer than he did on Monday.

He was against almost every weapons system during the Cold War and he sided with the nuclear-freeze movement. He still boasts of fighting "Ronald Reagan's illegal wars in Central America," which is a perfectly snide way of saying that Kerry fought Reagan when Reagan was fighting and winning the Cold War. He was even one of the few Democrats who voted against lifting the arms embargo that was contributing to the mass slaughter of Bosnians. His 1997 book on foreign policy, which he touts as prophetic on the war on terrorism, predicted that various mafias not al Qaeda, not Islamic fundamentalism posed the biggest threat to national security. It also underscored Kerry's view that the war on terrorism is nothing more than a law-enforcement problem.

I still think President Bush needs to do better than he did last Sunday on "Meet The Press," but Senator Kerry doesn't look quite so formidable after Jonah dresses him down:
Umm, note to the dreamers: Winning a Democratic primary in a Republican state is not the same thing as winning an election in a Republican state just as winning your fraternity's three-man basketball tournament doesn't make you eligible to play in the NBA.

Posted by jk at 03:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

More Fun With Coffee

I always enjoy Lileks's Bleat but I usually don't take the time to run through his Regrettable Food and matchbooks, and other Americana. But the allure of "More Fun With Coffee" was more than I could bear.

There are just a few pages, click next through them all.

Remember, we all agree on coffee and beer around, here

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

Hanoi Kerry

My apologies to Mrs. JohnGalt, but Cox and Forkum have compiled evidence that she's wrong about the Bush/Kerry Vietnam redux issue. Follow some of the links in their piece and you'll find what some veterans really think about the Bay State "Hero," e.g. Kerry=Traitor.

The upside-down stars and stripes in John's cartoon may seem a gratuitous slap, until you look at the cover of Kerry's 1971 book, "The New Soldier."

Before the Dean-plosion Bush supporters were literally salivating at the prospect of campaigning against the back-water Governor and his fringe policy positions. The realists among us doubted that even Democrats could endorse such a freak and didn't get our hopes up. But now that the "ABB" crowd has apparently crowned their champion and the spotlight has panned from one northeastern liberal to the other, we find that we're getting our wish after all. Kerry's mainstream all right - mainstream anti-establishment hippie.

I rarely find fault with Cox & Forkum's work but I will quibble with one detail of this piece: Using the sign of the dollar as a hood ornament on his "mainstream" limo is a travesty and insult to capitalists everywhere. Instead it should sport a hammer and sickle.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [9]

The Cost of Regulation

A stunning statistic in the WSJ Ed Page today. The lead editorial, Broadband Fiasco (paid site only, sorry). continues an Ed Page crusade for removing "bundling" regulation that makes it unprofitable to provide broadband quality service infrastructure. If your phone company runs fiber to your house, they can be forced to lease it to a competitor at a financial loss. (This is what we call fair, in gub'mint speak.)

After leading the technology boom in the 1990s, the U.S. now ranks 11th world-wide in high-speed Internet use per capita, behind the likes of Germany, Canada -- even Italy. In South Korea, the global leader, 73% of households have broadband. The number in the U.S. is 38%, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings.
So we're chasing capital out of the telecom sector and consigning our citizenry to rank eleventh in adoption of broadband.

FCC Chief Powell is on the right side of this argument but the dunces are arrayed in confederacy against him. This morning on PRI's "Marketplace" (that's business news for those who hate business), some left-wing advocacy group was on decrying the Comcast bid for Disney as a "product of Bush's new rules allowing a single company to control the entire universe, bla, bla, bla..."

Meanwhile, it's deemed okay for the US to rank eleventh in broadband adoption. Scandalous!

Posted by jk at 09:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

Hitch Nails the Coffin Shut

Take one good last look and laugh at Gov. Dean, thanks to Christopher Hitchens on today's WSJ Ed Page. In Narcissist and Windbag, Hitch pulls no punches on the Governor and his campaign. Such language:

"Embarrassment of choice" is the ideal term for the current competition to decide on the precise moment of Howard Dean's flame-out. That celebrated primal shriek in Iowa has arguably been overdone, catalytic as it no doubt was for numerous latent anxieties on the part of Democrats. The latest pseudo-populist "You Choose" Dean ads for the Wisconsin campaign, featuring equally excruciating spots from "Steve," "Mike" and "Max," have already attracted hearty yucks even from the sort of voter who identifies with the LaFollette tradition of that great state. The Gore endorsement has been chosen, by Mr. Dean himself, as the point when things began to go what the English call "pear-shaped." With typical conceit and lack of grace, however, Mr. Dean selected this moment as the one when the "Washington establishment" began to fear him. And it's that breathtaking analysis which decides me on my own favorite among the rich choice of embarrassments.
I wondered how my liberal friends could enjoy P.J. O'Rourke so much and disbelieve in so many of his ideas. But I guess I am the same with Christopher Hitchens.
Posted by jk at 08:45 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 10, 2004

Why is jk giving up?

I was very pessimistic in a comment to the post below. Watching President Bush's interview with Tim Russert, I have mentally prepared myself for a loss in '04.

Peggy Noonan captures my thoughts pretty well (what else is new). W did not do well on Sunday:

The Big Russ interview will not be a big political story in terms of Bush supporters suddenly turning away from their man. But it will be a big political story in terms of the punditocracy and of news producers, who in general don't like Mr. Bush anyway. Pundits will characterize this interview, and press their characterization on history. They will compare it to Teddy Kennedy floundering around with Roger Mudd in 1980 in the interview that helped do in his presidential campaign. News producers will pick Mr. Bush's sleepiest moments to repeat, and will feed their anchors questions for tomorrow morning: "Why did Bush do badly, do you think?" So Mr. Bush will have a few bad days of bad reviews ahead of him.
What she doesn't say directly is that Russert is fair. He may think left but he ameliorates his positions better than most of his peers. Others will be more difficult, more strident.

It may be a long year. He had to know that the WMD question was going to come in fast, hard and a little inside. He got a piece of it but he should have been ready to hit it out.

So endeth the baseball metaphor. I'm still satisfied with coalition progress in Iraq. We liberated millions and made huge advances to stability in the region and our own nation's security. But I saw Sunday how a hostile press will play this.

Theresa Heinz-Kerry will make a very interesting first lady.

Posted by jk at 09:26 AM | What do you think? [2]

February 09, 2004

Bush in 2004

I commented yesterday (third comment) that free-market small-government minded voters should support GWB over John F. Kerry in November despite W's Farm Bill, Steel Tarriff, African AIDS Relief and multi-billion dollar Medicare expansion. I said, "We (my friend and I) both agree that Republican and Democrat politicians have collectivist tendencies. The difference is that most Republicans also have a healthy respect for individual liberty and capitalism, while the few Democrats who admit such principles get the Joe Lieberman treatment,"

That argument essentially related to domestic policy, but the preference for Bush over Kerry is ten-fold when it comes to foreign policy. Today's WSJ lead editorial concludes:

"All indications are that this election is going to include the most important national security debate in a generation. September 11 exposed America's acute vulnerability to terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, and Mr. Bush has pursued a strategy to defend against it. Senator Kerry and his fellow Democrats have every right to attack that strategy and offer better ideas for fighting global terrorism, if they can. But the debate ought to be about who has the best policies to keep America safe, not who won the most medals 30 years ago."

Another friend of mine often accuses the administration and the Republican party of "deflecting blame," and he may consider this a clear effort to shift the focus away from the particulars of W's personal military service thirty years ago. I say if you need your focus shifted for you then you haven't really thought about how your life might change - or end - if Islamist terrorists trigger a moderately-successful WMD in a major US city. It reminds me of this old favorite that I blogged last March: Hey France... YOU shut the hell up. WE'LL protect civilization. Simply replace "France" with "Bush Haters."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [1]

February 06, 2004

"New Ideas"

The virtue most ubiquitously claimed by modern liberals is "open-mindedness" or being receptive to "new ideas." I've got no quarrel with this practice unless, as most modern liberals do, you fail to accompany it with discrimination. Indeed, postmodernism has made 'discriminate' a bad word, equating it with racism.

An example of the importance of discrimination, between actual history and perceived or fabricated history in this case, is the Michael Bellesiles book "Arming America." This Michael Moorish hatchet job on the Second Amendment has been effectively discredited by his peers, exposing factual errors and undocumented research claims and resulting in negative career consequences for the author.

Today, Opinion Journal's Kimberley Strassel informs us that Bellesiles has found sanctuary in the arms of the appropriately named "Soft Skull Press" (I'm not making this up) who agreed to reissue the book and also published a 59 page pamphlet in which Bellesiles answers his critics. In his conclusion, Bellesiles states, "There are those who rest their very identity on the notion of a certain, unchanging past. The vision that society is unalterable is not just incorrect, it is dangerously undemocratic, and as such should be of concern to every modern historian."

So the "new idea' that Bellisiles implores us to accept is that not only the future can change, but the past can too. In the interest of democracy, every modern historian should be concerned with altering society's future through his revelations drawn from the "uncertain and changing past."

This emperor has no clothes, folks. Not only are his ideas wrong, they aren't even covered by the deceptive language traditionally employed to prevent lay persons from recognizing that the speaker is a kook. This speaker is a kook. All one has to do to see this is to LOOK.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [3]

Dennis Miller

I think a lot of us have been enjoying Dennis Miller's CNBC show. It is fun and funny, and I agree with him on a lot of things. Like me, he's okay with Gay Marriage but I loved this line (quoted from memory ):

The religious should support gay marriage -- you'd think they'd appreciate anything that will result in less gay sex.

The guy is funny. And is there anybody alive who doesn't think Harold Ford Jr. will be President someday? I wrote him a letter inviting him to the dark side when he lost the leadership battle to Rep Pelosi. The guy is good -- and decent. His kind words for Senator Frist (whom he called "My Senator") were magnanimous without ceding any partisan ground. Lookout GOP, we're never gonna beat this guy.

Posted by jk at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [1]

Welcome To America

I am going to steal from Dow Jones a lttle here (shhh!) I have copied an article in full from the paid site. Enjoy, with my compliments,

Welcome to America

In his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan said: "I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life . . . [I]n my mind it was . . . teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here."

America is a nation of immigrants. Except for Native American Indians, everyone in this country came to America or is here due to the good fortune that a parent, grandparent, or other relation came before them. Keeping a door open to those with the "will and heart to get here" is vital to our economy, our culture, our role in the world, and our historic tradition as a land of freedom and opportunity.

Conservatives believe in legal immigration. We believe that America grows stronger by welcoming those who seek to better their families, work in our industries, and find liberty and refuge from oppression.

Conservatives oppose illegal immigration. We believe there is a right way and a wrong way to immigrate to the U.S. However, as conservatives we believe that our laws must reflect reality and common sense, be fiscally responsible, and avoid the loss of innocent life. Our current immigration laws do not pass this test.

Between 1990 and 2000, the U.S. increased the number of Border Patrol Agents from 3,600 to 10,000. During that same period illegal immigration rose by 5.5. million. Moreover, over the past eight years, more than 2,000 men, women, and children have died attempting to cross into America and seek the opportunity to work and achieve a better life. The status quo is unacceptable and clinging to the status quo -- or tougher versions of it -- is neither conservative nor principled. It has become clear that the only viable approach to reform is combining enforcement with additional legal avenues for those who wish to work in our economy, while also addressing the situation of those already here in the U.S.

President Bush has proposed a new legal path to work in the U.S. through a temporary worker program that will match willing workers with willing employers. We applaud the president and believe his approach holds great promise to reduce illegal immigration and establish a humane, orderly, and economically sensible approach to migration that will aid homeland security and free up border-security assets to focus on genuine threats. The president has shown courage by calling on Congress to place reality over rhetoric and recognize that those already working here outside the law are unlikely to leave. Congress can fulfill its role by establishing sufficient increases in legal immigration and paths to permanent residence to enable more workers to stay, assimilate, and become part of America.

We believe strongly in assimilation and oppose efforts to weaken the historical process that has led to e pluribus unum. While immigrants by and large reject entreaties by those who favor multiculturalism, the best defense is a good offense: making the teaching of English and civics a priority in our schools, community colleges, and adult education programs.

Immigrants are crucial to our competitiveness and future labor and economic growth, as well as our military strength. Our country's welcoming attitude to immigrants will permit the U.S. to grow and prosper, as the populations of many other nations stagnate and decline. Each generation of Americans must connect our nation's past to its future and in so doing keep President Reagan's vision of the "Shining City" alive.

Co-authored by Stuart Anderson, Jeff Bell, Linda Chavez, Larry Cirignano, Cesar V. Conda, Francis Fukuyama, Richard Gilder, Newt Gingrich, Ed Goeas, Tamar Jacoby, Jack Kemp, Steve Moore, Grover Norquist, Richard W. Rahn and Malcolm Wallop.

Right On!

Posted by jk at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

3/4 Full or 1/4 Empty?

There was an interesting tension on the Yahoo finance page this morning. The Top Story feature was a 9:11am (before the opening bell) Reuters "news" report, Job Growth in January Disappoints:
"The U.S. economy created just 112,000 new jobs in January, far fewer than expected [150,000], government data showed on Friday in a disappointing report that will likely weigh on President Bush's re-election campaign."

Immediately below this was Yahoo's Market Update whose latest news was:
"9:45AM: Equities land in the green in the opening action, drawing support from a January employment report that - despite its weaker than expected nonfarm payrolls number - was encouraging for both the economy's recovery and market sentiment... "

Gosh, for 34 minutes there Reuters had a good anti-Bush spin going!

UPDATE: The Reuters "news" was replaced by a CBS dispatch, U.S. stocks broadly higher as data soothes rate fears.

Once again we have evidence showing that the biggest threat to the beliefs, hopes and desires of anti-Bush partisans is... reality.

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:46 AM | What do you think? [3]

February 05, 2004

Lileksian Bile

Nobody does it better than this!

God no. Please no. I think I speak for millions when I say that I am deathly sick of the counterculture sixties. The music, the war, the protests, all the hagiography - it's not a reflection of the era's importance but the self-importance of the generation who hung on the bus as it trundled along down the same old rutted road of history.. I'm tired of hearing about the boomers' days of whine and neuroses; I'm weary of ritual genuflection to their musical icons; I'm utterly disinterested in most of the pop-cult trivia they hold so dear. We'll probably be better off when that demographic pig has been excreted from the python so we can see the era clearly without choking on the smoke.
And an AWESOME screed against Patrick Stewart:
The man whose mission was to "explore strange new worlds" as the captain of the starship Enterprise from 1987 to 1994 thinks space exploration is the height of "arrogance."
Great stuff!
Posted by jk at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

Look to the Dark Side, Joe!

Senator Joe Lieberman has made a lot of friends and impressed many voters in his campaign -- too bad for him that they're all Republicans!

The WSJ give him some props today in A Good Joe:

The Connecticut Senator was the perfect Vice Presidential nominee in 2000, the moral and political antidote to the Clinton scandals. But timing matters in politics, and his message of an assertive foreign policy, free trade and cultural moderation never caught on in this year of liberal Democratic anger. Left-of-center primary voters are looking for an anti-Bush with an attitude, and that isn't Mr. Lieberman's style or substance.

But the best I saw was Mike Murphy's invitation to join the GOP. Murphy is a GOP consultant on the Dennis Miller Show. He gave a spirited and trenchant case for switching into "the big tent."

I would be happy to welcome the Senator.

UPDATE: My buddy, Alex, would possibly vote for Sen Lieberman over W!

Posted by jk at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [3]

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Tommorow is #93 for President Reagan. You can sign a birthday card here.

Posted by jk at 09:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 04, 2004

The Road To Damascus

...is a regular feature on OpinionJournal's Best of the Web, highlighting how the coalition forces' success has impacted neighboring Syria as well as other Mid-Eastern nations. Here's today's word for word:

"More than half a million Syrians demanded political and economic reform in a petition to be handed to President Bashar Assad," the Associated Press reports:

"Some 600,000 citizens, including intellectuals, lawyers and human rights activists, have already signed the document, the Committees for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria said.

"The group said it hoped for a million signatures by March. Syria has a population of around 18 million.

"A copy of the petition, faxed to news organizations in Damascus, said the country has been "languishing under the duress of the emergency law since 1963, whose impacts have been extended to include all fields of public life."
Aktham Naisse, chairman of the group, told reporters the petition would be presented to Syrian authorities on March 8, 41 years after the law was introduced under the ruling Baath Party."

Does anyone still deny that the liberation of Iraq has been helpful to the cause of freedom and democracy in the wider Arab and Muslim worlds?

Well, yes. I think all the current Democrat candidates for President do.

Posted by jk at 03:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Is John F. Kerry Insane?

President Bush's sanity was questioned back in July because of his defiant stance regarding cowardly sneak attacks on US troops in Iraq, saying "Bring them on." One would expect that the same remark by French looking Senator John F. Kerry (who served in Vietnam) would garner a similar reaction from the press. Well, one would be wrong. CNN reported the remark in glowing terms: "After his second victory in as many weeks, a confident Kerry acted like a man who wanted to be the new sheriff in Washington." That's fine, no problem... except that, last July, CNN should also have been reporting "After US troops swept to victory over Saddam Hussein's fearsome Iraqi army in a matter of weeks, a confident Bush acted like a man who wanted to deputize the new sheriff in Iraq."

Posted by JohnGalt at 07:20 AM | What do you think? [11]

February 03, 2004

And Another Thing!

That's the name of the regular closing segment of the new Dennis Miller experiment on CNBC. I like it's unassuming ad-lib feel and there are some really funny moments, but it's not a sensational home-run product. I'm watching it daily because I won't be surprised if it gets yanked soon.

Tonight's "and another thing" segment was about the Super Bowl halftime titillation:

"And another thing...

How ironic is it that everyone connected to the Super Bowl halftime 'teat bearing hoe-down' is now scrambling to cover their ass. A carefully choreographed dance number suddenly turns into Lord of the Nipple Rings, and Justin Timberlake is blaming a quote 'wardrobe malfunction.' Listen, Justin, due to your continuing career success I can hardly blame you for thinking that we're all that stupid, but how outta sync are you pal? You pulled that velcro 'booby-trap patch' off Janet's top with all the unrehearsed physical spontaneity of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. I find it hard to believe that any woman would crown her goods with busted moped gears just 'cause it's comfy.

Goodnight again."

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:54 PM | What do you think? [1]

February 02, 2004

Democrat Fiscal Responsibility

Andrew Sullivan always said that he wanted Dean's fiscal responsibility with Bush's toughness on terrorism. I'd love to see less profligacy from my beloved GOP but reject the assertion that a Dean administration would be an economic plus.

John Fund, in the WSJ OpinionJournal Political Diary, points out that the Governor has blown through a lot of cash in two unsuccessful primary races:

Now that Joe Trippi, the "mad scientist" campaign manager behind Howard Dean's brief Internet-fueled rise to political stardom, has resigned, the staffers he left behind are sifting through what went wrong. The candidate himself was responsible for most of his implosion, but everyone agrees the management of the campaign was chaotic. It also appears to have bled a lot of money. Several staffers were shocked to learn from Mr. Dean that the campaign not only has less than $3 million in the bank now but is also burdened by large debts. Campaign workers were asked to wait two weeks for their next paycheck.

Mr. Dean spent more than $10 million in Iowa and $5 million in New Hampshire. A large chunk of that went to commissions for TV ads that were paid to Trippi, McMahon & Squier Media, the advertising firm partly owned by Mr. Trippi. "One of the untold stories of campaigns is how often the manager or consultant has a built-in incentive to order more TV than necessary because they can get up to 15% of the ad buy in commissions," says University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato. No one is accusing Mr. Trippi of buying ads for that reason, but the fiscal management problems of the Dean campaign have left it with so little money that it's had to yank its TV ads from every one of the seven states holding primaries next Tuesday.

Sullivan doesn't buy supply-side, I can dig that. But I don't see raising taxes and raising spending as fiscal conservatism.

Posted by jk at 10:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

Give Me a Break!

I PVR'd (Dish Network equivalent of TiVo'd) the Super Bowl today so that I could watch the commercials and also the halftime show. You see, I expected to see Toby Keith perform. (I wondered if he was going to finally perform "The Angry American" on network TV.) I found out later that he and Willie Nelson performed pre-game and unfortunately I missed it.

At least I still had the commercials. I liked the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Staples office supply Godfather, the Bud Light rocket sleigh, and my favorite was the Pepsi grizzly bears. Then I watched the halftime show. I really enjoyed last year's show, featuring Shania Twain, Sting and No Doubt. It was fun, high-energy music and dance that had an uplifting effect. (Indeed, the title of the song Twain sang is "Up.") No such luck this year...

After Jessica Simpson screamed, "Houston, choose to party" the "show" started with Janet Jackson and her troupe of half-naked misfits singing a muddled disco number with lyrics like "I'm a girl at the party, look at that body, shakin' that thing like you never did see" or something like that. Next was P.Diddy rappin' about "Ah Diddy you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind hey Diddy, hey Diddy" and joined by Nelly to spew "get up out on the dance flo', give that man what he askin' fo', 'cause I feel like bustin' loose, and I feel like touchin' you, can't nobody stop the juice, so baby tell me what's the use, I say it's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your clothes." (girls chorus) "I am gettin' so hot, I wanna take my clothes off." YAWN. Hey, here comes a "cowboy." It's Kid Rock with a loud, incomprehensible metal-rock rap about "all my heroes in the methadone clinics" and "ridin' all night just to sleep all day, I'm proud to be livin' in the USA." It wasn't over though. Janet's "Rhythm Nation" flunkies staged a cheesy die-in before being resurrected Borg-style by the appearance of the pay-per-view stripper herself. They danced around for a while and then she yelled "ignorance" followed by a chorus of "NO!" then "bigotry" "NO!" "illiteracy" "NO!" Then some guy named Justin somebody appears out of the floor and starts singing to Jackson "I've been watchin' you, the way you move... come on and dance with me, let me rock your body... I can't wait 'til you're in my arms, hurry up this is takin' too long, better have you naked by the end of this song."

Here's the unbelievable part: He purposefully reaches across her chest and grasps one of the bodice cups velcroed onto her leather costume and rips it toward him, leaving her bare breasted on national TV for a full second before CBS changed cameras and the production crew doused the lights. Justin somebody claims it was an accident. Sure, just like picking MTV to produce this turd was an accident. "I'm sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl," Justin Loserson said. "It was not intentional and is regrettable." Please. The only possible malfunction is that BOTH breasts were supposed to be flashed and the costume didn't come apart properly.

Don't misunderestimate me, I'm no prude, but the Super Bowl is a family show and these aimless brats highjacked it. They value shock, not passion and degradation, not elation. They are enemies of creativity and the truly obscene part is that they're raking in millions of dollars with this pap.

This is the reason why al Qaida wants to kill us all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 02:46 AM | What do you think? [6]

February 01, 2004

Way Cool Blog Redesign, Part II

Man, was everybody designing last week? Alex at pstupidonymous has a new and very cool look. Hmm, I guess I will update the Berkeley Square Blog look on time for our 1st anniversary.

Posted by jk at 08:45 PM | What do you think? [2]

Where the Liberals Live

I'm picking up on a comments thread below (a blog is much fun -- you pour your heart out on an important topic and get no comments but a "hello, I'm home" post gets a conversation started...)

Here's something that bugs me. I love the places where liberals live. I like Austin. I like Boulder even though I complain about it. San Francisco, Maine, Monterey California -- these are not real Bush strongholds. But they're cool.

Chris Matthews said "'Blue states' are Starbucks -- 'Red states' are coffee at the Diner." Hmm, can I please change my registration? I am a Starbucks guy.

Rachel Lucas has a great blog -- she sells a coffee mug that said "Imagine a world without liberals..." It's funny, but I gotta ask my right-wing friends: "do you want a world with no NPR, no New York Times? Would movies be as good without those vapid celebrities? I don't know.

Can we have liberty and good coffee?

Posted by jk at 12:26 PM | What do you think? [8]
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