November 30, 2004

Big Band Revival?

Nat Hentoff writes in today's OpinionJournal of his youthful memories watching Duke Ellington -- and of positive signs for a big-band revival.

[...] but it has been generally felt among jazz listeners that the big-band era was lost in nostalgia.

I'm no longer sure of that, having, on a Monday night in October, heard the Joe Elefante Big Band at Cecil's, a small club in West Orange, N.J. The spirited 26-year-old leader, pianist and chief arranger heads a 17-piece, joyous band composed mostly of players around his own age. Also among them are musicians who used to be in such big-band-era bands as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson and Count Basie. It's been together almost three years.


That and the nice new digs afforded Wynton Marsalis in New York auger well for the art form.

I am a small-ensemble man myself. Yes, a big band is exciting, but the trio-t-six-piece acts put on at Summit Jazz leave a lot more room for nuance. The Duke himself said "Music is the space between the notes."

The economics of big bands (if I can slide into technical music-economics jargon) just plain sucks. I think you can do it in New York and I think that smaller towns will develop less well-known and less talented ensembles who will keep the flame alive, but I don't see a revival as an economic possibility, whatever personal tastes dictate.

If I can end on a side note, thinking of Wynton's group makes me realize that jazz really is the last true meritocracy. The guys who make it are really good -- and I think the guys who are really good do make it. I wouldn’t make either claim about the Pop, rock, or country worlds.

Posted by jk at 12:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Public Service Announcement

AlexC at pstupidonymous wants to ensure that you have a safe holiday season -- regardless of taste!

DO NOT HEAT YOUR LAVA LAMP ON THE STOVE! He links to a story about a young man in a Seattle suburb.

Police in Kent, Washington, say Phillip Quinn died after a piece of glass from the exploding novelty lamp pierced his heart.

When will Congress step up to the plate and do something to protect Americans from things like this? Were it to happen in a red state, I don't think the President would ignore it.

Posted by jk at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [1]

Wal*Mart

The market is in a tizzy because Wal-Mart's Black Friday sales figures are off.

Visa and Master Card, however, claim charges were up 10-15% over last year -- what gives?

Jim Cramer stated the obvious last night on CNBC's Kudlow & Cramer, claiming "Maybe Wal-Mart is a dowdy old store that hasn't changed its look in 30 years?" He said that his kids will race to the car to go to Target but have no interest in Wal-Mart. He further said that when price is the issue, he will go to Costco.

Our Lafayette, Colorado Wal-Mart must be the worst in the whole world. I always feel like I am getting the vibe of a Soviet Supermarket in 1987 when I go in there.

I watch TV shows and read magazines about their innovations in Retail. Their use of computers and integrated supply chains and cost cutting are important, but I suspect Schumpeterian gales as other stores can copy these advances -- and add a more vibrant customer experience.

It's not only Schumpeter, it's Virginia Postrel's "Substance of Style." As price and selection become commonplace (thanks to Mr. Walton), people want price, selection -- and style. My old employer, Target, has filled the bill. (I worked six weeks in-between bands stocking toys overnight when the store was closed.)

I am not a Wal-Mart hater. Sam is a link in the US retail innovation that stretches from Montgomery Ward, James Cash Penney -- one of the best parts of a great tradition. Yet I suspect that they must innovate in the style arena to keep their lead.

Posted by jk at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [2]

Quote of the Day

[USMC Lt. JP Blecksmith]'s sister, Christina, quoted Gen Geo. S Patton, Jr., in her eulogy, "Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes lived." Can there be any better remembrance for these fallen heroes? Indeed, let all of America be glad that they have lived, and died for all of us.
Thanks and hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt
Posted by jk at 09:42 AM | What do you think? [6]

November 29, 2004

Kerry Country

countycartredblue.jpg
My niece sends me a link to some Election result maps you don't see every day. Well, unless you take acid everyday...

You just adjust the county size to have an area proportional to its population, and voila! you have a map that shows how close the race really was.

It's mathematically legitimate (you could also, ummm, look at the popular vote numbers...) but I still sing "You say Duh-nial, I say Dee-nile..."

Posted by jk at 01:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Time For a Kofi Break

Glenn Reynolds writes a guest ed by that name in the Wall Street Journal today. (Paid site -- you gotta subscribe!) That's notable in itself, a leading figure in the blog community is writing for a leading MSM publication, if on the renegade and new-media-friendly Editorial Page.

Glenn gets the chance to push the most awesome undercurrent that the blogosphere has ever pondered: replacing Kofi Annan with former Czech President Vaclav Havel. It’s outrageous to think of a towering leader of peace and freedom at the helm of the U.N. But why?

Reynolds starts by enumerating the present Annan/UN scandals and failures:

  • Rape and pedophilia by U.N. peacekeepers haven't gotten the kind of attention they'd get if American troops were involved, but the scandals have begun to take their toll.

  • the U.N.'s ability to serve its crowning purpose -- the "never again" treatment of genocide that was vowed after the Holocaust, and re-vowed after Cambodia and Rwanda -- is looking less and less credible in the wake of its response to ongoing genocide in Darfur.

  • the U.N. has so far played no significant role in defusing the Ukrainian crisis.

Havel?
But however you assess Mr. Havel's chances of becoming secretary general, for Mr. Annan the comparison is devastating. Mr. Havel, after all, is a hero on behalf of freedom: A man who helped bring about the end of communist dominance in Eastern Europe, despite imprisonment and the threat of death -- a man who could write that "Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can't be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force." Mr. Annan, by contrast, is a trimmer and temporizer who has stood up for tyrants far more than he has stood up to them.

If the comparison is damning to Kofi, it's even more damning to the U.N. Mr. Havel once wrote Czech dictator Gustav Husak, "So far, you . . . have chosen . . . the path of inner decay for the sake of outward appearances . . . of deepening the spiritual and moral crisis of our society, and ceaselessly degrading human dignity, for the puny sake of protecting your own power." One might say the same of the U.N. bureaucracy.


I know, a freedom lover at the UN is a longshot. But Condi is coming in to shake things up, and SecGen Annan is bound for an ignominious resignation -- there will never be a better chance.

Posted by jk at 08:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

GOP Profligacy

Why do Republicans spend so much?

They will never "outsanta" the Democrats; they chase away libertarians and moderates. Worse, they look foolish and duplicitous.

The lead editorial in the WSJ today (paid site, sorry!) claims that they are using Democrat rules and tactics:

One terrible habit is to pass most of the annual federal budget in one, giant, last-minute spending bill. Democrats refined this technique to escape Ronald Reagan's veto scrutiny, but now Republicans use it to stuff their own goodies into corners that might be overlooked by the media and White House.

I don't offer this as a defense for a prodigal GOP, but they offer possible solutions to just accepting pork as part of the process.
A solution here is for Republicans to change the current budget rules, which were passed by Democrats in 1974 over a Watergate-weakened President Nixon. Those rules were deliberately designed to obscure the budget process to make it easier to spend, and to reduce Presidential leverage over spending decisions. Republicans denounced them throughout the 1980s, but now they embrace them as tools of incumbent protection.

One alternative would be to give the President enhanced rescission authority, which is the power to send individual spending items back to the Congress for an expedited up-or-down vote. This is a relative of the line-item veto, a long-time GOP campaign staple. But earlier this year GOP chairmen of the Appropriations Committee -- aka, the College of Cardinals, or Lords of Lard -- twisted arms to defeat the measure on the floor of the House.

Another useful proposal would give the annual budget "resolutions" the force of law, so that the Members couldn't blow out their spending limits at the end of the year. This too would shift the balance of budget power away from the Appropriators and to the broader House and Senate membership.

With control of the House, Senate and White House, Republicans are now going to be held accountable for Congress's decisions. If they talk like conservatives but spend like Democrats, voters may decide to elect the real thing.


Amen. Johngalt makes a trenchant case in the post below against local gub'mint coercion in erecting a Recreation Center. At least they got a vote. We all get to pay $1 million for a "Wild American Shrimp Initiative" that even our Congressional representation didn't get much opportunity to reject.

Posted by jk at 08:15 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 28, 2004

Somebody call the Police!

How many of us accept things as they are because "that's the way it's always been?" Wake up people! Here's what happens when you look at what's going on and actually THINK about it. A letter to the editor from my friend Russ:

"Tragically, today I used the beautiful new Trails Recreation Center located right here in Centennial. This new recreation center has a wide variety of pools, weights, bicycles, exercise machines and facilities all contained in a large, architecturally gorgeous new building that is less expensive than my previous athletic club and five minutes from my home; so WHY would I apply the adjective 'tragic' to my use of the place? Because the facility represents the continuing diminution of the freedom I hold far dearer than the money and time this new facility will save me.

A couple years ago a large gang (voters) hired an agent (the government) to force everyone in Arapahoe County, figuratively at gunpoint, to contribute (taxes) to a fund to build and maintain The Trails Recreation Center. Admittedly this recreation center will benefit me, but what about my neighbors Wilton, Robert, Randy and Troy; none of whom have EVER set foot inside a recreation center and are not likely to? What is fair about forcing them to pay for a recreation center they will never use? In addition, what is fair about the government, with the ability to tax, starting and supporting a business that competes directly with a private business such as my previous athletic club?

If you look at this situation objectively it represents the legalization of a criminal act; the on-going confiscation of property for the express purpose of engaging in a business that will further confiscate the future deserved profits of the legitimate businesses it competes against.

Today, many people decry the cultural and moral decay they see all around them, yet they blithely continue to approve and vote for legalized theft as a matter of course. Remember THAT, the next time you hear, or perhaps you yourself, talk about how much morality has declined in this country."

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:53 PM | What do you think? [14]

Hello From Colorado

A snowy weekend on the Colorado Front Range. Not too much snow, just enough to ask "why did I buy a convertible, again?"

UPDATE: On second thought, it could be worse...
Posted by jk at 02:27 PM | What do you think? [1]

VOTE!

I think I have found a candidate we can ALL agree on! BLACKFIVE Blog (...reminiscent of Genghis Khan) is encouraging bloggers to vote for American Hero Pat Tillman in Sport's Illustrated’s "Sportsman of the Year" fan poll.

Great Idea! Here's the link. I will warn you that the GUI is a little odd, first select your candidate and then click "vote." You can refresh your screen to vote again.

Posted by jk at 09:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for so much.



  • my wonderful family, both nuke-u-ler and extended;

  • freedom, bought with brave men’s blood;

  • great friends, amusing work;

  • enough health and wealth to have fun;

And (sniff!) the tiny but awesome group of participants in this blog. I always wanted to hit it big, but that just brings higher costs and more hate mail. I get intelligent challenges from the left and right almost every day – that’s a gift.


Have a great day everybody!


Posted by jk at 11:23 PM | What do you think? [1]

Thanksgiving Epistemology

Jonah Goldberg said, "let's also be thankful and proud that the thing these heroes are defending is so gloriously worth it." In the same article he praised capitalism, the scientific method, and "our religious heritage, perhaps most of all, [which] emphasizes the need for constantly trying to live a better and more decent life."

"Religious heritage." Hmmm. Could it be that our 'constantly trying to live a better and more decent life' results from the pleasure we derive from living a 'better and more decent life?' Nah, probably not.

The Ayn Rand Institute's Dr. Gary Hull writes, "The liberal tells us that the food on our Thanksgiving plate is the result of mindless, meaningless labor. THe conservative tells us that it is the result of supernatural grace. Neither believes that it represents an individual's achievement.

(...)

There is a spiritual need fed by the elaborate meal, fine china and crystal, and the presence of cherished guests. It is the self-esteem that a productive person feels at the realization that his thinking and energy have made consumption possible."

William Bradford, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the US Congress, and the religiously inspired ideas they all espouse to the contrary, this is the actual meaning of Thanksgiving: Pride. (And some among us consider this a SIN!)

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:18 PM | What do you think? [2]

Dear Bush: Use Your Mandate Here

Has anyone been missing my acerbic wit and indomitable reasoning? Didn't think so, but just in case, now that I'm on holiday from my new job that consumes all my weekday time other than lunch hour, here's a column that impressed me on the Frontier flight to Seattle: Gossifying the Ossified.

I didn't know that 'ossified' was a real word, but it fits big-time as a description of federal bureaucracies.

"There are just 3,000 political appointees, compared with a civil service of 1.8 million workers, "many of whom," writes the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, "are impossible to fire." Presidential nominees take an average of eight months to be approved by Congress. Worse, many, if not most, career civil servants at middle and upper levels resist implementing policies they don't like and do their best to shape their own. Such bureaucrats often lean left -- because federal jobs attract people who believe in a missionary government and because Democrats controlled Washington almost continuously for a half-century.

(...)

The attitude of many top bureaucrats can be summed up thus: "This is 'my' agency. The politicals are only renting a room for a while. I can ignore them and subvert them. Eventually, they will leave, and I'll still be here doing the real policymaking."

But Goss appears to be a harbinger of change in the offing:

"Goss removed the head of clandestine operations. The No. 2 CIA official resigned, along with four other senior officials. The new director issued a memorandum, stating, "I also intend to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road. We support the administration and its policies in our work. As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies."

But Glassman rightly insists that Bush not limit his reform action to one department. His next priority, as is mine, is the State Department.

"One of the first tasks of the newly nominated secretary, Condoleezza Rice, must be to lay down the law, Goss-style, at State. For help, I hope she'll take John Bolton as deputy. Bolton, now an undersecretary, is the architect of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which the Wall Street Journal said "has arguably been Colin Powell's most important achievement at State."

Bolton, who was earlier my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, has served in the executive branch for 16 years, and he's a brilliant bureaucratic navigator. If anyone can Gossify the ossified State Department, it's Bolton.

Indeed, the White House should put someone like Bolton in the No. 2 post of every department and key agency, with explicit responsibility for rooting out administration opponents and gaining control of policy. How to do that when bureaucrats have the equivalent of academic tenure? Make their lives miserable, transfer them or re-educate them. But don't leave them in place."

Good news on this front (despite its apparent predictability given Powell's resignation) is that Deputy Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage has tendered his resignation as well. In this case, the sight of rats fleeing the ship is not a sign that it's sinking, but that the rats' future there is doing so.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [2]

Thanksgiving Argument

I hesitate to start an argument on Thanksgiving Day, but think many of us like nothing more than a good argument. Happy Turkey Day, then, here goes:

First, a book recommendation. Our Oldest Enemy, by John J. Miller and Mark Molesky. It enumerates French positions, polices and actions that were directly in opposition to United States’ interests. The book does not lack for material. Even with recent examples of French perfidy and pusillanimity, I have cultural memories of Franco-American alliances (not to mention Spaghetti-Os). Reading this book, those are ill founded. Like VP Cheney, we must ask “Is France an ally or adversary of the United States?”

Good book – buy it. But about that argument I promised… There was a section on the Girondins and Jacobins of course, then a section on Deconstructionists and the Marxist intelligencia in Paris after the war. There, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot got their education that would cost our planet millions of lives. No surprise that I’ve always been on Edmund Burke’s side of the French Revolution and a devout anti-communist.

The argument is this: Empirically, secular revolutionary government has a terrible record. Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot all envisioned utopia without religion and all created dystopian hell-holes of butchery with moral and economic starvation. Everyone bemoans the deaths and wars caused by religion, I am going to posit that the secret of the American Revolution’s success is the hybridization of the secular and the devout. Our forefathers believed in Liberty, but they saw it as God’s gift – our fundamental birthright. They saw the advantages on a government’s not establishing religion yet they were pious and devout men.

Revolutionary times are chaotic and fraught with critical inflection points that allow them to spin off in different directions. George Orwell’s Animal Farm rings true to all of us, we can easily become what we fight against. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jay, Madison – all of these men were tempered by Christian faith. I think that guided them in good directions.

Again, I’m not “a churchgoin’ man” but I ask the Randians: are you utterly convinced that an Objectivist state created under Leonard Peikoff would not denigrate into a dystopian despotism – and how are you sure?

Take no prisoners, Happy Thanksgiving…

Posted by jk at 10:58 AM | What do you think? [5]

November 24, 2004

Planet Democrat Fiscal Responsibility



Clay Risen, in a TNR Cover Story. sees the Deficit as a way for Democrats to retake majority power and the White House.

As per usual with TNR, it's well written and intelligent to a point. As with many of their articles, however, one asks "What planet is this guy on?"

The thesis of the article is how bad the deficit is, how polls show deficit reduction to be a good issue, and the moral/values portion of the debate. The last allows the Democrats to take the high moral ground. "I can assure you I'm not going to sit just quietly by as the Washington politicians keep driving up the deficit and spending away our children's future," said Tom Colburn in the election -- and he won by 11 points.

Ummm, Clay, he is a Republican. And he ran on a platform of spending cuts, not tax hikes. And this is the trouble with Mr. Risen's piece. It is comprehensive on the seriousness of the issue and long on framing the debate:

Of course, success in talking about the deficit is all a matter of how you frame it--people know deficits are bad, but they won't vote on them without prompting. That's why the Democrats need not only the right policies and rhetoric, but also party unity and consistency. (Fortunately, two of the Democratic caucus's thorns, Zell Miller and John Breaux, are out of office come January.) It means raising deficit reduction to the level of mantra, refracting other issues-- foreign policy, Social Security reform, education--through its lens. It means denying Republicans the easy excuse that the market will solve everything. It means making Bush explain how he plans to pay for his agenda without encumbering future generations or leading us into a fiscal crisis. It won't be easy, but it's the right thing to do. And, for those thinking about how to retake the White House in four years, it's the smart thing to do, too.
Risen says that Democrats must get their own ideas about Social Security -- not just obstruct the president's. But he never once suggests any kind of spending restraint.

"The Democrats will tax us back to fiscal sanity!" "No irresponsible tax cuts under a Democratic Congress!" These just don't sound like winners to me.

Left unsaid is the real problem for the Ds. Their constituencies, their programs and their beliefs all require a high level of Government spending. They can try pay-go again, and they can try cutting corporate welfare again, but they can not credibly become the party of fiscal responsibility because they cannot embrace lower government spending.

I like the drawing on the cover, though.


Posted by jk at 01:31 PM | What do you think? [0]

More Thomas Friedman

I had blogged kind words for Thomas Friedman before, even making clear how frequently I disagree with the liberal, NYTimes columnist.

But Sunday's Postcards From Iraq column doesn't get a fisking, it gets two thumbs up. Read it, and remind yourself you're reading the Times. Here's a taste:

Cultures can change, though. But it takes time. And, be advised, it is going to take years to produce a decent outcome in Iraq. But every time I think this can't work, I come across something that suggests, who knows, maybe this time the play will end differently. The headlines last week were all about Falluja. But maybe the most important story in Iraq was the fact that while Falluja was exploding, 106 Iraqi parties and individuals registered to run in the January election. And maybe the second most important story is the relatively quiet way in which Iraqis, and the Arab world, accepted the U.S. invasion of Falluja. The insurgents there had murdered hundreds of Iraqi Muslims in recent months, and, I think, they lost a lot of sympathy from the Arab street. (But if we don't get the economy going on the Iraqi street, what the rest of the Arab world thinks will be of no help.)

Readers regularly ask me when I will throw in the towel on Iraq. I will be guided by the U.S. Army and Marine grunts on the ground. They see Iraq close up. Most of those you talk to are so uncynical - so convinced that we are doing good and doing right, even though they too are unsure it will work. When a majority of those grunts tell us that they are no longer willing to risk their lives to go out and fix the sewers in Sadr City or teach democracy at a local school, then you can stick a fork in this one. But so far, we ain't there yet. The troops are still pretty positive.

So let's thank God for what's in our drinking water, hope that maybe some of it washes over Iraq, and pay attention to the grunts. They'll tell us if it's time to go or stay.


Thanks to the men and women who drank that water and donned our nation’s uniform. They really are special. And, like Friedman, I'll go with their judgment.

Posted by jk at 12:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 23, 2004

Urban Laboratory

Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves reports that his birthplace of Camden, NJ has been rated "Most Dangerous City." Last says "it's about time."

I've always thought that Camden would be the perfect laboratory for a government that wanted to fix inner-city blight. It has all the afflictions of Compton or Detroit, but it's small enough to manage. If someone in either New Jersey or the federal government was serious about figuring out how to rescue America's inner cities, they would start with Camden and try every tool in the box--empowerment zones, school vouchers, broken-windows policing, faith-based community outreach--to see what works.

His post got me thinking: perhaps we can find two bad cities in the US, give one to the Democrats, one to the Republicans, an equal amount of money to each, and let the games begin! What works? Welfare, uber-generous school endowments? Enterprise zones and Faith based initiatives? Maybe six cities and we can try several things. See what works. Am I crazy?

Posted by jk at 01:29 PM | What do you think? [4]

Hope For Democracy

In the USA, that is. Two stories in the OpinionJournal's Political Diary today (and I thought I might lapse my subscription after the election...) show good signs for 21st Century Democracy.

1) Computer Voting in Florida was fertile soil for conspiracy theorists, but in the end "drastically reduced the margin of uncertainty in this month's vote counting. In 2000, some precincts threw away as many as 12% of presidential votes as uncountable because of hanging or dimpled chads in punchcard ballots. 'This year,' the paper reports, 'discard rates were often cut to half of 1 percent or lower, in some cases as little as a quarter percent. That's almost entirely thanks to new technology, such as touch-screen machines that do not allow for overvotes -- when voters choose two candidates for a single office -- and limit undervotes by alerting voters when they don't make a choice in a race.'"

2) The other story that inspired hope was a possible fix to a computer-caused malady: the efficacious Gerrymander. We've lost the House of Representatives to GIS-drawn districts. There are almost no competitive races anymore.

The fix? Why, Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is fed up with the bipartisan incumbent gerrymander that seems to have made most California state political races uncompetitive. In this month's elections, not one out of the 153 races for Congress, State Senate or State Assembly resulted in any shift of party control. The only personnel changes came in the legislature through voter-imposed term limits.

That's why the state's governor has now become a fan of redistricting, which he calls "a very, very important" element of his agenda to reform California's antiquated and hidebound government. His likely vehicle is an initiative circulated by Ted Costa, the populist taxpayer advocate who led the recall effort last year against Gov. Gray Davis. The Costa plan is relatively simple. New redistricting plans would be drawn up by a group of retired judges. The judges themselves would be picked by state legislators -- but with a catch: Legislators would not be allowed to nominate judges from their own parties, but only from opposing parties.

The measure has already been endorsed by Kevin McCarthy, the GOP Assembly leader, as well as by some Democrats in county and city government. Last month, Gov. Schwarzenegger privately told a major donor that he backed the measure, which would most likely be voted on in a special election next fall so new districts could be in place for the 2006 elections.


Accurate voting and competitive elections. My heart swoons. We should start a ballot initiative in Colorado. Every state should; Iowa already has.

Posted by jk at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [2]

Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead

"She's not merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead!"

I inflate. Dan Rather has resigned his post at 'CBS Evening News.'

Rather said his last broadcast as anchor would be March 9, the 24th anniversary of when he assumed the position from Walter Cronkite.

The 73-year-old newsman said he will continue to work for CBS, as a correspondent for both editions of "60 Minutes."

"I have always been and remain a `hard news' investigative reporter at heart," he said in a statement. "I now look forward to pouring my heart into that kind of reporting full time."


So, if you just make stuff up, you can still prosper at "60 Minutes," but the CBS Evening News is trying to retake some credibility -- Got it!

I think that the bloggers have felled one. Maybe it's a sign, but I was home yesterday with a bad cold and I actually did do some blogging in pajamas. It was a sign.

UPDATE: Kerry Spot's Geraghty notes that bloggers' reaction will fall into one of two camps:

Blogger Reaction One: “Whoo hoo! We won! Blogger triumphalism all around!”

Blogger Reaction Two: “This half-step by CBS is garbage, and they know it. Announcing this the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is comparable to announcing the news late on a Friday afternoon. The internal investigation - which we may never get to see at this rate - probably found that the entire CBS News structure is like the DNC press operations shop, only less accurate and with lower standards, and so this is the Sauronic Eye’s way of sweeping it under the rug. They’re every bit as bad as they were before the memo story ran, they learned nothing from this incident, and they ought to be thanking their lucky stars that an angry mob in pajamas carrying pitchforks and torches doesn’t march down to corporate headquarters like in some black and white monster movie.” (This happens to be my reaction.)


He is right and I am wrong. Nothing has changed at all and what should be a huge scandal has been swept under the rug.

Yet, if they are not going to fix bias at CBS News it is better that they don't pretend. I was predicting a fire-Mapes-and-Dan-apologizes outcome that could be claimed as admission and reform. The juicy beast is still out there, waiting to be taken down. Pajamahadeen, stand ready!

Posted by jk at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [1]

It's a Values Election

This came by email in a batch of funny pictures. I don't know where or when this election was -- or if it is for real.

No word whether Andrew Sullivan has made an endorsement...

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

November 22, 2004

So Much For Sportsmanship

I guess there's nothing wrong with reemerging as a partisan, but I am still a bit surprised by Senator Kerry's latest email to his supporters. I guess the time for healin' has come and gone.

"Despite the words of cooperation and moderate sounding promises, this administration is planning a right wing assault on values and ideals we hold most deeply. Healthy debate and diverse opinion are being eliminated from the State Department and CIA, and the cabinet is being remade to rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security, and walk away from critical allies around the world" -- John Kerry, in a mass spam sent out Friday to rally his email list to oppose President Bush's policies.

Hat-tip: OpinionJournal Political Diary

NPR's Mara Liason (right-wing wacko that she is) pointed out on Fox News Sunday yesterday that the idea of debate and dissent within a cabinet is a canard. She couldn't get her NPR colleague Juan Williams on board, but everybody else agreed that checks and balance does not really extend to the President's cabinet.

Posted by jk at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [2]

Immigration Reform

My favorite conservative reads are National Review, the Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. Of these, only the WSJ Ed page is pro-immigration.

Jason Riley is right in an editorial today, WSJ.com - Ignore the Anti-Immigrant Right. Bush Did. I had not seen these amazing numbers anywhere else:

Partisans typically use spin to burnish a bad outcome. But since the election, some on the right have attempted to downplay or divert attention from a positive development -- the GOP's historic gains among Latino voters.

Exit polls put the president's share of the Latino vote at around 45%, an increase of nine percentage points from the 2000 election and far surpassing the previous record of 37% for a Republican presidential candidate set by Ronald Reagan in 1984. Yet conservative spinmeisters tell us this is no cause for jubilation.


Riley goes on to make a powerful and principled pitch for reform along the lines of President Bush's guest worker program.
In January, President Bush floated the idea of a guest-worker program that would free up border agents to pursue terrorist threats instead of spending their time chasing down Mexicans who come here to work. The base went bonkers. Some on the right just can't bear the thought of a border policy that focuses less on militarization and more on balancing security with the needs of the economy.

But there's another reason why these conservatives are downplaying this newfound Hispanic affinity for the GOP. Having insisted for years that Latinos are lost to Republicans -- that time spent courting our largest ethnic minority group is time wasted -- the editors at National Review, the commentators at Fox News and their anti-immigrant amigos at the Center for Immigration Studies are all loath to admit they were wrong.
[...]
As my colleague Michael Gonzalez pointed out in this space recently, Election Day taught the GOP that Latinos can be turned into a viable swing voting bloc. Unlike blacks, who continue to pull the Democratic lever monolithically, Hispanics now stand poised to reap the spoils of our two-party system like other minority groups who split their allegiance.


And along the way, he punctures the Malthusian myth with the temerity to call it by name:
Yes, keepers of the Malthusian flame at places like the Federation of American Immigration Reform and NumbersUSA have been insisting for years that the U.S. is overpopulated. The economist Thomas Sowell has challenged these alarmists to "name just one country that had a higher standard of living when its population was half of what it is today."

I like the guest worker program. Allow workers to enter the country legally then it is economically and morally viable to keep undocumented workers out.

Yet another chance for bold reform in a second Bush term.

Posted by jk at 08:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 21, 2004

NYTimes vs. London Times

From IraqPundit:

America's agenda-setting press has been quite impressed by the thugs who have been targeting, kidnapping, and murdering defenseless Iraqi civilians. A front-page headline out of Iraq in Friday's New York Times, for example, reads, "Showing Their Resolve, Rebels Mount Attacks in Northern and Central Iraq."

Got that? These murderers have been demonstrating "resolve." Indeed, throughout the battle of Fallujah and in the battles that have followed, American journalists have discovered many impressive attributes in these criminals. According to a week of major-press stories, the "insurgents" are a cunning and courageous band who have been putting up a tenacious struggle.


Mirabile dictu, it's the UK press that provides a more realistic assessment:
Anyway, the Times of London has given us a reality check, a glimpse of Fallujah under the rule of these cunning and resolute heroes: "Mutilated bodies dumped on Fallujah's bombed out streets today painted a harrowing picture of eight months of rebel rule." The paper notes that Islamist thugs warned "women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets."

Shameful but unsurprising reporting from the NYTimes. They will settle for nothing less than humiliating defeat for the Coalition forces. Then, the Taliban-style utopia that was Fallujah can return. Stephen Schwartz in TCS:
With the liberation of Fallujah and the fall of the jihadist regime in the town, it is apparent that American media intend to keep their story on message: the message being that the U.S. military operation there has failed and that Fallujans, and Iraqis in general, still hate the intervention forces.

At the same time, other reports tell a more significant and eloquent story: the jihadists had set up a Taliban-style dictatorship, in which women who did not cover their entire bodies, people listening to music, and members of spiritual Sufi orders -- that is, ordinary Fallujans -- were subject to torture and execution.


Schwartz continues to deride media for having picked the wrong side in VietNam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Kosovo.

It's an angry piece but I defy anybody to show me one sentence that is wrong.

There are, perhaps, some Western Islamophobic ideologues who, from the safety of their suburban homes, would love to tell these Muslim victims of terrorism that their torment was their own fault for not changing or altering their traditional Islamic faith. Some people have no shame. But sooner or later Americans will understand what Iraqis are learning: that our troops went there to free Islam, not to destroy it; that in a choice between American supervision and Taliban atrocities, the ordinary Sunnis and the mystical Sufis and the majority Shias will opt for our help.

Hat-tips: Glenn for the Times vs. Times, GalleySlaves for the TCS piece.

Posted by jk at 09:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 19, 2004

Good News for (two) Turkeys


The President does the annual turkey pardon With some pretty good chatter:

President Pardons "Biscuits and Gravy" in Annual Turkey Ceremony

This is an election year, and Biscuits had to earn his spot at the White House. Over the past week, thousands of voters cast ballots on the White House website. It was a close race. You might say it was neck-and-neck. (Laughter.) When all the voters were in -- all the votes were in, Biscuits and his running mate, Gravy, prevailed over the ticket of Patience and Fortitude. (Laughter.) The Vice President and I are here to congratulate Biscuits for a race well run.

It came down to a few battleground states. (Laughter.) It was a tough contest, and it turned out some 527 organizations got involved -- (laughter) -- including Barnyard Animals for Truth. (Laughter.) There was a scurrilous film that came out, "Fahrenheit 375 Degrees at 10 Minutes Per Pound." (Laughter.) Now, it's a time for healing.

Posted by jk at 05:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

Good News For Deficit Hawks

I'm much more interested in GDP growth than deficit numbers, but I am always happy to see some spending restraint. And it appears it may be coming.

A WSJ Editorial (paid site, sorry!) includes good news on the expenditure and revenue side of the public debt:

The media Furies and partisans are all astir because Congress voted to raise the debt limit again this week, as if not lifting the borrowing cap and defaulting was a viable option for the U.S. But the real story emerging this week is that the White House finally seems serious about holding the line on its budgetary spending strictures -- and won't stand for any fuzzy math either.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Congressional Appropriators, White House budget chief Josh Bolten said, "The President's senior advisors would recommend he veto any bill that exceeds the agreed upon spending limits or remains within the limits only through the use of unacceptable budgetary devices that mask the true level of discretionary spending." Knock us over with a feather, but that sounds like a White House willing to use political capital to keep non-defense spending growth to around 2%.
[...]
In equally good budget news, federal revenues are also bouncing back as economic growth continues. Over the long term, federal revenues have averaged roughly 17% to 19% of GDP. They soared to 21% during the late Clinton years, which is one reason the Bush tax cuts were so important. Amid recession and the burst stock-bubble, however, revenues dipped below 16% in recent years. Now they're heading back toward their normal range.


The folks that wanted Senator Kerry to win the presidency because of fiscal responsibility were wrong. A second-term Bush Administration can afford to be a little stingier on spending. The President can now give away spending only as needed to pass his "ownership society reforms."

Too soon to claim victory, yes, but some very good signs. The 109th Congress should be more restrained than the 108th as well.

Posted by jk at 08:50 AM | What do you think? [9]

November 17, 2004

Red States

Jonathan Last quotes this story to support his position that "I have contended, repeatedly, that the values divide in America is actually quite narrow. Many of my liberal friends have disagreed with me, particularly on the question of homosexuality and gay marriage. I have been told that bigotry is rampant in conservative America, that it is a "scary" place."

Andrew Sullivan links to it saying "things are not all black and white -- or red and blue."

It is a touching story in the WaPo about a gay, 17 year old Oklahoman whose church of 500 stood up to nine folks who drove down from Kansas to tell them they was sinnin' Yup, even in OK (Bush 60% in 2004), this scene happened:

The music and energy built until Pastor Eubanks bounded onstage. "Welcome to the reign of life," he said. "Amen?"

"Amen!" the crowd shouted, whistling and clapping.

"There is darkness and there is light and we are in the middle of the light," Eubanks said, to more thunderous applause. "Say it: God loves us all. All of us!"

After the service, several people came up to hug [his mother] Janice. One woman held her in an embrace that lasted two minutes, whispering to Janice the whole time.

A burly man with a crew cut gave Michael a thumbs-up. "Man, you be who you are," Shannon Watie said, holding his Bible. "We got your back."

Watie later said that he respected Michael for having the courage to come out. "I have the sin of pride, the sin of lying sometimes," said the 37-year-old father of two. "The reason why Jesus was on the cross was because we all do."


Churches and churchgoers have taken some abuse on this blog. I highly recommend that everybody read this story in its entirety.

Posted by jk at 01:56 PM | What do you think? [10]

Those Wacky Undecideds

Reading Christopher Hayes's piece in The New Republic it doesn't seem that he and I would agree on much and, if we did, the chances of Jonah Goldberg joining us would be slim.

But all three of us are onboard for complete, utter disbelief at what motivates an "undecided voter." In Hayes's case, it is funny to me because he is out before the election trying to convince them to vote for Kerry.

I had one conversation with an undecided, sixtyish, white voter whose wife was voting for Kerry. When I mentioned the "mess in Iraq" he lit up. "We should have gone through Iraq like shit through tinfoil," he said, leaning hard on the railing of his porch. As I tried to make sense of the mental image this evoked, he continued: "I mean we should have dominated the place; that's the only thing these people understand. ... Teaching democracy to Arabs is like teaching the alphabet to rats." I didn't quite know what to do with this comment, so I just thanked him for his time and slipped him some literature. (What were the options? Assure him that a Kerry White House wouldn't waste tax dollars on literacy classes for rodents?)

Beyond schadenfruede, it's a good article. He has some sport with the undecideds. I think his best observation is his first: "They care about politics, they just don't like politics."
The mere fact that you're reading this article right now suggests that you not only think politics is important, but you actually like it. You read the paper and listen to political radio and talk about politics at parties. In other words, you view politics the way a lot of people view cooking or sports or opera: as a hobby. Most undecided voters, by contrast, seem to view politics the way I view laundry. While I understand that to be a functioning member of society I have to do my laundry, and I always eventually get it done, I'll never do it before every last piece of clean clothing is dirty, as I find the entire business to be a chore. A significant number of undecided voters, I think, view politics in exactly this way: as a chore, a duty, something that must be done but is altogether unpleasant, and therefore something best put off for as long as possible.

Posted by jk at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

Victory in Fallujah

That's the title of a WSJ Editorial today.

In real warfare, of course, killing the enemy means there are fewer enemies to kill. And in one week in Fallujah, and at the cost of some 40 American soldiers' lives and several Iraqi ones, about 1,200 insurgents were killed and another 1,000 taken prisoner. The insurgents have been denied their principal sanctuary. Their torture chambers--a stark indication of what they intend for all of Iraq if they're allowed to prevail--lie exposed.

More important is the demonstration effect: Ordinary Iraqis can take heart that the Allawi government and the U.S. mean business, something that had been put into doubt by the failure to take Fallujah back in April. The sooner and more aggressively the fight is taken to other insurgent strongholds, the better the chances that January's scheduled elections can be held on time, in conditions of relative security, and with Iraq's Sunni minority committed (or resigned) to pursuing their options at the ballot box.


I like the title (so I stole it, of course!) Fallujah was a victory. I'm pretty confident that Mosul will be, then Ramadi at al., each easier than the previous.

NED Bless all the brave men and women who wear our nation's uniform -- even if they do smoke!

Posted by jk at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [1]

The Smoking Marine

marlboroman.jpg
Blogging Lileks seems redundant, but I have to call attention to his prose now and then, it's just too good.

Here he is on the "controversy" about the smoking Marine:

For God's sake, if Patton were alive today he'd be slapping civilians. Granted, we're talking about a select stratum of the population whose undies come pre-bunched, but even by their standards this is ridiculous. You get the sense that this was the last straw for some -- it's bad enough that we have soldiers in Iraq (if we have to have soldiers AT ALL) but to have conspicuously smoking soldiers just rubs their nose in it all. It's stuff like this that makes the standard imagery of WW2 look like dispatches from an alternate dimension[...]

Posted by jk at 09:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 16, 2004

Out Today

The final season of Buffy is released on DVD today in North America (I was tempted to buy one in the UK as it has been out there for awhile, but I didn't want to mess with Reigons)

 

UPDATE: Should YOU watch?

A friend capitulates and begins to watch BtVS, as a family endeavor, asking if this is a good thing; I reply:

I think a family Buffy habit could be a good thing. I had a brief email exchange with Jonathan Last from the Weekly Standard. I helped him fix a bad link on his blog, he said "I'm in your debt."

I replied, no, you turned me on to Buffy and he said: "Well, if you've converted to the High Church of Buffy, then we can call it even ; - )"

Watching Season One, I think when you see "The Pack" and "Nightmares" you start to get a feeling of how special the show is. I started towards the end and saw random episodes out of order. I have enjoyed watching them in order on the CDs.

Virginia Postrel also wrote a nice column in Reason magazine, "Why Buffy Kicked Ass." Last summer, I read a good book put out by a Philosophy prof at Marquette with a collection of essays using Buffy episodes to illustrate philosophical concepts. It was funded by the Jesuits, which made me laugh, but that probably is not so weird.

The show is beloved by Conservatives but does not propagate traditional conservative themes. You'll soon see it trend into promiscuity, homosexuality and witchcraft. Yet the basic truths of right, wrong, honor and duty hold throughout.

I'll trust your parental judgment, but the art of the show has really impressed me: the writing, actng, and cinematography are all very rich. It transcends being a dumb little teen TV show and yet it always is.

The spin-off, Angel, is fun too. Angel moves to LA, and opens a preternatural Private Eye firm. The shows are just as good but have a noir feel and a more adult cast.

Seven episodes of Buffy, Five of Angel = 12 + (6 * 22) + (5 * 22) = 254 hour-long episodes. It's really the only "fiction" TV I have watched in a year or so. Admitting you have a problem...


Posted by jk at 01:29 PM | What do you think? [4]

Democrat Cabinet Nominee

I think John Fund at the OpinionJournal Political Diary has the goods on a good Democrat that President Bush could appoint. Louisiana Senator John Breaux:

President Bush is in hot pursuit of a Democrat for his Cabinet. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, a former Democratic congressman from California, is expected to leave and Mr. Bush wants to make a bow towards bipartisanship as his second term begins.

His top prospect is John Breaux, retiring in January as a Democratic Senator from Louisiana. Mr. Breaux has a genuinely moderate voting record and bravely co-chaired a Medicare commission in the late 1990s that advocated free-market reforms. He could fit in as secretary of either Health and Human Services or, since Louisiana is a major oil and gas state, at Energy.

Mr. Breaux has told friends that at age 60 he feels he has enough years to try one more career. While he might be tempted to take up an offer from President Bush (with whom he has good relations), the major obstacle is that Mr. Breaux may be tired of government, having been first elected to the House of Representatives in 1972 at age 28. Watch for Mr. Breaux to be invited to the Oval Office for some straight-talk lobbying.


I like Breaux, there's no Senate balance issue, he'd be a good pick.

Posted by jk at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [0]

Blog Under Threat

For the second time, I am tempted to shut down this unprofitable, time-wasting, labor of love. And the reason is the same as the first time. Comment Spammers attach links to their porn and viagra and mortgage sites to increase their google rankings.

A GREAT product called MT-Blacklist rescued me the first time. Now, the blacklist product is consuming so much CPU time rejecting spammers that I am being kicked off unless I upgrade to a very expensive plan.

I will look at other solutions (I have a couple in mind) any bloggers who have suggestions, please comment or email me: jk [at] b e r k e l e y s q u a r e j a z z [dot] c o m.

Sorry for the whining. These guys bug me, piggybacking on legitimate businesses to hawk their illegitimate and frequently illegal sites. What I really want is a group of renegade, pissed-off bloggers to launch denial of service attacks against their sites. I've been mad for a year -- I want to get even!

UPDATE: Okay, I'll stop whinin' and start working. There are several things I can do. Comments may be a little flaky as I rewok some templates, let me know if they are down for a long period.

By the way, I will be closing posts to comments after ten days and only posting ten days of posts on the front page. Our discussions will need to be brief. All commenters have or are welcome to a login to post as an author here if the comment process becomes too onerous.

Posted by jk at 09:18 AM | What do you think? [7]

November 15, 2004

Secretary Lieberman?

Our buddy AlexC at pstupidonymous links to a Redstate.org post and both suggest that Senator Joe Lieberman be considered to replace Secretary Powell.

I would not argue based on the Senator. He is a principled man with a keen understanding of the importance of the Global War on Terror (WWIV to me).

And I would love to hear the howls from MidEastern despots if the USA were to send "A JEW!" Truly priceless.

I am gonna throw cold water, though. Even if Governor Rell appoints a good Republican (not a guarantee in New England), Senator Joe might be more valuable as a moderate D, with whom the President can craft bi-partisan legislation.

I wouldn't argue with the appointment, but I have to go with Condi. She'd be awesome and she'd position herself with a high-visibility launching pad for her run in '08.

Posted by jk at 03:42 PM | What do you think? [3]

$21 Billion

The election has energized the Boulder peace movement. I have a running argument with a protesting niece about the efficacy of protests -- but we can leave that for another day.

What AlexC calls "Dirty Hippies" are on the corner of Broadway and Canyon most every night for my drive home. Being Boulder, every couple minutes, some car will honk and give a thumbs-up. The dozen naive kids will howl in solidarity. I sit silent and shake my head, waiting for the light.

I don't know if any of them can read or not, but we are privileged to have an articulate and well-informed commenter on this blog whom I know to be anti-war.

I will ask if articles like Saddam Made $21B From U.N. Program would change one's opinion of the need for war. It is clear that Saddam and his buddies were livin' large while their people starved, and that the U.N. was getting close to lifting sanctions entirely.

The findings also reflect a growing understanding by investigators of the intricate schemes Saddam used to buy support abroad for a move to lift U.N. sanctions.

Coleman said the probe is just beginning and that officials aim to discover "how this massive fraud was able to thrive for so long." He said he is angry that the United Nations (news - web sites) has not provided documents and access to officials that investigators need to move ahead.

Officials must get to the bottom of the allegations because, among other things, it will help the international community to better design future sanctions programs, some senators said.

The status quo seems untenable to me. I would like to hear some reasonable-percentage scenario that describes a (reasonably) peaceful outcome in Iraq that protects US interests and offers some hope to the Iraqis.

Posted by jk at 03:26 PM | What do you think? [3]

$430 Billion

Every day the market went up after the election, I asked myself whether I wanted to blog the increase in shareholder optimism. I didn't want to draw too close a correlation. Many variables drive a good equities market and it is a fool's game to look at the DJIA as being representative of the economy.

I was correct to wait. A "nanny nanny boo boo" gloat on a short rally would have been below the standards for even my posts. Yet I will link to this article in TCS today, The Shareholder Election.

Since the conclusion of the presidential election, total shareholder wealth has increased $430 billion, or roughly 3.8 percent in just seven days of trading. Total shareholder wealth is now at its highest level since April 19, 2001. It's astonishing to see that in just seven trading days shareholder wealth resumed immediately above the levels not experienced since before March when Sen. John Kerry became the official Democratic nominee for president.

So why did this happen? First, the ending of election season has lifted the cloud of uncertainty that was weighing on equity markets. Second, the reelection of Bush keeps the investor tax cuts in place. Finally, the expansion of a pro-growth, pro-investor House and Senate paves the way for major tort reform, further tax cuts, Social Security reform, and expanded trade. These measures will boost shareholder value, both in the short and long term, and markets have responded accordingly.
[...]
In fact, lowering the capital gains tax is more than just a lower tax burden for investors every April 15th. Capital gains tax cuts boost the after tax return on equities, which in turn, increases stock prices. The capital gains tax was reduced in 1997 and 2003 and both times shareholder wealth increased by $2 trillion in the first 180 days following the tax cut. The possibility of repealing this tax cut was pricing into the market.

As Larry Kudlow says, incentives matter. The increased use of dividends will help corporate governance far more than Sarbanes-Oxley or a dozen high profile investigations by New York AG Eliot Spitzer.

Major tax reform would add 15% to the S&P500. And the "ownership society" will provide a far more solid GOP base than will any social issues. Red and Blue demographics aside, this is the real opportunity for realignment.

Posted by jk at 02:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 13, 2004

Cowboy Justice

Got this via email yesterday:

Subject: Sherif Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) who created the tent city jail has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights. Cut off all but "G" movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects. Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again only let in the Disney channel and the weather channel.

When asked why the weather channel he replied, so they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates complained, he told them, "This isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought Newt Gingrich' lecture series on videotape that he pipes into the jails.

When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

More on the Arizona Sheriff:

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports:

About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts.

On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 degrees inside the week before.

Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks.

"It feels like we are in a furnace," said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for 1 1/2 years. "It's inhumane."

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic.

He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates:

"It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!"

Way to go, Sheriff! Maybe if all prisons were like this one, there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

If you agree, pass this on. If not, delete it.

(I decided to pass it on.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 12, 2004

Smart Democrat Bashing

I don't trust "The Nation" to diagnose GOP failures, why should I trust "National Review" to handicap the Kerry-Edwards loss?

Peter Beinart at TNR writes an intelligent piece, United They Fall

Now, Democrats are looking for an even better vehicle for the same ideological consensus. Looking back to Bill Clinton, some suggest a Southern governor. But Clinton wasn't merely a Baptist, Southern-accented Michael Dukakis. He represented a controversial break from the liberal orthodoxy of the '80s. Where Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Dukakis had all opposed the death penalty, Clinton embraced it. And, to underscore the point, he left the campaign trail to oversee the execution of mentally retarded murderer Rickey Ray Rector. Where Dukakis and Mondale had endlessly pandered to Jesse Jackson, Clinton outraged the African American left by showing up at Jackson's Rainbow Coalition and denouncing the anti-white rapper Sister Souljah. Where Mondale had proposed raising taxes, Clinton called for a middle-class tax cut. What Clinton recognized--and today's Democrats don't--is that, if you're not making liberals uncomfortable, you're not going to win.

In my view, John Kerry's Sister Souljah opportunity was France. Liberals forget that the conflict between Washington and Paris didn't begin with Dick Cheney; France was actively thwarting American power--and American ideals--throughout the 1990s. Jacques Chirac had the right to oppose the Iraq war, but his virtual campaign to prevent European countries from assisting in the occupation rightly outraged many Americans. Had Kerry stood up to Paris during the campaign, he would have shown he could do so in the Oval Office. And he would have proved that success in the war on terrorism--not multilateralism--was his highest foreign policy principle.


Monday morning, perhaps, but a very good play. Beinart's thesis is that the Ds should be a little more introspective and argumentative to prepare for future elections.
One reason is that many of the Democrats inclined to cause trouble are gone. With the loss of five Southern Senate seats, the high-profile conservative Democrats who might have urged the party to reject gay rights or embrace Social Security privatization--people like Louisiana's John Breaux, not to mention Georgia's Zell Miller--are no longer around.

Even more surprising than the silence on the party's right is the silence on the party's left. I have yet to hear a single prominent Democrat say Kerry lost because he wasn't sufficiently antiwar. Partly, that's because liberals can't say Kerry didn't mobilize the base. But, more broadly, I suspect it's because Iraq obscured the fact that, on most issues, the divisions between the party's liberal and New Democratic wings simply aren't that great. Howard Dean, we tend to forget, was a deficit hawk and a former Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) poster child who had backed the Gulf war.


Not to fawn over TNR -- they drive me crazy -- but I cannot imagine another liberal writer's writing this, nor another magazine's publishing it:
In my last column ("What Went Wrong," November 15), I wrote, "Honest conservatives, even those who admire Bush, know he didn't earn a second term." That was a poor way of expressing my point: that, judging from the president's low approval rating and the large percentage of people who felt the country was on the "wrong track," Bush had not convinced most Americans he deserved a second term. They gave him one because of their reservations about Kerry. My argument was a political, not a moral, one. I have no doubt that many honest conservatives believe Bush is a good, even great, president, and that, in their eyes, he has earned a second term.

Twenty bucks a year for a digital subscription. Then when your friends accuse you of cocooning you can say "no! I subscribe to TNR!" Pretty good value...

Posted by jk at 02:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Starbucks in Iraq

I trust Silence to carry all the Halliburton-bashing around here. I am fine with the bidding process, the so-called overcharging for gasoline is somewhere between small and nothing -- but serving bad coffee to our valiant troops? CHENEY MUST DIE!!!!

Seriously, folks, the troops have complained about the Joe, I can't blame them:

The military supply system uses Maxwell House and Taster's Choice, and Halliburton says it's brewed according to Army guidelines, with no option to pick a different "brand, grind type or roast variety."

Thankfully, Roasters are riding to the rescue. Starbucks has announced a 50,000 pound donation.
WaPo reports:
Lattes in Fallujah? Some GIs in Iraq, distraught over the quality of military coffee, keep clamoring for stronger java than that served by Halliburton. Never one to miss a brand-development opportunity, Starbucks CEO Jim Donald came to Capitol Hill this week to announce that the Seattle-based coffee giant will donate 50,000 pounds of beans for overseas troops, with distribution handled by the Red Cross. Much smaller outfits -- including Just Plain Joe Coffee of Stevensville, Md., Santa Lucia Estate Coffee of Potomac and Dean's Beans in Massachusetts -- have been donating coffee to military personnel in Iraq for months.

The Red Cross and Starbucks, whose employees previously made smaller donations, believe the new program will boost morale. "It's great to see," says Jodi Lehr, partner in Santa Lucia Estate, adding, "They are following the cue of the small growers and roasters."
[...]
But Starbucks's massive donation may position it to penetrate the complex procurement system. "They ought to be buying Starbucks," Dicks says, while recognizing his suggestion isn't likely to percolate quickly through the bureaucracy. Maybe by next Veterans Day.


Thanks to all who serve, and a hooo-rah and an ooo-gah to the roasters who are stepping up. I raise my super-dry-breve-half-caf-cappucino to you!

Hat-tip: Dynamist

Posted by jk at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [2]

The Galley Slaves

Blog flog: Galley Slaves is a new blog by three Young Turks from "The Weekly Standard" and it is a must read.

Jonathan Last points out today:

This International Herald Tribune story is most notable for the following section:
"Islamic scholars have generally prohibited the discontinuation of life support machines, since the Koran advises: 'Don't throw yourself into death.' Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, reacted violently to press reports yesterday that Palestinian officials had arrived in Paris to 'pull the plug' on Arafat."

So the Koran says "Don't throw yourself into death"? This section of the book should, perhaps, be more widely publicized in the Middle East.

The blog is like that. It's funny, smart and to the point. Having three bright professional writers at the helm doesn't hurt.

Jonathan Last has a special place in my heart: He turned me on to "Buffy." Those of you still baffled by this facet of my character should read Last's poignant farewell to what he and I call "the best show in the history of television."

Posted by jk at 09:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

Arafat's Death

Sorry, Dow Jones, I have to steal today's "middle editorial, Kofi's Heroes, in full:

Kofi Annan ordered United Nations flags at half-staff yesterday in tribute to lately departed Palestinian supremo Yasser Arafat. This, the folks at Turtle Bay tell us, is standard operating procedure whenever the head of a member state dies in office. Excuse us for asking, but what U.N.-member state did Arafat lead?

Well, none: "Palestine" has observer, not member, status. But Mr. Annan amended protocol in order to give Arafat the same recognition in death as the U.N. accorded him in life.

Say what you will about Mr. Annan's decision, it is certainly true that for 30 years the U.N. did what it could to elevate Arafat from terrorist to statesman. That's something Americans might bear in mind when next told the war on terror must be conducted under U.N. auspices.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, responsible for more than a score of suicide bombings, has renamed itself the Arafat Martyrs' Brigades. Now, there is a fitting tribute.


I think Mr. Annan is in danger from the oil-for-food probe and it will be interesting to see how long he can hold up -- kind of like watching President Clinton in '99: just wondering how long he can get away with everything. Annan has the same friends and might do as well.

Posted by jk at 09:00 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 11, 2004

Mandate

We're all familiar with the red/blue map of the Presidential election, showing the President winning in "flyover country" while Senator Spitball claimed the "urban states" through the power of their higher percentage of urban residents to rural. This map is relevant because the winner of each state is credited with all of that state's electoral votes. As it was, the map looked pretty lopsided in favor of the president if you count land mass. But what if you consider the map by county?

Election 2004 by county.bmp

Even in the states that Kerry won the total land mass he represents is a minority of the state. How little of California, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Minnnesota, New York... did Kerry actually win? Very little.

Even more revealing is this statistic: Population of counties won, Bush 150.9 million, Kerry 103.6 million. If you assume that the winner of all counties is representative of the values of all residents of all counties then if every American voted Bush would have had a 50 million voter mandate. (This compares to a 148 million to 133 million advantage for Bush over Gore in 2000.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:27 PM | What do you think? [11]

The Statistics That Count

Like Chuck Berry, I'm so glad I'm livin' in the USA.

Change in GDP:

 

2002

2003

2004

Germany

0.2

-0.1

1.1

Euro Area

0.9

0.5

1.6

Japan

-0.3

2.7

3.0

United States

2.2

3.1

4.7

I do not understand the current currency weakness, though Larry Kudlow tries to explain it last night -- but the European currencies are strong because the ECB is too tight with money and the deflationary pressure overvalues their money.
Posted by jk at 04:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

Statistics

Email from a friend:

GOOD TO KNOW:
a. The number of physicians in the United States is 700,000
b. Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year is 120,000.
c. Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

THINK ABOUT THIS:
a. The number of gun owners in the US is 80,000,000.
b. The number of accidental gun deaths per year is 1,500.
c. The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
Statistically, doctors are about 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS A DOCTOR.

Alert your friends to this threat. This is a public health measure. We must ban doctors before this gets out of hand.

P.S. I have withheld the statistics on lawyers because the shock would cause people to seek medical attention.

Posted by jk at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [14]

November 10, 2004

Michael Powell

I really like Michael Powell. He has appeared on Kudlow & Cramer several times and impressed me as a clear-headed and reliable foe of regulation. He has drawn attacks from the libertarian right for posting large fines in the aftermath of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl contretemps, and he has chased Howard Stern off the open airways onto Sirius satellite.

I am ambivalent on smut-freedom. I don't yearn for more government control -- yet I hardly think that the airwaves are somehow too restricted. Not the stuff I see on TV.

Either way, the regulatory side of telecom is a thousand times more important, and Colin's son is getting that right, time after time.

Telecom Turnaround (paid Wall Street Journal site, sorry!)

The Bush Administration got off to a poky start on telecom policy, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell seems to be revving things up. The latest example is an Internet vote he won yesterday that has the potential to reshape the industry from the ground up.

At issue is a new technology known as Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP. Put simply, VOIP allows consumers to place telephone calls over the Internet -- and it's growing like gangbusters. One of the leading providers, Vonage, requested that the FCC declare its product an "interstate service," and Mr. Powell won the votes to do exactly that. Yesterday's ruling is the first time the FCC has exempted an Internet voice service from state regulation.
[...]
More broadly, yesterday's vote also advances Mr. Powell's deregulatory agenda. The FCC chief has long argued that true competition was never going to come from giving consumers a choice between a Bell and a Bell look-alike, but from giving them a choice among different technologies -- cell phones, traditional land lines, cable telephony, VOIP.

The phony "competition" that came out of the 1996 Telecom Act -- which forced local phone companies to unbundle their networks and lease them to competitors at artificially low rates -- was plagued by fights over rates and infrastructure, and led to an investment coma. Contrast this with VOIP, where cable providers have been only too happy to work with companies like Vonage that want to offer Internet phone services over their lines, and where real competition and investment are already thriving.

The vote will also assist the spread of broadband. Americans have been looking for a reason to make the switch to high-speed cable or DSL, and the promise of $25-a-month unlimited phone service (as VOIP provides) is proving to be a killer incentive. Meanwhile, the emergence of such rivals has spurred the Bells to more quickly upgrade their own equipment for broadband so that they too can offer VOIP.


This is a real benefit of a second Bush term. Renewed capital expenditures in the telecom sector and a new broadband economy will reduce the deficit far more than "taxing the rich."

Posted by jk at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [0]

"I Love My Job"

The Telegraph profiles Coalition troops in the Fallujah raid:

"I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees.

"Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons."

Capt Kirk Mayfield, commander of the Phantoms, called for fire from his task force's mortar team. But Sgt Anyett didn't want to wait. "Dude, give me the sniper rifle. I can take them out - I'm from Alabama."

Two minutes tick by. "They're moving deep," shouted Sgt Anyett with disappointment. A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given.

"Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."


"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" -George Orwell

I love my job, too. And I never forget that my job is made possible by those who stand ready to do violence on my behalf. Thanks to all who serve.

Hat-tip: The Corner

Posted by jk at 09:46 AM | What do you think? [1]

November 09, 2004

Everything Reform

Holman Jenkins, Jr., in the WSJ Political Diary, makes a cogent case for tax reform as a solution to health care, Medicare and retirement.

We've long predicted that when all else fails in the health-care policy arena, reformers will finally hit upon the real solution: tax reform. Ditto the problems with Social Security and Medicare. The way out of these thickets is via a fundamental overhaul of the tax system, too.

President Bush has now put tax reform at the center of his second term agenda, and rightly so, and we can only hope it doesn't dawn on the media for a while that he hasn't thereby downgraded his overhaul of entitlements. Tax reform IS the magic bullet.

Details can be conjured up later, but the basic architecture would be elimination of the income tax -- "income" being a hopelessly vague and loophole-ready concept -- in favor of some kind of consumption tax. Thus any money put aside for future consumption -- a.k.a. savings -- would remain untaxed until it's consumed. Presto, this would restore a natural incentive to save for future consumption, say, for retirement or old-age medical expenses.

Daunting political challenges would remain, of course: Prepare the middle class for the loss of tax preferences for company-provided health insurance. Prepare workers to face a decision whether to remain in Social Security and Medicare (both of which are destined to be scaled back because of their fiscal unsustainability) or take ownership of their payroll taxes in the form of private investment accounts.

No freakin' way, you say? Probably not. But last year's Medicare bill, which authorized Health Savings Accounts for the masses, shows there may be a method to such crazed White House overreaching. By putting individual medical spending and insurance purchases on the same tax footing as employer-provided insurance, HSAs hold out the prospect of gradually undermining, by Fabian encirclement, our current nutty system of health care insurance and payment. Employers and workers alike will realize the economic advantages to themselves of a system that rewards the consumer for using his health-care dollars wisely. Tax-benefited, employer-provided, over-rich insurance will gradually become obsolete.

In much the same way, the right kind of tax reform could wean earners away from wanting to rely on Medicare and Social Security (because they'll realize they can do better investing their payroll taxes on their own), leaving those programs to wither into safety nets for the poor.


Here's hoping for a bold second term agenda -- he did it in Texas!

UPDATE: One of my favorite quotes is President Eisenhower's: "If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it." The perspicacious readers of this blog are probably way ahead of me on this, but I have been applying the "enlarge it" concept to many intractable problems in the last year, and the solution is frequently found in the larger space.

Looking this up, I found quite a few bon mots from the man who was president when I was born, check 'em out!

Posted by jk at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

Specter's Chair

Thomas Sowell, as usual, gets it. His new column is a thoughtful look at Senator Specter's fitness to chair the Judiciary Committee.

More is involved here than just one headstrong Senator with his own policy litmus test.

After more than half a century of escalating judicial activism — judges imposing their own beliefs instead of applying the law — our country is at a crossroads. There is an opportunity — one that may not come again in this generation — to make judicial appointments that will restore the rule of law.

The issue is not whether judges will impose liberal policies or conservative policies. The larger issue is whether they will destroy the voting public's control over their own destiny. Too many generations of Americans have fought and died to preserve the right of democratic self-governance to let judges continue to erode that right and become judicial dictators.


Or, it ain't about abortion, it is about the Constitution.

Posted by jk at 09:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 08, 2004

How to lose an election

Virginia Postrel, on her Dynamist Blog:

I told you so. The party that hates America will lose. The party that imagines no positive future, offers no "vision thing," will lose. The party that thinks it is better than the American people, that makes large segments of the voting public believe they are its enemy, that convinces people it wants the government to boss them around and destroy the things they love, will lose.

Ms. Postrel wrote that in 1998 -- about the Republicans.

No need to change a word in 2004, in the software biz, we call that "code reuse."

I am going to flog her blog one more time here. I highly recommend both her "The Substance of Style" and "The Future and Its Enemies." I think all the regulars around here would probably agree with most everything in both of these books, even though we occupy different spots on the ideological compass.

Today her blog has a great post on drug testing in India -- there's comparative advantage for you! And The Party that Hates America Always Loses. And a real statistical look at the Gay Marriage numbers that bucks the CW something fierce. And a post with coffee and distributed decision making:

7-Eleven's coffee cup poll--coffee buyers could pick between Bush and Kerry cups--proved remarkably accurate: 51.08 percent for Bush, 48.92 percent for Kerry.

"Our popular vote was absolutely right on," Jim Keyes, the chain's head honcho, told the Dallas Morning News. "We sell a million cups of coffee every day, so our sample size was huge."


And, she likes Buffy...

Posted by jk at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 07, 2004

The 60's Candidate

Christopher Pellerito at Samizadata points out an interesting trend.

Had Senator Kerry won the same states in the 60's or 70's, he'd have won:

1960 census (1964, 68 elections) - Kerry 270, Bush 268 1970 census (1972, 76, 80 elections) - Kerry 270, Bush 268 1980 census (1984, 88 elections) - Bush 276, Kerry 262 1990 census (1992, 96, 2000 elections) - Bush 279, Kerry 259 2000 census (2004, 08 elections) - Bush 286, Kerry 252

To my people, this is significant. Forty years of "voting with your feet" have reproportioned the country to dynamic growth areas (trending GOP) and away from sclerotic-last-century regions (trending Democratic).

To Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard" that is re-alignment, to me it is dynamism.

Posted by jk at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

Time to discuss abortion?

It may be unavoidable to complete this discussion without diverging into abortion. But with the election over, I will risk it.

I think Senator Arlen Specter is unfit to chair the Judiciary Committee. I have been joined in this by AlexC (a Specter constituent), Sugarchuck, and the staff of National Review (who gave him a cover appearance as the Worst Republican Senator) plus NRO, where K-Lo is leading a charge to keep him out. Alex's pstupidonymous points us to Stop Specter Now! So far, so good.

I was surprised to see Glenn's post this morning. He and Hugh Hewitt think it's a bad idea. The thought is that this represents a stiff-arming on behalf of pro-lifers. Hugh asks "Should the GOP begin its new period of dominance with a convenient abandonment of the very rules they have charged Dems with violating repeatedly?"

I don't turn on Glenn and Hugh lightly. And, if I thought it was actually about abortion, I would agree. But it's not. It's about the Constitution.

I'm a squishy-moderate on abortion. I'd allow it as I would legalize drugs. I am not pro-drug; I'm anti-prohibition.

Even still, I am unequivocally opposed to Roe v. Wade. It's bad law, it's anti-federalism and, as the apogee of judicial overreach, it's anti-democratic. A judge who supports it is ipso facto a bad candidate for SCOTUS, not because he or she does not "support a woman's right to choose" but because he or she does not understand the constitution or limited federal government.

Posted by jk at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [9]

November 05, 2004

CD Release Party

Posted by jk at 12:01 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 04, 2004

We Few, We Band of Bloggers

>Peggy Noonan picks the loser:

Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief--CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes" attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election--the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.

That's about a bazillion-times more credit than I will claim, but I encourage all to look at the waning influence of the MSM. The more obvious their bias, the less influence they wield.

Megan McAuliffe, on one of her last guest-posts at Instapundit, ties it into a wider and truer trend:

I think the big story of this election was distributed information. That starts with blogs, of course. Bloggers were able to skewer some of the SwiftVet stories, blow up Dan Rather's big "scoop", and in other ways bring thousands of fresh eyes and fresh analysis to important issues that might otherwise have lain fallow. The media is a bubble world; we all mostly live in the same places and talk to the same people. The mainstream media has many advantages over blogs: resources, experience, editing, time to pursue a story, rigorous fact checking (no, really, I mean it), accountability. But it's invaluable to have bloggers around to burst that bubble when needed.

But it sure doesn't end with bloggers. I'm probably happier about the performance of the election betting markets than I am about the performance of George Bush in this election, because they vindicated a long held belief of mine: that if you take a bunch of people, and make them put their money where their mouth is, they generally get the right answer. Oh, there was a wild ride when the exit polls started showing up, but if you look at the electronic markets the day before the election, they called it better than the pundits -- certainly better than yours truly, who had been expecting a Kerry win for months. (This is the first time I've voted for a presidential candidate who actually, y'know, became president. It's a rather heady feeling.)

Finally it was a victory for public opinion, and not because the public voted the way I did. America's a pretty neat place, and it's been taking care of itself since long before I was alive.


Amen.

Posted by jk at 02:57 PM | What do you think? [6]

The Left Lives!

In my email this morning. I will credit them one thing, they bounce back quickly!

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

Let's Look at Failures

Nationally, the election was perfection incarnate! Even though we waited to hear the final results, it was a decisive election with very few disappointments (I would have liked to see Pete Coors win in Colorado). I commented below that many local ballot initiatives did not go my way. My friends have voted to raise taxes for windmills and light rail and probably a Che Guevara monument in the center of Boulder (I clicked away in disgust after I read the first few...)

Our Pennsylvania buddy, AlexC at pstupidonymous, reminds us of one we shoulda lost:

The Senator won the primaries, by 12,000 votes, due to the Bush/Santorum endorsement.

He repays this favor by, not campaigning for the President, not campaigning for down ticket candidates who could have used a boost, running a Michael J Fox stem-cell advertisement, not to mention some shadowy Kerry-Spector signs and now THIS?

We would have been better off with a freshman Democratic Senator Joe Hoeffel with no power in a 54-45-1 Senate, than a powerful "moderate" Senator Arlen Specter on the judiciary committee.


Sugarchuck said it best: had we lost the Senate, we'd've had a chance in two years -- we're stuck with "the man who voted 'Glenfiddich' on impeachment" forever...

Posted by jk at 10:31 AM | What do you think? [1]

Edwards in 2008?

I did not hear Senator Edwards's speech, but every review pointed out that it was the start of his '08 campaign.

I know that is the Conventional Wisdom, but it struck me that he is not very well positioned for a run in '08. If I may be nasty, I would phrase it as: "So, he has added 'losing VP candidate' to his resume of 'one-term-Senator?'"

What will he do over the next three years to keep in the public eye and have any kind of resume to run on?

Politically, he was a failure. Charismatic perhaps, but Electoral Votes are the currency of the realm. He could not have won his NC Senate Seat, he added NO Southern states to the totals (not even a border state like Arkansas, Missouri or Tennessee). Gregg Easterbrock in TNR wrote a good column called Poor Add Vice -- before the election, pointing out that Gephardt could have at least delivered Missouri.

Contrast this to Missouri, where Dick Gephardt is beloved as a favorite son. Bush is leading by a small margin in Missouri; in 2000, he carried the state by three points. The Show Me State has many times demonstrated its love of Gephardt--had he been Kerry's running mate, he might well have been able to deliver Missouri and its eleven delegates. Yours truly is also a fan of Gephardt, who might have brought to Kerry's candidacy not only Missouri's votes but moderate populism, labor ties, bipartisan credentials for his help to Bush in the days after September 11, and none of the negatives associated with Edwards's trial-lawyer calling. If Kerry loses by a margin smaller than Missouri's eleven electoral votes, his choice of Edwards over Gephardt may come to be seen as a historic blunder.

Easterbrook likes Edwards and thinks him capable of winning nationally. I disagree. He needs to pad his resume and next January will find him unemployed.

Clinton or Bayh are the choices in 2008 on the D side. Clinton v. Rice is my dream match, but I'd actually like to see the Democrats put Senator Evan Bayh up. It would be nice if I liked both candidates. And I think a moderate would be potent, electable adversary.

Posted by jk at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [5]

November 03, 2004

CD Release Party

Please attend the CD release party for our second album, “A Nightingale Sang.” We will perform music from the CD and a few other favorites, live, at Casa Alvarez in Lafayette on the 14th of November.

Casa Alvarez is located at 502 South Public Road. We have the upstairs booked from three o’clock on. We’ll probably play from four to six (it’s still developing). We have the rooms upstairs for the band and private tables and there is a full bar and restaurant downstairs.

I hope to see you there – and please feel free to bring anybody you’d like. All ages are welcome.

November 14, 2004, 3:00-6:00 PM
Casa Alvarez
502 S Public Road
Lafayette, CO 80026
Phone: (303) 604-4396

Posted by jk at 01:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

WoooooHoooo!

Yahoo! News - AP: Bush Wins Race As Kerry Concedes

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) won a second term from a divided and anxious nation, his promise of steady, strong wartime leadership trumping John Kerry (news - web sites)'s fresh-start approach to Iraq (news - web sites) and joblessness. After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat called Bush Wednesday to concede Ohio and the presidency, The Associated Press learned.

Posted by jk at 09:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

Great Day For G.O.P.

Shhhh! We can't say it yet but:

1) President Bush has been reelected
2) The GOP picked up 3 Senate Seats and ousted the party leader
3) The GOP picked up House seats
4) The victory, when certified will included a reasonable EV margin and a substantive popular vote margin (The first majority of the pop vote since 1988)

A great day and I can wait for the final tallies.

AlexC and I worked our butts off yesterday. I make almost enough money for Senator Edwards to hate me and I don't work this hard at work. Yesterday's poll-watching included four precincts and was a wild time.

The biggest surprise was the comity between my Democratic counterparts and me. I really did like and respect every one of the D watchers I encountered. We all parted with a "good luck -- up to a point" and a friendly wave.

My predictions were off but close. I am not quitting over them as Mark Steyn suggested he would (another reason to cheer a W victory).

Hang in there, be cool. The count will go our way and the longer it is delayed, the more the Democrats will alienate moderate voters.

Advice to Dems: Fewer lawyers, more ideas next time. And give up on the college kids already. They're not going to get up and wait in line.

Afterword: Alex shames me by volunteering and still blogging all day. Even picking up some links from National Review -- big time, brother, big time!

Posted by jk at 08:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 02, 2004

Happy Voting

I am poll-watching today, no blogging. If you're a GOP voter in my assigned precinct, you better vote -- I will find you and hunt you down...

Posted by jk at 12:01 AM | What do you think? [6]

November 01, 2004

Scarier Yet...

JK! JK! He can't use that, can he?..

Stolen from: The Kerry Spot

Posted by jk at 03:39 PM | What do you think? [2]

Thomas Friedman

There are only a handful of liberal columnists whom I respect. One of them is Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Dowd lacks the intellectual firepower to justify her impressive journalistic real estate, Krugman may have been a serious economist once, but is completely unhinged, token conservatives Safire and Brooks do well. Thomas Friedman makes me think.

I signed up with a musician friend to be kept abreast of his gigs. His wife has commandeered the mailing list to send daily rantings from the MoveOn.org and Michael Moore side of the party. Most are too wacko to contemplate, but Mr. Friedman's piece deserves a read:

Columnists for this newspaper are not allowed to endorse presidential candidates. But I think this election is so important, I am going to break the rules. I hope I don't get fired. But here goes: I am endorsing George Bush for president. No, no - not George W. Bush. I am endorsing his father - George Herbert Walker Bush.

Aha, the Bush pere trick! Why can't W be more like his arabist, State Dept, striped pants Dad? All the liberals loved him so much when he was president. Now Friedman points out that if you liked GHWB, you'll love President Kerry!

Here is my response:

Okay, I like and respect Thomas Friedman, though I frequently disagree. This time is no exception.

Friedman is correct to say that Senator Kerry is the heir of GHWB. That is astute and correct. What’s wrong is his assertion that that is what we need right now. Consider this statement:

Right or wrong, he felt that had he tried, he would have lost the coalition he had built up to evict Saddam from Kuwait. He obviously believed that the U.S. should never invade an Arab capital without a coalition that contained countries whose support mattered in that part of the world, such as France, Egypt, Syria or Saudi Arabia.

So, let me get this straight. Before we protect American interests, or advance liberty, we have to get permission from:

1) Saudi Arabia. Wait – didn’t Michael Moore point out that 15 of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia? Isn’t it true that a woman cannot drive there? That only Muslims can take the highway exit that leads to Mecca and Medina? Monarchical religious rule? Should we let them decide?
2) Syria. Saddam Hussein’s cousins and fellow Baathists run this backwards slave state, and it is on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Seems funny that we cannot act until we get assent from Assad…
3) Egypt. Well they hate America there even though they receive billions of dollars of aid. I think there might be scant amounts of rights for women and other religions – but still, I think I’ll pass on giving them veto power of our foreign policy.
4) France. Ahh France, the country that was so awash in corrupt UN Oil-for-food money and so reliant on Iraqi oil that they did veto coalition action in the Security Council, content to allow years of slaughter and torture. And a country that is very uncomfortable with US power to begin with.

Yes, George HW Bush, and Friedman, and the State Department are quite willing to let these nations decide our course. But I am not. George W. Bush is not.

Cheers,
jk


Posted by jk at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

Cheney in Hawaii

Purple state? Uber-democratic Hawaii is in play and gets a visit from VP Cheney, who says he "was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by and say, aloha."

It's a reminder that we are engaged in a global war on terror. This is a conflict we did not choose, but it is one that we will win. (Applause.)

We're standing just a few miles from Pearl Harbor, the site of a sudden attack on the U.S., on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. That day our peaceful country found itself in a global struggle that would last four years and would test our patience and resolve as a nation. Fortunately for us all, a great generation of Americans was more than equal to that challenge. (Applause.) They pulled together in freedom's cause, threw back aggression in a two-front war, and aided the rise of democracy in Europe and the Pacific.

Three years ago, America faced another sudden attack. And like other generations of Americans, we found that history had unexpected duties in store for us. September 11th, 2001 made clear the great challenge of our time. And since that morning, we have seen the brutal acts of terrorists around the world -? from a nightclub in Bali, to trains in Madrid, to a school in Beslan, Russia. Against this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy, America requires an aggressive strategy -? not merely to prosecute a series of crimes, but to fight and win a global campaign against the terrorist network. (Applause.) If the killers of 9/11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America. And they did not know George W. Bush. (Applause.)


Hat-tip: pstupidonymous

Posted by jk at 09:58 AM | What do you think? [2]

Persiflage

Saturday's Summit Jazz concert was incredible. Alan Frederickson and the fair Juanita have created a world class jazz series. Standing on the shoulders of the Dick Gibson concerts, Juanita chooses four to seven virtuoso players and throws them onstage together. A leader is picked for each set who calls the tunes, the key and the beat. The magic takes off from there -- and last Saturday was no exception.

Alan introduces the acts with great respect, humor, and clever use of language. I learned the word "persiflage" from him this week. Merriam-Webster's second definition is "casual banter" but Alan used it aptly to describe extraneous drum hardware beyond a snare-hat-tom-bass kit. That’s my new word for the week: persiflage.

I love language but the affection is unrequited. I abuse it and it retaliates. I was reading an article this morning on TCS about the Daschle-Thune race and came upon the following:

This year, Daschle has a lot harder row to hoe (do they hoe rows in South Dakota?).

I have always said "a tough road to hold," which is phonetically close but makes little sense. For decades I have made this error.

Only a few years ago I had a similar revelation on "for all intents and purposes," which I said for most of my life as "for all intensive purposes." What an idiot.

Even if it's self deprecating, a little persiflage feels good before the election.

The election is very important to me and to the world but those who claim it is the most important election ever may be missing McClellan-Lincoln 1864 and Wilson-Hughes in 1916. I would add Hayes-Tilden in 1876 and Johnson-Goldwater in 1964 -- a tie for the election I would change if I could change any in history. And, I couldn't be a real Republican if I didn’t say that a second Carter term in 1980 (even though it wasn't close) would have been one of the worst to change.

So, I am confident but ready to get out of bed on Wednesday if Senator Kerry wins. Like my buddy Dennis Miller, he will be "my President" and I will cheer his successes even as I oppose many of his policies. The Republic has survived much, it could probably survive four years of an effete, New England snob -- there's even some precedent!

I am not a praying man, but if Senator Kerry wins, I will pray every night for his health and safety. I would look at VP Edwards and take a bullet for ol' long-face John.

Happy election! Vote for W. Be Cool.

Posted by jk at 09:37 AM | What do you think? [5]

Y' Call That News?

Yahoo carries an AFP wire-service story today, Yahoo! News - Colorado economy points some Republicans toward Kerry

Colorado has gone to the Republican Party in five out of the last six presidential elections and nine out of the last 11, but unemployment, which has risen to 5.1 percent, has prompted some Republican voters to think about crossing party lines this time.

Wow! 5.1% unemployment. In my circles, that is considered pretty much full employment. One in twenty will certainly be unemployable, enjoying benefits while he looks for something else, or just enjoying benefits.

The article then interviews two Colorado Republicans who have always voted Republican (don't they always?) who, this year, are forced to vote for Senator Kerry.

Okay, so a hit piece has masqueraded as a wire story --that's unfortunately common these days. But who is the AFP? I went to its website and saw stories on Europe and metric football, but I could not even find what AFP stood for.

People who still doubt the existence of media bias might want to read this story -- or just read the filename: "us_vote_economy_kerry" Kinda says it all...

Posted by jk at 08:45 AM | What do you think? [0]
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