[star]The American Mind[star]

April 30, 2002

Mahdi Abdul Hadid of the

Mahdi Abdul Hadid of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs understands Arafat very well. To Hadid, Arafat "is a maestro of tactics and his strategy is to survive.'' Not to bring peace, mind you, but to survive. If tossing out crumbs to make others believe peace will happen, so be it. But once a terrorist, always a terrorist.

"Arafat Must Rally, Regroup"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

The "cruel" Israelis say Arafat

The "cruel" Israelis say Arafat is allowed to leave his Ramallah compound, but he might not want to leave. He seems to be eating well. Hummas, tuna, fresh fruits and vegetables, even Coca-Cola fill his kitchen. Wow, the Israelis certainly know how to starve a guy into submission.

"13,200 Pitas Dispatched to Arafat During Siege on Compound"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2002

I will not be taking

I will not be taking part in this charity function.

Fourth Annual Masturbate-A-Thon [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2002

According to Dr. Michael Gazzaniga

According to Dr. Michael Gazzaniga

Britain does not grant moral status to an embryo until after 14 days, the time when all the twinning issues cease and the embryo must be implanted into the uterus to continue developing.

While I'm sure that decision doesn't prevent British women from aborting their children after 14 days, at least they're coming to a more sensible realization of the humanity of the unborn.

I find it interesting how scientists use terms like "blastocyst" and "zygote" to refer to fertilized human eggs. It is a way to disconnect morality from science. Most would have serious qualms ripping stem cells from unborn children, killing them in the process, but extracting stem cells from a 13 day-old blastocyst removes any sense of the beings humanity, making the destruction process easier to bear.

Now, let me directly confront one of Dr. Gazzaniga's points. He writes,

And we now know that in normal reproduction as many as 50 percent to 80 percent of all fertilized eggs spontaneously abort and are simply expelled from the woman's body.

The simple response is "So what?" The doctor's point doesn't address the humanity of those unborn. It only addresses the means of their demise.

Dr. Gazzaniga continues,

It is hard to believe that under any religious belief system people would grieve and hold funerals for these natural events. Yet, if these unfortunate zygotes are considered human beings, then logically people should.

The reason people didn't hold funerals for naturally aborted children is the lack of knowledge. Natural abortions may occur without the mother's knowledge. No knowledge, no ability to mourn. In those cases when a mother does know she miscarried, there is sadness. I've witnessed it first-hand in the case of close friends. I didn't see any joy in that household. I heard the bad news and pondered what could have been. What could that child have been when they grew up? What would that child have looked like? What kind of joy would that child have brought to the world? So people do grieve.

Dr. Gazzaniga's comments don't add to the debate over the humanity of a fertilized human egg. He goes on about how embryos divide and unite, but so what? That detail doesn't prove or disprove the humanity (and right to life) of that bundle of cells. Even hard line abortion advocates can't claim completely that an embryo isn't a human being. That has never stopped them from promoting abortion-on-demand. But if you're not a hardcore pro-lifer, at least you should err on the side of caution and consider the possibility that that blastocyst, zygote, whatever, is a person whose rights must be protected. That means banning abortion and scientific procedures where embryos are used as cell farms.

"Zygotes and People Aren't Quite the Same"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

Ken Adelman wants the U.N.

Ken Adelman wants the U.N. team investigating the Jenin battle to ask these questions:

What terrorist acts against Israel were being planned in Jenin?

What Palestinian youth in Jenin were preparing to launch homicide bombings against Israelis?

What Palestinian leaders in Jenin were purchasing explosives, belts, and other paraphernalia to blow up innocent Jews?

The focus needs to be that Israel is using force defensively, not offensively like the terorists. It's not good enough to only ask what happened in Jenin. It's more important to ask what could have happened if Israel didn't attack. In Adelman's words "we must react even before they [terrorists] act."

That's what happened in Jenin. Did civilians die? Most definitely. Were they "massacred?" No. Civilians weren't the intended targets as the Washington Post reports. The battle began with the Israeli army thinking the Palestinians would back down when they moved in. Instead, Palestinian fighters dug in and Israeli reservists were left frustrated.

The story goes on into more detail, but the point that must be remembered is that the IDF went into the camp to prevent future homicide bombings. Their intelligence told them that Jenin was a hotbed for terrorist cells. If Israel wanted to they could have completely flattened the camp. They didn't. The point of Jenin wasn't to humiliate Palestinians, but to prevent future attacks. That's self-defense, a right any nation has.

"The Right Questions"

"Israeli Reservists Tell of Jenin Assault"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2002

So far, Zero 7's "Destiny"

So far, Zero 7's "Destiny" is the best song I've heard all year. It's beautifully layered. The vocals are soulful and gentle. Emotion drips from every note. It's romantic without being sappy. Great, great song.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2002

Technocrats would have a field

Technocrats would have a field day with the Senate's energy bill. First, as a matter of law, energy production from renewable sources would increase from 2 to 10% by 2020. By the stroke of a pen, we'll all start relying more on wind and solar power. How we get from 2 to 10% I don't know. If the long battle in my town means anything, then getting people to accept large wind farms in their neighborhoods may be hard to do.

Second, the Senate bill mandates that California increase its use of Ethanol three-fold by 2012. Even liberal Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) doesn't like that provision because the state doesn't have the infrastructure to handle the increase.

And third, the Senate tries to micromanage energy use through manipulations of the already complicated tax code.

What the bill does is extend the reach of bureaucrats over American's energy system. They may be good people with the best of intentions, but they don't possess the incentives nor the knowledge to implement the Senate's goals. A regulator's job is not dependent on profit or loss like a manager or owner running a company. It's people in the private, wealth-producing sector that day-in-day-out have to reallocate resources to their best use. If they fail, their company dies and they lose their job. If a government employee fails, then Congress just passes another law to try and fix the effects of the previous one.

The best mechanism for determining what energy sources should be used and how best to use them is the price system. While not perfect--no human institution is--it best collects dispersed knowledge from billions of people across the world into an abstract form that is easy to digest. (See Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society") A manager in Peoria doesn't have to know that a port in Bahrain has been damaged and supertankers can't load oil. All he has to see is that the price of oil is going up, so he should economize. The manager economizes because he wants to make a profit. Bureaucrats and politicians don't have the incentive to consider this information so they can pass bills that drift far from reality while making others figure out how they could work.

"Senate Approves US Energy Policy Overhaul"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2002

Ignore the teeny-boppers as immature

Ignore the teeny-boppers as immature sex symbols who can't make a song that will survive two years. I heartily recommend the Donna Woodall Group as an intelligent, entertaining alternative. Woodall's voice echoes some of the great songstresses of recent memory: Billie Holiday, Maria Carey, Dionne Warwick, and Gladys Knight. She doesn't overpower the music. She meanders down the path the song travels. The songs are great adult pop with tinges of jazz just to keep things swinging.

May 4th will be the band's CD release party. If you're near Milwaukee, check them out. As an added incentive, you may just spot the infamous writer behind this weblog.

Donna Woodall Group

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

A building in New York

A building in New York City has partially collapsed. No word on if it was a terrorist attack.

"Partial Building Collapse in NYC"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Note to self: Anyone who

Note to self: Anyone who thinks the rich don't pay their "fair share" in taxes should get this web page shoved in their face.

"Tax Share of Top One Percent Climbs to 36.2 Percent"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

How is this notated in

How is this notated in the public record? Does it actually say that Elmo testified or the voice doing Elmo, or the puppeteer?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:33 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2002

Myron Magnet continues to push

Myron Magnet continues to push for a WTC memorial that remembers the victims yet displays America's strength and greatness. The monument can't be a reminder of the pain we all suffered on 9.11.01. It can't be a monument to weakness. It must be one that speaks to freedom, liberty, courage, pride, and faith. Any memorial shouldn't be abstract, where its meaning will become unknown after the artistic fad as faded. Magnet writes about a few Civil War monuments. That's what the WTC memorial should be modeled after. Seeing them at a battle field like Gettysburg, people can glimpse the greatness of the soldiers who fought there, while also understanding the incredible sacrifices made. Alexander Stoddart's twin statues echoing the twin towers is a great place to begin discussion of what piece of art should be erected to remember that black moment in U.S. history.

"The Monument They Deserve"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2002

It shouldn't come as a

It shouldn't come as a shock that Alice in Chains' lead singer Layne Staley died. It is a bit of a shock that he lived as long as he did. It was known that he had a problem with heroin. That may have been the reason for the band's break-up in 1996. His sickly appearance and lyrical references to death and drugs certainly didn't quell any of the rumors.

Alice in Chains lay on the dark side of the 1990s Seattle grunge scene. Of all the bands that became big from the area (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney), they sounded the "grungiest." They were also the darkest lyrically. Alice had the closest sound to the heavy metal bands of the 1980s and early 1990s. "Man in the Box" churns with a heavy riff and dark base. "Them Bones," "Grind," and "Again" bristle with angry, loud guitars that echo a slowed down Metallica. "Angry Chair" speaks for itself: it's angry, loud, with pain emanating throughout the song. On top of the crunchy sound, Staley layered bluesy vocals that reached the edge of screeching without entering the awful realm of death metal. His range could only be beaten by Soundgarden's Chris Cornel. On vocals, he wasn't alone. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell helped Staley create some wonderful harmonies on songs like "Rooster" and "No Excuses."

Unfortunately, when a famous musician dies, some people go overboard on that person's talent and musical contribution. Peter Blecha called Staley "one of the great rock voices of all time." Uh, no, he wasn't. Staley had a unique rock voice. But it wasn't as copied as Pearl Jam's Eddie Veder's. It stand out from the wailing of 80s hair bands, but people won't be thinking of him in the same space as Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, or Axl Rose. I could even argue that Jerry Cantrell sang better than Staley. Blecha's comment explains why he is a "former" senior curator for Experience Music Project.

We can also go beyond Staley's death and consider a larger question: legalization of drugs. Whether you're in favor or opposed, this sad event should provoke debate over what a society would look like without drug prohibition. Staley died from an overdose of an illegal substance. If drugs were legal, I have no doubt more people would die from overdoses. People wouldn't be afraid to use drugs if they knew they wouldn't be jailed. More experimentation would lead to more abuse and death. Also, the end of the War on Drugs would probably lower drug prices, increasing demand. Without prohibition any reported overdose would be considered on par with alcohol abuse. It wouldn't be as much of a shock or outrage, but more would die.

On the other side, the black market for drugs would vanish. With that would be the crime and illicit nature of the trade. Fewer people would be in jail because of victimless drug possession and police resources could be spent elsewhere (victim crimes, terrorism prevention, etc.).

The case for drug legalization boils down to what we want our society to look like. Are we willing to tolerate many more drugged up people who are wasting their lives away in exchange for less crime and a new allocation of law enforcement resources? Or do we want to continue a relatively futile quest to stop people's need for drugs because it's in their best interests--even if they don't know it?

"Former Alice in Chains Rock Singer Dead at 34"

"Fans Gather to Mourn Troubled Grunge Singer Layne Staley, Dead at 34"

"Struggle with Addiction Infused Staley's Music"

Official Statement from Alice in Chains

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)

Sen. Jeffords (I-VT) wants federally

Sen. Jeffords (I-VT) wants federally mandatory bottle recycling. What he doesn't want is the law to be applied to his precious Vermont milk industry. Is this an attempt to soft drink makers on a less economic footing making milk a more inticing choice for consumers? Jeffords is completely beholden to Vermont milk farmers. I suspect part of his defection from the Republican Party last year had to do with preserving the Northeast Milk Compact.

Is a new law needed? Probably not. Ronald Sutherland rightly asks, "If recycling [of soda bottles] is so beneficial, then why [won't] the private sector figure out how to do it?" Also, is it constitutional? Probably not, but that hasn't stop Senators before.

"Senator Wants Soft Drink Companies to Impose Mandatory Recycling"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

Let me say this plainly:

Let me say this plainly: Le Pen's SECOND place finish isn't a political earthquake! Sure, it surprised France, but that country has a peculiar interest in Jerry Lewis. What the election results were was a reaction by French voters to dull major party candidates (Chirac and Jospin). To base anymore on what 17% of the voters did is reckless.

"Le Pen's Success Shocks France"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:10 AM | Comments (0)

The French are ashamed, other

The French are ashamed, other European leaders are picking sides, and people riot in the streets. All this is because a mere 17% of French voters chose Jean-Marie Le Pen for president. In France, a tiny minority make a protest vote against rising crime and European integration and all hell breaks loose. (Kind of justifying Le Pen's point.) One Frenchman is scared that "It will make the rest of the world think that France is a nation of fascists." That will only happen if media continues to treat a small portion of French voters as representative of the whole country. By that thinking, in 1992, the world must have thought the U.S. abandoned its two major parties because of Ross Perot's 19% of the vote.

Le Pen is also believing the hype by claiming he's the "candidate of the French people." At least he's the candidate of 17% of the French people.

The Left is apoplectic because their man, Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin couldn't generate much support and made voters divide their votes among a host of Leftist candidates. Current President Chirac probably only won due to incumbency.

Don't worry that Le Pen somehow means the French are becoming more anti- than just anti-American. According to Patrick Ruffini, Chirac is getting 78% support right now.

"Now Le Pen is Le Leper"

"Le Pen Says He Would Guide France out of EU" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2002

Well, despite what knee-jerk Clinton

Well, despite what knee-jerk Clinton defenders said, vandalism did take place by staffers leaving before Pres. Bush's crew arrived in the White House. Of course, mentioning this could be considered "divisive" in this time of national crisis, but it wouldn't be as divisive as the actions that took place.

"Damage to White House Cited" [via WOIFM]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2002

Time reports that pilots still

Time reports that pilots still don't feel safe in the air. An airline consultant recently demonstrated that any number of ordinary items could be used to kill a pilot. Anecdotes show that federal government efforts at security seem keystone cop-ish at best. A solution is to allow pilots to be armed. Why it's taking Congress so long just to hold hearings on the issue is beyond me. The idea seems straight forward. Give trained pilots a means of defending themselves and the plane they're flying, and terrorists will be less willing to hijack it.

"Airline Security: Stuck on the Runway?" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2002

Kudlow has to get into

Kudlow has to get into some policy position. He understands that tax cuts lead to economic growth. He also has the courage to stand up to Leftist class warriors who constantly moan the mantra that tax cuts only help the rich.

I've been pushing Kudlow to be the next Fed chief, but I'll take him as treasury secretary. At least he wouldn't disappear from public view like Sec. O'Neill. (Where are you? Hello, anybody out there?) Of course, Kudlow in any position of power is a pipe dream with his cocaine baggage. A vicious Democratic Senate would smile ear to ear while Borking Kudlow.

"Dem Demagoguery" [via The Blue Button]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2002

What should one make of

What should one make of Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) after he says drug reform is the "biggest issue facing the country today that actually has a solution"? Does he not remember 9.11? Does he forget that the U.S. is at war? Sure, drug reform deserves an intelligent debate. It's an issue that delves into personal freedom, law enforcement, and how we want our society to look like. But to say that drug reform tops literal war is to ignore the present state of affairs.

"Johnson and Thompson: The War on the War on Drugs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2002

A computer with the power

A computer with the power of a desktop, the portability of a PDA, and a spiffy look: WOW! I'm drooling, and with a $1000, I could actually afford it.

Imagine the journalistic/weblogging possibilities. Someone could have documented the real-time chaos happening after that plane crashed into the building in Milan. If that person had some kind of wireless connection, after a few clicks the world could follow what was happening on the ground. If he didn't have a wireless connection, he could go home plug in and then upload to the Net. No more bother with syncing with the home PC. Portability and power are contained in one device.

One major problem: what if you lose it? If you misplace it, or someone steals it, you're out of luck. Some company will have to invent and device to easily back up and restore data from this kind of computer.

"Start-Up to Release Ultra-Portable PC"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2002

The Israelis really believe they

The Israelis really believe they have the goods linking Arafat to terrorism. Why else would they be offering the U.S. both documents in Arabic and translated?

The NY Times story also offers Israel's sketch of how Palestinan terrorist cells operate.

"U.S. Is Given Papers That Israelis Assert Tie Arafat to Terror"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2002

All is well in the

All is well in the land of tea and crumpets. After getting some sleep to combat a hard case of jetlag, I'm ready to play the role of the typical American tourists. Museums are on tap today.

On a completely different note, if I ever have problems with my batting stance or jump shot. I'm giving the Big Guy in the Sky a call.

Inspirational Sport Statues

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2002

For at least a week,

For at least a week, Israel was free of suicide bombers. I thought Operation Defensive Shield might be preventing future attacks. Maybe it has, and now Palestinian terrorists have regrouped. What this attack does is give Sharon even more impetus to continue the operation and defy President Bush.

"Israel Struck by Suicide Bomb"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:49 AM | Comments (0)

New Yorkers are thinking right

New Yorkers are thinking right about how to replace the World Trade Center. Two tall towers to replace the fallen ones aren't needed in a city with plenty of vacant office space. Instead, a number of smaller buildings are in the works. Along with them there should be a memorial that remembers the victims, praises the strength of those who saved thousands, and displays the greatness of a nation that stands for freedom throughout the world.

"Breaking ground at Ground Zero"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2002

Louis Rukeyser will be taking

Louis Rukeyser will be taking on his old show. It's no surprise that CNBC picked him up. Rukeyser has a loyal following. What is surprising is CNBC is offering Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street to any PBS station that wants it.

The Rukeyser intelligent faith in markets will continue along with his (in)famous puns. But will his elves be coming with him?

"CNBC Inks Rukeyser for New Show"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Pulitzers have been announced.

The Pulitzers have been announced. All the big newspapers got one. I'm more interested in the book awards. There was no surprise in the biography category. David McCullough won for his best seller John Adams. I would have guessed that Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex would have been his closest rival, but it wasn't even a finalists. The book might have been released too late to be considered for 2002.

Louis Menand won the history catagory for The Metaphysical Club, a history of early 20th Century American philosophy.

Another category I'm always interested in is commentary. Tom Friedman won this year. His scoop of the Saudi Prince's peace proposal probably gave him the award. I would have liked for Peggy Noonan to have won. Her pieces have been heartfelt, touching, patriotic, and authoritative.

2002 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

The altered logo up in

The altered logo up in the corner doesn't mean TAM is growing closer to Mother England. Sure, I really appreciate the way Tony Blair has stood strong with the U.S. in the war. He's been loud about need to use military force to stop this assault on the West.

The logo doesn't mean I'm trying to get closer to my English roots. I'm not a geneology geek who has traced their ancestors back to the exact place near Liverpool where some great-great-great-great grandfather Edward decided he wanted to dig a new pit for the outhouse.

The logo also doesn't mean I'm showing off my new-found love for Austin Powers. The movies are pretty lame and definitely no "groovey baby!"

The altered logo means I'm off to jolly old England. Why England? Well, I have a passport that's good for 10 years. Time's a ticking, and I figure I better get some more use out of it than just a trip to France. Another reason is I know someone there, and he's offered me a place to stay. Being the all-around nice guy that I am, I couldn't say no.

So, it was off to Priceline to get a cheap ticket. (Did quite well even if I have to lug my stuff down to Chicago instead of Milwaukee.)

Tomorrow, I'll be witnessing first-hand the current state of airport security. Will I be searched? Will I be profiled? Will I be stripped searched? (Only if she's cute and single.) Will I see something that strikes me as being completely ridiculous (HINT: The feds now run airport security)? Will I display a really bad case of air rage BEFORE even boarding the plane?

We shall see. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2002

Dave Kopel noticed the same

Dave Kopel noticed the same phenomenon in Israel as I did.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:51 AM | Comments (0)

Bill Clinton can't handle this

Bill Clinton can't handle this news. He wants us all to love him for the miserable lout (friends would say rogue) he is. Just imagine the sympathy-inducing cant he'll put in his memoir to make us all understand why he did what he did. He'll really want us to "feel his pain."

"Clinton's Retrospective Job Approval at 51%" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:36 AM | Comments (0)

I hope Andrew Cuomo's letter

I hope Andrew Cuomo's letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee is more than kissing up to New York Jews. He does state plainly that Arafat "has taken the side of the terrorists who kill innocent civilians in the pursuit of their cause."

"Cuomo Asks Institute to Rescind Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2002

Madison, WI: in the same

Madison, WI: in the same government school system where the school board stopped students from saying the Pledge of Allegance, a 12-year old has been suspended for bringing a knife to school. Was straight-A student, Christian Schmidt, planning on slicing his teacher or going after some students who were picking on him? Was he lashing out at proposed state budget cuts to local government? Was he acting out in response to Israeli aggression in the West Bank? No, Schmidt brought it to school as part of a science project about onions.

The school administration wants to expell Schmidt, but the boy's parents say that if he admits to doing wrong, undergoes psychological testing, and takes an anger management course, then he could come back to school.

It's bad enough for common sense to be tossed aside because of strict adherence to a "zero tolerance" weapons policy. What's even worse if for the school district to demand Schmidt have psychological treatment. The only error by Schmidt was a lack of judgment for not asking his teacher if he could bring a knife to class. No malice was intened by him, nor did anyone get hurt. Assistant Superintendent Valencia Douglas was worried that a knife brought to school for benign reasons could fall into the wrong hands. That didn't happen here, nevertheless, Douglas said, "Why a student brings a weapon to school and under what conditions really can't impact our decision." No thinking is required by school officials.

That shouldn't be a surprise, since this did take place in a government school. But let's go beyond the fact that the people who run Cherokee Middle School aren't the smartest people in the world. We live in a litigaous society. When something goes wrong many people's first reaction is to see who they can sue.

Establishing legalistic rules is the response. That way if something wrong happens, then those who could be considered liable can claim they were following policy. No judgement is needed, therefore no one is responsible.

The drawback to such strict rules is that flexibility and common sense are abandoned for protection from legal attack. Schmidt's principal couldn't just confiscate the knife and call the parents to discuss how such a situation could be better handled in the future. Instead 12-year old gets suspended and possibly expelled. School officials will claim they're "just following rules" and some people will support them because "rules are rules." For them, strict conformity is primary, while handling a particular situation is secondary. Philip Howard writes about how people sacrifice individual judgement for rigid legalistic rules in his The Collapse of the Common Good (formerly known as The Lost Art of Drawing the Line).

As for Christian Schmidt, his fate rests with the Madison School Board.

"Student Suspended for Bringing Knife for Project"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:01 AM | Comments (3)

At the state capitol, everyone

At the state capitol, everyone has a way to balance the state budget. Gov. McCallum wants to stop sending state money to city and county governments. Republicans controlling the State Assembly want to cut state government and the state university budget. Democrats controlling the State Senate want to balance the budget on the backs of poor children.

How are members of the supposedly "caring" party doing this? They want to gut the school choice program helping thousands of children in Milwaukee.

This isn't the first time the Democrats have tried to kill a program that researchers say helps children. They tried to eliminate it last year, and this year it's being used as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations.

So, while parents taking advantage of the program worry about school choice's future, Democrats in Madison cynically use them in a game of political chicken.

One thing this story shows is that Wisconsin Democrats are more loyal to the teachers' union than to minority communities. Most of the children in Milwaukee's school choice program are minorities that vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. With that kind of support, I'd expect more loyalty. But in reality, Democrats just take minority votes for granted. When it comes to choosing between a faction that constantly votes for you (minority communities) and one that can organize and fund campaigns (teachers' union), they choose the one with the money. This will continue to happen until minority communities stop supporting Democrats with such zeal. It will also continue until Wisconsin Republicans make a concerted effort to address the needs of these communities.

"Democrats' Budget Slashes School Choice"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:01 AM | Comments (0)

Charles Paul Freund takes a

Charles Paul Freund takes a crack at porn broadcast on Palestinian television:

Finally, many Israeli critics consider the "normal" programming of Palestinian Authority media to be morally objectionable in its own right. They regard it as a platform for anti-semitic extremism, an encouragement to suicide-bomber "martyrdom," and an outlet for those advocating the annihilation of the Jewish state. According to its critics, official Palestinian television will stage scenes of dead Palestinian children, downplay or ignore Jewish fatalities, and fail to report Arafat's English-language condemnations of Palestinian acts of terror and savagery.

Thus, replacing such programming with porn clips (and clips of Intifada actions played in reverse) may well represent the substitution of one form of reprehensible programming -- political porn -- with its moral equivalent.

"Porn and Politics in Palestine"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

Get on board and shout

Get on board and shout with a loud voice that Yasser Arafat is underserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.


UPDATE: The Nobel committee is upset that Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres is a part of the Israeli government. "Peres is responsible, as part of the government. He has expressed his agreement with what [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon is doing," one member said. Peres is a part of a government taking actions to stop bombings on its people that are allowed to happened because of Arafat's inaction and Peres is the problem? Are prominent Europeans like these knee-jerk anti-Israel or is there some reason to their thinking? One possibility is that holding Arafat responsible for suicide bombings would be "blaming the victims" which in their minds are the Palestinians. Is there any way for Israel to be the victim here? No, because they have the tanks, jets, and the will to use them. So, I guess these people are knee-jerk anti-Israel.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2002

Arafat has a golden opportunity

Arafat has a golden opportunity to strike back at terrorism and reach out to Israel. Hamas is proud of the fact that they've been killing Israeli civillians and forced their military to strike back hard. The terrorist group is now aligning itself closer to Arafat's Fatah. Joel Brinkley writes,

Mr. Arafat "is Palestinian and I am Palestinian," said Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas. "We have the same problem now. Israel is our enemy."

At first glace, having the two biggest Palestinian movements united against Israel doesn't sound like a good thing. It really doesn't sound good when one of the groups is highly adept at using weapons-grade explosive.

With Hamas leaders out in the open talking to a NY Times reporter, it wouldn't be very hard for Arafat to capture or kill them. Such a move would show Israel and the U.S. that Arafat really wants an end to this continuing violence.

Do I think Arafat will order them captured? No. That's because Arafat concerns himself with the continual importance of Yassar Arafat. If he were to attack Hamas, then the Palestinians would know the anti-Israel rhetoric he's allowed Palestinian media to spew for years was just propaganda designed to foment public rage. Hamas wants the destruction of Israel. They hate that nation with intense passion. It's the same passion displayed in the anti-semitic rants on Palestinian television and in textbooks and newspapers. An attack on Hamas would be the literal deathknell for Arafat. The international community may want to believe that he's the lead of the Palestinians, when in fact, he's following the rage of the Street. For years, he's deftly stoked those flames. Now, caught in a bloody war, any serious steps by him toward peace could leave him in a smoldering heap.

"Bombers Gloating in Gaza as They See Goal Within Reach: No More Israel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2002

Brock Yates has some questions

Brock Yates has some questions about Americans and their SUVs:

Is it possible that the American public makes wiser decisions in these matters than the magnificios who monitor our lives?

Is it possible that people purchase SUV's because they are functional, not because the buyers are witless status slaves?

Is it possible that women purchase then in inordinate quantities because they added height of the vehicles enhances visibility and a sensation of security?

Is it possible that men purchase them because they offer extra cargo space plus a wide range of utility and flexibility and the power to tow trailers of all descriptions?

Is it possible that consumers of all stripes are prepared to sacrifice a few miles per gallon and a few extra bucks for the added benefits of an SUV? (Driving 10,000 miles a year and averaging 20 mpg, vs. 35 mpg from a compact car at $1.50 a gallon, will cost $322 extra. That's not a staggering amount to pay for added benefits.)

The answers to all these questions are "Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes."

Last year SUVs, pickups, and vans made up 51% of U.S. domestic car sales. This happened dispite anti-car snobs like those running the NY Times editorial page who don't comprehend that Americans see their vehicles as an extension of their freedom. SUVs and cars give people the flexibility to go where they want, when they want, and with what they want. These vehicles aren't bound by train or bus schedules, and you can lug along as much stuff as you can fit. Philosopher Loren Lomasky calls it "automobility."

Anti-SUV zealots will just have to deal with them. Based on sales alone, they're not going away.

"The Age of the SUV"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2002

Arnold Kling analyzes environmentalists' economics

Arnold Kling analyzes environmentalists' economics through Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist According to Kling, the environmental movement ignores technological innovation and price adjustments to scarce resources; ignores the fact that any decision involves trade-offs; and refuses to discount future costs and benefits.

As for Lomborg, Kling writes:

The way I read it, Lomborg is not disputing environmental biology or ecological modeling. He differs from ecologists primarily in the treatment of the economic aspects of the environment. Although he is not a professional economist, Lomborg uses mainstream analysis rather than the peculiar models of ecologists. (His analysis of global warming owes much to the work of Yale economist William Nordhaus.) If anything, his work rests on a better overall scientific foundation than that of his critics.

I believe that the economist and the environmentalist can be friends. But it would help if environmentalists would, like Lomborg, try to understand important principles of economics, including substitutability, finite cost, and discounting. When environmentalists simply denounce economics, without making a convincing alternative case using analysis and data, they fail to advance our understanding.

"Common Sense and Sensibility"

"Lomborg's Lessons"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Israeli military has a

The Israeli military has a wacky approach to psychological warfare.

"Porn Upsets Palestinians"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:54 AM | Comments (0)

While playing around with Teoma,

While playing around with Teoma, I came upon these quotes by Thomas Jefferson relating to the "American mind":

"I join [with others] in branding as cowardly the idea that the human mind is incapable of further advance. This is precisely the doctrine which the present despots of the earth are inculcating and their friends here re-echoing and applying especially to religion and politics: 'that it is not probable that anything better will be discovered than what was known to our fathers.' We are to look backwards, then, and not forwards for the improvement of science and to find it amidst feudal barbarisms and the fires of Spital-fields. But thank heaven the American mind is already too much opened to listen to these impostures; and while the art of printing is left to us, science can never be retrograde. What is once acquired of real knowledge can never be lost." --Thomas Jefferson to William Green Munford, 1799.


"The unquestionable republicanism of the American mind will break through the mist under which it has been clouded, and will oblige its agents to reform the principles and practices of their administration." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:83

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:52 AM | Comments (0)

If Bill Kristol would let

If Bill Kristol would let me, I would add my name to his letter to President Bush. My feelings coincide with this passage:

Mr. President, it can no longer be the policy of the United States to urge, much less to pressure, Israel to continue negotiating with Arafat, any more than we would be willing to be pressured to negotiate with Osama Bin Laden or Mullah Omar. Nor should the United States provide financial support to a Palestinian Authority that acts as a cog in the machine of Middle East terrorism, any more than we would approve of others providing assistance to Al Qaeda.

Instead, the United States should lend its full support to Israel as it seeks to root out the terrorist network that daily threatens the lives of Israeli citizens. Like our own efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Israel's task will not be easy. It will not be accomplished quickly, or painlessly. But with fortitude, on our part as well on the part of the Israeli people, it can succeed in significantly reducing the risk of future terrorist attacks against Israel and against us. And, in so doing, we will give the Palestinian people a chance they have so far not had under Arafat's rule--an opportunity to construct a political culture and government that do not marry their national and religious aspirations with suicide bombers.

Arafat is a barrier to peace. Kristol and I both know it. Hopefully, the President knows it too.

An Open Letter to the President" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

For all the abuse Israel

For all the abuse Israel is taking in the international community (British Minister for Europe Peter Hain called it "senseless hostility"), there have been no suicide bombers in the past few days. This operation is working at stopping the terrorists. What the end game is no one really knows. Sharon wants Arafat in exile, Hizbollah wants to create a second front in the north, while Saddam wants the war to expand to distract the U.S. from a future attack on Iraq. Clarity of vision is required right now by Israel and the U.S. if they want to move past this potential quagmire in the War on Terrorism. [Note: We have to find a better name for this war.]

"Palestinians Resist Israeli Army, EU Plans Mission"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2002

Families of Palestinian suicide bombers

Families of Palestinian suicide bombers are being paid by Saddam Hussein. Blow yourself up and kill a bunch of Israelis and your family can pocket $25,000. That's way up from the measly $4,000 our "friends" the Saudis were paying.

"Saddam Stokes War with Suicide Bomber Cash"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

Ariel Sharon has shown his

Ariel Sharon has shown his hand. Israeli troops are doing their version of Operation Enduring Freedom, while at the same time he wants to force Arafat into exile. The Palestinian leader is free to leave his Ramallah headquarters. It's just that he could never go back.

Arafat doesn't want to leave. He would rather die a martyr. But does he really want to die? Or does he just want to bide his time, wait for a few more bombers to kill more civillians, and hope the Israeli public submits? There is a document directly linking a terrorist group to Arafat's inner sanctum. Now, would it make sense for the same man who controls Palestinian media the way Arafat does, not to know what his chief financial officer is doing? I don't think so.

Arafat has to realize Israel has no faith in him as a peace player. Who knows if he even wanted peace with Israel to begin with. It's obvious he doesn't want it now.

One thing is for sure: the U.S. must support Israel against terrorism. Unfortunately, it's not looking good. Despite the mounting evidence, Colin Powell and President Bush refuse to say Arafat is a terrorist or that he harbors terrorists.

After 9.11, President Bush made it very clear that anyone who harbors terrorists should be treated as terrorists--the Bush Doctrine. Based on that thinking, we toppled the Taliban and liberated Afghanistan. If we ignore the Bush Doctrine now, then it was just hypocritical poppycock used to satiate public vengence.

When Bush issued his declaration, he based it on a clear moral sense. Now, he must lean heavily on his moral clarity instead of relativist diplomacy. Terrorism is wrong, must not be tolerated, and should be smashed.

"Sharon Offers Arafat A 'One-Way Ticket'"

"Israel: Documents Link Arafat With Militants"

"U.S. Won't Brand Arafat Terrorist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

Alright, there's some use for

Alright, there's some use for PBS. Public television has produced The Commanding Heights, a documentary on how free market became the dominant political economic ideology in the 20th Century. It's based on the book by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw.

Nobel Prize winner, Milton Friedman is interviewed. This fascinating interview covers the development of his thinking along with his views on some of the most important economists of the century. Here's his comparison between Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek:

INTERVIEWER: Some of those debates became very, very heated. I think [Ludwig] von Mises once stormed out.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Oh, yes, he did. Yes, in the middle of a debate on the subject of distribution of income, in which you had people who you would hardly call socialist or egalitarian -- people like Lionel Robbins, like George Stigler, like Frank Knight, like myself -- Mises got up and said, "You're all a bunch of socialists," and walked right out of the room. (laughs) But Mises was a person of very strong views and rather intolerant about any differences of opinion.

INTERVIEWER: What was Hayek's personal style? What was he like personally?

MILTON FRIEDMAN Oh, personally Hayek was a lovely man, a pure intellectual. He was seriously interested in the truth and in understanding. He differed very much in this way from Mises. There was none of that same kind of manner. He accepted disagreement and wanted to argue, wanted to reason about it and discuss it. He was a very cultured and delightful companion on any occasion. ... I must say, he undoubtedly was the dominant figure in all of the Mont Pelerin meetings for many, many years.

Friedman also discusses his role in Chile during Pinochet's military dictatorship.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:54 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2002

Boy, do I feel better

Boy, do I feel better now. I must have eaten some bad fish or North Korean tree bark yesterday. I just don't know what came over me. To think I could have forsaken the beauty of freedom and opportunity just to wade in an intellectual septic tank of class envy and economic fallacy is scary. It's almost as scary as Glenn Reynolds getting a big check from Steve Case for InstaPundit.

Like ex-politboro leader, Bjørn Stærk (who's name I have no way of manually typing so I must resort to cut-and-paste), I'm keeping a copy this halluncination tucked away for safe keeping. Note to self: next April Fools, remember to fast.

Nevertheless, actions have consequences. I may plead partial insanity, but like Andrea Yates, I must pay for my crime. A few hours going through the Museum of Communism along with paging through The Black Book of Communism should be an adequate educational punishment.

What this event did do for me was give me a break from slogging through the awfulness of the Israel-Palestinian War. I'm tired of hearing about another suicide bomber killing innocents. I'm tired having to defend Israel's response. Strong retaliation that actually destroys the terrorist cells within the Palestinian Authority looks to be the best chance to stop the bombings, but I cringe when another young person blows himself up. I'm sick of Arafat's minions yapping on television again and again about how Israel's occupation is the real terrorism happening. They ignore the fact that one side delibrately targets innocents while the other is trying to wipe out the enemy. Bodies weren't being buried before Palestinian militants decided that martyrdom is more important than working toward peace.

Well, 4.1 is over. Back to the real world?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2002

Comrades, Teofilo Stevenson is a


Teofilo Stevenson is a hero of the People. Children should look up to this man. As Del Jones writes:

Tall. Black and handsome, he ruled the heavyweight and super heavy divisions in both the Pan-American and Olympic Games. He had three Olympic titles and was a national hero in Cuba. Many times he was offered millions of dollars to turn pro but each time the answer was no.

Stevenson was a supporter of the Cuban people and their revolution and would not sell out. Whites longed to see the Cuban rumble Muhammad Ali, but the answer was always no. He was not interested in prize fighting like a slave, he was a firm supporter of amateur sports and was not attracted to sports for profit, gamblers and exploitation of man by man.

In an era when young Cuban athletes defect to Amerikkka for profit, the lesson of Stevenson is clear "forward with the revolution." Now known as one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen he has always been fiercely loyal to his people. Recently, while leaving Miami he was harassed by some Uncle Tom Cubans at the airport. After one shouted some negative remarks at him about Cuba, its people and their leader Fidel Castro, Stevenson was accused of assaulting what turned out to be an airport official.

Though detained, he was released and allowed to go home. He said he would allow no one to disrespect his country, his people, his leader. He is talking about the Cuba that exports doctors and dentists to poor country to care for the sick. The Cuba that has given asylum to political prisoners like Assata Shakur, queen of the Black Liberation Army. The Cuba that help defeat the South Afrikan Military in Angola which led to the liberation of Namibia, an embarrassing retreat by the South Afrikan Apartheid Army and the dismantling of Apartheid leading to the release of Nelson Mandela.

"A World Champ 'N a World Chump"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

That capitalist Internet institution Google

That capitalist Internet institution Google is exploiting pigeons along with engineers and computer scientists. All in the name of faster, more accurate Web searches. Some people have no shame and no conscience. How many birds must die just so the mind-numbed proletariat can find pictures that objectify women?

"The Technology Behind Google's Great Results"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

This story is just a

This story is just a schill piece by a corporate-dominated newspaper. Claiming average people can get huge returns in the stock market only tricks people into thinking they can do it too. It like those who think privatization of Social Security will protect future workers. Look at Enron. The executive fat-cats got to sell their shares while keeping those of the ordinary worker locked up. Social Security privatization and the stock market in general are just ways for investment bankers to steal even more from the People. What makes it even more evil is they smile back at you and claim you're doing it to better yourself. Bastard swine!

"Investing Club's Fun-Loving Attitude Pays Off"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

Comrades, Bjørn Stærk has also


Bjørn Stærk has also seen the light and renounced his capitalist sympathies. The portrait of the great Joseph Stalin is a beautiful touch. The politburo of Southeastern Wisconsin will now allow you to visit The People's Blog.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:08 PM | Comments (1)

Comrades, The Internet could have


The Internet could have been the place for Humankind to start fresh and build a new, more equitable order. Peace, harmony, and the exchange of ideas without monetary interference would have been a beautiful thing. But greedy, individualistic neo-capitalists can't look past the common good and have turned the Net into another place to buy and sell. The virtual country of Norrath has a higher per-capital income than the People's Republic of China. Millions of people buy and sell vitural stuff while homeless die on the streets and our fellow Cuban workers are squeezed into submission by horrendous U.S. terrorist trade sanctions.

"Virtual Kingdom Richer than Bulgaria" [via Politechbot]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

If Canada can have a

If Canada can have a single-payer health system, why not the U.S.?

"Health Care Activists Push for Single-Payer"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

Fellow comrades, Mark 4.20.02 on

Fellow comrades,

Mark 4.20.02 on your calendars. All people who believe in peace, justice, and the equitable redistribution of wealth must march on Washington. Tell your friends, neighbors, and even challenge capitalisist boss. Let's show our "leaders" that we want an end to the war abroad and at home.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

It's a new month. Heck,

It's a new month. Heck, it's a whole new season. Spring is a time of change. Winter turns to spring. Snow (if any falls, unlike these past few months) melts from spring showers and rising temperatures. Tulips start to push their way up through the soil. Birds return to lands vacated months before.

As you can see, The Amerikkkan Mind has changed too. No longer will TAM be the lap dog for capitalist exploiters bound and determined to bury the prolitarian under its heal. I now side with those victims who are squeezed of every last dollar, pound, yen, and euro by multinational corporations. No longer will I sit by and accept the spew from corporate-owned media who just schill for their industrial sister companies. 9.11: that's just an excuse for the illegal Bush administration to show off their over-priced weapons over a defenseless country (Afghanistan) so defense contractors can get more tax dollars for more over-prices, unneeded weapons.

TAM has seen the light. That light is communism. Karl Marx spoke truth when he wrote:

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The Internet and the rise of the "New Economy" haven't change the fact that there are the exploited and the exploiters. What has changed is the speed of oppression. Is "Campaign Finance Reform" really reform? Or is it a way for President Bush to claim he's for true democracy while knowing he can double the amount capitalists can legally give him to further their interests at the expense of the People?

The oppressed are those with no health insurance, no stock options, no lobbyists passing out bribes to keeps us in power and luxury. Sure, we average folk just lie back in creature comforts eating Twinkies, watching Survivor, and being hypnotized by Oprah. The Man offers us pro wrestling like Roman Caesers offered their people gladiators. Both distract us. While distracting us they force us to consume Coke, Britney Spears, and The West Wing (a show truly dispicable for portraying government officials who think they're helping the People while continuing capitalist exploitation).

I now join my comrades across the globe. From the followers of the late Gus Hall to my suffering comrades in North (Axis of Evil, my ass) Korea to those in the Workers' Paradise of Cuba, I am with you in solidarity. To paraphraise the Big K: "A spectre is haunting the world--the spectre of communism.

Now, you may ask, "Is this just some cheap 180-degree April Fools' joke?" I can only say that you should stay tuned....

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

I hope everyone had a

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter. I worked at the store and encountered a lot of pathetic people who gave in to the urge to shop on a holiday.

I wish I could say Israel had a good Easter. But with Israeli troops going after terrorists while Israeli civilians are still getting blown away by suicide bombers, everyone there is nervous about tomorrow, let alone the future.

"Israel Pursues Crackdown on 'Terror' in West Bank"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)