June 30, 2002
While the Supreme Court gave
While the Supreme Court gave its blessing to vouchers, some state constitutions bar any aid to religious schools. When the voucher wars move to state legislatures, anti-choice advocates will be using 19th Century, anti-Catholic law as weapons.
"In States, Hurdles Loom"
June 29, 2002
Thomas Sowell goes to the
Thomas Sowell goes to the heart of the Pledge decision. For too long the courts have moved beyond their role of law interpreters and into forming public policy. Sowell writes,
In the case of the Pledge, the court thought the phrase "under God" somehow established a religion by government. How it could do that while not funding religion is beyond me?
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that states couldn't execute the retarded. Some how a majority of justices read the ban against "cruel and unusual punishment" to mean a particular public policy. In that case, if the murderer had an IQ below a certain level he was immune from execution. In both these cases there wasn't an interpretation of the law. There were no claims of original intent. Instead, the judges imposed their opinions onto the public. That is not the role of the courts. Judges are not in place to shape society as they see fit. They are not on the bench to force their views of society should be down everyone else's throats. They are on the bench to interpret the law, not make it up.
Such undemocratic judicial activism robs power from the other two branches of government. The public can hold the executive and the legislative branches accountable more easily. Voting a bum out happens more often than impeaching a judge (speaking only on the federal level since those judges have appointments for life). So, what judicial activism actually does is rob the People of their sovereignty. So be it to have utopian social justice here on earth.
"Religion and the Constitution"
June 28, 2002
Andrew Sullivan wears the same
James Lileks' problem is that
James Lileks' problem is that he booked with Northwest. The last time I flew that airline was when I was an eighth grader coming back to Wisconsin from Boston. The plane landed in Detroit, i.e. the airport closest to Hades, but couldn't get to the gate because another plane already in the gate broke down. I was stuck for two hours in a stuffy plane with 60 Minutes reruns to keep us occupied. For an eighth grader, this wasn't considered fun.
So our plane finally makes it into its gate, but by that time, the connecting flight to Wisconsin (Appleton) left. My family and I were then exposed to the airport for a few hours. I don't remember anything in particular, but my sister will always recall eating a giant pickle. It couldn't have been that exciting if that's all she remembers. We eventually got into Green Bay late that night. That airport was the first place I ever saw a pay tv. Who in their right mind would pump quarters into a tv just to watch commercials? One big problem: the car was parked at the airport in Appleton, 30 south of Green Bay. Fortunately, my kind aunt met us in Green Bay and drove us to the car. As for the luggage, I believe it arrived the next day.
The lesson I learned that day was never, ever fly Northwest. But I almost didn't heed my lesson when I was searching for flights to London spring a few months ago. Northwest had some good fares, but the itineraries were ridiculous. My eyes popped open in shock when I saw their Milwaukee to London through Minneapolis. Nice way to conserve fuel. I love flying over Wisconsin so much I would do it twice in an 8 hour period. I ended up going the Priceline route for my ticket and figured with my luck, I'd get stuck with Northwest going through Detroit. It didn't happen. Instead, I got Delta through Atlanta. No problems there. I know that someday I will confront my Northwest demon, and it won't be pretty.
The Eye (don't worry, I'll
The Eye (don't worry, I'll hide your identity) offers this opinion on the Pledge of Allegiance decision in the post's comments. But it's so good I don't want others to miss it.
Here's a quick ripping of
Here's a quick ripping of the NY Times editorial on the school voucher ruling:
Compare the Cleveland voucher program to the G.I. Bill. The latter allows soldiers to go to any college, religious or secular. Same for federal student loan programs. Is this a violation of the First Amendment? In both cases, individuals, not government, decides what school to attend.
This ruling does as much damage to education as it does to the First Amendment. A common argument for vouchers is that they improve public schools by forcing them to compete for students. What is holding the public schools back, however, is not lack of competitive drive but the resources to succeed. Voucher programs like Cleveland's siphon off public dollars, leaving struggling urban systems with less money for skilled teachers, textbooks and computers. They also skim off some of the best-performing students, and the most informed and involved parents, from public schools that badly need their expertise and energy.This argument is straight from the teachers union press releases. Funding of public schools does not correlate with student performance. If that were the case, Washington, D.C. which spends over $10,000 per student per year would be blowing the roof off of test scores. There would also be oodles of budding geniuses in the Kansas City area after a federal judge forced that school district to spend huge sums of money.
What holds public schools back are poor, faddish teaching methods. Too many schools focus on self-esteem and social justice over the basics. Competition would give public schools a feedback mechanism so they can tell if they're actually doing the job they're suppose to do.
"The Wrong Ruling on Vouchers"
There's not much I can
There's not much I can add to Brink Lindsey's thoughts on the stupid Pledge of Allegiance ruling. Mere words don't establish a religion, money and tangible support do that. Also, note Lindsey's point about possible hurt feelings:
June 26, 2002
I've discovered where some of
I've discovered where some of Amtrak's money went. The rail service is trying to look cool by offering free entrance into Summerfest. (Just scroll down until you see the logo.)
Tomorrow, Summerfest begins. It's 11
Tomorrow, Summerfest begins. It's 11 days of music, food, drink, people, and more music. For 11 days, Milwaukee's lakefront will turn into the greatest music festival on earth. Country, jazz, techno, rock, hip hop, and everything else will be available for your listening pleasure. The festival is a gem that draws people from around the world to Milwaukee. One drawback to Summerfest, besides expensive beer prices, is seeing lots of Wisconsinites wearing things they shouldn't be wearing. If you're anywhere in the Midwest, come and check it out. I'm sure you'll be hooked.
I will be there tomorrow night, grooving to some dance tunes spun by DJ Colette or rocking to Sevendust. Fireworks will light up the night sky, giving me even more entertainment.
I hope to find some
I hope to find some time to comment on the supposed unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. Until then, Eugene Volokh has some thoughts.
Fredrik links to a Joseph
Fredrik links to a Joseph Farah article where he declares his intolerance of liberalism. The Left uses the term "intolerance" as a weapon. They draw no distinctions between good intolerance and bad intolerance. For them, intolerance is a sin, plain and simple. If one is intolerant of something, they are evil, bigoted people who have no place in public discussion.
The Right sees intolerance as a useful tool to promote the just and virtuous society. Farah writes,
Farah's intolerance pushes him to fight for life, liberty, and property. If Farah were as tolerant of the Left as his critics want, he would shut down WorldNetDaily. If he wasn't opposed to the Left, he wouldn't have a need to publish a website devoted to promoting his political philosophy.
Ironically, Farah's Leftist critics are intolerant themselves. They don't accept the rule of law over the rule of men. They don't fight for limited government. They don't accept individual's rights to life, liberty, and property. Instead, they push for more government spending, higher taxes, and abortion on demand. They are intolerant of opponents to their agenda. If you support lower taxes and a literal interpretation of the constitution, the Left will call you "uncaring," "insensitive," and "backward thinking."
Tolerance does play a role in a peaceful society. We should be tolerant of people's thoughts and actions as long as they don't interfere with other's liberty. But when people's actions and ideas become a threat to liberty, they must be fought tooth and nail.
"Why I'm Intolerant and Proud"
The greatest harm from President
The greatest harm from President Bush's steel tarriffs is the reaction from poor countries where protectionism stiffles economic growth. Jagdish Bhagwati writes:
"The Poor's Best Hope"
Here are two reasons not
Here are two reasons not to draft Yao Ming in the first round:
"Yao to Houston Possibly in Jeopardy"
"China Wants Yao for National Team"
June 25, 2002
Todd Gitlin's article denounces the
Todd Gitlin's article denounces the unthinking, anti-semitic Left that justifies lies and cariacture to defend the Palestinians. About student movements, he writes,
While it's great a man of the Left such as Gitlin strongly criticizes anti-semetic Leftist, he's awfully idealistic of "student movements." From my experience, Left wing student movements (who ever hears of Right wing movements?) are full of some of the most unthinking people I've ever encountered. They only speak platitiudes that make Jesse Jackson's bad rhymes seem scholarly. When confronted with opposing facts for a different analysis, these students counter with ad hominem attacks and an emphasis on emotion over reason.
Pre-9.11, the biggest issue for student movements was globalization. Along with peaceful teach-ins and rallys, many engaged in violent riots in Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Genoa. Their excuse for destroying property was that it wasn't a crime because it was only things, not people. Other student movements oppose geneticlly modified food and took part in raids that destroyed test fields. Little thinking, descerning, or studying there.
[UPDATE: Some of those thinking, descerning, and studying students would "rather go naked than wear GAP" in Calgary. In Ottawa, police are preparing for violence from anti-trade protesters. Then there are the goofs knitting their way to revolution.
"Local Impacts of G8 Agenda Exposed"
"Canadian Authorities Prepare for Worst on Eve of G-8 Summit"]
Arnold Kling delves into whether
Arnold Kling delves into whether weblogs* are a fad. He has this to say about local news and weblogs:
I have a quibble with Kling's prediction and a strong example to back me up. In order for weblogs to influence local elections lots of voters have to read weblogs. There also have to be writers interested in covering local issues. Other than weblogs that monitor their local newspapers, I've seen little of the extensive local coverage needed to be influential. Even though the weblog craze has received a fair amount of coverage in mainstream media, most people, including Internet users, have no idea what they are.
In fact, newspapers are far more influential on local issues. For example, in Milwaukee, a controversial pension plan led to the resignation of the county executive and recall elections for a number of county supervisors. The story broke way back in late 2001 in the quasi-weblog Milwaukee World, but didn't draw any public anger until the Journal Sentinel covered it in early 2002. After the newspaper brought the story to the public's attention, local talk radio inflamed passions that led to a massive recall petition drive for then County Executive Tom Ament
The biggest winner from the scandal, besides newly elected County Executive Scott Walker, was Bruce Murphy publisher of Milwaukee World. He now has an investigative gig with the Journal Sentinel.
It's unclear to me how such widespread public anger could have been aroused if people only got their news through weblogs. In essence, it would have been word-of-mouth. It would be electronic and faster, but still it would be word-of-mouth. There would have been questions of the story's accuracy and whether certain people were just spreading rumors in order to advance a personal agenda. With the newspaper putting it on the front page, it gave the story legitimacy. We may dislike newspapers and big media for their lack of diversity and inanity, but they have the ability to focus public attention on news.
Finally, let me answer Kling's question in the title of his essay. Weblogging isn't a fad. It will be around as long as people have an easy way to publish on the Internet and as long as they have opinions. Since the Net mantra "Information wants to be free" does hold some weight and since people are by nature opinionated, we have the pleasure to be stuck with weblogs for a long time.
"Is Blogging a Fad?"
[* I use the term "weblog" and "weblogging" over "blog" and "blogging" for merely asthetic purposes. "Blog" sounds like the battle cry of a drunk barbarian. I may get used to it in the future.]
Microsoft has ambition plans for
Microsoft has ambition plans for computer privacy, piracy, security, and authentication. By getting support from Intel and AMD, MS envisions a new PC architecture with specialized security chips combined with new software.
For Palladium to take off MS has to make sure it's effective, easy to use, and inexpensive. Creating an industry standard that includes chip and computer makers is one way MS will try to make Palladium work.
Computer makers should love Palladium. It gives them something beyond sheer processing speed and price to market to businesses and consumers. When people really don't see a need to buy a 2 GHZ computer just to get a small fractional performance boost over their 1 GHZ, price becomes the defining factor in buying a new computer. Makers are forced to lower prices to gain marketshare. They're then in the unenviable position of decreasing margins--not good for the company's stock price.
Palladium will fail if users have to know about the gory details of public key encryption. While Pretty Good Privacy offers users the ability to encrypt e-mail, it's usability is daunting to most e-mailers. Geeks may see the jumble of numbers and letters that make up their public key as a badge of honor, but the rest of use look at it and go, "Looks way too complicated for me."
Palladium is a big project from MS. This is the same company betting big on web services with .NET. Splitting mindshare on these two highly important projects may hurt the development of both. Or MS programmers and scientists could end up with better projects through synergy. What we do know is MS doesn't rest on their laurels. The best part of Bill Gates' management is his desire to always push his company forward. Palladium does just that.
"The Big Secret"
June 23, 2002
I'm back from Dubuque. The
I'm back from Dubuque. The wedding was fine. For some the heat was unbearable. I didn't think it was that bad, and I was one of the few men to wear a suit jacket to the service. The dinner and reception were enjoyable. I caught up with seldom seen relatives and learned that I'll be going to another wedding next Memorial Day weekend.
I took my time driving back. I stopped in Galena, IL and strolled through their impressive downtown. It's full of shops selling artists works, jewelry, and clothes and restaurants serving burgers, pasta, and high-end Italian cuisine. Then it was me taking my time avoiding interstate highways so I could actually see northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. No rush at all. Just me, my car, and plenty of good music.
My mini-vacation is just about over. Tomorrow, it's back to the store.
June 21, 2002
I will be away this
I will be away this weekend. My cousin is getting married in Iowa. Probably no posts until Sunday night. Have a good weekend.
Arafat will now accept Bill
Arafat will now accept Bill Clinton's peace proposal of a few years back. It's now a little late to be trying to turn back the clock when Arafat was the one who rejected the proposal in the first place. Should Israel take the bait? No. When Arafat first rejected the proposal he now accepts there weren't the endless attacks on Israeli citizens. Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and terrorists with Arafat's Fatah movement must be destroyed or they'll continue their massacres. Arafat has still not denouced these groups in a forceful way. Sure, every time there's a bombing, he comes out and says he condones terrorism, but he hasn't called Hamas, etc. enemies of the Palestinian people. By doing that along with a real crack down (with U.S. and Israeli help if necessary), then the peace process could be restarted. This Arafat statement sounds like that from a desparate man. Israel's military response must be working.
Could pro-cloners like Ronald Bailey
Could pro-cloners like Ronald Bailey and Virginia Postrel calm down with their calls for unrestricted embryonic stem cell (ESC) research and see where the science of adult stem cells is? If adult stem cells can do many of the things ESC can, then most, if not all, pro-lifers would drop their resistance. Then scientists could get on with finding cures to diseases they thought were only possible with ESC.
"US Adult Stem Cell Findings Re-Ignite Debate Over Embryos"
Bob Greene's Once Upon a
Bob Greene's Once Upon a Town charmed me with its portrait of Americans who loved their country and their soldiers. It's a story of goodness, generosity, kindness, and patriotism. For almost five years the residents of North Platte, NE gave six million traveling soldiers a taste of home. Sandwiches were made, coffee brewed, candy donated, popcorn balls rolled, eggs boiled, chickens fried, and cakes baked just for passing troops spending ten minutes at the depot while their train was being loaded with coal. It wasn't just food that was offered: Songs were sung, peopled danced, hugs and kissed were exchanged. The soldiers couldn't believe or understand the generosity, but they welcomed it and never forgot it. Whether they were on the front lines in Europe or island-hopping in the Pacific, those soldiers looked back to North Platte as a common memory. For many, this train took them farther than ever from home. Many were young and lonely. The sight of women bearing baskets of fruit warmed their hearts. During a few of Green's interviews with veterans, the men had to stop because tears came to their eyes. The people of North Platte gave unconditional love to men they wouldn't see again. Those beautiful hearts brought up tears in veterans' eyes.
The depot that hosted the canteen is gone; torn down in the 1970s. All that's left are railroad tracks and bums drinking booze.
Could a town ever be that generous again? Since we're at war now, the question's quite pertinent. If there is crisis and we feel it around us, then Americans display the same generosity that was shown at North Platte. Americans gave freely to the many 9.11 victims funds. New Yorkers pulled together after the attack despite their brash reputation. If sacrifices are needed, Americans are willing to do their part.
Since this is a different kind of war, huge displays of generosity like that of North Platte aren't happening. The economy hasn't been massively reorganized for the war effort. There has been no call for rationing, victory gardens, or buying war bonds. In fact, taxes have actually been cut with many in Washington pushing for them to be permanent. No one's been drafted. Unlike World War II the country isn't focused on fighting the war. There is a general sense of complacency. Deep down, we know we will win. Unlike the citizens of North Platte we're not in fear of invasion if we lose. President Bush even wants us to live as we normally would. We're at war even if it doesn't feel like it.
North Platte isn't an aberration anymore than New York City post-9.11. Human nature hasn't changed between those times. If Americans feel threatened they'll pull together in ways that bring tears to people's eyes. American's save their goodness for when it's most needed.
"North Platte's War Effort"
This quote from Professor Joseph
This quote from Professor Joseph Kunkel adds to my contention that Jesse Ventura hurt the prospects for a significant third party:
"Calling it Quits"
June 20, 2002
Patrick has some good thoughts
Patrick has some good thoughts on weblogging as a business tool. Google's already doing it internally. He then made a quick thought that weblogs would be good for "information sharing in the hunt for terrorists." FBICIA.blogspot.com might have let lower level agents and analysts stumble on the 9.11 terrorists.
What I find fascinating is many companies have been spending billions of dollars and huge amounts of man-hours developing software for employees to better communicate. Collaboration software is seen as a killer app. Heck, IBM bought Lotus a few years ago just for Notes. But big, sophisticated, expensive programs haven't made their mark. I'm sure there are plenty of businesses that use stuff like Notes to good effect. Then along comes weblogs and with them Blogger, Moveable Type, and Radio UserLand. These programs aren't huge, complex creations. They've been created by small teams to do a few simple things: allowing a user to edit text and upload it to a web site. The programs are allowed to do this because of Internet standards like HTML, TCP/IP, and FTP. While collaborative software systems attempt to integrate video conferencing, chat, calendaring, and other bells and whistles, weblogging software focuses on plain text. A user who only wants to type in their daily diary entry can do that, while tech heads who want streaming video or audio can integrate that into their own weblog. The result from these simple programs is an explosion of new, interesting voices commenting on everything. Now, we see weblogging move into the business setting. Could IBM be kicking itself for spending billions on Lotus?
June 19, 2002
Guys, I'm thinking of putting
Guys, I'm thinking of putting my money where my mouth is. Since the Blogathon gang suggested a few too many Left-of-center charities (namely Planned Parenthood), I'll consider signing up if I can find a good charity and some sponsors. This is where I need your help: I'm looking for a charity that does good work effectively, but without the Leftist agenda. A charity that supports conservative/libertarian values is a plus, but a politically neutral one would be fine too. Please leave out the oodles of think tanks. Even though they're legally charities, they're blatantly political. Initially, I'm considering The Nature Conservancy. They're environmentalists, but they actually buy land to protect from owners instead of demanding government edicts. Consider it free market environmentalism. What would really be satisfying is some crisis pregnancy organization. I really want to balance the Planned Parenthood suggestion.
After finding a deserving charity, I'll need sponsors. I'll be a complete sell out (within reason) and push other websites, offer blatant plugs to whoever the sponsor wants, even cheer for the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl. Oops, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea. If I find a charity and enough sponsors to make this worthwhile, I work on the logistics. I'm guessing that I have roughly two weeks to see what response I get in order to get time off of work and get mentally prepared to weblog for 24 hours. I'm willing to do it to raise money for a good cause and to inject a little real diversity into Blogathon.
You can e-mail me, sign my guestbook, or leave a comment below.
Cuban dissidents get thousands of
Cuban dissidents get thousands of signatures demanding a vote on basic human rights--the Varela Project. Castro's response is to force millions to sign a petition calling for Communism to be "untouchable." An unnamed European diplomat said in a mealymouthed way, "No doubt people support the regime. You can't force nine million people to sign. We have to accept that." The diplomat obviously doesn't comprehend that Cubans were forced to sign Castro's petition. Maybe that person did know and just doesn't care.
"Cuba Musters Support for Communism in Hard Times"
Again, I offer Arafat this
Again, I offer Arafat this suggestion: if he can't stop Hamas from bombing Israelis, then call for a joint U.S.-Israel-PA operation to destroy Hamas. Not only would much of the homicide bombing stop, but Arafat would be the one who a major risk to move toward peace. Sadly, this won't happen. Arafat sees his role as Palestine's most visible victim. Sympathy for him and the Palestinians is the source of his international standing. He has the Muslim world behind him with muted support from Europe. The U.S. looks like it will make a big push for Palestinian statehood. His biggest opponents are Sharon and Likud who will not back down to the ceaseless bombings. Another reason Arafat won't strike down Hamas is that too many Palestinians support Hamas' methods and their goal of destroying Israel. To fight Hamas would be to fight the people he supposedly represents.
"Israel to Recapture Palestinian Land Over 'Terror'"
June 18, 2002
Governor Jesse isn't running for
Governor Jesse isn't running for re-election. He lays part of his decision on the media. [It's difficult] "do these public service jobs when you know that your family can be assassinated by the media at any point," Ventura told Minnesota Public Radio this morning. It's partly the media's fault that Jesse became the most colorful political character in U.S. politics in the past 50 years? It was partly the media that had Jesse appear on Leno and Letterman and do commentary for the XFL? Maybe Jesse's problems with the media could be summed up by his suggestion to talk radio host Jason Lewis to "stick it where the sun don't shine."
I understand why Jesse did what he did: he's a man who loves the spotlight. He loves to entertain. His days as pro wrestler and commentator were entertainment. He starred in Predator--entertainment Hollywood-style. He entertained talk radio listeners with his blunt, straight talk. Then he ran for governor. His campaign ads featuring a action figure Jesse were the political talk of the nation. Compared to his staid Democratic and Republican rivals, Jesse was fun, exciting, and cool. He deftly combined the entertainment factor with some serious policy to win a three-way election.
Then political reality set in. While having public support, Jesse faced a state legislature with one house controlled by Democrats and the other by Republicans. Tough to get anything done in that environment. This year's state budget battle features plenty of political posturing. Since neither major party has their guy in the governor's mansion, they don't look to the head of the state to break any impasse.
Jesse may not think so, but he hurt independent chances to win major offices. Jesse is just so charismatic, so unpredictable, so entertaining. The difference between him and Dean Barkley, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate on the Reform/Independent ticket, is that Barkley is a boring car-wash owner. Jesse and Ross Perot got much of their support from people tired of plain old, vanilla politics. Both these men shook things up with their style and substance. If independent runs for office require more of an entertainment factor to succeed, it will eventually become a literal circus where Bozo the Clown runs on his painted face platform while Alec Baldwin threatens to leave the country unless he gets enough votes.
"Ventura: 'I am not Seeking Reelection'"
Could the Blogathon people suggest
Could the Blogathon people suggest non-Leftist charities to support? Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and Friends of the Earth don't inspire me to give. How about Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army? At least they're not suggesting donating to another 9.11 victims fund.
I've preferred the word "weblog"
June 17, 2002
It made be over a
It made be over a week old, but Josh Chafetz's description of spontaneous order is outstanding and would make Hayek proud.
Since he recommended a few readings, I'll suggest my own. To really appreciate Hayek's application of spontaneous order to economics, read "The Use of Knowledge in Society" found in Individualism and Economic Order. After reading it, you'll understand why central planning is folly. You'll also see that Hayek's thoughts on knowlege can be applied in many, many areas of social analysis.
Brock Yates sees that one
Brock Yates sees that one big impediment to fuel cells is a rare element.
"Fuel Cell Follies"
John Burkett is a petty
John Burkett is a petty man. He doesn't realize that the All-Star Game isn't about baseball owners or players. It's tribute to the fans that pay for ballparks and salaries.
"Burkett reiterates stance that he'll skip All-Star Game"
June 16, 2002
Amazon.com has gone into the
Amazon.com has gone into the resturant menu business. They have scaned copied of menus from major American cities. Unfortunately for me, Milwaukee isn't on the list.
This is a strange business strategy. The whole premise of Amazon.com is that it's an online store. I go to the site to buy books, music, DVD, bread makers, CD players, etc. I don't think of Amazon.com when I want to go out to eat and want to see the menu before hand. Amazon.com wants you to send take out orders through them, but it's much easier just to call the resturant (they provide the phone number with the menu). They aren't trying to cross promote other products while you're looking at a menu. This idea is too much like Microsoft's failed Sidewalk.com. Amazon.com is a store, sure an online store, but a store no less. They shouldn't lose sight of their focus and go into the city guide business. This feels like a 1995 dot-com idea. You know one of those Web-arrogant ones where if it can be done on the Web, it should be done.
All I got to see
All I got to see were the highlights on SportsCenter on the U.S. Open. That's all I needed to see to understand the greatness of Tiger Woods. He's won eight majors by his 26th birthday. Will he go on to win golf's first grand slam--not just 4 consecutive majors? I can't wait to find out if Tiger can pull it off. Even if he doesn't, I already consider him the greatest golfer ever. The man is so dominant, so skilled, and so calm under pressure. Mucho kudos to Tiger.
Patrick's rooting for Phil Mickelson at the British Open, while I want to see continued dominance.
"U.S. Open: Woods Secures Second Major of the Year"
June 15, 2002
AlGore may be a green,
AlGore may be a green, egghead, liberal weenie, but he's not a terrorist threat. A constitutional threat, but not a terrorist threat. But that didn't matter to security people who gave AlGore the special treatment twice. The biggest threat from AlGore on an airplane is boring passengers to death by yapping about the environment, and how he got more votes than the guy sitting in the White House.
"Ex-VP No Airport VIP"
Ronald Pestritto uses Flag Day
Ronald Pestritto uses Flag Day to wonder if both liberals and conservatives want to fight for America's founding principles.
"What Does the Flag Stand For?"
June 14, 2002
Today is Flag Day. Don't
Today is Flag Day. Don't be bashful. Wave that flag with pride.
I'm happy to know that this tradition started in my fine state of Wisconsin.
June 13, 2002
Hooray, there's something worth reading
Hooray, there's something worth reading on Salon.com.
Stan Liebowitz, Microsoft defender, looked into file sharing. Intuitively, he thought the music companies should be hurting from lost sales. The numbers haven't panned out, so the University of Texas at Dallas economist is re-thinking his assumptions.
Leibowitz sees a future where people legally and easily get their music online. It may take upwards to a decade because of micropayment problems and conflicts with brick-and-mortar retail outlets. A problem I see with downloading music is broadband access. Until more people have a wide data pipe running into their computer, music downloading will remain the passtime of college students and workers with kind (or blind) bosses.
Which has a better chance
Which has a better chance of becoming law in Cuba: the Varela Project which supports a referendum calling for civil liberties or Castro's constitutional amendment calling Communism "untouchable"?
I re-read the story on
I re-read the story on White House damage for my own clarification. It doesn't specify which keyboards needed to be replaced. Thanks to those of you who pointed out security concerns and added expenses to these keyboards. If they were from computers used for secretive government work, then a more expensive and secure keyboard would be in order. But I don't think that all those replaced keyboards were from computers that processed classified information. What I think happened is the media/policy people rather than the military/intelligence/diplomatic people were the jerks who did the damage. Given the mess in Florida after Election Day, they would be the ones with an ax to grind.
J. Kerner is correct to bring the focus back onto the culprits. He writes, "The GAO should round up ALL of the former employees and require that they ante-up for the costs involved." I say take them to People's Court.
For any of you interested here's the Complete, Unofficial Tempest Information Page.
Welcome to new readers who
Welcome to new readers who discovered this little weblog via OpinionJournal's Best of the Web. Kudos go out to James Taranto for the link. Now, if I can get Citizens Against Government Waste to issue that press release.
June 12, 2002
I still have no answer
I still have no answer to what good a byline strike is. Louis Menand notes that Washington Post reporters have tried this before with no success. What a byline does--besides stoke one's ego--is "They tell you that a person--not a committee or an institution--produced the words you are about to read, and is prepared to stand behind them." I'm sure Post management quaked when they were told about the strike.
Last week, Post Watch linked to a few stories about past byline strikes.
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:10 AM
June 11, 2002
Paul Krugman accepts the Clintonian
Paul Krugman accepts the Clintonian spin that they really cared about the country. Or as he puts it, "the Clintonites really, truly believed they were doing the right thing." That was why Clinton supported NAFTA and the Mexican bailout. Krugman doesn't mention the item that will forever be associated with Bill Clinton's Presidency: impeachment. Does Krugman actually think that Clinton's lies to a grand jury and the public was his way of "doing the right thing?" Isn't it more likely to admit that Bill has such a huge ego and a huge appetite for vice that there was no way he would allow his opponents to drive him out of office. I wouldn't really want Krugman to answer that; he's just an economist.
"The Rove Doctrine"
Both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Washington Post want "dirtybomber" Jose Padilla to have access to a lawyer and put on trial in a civilian court. Let's suppose these editorial boards had their way and Padilla got his trial. Then suppose Padilla was found not guilty and released. Then suppose Padilla carried out his dirty nuke attack. After the death and panic would these papers print an editorial apologizing to the American people for sacrificing American lives to preserve Padilla's civil rights?
I'm not advocating giving the government a free pass to hold anyone they suspect of being a terrorist. Oversight must be a priority to prevent abuse. However, the criminal justice system may not be the best way to protect American from terrorists.
"The Dirty Bomb Plot"
Paul Wolfowitz had some fine
Paul Wolfowitz had some fine remarks at the ceremony celebrating the rebuilt portion of the Pentagon destroyed on 9.11:
Wisdom, strength, endurance, freedom, those are qualities that do define America, qualities we see across America every day, qualities we see in you, the workers in hard hats and boots, armed with hammers and saws. With your hearts and your hands, you have rebuilt this symbol of American values and strength stone by stone, and we thank you.
Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Remarks at Dedication Capsule Ceremony
"'Dedication Capsule' Installed Behind Rebuilt Pentagon Facade"
Eugene Volokh provides [via InstaPundit]
Eugene Volokh provides [via InstaPundit] some needed legal perspective on how to deal with citizen terrorists. Mark Belling, a Milwaukee talk radio host, is on record as saying that citizens will have to give up some rights to be better protected from terrorists. Potential abuse could happen by giving the government and the military a free pass when it comes to incarcerating citizen terrorist suspects. Volokh does seem too worried because of American tradition against "greater use of military justice against civilians." During WWII, the public endured food and fuel rations. The war ended and those economic controls were removed. A similar pattern could happen with this war.
If we know when the Islamist War has been won, then I would know when the use of military justice could contract. Unfortunately, President Bush hasn't said what victory is. Is it when bid Laden is captured or killed? Is it when Iraq is liberated? Is it when Islamism is ended as the state religion in Saudi Arabia? Donald Rumsfeld has said again and again that the Islamist War is a "different kind of war," but is this war so different that we won't know when we've won? Once victory is known and achieved then we can try to a state of normalcy. Not complacency mind you, but a state where extraordinary state powers would not be the norm.
The effects from a "dirty
The effects from a "dirty nuke" would be far more psychological than anything. If such a weapon exploded on Wall Street, it would close down those markets for months. The financial world would grind to a halt until the physical markets could set up operations elsewhere. NASDAQ wouldn't be harmed as much since it's an electronic marketplace. If terrorists wanted to shut down the U.S. bond market, a dirty nuke in downtown Chicago would certainly do the trick.
"Panic, Economic Turmoil Would Be Fallout from 'Dirty Bomb' Attack"
[UPDATE: Iain Murray writes that the economic effects from a dirty nuke outweigh the number of possible casualties. He calls a dirty nuke a "paper tiger."]
$4850 isn't a lot of
$4850 isn't a lot of money when it comes to the multi-trillion dollar budget of the federal government, but when wasteful spending happens it should be pointed out. The Bush White House spend almost 5-grand to replace 62 keyboards damaged by outgoing Clinton staffers. That comes out to $78 per keyboard. After a quick price check at Price Watch, I've determined that either the White House spent way too much for keyboards or went on a spending spree and got fancy wireless keyboards. The Microsoft ergonomic model is going for less than half what the feds paid. I even found keyboards going for $12. This detail is just begging for a Citizens Against Government Waste press release.
Jon at C-Log replied to
Jon at C-Log replied to an e-mail/post I sent him about his gripe with Tivo. (I won't get on him too much for misspelling my name--I'm always glad for a link.) I'm not as concerned as Jon about ads sent to my Tivo. Jon worries that the company's business plan will end up "where one has to pay extra to great rid of the annoying ads."
The Heritage Foundation's initial view
The Heritage Foundation's initial view of the President's proposed Department of Homeland Security is positive. Michael Scardaville writes that the new department "should result in new efficiencies, not new bureaucracy." His concerns are with the new department not sharing needed security information with other agencies a la the FBI and CIA and with the 88 Congressional committees and subcommittees that would have jurisdiction over the new department.
"The President's Proposal to Create a Department of Homeland Security: An Initial Assessment"
The Yahoo beta cleans up
The Yahoo beta cleans up a lot of the clutter that's grown on the current version. Most importantly, search has its priority near the top of the page. The icons along the top remain so there's easy access to e-mail, My Yahoo, and stock quotes. There's nothing revolutionary here, which is good. Yahoo's popularity and growth stem from its ease of use. This beta continues that pattern.
Jon Garthwaite has a Tivo
Jon Garthwaite has a Tivo (good for him) and is complaining about some Sheryl Crow and feng shui videos. He's ticked that he's forced to watch them and can't delete them. As a fellow Tivo owner, I saw those videos, but I wasn't forced to watch them. I took a few seconds to see if they were interesting. They weren't, so I watched something else. Jon, no one's forcing you to watch that stuff. Relax. Tivo's just trying to find some way to make money. If they can't do it, we might have to go back to the television Stone Age where we had to program our VCRs.
June 10, 2002
In an interview, Professor Thomas
In an interview, Professor Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln says that the Civil War was fought over economic interests. The North favored tariffs and government-funded improvements from those duties. While DiLorenzo briefly mentions Lincoln's view of slaves, he doesn't say anything about the peculiar institution as a cause of the war. In fact, the man who became the first Vice-President of the Confederacy gave a speech saying that slavery was the reason the South seceded in the first place. Granted, the causes of the Civil War were complex. Moral issues coincided with economic and constitutional issues to tear the nation apart. Neglecting to give serious attention to slavery in an analysis of the Civil War is ahistorical. If slavery had little to do with the Civil War, then we should consider the chances of a split in the Union if the South didn't allow slavery. I think it would be very difficult to assume that regional tensions would have still boiled over.
What I see in ignoring slavery is a minimization of the human rights issue and a maximization of the property rights/states rights issues. This paleo/pro-South sect of the libertarian movement leaves a blemish on the movement as a whole.
"Confronting the Lincoln Cult"
June 09, 2002
Orrin links to an article
Orrin links to an article by James Ostrowski attacking the moral claims for fighting the Civil War. Ostrowski doesn't have a knee-jerk defense of the South like some paleolibertarians seem to have. He does write that "force may be rightly used to end slavery--after all other means for ending slavery have failed." He then writes,"force must be strictly limited to accomplishing that end and must not violate the rights of third parties by means of taxation, conscription or mass murder" (emphasis mine). Mass murder? Admittedly, I'm a casual Civil War buff (Gettysburg was just a gorgeous movie) so I may not be familiar with mass murder committed by Union forces. Sure, thousands--both soldiers and civilians-- died and were injured. Land and property were destroyed, but where were the acts of mass murder? Ostrowski doesn't offer any details. The closest I can think of a war crime occurring during the war was inhumane treatment of Union soldiers at the Confederate prison camp, Andersonville. Maybe he considers unjust (in his opinion) wars to be equal to murder?
Ostrowski continues his attack on the Union complaining about "taxation, inflation, conscription, confiscation, destruction and the mass killing of non-slave holders." Once again he mentions "mass killing." with no detail. But regardless of that, Ostrowski is living in a utopian fantasy if he thinks the Civil War could have been fought without taxes, destruction, or conscription. Taxes were needed to fund war efforts. When taxes couldn't be raised fast enough, the government started up the printing presses with the result being inflation Ostrowski complains about. Destruction and death are inevitable in war; that's its very nature. It isn't pretty, but it's reality. Now, conscription I would argue is form of slavery. Forcing men to offer their very lives against their will violates the inherent right to ones own life. That the North used such a method is hypocritical, but the South also employed conscription. Ostrowski doesn't mention that.
Why many libertarians sympathize so much with the slave-holding South has always perplexed me. My best theory is that they see the conflict as a battle of two evils. Between an anti-tariff, slave-holding South that endorsed the right of secession and an economic Hamiltonian, abolitionist North with a leader who desired to preserve the Union at all costs, they chose the South. To feel better about their choice pro-South libertarians amplify every aspect of Northern tyranny while minimizing the South's greatest sin--a sin which was the reason the South seceded in the first place.
"Civil (Libertarian) War?"
June 08, 2002
Jack Straw thinks enlarging the
Jack Straw thinks enlarging the EU would stop the rise of right-wing extremism. It was my recollection that supporters of Le Pen (quasi-fascist), Fortyn (nationalist libertarian), and their ilk oppose the EU. How does making the EU bigger and more important in peoples' lives stop that opposition? It looks like a labored attempt by the Labour Party to offer a reason for Britain to join the Euro and draw closer to the continent. Straw's saying that the British public should accept the Euro to stop the rise of--dare I say it--another Hitler. Straw used less infammatory rhetoric when he said, "An enlarged EU should be a buttress against extremism."
Lou Dobbs has finally given
Lou Dobbs has finally given this war a real name. The "War on Terror" is no more. What 9.11 started was the Islamist War. Our enemy isn't terror. That's just a feeling. Terror doesn't recruit and train people to hijack planes and fly them into skyscrapers. Terror doesn't send out men and women into crowded shopping malls, restaurants, and nightclubs and blow themselves up. Feelings don't do those things, people do. These people who attack Western Civilization are Islamists. Islamism is their ideology. To paraphrase Ludwig von Mises, Islamism are the ideas that "press the gun into their [terrorists'] hands." Bravo, Lou. You've brought some much needed clarity to this conflict.
June 07, 2002
Like me, an anonymous NRO
Yesterday at work, I was
Yesterday at work, I was reminded that June 6 was the anniversary of the Normandy invasion. The person who reminded me then proceeded to give me updates of the assault. Noon in Milwaukee meant is was about 6 p.m. (give or take an hour) on Omaha Beach. Hitler was still asleep--he usually went to bed at 5 a.m. His staff was too afraid to wake him to tell him of the invasion. Since he had sole control over the Panzers, those German tanks didn't engage the initial invasion. Who knows what would have happened if someone bothered to wake Hitler? By 2 p.m. Milwaukee time (7 p.m. in Normandy), the break through was having success. While this exercise is entertaining (sort of like hearing the play-by-play of a football game), I failed to appreciate those who suffered and died to begin the liberation of Europe. Those sacrifices were not in vain.
"D-Day Plus 58 Years"
June 06, 2002
Tom Ridge may have something
Tom Ridge may have something more productive to do if President Bush has his way with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of playing around with warning colors, Ridge would have control over the Coast Guard, Secret Service, INS, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and a bunch of other agencies.
If focused properly, this new department would be a serious barrier to future terrorist attacks. How the Homeland Security Secretary (presumably Ridge) would deal with making sure intelligence was gathered, analyzed, and acted upon depends on what the legislation creating the department looks like as well as the ability of the secretary. A person in charge who could force the CIA and FBI to work together instead of worrying about turf would bring better security to the nation. But a weak secretary would be little better than the present Homeland Security Advisor--and much more expensive.
Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation
"Bush Seeks Homeland Security Dept."
[UPDATE: Ex-Navy man, Daniel Tabb has issued the first opposition I've seen to the new department. He worries that "something is bound to fall through the cracks" if those agencies were combined under department. It's not like a whole lot of stuff fell through the cracks already. Tabb then calls the new department a "national police force" and Bush's "private army." This diatribe is just a knee-jerk reaction. Bush's plan doesn't create a new police force or army. What it does is combine currently scattered agencies under one leader with a common mission: defend America against terrorists. It's going to take a lot more than a quick, paranoid screed to question the general premise.]
Hey all right-thinking Web addicts!
Hey all right-thinking Web addicts! Heed Jonah's call and get NRO lots of votes in The Webby Awards. I do not want to see a liberal mag that no one reads anymore (Salon.com) win for "Best Print & Zines Website".
The Blue Button advocates 9.11
The Blue Button advocates 9.11 victims suing the American Taliban.
June 05, 2002
Glenn Reynolds correctly points out
Glenn Reynolds correctly points out that there's too little bioethical examination of neuroscience. Until reading the same issue of The Economist that Reynolds did, I never gave the ethical considerations of neuroscience much thought.
Reynolds blames the underscrutiny on abortion. He writes:
Sure, more attention is made about genetic ethics because of abortion, but Reynolds doesn't consider the abortion debate to be about "actual ethics." Abortion has everything to do with ethics. It goes to the heart of ethical Man. It deals with basic questions: When is a person a person? When does human life begin? Who lives? Who dies? Who decides? Our society is plagued with these questions because they deal with Man's essence as a trancendent being.
The abortions wars are at a standstill. Because of Roe v. Wade and related cases a woman can kill her child even after the baby has been partially delivered. Senate Democrats tried to keep John Ashcroft from becoming Attorney General because his pro-life position was incompatible with their abortion-on-demand stance. Millions of unborn children have been killed--this in a time of decreasing birth rates. Now, cloning and embryo harvesting are issues used by the pro-life movement to draw another line in the sand. Reynolds might call me a "nattering nabob" for opposing embryonic stem cell research, but the fight against the Culture of Death can never cease.
TAM's international correspondent, Eric G.
TAM's international correspondent, Eric G. reports from London on the Queen's Jubilee:
To echo Eric's mention of British patriotism, a woman at the festivities said, "It's particularly nice to be patriotic for a change, because it has become a bit unfashionable." Now, Brits are cleaning up 50,000 wine bottles.
God save the Queen.
"Street Cred that Won over 1m People"
"Jubilee Party Clean-up Begins"
How exactly does a byline
How exactly does a byline strike help a union during contract negotiations? Wouldn't it be harming union members because they're not getting credit for their work? Or is it some symbolic action?
On Monday, I was ready
On Monday, I was ready to go ballistic on President Bush over that global warming report sent to the U.N. The term "cave-in" and comparisons to AlGore's Earth in the Balance quickly came to mind. My screed was going to be as bombastic as those of Rush Limbaugh and James Glassman. I decided to hold back, take a deep breath, and see if I was overreacting. A great aspect of weblogging is writing an instant response to a story you're reading. A not-so-great aspect of weblogging is writing an instant response to a story you're reading.
What held me back was Jonathan Adler's post at The Corner where he writes, "The report outlines some specific potential scenarios, but it carefully states all of its predictions in probabilistic terms and reiterates the National Academy of Sciences' conclusion that specific predictions about climate change are, as yet, impossible."
Additionally on the blog front, Andrew Sullivan couldn't find the environmental policy U-turn. He sees it as a Howell Raines-driven story that Drudge and Rush Limbaugh hooked on to like big tuna. Mickey Kaus thinks the story is an orchestrated effort by environmental groups to hit Bush in a political soft spot.
More importantly, President Bush shrugged off the report and restated his opposition to Kyoto. It doesn't really matter if Bush U-turned on Kyoto. There's no way the treaty would past the Senate. But continuing his opposition to Kyoto ticks off the Europeans--always a good thing.
Looking through parts of the report, I haven't noticed any part where it wants climate change to be the "central organizing principle" of society a la AlGore in Earth in the Balance. Instead, "American ingenuity and resources" have played a large role in adapting to past climate change. Presumably, "technological change and knowledge about fluctuating climate" deal with future change.
I'm glad I didn't write stuff I'd end up regretting and backtracking on. The past few months have not been good for me and the administration policy wise. Steel tariffs, a bloated farm bill, unconstitutional campaign finance reform, and a distracted war effort have made me a little nervous. At times, the administration looks too focused on fall elections rather than principled conservative governance. Priority must be placed on winning the war. Without national security, any other policy debate is moot.
"Climate Changing, U.S. Says in Report"
June 04, 2002
Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great
Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About America defends the nation from anti-Americans both inside and out. It's a fine read that instantly was place on the Book of the Year shortlist. Oh, Thomas Sowell likes it too.
June 03, 2002
I'm playing the role of
I'm playing the role of meme sheep and latching on to Jim Hart's "Top 5 Favorite Bands/Musicians that I Really Shouldn't Admit that I Like":
This was a hard list to put together since I'm not really ashamed of liking the music I buy and listen to. Def Leppard and the Cult go back to 80s hair bands. Steely Dan and Yes show off my more pretentious musical taste, and Daft Punk offers a nice gooey slice of cheesy dance.
The greatness of Thomas Sowell
The greatness of Thomas Sowell is his ability to plainly link economic costs to politics. This is political economy in the best sense. He's a part of a long line from Adam Smith, to Ludwig von Mises, to James Buchanan, to Milton Friedman. Here's a fine example of Sowell's political economy:
Economic purists would scream indignation that Sowell is mixing positive and normative economics, but he's accurate in his analysis. People run to government to "fix" problems they see the market failing to solve because they're no costs imposed on them. They want to use other people's money to solve their problem.
I don't care if the
I don't care if the French lost to Senegal, it's still World Cup soccer and I don't care. 1-0: I'm getting bored just thinking about it.
June 02, 2002
The stream of homicide bombers
The stream of homicide bombers has desensitized us from remembering that the Palestinians are not a monolithic group. Although opinion polls say most Palestinians support bombing as a method in their war against Israel, some accept the inherent humanity of Israelis. 25-year old Thauriya Hamamreh is one such person. She was to be another martyr sacrificing herself for the cause. But after "thinking that I would be killing babies, women and sick people and imagined what it would be like if my family were sitting in a restaurant and someone bombed them" she refused to go on her death trip to Jerusalem. With more people like Thauriya, the violence could end. We can only hope.
Paul Gottfried noticed an anti-European
Paul Gottfried noticed an anti-European strain in American conservative thought. No kidding. It didn't take much digging around in back issues of the National Review and The Weekly Standard to discover that. I would include myself with the Euro-bashers. I'm supportive of Europeans who aren't opposed to America using methods and tactics needed to win the War on Terrorism. Norweigian weblogger, Fredrik Norman is a European who understands what's required to win the war. One would be hard pressed to find a more hawkish person on the other side of the pond. If more European leaders took this war as seriously as Norman, and didn't see this as an opportunity to distance themselves from warmongering, cowboy America, then the American Right would be writing about the new convergence of American and European thinking and how it could be extended to other issues (trade, the environment, etc.). This anti-Europeanism isn't a knee-jerk reaction. It's a response to words and actions that stand in the way of American victory and security.
"'Cheese-eating Surrender Monkeys?"
June 01, 2002
The planes that crashed into
The planes that crashed into the WTC and the Pentagon were remote controlled. That's what Theirry Meyssan claimed in a lecture given before the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow Up (ZCCF). Now, I wouldn't bother commenting on a ridiculous, crack-pot, Art Bell, quack theory, but the ZCCF is a think tank created by the Arab League. This is the same Arab League that united behind a peace plan a few months back in Beirut.