July 31, 2002
Jon David is doing his
Jon David is doing his part in the Islamist War. He took over an al-Queda web site and collected plenty of useful information. Unfortunately, it took five days for someone at the FBI to use it. That was a missed opportunity, but David noted that 90% of the web traffic was from Saudi Arabia. More evidence that our "ally" really isn't our friend.
"An Interview With Jon David, The Man Who Hacked al-Queda's Homepage"
Nobel Prize winner and free
Nobel Prize winner and free market guru Milton Friedman turned 90 today. Bruce Bartlett and Thomas Sowell honor the man. Happy B-Day.
"Milton Friedman at 90"
American Atheists, Inc. may consider
American Atheists, Inc. may consider "Rina" to be a smart kid, but this is what the 14 year-old thought about Jews and World War II:
It's safe to say that Rina isn't a "smart kid."
July 30, 2002
Well, this is a pleasant
Well, this is a pleasant surprise. I got some heated response to my rather flippant link to a story on light pollution. A little agitation is good for the old weblog.
It looks like the Loudoun County light pollution ordinance would let busy body county officials start dictating what kind of lights people can have on their property. It's an extension of the nick picking many local officials do when someone wants to build something in a way the officials think is "ugly."
Some have commented that light pollution laws would save money. Maybe, but that would be individual savings, and they would already be thinking of ways of conserving electricity if they wanted to. With electricity being plentiful, they're little reason to conserve.
Light pollution laws shouldn't be the role of government. Rights aren't being violated. This debate revolves around aesthetics. One JNoles thinks light pollution laws would protect a "sacred American tradition, the freedom to enjoy the illumination of your own backyard from the natural nightsky." Some want to live in a suburban area surrounded by people with all the convinences (stores, restaurants, jobs), but accept none of the tradeoffs. I have a feeling, the Founding Fathers didn't pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor just so they could see some miniscule star in Orion from a parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Loudoun County. If people want to avoid light pollution, they should move to the country or persuade their neighbors to lessen their light use. What they shouldn't do is use the heavy hand of government to satisfy their aesthetic wants.
Electric cars may be more
Electric cars may be more environmentally friendly (if you really think about it, the jury is still out), but they could burn down your home. Model Veronica Webb had that happen to her. She's giving up on eco-friendly cars. "We got the car because it was supposed to be great for the environment, but no one ever warns you how dangerous they are."
Wisconsin printing king Harry Quadracci
Wisconsin printing king Harry Quadracci died yesterday. He built Quad/Graphics into a world printing powerhouse. Because of his fortune, he donated to many causes in the Southeast Wisconsin area. Stress from the death of his father-in-law and a deadly building collapse a few weeks ago (only 10 miles from my house) may have led to his death.
"Printing Magnate Quadracci Found Dead in Pine Lake"
I'm at the same "Insignificant
I'm at the same "Insignificant Microbe" level of the weblog ecosystem as Eric Alterman. Lots of people seem to bash him--just not as much as Robert Fisk--so I'm surprised he has so few links to his weblog. I thought the redesign of TAM would garner some new links but no such luck. I know many of you visit TAM through your bookmarks/favorites. If you have a weblog, I'd love a link. I'll even give you a virtual kiss.
You only have 5 days
You only have 5 days left to bid on a 1954 Princeton yearbook with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld posing in his football uniform.
So, Vice President Cheney has
So, Vice President Cheney has the President's ear when it comes to foreign policy. When Bush said the Palestinians needed new leadership, that was Cheney. When Bush called for change in Iran, that too had Cheney's fingerprints on it. His tough stance towards Iraq, Iran, and the Palestinians reassures me. This White House realizes what needs to be done to protect U.S. interests and to move other nations towards freedom and democracy.
"Cheney Rewrites Roles in Foreign Policy"
July 29, 2002
While scanning the list of
While scanning the list of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a few groups aren't on the list who should be: Canadian power trio Rush and southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. Genesis and Black Sabbath also comes to mind. Who are some others? One criteria is that the band's/artist's first album must have come out over 25 years ago.
Bill Safire sure isn't young,
Bill Safire sure isn't young, yet he isn't fuddy-duddy about weblogs. He feels "the noun blog is a useful addition to the lexicon." I'm happy that he did some actual research and mentioned Jorn "Weblog Godfather" Barger and William "Blogosphere" Quick.
July 28, 2002
Mucho kudos go to Lance
Mucho kudos go to Lance Armstrong for winning his fourth straight Tour de France. Those Frenchmen must just be hating the U.S. now for having an American completely dominate the biggest sporting event in their country.
It's amazing enough that Armstrong has won the last four years. It's even more incredible to know he almost died from cancer. With heart, passion, and discipline, Armstrong proved once again why he's one of the world's greatest athletes. Bravo!
"Armstrong First American to Win Four Tours"
July 27, 2002
Here's the transcript of the
Here's the transcript of the House debate on expelling James Traficant. I don't have anytime right now to find the funny stuff (off to a family reunion), but I'll be digging for some good nuggets later today/tonight.
UPDATE: Don't bother with the above link. Bill pointed out in the comments that it's a temporary link. He recommends going to this link and clicking on item 39. That's the closest he could get. Not the best. The Library of Congress can do better than this can't they? Thanks, Bill.
McCain hosting SNL can't possibly
McCain hosting SNL can't possibly be worse than when Steve "Teve Torbes" Forbes hosted a few years back. Forbes tried really, really hard, but he had no sense of comic timing or any ability to be funny other than looking like a bad joke.
"Sen. McCain to Host 'SNL' This Fall"
July 26, 2002
Philip Morris actually supports FDA
Philip Morris actually supports FDA regulation of cigarettes. In the past, PM has spent millions of dollars to stop any regulation of their products. Why the change? PM wants to develop a "safe" cigarette and FDA approval would help. Also, FDA regulation would lock in PM's dominant market share. Here's a case of a company trying to use government force to lock in perpetual profits. Now, if that isn't corporate corruption, then what is? It may not be illegal, but it certainly is immoral to the values of a free market.
Michael Kinsley on Washington's lust
Michael Kinsley on Washington's lust to pass corporate reform legislation:
"The New Bull Market"
This idea of posting one's
This idea of posting one's notes from a lecture is irritating. It's cool to know that Doc Searls has the technology available to put down his thoughts about Larry Lessig's speech for the rest of the world to see. What I don't see is the added value. I don't care what points Searls jotted down into his computer. If I wanted to know what Lessig said, I'd visit his web page or the OSCon web page and hope there's a copy of his speech available. (Haven't found any.) What I want from Searls is his reaction to Lessig's speech. Was it good or bad? Was he convincing? Did Searls learn anything new from Lessig that he didn't already know? An evaluation of the speech is more important than some brief notes.
"Live from OSCon"
July 25, 2002
James Traficant gets the boot.
James Traficant gets the boot. No surprise. I should have watched C-SPAN to see what happened to deserve this paragraph from the story:
Could they have been "Beam me the f*** up!"? I'll never know.
Despite the bear market and
Despite the bear market and corporate scandals, most Americans believe that individuals should have the freedom to invest part of their Social Security taxes as they see fit. A more interesting question is how these people would act if their investments collapsed due to poor choices. Will the person who put every last penny into WorldCom beg for increased retirement benefits from the government to compensate for his lack of diversification? Being a cold-hearted conservative, I would say, "too bad." But if enough people were to start crying to their legislators, you could see government trying to "solve the problem."
"Partial Social Security Privatization OK, Most Americans Say"
If this D.C. suburb actually
If this D.C. suburb actually is dumb enough to impose light pollution laws, expect a rise in crime. Residents will never see the bad guys coming.
"No Dimming the Controversy of 'Light Pollution' in DC Suburb"
Rush Limbaugh has an answer
Rush Limbaugh has an answer to Apple's woes: Steve Jobs should get off his Democratic high horse and advertise on Rush's show. But that would require Jobs to actually "think different."
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:04 AM
July 24, 2002
If the Supreme Court hadn't
If the Supreme Court hadn't of nationalized the abortion issue with Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Wade, then a bill passed by the House that would ban partial-birth abortions would be more troublesome to me as a federalist. Questions of crimes like theft, assault, rape, and murder should be left to lower levels of government. What interest could the federal government have in a murder unless it crossed state lines? Even then, the most serious question would be what state had jurisdiction. Abortions happen in one state. As such, states should be left to define the crime (or not to define it at all) based on the values and beliefs of its citizens.
While I write this, I have a qualm with my reasoning. It feels too much like Sen. Stephen Douglas' answer to the slavery question in the 1800s: popular sovereignty. That was no answer because it went against the heart of the American ethos: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." The result of Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act was small-scale civil war over "Bloody Kansas." I'll leave this as an open question.
"House Backs Controversial Abortion Bill"
UPDATE: President Ronald Reagan wrote an essay on the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In it he points out the obvious, yet neglected point about the court's decision:
"Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation"
Despite the quickness of the
Despite the quickness of the arrests of members of the Rigas family, founders of Adelphia, a USA Today story reports that indicting and prosecuting executives is a long, arduous process. In many cases, piecing together white-collar crime takes considerable crimes. It's not like determining who broke into a house and stole the TV. Prosecutors must determine if a crime took place or if executives' actions were just poor business mistakes. Just because a business goes into bankruptcy and cost investors their investments it doesn't mean the management intended to defraud anyone. More difficulty in getting execs is their access to good, lawyers. Law professor, William Stuntz calls government lawyers facing legal hot shots "Goliath and Goliath."
Despite the hurdles facing prosecutors, their efforts will give investors confidence in the capital markets. To say that people immediately phoned (or clicked) buy orders after seeing John Rigas led to a car in handcuffs is going too far. Just as some shouldn't blame the market's recent slide to to President Bush's "lack of tough talk," some shouldn't base one or a few news stories on the market's leap. Today's market rise may have more to do with a realization that corporate profits are doing alright. People may also have seen today as a good day to buy hard-hit stocks that got swept up in the bear market. What the arrests of the Rigas family members does is let the public know that the government is actively engaged in their proper role of enforcing law. Mark this date down; it could be the end of the bear market.
"Former Adelphia Execs Arrested for Fraud"
"Why It's Tough to Indict CEOs"
"Stocks Rebound, Biggest Gain Since '87"
July 23, 2002
Reason's Sara Rimensnyder points out
Reason's Sara Rimensnyder points out the worth of bankruptcies:
What bankruptcies do is reallocate economic resources from owners with lesser ability to owners of better ability. Suppose US Air goes under. American Airlines, Delta, Northwest, or even someone outside the airline industry could swoop in and buy part or all of the assets. By getting them at a cut-rate price, the new owners have a better chance of making a profit. The winners are the new owners and customers who should find a better product at a better value, while the losers are the former investors who were wrong with their investment, the old management who couldn't properly run the airline, and the employees who weren't adding enough value to deserve remaining hired. Like the price system, bankruptcies are a signaling mechanism letting society know that resources are not being used effectively.
July 22, 2002
Pollution may have played a
Pollution may have played a role in causing drought in Africa. The climate is a complex thing. Just as I won't jump to conclusions about man-induced global warming, I won't quickly accept the conclusions of these scientists. But suppose that pollution from the industrialized West caused a lack of rainfall in Africa, that doesn't mean it caused a famine. There's a difference between production and distribution. A lack of rain caused a decline in production; a lack of free markets caused a distribution problem. Countries like Ethiopia and Sudan were (and still are) plagued with war and authoritarian rule. One side prevented food that was available from being transported to where it was needed. It was used as a weapon. This story shows that these scientists need to have a more wholistic view before making their conclusions. A good dose of economics, history, and political science would have done wonders.
"1970-85 Famine Blamed on Pollution"
TAM has a spiffy new
TAM has a spiffy new look that I've been tweaking for a few weeks. The now almost cliche blogroll is up instead of a portal. Maybe, that will lift me a little in the weblog ecosystem. Thanks go to Helquin for the basic template (with plenty of tweaks) and BlogSkins for offering a great service to webloggers not graphically-inclined. (Not all of us can be Photoshop whiz-bangs like Patrick.) Any problems are completely my fault. If you notice that something just doesn't look right e-mail me.
Jane Galt's easy to learn
Jane Galt's easy to learn public choice economics:
Not as sophisticated as James Buchanan, but you get the drift.
Oh, and read her fine examination of drug reimportation.
[via Patrick Ruffini]
Howie Kurtz's "Awful Headline of
Howie Kurtz's "Awful Headline of the Week" is tasteless, yet funny.
There's little real news about
There's little real news about Janet Reno's dance party except that Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign manager got complementary tickets. Did some Miami house music bring a little Peace, Love, and Unity (PLU) to the campaign?
A few weeks ago, TAM
A few weeks ago, TAM international correspondent, Eric G. recommended "What We Think of America". It's actually an issue of the magazine, Granta, and their website has selected essays from that issue.
July 21, 2002
Be very wary of altering
Be very wary of altering posse comitatus. The legal prevention of military forces for domestic police work has allowed the U.S. to have a large standing army in peacetime (abhorred by many of the Founding Fathers) with little threat to liberty.
"U.S. Mulls Military's Domestic Role"
July 20, 2002
Minnesota newspaper editors are loving
Minnesota newspaper editors are loving bashing GOP Senate candidate Norm Coleman. Coleman offered the papers a weekly column as a way to get free media. The editors said no. It should be the end of the story, right? No, the editors didn't stop there. They started bashing Coleman. One editor said, "Just because we live more than 200 miles north of the Twin Cities doesn't mean we have 'Dumb' painted on our foreheads." Another editor said, "It seemed pretty astounding to me that someone who has the sophistication of Norm Coleman would believe we'd be so naive as to run this." All the campaign did was offer them a column, and the papers declined. Nothing more needed to be said. What could have been interesting was some paper to publish a weekly column by all the major Senate candidates. If the campaigns took it seriously, it would have harkened back to the days before television where much campaigning was done through the newspaper. For their part, Coleman's people said the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
Does this show the newspaper editors' political colors? No. It's a safe bet to think most of them would vote for Paul Wellstone. What this show is media people love to toss their weight when they feel slighted.
"It Seemed Like a Good Idea ..."
Yes, even Tiger Woods is
Yes, even Tiger Woods is human. He's taken a tumble in the third round of the British Open. His round of +11 puts him at +7 for the tournament.
"Woods Falls Apart in the Muirfield Rain"
July 19, 2002
The lack of trust in
The lack of trust in corporate managers have damaged stock values more than terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The Dow is at is lowest point since 1998. What this shows is character and values do matter. They are the building blocks for a dynamic economy. Managers must have the decency not to cook the books for their own benefit, and investors need to know that managers are telling the truth. Simple honesty allows people who have never met (and will never meet) transfer money to one another. Investors need to be reassured that companies won't decieve them. That's happening through internal corporate decisions, and it will happen when some people go to jail. But this will take time. My instinct is we're nearing a bottom to this. People are starting to be too pessimistic. Now is a good time to look at companies that fallen with everyone else, have solid, ethical managers, and good growth potentials.
I own Cisco and have lost a bunch. I'm still holding it because since I've lost so much already I might as well hold on. They're also the type of company who have had no clouds of scandal and will continue to grow. A negative for the networking giant is an important executive recently left, so that could be a sign that people within the company are squeamish about the future.
"Dow Dives 390 Points"
"Cisco Exec Leaves Amid Tough Times"
If there wasn't a war
If there wasn't a war and corporate scandals, Rep. James Traficant's (D-OH) ethics hearing would be the talk of the town. Instead, his hearings have been attended by Congressional interns who are there for the entertainment value and a chance to pal around with Traficant. During the hearings, the Ohio Congressman with the worst hair (real or fake, it doesn't matter) I've ever seen on a man threatened to kick people in the crotch, break out of prison, and claim a conspiracy is out to get him. Afterwards, he signed autographs, joked, and had his picture taken with interns.
The Ethics Committee voted to expel Traficant, and it's now up to the full House of Representatives. He has few friends in the House. Democrats hate him for siding with Republicans often. Traficant even voted for Dennis Hastert for Speaker of the House. Republicans don't want to see him stay because then they'd have a shot at getting a Republican elected in his district. Traficant stands alone and may finally get his wish to be "beamed up."
"House Ethics Panel Recommends Expelling Traficant"
"House Panel Votes to Expel Traficant"
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY got
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY got into a shouting match with my senator (even if I never voted for him) Russ Feingold (D-WI).
For the first time I can remember, I'm agreeing with Hillary. (How come we don't call any other Senator by their first name? Trent? John? Barbara? Tom?) The new campaign finance reform (AKA the First Amendment Supression Act) law will be used as a political weapon. Hillary should know, it happened to her. Now, I'm not saying the Clintons were innocent of all the charges that were investigated--they were arguably the most corrupt White House in U.S. history. What I'm saying is that investigations can and will be used to distract politicians and discourage them from persuing certain issues. Formally legalizing more and more aspects of our society will lead to more and more lawsuits. It won't matter whether the suits are filed with good intentions or used as a weapon. What they will do is bind us in a straightjacket and make us fear living our lives.
"Hillary, Dem Shout it Out at Capitol"
Congressman are still missing the
Congressman are still missing the point on the so-called "Bermuda" tax loophole. Companies do it because taxes are too high. Instead, we're stuck hearing cries that companies are not "paying their fair share." What companies that use tax loopholes are telling Congress is that the current tax code takes too much and is too complicated. They're better off setting up a mail box in Bermuda.This isn't a problem, it's a signal that somethings wrong.
"House Takes Up, but Drops, Bermuda Corporation Issue"
Beware, Leftists! David Horowitz is
Yesterday, the Packers lost the
Yesterday, the Packers lost the services of a player who redefined his position, was popular with both fans and media, and invented the "Lambeau Leap." LeRoy Butler retired after 12 years of service to Green Bay due to an injured shoulder.
Butler, the future Hall of Famer, redefined the safety postion by having the ability to cover receivers, defend the run, and rush the quarterback. Opposing offensive always had to know where Butler was on the field, or he would make them pay.
Butler was also a team leader telling teammates and fans what needed to be said. Reporters were rarely disappointed by his after-game interviews.
Butler loved his time in Green Bay, and the fans returned that love. At his retirement news conference, he said, "Coming out at Lambeau Field, shaking hands with the people in the end zone, that was awesome to me. That meant more to me than anything, that people were actually waiting for me to come out of that tunnel and shake their hand before (a game). . ." Such devotion to the fans led to the spontaneous invention of the Lambeau Leap in 1993.
Butler's fine play, team leadership, and personality will be missed. He doesn't want people to be sad at his retirement. "In the real world I'm a young man, 33, 34 tomorrow. But in dog years and football, you're old, so I just think it's a celebration for me. I don't want anybody to be sad, I want people to be happy."
I'm happy that I got to watch LeRoy Butler play.
"Butler Ends Historic Career"
"Packers Maintain Safety Net"
"Butler Says His Farewells"
"One-of-a-Kind Butler will be Missed"
Suman Palit takes on TAPPED's
Suman Palit takes on TAPPED's lame arguments against putting guns in cockpits.
After the past few weeks
After the past few weeks of 90 degree weather, I'm almost as happy as Brink Lindsey about the 100th anniversary of air conditioning. Lindsey praises its ability to turn a house into a "sweet, crisp, 65-degree heaven," while I can't comprehend driving more than five minutes in a car without AC.
Jim Schwab is fishing the
Jim Schwab is fishing the "microbes" of the blog ecosystem looking for possible lunkers. He discovered TAM and didn't diss it. Thanks, Jim.
July 18, 2002
An enemy bookstore chain interviewed
An enemy bookstore chain interviewed Rush's Geddy Lee. He talks about getting the band back together after a long hiatus and the devestating tragedies that happened to drummer Neil Peart. He also goes into how constant jamming make Vapor Trails a more raw and exciting album.
"What a Rush: Geddy Lee on the New Album and Inner Workings of Rock's Legendary Power Trio"
Here are some thoughts on
Here are some thoughts on the WTC land proposals:
Memorial Promenade's twin 63 story towers echo the original twin towers. It would signify American resiliency.
New traffic tunnels as envisioned by the Memorial Plaza and Memorial Square proposals smell like a Boston Big Dig boondoggle. This doesn't have to cost a fortune and take forever to complete. The New York Daily News reports that the cost of the tunnel could be $2 billion. Double it, and you probably come to the final cost. Also, a tunnel doesn't integrate the area into the surrounding city as well as the tunnel-less proposals.
Memorial Garden is the most striking skyline addition.
Memorial Park is the only proposal that shows a place for sculpture. The Daily News story says the Promenade has a place for a monument. Such a defining American moment deserves grand sculpture. The obelisk in the proposal is a start, but it may not be grand enough to show off American strength and the power of her ideas. A monument will be the most recognizable and historic part of this area. It has to be done right.
I hope that whichever plan is chosen in December, it's not set in stone. If someone want's to build a building pushing 100 stories, they should be allowed. There should be plenty of flexibility in the design of the buildings and park area while sticking to the overall theme. That appears to be Mayor Bloomberg's approach to these plans. "It is the beginning of the process ... and I think that what we finally wind up doing is probably something that today none of us envision," said Bloomberg. A spokesman for the Port Authority also said that the final proposal could incorporate ideas from all the proposals. This is a hopeful beginning.
"A Great Urban Planning Debate"
"Revival for WTC Unveiled"
"Six Proposals for Redeveloping World Trade Center Site"
July 17, 2002
This is not a way
This is not a way to endear me to read a story:
No, a falling stock market and increase public pressure don't affect the people who run companies. I guess Corporate America has no desire to keep their share value up and their stockholders happy. Companies are just full of evil, greedy, ugly white men trying to screw investors. They have no desire to build a prosperous business. Instead, they're just looking for the quick buck.
Sara Teslik, executive director for the Council of Institutional Investors even went so far to say "Even companies opposed to substantive changes in the past are becoming converts. They're showing a lot of courage" No they're not. They're reacting to the market and their own self-interest. Adam Smith's concept of the Invisible Hand is working its way through this crisis.
But I didn't stop at the first sentance of Gary Strauss' story and was rewarded with some instances of companies understanding that rules from Washington would necessarily end the current distrust of public companies.
Some, including Coke and Bank One are now expensing stock options. That's fine for big companies that don't give out lots of options, but not so good for small start-ups who can only intice people to work for them with options.
Then I found this statement from Carol Bowie, director of corporate governance for the Investor Responsibility Research Center:
I'm guessing it's been awhile since Ms. Bowie's last economics class so I'll give it to her straight: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAFL). While stock options aren't treated as an expense their cost is included in the company's earnings-per-share. Companies have to declare how many options are outstanding and the market includes that information into their ratios.
Whether stock options should be an expense is question for accountants. I'm interested in the economic implications. I have an eery feeling that a law forcing the expensing of options would put small companies with little earnings at a disadvantage to bigger companies.
What I'm also interested in is how the Market is forcing companies to change their ways in order to restore investor confidence. Internal reform is an important step, but investors will be more confident in the stock market if criminal CEOs are prosecuted and jailed. That would send a loud message that criminal behavior will result in criminal consequences.
"Companies Take Action to Regain Investor Trust"
Arafat's idea of appointing a
Arafat's idea of appointing a prime minister is too ad hoc and arbitrary. Who's to say the appointed prime minister wouldn't be in Arafat's back pocket? After all Arafat would be the one giving the person the job. Why would Arafat appoint a person would be at odds with him? It wouldn't happen. This is a strange way to build a state with stable and trusted institutions. Where's the attempt to write a constitution and have the Palestinians vote on it a la the U.S. Founding Fathers? I'm not optimistic even though the State Department is.
"Arafat May Appoint Prime Minister"
Regnery Publishing will release Bill
Regnery Publishing will release Bill Gertz's Breakdown. In it Gertz uses his Washington sources to analyze how 9.11 happened and what could have been done to prevent it. If this is anything like his previous book Betrayal expect plenty of blame to be put on Bill Clinton.
Regnery is having an outstanding year with bestsellers. There's Kenneth Timmerman's Shakedown, Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About America, and Michael Rose's Goodbye, Good Men. Not a bad year for a conservative publishing house.
Also, this fall there look to be a number of 9.11 books. Thomas Friedman's Longitudes and Attitudes will come out in September (11th?). Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 will come out in August. CBS News is set to release their multimedia package What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001 also in August. Richard Bernstein takes the NY Times coverage of 9.11 and turns it into the book Out of the Blue set for September. The Times photographers won't be out done with their photo essay A Nation Challenged due out in August.
All these books set for the one year anniversary of 9.11 may make good rememberances of that horrible day. They should be better than the blatant, overly emotional stuff we'll see on television.
This is what Roger Altman
This is what Roger Altman said about the current stock market malaise:
Congressional Democrats should heed the words of one of their own and ignore guys like Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) who made huge sums on Wall Street, but scare away average people from investing.
"Who Should Mete Out Punishment?"
An iPod that holds 1000
An iPod that holds 1000 songs and works with Windows for $299 is very tempting. But the bummer is you need FireWire on your computer. I wonder if there's some device that can connect FireWire with USB?
"Apple Unveils IPod in Windows"
July 16, 2002
Today, the first sketches will
Today, the first sketches will be released of how the World Trade Center should be rebuilt. Victims families may be upset with any plans that don't set aside the footprint of the towers for a memorial. The whole space doesn't need to be set aside. A memorial that shows the resilence of New York City and America could be tastefully built while allowing for development to happen around it that would integrate the area back into the rest of Manhattan. Steven Malanga writes that "downtown?s stakeholders--local businesses and residents--have been equally adamant: they don?t want their neighborhood turned into a necropolis."
Malanga also came out with some of the first ideas about rebuilding last fall.
"Pataki's WTC Monumental Folly"
July 15, 2002
So far, I'm the only
So far, I'm the only person who's RSVP'd for International Blog MEETUP Day (Milwaukee) on Thursday.
Let me add one more
Let me add one more reason to Ronald Baily's list of why wind power won't be a major source of energy: people don't want in their backyards (NIMBY). If the battle that raged in my neck of the woods in any indication, power companies will be finding few places to build windmills.
July 14, 2002
Maureen Dowd actually won a
Maureen Dowd actually won a Pulitzer? After this bitter anti-Bush attempt at humor, I think the committee should ask for their award back.
"Rub-a-Dub in the Hot Tub"
The point behind bunker-busting nukes
The point behind bunker-busting nukes is pretty simple: if bad guys think you can't hit them, then they're not as afraid to do nasty things. Saddam didn't use chemical or biological weapons in the Gulf War because he knew the U.S. was willing to go nuclear. If Saddam thought he was safe from become a part of a new Iraqi sea of glass, he would have used the nasiest stuff he had. It's deterrence that any power-hungry leader can understand.
"Nukes You Can Use"
India and Pakistan could be
India and Pakistan could be one step closer to war after an attack on poor Hindus killed 27.
"India Prepares Full Response to Kashmir Massacre"
July 12, 2002
There's lots of buzz at
There's lots of buzz at The Corner over Rod Dreher's column on conservatives accepting cultural behaviors associated with liberals.
I have rarely let my politics affect my cultural tastes. If I only listened to "conservative" music, I'd be stuck with Ted Nugent and King's X. (The latter is a great band. While not explicitly conservative did make a beautiful anti-abortion song "Legal Kill" and mentioned how much Jimmy Carter taxed them in "Complain.") If I only read "conservative" books, I'd only be reading Shakespere and ignoring Tom Wolfe, the most innovative conservative writer of the 20th Century.
Good art, music, books, and ideas aren't good because they're conservative, liberal, socialist, or libertarian. They're good because they display Man at his best through melody, poetry, logic, or imagination. They're most in tune with Truth.
But beyond cultural taste, there's appearance. I'm a conservative/classical liberal but I refuse to look like one. I've had my ear pierced for over seven years. The only times I haven't worn it is when I worked for a religious conservative group in Minnesota as a lobbyist, and that was only during work hours. I've also have had a goatee most of the time since college. In fact, I have a funny story to tell about my appearance. In 1994, Bill Clinton came to campaign at my school, UMD. When tickets for the rally were being given to students, I was mistaken by a College Democrat for being a sympathizer. What tipped him off was my shaggy hair and goatee. The only thing missing to make me a true Lefty was a hemp bag and some Birkenstocks.
My appearance gives me a little bit of edge that sets me apart from your typical staight-laced conservative. I think conservatives shouldn't be button holed , so I think my appearance does a little to break down stereotypes. Plus it's a display of individualism, a conservative ideal.
According to the White House,
According to the White House, the price of war and increased government spending is a $165 billion deficit. The new number was revised due to a faltering stock market.
"Bush Forecasts 56 Percent Surge in 2002 Deficit"
How preventing CEOs from getting
How preventing CEOs from getting loans from their own companies stops another Enron or WorldCom is beyond me. Sure, it's a nice perk that average people don't get, but CEOs aren't average people, and such a decision should be left to the company's shareholders not Senators like Charles Schumer. Here's why this law would be goofy: if passed, Bill Gates wouldn't be able to get a loan from Microsoft, and he's the biggest shareholder. Other companies have similar situations. Like I said before, this should be up to shareholders and the market can consider it in the company's share price.
Already, politicians are going overboard in trying to do something--anything--to appear to the public they're fighting corporate fraud. Let's first let the investigators and prosecutors do their thing before possible over-regulation is passed. If law enforcement can't convict due to loopholes in current law, then the Congress should go to work. Of course, that's in an ideal world. We live in a world where an election is in the fall, and politicians from both parties want to take the lead on this issue so they can bash their opponents. It's good politics, but not good policy.
"Senate OKs Ban on Executive Loans"
TAM International Correspondent, Eric G.
TAM International Correspondent, Eric G. takes off on my brief comments on recent 9.11 books:
At the risk of adding to an already enormous reading list:
All the above books mentioned are in the foreign policy relm. It offers international perspective that Americans (myself included) have lacked for too long. On top of that, I recommend the works of Bernard Lewis.
Add a nifty comment or e-mail me something profound and you too might make it onto The American Mind.
A Washington Post story tried
A Washington Post story tried to put ex-Harken Energy director and now President Bush in the same evil light as ex-WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers. Rich Galen stops that in its tracks:
"Hark(en)! I Hear the August Story's Roar"
It's amazing to what lengths
It's amazing to what lengths people will do to come to the U.S. Buying visas from a U.S. embassy working in Qatar let some come here to work and live the American dream, but it's an obvious weak point that could be taken advantage of by terrorists (one of the 70 arrested lived with 9.11 terrorists in Virginia).
"7 in Wisconsin Among those Accused in Qatar Visa Fraud"
Another baseball game went into
Another baseball game went into extra innings at Miller Park last night. Only this time there was actually a winner. Note to Bud Selig and the players: This is how fans want games to end--even All-Star Games.
"Brewers Untied in Extra Innings"
July 11, 2002
Joe Morgan calls this year's
Joe Morgan calls this year's All-Star Game "the day baseball once again hit the bottom."
"In a Tie, Baseball Loses Again"
Joe Morgan calls this year's
Joe Morgan calls this year's All-Star Game "the day baseball once again hit the bottom."
"In a Tie, Baseball Loses Again"
Bud Selig's statement that a
Bud Selig's statement that a baseball team may not meet payroll just smacks of being a diversion to draw attention away from his horrible All-Star decision. Why do I suspect that? Because a baseball executive is already saying it won't happen by July 15 but could happen later in the season.
"Selig Says One Team Might Not Make Payroll"
"Baseball Says all Teams Will Meet July 15 Payroll"
Bud Selig isn't the only
Bud Selig isn't the only one who should be publicly ridiculed over the All-Star tie. Local radio talker Mark Belling is reporting that many players were partying it up at a bar in downtown Milwaukee when Selig made the decision to call the All-Star Game a tie after 11 innings. Now we know what Selig, A.L. manager Joe Torre, and N.L. manager Bob Brenly meant when they said they ran out of players. Barry Bonds was on his way to LA for the Espys, and others decided it was better to leave Miller Park and start celebrating even while the game was going on.
Players' excuses were lame and didn't understand the passion of their fans. LA Dodger Shawn Green said, "At that point, you couldn't really go on. This is an exhibition, and we were out of players."
Shawn Green is just wrong. The All-Star Game isn't a mere exhibition game. Exhibition games don't mean anything. An exhibition game is where the Chicago White Sox came into Miller Park last year to give stadium people a dry run at the new stadium before the regular season began. An exhibition game is the annual game in Cooperstown celebrating the newest entrants into the Hall of Fame.
The All-Star Game is more than that. It's a celebration of a great sport's players and history. While way too sentimental (all the kids running around the field was sickly sweet), the pre-game was just such a celebration.
If the All-Star Game is only an exhibition game as Green claims, then why were fans charged $175 per person for a package that included tickets to the Futures game, Home Run Derby, and the game itself. Fans who paid that much (and even more through ticket brokers) didn't think it was just an exhibition game. The only people who think it wasn't a special game are Bud Selig and myopic players.
How can anyone top The Washington Post's Tom Boswell? His opening paragraph is accurate and heartbreaking:
Boswell has lost any faith in Selig as commissioner:
Boswell also writes that Selig refused to stand up to the players and side with the fans who are the reason everyone was there:
But Boswell hopes that good could from this disaster:
"Baseball's Tie That Binds"
"As Baseball's Leader, The Commissioner Strikes Out Again"
Here are few points I'm
Here are few points I'm adding to Mike's thoughts on Bush and Harken:
Bush was so sure of his innocence that he waived attorney-client privilege and let the SEC talk to his lawyers. Unlike WorldCom's Bernie Egger's who took the Fifth before a Congressional committee, Bush held his hands up and said, "Take a look. I've got nothing to hide."
Harken bought Bush's Spectrum 7 but didn't think Bush was important enough to join their management. They put him on the company board and hired him as a consultant because of his name and connections. Bush wasn't on the company board's executive committee so he had limited knowledge of Harken's financials.
Mike also mentions the importance of intent:
From Byron York's story, Bush sold the stock because he needed money to help buy the Texas Rangers. It was an asset available to Bush and he sold it. Unless sinister evidence appears, this seems to be the most reasonable explanation.
"The Facts About Bush and Harken"
Take this anti-traders: globalization is
Take this anti-traders: globalization is good for the poor.
"Globalization Cures Poverty: Study"
Steve Chapman points out that
Steve Chapman points out that maybe new legislation isn't the best answer to corporate irresponsibility. After noting that there are already 300 federal laws dealing with stock fraud, he asks, "Does [Sen.] Leahy really think there's some new form of misbehavior that we've never bothered to outlaw?" Chapman looks to current law as well as market reforms to prevent future scandals.
"Real and Phony Remedies for Corporate Corruption"
After listening to "Destiny" over
After listening to "Destiny" over and over because it's so gorgeous, I figured Zero 7's Simple Things would be a good album, but I had no idea it's as good as Bill Aicher claims:
I'm glad to know Amnesty
I'm glad to know Amnesty International is finally focusing on Palestinian murders instead of Israeli forces intent of stopping future attacks. Better late than never.
"Amnesty Raps Palestinian Attacks on Israelis"
July 10, 2002
Maybe Milwaukee baseball is jinxed.
Maybe Milwaukee baseball is jinxed. The Brewers have been mediocre for almost twenty years. Their new stadium barely got through the state legislature and badly divided the community. Construction was set back a year after a crane fell on it killing three workers. The stadium governing board is arguing with the contractor of the retractable roof over cost overruns. The roof makes strange noises when it opens and closes (it looks like the problems were fixed during the All Star events, since I've heard no mention of roof problems) and leaks when it rains. Now, after a delightful few days where Milwaukee became the center of the baseball universe, it had to be marred with Commission Bud Selig's horrible decision to end last night's All Star game as a tie. Until that fateful decision, the game was full of great catches, outstanding hits, and wicked pitches. It was a great game befitting a great stadium and a great host city. Now, no one will remember Tori Hunter's leaping catch, or Barry Bonds' home run, or Damian Miller's two doubles. Milwaukee's All Star Game is tagged with being a tie--the only other being caused by rain in 1961.
Sure, all the pitchers were used up and no one wanted anyone to get hurt, but no effort was made to end the game with a winner. Neither American League manager Joe Torre nor National League manager Bob Brenly put a position player on the mound to give fans a real ending to the game. Instead, Bud Selig decides that enough was enough and the game would be over after the 11th inning.
Selig's explanation is "Given the health of the players, I had no choice." None of those pitchers could warm up again and go another inning? In this day of sports science and training, the modern pitcher isn't capable of going an extra inning? Old school pitchers like Milwaukee Brave Warren Spahn and St. Louis Cardinal Bob Gibson could have done it. If not a pitcher, then a position player should have stepped to the mound to continue the game. All those players are good athletes. Many of them even pitched in high school or college. After all the pitchers were used, the fans wouldn't have expected great pitching if someone came out from left field to pitch. What they would have gotten was a memorable ending to a memorable game.
Doesn't Selig get that baseball is at a precipice? Doesn't he understand that with a threatened players' strike, steroid allegations, and continued disparities between large and small market teams, that fans are tired of being given short shrift? Selig decided that 11 innings were just fine for an All Star game. He didn't think it was important to give the fans a winner.
People like Brewer great Robin Yount can comfort Selig by thinking that people will understand his decision in time, but they don't put this snub in perspective. The All Star Game isn't about player accolades. It isn't about showing off a city to the rest of the country. The All Star Game is a treat for the fans. It's the one opportunity of the year to have the game's best players all in one spot. It wouldn't be much for a player to take a small risk and give the fans a winner.
Selig talks about being in the middle of a baseball renaissance, and for a brief time in 1998, America was transfixed with the Boys of Summer. Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were spectacular in their chance of Roger Marris' home run record. The Yankees awed us with their record-breaking season. Baseball could have taken advantage of their new found fan devotion, but they didn't. Serious structural problems still plague the game and owners and the players' union don't seem to understand that it needs to be fixed in order to save the game.
Sports reporters like CNNSI's John Donovan can piously say that "It's not really a game. It's a show. Nobody cares about winning." It's easy for him to say because he's probably seen plenty of All Star Games in person. It's old hat to him. But tell that to the guy (or gal) who's been a Brewers season ticket holder for years, spent a lot of money on All Star tickets, and wanted to enjoy the Midsummer Classic. That person understandably feels robbed. That doesn't justify the actions of the morons who threw things onto the field, but I understand their anger. Baseball has stuck knife after knife into the backs of its fans and always assumed they'd come back. Sometime it will stab them and the fans will just (figuratively) die.
Look at soccer. Many critics, me included, don't like watching the sport. But the recent interest in the World Cup in the U.S. (even when the games were shown in the middle of the night or early morning) should worry Baseball. People have sports entertainment options. They don't want to be played for fools, and ending the All Star Game in a tie was another instance of baseball playing fans for fools.
Baseball doesn't have a monopoly on summer sports. Everyone involved in baseball better understand this and get serious or baseball will cease to be America's Pastime.
"Fit to Be Tied"
"Selig Makes a Difficult Call"
"Yount Feels Selig's Pain"
"All-Star Game Ends in 7-7 Tie"
"No Winner or Loser at All-Star Game"
July 09, 2002
I don't see much for
I don't see much for Najeh Davenport's Packer career if it isn't even his first training camp and he's already in trouble with the law.
EBay will buy PayPal. As
EBay will buy PayPal. As a business strategy it makes sense. EBay now can cover more aspects of the online auction process. Buyers and sellers can post, bid, and pay through only one person. It should streamline efforts of major sellers while making it easier for new buyers.
The purchase may cause fear in some EBay users. They may feel that since EBay now has PayPal and will eliminate their Billpoint payment system, that choice will be strangled. I don't think average buyers and sellers will be worried. EBay's biggest clients will make the loudest complaints. Then there's Evan who worries about PayPal reducing its innovation. All EBay has to do to avoid ill will is to reassure people that other online payment systems can still be used. Such openness is an EBay strength.
What I noticed from EBay's purchase is it's following Amazon who has an internal payment system that customers use for auctions, used products, and non-Amazon payments (those begging boxes on many weblogs). Unless Buy.com starts making some inroads on Amazon's new products turf (and their current price war could do some damage) I see online consumer commerce becoming a war between Amazon and EBay. While each company does have their own niches--Amazon sells mostly new stuff, while EBay dominates the used market--each is moving into the other's turf. The quest for growth will continue to push these companies.
"EBay Pays for PayPal"
"EBay To Buy PayPalFor $1.5B"
"S&P Upgrades eBay and PayPal on $1.5 Billion Stock Deal"
July 07, 2002
I've thought about doing a
I've thought about doing a little compare/constrast among the recent books responding to 9.11. I've consumed Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About America (outstanding) and Bill Bennett's Why We Fight has been tempting me. Maybe after I'm done with Michael Novak's The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. After reading Michael Lind's review, I'll avoid Roger Rosenblatt's Where We Stand: 30 Reasons for Loving Our Country. The book is filled with "conventional liberal opinions," not much more than Rosenblatt's bland PBS commentaries.
Lind ends up prefering D'Souza over Bennett because of the latter's religiosity. For Lind, that doesn't lend well to persuading centrists and progressives--a vital point in Lind's opinion.
D'Souza wrote a smart polemic that transcends the events surrounding 9.11. The ideas D'Souza takes on are the same ones that have opposed Americanism. Islamic fundamentalism, the Left, and conservative pessimists all are wary of the vibrant, dynamic, optimistic nature of America. Decadence, selfishness, and change happen here faster and with more intensity than anywhere else on earth. But what American freedom also allows is people to live their lives without too much outside interference. If one wants to live as a fundamentalist Christian conservative, he can. A whole parallel culture has arisen to satisfy those desires. If one wants to live a life of sexual and hedonistic abandon, there are the S&M freaks in many cities. The loss of control and the exposure to different ways of life may be what really disturbs America's critics.
"Three Patriotic Sages Respond to a Defining Moment"
July 06, 2002
James Buchanan sees expansive government
James Buchanan sees expansive government intruding on the ability of people to be moral. He writes:
In honor of July 4th,
In honor of July 4th, Professor Gary Galles picked out some marvelous quotes by Thomas Jefferson.
"Jefferson on American Liberty"
July 03, 2002
Usually the flag is flown
Usually the flag is flown upside down at times in emergency. Aaron Zelman, president of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) thinks now is such a time. The emergency is the attack on the Second Amendment.
The American Legion is upset with Zelman's call, and they have a point. The Second Amendment, and with it our free nation, isn't in emminent danger. In fact, the Second Amendment is enjoying a resurgence in support. A bunch of states allow citizens to carry concealed weapons. John Ashcroft and the Bush administration believe that the Second Amendment in an individual, rather than, a collective right. Work by economist John Lott has been well received. And there's the case of Michael Bellesiles' Arming America. The book has been found to contain substantial errors. Outside the ivory tower, Bellesiles' reputation is now toast.
While eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, the Second Amendment is not in danger. It's actually winning.
"Upside-Down Flag Angers Veterans"
This judge is making law
This judge is making law from the bench instead of interpreting it. Since the founders supported capital punishment, there's no way they would have considered the death penalty to be "cruel and unusual punishment." Even though I think the ruling is wrong, I'm oppose to the death penalty. It's late, so I won't explain my position, but maybe I'll do it in the near future.
With school vouchers' constitutionality now
With school vouchers' constitutionality now settled, Thomas Sowell beats back the rest of the Left's points of opposition.
In the Milwaukee area, we've
In the Milwaukee area, we've been suffering through a bunch of 90+ days. No problem, since I've got air conditioning in the house, car, and work. What hasn't been said is the lack of warnings about rolling blackouts over excessive electricity use. The past few years have been quite annoying. Last year and the year before, some companies with special contracts with Wisconsin Electric had to shut down because there wasn't enough juice to go around. But this year there's been no warnings or forced shutdowns. On a national scale, this time last year was the Great California Electricity Crisis. This year, not a peep about blackouts or price gouging for that matter. In Wisconsin, the reason is the nuclear power plants aren't under repair and are producing at full capacity. It's probably a similar reason in California. Oh, what a difference a year makes.
July 01, 2002
Probably no more posts for
Probably no more posts for the rest of the day. After work, I'm off to Summerfest to see The Gufs.
The USDA won't allow private
The USDA won't allow private labs to test for Chronic Wasting Disease, a Mad Cow-like disease that affects deer. William "Butch" Johnson thinks the feds won't allow private testing because the labs could then test for Mad Cow. Any detection of the latter could cause a "tremendous panic in the country."
"Testing of Deer to be Limited"