November 30, 2002
HUMOR: Saddam is a cruel,
HUMOR: Saddam is a cruel, cruel man.
"Iraq Unleashes Weapons of Mass Media"
Michael Kinsley takes us behind
Michael Kinsley takes us behind the scenes of the National Book Awards. Note: He didn't read all 402 books nominated.
Salon has something on TIA.
Salon has something on TIA. And it's actually funny.
Garrett Soden will be coming
Garrett Soden will be coming out with a book, Falling: How Our Greatest Fear Became Our Greatest Thrill - A History, next year. Howard Owens interviewed him.
Yesterday, I inadvertantly did not
Yesterday, I inadvertantly did not buy anything. I toiled through a day of crowds and questions. After my shift was over, I went home. Bummer, I wanted to stick it to these guys.
Howard Owens on poetry: To
Howard Owens on poetry:
November 28, 2002
Have a good Thanksgiving everyone.
Have a good Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy the company of friends and family and savor the delicious food people have spent hours preparing. Give thanks for all the blessings we've been given. God bless.
My TiVo doesn't think I'm
November 27, 2002
Tom Nugent covers tax cut
Tom Nugent covers tax cut ideas. No mention of my suggestion to eliminate taxes on dividends.
Since I'm on taxes, here's The Jane Galt Tax Plan.
In the same year, two
In the same year, two giants of 20th Century political philosophy died. Robert Nozick passed away in January, and now John Rawls died this past Sunday. About Rawls' work, Jacob Levy writes,
Richard Epstein writes,
"John Rawls, Towering Figure of Political Philosophy; at 81"
Next week, the U.S. will
Next week, the U.S. will call for eliminating tariffs on all industrial goods by 2015. After a year of going backward on the free trade front, this is a good sign. One thing I noticed is the plan will be announced by Robert Zoellick, the US Trade Representative, and Donald Evans, the commerce secretary. No where to be seen is Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. As a face for the administration's economic policy, O'Neill's been invisible. Does the administration have so little faith in him as a salesman? If so, then they need to find a replacement, someone who's bold and a loud defender for free market policies. Calling Larry Kudlow!
New York Attorney General Elliot
New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's investigations on corporate scandal have been more effective than anything done by Washington Democrats. He has no intention of brutally punishing Wall Street firms. He told Noam Scheiber, "This is not a Robin Hood effort." He's taken an intellectually honest fraud angle and reaped a big settlement from Merrill Lynch.
Think about Elliot Spitzer on the Democratic national ticket in 2004. I see little possibility of him running for President, but he would make an interesting pro-consumer, pro-investor, pragmatic VP candidate. I don't think it would be a wild stretch for President Bush to nominate him as SEC chief. After the problems with Harvey Pitt, a Spitzer nomination would kill any future corporate scandal attacks from Democrats.
Spitzer would certainly be a different kind of Democrat than AlGore who is going farther and farther to the Left the more times he's being interviewed.
Glenn points out how much
Glenn points out how much of the blogosphere is having a hissy-fit over TIA. "Stay the FUCK out of my shopping cart!" is what shellshocking had to say. Note: when writing a letter to your Congressman or Senator, don't use the word "fuck."
Here are a couple of points that won't soothe passions but do inject much-needed facts:
Patrick echoes my waste-of-time feeling:
One final bit of speculation (I want to take off and do some Christmas shopping): if Clay Shirky is right and databases will one day use our DNA as a marker, then it will be extremely easy (and probably legal) for business to collect personal information. A mortgage company would be able to see if you've spent (what they consider) too much at Amazon. Airlines would know what countries you've traveled to. A family court could find out if you've been hiding money in a secret bank account to keep it away from you divorced wife. Such "Peer-to-Peer Collation of Data" along with the video cameras watching more of our public spaces will make our future more transparent. Like file-trading, this technology will be hard to stop. Technology brings change, and we'll all have to adapt. While I laugh at the weblogging hysteria, I'm satisfied that the U.S. won't become a police state simply because there are so many passionate people willing to stand up in opposition.
"DNA, P2P, and Privacy"
November 25, 2002
I've done lots of posting
I've done lots of posting tonight. It wouldn't have been so much if I had read the time right for a late-afternoon showing of Die Another Day. Rod Dreher didn't like, but one's critical opinion never stopped me.
Should we knock Jacques Chirac
Should we knock Jacques Chirac for reading a magazine during a NATO session? No. Not standing behind the U.S. on Iraq is a much better reason to blast Chirac. After watching C-SPAN for 10 minutes, you'll find that most government types are boring. I feel for Chirac. Sitting for hours while the defense minister of Belgium talks about their force levels and defense spending would cause me to doze off. Kathryn Jean Lopez does note that if President Bush was caught with a magazine--say Sports Weekly--he'd be skewered in the press, and it would become an international incident.
The bin Laden letter makes
The bin Laden letter makes it clear that Jewish hatred and the U.S. support of Israel is the foundation for Osama's war on the U.S. Any American is considered a valid target in his war because we pay taxes and vote for leaders that support Israel. What he wants from the U.S. is to follow Islam; abandon our "oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery" i.e. much of our modern way of life with its faults and benefits; and abandon Israel and remove ourselves from the rest of the world. Sounds like Pat Buchanan's dream.
Coach Mike Sherman isn't sorry
Coach Mike Sherman isn't sorry he confronted Warren Sapp over his block on Chad Clifton after yesterday's Packers loss. "It's just the way I am. I thought I should tell him how I felt about it. I didn't want it to be confrontational. I just wanted to say what I felt was important," said Sherman. Tampa Bay coach, Jon Gruden said, "I don't believe you approach a player after the game." Sapp showed little class when he said, "If I was 25 years old and didn't have a kid and a conscience, I would have given him (Sherman) a butt-kicking right there at the 30-yard line." And there's this quote: "I was a heat-seeking missile. Boom. Boom. Boom. And I hit him [Clifton]."
"NFL Says Sapp's Hit on Clifton was Legal"
"Tampa Bay 21, Green Bay 7"
"Sapp, Pack Coach Square Off with Barbs"
"NFL Says no Fines for Sapp, Sherman"
Linus Awuhe, Zamfara chairman of
Linus Awuhe, Zamfara chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, makes a striking critique of sharia (Islamic law) in Nigeria:
A backer of sharia approved of how the Taliban ran Afganistan. "There are one or two things I have an argument with, but generally I think they did very, very good," he said.
The story is a sober look at strict Islamic law in practice.
"Crime and Holy Punishment"
This isn't a surprise: after
This isn't a surprise: after weakening the embargo on Cuba, U.S. companies have jumped at the chance to export to the Communist nation. Lowering trade barriers increases commerce, but will it hasten Castro's iron grip? The U.S. trades with China and Vietnam, but Communist Parties there won't relinquish power anytime soon.
"U.S. Exports to Cuba Surge Over Year Ago"
At the top of the
At the top of the White House's economic wish list is pushing up the 2001 tax cut. One idea that should be pushed is cutting taxes on stock dividends. Right now, if a company pays out a dividend that money is taxed twice. First, it's taxed because it's a corporate profit. Then it's taxed because it's income to the stock holder. Because of this double taxation, many companies--especially techs--don't pay dividends. Microsoft has over $40 billion in cash and short-term investments. Such a large pool of money is an intimidating weapon to other companies. MS has the ability to buy new technology and spend lots on research. How do you think MS can afford to lose money on every X-Box they sell? Now, if dividends weren't taxed twice, MS shareholders might want some of that big stash of cash. Instead of MS collecting interest on the money, they might want to do something else with the dividends like buy a house, pay off debt, or diversify their investments. Stockholders might want MS to actively use the accumulated money.
Cisco is another example of a company with a large stash of money in the bank ($12.5 billion in cash and short-term investments). Over the past year, that amount has increased 76% ($7.2 billion in the quarter ending 10.27.01). Maybe they're preparing for further hardship in the tech sector. Maybe they're looking to buy other companies. If dividends weren't taxed twice, Cisco could have boosted their share price. [Note: In the past few months, I sold my tiny, tiny stake in Cisco, but still indirectly own it (as well as MS) through NASDAQ's QQQ index.]
Issuing dividends also is a protection against accounting scams. If a company doesn't issue dividends, its investors depend solely on a rising stock price to collect on their investment. In order for the stock price to rise, income must grow. By manipulating revenue and expense numbers, companies can make it appear that income is growing faster than it really is. If companies paid out periodic dividends, then smoke and mirrors wouldn't be effective. Investors would focus on the dividend. If it increased because the business was doing well, then the stock would go up. If it decreased, the stock would go down and investors would wonder what was going on. The dividend couldn't be manipulated because it's an actual payment to stockholders--it's real money.
Right now, the tax code is a disincentive for stockholders to ask for dividends. You might like some of that excess cash locked away in a CD or money market instead of incorporated into a company's stock price, but with a 15% corporate income tax and a 28% personal income tax (and that's just the feds)) taking big chunks out of it you take your chances with market risk. Instead of hoping that the right people get on a national accounting oversight board, ending double taxation on dividends would let personal self-interest oppose corporate corruption.
"Bush Plans Economic Stimulus"
Glenn Reynolds quotes from a
Glenn Reynolds quotes from a recent law article on international law. The U.N. Charter has been a failure at restraining interstate war because there is no greater force available to prevent states from fighting each other. It's like the Kellogg-Briand Pact that renounced war as a national policy. Both are paper documents that mean little if the signatories want to ignore them.
Would I want the U.N. to have an army to prevent war? No! The U.N. isn't democratic and isn't accountable to individual citizens. In fact, it's anti-democratic with members' treatment toward the U.S. and Israel. The U.N. does an awful job with the billions they get every year promoting radical environmental schemes and welfare statist policies. To give this organization an army would be a threat to liberty.
Soon-to-be ex Congressmen Bob Barr
Soon-to-be ex Congressmen Bob Barr (R-GA) and Dick Armey (R-TX) have been hired by the ACLU to consult on privacy, surveillance, and national security issues. I'm sure they'll be keeping an eye on TIA's progress.
UPDATE: In a USA Today story, the ACLU is taking a pragmatic political approach by hiring Barr and Armey. Realizing Republicans may be in power for some time Laura Murphy said, "We have to be realistic about what party's in power. If we're going to affect federal policy . . . we have to have access."
The Boston Globe Ideas section
The Boston Globe Ideas section ran a story on Tyler Cowen's latest book Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World's Cultures.
"The Globalist Cookbook"
November 24, 2002
Donations to feed the Israeli
Donations to feed the Israeli army. No, it isn't some Zionist conspiracy involving Pizza Hut. Instead, it's a grassroots effort for freedom-loving people to support a nation under attack.
Sen. Shelby (R-AL) correct to
Sen. Shelby (R-AL) correct to expect another al-Qaeda attack. There's no reason to think that with the U.S. being such a large country that we wouldn't get attacked. We're their enemy, and until we destroy them, they will continue to come after us.
"Senator Says Attack on U.S. Likely"
November 23, 2002
Charlie Sykes discovered signs that
Charlie Sykes discovered signs that state taxes will go up despite Gov-elect Jim Doyle's pledge not to raise them.
Hans Blix as Mr. Magoo.
November 22, 2002
Michael Crichton's Prey sounds entertaining:
Michael Crichton's Prey sounds entertaining: mesmerizing science and plenty of action. But there's some cheesy parts. There's this from Jim Holt's NY Times review:
Nanobots that can quickly learn English and do it with a sense of humor. If this is anywhere close to possible, Mankind is doomed.
"Prey: Attack of the Nanoswarms"
The Daypop Top 40 is
The Daypop Top 40 is alive again. Whew, I was starting to get the shakes.
Nigerian Muslims, demonstrating that theirs
Nigerian Muslims, demonstrating that theirs is a religion of peace, have killed 100 in riots over the Miss World pageant and a related newspaper article. The pageant has been moved to London.
"Miss World leaves Nigeria"
I'm posting this from a
I'm posting this from a Road Runner kiosk that uses MS Internet Explorer 6.0. Massive chunks of TAM are missing. If any of you are using IE 6.0 and don't see the set of links down the right side, e-mail me (sean--at--theamericanmind dot com) or leave a comment. If you're using some other browser and TAM looks incomplete, let me know that too. Thanks.
UPDATE: I'm home and TAM looks fine on IE 5.5. I'm guessing the Road Runner kiosk has some goofy setup for IE 6.0. If you use IE 6.0, let me know if TAM looks alright--chunks of text don't appear to be missing and the blogroll is along the right side.
Bravo, Bob! 30 years of
Bravo, Bob! 30 years of intellectual integrity and a committment to free markets and free people has made the conservative movement deeply indebted to you.
UPDATE: R. Emmett Tyrrell calls Bartley's speech, "the finest public address that I have heard on history in my adult life."
November 21, 2002
An Aegis cruiser successfully shot
An Aegis cruiser successfully shot down a missile. How realistic the test was, I don't know, but progress on the missile defense front is being made.
No surprise with Robert Caro
What I know for sure is Caro won't get on the prestigious TAM non-fiction book list. Master may be a fine book, but it's big, and I won't have time to finish it before the end of the year--a requirement for consideration. Sorry, Bob, too many other books caught my eye. Better luck with the final volume of your LBJ bio.
Kurt Cobain was even more
Kurt Cobain was even more messed up than I could have imagined. Here are some samples from his published journals:
Then there's his recollection of a trist with a mentally disabled girl in high school:
How about his idea for a video for the song "Rape Me:"
And there's Kurt pissed at the "in" crowd in high school:
This guy's a cult figure with an album (Nevermind) many claim is one of the best in rock history.
UPDATE: LCC mentioned a review of the book in the comments. Here's the weblog. You'll have to page down to 11.11 because the permalink isn't working.
I thought Andrew Sullivan lives
I thought Andrew Sullivan lives on the East Coast. Then how can he post on Friday, 11.22 when it isn't Friday there yet (note the time of this post)? Methinks Andrew has a problem with his software.
Drudge has joined Fox News
Drudge has joined Fox News and Bill Safire in blowing TIA out of proportion. Fox News' headline reads, "Pentagon to Track American Consumer Purchases." Near the end of the story it says, "The database is not yet ready and Aldridge said it will not be available for several years." Big Brother isn't eminent. Yesterday, I posted a good portion of Undersecretary Aldridge's remarks on TIA. TIA wouldn't be run by the Pentagon.
Also, personal information would still be protected by the Privacy Act.
This is not to say that TIA is good or would be effective. It just shouldn't be blown out of proportion. People don't need to be unnecessarily scared by a project that is only being researched and is years from implementation. Vigilance, yes, but not hysteria.
Scott Adams on management books:
Scott Adams on management books:
Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel
November 20, 2002
The 2010 Super Bowl in
The 2010 Super Bowl in Green Bay? It's Stephen Hayes' dream, but in a city of around 50,000, there would be few hotel rooms for the media, fans, and corporate guests. I'd love to see a cold weather Super Bowl on the Frozen Tundra, but it'll never happen.
Paleos will be screaming at
Paleos will be screaming at their computer screens when reading this article by Jonah Goldberg. He writes,
"Americans Enjoy More Freedom Today than Ever"
HUMOR: I wonder if the
HUMOR: I wonder if the warhead is more nutritious than tree bark.
"N. Korean Nuke Eaten by Hungry Mob"
ABC, ABC, I'm right here
ABC, ABC, I'm right here (the guy that doesn't look like Pat Buchanan).
"ABC Seeks Sexiest Person in America"
Someone please tell Sen. Jim
Someone please tell Sen. Jim Jeffords to take his milk compact, stick it up his rectum, and go back to Vermont. Even if he grovels to Sen. Lott on the floor of the Senate, I don't want him back in the GOP.
Defense Undersecretary Pete Aldridge spoke
Reporters questioned Aldridge on Poindexter's role with the project:
As for the Big Brother aspect of TIA, Aldridge told reporters,
For now, TIA is only a research project. If the government finds the technology feasible it would be turned over to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For more wide-scale surveillance the Privacy Act would have to be modified. If that's attempted, there's where the big political battle would be.
A big problem with TIA is that in order to find a pattern of suspicious behavior, lots and lots of data from innocent people will have to be collected. Even if a suspicious man from Saudi Arabia enters the U.S. with a valid visa, watching him would require gathering plenty of data from non-suspicious people. How they would be protected is a legitimate concern. Maybe through this research, the government will find that such extensive data gathering and analysis is not fruitful. I'm not really worried about TIA now because it's only an "experimental prototype," and the Privacy Act would have to be altered for TIA to be put in use.
Dinesh D'Souza points out that
Dinesh D'Souza points out that we live in the real world and that foreign policy sometimes must accept a lesser evil:
Any serious criticism of Bush's foreign policy (both on the Right and Left) must consider constraints and alternatives.
The Mother Jones article totes
The Mother Jones article totes the Left line for the Democrats' failure in the elections:
Rick Perlstein wanted Democrats to go on a Lefty rampage: call for more health care spending and more regulation of business. On the first plank, he's flat wrong. In Oregon, voters could have approved a government-run health care plan, but it was soundly defeated. Voters may want more health care spending, but they don't want the government as their HMO. On the second plank there really isn't any evidence that voters want more business regulation. Sure, they may not trust business leaders. I don't trust business leaders when they yap about their current quarter numbers. I want to see longer-term success instead of short-term spin. Yet just because voters don't trust business leaders that doesn't mean they want more regulations. Democrats tried to use corporate scandal as an election weapon earlier this year. They got no traction with it and dropped it.
"The 'Safety' Trap"
November 19, 2002
The local Greens want an
The local Greens want an investigation of the Racine rave bust.
UPDATE: Sorry, I messed up the link. It looks good now. It's not a big deal since it is only the Greens, but it's the latest I found on the story.
PaleoWatch: My latest find highlighting
It's one thing to be critical of someone else's ideas; it's another to lob snarky insults. That's the approach of the paleos. They ridicule conservatives (Gottfried called Bill Buckley "senile."), label their opposition "neoconservatives"--as if that's suppose to be an insult--and claim to be victims (Gottfried didn't get tenure because of "neo-conservative lobbying"). Paleos are bitter because they aren't leading the conservative charge. That doesn't make for the most pleasant of reading.
"Jonah, We Hardly Knew Ye!"
November 18, 2002
Lee Bockhorn comments on a
Lee Bockhorn comments on a recent Time article on the unborn and the book that inspired it, From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds:
Bockhorn then makes an interesting case that the GOP should quickly vote on banning partial-birth abortions:
"When Life Begins"
Orin Kerr over at the
Near the end of the Washington Times story Kerr linked to it says TIA would require changing the Privacy Act of 1974. Even if the bill is passed with TIA unchanged, Safire's fears wouldn't happen.
Not only the press, but many, many webloggers jumped on this story. Last week, Safire's column was at the top of blogdex for three days. I don't remember any web page staying on top that long. I'm glad the story got some attention. Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty, but this was mild hysteria.
Wisconsin teachers won't be going
Wisconsin teachers won't be going on strike. A majority of union locals rejected that idea which was floated in a pre-Election Day memo. On the local level, many teachers realize that if they want to be treated as professionals they should act like professionals. Someone should tell the union leadership.
Charlie Sykes also goes into the lack of teachers' professionalism in some Milwaukee area schools.
"Taking it out on the Kids"
November 17, 2002
The most interesting part of
The most interesting part of Tom Krannawitter's assessment of the California GOP is his condemnation of the intitiative process:
Note that Prop 13 was a watershed political moment that could be argued let to Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980.
"A Political Forecast"
Scott McCollum gets it right
Scott McCollum gets it right when he points out that taxing Internet sales is not about states losing tax revenue. It's about states spending too much and looking for new sources of money.
If Net retailers were required to collect state sales taxes there's no reason consumers would buy as much as they do online. One plus for Net shopping is that you save a little by not paying sales tax. I don't have any sympathy for Gov. Mike Leavitt (R-UT) and his pro Net taxers because government isn't entitled to a set amount of money just like I'm not entitled to a set wage even if my employer goes bankrupt.
Germany has a stalled economy
Germany has a stalled economy with unemployment and budget deficits creeping upward. Gerhard Schröder's solution: raise taxes. Not even Paul Krugman would support this. Taking more money out of productive hands and into non-productive hands is certain to simulate the economy--at least that must be the thinking of this "free market socialist" (the NY Times' label, not mine). Germans are rightfully upset. Schröder's poll ratings are falling, and "The Tax Song" is a big hit.
Germany's problem is it's regulations. It's tough and expensive to hire and fire workers. Subsidies and taxes distort markets and build constituencies to prevent them from being changed. One man hit it on the head when he said, "Holland is a land of traders. They are flexible and aggressive. We Germans are too rigid to compete."
"Schröder's Tax Surprise Angers Many Germans"
TAM is accessible in China.
TAM is accessible in China. To all my Chinese readers: your government doesn't think my thoughts, rants, and raves are a threat to the stability of your country. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I don't want you to be denied by musings. On the other hand, I wonder if I'm being provocative enough?
November 16, 2002
Little sympathy from the Racine
Little sympathy from the Racine Journal Times editors over the recent rave bust.
I think it was an irrational fear by the police that drugs like Ecstasy and Ketamine are so much worse than alcohol. Sure, they might do more bodily damage, but even the editors said these drugs induce "feelings of peacefulness and empathy." That's different than the rowdiness associated with alcohol.
A few weeks ago, thousands of drunken people made a mess of State Street in Madison, WI, yet only 16 people were arrested. A double standard?
The Green Bay News-Chronicle called Racine police "chumps" and went on to write,
"The Rant over Rave Falls on Deaf Ears"
"Police Quell Halloween Party Riot"
Despite Bill Safire's fears, the
Despite Bill Safire's fears, the Reuters reports that the homeland security department bill doesn't contain a provision for the Pentagon to engage in domestic electronic surveillance. Instead, "the proposed agency would combine several surveillance efforts under one roof, from airline-passenger screening programs to immigration databases and criminal financial investigations. A office would oversee and coordinate their efforts." That in itself might not be a good thing, but it's a far cry from Safire's claim:
"Homeland Security Bill Raises Net Privacy Issues"
Drudge reports that Bob Woodward's
Drudge reports that Bob Woodward's new book Bush at War is being "tightly held" by Simon and Schuster. It's being so tightly held that my store has had boxes of books for a few days. We can't sell them until next week, but no one could stop me or any other employee from popping open a box and reading it from cover to cover. To Drudge's credit, he picks out some interesting quotes. Karl Rove's comparison of a Yankees game with a Nazi rally is sure to be embarrassing. What I'm interested in is the tension between the Powell and Rumsfeld/Cheney camps on how aggressive to be in the Islamist War.
Teachers are using students as
Teachers are using students as pawns in their contract negotiations. Some are withholding letters of recommendation until they get a contract. One student said, "I understand why they are fighting, since they do need a contract. But hurting the students is what I don't understand." This is a part of a state-wide teachers union out of control. A few weeks back a memo got out where the union threatened to illegally strike if Jim Doyle didn't get elected governor (he won). These are just obnoxious tactics to try to pry as much money out of the taxpayers as possible.
"Teacher Job Action Puts College Letters on Hold"
November 15, 2002
I'll join Colin Powell in
I'll join Colin Powell in rejecting hateful, unthinking statements like Jimmy Swaggart's:
It must not make any difference to Swaggart whether the Muslim is a U.S. citizen or not.
Not everything published by the
Not everything published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute is goofy paleo diatribe even though it's run by Anarchy Lew Rockwell. Christopher Coyne notes that economic classes in the U.S. are momentary snapshots. We live in a dynamic society where poor become rich and rich become poor. Coyne then defends economic inequality because
Coyne not only rips Paul Krugman, he defends economic liberty. It's good reading.
"Inequality Serves a Social and Economic Purpose"
The weblog is an open
The weblog is an open writing type. As such, it allows for a multiplicity of variations. From warbloggers, to personal journalers, to techbloggers, weblogs allow a host of people to rant, rave, argue, and comment on anything that catches their eye. As Lynn writes:
Some like the variety in the blogosphere. I like it that I can cheaply write my thoughts about anything, and anyone with on the Web can read it. That's exciting.
While Tora, Tora, Tora (great
While Tora, Tora, Tora (great movie) will be shown on 12.7 in Los Angeles, the controversey is a reason why government shouldn't be in the movie-owning business.
The White House may be
The White House may be scared of appearing to be in the pocket of pro-lifers, but Ken Connor of the Family Research Council points out the importance of the pro-life vote to last week's GOP victories:
With the new Congress, we'll see a new ban on gruesome partial-birth abortions--whether it will meet constitutional muster is another question. Pro-lifers won't need to throw their weight around. They'll get a good chunk of their agenda passed despite Conner's claim that GOP leaders told pro-lifers to "Get lost!"
The biggest effect of a story like this is that it scares the pro-abortion people to death (pun intended). NARAL and their ilk have lots of pull quotes for months of fundraising letters. But it might not matter much if their future scaremongering is as effective as what they did this year.
"Lott's Promise to Bring Up Abortion Worries Bush Aides"
Lively comments on the Racine
Lively comments on the Racine rave bust. Here's the most important take on it, mine! Anyone who's even glimpsed the rave/electronic dance culture knows drugs are a significant part of it. Not all people who attend raves, go clubbing, or make dance music do drugs, but many do. Just open up any issue of Urb, Mixer, or Ministry magazines and you'll find articles where party goers and musicians talk about getting high on various substances. So, unless they were totally new to the electronic dance scene, anyone attending the Racine rave should have known some people there were consuming illegal drugs. It's akin to going to a high school party just to yap with friends and flirt with members of the opposite sex. It's a good guess that underage drinking is taking place.
Now, that doesn't mean the police were justified in ticketing everyone who attended the party, nor does it justify any overreaction by the police. What should have happened is the police should have arrested those found with drugs while the rest were questioned and released. The police should have done what routinely happens when an underage beer party is discovered: underage drinkers are fined while everyone else is told to leave. The rave wasn't more dangerous than a beer party.
November 14, 2002
The Racine Journal Times has
The Racine Journal Times has jumped onto the weblogging bandwagon. Tundra Talk and Woelfel on the Web both cover sports and a weblog called Inside the JT is supposed to be a behind the scenes look at the newspaper when it starts up. It's pretty impressive for a small newspaper, and it beat the Goliath of the area, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which has no weblogs to speak of. Hey, JS guys, want a fast jump start into the weblogging world? I'm sure we could work out something reasonable to get TAM aboard. *HINT* *HINT*
November 13, 2002
Glenn Reynolds posted on a
Glenn Reynolds posted on a recent rave bust where 441 people were fined $968 dollars for "patron of a disorderly house." Like Reynolds, I see this as a police overreach because out of the hundreds of people at the Racine, WI party, only three were arrested for drug possession.
In a letter to the Racine Journal Times rave-goer, Andy Nelson [first letter] described what was going on before the police bust:
In another letter to the editor, Judd Lauger [first letter] accuses the police of threatening people with mace.
And to answer Glenn's question about electronic music at Packers games: they play it, but they find the cheeziest, lamest stuff around.
"441 Citations Could Mean $968 for Each Rave-Goer"
"Partygoers, Organizers Say Police Overreacted with Mass Citations"
Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy,
Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey got airports named after them, and Sen. Robert Bryd (D-WV) probably has half the paved roads in West Virginia named after him. How does Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) want to honor Sen. Paul Wellstone? By slapping his name on a housing project. How fitting.
By declaring his independence, new
By declaring his independence, new Minnesota Senator Dean Barkley ended up backing the Democrats by default. Barkley knew that by playing one side with the other he could have shaped the Senate according to his supposed centrist ideology (if such a beast even exists). He talked to other known independents: John Anderson, Lowell Weicker, and Sen. Jim Jefford (I-VT). All of them are liberals. Where were the discussions with ex-Republican Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot?
Rush was right: Centrist is the new name for a moderate; and a moderate is just a euphanism for a wimpy liberal. Barkley has shown his true political colors this week even if he will only be a "minor footnote to history."
"Substitute Senator Begins a 'Surreal' 57 Days in Office"
"Barkley Staying True to His Party"
Stephen Hayes wants Bill Moyers
Stephen Hayes wants Bill Moyers to spew anti-Republican cant daily.
"Preaching to the Choir" [via Power Line]
Eugene Volokh gets some nice
Eugene Volokh gets some nice publicity in this AP story on a Supreme Court case dealing with Net filtering in libraries.
"Supreme Court to Hear Web Porn Case"
November 12, 2002
Saddam's son would allow U.N.
Saddam's son would allow U.N. inspectors into Iraq but with conditions--"limits on certain points" to use Odai Saddam Hussein's words. That won't cut it with President Bush who said yesterday, "Saddam Hussein will fully disarm and prove that he has done so, or America will lead a coalition to disarm him."
"Saddam's Son: Admit U.N. Inspectors"
I rarely Fisk. Some find
I rarely Fisk. Some find the process cathartic. For me, I rant and rave at my computer screen as I'm reading something truly ridiculous. After finishing, I can't remember what clever phrases I screamed out. Sometime, I should just record myself surfing and offer that as a post.
Anyway, Bill Moyer's take on the 2002 election is short and has enough juicy material to Fisk it to hell. Here we go.
Moyers had to toss in the McCarthy jab. Dirtying the Republicans with a man who's been dead for years is a fine rhetorical flourish.
Moyers can't plainly state that the GOP opposes abortion just as he can't plainly state is support for it. For him, it's alright to kill children in the womb (or practically outside the womb by partial-birth abortions). Another way of stating Moyers' point is a GOP controlled government has a mandate to protect the unborn. Not even the die-hard right-to-life people think this. This is just a scare tactic Moyers is using to frighten liberal and moderate women.
Moyers could have said he opposed Bush's tax cut because people who earned more income (the rich) will benefit more. He doesn't say that, but instead tries to make it look like the tax code is a transfer program. Tax cuts don't take money from Peter and give it to Paul. That's call welfare--be it social or corporate. Tax cuts allow people to keep more of their own money instead of sending it to be wasted in Washington.
Yes, yes, yes. Moyers finally figured it out. Conservatives and the GOP want to drink dirty water, breath dirty air, and let bald eagles and spotted owls go extinct. If they could, they'd pave over Yellowstone and build a really big Wal-Mart on top of it.
I'm being facetious because claiming a major political party wants to destroy the environment is intellectually dishonest. The difference between the parties isn't one of ends but means. The Democrats prefer highly regulated approaches that cost a lot and stomp on property rights, while the GOP looks for more innovative ideas.
Moyers confuses an approach to the law with a political agenda. He opposes Justices Scalia's, Thomas', and Renquists' opinions where they regard the text of the constitution and the Founders' intent as their foundation. Bush nominees have a good chance of stopping liberal judges from legislating from the bench. That's something Moyers doesn't mind as long as they do it in the name of "progressive social justice."
Rapture? Are these the end times? Is Moyers holding back on the biggest story of them all? Is he in cahoots with Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins to sell more Left Behind books? No. He just doesn't know much about that strand of evangelical Protestantism that believes God will take a portion of His flock to Heaven leaving others to live through the end times. Moyers uses the term to mock his political opponents. What it is is religious bigotry. Just as he wouldn't mock Muslims for running around a black rock in Mecca, he shouldn't mock the beliefs of many evangelical Christians.
Moyers ends it by complaining about too much money in politics. The dirty little secret is that so much spending happened during this campaign cycle because a new campaign finance (first amendment restriction) law was passed. Since the parties couldn't use soft money after Nov. 5, they used it all up now.
Thank, God! [link via Power Line]
Borders already has a list
Borders already has a list of the best non-fiction books of 2002. It's no surprise that Robert Caro's Master of the Senate is on there. I am a little surprised they picked Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science. It's a very large esoteric book, but maybe they appreciated Wolfram's original approach. I'm going to try to read Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate soon so I can see if it lives up to the hype.
John Hawkins interviewed Victor Davis
John Hawkins interviewed Victor Davis Hanson. John asked Hanson about the future of U.S.-Europe relations. Hanson gave this provocotive answer:
This answer would be strange to the paleo crowd. Since Hanson and his ilk are bloodthristy "chicken hawks" intent on building (maintaining?) an American empire, how could he support removing troops from a part of the world?
Time's look at how the
Time's look at how the GOP won last week's elections brought out this interesting fact:
It worked out for both Coleman and Pawlenty.
The Economist takes aim at
"Why Naomi Klein Needs to Grow Up" [via A&LD]
November 11, 2002
10 Cubans made a daring
10 Cubans made a daring escape to the U.S. in a Russian bi-plane owned by someone named "Fidel." With this administration there's no fear that federal agents will send them back to Cuba at gun point like they did to Elian Gonzalez.
"Plane Carrying Cubans Forced to Land in Florida"
"Cuban Family Escapes on Plane"
November 10, 2002
Thomas Sowell writes, With power
Thomas Sowell writes,
Sowell wants to see a focus on confirming judges.
Can anyone help me out? I want to know of a liberal judge (past or present) who adhered to the constitution. My point is that since a conservative aims to preserve the traditions and institutions of a society, only judges with that view would be appalled by judicial activism. Names and links would be appreciated.
"Political History -- and the Future"
The Packers smashed the Lions
The Packers smashed the Lions 40-14. Favre and the gang have won seven in a row, the longest winning streak since the Lombardi era. I'd like to see someone make the case that they're not the best team in the NFC.
"Packers Look Super in Win over Lions"
November 09, 2002
Is Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA)
Is Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA) the next Richard Nixon?
Here's a rarity: something interesting
Here's a rarity: something interesting from Salon.
Rep. Harold Ford is challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi for the Minority Leader spot in the House. Ford is very telegenic, and comes out of the Clinton/DLC centrist Democrat mold. Ford said Pelosi as leader would be "a throwback" and "destructive opposition." Will Ford get votes from Black Causus members who could try to make him the Dems first black house leader? I doubt it. Most of them veer strongly to the Left where Pelosi is. If they don't back Ford, at least it will show they're colorblind ideologically.
"Harold Ford Crusades to Save the Democrats"
November 08, 2002
Orrin Judd on President Bush's
Orrin Judd on President Bush's humility:
Peggy Noonan asks the biggest
Peggy Noonan asks the biggest question that comes from Tuesday's election results: "What is the Democratic Party's reason for being?" She points out that for the past 100 years, the party has achieved its goal of creating an American welfare state. Social Security and Medicare are not going away. No elected Republican is calling for their elimination despite their questionable constitutionality.
The New Republic's Peter Beinart worries that the Left will take over the Democratic Party. Since there's not a centrist "counterweight" like Bill Clinton in 1994, a leftward swing by the party could create "a 40-60 nation for a generation."
Beinart urges the party to develop a coherent national security policy based on "explicitly moral and undeniably liberal grounds."
Noonan sees the Democrats debacle as an opening for Hillary Clinton. She writes,
With the dearth of leaders in the party, and the weakness of supposed "superstars" (AlGore and Sen. John Edwards) I predict Hillary will be the Democrats' nominee for President in 2008. She won't be dumb enough to take on Bush after a victory in Iraq--assuming G.W. learned the lessons of his father after the Gulf War. In 2008, the race will be wide open for a person with sharp political skills and the greatest politician of the 20th Century for a husband.
"They Got What They Wanted"
November 07, 2002
Jane Galt wants to rev
Jane Galt wants to rev up the bandwagon and push for tax simplification. I used to be a big flat tax guy (Dick Armey and Steve Forbes are two of my favorite politicians), but I'll support a national sales tax (first repeal the 16th Amendment) or some limited 1986-type reform. I want a simpler tax code free from social engineering while providing enough revenue so the government can only do what it's authorized to do.
November 06, 2002
The NY Times examines the
The NY Times examines the South as the base of the GOP nationally. Winning the Senate and governor races in Georgia along with controlling every state-wide office in Texas only sealed the deal.
Since it's pretty obvious that the South is GOP country, the Times should dig into the political patterns of the Midwest. Wisconsin is a swing state. In 2000, Gore and Bush campaigned hard because both knew the state could go either way (Gore ended up winning). Yesterday, Democrats won the governor and attorney general races while the GOP won the both houses of the state legislature.
In Minnesota, voters chose a Republican (Coleman) over a Democratic legend (Mondale), chose a Republican (Pawlenty) to replace third-party standard bearer Jesse Ventura, chose as many Republicans as Democrats in Congressional races, and gave the GOP gains in the state legislature. Wisconsin and Minnesota, once sedate states, have become politically volatile.
"Vote Solidifies Shift of South to the G.O.P."
"Minnesota GOP Savors Role in National Sweep"
In an editorial about Jim
In an editorial about Jim Doyle's victory, the Journal Sentinel complained that both he and McCallum didn't offer enough specifics on how to fix Wisconsin's $3 billion budget deficit. The paper doesn't do much better. They mention some tax increases and cutting state payrolls. The later is a good idea, but that doesn't get you anywhere to $3 billion. The state spends the largest portion of the budget on K-12 education (2/3 of public school funding), yet there's no mention of cuts there. No mention is made about cutting social welfare programs or funding for the University of Wisconsin system (why is there still a campus in Superior?). It's possible to fix a very large hole in a budget without raising taxes. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is doing just that. Tough cuts will have to be made with both the Governor and the legislature standing up to loud interests.
"Jim Doyle's Tough New Job"
John Ellis thinks last night's
John Ellis thinks last night's Democratic drubbing will end the 2000 whining. We won't see candidates waving the bloody Florida shirt, but there will be plenty of activists who will use that election to rile up their base. [via InstaPundit]
David Brooks on yesterday's results:
David Brooks on yesterday's results:
I too agree that last night's results show the President as a first class politician. He has the ability get people beyond his base excited and on his side. He doesn't do it with Clintonian charm or Goreian haugtiness. Bush uses a basic, plain-spoken manner. The Dems still don't understand this, and it will continue to cost them elections.
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) will
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) will bring up the partial-birth abortion bill that passed the House but was stalled by Daschle. Whether it will meet constitutional muster is another question.
"PBA Ban -- Bank on It, Lott Says"
In South Dakota, Johnson won
In South Dakota, Johnson won by only 528 votes. Did the Dems pull an LBJ on Thune?
"Thune's Slight Lead Slips Away in Late Counting"
Great, great night for the
Great, great night for the GOP nation-wide. I thought history, the economy, and the number of seats Republicans had to defend would hold back GOP gains. I don't know what surprised me more, Allard soundly defeating Strickland in Colorado, Chambliss upsetting Cleland by 7 points, or Dole smacking Bowles by 9 points.
In Wisconsin, Doyle topped McCallum, and I lucked out and got the result correct (Doyle by 4 points). I only hope property taxes don't explode when Doyle tries to placate the desires of the teachers' union. Then to show that Wisconsin is a swing state, the GOP won the state senate. Now, the state has the Dems in the governor's seat while the GOP controls the legislature. It should be a cantankerous battle to fix the state's budget deficit.
As for my predictions, I nailed the Doyle/McCallum race on the head. However, the Coleman victory was bigger than I thought, and I didn't think the GOP would retake the Senate. I'd give myself a B on predictions.
"Doyle Beats McCallum"
"GOP Wins Key Senate Races, Regains Majority"
"Coleman: 'I Am Humbled'"
Goofy web quiz. Which Founding
Goofy web quiz.
November 05, 2002
Journeys with George looks great.
Journeys with George looks great. But I don't get HBO. If you watch it, let me know what you think.
"Journeys with Dubya Charming, Challenging"
In a few hours I'll
In a few hours I'll be stuck selling books while the political junkie in me will be itching to pull a fire alarm so I can leave early and watch three cable news channels simultaneously for election results. With the closeness of many races it will be long past midnight before we know who will control the Senate.
Here are a few quick predictions:
These predictions are all from the head. I hope McCallum squeaks tonight out, or Wisconsin will be stuck with an ethically challenged Democrat indebted to the teachers' union. Not good for property tax payers. I also hope the GOP takes the Senate so Bush's judicial nominees get a fair shake and the tax cuts become permanent.
November 04, 2002
This isn't for me. I'm
This isn't for me. I'm looking for something in green.
Last night, I got sidetracked
Last night, I got sidetracked with C-SPAN's In Depth program featuring George Will, so my examination of Ted Kmiec's report on Bingo-gate was put on hold. Three hours of Will went by fast, and affirmed my belief that he's the most important columnist writing today.
Anyway, since I'll being going to a friend's house for good food and some Monday Night Football, I won't have anything on the report today. I might not even be able to add much to Charlie Sykes' thoughts. Sykes noticed that Kmiec saw no politics taking place at the bingo party while video showed Jim Doyle volunteer Frank Santapoalo wearing a campaign button and Doyle signs were all around the patients.
Sykes sums it up:
Peggy Noonan thought Coleman won
Peggy Noonan thought Coleman won the debate, but thought Mondale held his own. Fritz seemed old and faded like he was just yank away from his reading chair and thrown into a state-wide election.
I shouldn't have watched more
I shouldn't have watched more the Coleman/Mondale debate. I missed this scene:
Byron York thinks Coleman won.
Kaus on Gary Hart and
Kaus on Gary Hart and the Democrats infatuation with men like Lautenberg and Mondale:
I watched about 20 minutes
I watched about 20 minutes of the Coleman/Mondale debate. Coleman looked fine. He didn't come off as the rabid-dog conservative Mondale and the Democrats have tried to paint him as being. Mondale accused Coleman of being in the back pocket of President Bush and would simply be a puppet in the Senate for the White House. Coleman responded by telling voters he's against drilling in Alaska and wants trade with Cuba. Coleman pandered to farmers by advocating fuel made from soy beans that would end up being heavily subsidized by the government. Phil Gramm, Coleman's not. He's not even conservative ex-Senator Rod Grams whom Minnesotans elected in 1994.
It's good that Coleman's theme the past few days has been proclaiming himself as Minnesota's future. Mondale just looked old, frail, and stuck in a time warp. He defended his promise in 1984 to raise taxes; and he's waiting for the feds to prosecute corporate fraud while being oblivious to the WorldCom, Adelphia, and Enron cases. Fritz forgot that Andrew Fastow was indicted last week.
For Mondale to claim Coleman would be beholden to Bush while he would maintain his independence in the Senate is laughable. His answers to questions sounded very scripted. It looked like he was rattling off Democratic bullet points. Mondale was quickly drafted by Sen. Tom Daschle and Minnesota Democrats and got his entire campaign infrastructure handed to him. If anyone is beholden to anyone it's Walter Mondale.
Will this debate swing the election one way or the other? I doubt it. Democrats want to win this for their fallen hero. Republicans want to exact revenge on the Dems for their tawdry, partisan display at Wellstone's memorial service. As with all close elections, turnout will be key. In that respect, the Dems have an advantage because ethics and decency will not stop them from achieving political victory.
Looking at the results from a Star Tribune poll, the Wellstone death rally put a bad taste in the mouths of many Minnesotans. While giving Mondale a 5 point lead, a quarter of the likely voters polled said the booing and cheering made them more likely to vote for Coleman. A retired farmer told the paper, "I'm going to do anything except go for the Democrats because of the way they treated what was supposed to be a memorial for Paul Wellstone. [Mondale] might be all right, but I'm not going to vote for anything Democratic." A St. Paul Pioneer Press/Minnesota Public Radio poll has Coleman leading Mondale by 6 points.
"Senate Candidates Face Off in Statewide Broadcast"
"Star Tribune Poll: Senate Rivals in Tight Race"
"Conflicting Polls Add to Election Confusion"
November 03, 2002
Jim Doyle's campaign just missed
Jim Doyle's campaign just missed a devastating blow days before the election. The special prosecutor investigating an alleged bribery scam in Kenosha, WI concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that a Doyle volunteer broke state law.
Doyle is claiming victory and demanding that Gov. Scott McCallum pull all ads questioning the morality of manipulating the mentally ill. I'll have more on this later today, but for now read Theodore Kmiec's report.
"No Charges to be Filed in Bingo Party"
November 02, 2002
The special prosecutor investigating Jim
The special prosecutor investigating Jim Doyle's Kenosha bingo bribing scandal will announce his findings this afternoon. Charges could doom Doyle's campaign and let Gov. McCallum sneak in a victory.
Frank Lautenberg proves he's senile
Frank Lautenberg proves he's senile or thinks New Jersey voters are just plain stupid. He told the Newark Star-Ledger "Out of respect to Paul Wellstone, all of the seats that are under contest right now have to go Democrat in order to protect the interests that he had."
The Dem line is no longer "for the children;" it's "for Paul." Both are nothing but pap.
"Dems Milk Wellstone Death to Court Votes"
Is the Mondale campaign low
Is the Mondale campaign low on money? Power Line reports that Minnesota Dems are begging for an "urgent contribution" because of a "cash flow crisis."
November 01, 2002
Here's an update on the
Here's an update on the Wisconsin governor's race:
Gov. Scott McCallum's campaign ran an ad calling Attorney General Jim Doyle "crooked." A few days later, "crooked" was replaced by saying Doyle "shames us." Both versions of the ad are accurate. It's crooked bribing mentally ill patients with soda, snacks, and quarters. The attention brought by the Wall Street Journal editorial page in a piece entitled "Chicago, Wisconsin" shamed a state known for its clean politics.
Ads cost money, and the bucks are flowing freely into state campaigns. Some is because of the competitive governor's race, and some is last minute spending before new federal campaign finance (A.K.A. First Amendment restriction) law takes effect.
"McCallum Tones Down 'Crooked' Doyle Ad"
"Record Amount of Cash Pours into Campaigns Ahead of Soft-Money Ban"