[star]The American Mind[star]

November 30, 2002

HUMOR: Saddam is a cruel,

HUMOR: Saddam is a cruel, cruel man.

"Iraq Unleashes Weapons of Mass Media"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Curse You, Robert Caro!" [via A&LD]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

Salon has something on TIA.

Salon has something on TIA. And it's actually funny.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Buy Nothing Day

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Howard Owens on poetry: To

Howard Owens on poetry:


To me, a plain style is perfectly suited to prose, but not to poetry. The point of poetry is to escape the drabness of our plain and ponderous lives; poetry should compact our experiences and excite our senses, not numb us with a sense of sameness and predictability. From poetry, we should gain a new way of seeing old things, not the same old way of seeing everything.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

My TiVo doesn't think I'm

My TiVo doesn't think I'm gay, but I don't know why it insists on recording The Cosby Show and Suddenly Susan.

"If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here's How to Set It Straight" [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

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.

"Stimulus Strategies"

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

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,


Within Anglo-American philosophy it renewed the sense that it was possible to engage in rigorous, serious, meaningful debate about moral and political questions. And it serves to this day as the most influential, most important critique of both aggregative-utilitarian substitutes for a theory of justice and radically-egalitarian versions of such a theory. He was, in addition, a famously effective teacher who shaped two generations of Harvard philosophers, and a gracious gentleman who sought conversation and shared intellectual progress.

Richard Epstein writes,

Political philosophers, policymakers, and lawyers are all in the debt of a modest man who mistakenly thought himself to be one of Keynes's obscure academic scribblers, only to turn out to have been a genuine leader in philosophical and political thought.

Godspeed, John.

"John Rawls, Towering Figure of Political Philosophy; at 81"

"Rawls Remembered"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

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!

"US Launches Plan to Abolish Key Tariffs" [via Daniel Drezner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Consumer Party"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

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:

  1. TIA is only an "experimental prototype."
  2. Let me again quote from Undersecretary Aldridge on who will run TIA:
    It is absurd to think that DARPA is somehow trying to become another police agency. DARPA's purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, TAI [sic: TIA] will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism.
  3. The Privacy Act would have to be modified for law enforcement to take advantage of TIA's capabilities (assuming they can be developed).
Now, here's some mildly intelligent speculation: TIA's not going to work. The reason is there would be too much data to sift through. What we learned from the intelligence failures of September 11, is the problem isn't not enough information, but poor systems to manage and analyze it. Reports from FBI agents in the field weren't seriously considered in Washington. INS systems are so poor they issued visas to two terrorists six months after they died in the attacks. Collecting huge amounts of data seems more like a "do something" solution to preventing terrorism.

Patrick echoes my waste-of-time feeling:


By zeroing in on perfectly normal commercial transactions, neither really targets the shadows where most criminal behavior really occurs. Any adverse impact or inconvenience from either will fall almost entirely on the shoulders of law-abiding citizens, at the expense of emphasizing more effective anti-crime or anti-terrorist measures.

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

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:


Tell me, how many hands of officials have been amputated? These people are looting the economy. How many of their hands have been amputated? They are amputating the hands of petty thieves, who do what they do because of social disorder. There are no good roads. The educational system is collapsing. Health care is zero. There is a great poverty in this land. The people are made to live miserable lives. So how can someone bring in a system of justice when that justice doesn't apply to him, who sends his children to school out of country? Who drives the road in a heavy jeep? Who lives in air conditioning? Who doesn't queue up for fuel? Who goes to Germany for health care? And above all uses his pen to rob the country? And who is amputating his hand?

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Defeated G.O.P. Congressman to Be Consultant for A.C.L.U." [via blogdex]

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."

"Conservative Favorites to Join ACLU"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

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.


Cowen's new book, Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World's Cultures (Princeton), once again salutes the marriage of fine arts and free markets. Globalization, he argues, may indeed make one culture more like another; but it also makes the world as a whole more beautiful. It increases the degree of choice that individuals can enjoy within any given culture - and we should all be grateful for that.

"The Globalist Cookbook"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Pizzaidf.org [via A Small Victory and The Weblog Action Center]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

Hans Blix as Mr. Magoo.

Hans Blix as Mr. Magoo. [via Poet and Peasant]

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

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:


When the nanobots start invading the bodies of the characters, causing them to say malevolently sarcastic things and to pucker their lips to administer fatal kisses -- well, much as I appreciated the technical verisimilitude, I could not help groaning a bit.

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:54 PM | Comments (1)

The Daypop Top 40 is

The Daypop Top 40 is alive again. Whew, I was starting to get the shakes.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Thirty Years of Progress--Mostly" [via Power Line]

UPDATE: R. Emmett Tyrrell calls Bartley's speech, "the finest public address that I have heard on history in my adult life."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

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.

"Flight Mission 4 Missile Test Successful" [via Samizdata]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

No surprise with Robert Caro

No surprise with Robert Caro winning the National Book Award for non-fiction for Master of the Senate. It should be the favorite for a Pulitzer.

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.

"A First Novel Gets National Book Award" [via Blogcritics]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

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:


I like to make incisions into the belly of infants then ---- the incisions until the child dies.

Then there's his recollection of a trist with a mentally disabled girl in high school:

One day after school I went to her house . . . and she offered me some twinkies and I sat on her lap and said let's fuck.

How about his idea for a video for the song "Rape Me:"

Big bald, sweaty, tattooed love boys cast from the waist up in their cold concrete tanks lounging on their backs . . . all 200 lbs plus and also about 5 to 8 more of whom we call the bitches skinny feminine . . .150 lbs and less.

And there's Kurt pissed at the "in" crowd in high school:

It is time now for the 'fortunate ones,' the cheerleaders and the football jocks to strip down naked in front of the entire school at an assembly and plead with every ounce of their souls for mercy and forgiveness . . . they are representatives of gluttony and selfish values and to say that they are sorry for condoning these things will not be enough, they must mean it, they must have guns pointed to their heads.

This guy's a cult figure with an album (Nevermind) many claim is one of the best in rock history.

"Kurt, We Hardly Knew Ye" [via Andrew Sullivan]

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

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.


If it proves useful, TAI [sic: TIA] will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism.

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.

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

Scott Adams on management books:

Scott Adams on management books:


Despite their total lack of usefulness, business books are successful because there's a part of the human brain--called the stupidity lobe--that makes us believe that stories of successful people apply to our own situation.

Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

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.

"Weather or Not: The Super Bowl, Outside, in the Cold" [via The Corner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

Paleos will be screaming at

Paleos will be screaming at their computer screens when reading this article by Jonah Goldberg. He writes,


Every society, it's been said, tends to worry about those things it has least cause to worry about. Queen Victoria probably worried about lax sexual attitudes, even though Victorian England was bound tighter than a corset. Today, we worry desperately about our personal and political freedom even though we are more free today than at any time in our history.

"Americans Enjoy More Freedom Today than Ever"

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

HUMOR: I wonder if the

HUMOR: I wonder if the warhead is more nutritious than tree bark.

"N. Korean Nuke Eaten by Hungry Mob"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Sorry, Jim"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Defense Undersecretary Pete Aldridge spoke

Defense Undersecretary Pete Aldridge spoke to the press today on Adm. John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness System.


The war on terror and the tracking of potential terrorists and terrorist acts require that we search for clues of such activities in a mass of data. It's kind of a signal-to-noise ratio. What are they doing in all these things that are going on around the world? And we decided that new capabilities and new technologies are required to accomplish that task. Therefore, we established a project within DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, that would develop an experimental prototype -- underline, experimental prototype, which we call the Total Information Awareness System. The purpose of TIA would be to determine the feasibility of searching vast quantities of data to determine links and patterns indicative of terrorist activities.

There are three parts to the TIA project to aid in this anti- terrorist effort. The first part is technologies that would permit rapid language translation, such as you -- as we have used on the computers now, we can -- there's voice recognition capabilities that exist on existing computers.

The second part was discovery of connections between transactions -- such as passports; visas; work permits; driver's license; credit card; airline tickets; rental cars; gun purchases; chemical purchases -- and events -- such as arrest or suspicious activities and so forth. So again, it try to discover the connections between these things called transactions.

And the third part was a collaborative reasoning-and-decision- making tools to allow interagency communications and analysis. In other words, what kind of decision tools would permit the analysts to work together in an interagency community?

The experiment will be demonstrated using test data fabricated to resemble real-life events. We'll not use detailed information that is real. In order to preserve the sanctity of individual privacy, we're designing this system to ensure complete anonymity of uninvolved citizens, thus focusing the efforts of law enforcement officials on terrorist investigations. The information gathered would then be subject to the same legal projections (sic) currently in place for the other law enforcement activities.

...

It is absurd to think that DARPA is somehow trying to become another police agency. DARPA's purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, TAI [sic: TIA] will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism.

The bottom line is, this is an important research project to determine the feasibility of using certain transactions and events to discover and respond to terrorists before they act. We all share the frustration associated with vague warnings of terrorist threats. We hope that TIA will help the U.S. government narrow those generic -- genetic reports -- generic reports down to advance notice of specific threatening acts. I hope that's clear.


Reporters questioned Aldridge on Poindexter's role with the project:

[W]hat John Poindexter is doing is developing a tool. He's not exercising the tool. He will not exercise the tool. That tool will be exercised by the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies.

As for the Big Brother aspect of TIA, Aldridge told reporters,

Q: Can you run over the transactions again? It sounds like every time I would enter or a citizen would enter a credit card, any banking transaction, any medical -- I go see my doctor, any prescription, all of those things become part of this database -- right? -- hypothetically?

Aldridge: Hypothetically they would, although the data that would go along with personal information such as bank accounts, that would all be protected in the Privacy Act just as it is today. Individuals would not be associated with that.


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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

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:


In the real world, as opposed to the philosophy seminar, the choice is often not between the good guy and the bad guy, but between the bad guy and the really bad guy. In such a situation, a country is justified in allying with a bad guy to oppose a regime that is even more terrible. The classic example of this occurred in World War II. The United States allied with a very bad man, Josef Stalin, to defeat someone who then posed a greater threat ? Adolf Hitler.
...
Critics of U.S. intervention abroad frequently miss the point that foreign policy is a practical enterprise. Those who condemn the United States for once backing bin Laden and Saddam are blind to the fact that situations change, and, therefore, policies must be devised to deal with a particular situation at a given time. It is foolish to hold the United States culpable for "inconsistently" changing its policy when the underlying situation that justified the original policy has also changed.

By this reasoning, America was justified during the 1980s in providing weapons to the mujahedin, even if this group included bin Laden, to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Similarly, there was nothing wrong with America's supporting Saddam in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the greatest threat in the region came from Iran. Obviously bin Laden and Hussein are much greater threats today, and we know things about them now that were not known at the time we supported them. This new situation justifies the Bush administration's current policy of attempting to neutralize the threat posed by both men.


Any serious criticism of Bush's foreign policy (both on the Right and Left) must consider constraints and alternatives.

"Sometimes No Good Guy Exists" [via Reductio]

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

The Mother Jones article totes

The Mother Jones article totes the Left line for the Democrats' failure in the elections:


But now, under near-perfect laboratory conditions, we have witnessed a test of what Democrats get by responding to a reactionary and ideologically unapologetic Republican agenda with either acquiescence or timid frowns: smoking ruins. Election day 2002 marked the worst midterm performance by a party outside the White House since the Republicans in Franklin Delanore Roosevelt's 1934.

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:40 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:32 AM | Comments (0)

PaleoWatch: My latest find highlighting

PaleoWatch:
My latest find highlighting the strangeness of paleo thinking isn't about the article's content. Paul Gottfried wants to see the conservative movement (National Review in particular) focus on affirmative action and immigration. Those are issues that deserve further examination. What most interested me is Gottfried's jubilation over Jonah Goldberg's "demotion" to editor-at-large. (You be the judge of whether Goldberg got fired or not.) Goldberg doesn't write, he "rambles." He "fawns on the powerful" in some conservative version of People magazine. Gottfried claims Goldberg doesn't know much other than recent history and pop culture referrences. That's funny since I seem to notice plenty of quotes in Goldberg's articles from old books by Robert Nisbet, Friedrich Hayek, and Edmund Burke.

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!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:26 AM | Comments (0)

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:


For the majority of Americans, who are not unabashed enthusiasts for unlimited abortion on demand, the difficulty lies in determining how the law should distinguish between human life that must be protected and that which should still be subject to a woman's "choice." But science is making it increasingly difficult to draw that line at some arbitrary point such as the end of the "first trimester" or "second trimester." Given the enormity of the moral implications involved, should we not then err on the side of drawing the line as close to conception as possible? In our ever-roiling debates about abortion, cloning, and research using embryos, the awe and respect for nascent human life that the new science rightfully generates should place the burden of proof on those who would ignore the inherent dignity of human life--those who prefer the interests of the strong over the weak, who prefer those with voices against those powerless to speak for themselves, and who prefer convenience and control over the selfless embrace of the most vulnerable among us.

Bockhorn then makes an interesting case that the GOP should quickly vote on banning partial-birth abortions:

But the more important reason is this: Like the war resolution on Iraq, a vote on partial-birth abortion would reveal a deep division within the Democratic party, and once again forcibly expose the party's utter confusion on matters of clear moral principle--whether it is the forthright defense of America from its avowed enemies, or the defense of late-term, unborn children from an abortion method for which the term "barbaric" is insufficiently strong.

"When Life Begins"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Orin Kerr over at the

Orin Kerr over at the Volokh Conspiracy (beware it's growing!) hasn't found evidence for Bill Safire's Big Brother fear in the Homeland Security Department bill:


Second, and more importantly, Safire's nightmarish scenario appears to have no basis in fact. The Total Information Awareness program is a proposal to create a database to "data mine" evidence the government has already legally collected, not to collect new evidence. The program would let evidence already collected by different parts of the government and found in the public domain to be assembled together and examined for clues about terrorist activity. In other words, TIA would not authorize the collection of evidence about your credit card purchases, magazine subscriptions, websites you visit, e-mails you send or receive, academic grades, bank deposits, or trips (much less all of these, as Safire claims). The framework of privacy laws that the government must comply with to collect evidence would remain unchanged.

As best I can tell, TIA is not a surveillance system, but the press has decided to cover it as if it were. Strange. Very strange.


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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

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:


Perhaps the most corrosive element of the California Constitution is the initiative. As evidenced by Proposition 13 (limiting property taxes) in 1978, and Propositions 209 (abolishing affirmative action) and 227 (ending bilingual education) more recently, conservatives use the initiative to advance their policies, rather than building a political majority of Republicans to advance their principles. Although a popular way of correcting bad government policies, the initiative process makes electing Republicans less relevant, and in the long run may be destructive of deliberative, constitutional government.

Initiatives appeal to the passions and emotions of voters, drowning out any deliberation about principle. Proposition 209, for example, was supported by a large majority of Californians, but instead of being debated on the floor of the legislature, un-elected liberal proponents of affirmative action responded hysterically, hurling allegations of racism and bigotry against anyone who opposed race-based preferences. What could have been a re-aligning opportunity for the Republican Party of California, and a political vindication of equal rights and colorblind law in our halls of legislation, was squandered. Republican legislators had little at stake in the fight, and most preferred to stand on the sidelines and say nothing about a subject that was then on everyone's mind.


Note that Prop 13 was a watershed political moment that could be argued let to Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980.

"A Political Forecast"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

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.


There is one glaringly obvious problem with the argument that the steps are designed to make sure states don't lose money on tax revenues: How can you lose money that you've never had to begin with? It's like saying: "Damn, I lost 56 million bucks on the lottery last night" and you never even bought a lotto ticket. For tax collectors in Utah to address their budget problems by taxing Missourians shopping online (who, as Missourians, have no representation whatsoever in Utah's legislative process) is silly. Utah isn't $411 million in the hole because it wasn't getting its fair share of tax revenues from families in West Jordan buying Veggie Tales books off Amazon.com; Utah is $411 million in the red because it spends too much 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.

"Tax Attack"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

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?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2002

Little sympathy from the Racine

Little sympathy from the Racine Journal Times editors over the recent rave bust.


Racine really doesn't want or need to become a travel destination spot for parties that feature open exchanges of drugs and that's clearly what was going on here.

The protestations by the organizers that they don't condone the use of drugs belongs with the detritus of pills, baby pacifiers and other drug paraphernalia that was left on the dance floor.

Loud music and light shows -- call them raves if you want -- can probably find a spot here. But not illegal drugs.

And for the handful of "innocents" swept up in the raid, well, they'll get a chance to tell their compelling story to a judge.


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,


If the Racine City Council was running Green Bay, 63,284 people would have been ticketed at the Monday night Packer game because of 70-some people getting drunk, rowdy and urinating in the men's room sinks.

"The Rant over Rave Falls on Deaf Ears"

"Police Quell Halloween Party Riot"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

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:


Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend--all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

"Homeland Security Bill Raises Net Privacy Issues"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:44 AM | Comments (1)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:33 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2002

I'll join Colin Powell in

I'll join Colin Powell in rejecting hateful, unthinking statements like Jimmy Swaggart's:


We ought to tell every other Muslim living in this nation that if you say one word, you're gone.

It must not make any difference to Swaggart whether the Muslim is a U.S. citizen or not.

"Powell Attacks Christian Right" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:31 AM | Comments (0)

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


Attempts at imposed equality destroy individuality. Individuality allows for specialization, the division of labor and economic progress. When it is hampered, so are these outgrowths. The critic may vociferously object: "Krugman is only calling for equality of income, not equality in all areas of life!" Our response is that the two are inextricably related.

Coyne not only rips Paul Krugman, he defends economic liberty. It's good reading.

"Inequality Serves a Social and Economic Purpose"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

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:


In short, blogging has become a way for everyone to express themselves on any subject they happen to be interested in or no subject at all. And someone thinks that's a bad thing? Sounds like someone who wants freedom of expression only for themselves and the few people who agree with them.

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:46 AM | Comments (0)

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.

"Pearl Vets Survive Political Correctness Attack" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

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:


Republican Congress was elected because of the pro-life vote, and they need to heed that vote. We know the abortion issue was the number two issue that prompted voter turnout in Minnesota, the number three issue in Missouri, and we know 76 percent of self-identified religious conservatives in Georgia voted for Saxby Chambliss. In no small part, the favorable outcome of this election for Republicans is a consequence of motivated pro-life voters who turned out to the polls.

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:06 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)

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*

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

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:


When looking at the flyer for the "drug party" as David Steinkraus put it in his article "Police corral hundreds at rave party" (Nov. 4, 2002) you will see that it states that all people entering the building will be searched and that no drugs or weapons will be allowed in the building and no alcohol for people under the age of 21. When I got there I did not see any drug usage or sale and was fine with that. It was all about having a fun time for most of us. Three or four people bring drugs and ruin it for the rest of us.

"It was a rave, a type of party known for a mix of music and recreational drugs such as Ecstasy, police said."

Raves are known for this sure, but anyone who has actually been to one knows that it isn't as bad as made out to be. Bars are known to cause drunk drivers. Anyone going to get busted for that? Probably not. Most people (not all as that would be a lie) aren't there for drugs. I'm sure a few people were doing it, but why hand out tickets for everyone there? As you can see our tax dollars are well spent keeping kids from doing anything on a Saturday night that might be remotely fun.

I don't do drugs and I don't see why dancing at a party where someone is would be a crime. Everyone there was issued tickets for $968 for "disorderly conduct, unruly house controlled substances." I don't see how my conduct was unruly. When they police told us to sit, I sat; when they told us to move, I moved. How is that unruly? I was there to dance and that is all I did. I paid $15 to get in and now I will have to pay $968 to leave the place? Explain how that is fair. I for one will be showing up in court with the hundreds of others at that party and it will most likely cost you more in tax dollars to do that than they will make in tickets. And for what? Just to keep kids on the street where they don't get caught. If Racine would have posted police inside the place I would doubt that any of this would have happened. Help us have a good time and stay off the streets instead or punishing us for finding something to do on a Saturday night.


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"

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

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

Stephen Hayes wants Bill Moyers

Stephen Hayes wants Bill Moyers to spew anti-Republican cant daily.


But, in a rare victory of the practical over the principled, I now say keep him. Pay for him. Give him a raise and a daily show. The tragedy of Bill Moyers is that very few people watch him these days. And nothing would be more helpful to the "right-wingers" Moyers so despises than to give him a bigger platform.

For lost in Moyers's tirade is this simple fact: some 53 percent of Americans voted for the Republicans that worry him so. In races throughout the country last week, Americans voted against Democrats far more reasonable than Bill Moyers will ever be. And in even higher percentages, Americans approve of President Bush. So let Moyers attack the judgment of the voters who help pay his salary.


"Preaching to the Choir" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:21 AM | Comments (0)

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.


"The government has more authority when it's controlling the purse strings than when it's deciding what people can do with private funds and private property," said Eugene Volokh, a conservative constitutional expert at UCLA Law School.


Still, Volokh predicts the government will lose as the court again grapples with the balance between protecting children and preserving free speech. The court has been very protective of First Amendment rights.


"Supreme Court to Hear Web Porn Case"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:49 AM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:26 AM | Comments (0)

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.


Way back in the 1950's when I first tasted politics and journalism, Republicans briefly controlled the White House and Congress. With the exception of Joseph McCarthy and his vicious ilk, they were a reasonable lot, presided over by that giant war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, who was conservative by temperament and moderate in the use of power.

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.

That brand of Republican is gone. And for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government--the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary--is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate.

That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives.


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.

It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich.

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.

It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable.

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.


And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming.

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."

And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a Biblical worldview' in American politics?

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.

So it is a heady time in Washington--a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money.

Don't forget the money. It came pouring into this election, to both parties, from corporate America and others who expect the payback. Republicans outraised democrats by $184 million dollars. And came up with the big prize--monopoly control of the American government, and the power of the state to turn their ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price.


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.

That's it for this week.

Thank, God! [link via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:16 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

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:


The cold war was an aberration. Note how quickly the Europeans turned on America once 400 hostile divisions were no longer on their borders. They make up a big continent with a big population that deserves pride and power commensurate with their economy and population; so it is time for both of us to recognize that, bring the troops home or redeploy them in more friendly eastern European countries, and as friends let them develop their own military identity. Keeping 200,000 troops abroad to protect a rich continent is unhealthy for all parties involved. We are a different people, and to preserve our common heritage and friendship, we must recognize those divergences and thus it would be safer in the long run to let them defend themselves and not seek such shrillness in lieu of power and independence.

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?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

Time's look at how the

Time's look at how the GOP won last week's elections brought out this interesting fact:


[I]n Minnesota, Vice President Dick Cheney called Tim Pawlenty, the Republican majority leader in the Statehouse, just 90 minutes before he was set to announce his bid for the Senate and asked him to stand down so that [Norm] Coleman could move in.

It worked out for both Coleman and Pawlenty.

"W. and the 'Boy Genius'" [via Bo Cowgill]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

The Economist takes aim at

The Economist takes aim at Naomi Klein of No Logo fame. They offer this on her latest Fences and Windows:


In training her guns on free trade and big multinationals, Ms Klein is attacking the best means for reducing poverty and, for that matter, extending justice and a political voice to the world's poorest people. When companies, properly regulated and acting within the law, pursue profits, they end up increasing prosperity. This is not a theory but an easily observable fact. The result, unintended though it may be, is social good. Ms Klein denies all this at every turn?and the tragedy is that her denials have an effect.

Ms Klein's harshest critics must allow that, for an angry adolescent, she writes rather well. It takes journalistic skill of a high order to write page after page of engaging blather, so totally devoid of substance. What a pity she has turned her talents as a writer to a cause that can only harm the people she claims to care most about. But perhaps it is just a phase.


"Why Naomi Klein Needs to Grow Up" [via A&LD]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

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"

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

November 10, 2002

Thomas Sowell writes, With power

Thomas Sowell writes,


With power comes responsibility. When the presidential election of 2004 rolls around, the voters are going to want to know what George W. Bush and the Republicans have actually accomplished with the power they were given. There will be no excuses that the Democrats obstructed the president's agenda or held up his judicial nominees.

Sowell wants to see a focus on confirming judges.

We do not need liberal judges or conservative judges. We need judges who follow the laws and the constitution. And we need to get such judges confirmed by the Senate, without ideological litmus tests based on abortion or any other political issue. This is one of those islands that cannot be by-passed if we want to preserve the right of Americans to govern themselves.

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2002

Is Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA)

Is Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA) the next Richard Nixon?

"Gray Skies from Now on" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2002

Orrin Judd on President Bush's

Orrin Judd on President Bush's humility:


Meanwhile, today the President did come out from behind the curtain and at a White House Press Conference he was relaxed, friendly, confident, and, hardest of all, humble. He repeatedly insisted that it was the candidates, their families, and their staffs who deserved the credit, even those who lost, and that his contribution had been minimal. If Democrats and the media haven't figured him out yet, they could do worse than watch today's performance.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:05 AM | Comments (0)

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,


The essential questions the Democrats face may in fact be answered by the ultimate rise of a hardy figure who started out as a left-wing ideologue and wound up campaigning for 80/20 issues like child-safety seats in cars. A proponent of liberalism that evades getting tagged as leftism, this major-state senator is a tough partisan who hates the other side but has the discipline not to show it, or not often. Hillary Clinton just may be where the party is going.

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"

"Civil War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

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]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

David Brooks on yesterday's results:

David Brooks on yesterday's results:


Finally, never, ever, ever underestimate George W. Bush. It took me two years of being wrong about Bush before I finally got sick of it. The rest of the pundit class had better catch on. He is a leader of the first order. This historic night belongs to him.

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.

"This Is Serious" [via OxBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

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'"

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

Goofy web quiz. Which Founding

Goofy web quiz.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

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"

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

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:


  1. Attorney General Jim Doyle beats incumbent Gov. Scott McCallum for Wisconsin governor (+1 for the Dems) by 4 points. McCallum is surging at the end but his initial deer-in-headlights look when he replaced political legend Tommy Thompson will leave many voters wondering if he has what it takes to bring the state out of tough budget problems.
  2. Norm Coleman edges out Walter Mondale for Sen. Paul Wellstone's Senate seat. The Wellstone death rally really turned off potential Mondale voters, and yesterday's debate showed Coleman was a thoughtful person who represented Minnesota's future.
  3. The U.S. Senate will end up being the same 50-49-1. The GOP has too many seats to defend. Talent will win (thanks to Patrick Ruffini) but Allard or Hutchinson will lose.

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.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2002

This isn't for me. I'm

This isn't for me. I'm looking for something in green.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

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:


The bottom line: everything on the videotape was true: the party, the Doyle volunteers, the money, the kringles, and the suggestion that the mentally ill cast absentee ballots. It wasn't Kmiec's job to make judgments about the ethics of the sleazy, cynical attempt to manipulate the mentally ill. That's up to the voters.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Lion vs. Tiger" [via RealClear Politics]

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

I shouldn't have watched more

I shouldn't have watched more the Coleman/Mondale debate. I missed this scene:


The sharpest exchange of the debate came over the issue of abortion. When asked about confirming the president's judicial nominees, Coleman said he did not believe in litmus tests, while Mondale said, "I believe in choice [on abortion]...I believe it is so fundamental, it is in the Constitution, that we should confirm judges on that basis."

Mondale accused Coleman of "trying to slide around some very fundamental questions about the future of this country and its most sacred values of justice." Shaking his finger at Coleman, he said, "What you're doing is sticking with the right wing and pretending to change the tone. Norm, we know you, we've seen you, we've seen you shift around."

A short time later, when Coleman asked Mondale, "Could you find common ground on the issue of partial birth abortion? Do you believe parents should be involved?" Mondale shot back that Coleman was "an arbitrary right-to-lifer." In what would become the most dramatic moment of the debate, Coleman answered that he and his wife had had two children who died young. "I have a deep and profound respect for the value of life," Coleman said. "It's not arbitrary. Please do not describe it as arbitrary."

The response knocked Mondale back on his feet. Even in an emotional moment, Coleman had kept his cool and respectful tone, leaving the former vice president without an effective response.


Byron York thinks Coleman won.

"Coleman Wins"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Kaus on Gary Hart and

Kaus on Gary Hart and the Democrats infatuation with men like Lautenberg and Mondale:


Anyway, Hart's way too young to be a credible Democratic candidate these days.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Power Line posted some instant reaction, and RealClear Politics thought Coleman was "great."

"Senate Candidates Face Off in Statewide Broadcast"

"Star Tribune Poll: Senate Rivals in Tight Race"

"Conflicting Polls Add to Election Confusion"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:20 AM | Comments (0)

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.

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

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

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."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

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"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

Is Daypop dead? I haven't

Is Daypop dead? I haven't been able to get to the site in days.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)