[star]The American Mind[star]

December 31, 2002

You've been waiting almost 12

You've been waiting almost 12 whole months just for this post. The world has been waiting that long for just this moment. Am I being facetious? Yes, but please allow me this moment. Forget the Grammys. Ignore the American Music Awards. Don't even bother with the Billboard Music Awards--no body does anyway. The TAM Music Awards are about to be announced. First, I'll yap about the past year in music. Then comes the all important criteria. Finally, the awards will be bestowed upon my vast audience (all three of you judging from my web stats).

The most interesting musical thread I noticed in 2002 was electronic music's claws sinking further into usually non-electronic musicians. Bruce Hornsby and Bob Mould abandoned their signature sounds (rock-jazz and power-pop respectively), pulled out synthesizers, drum machines, Pro Tools set ups, and gave rock music a distinctive early-21th. Century sound. Even on blue-collar rocker Bruce Springsteen's The Rising you detected electronic rhythms.

In the early 1990s, I watched REM's Michael Stipe predict that future music would combine indigenous sounds with technology. His prediction was spot on. Digital technology has allowed musicians to put together melodies, harmonies, chords, and rhythms in a professional manner at a reduced cost. A recording studio costing tens of thousands of dollars isn't needed anymore to make great sounding music. Someday, a blues singer will come along who won't have a guitar and a band. He'll only have a notebook computer full of samples. (Wait, didn't that practically happen with Moby's Play?) He will have a flawless synthesis (no pun intended) of technology and soul. That isn't to say that the blues guitarist is an endangered species. It just won't be required.

On the electronic music front, the start of the year continued the trend of chill out music that began in 2001. Zero 7's "Destiny" was the best song of the year. There were television commercials for chill out collections. But the ceaseless compilations (each with its own remix of a Dido song) saturated demand. Did we really need a Classical Chill or three Ultra Chilled albums? My choice for chill out album is Ministry of Sound's The Chillout Session. It's dreamy, soothing, and very sexy.

In 2002, a bunch of heavyweights in electronic dance music released albums. Some were good, and some weren't. While The Chemical Brothers and a Darren Emerson-less Underworld produced solid offerings that reinforced their reputations as dance music giants, Moby's 18 felt stale and much less daring than his classic Play. That's strange since both albums sound similar.

Superstar DJs Sasha and Paul Oakenfold came out with their first solo projects. Sasha came through with an unexpectedly subtle album that relied more on ambiance than on rhythm or groove. What little I heard of Oakenfold's Bunkka sounded contrived. It looked like he was trying to be an electronic version of Santana, but with much less success.

Now, to the non-electronic front. With great albums by Jimmy Eat World and Pete Yorn in 2001, I hoped to hear more good, intelligent, soulful pop rock. I was sorely disappointed. The Goo Goo Dolls came out with Gutterflower, an OK album that followed the path of the lighter songs from Dizzy Up the Girl. Some of the lyrics cut to the heart. Other than the Goos, pop rock was full of thin punk pop acts that all sounded alike, looked alike, and had whiny singers.

If 2002 needs a label to describe the year in music, I'd give it "The Year of the Compilation." No, I am not talking about Now, That's What I Call Music. I'm talking about the greatest hits sets from The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, INXS, Nirvana (good, but highly overrated), and U2. Maybe it was a response to the very successful Beatles 1 from 2001, but these collections offer music lovers like me the opportunity to own some of the greatest songs in rock music history without having to buy a bunch of albums.

That recap is done. We're almost to the fateful moment musicians only consider if they knew about TAM and actually cared what I thought. Anyway, on to the criteria for the coveted awards.

Here are the rules:

  1. The album has to have been released in 2002. That means Zero 7's Simple Things isn't eligible even if "Destiny" is an awesome song that was released in 2002. That also means Kylie Monogue's very addictive Fever is ineligible. I'd love to give that pretty Aussie an award, but the TAM Music Awards rule committee are one of the most anal retentive bodies on the planet even if Kylie is one of the prettiest things in pop music.

  2. I must own the album. It would be awfully lame to recommend an album that I didn't think was good enough to buy myself. Until I become some hotshot music reviewer who doesn't need to buy my own albums, this will remain a rule.

That mumbo-jumbo is out of the way. On to the good stuff. Here are the 2002 TAM Music Award winners:

  1. Big Swing Face Bruce Hornsby
    Bruce has come a long, long away from his Grammy-award winning rural rock he performed with The Range. After going the jazz and jam band route, he let Prince and George Clinton possess his body. This album is electrified funk with plenty of electronic processing. Reading this review doesn't give the sound justice. On paper (or computer screen) it sounds like a mess. Hornsby's Southern voice covered in funky beats and synth pops and squeaks? But it works. The guitar is spaced out on "Sticks and Stones," and you wouldn't know it was Hornsby unless you were told by the sales clerk (like I was). The best song is "This Soon Shall Pass." A lament on depression is transformed into a hopeful trip-hop song. One qualm with the album is it should have been named after the song "Try Anything Once," because that's just what Hornsby did.

  2. Come With Us The Chemical Brothers
    The Chems carry on with their rave inspired sound from Surrender. No bombast like on Dig Your Own Hole. "Star Guitar" has a warm guitar that makes me dream of dancing on a beach as the sun goes down. "Denmark" smokes as a hip-shaking tune. "The Test" mesmerizes with Richard Ashcroft singing and a psychedelic dynamic. I don't know if Ashcroft ever passed the acid test, but I do know The Chemical Brothers passed the TAM test.

  3. Modulate Bob Mould
    Like Hornsby fans, Mould followers were surprised with this album. Mould decided to "relearn the process of composition" by playing around with synthesizers, drum machines, and computers. The result is an album full of extremely altered vocals, experimental beats, acid squeaks, the occasional guitar, weird noise, and pop hooks. Writing pop songs is in Mould's blood. No matter what instrument he uses, he can put together a catchy melody. "Semper Fi" and "Soundonsound" combine guitar with electronics to sound almost like songs from Mould's earlier solo albums. "Lost Zoloft" is full of angst and a haunting keyboard. The lyrics are emotional as always. This is a great album from a great artist going in an unexpected direction.

  4. Vapor Trails Rush
    Rush should have never released this album. Drummer Neal Peart lost both his daughter and lover within a year of each other. The devastated Peart went on a long motorcycle tour to find out what was left inside of himself. He gave no thought to working with his Canadian band mates. Eventually, he healed enough to start doing what he did best: make music. Vapor Trails is the result. It's muscular. Its heaviness harkens back to Rush's 2112. Peart goes all out with intricate drum work that sounds almost impossible for a man to perform. Geddy Lee sings Peart's lyrics with his unforgettable voice that doesn't try to do too much. Alex Lifeson throws out plenty of thick chords from his guitar, but he needed to do more solos. (Where have guitar solos gone in rock music?) Knowing Peart's story opens a window into the lyrics on the album. "Ghost Rider" is Peart's journey around North America trying to heal his soul. "Secret Touch" is Peart dealing with his loss.

    Out of sync
    With the rhythm of my own reactions
    With the things that last
    And the things that come apart
    Out of sync
    With love in the land of the living
    A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart

    Then there's "Earthshine" where Peart is describing a night's sky. The depth and sophistication of the lyrics continue to mark Rush as the Thinking Man's rock band.

  5. Riviera Big Head Todd and the Monsters
    Big chords from a big-time guitar player make this album oh so tasty. Their blues are so rhythmic, you have to move your body. You can't help it on "Freedom Fighter." "Hysteria" is actually about watching television. "Again and Again" puts a twist on a woman wanting to leave the man: she can't. There's tension there until the chorus. You can feel her desire to leave and her inability to do so. Todd Park Mohr's guitar is just too good to leave off this list.

There you have it: 2002 in a musical nutshell. No mention of any teeny-bobbers and no extended discussion on why Springsteen's The Rising does or doesn't work as a post-September 11 tribute (it doesn't). I boiled a whole 365 days down to the good stuff. Here's hoping for plenty to good tunes in 2003.

2001 TAM Music Award Winners

2000 TAM Music Award Winners

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2002

Glenn Reynolds may be quite

Glenn Reynolds may be quite comfortable with his relationship with his mother. You can be sure I would never say this about my mom:

Er, and a bit of advice: yes, if you do aerobics and go running while wearing heavy ankle weights, it will tone you very impressively. But there is a price. . . .

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2002

The Boston Globe's "Ideas" section

The Boston Globe's "Ideas" section covers the debate over how Christian Tolkien's Lord of the Rings story is. Tolkien himself described the it as a "religious and Catholic work." But secular Tolkienists offer arguments that the story's pagan origin and universal themes make it much more than Christian theology wrapped with swords and wizards.

What LOTR is is a fundamentally conservative work. In its temperment and praise of the permanent things, the story would satisfy the likes of Russell Kirk.

"The Ring and the Cross"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Kwanzaa was inspired by Julius

Kwanzaa was inspired by Julius Nyerere who from 1961 to 1984 led Tanzania along the path to a Workers Paradise (A.K.A. The Road to Serfdom). The results:

Predictably, Nyerere's version of socialism drove the already low-flying Tanzanian economy into the ground. The forced relocation of 10 million to 12 million peasants into 8,000 "cooperative" government villages (and the razing of their ancestral homes) resulted in badly inefficient land use. The country went from being the largest exporter of food in Africa in 1961 to the greatest importer of food in 1980. Production of sisal, the primary raw-material export in 1960, shriveled to 20% of its peak by the early 1980s. With most of Tanzania's foreign exchange devoted by then to food imports, nothing was left for spare parts for the aging industrial sector or for fuel to get farmers' meager produce to market. It was altogether a disaster.

Even Nyerere thought he blew it. "I failed. Let's admit it."

So, for the next few days, many people will be celebrating a holiday based on principles that led to economic ruin and mass suffering.

"Kwanzaa, in Principle" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2002

In the event of war

In the event of war with Iraq, the Saudis will allow use of a command center and their airspace for missions.

American commanders now say allied refueling, reconnaissance, surveillance and cargo planes will be allowed to fly from Saudi bases, using Saudi airspace on the way to missions in or near Iraq. And these officials are expressing confidence that the Saudis will ultimately allow attack missions, which are more politically sensitive, to be flown from their soil.

At least publically, this looks like a change of heart by the Saudis. They weren't giving permission and in response an alternative command center in Qatar has been built. This change of heart is the Saudis' best response so far to their recent PR disaster.

But more broadly, Saudi officials are trying to repair the damage in American-Saudi relations stemming in part from the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States were Saudis. And Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington and his wife have been pressed to explain how payments she made to the ailing Jordanian wife of a Saudi man ended up in the hands of two Saudi men who have been under scrutiny for their close ties to hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks.

I hope no deal was made to quash continued investigation of Saudi money trails in exchange for these helpful military permissions. The terrorist money trail needs to rooted out and destroyed.

"Saudi Arabia Said to Assure U.S. on Use of Bases"

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

December 27, 2002

John Fund reports that Gov.

John Fund reports that Gov. Jeb Bush hands out his personal e-mail address and responds to e-mail. Anyone know his address?

"World Wide Jeb"

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

I saw The Two Towers

I saw The Two Towers tonight and was truly impressed. The visual scope of the film may have exceeded The Fellowship of the Ring, and that's saying a lot. The major battle was intricate, well thought out, and riveting even if I knew the final outcome. The Ents were everything I expected and more. Can we draft some of those creatures for a second front on the Korean Peninsula? The journey of Sam, Frodo, and the amazing creation of Gollum was fascinating even if it didn't hold true to the book.

Patrick Ruffini calls TTT "Rumsfeldian." I would agree, but broaden it to claim that the movie and the series is conservative. I'll bet $100 that New Line Cinema had no intention of making a trilogy of movies that will comfortably sit in the pantheon of all-time Right-wing film favorites. I'll also bet $100 that no one in Hollywood would agree with my claim. My claim is based on more than that it's a battle of good versus evil. LOTR appreciates Good and Evil as it is, not as it ideally could be. No one tries to understand the motivation behind Saruon's evil quest for domination. No one wants to placate orcs and goblins with gold and land in exchange for peace. The heroes realize that Evil cannot be placated. It's in Evil's nature to conquer Good. Compromise is impossible because Evil has no intention of stopping until it wins. In response, Good must stand firm and risk all.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2002

On another happy Christmas note,

On another happy Christmas note, a British nuclear expert said the only reason North Korea restared a nuclear reactor is to produce weapons material. Will the U.S. be facing a two-front war in 2003?

"Pyongyang May have A-bomb in 30 Days" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

Here's a quote that puts

Here's a quote that puts fear into any Packer's fan:

I know the question has been raised, "What if you won the Super Bowl?" Well, my response has been and will always be, "I hope I have that decision to make."

If we win the Super Bowl, it's not a guarantee that I would retire. But, think about it from my standpoint -- wouldn't you want to go out on top? Sure. Who wouldn't?

Now, a lot has to happen between now and then, but I have every intention of coming back next year.

That's from Brett Favre on retirement plans.

He won't retire even if the Pack wins the Super Bowl. The salary cap hit would paralize the team, and Favre has too much loyalty for the team to do that.

"Favre Hints Retirement not out of Question ... with big IF"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

On an unChristmas-y note, Free-Market.Net

On an unChristmas-y note, Free-Market.Net has suspended operations. [via Hit & Run]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ever the inspirer, Pat Buchanan

Ever the inspirer, Pat Buchanan offers this for his Christmas message:

In the West, the God of Christianity has been superseded by the gods of modernity: money, sex, fame, power. These gods give a good life, but they cannot sustain life. As Christianity is a dying faith in every Western nation, every Western nation is dying. Not one has a native-born population that is reproducing itself. At present birth rates, all will be changed utterly or pass away before century's end.

It is in the Third World, where populations are still growing, that Christianity still challenges Islam. Indeed, as the battle for the future is decided in this century, a once-Christian Europe will view the struggle from the windows of its nursing home. But as He told us, He did not come into our world to make us rich or powerful, but to die to give us the hope of eternal life. Merry Christmas.

PunchtheBag calls this line of thinking "paleonihilism".

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

I hope you all had

I hope you all had a joyous Christmas filled with love from family and friends and some nice gifts--both given and received.

I'm posting after two day's of Christmas vacation. Maybe I would have posted somthing if I wasn't hooked on NCAA Football 2003 (not a gift). My custom-made school won the national title and is ranked #2. But since my Game Cube is not in the mood to read the game disk right now, I'm catching up on happenings in the blogosphere. (If anyone knows why a Game Cube disk would suddenly become unreadable, let me know.) From my sporatic attention to the news, little has happended. Some guy in West Virginia won the lottery, and I'm not sure he has all his teeth. Other than that, I have nothing to say on that.

If U.N. inspectors continue to not find any of Saddam's nasty weapons, they should look next door to Syria.

Tomorrow, I'm back at the store taking on customers looking for books they didn't get as gifts and ungrateful people who are returning their presents for cash.

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

December 23, 2002

The Palestinians (i.e. Yasser Arafat)

The Palestinians (i.e. Yasser Arafat) called off January elections. The excuse is "Israeli reoccupation, obstruction and closures," but the possibility of democracy in Palestine scares those in power.

"Palestinians Call Off January Election"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

Some of you last-minute shoppers

Some of you last-minute shoppers will be griping about the cost of books. Stephen King's latest is $28 before discount. Tom Clancy's Red Rabbit is regularly $28.95. TV Guide: Fifty Years of Television is selling on Amazon for $30.00. Christopher Dreher goes into the numbers behind the prices.

"Why Do Books Cost so Much?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie Sykes offers his thoughts

Charlie Sykes offers his thoughts on Sen. Patty Murray's praise of Osama bin Laden and predicts that the media will hardly cover it and her fellow Democrats will not chastise her.

"Double Standard Watch"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

Larry Lessig notes that in

Larry Lessig notes that in Japan you can get 100 mbs Net service for $50 a month. That doesn't sound like either cable modem or DSL. Knowing little about broadband technology, I want to know how it works. Is it based on coaxial cable, phone lines, wireless, or even fiber optic cable? What technology do Korean broadband users use? Their country has the highest broadband use in the world.

Global OnLine Japan offers the deal Lessig mentioned by using fiber optics. So in Japan, consumers can already get a massive broadband pipe for their home or office (ironically through a few thin strands of glass), but American Net users are stuck paying exorbitant rates for 1970s technology (coaxial cable and phone lines).

This article in the San Francisco Business Times reports on a company offering wireless broadband access without requiring customers to have a line-of-sight to the base station.

Right now, Exodus Communications is offering 1.5 mbs ADSL for $18/month. SBC Yahoo charges $39.95.

Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) issued a report saying Japan has cheaper and faster ADSL and cable service than a group of other world cities.

Lessig worries about broadband providers controlling how consumers use the Net. If there are few providers, then that would be a problem; but I want broadband service for the price of dial-up. There are no signs of that coming to the U.S.

"Broadband Translates in Japan"

"Japan's Broadband Users Enjoy Lowest Charges"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Robert Pilon appreciates the blessing

Robert Pilon appreciates the blessing of liberty from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution:

In the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson set out certain "self-evident truths," the foundations of freedom: "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." What that means, quite simply, is that we're all born free to pursue happiness as we wish, by our own lights, provided we respect the equal rights of others to do the same. In a nutshell, America's basic moral principle is "Live, and let live."
It was James Madison, under the leadership of George Washington, who brought that about. When the Founders met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the Constitution, they understood that government is both necessary and dangerous: necessary to secure our rights, but dangerous too, because government unrestrained could easily trample rights in the name of securing them. Thus, they drafted a document that both empowered and limited government, incorporating the subtle system of checks and balances that Madison first conceived.
By and large, however, the Constitution has served us well, enabling us to flourish under the blessings of liberty and law. As we gather with family and friends over the holidays, we would do well to count those blessings and give thanks that we continue to live under a constitution of liberty.

"The Blessings of Liberty and Law"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

Since Yahoo is buying Inktomi,

Since Yahoo is buying Inktomi, how long will it be until it dumps Google?

"Yahoo! to Buy Inktomi for $235 Million"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2002

Looking at my hits, I'd

Looking at my hits, I'd say TAM readers are busy with their Christmas preparations. I hope some of them took my shopping advice. Last night, I celebrated Christmas with my mother's side of the family. It was a fun, but late night, and I had to work early this morning. What I trying to get at is I'm beat, and probably won't post anything more tonight. Come back tomorrow.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

The Two Towers is doing

The Two Towers is doing better at the box office than last year's Fellowship of the Ring. New Line Cinema expects the film to top the $1 billion mark in ticket sales.

"Fantasy Wins out at the Movies"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2002

Arianna Huffington praises webloggers for

Arianna Huffington praises webloggers for generating the energy that sent Trent Lott to the political cleaners.

She writes that most webloggers are "unpaid amateurs" but mentions people like Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Klaus, and Andrew Sullivan. These three are paid intellectuals. Reynolds posts as a hobby when he's not grading law tests. Klaus and Sullivan have journalistic gigs and extend it with there weblogging. She didn't mention a single amateur weblogger. No John Hawkins or Megan McArdle (who is currently jobless) or myself.

It's disengenuous to talk about weblogging as a democratizing medium but only mention pros and semi-pros.

"In Praise of Making a Stink" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

King at SCSUScholars reports that

King at SCSUScholars reports that St. Cloud State College Republicans and the university administration are working on an apology. However, there's no word on whether the professors will apologize. On a lighter note, the CRs have a letter from the Israeli Embassy approving their use of the Israeli flag.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

Today began the last weekend

Today began the last weekend before Christmas. It's a time of packed stores and short tempers. This is my fifth Christmas season working in a major specialty retailer. Here are some helpful hints to make your last-minute shopping more productive.

  1. Prepare a list before you head out. Have some ideas of what you're looking for. It will keep your mind busy thinking of alternatives if your first choice isn't available.
  2. Don't expect items to be available. This past week was the last chance for retailers to get their shipments out to stores. Sure, there will be some shipments in tomorrow, Monday, and even Tuesday, but for the most part, what you see is what you get.
  3. Which brings me to my next piece of advice. Call before you leave. Let your fingers do the walking. For example, it really stinks to brave traffic (both cars and people) only to find out the store doesn't have what you're looking for. Most bookstores and music shops do offer to hold items for at least a day so you know your trek will not be a waste of gas. Stores like to offer to hold items because there's a greater chance to get the customer in to buy something else. Why do you think all that merchandise is displayed by the cash registers?
  4. Be patient. Lots and lots of people will be shopping the next few days. Everybody wants help, but there's only so many people working in the stores. As a bookseller, I want to make sure you find what you're looking for as quickly as possible. If I have to spend 10 minutes on one customer, that's that much less time I can help others. I want to help customers quickly and effectively.
  5. Be nice to employees. Sure, Christmas shopping may be stressful for you, but realize that you've only spent a few days over a couple months completing your lists. People like me have been enduring customer requests since October. We will do the best we can with what we have available. If you go to my bookstore, we'll check to see if a book is in stock. If not, we'll call other stores to see if they have it. What doesn't help is a frustrated customer getting angry because we can't get the book they're looking for because they started shopping too late. (That's why it's important to have a list with alternatives in mind.)

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

In the interest of

In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as Majority Leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective January 6, 2003. To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate.

So many have been ragging on Sen. Trent Lott these past few weeks. Since he finally did the right thing and stepped down, we should send him an e-mail letting him know we support his decision.

"Lott Stepping Down As Senate GOP Leader"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2002

John Hawkins has a list

John Hawkins has a list of the most annoying liberals for 2002. I won't give away #1, but here's a hint: he's a Nobel Prize winner.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

National Review and TAM both

National Review and TAM both agree that Lott should go because he's a poor leader, and his gaffe proves his ineptitude.

We have long considered Lott a clumsy and ineffective Republican leader, and his controversial Strom Thurmond birthday remarks are a spectacular confirmation of that judgment. Is Lott a racist? We don't think so. Are many of the attacks on him dishonest and opportunistic? Yes. But he has been a poor leader of Senate Republicans, and the latest gaffe will only further erode his standing and his ability to lead.

"Lott Should Go"

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

Bill Clinton: the ex-President who

Bill Clinton: the ex-President who can't keep his mouth shut said the GOP and conservatives are "pretty hypocritical" for coming down hard on Trent Lott.

"How do they think they got a majority in the South anyway?" Clinton told CNN outside a business luncheon he was attending. "I think what they are really upset about is that he made public their strategy."

He added: "They try to suppress black voting, they ran on the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina, and from top to bottom the Republicans supported it."

Clinton didn't have the guts to say it, but he thinks the South is inherently racist and the GOP made political gains by playing to that racism. Clinton moved away from his home in the South, and his true feelings have come out.

"Clinton Calls GOP 'Hypocritical' on Lott" [via Right-Thinking from the Left Coast]

UPDATE: John Hawkins found some examples of Bill Clinton's hypocrisy.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

Will black activists like Jesse

Will black activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton castigate anyone who praises Woodrow Wilson? Charles Paul Freund points out some of his awful, racist actions. As Princeton president, Wilson turned away black applicants. As President, he segregated areas in federal buildings. He even told a group of blacks that "segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen." Wilson makes Lott look like a pantywaist.

"Dixiecrats Triumphant" [via Popshot Notes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

Sen. Bill Frist will challenge

Sen. Bill Frist will challenge Sen. Trent Lott for majority leader. Frist has to defeat years of Lott's back slapping and an apperance that he's too close to the White House. A Senator told The Washington Post, "The backlash has started. We were elected, we are senators and we want to pick our own leader." That's all well and good, but there's that little part about President Bush working his tail off to win a Senate majority. Then there's the fact that Lott is a lousy leader and a mill stone around the Republican Party's neck.

The AP calls Frist the GOP's "go-to man." He was out in front during the Antrax scare, and he led the way to Senate victories across the country.

"Frist Looks to Replace Lott As GOP Leader"

"Frist Considering Challenging Lott for Leadership Post"

"Tennessee Physician-Lawmaker Frequent Go-To Man in Times of Crisis for Senate, GOP"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2002

There will probably be little

There will probably be little posting tonight. I've put off my Christmas shopping for too long. Today is my last day off before my festivities begin.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

If the Packers lose Sunday,

If the Packers lose Sunday, it's all Sports Illustrated's fault. Brett Favre and the Pack on on this week's cover.

"Packers Make Cover Of Sports Illustrated"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2002

After reading this Thomas Sowell

After reading this Thomas Sowell column nothing really needs to be said about the Lott affair. It doesn't matter if Lott is a racist or a Southern good ole boy willing to pander to nefarious groups. He's damaged goods and must go.

The actual choice facing Republicans is whether they want Trent Lott to be out front as the face of their party when they confront future political battles over judicial nominees, national security and the rest of the Bush administration agenda.

Any judge who has ever ruled against any claim -- however outrageous -- by any organization that calls itself a civil rights group is likely to be hit with charges of "racism" when he or she is nominated for an appellate court appointment and is up for confirmation in the Senate. Who is going to go on nationwide television and reassure the public that the nominee is not a racist? Trent Lott?

Anything in national security policy that can be construed as "racial profiling" of people from the Middle East will be construed that way by critics. When the Republican leadership is called upon to defend the policy, will Senator Lott's presence among that leadership help the credibility of their defense?

One of the great opportunities that Republicans have of making inroads into the Democrats' virtual monopoly of minority votes in the years ahead is by offering vouchers as a way to rescue minority children from failing schools. But any attempt to claim the moral high ground on this issue can be dismissed with sneering remarks about the Republican majority leader.

No wonder some Democrats wanted Trent Lott to stay front and center. He can be a living red herring. Long after the current furor has died down, this episode can be resurrected for political encores.

Meanwhile, Republicans will have to tiptoe around racial issues and even kowtow to the likes of Al Sharpton. This can only disgust and demoralize the Republicans' own supporters.

GOP Senators sound very wishy-washy for not not supporting Lott, but supporting a 1.06.02 meeting to hash things out. Sen. John Hagel said, "I support bringing the Republican conference together as soon as possible. Republican senators must either reconfirm their confidence in Trent Lott's leadership or select a new leader." Even Senator "Straight Talk," John McCain only said he approved of the meeting. With only Sen. Don Nickles calling for new leadership Lott may just survive--to the glee of Democrats.

"Lott, Race, and Hypocrisy"

"GOP to 'Hash Out' Lott's Fate"

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

I know it's early Tuesday,

I know it's early Tuesday, but John Huebscher of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference already has earned the TAM quote of the day. I'm sure I won't find anything close to this for the rest of the day. Huebscher comments on death penalty legislation to be introduced next year:

I don't think we respond to the horrors of Sept. 11 with more violence. [T]hen Osama Bin Laden has already won.

It used to be that any policy idea had to be enacted "for the children." Now, any policy idea can be opposed because "then the terrorist have already won."

It's the TAM editorial position that state-sanctioned death isn't needed when better alternatives are available. What I do oppose are banal cliches used in political debate.

"GOP-Controlled Legislature in Position to Reconsider Death Penalty" [via Progressive Racine]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

In trying to cover his

In trying to cover his rear and protect his leadership position, Sen. Trent Lott pandered to an audience on Black Entertainment Television. He told the audience that he's for affirmative action and has practiced it in his office. He also seems to think it's wrong for Harvard to have one-third of its students be children of alumni. Harvard is a private institution last I heard.

Lott must go, but not for the foolish comments he made over a week ago. No, he must go because someone who considers themself to be a leader of their party would have handled this situation much better. Lott tried to use political speak to smooth over this gaffe and wait it out. That would have worked if this was a one-time gaffe, but Lott has a history of pandering to segregation-sympathetic crowds. He could have talked like a normal person and told the world that he was trying to say something nice about Sen. Strom Thrumond at his birthday party. No more, no less. Lott would have been embarrassed, but he would have kept his leadership position. By ignoring the controversy, he opened himself up to conservative criticism--many who already didn't care much for Lott (like me).

It's interesting that Lott asked blacks to forgive him, but not Republicans and conservatives. His foolish words and pathetic actions have hurt the Right far more than any black.

"Lott Asks Blacks for Forgiveness on BET" [via Progressive Racine]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2002

I'm interested in seeing how

I'm interested in seeing how the movie version of The 25th Hour adds to the book. The novel felt like a series of character sketches rather than a story with a beginning, middle, and end. David Rooney writes that Spike Lee and David Benioff are taking advantage of our new, more dangerous world:

Attempting to transform superior pulp into something thematically richer, the writer and director heighten the role of the story's setting to create a post-9/11 symphony on the strength, resilience and hope of New York City that's sure to draw considerable attention.

The structure provides ample opportunity for good actors to show off their stuff (Edward Norton plays the lead role).

"Spike Lee in Liberating Foray with 25th Hour"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

John Hawkins at Right Wing

John Hawkins at Right Wing News covers a scary scene at St. Cloud University where College Republicans were threatened physically by a professor and censored by a school administrator.

SCSUScholars, a group of non-hostile St. Cloud State faculty, has plenty of links and commentary. This is much more interesting than Trent Lott powerplays and conservative bloodletting.

"College Republicans Hassled For Supporting Israel At St. Cloud State"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2002

Damn, now I won't have

Damn, now I won't have AlGore to rip on during the Presidential elections. Anybody need a copy of Earth in the Balance? I won't be needing mine anymore.

What most interested me about this story is AlGore saying this effectively ends his political career. "I make this decision in the full knowledge and awareness that if I don't run this run this time, which I'm not going to run in 2004, that's probably the last opportunity I'll have had to run for president." He's only 54. He could easily run again in 2008 or 2012. If Democrats were willing to run guys as old as Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Walter Mondale (and don't forget Sen. Robert Byrd), an elder statesman like AlGore could be resurrected.

"Gore Rules Out Running in '04"

"Al Gore Says He Won't Run in 2004"

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

December 14, 2002

Lee Bockhorn in The Weekly

Lee Bockhorn in The Weekly Standard's weekly e-mail:

Lott is scheduled to hold a press conference later this afternoon. It's still unclear what he's going to say, but let's hope, for the good of the Republican party and the conservative movement, that he has the good sense to step aside as Senate majority leader. There simply isn't a satisfying exculpatory explanation for Lott's remarks, and whatever one thinks of them, they were a spectacular confirmation of what many Beltway conservatives have long known about Lott--he doesn't have the prudence, judgment, or leadership skills necessary to lead effectively the Senate GOP.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

Charging tolls to use Milwaukee's

Charging tolls to use Milwaukee's busiest highway is thinking outside of the box for a state always seems to find a tax to raise. Will it happen? No. People find the Illinois tollways to be obnoxious and won't want them here. Should they be here? Yes, because then funding for this highway reconstruction would come from those who use the road.

"Could Marquette Interchange Become Tollway?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2002

Quick! President Bush, start the

Quick! President Bush, start the bombing.

"Actor Sean Penn Visits Baghdad"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

Trent's toast. Peggy Noonan eloquently

Trent's toast. Peggy Noonan eloquently (as always) wants him to go away.

"Counsel for Trent" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2002

Michelle Malkin makes some brilliant

Michelle Malkin makes some brilliant points on Trent Lott's foot-in-mouth disease. First, is her very funny label of Lott as "the Republican Party's eternal Maalox moment." Excuse me a moment while I roll on the floor laughing...

Ok, I'm better now. No, wait...

Alright, now I'm sure I'm better know. Anyway, Malkin makes the point I've been trying to make about Lott and racism. I don't believe he's a racist; he's just a good old Southern boy constantly trying to say the right thing in front of the right group. Here's how Malkin puts it:

Both liberals and conservatives who are lambasting the vacant Lott as an unrepentant bigot give him too much credit, methinks. The former college cheerleader did at Thurmond's birthday party what he has done all of his life: He mouthed the words he thought his audience at the moment wanted to hear. Lott never actively donned a white sheet, like his Senate colleague and ex-Klansman Robert Byrd, D-West Va. Instead, Lott is, and always has been, on the sidelines of America's race debate.

When James Meredith weathered violent riots in his brave quest to integrate the University of Mississippi in the fall of 1962, Lott was neither standing next to him nor standing with the segregationist mob. The Ole Miss alum was holed up inside his frat house, preserving his and his brothers' political viability.

There is only one cause, one animating spirit that Trent Lott is committed to: not the South, not the segregationist past, but himself and his future in high office. And now, to save his hide, Lott will shake his pompoms and turn somersaults to please whomever (Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the Rev. Al Sharpton) can help him stay in power.

Lott's quivering and legislative handouts prove he's a weak leader. His Thurmond comments didn't do me in, it's his lousy ability to stand up to the opposition. He failed miserably while confronting Clinton at his weakest (during impeachment), and he's not doing very well confronting race-baiting, hypocritical Democrats.

"Vacant Lott"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

More good work from the

More good work from the Institute for Justice.

Washington, D.C.-New Jersey?s method of financing police and prosecutors through civil forfeiture is unconstitutional, Superior Court Judge G. Thomas Bowen of Salem County ruled in a December 11 opinion.

Under New Jersey?s civil forfeiture law (N.J.S.A 2C:64-6a) prosecutors and police had been entitled to keep the money and property confiscated from individuals through the state?s civil forfeiture law, thus giving them a direct financial stake in the outcome of forfeiture efforts. The court ruled that this provision violates the Due Process clauses of the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions.

"New Jersey Court Declares State?s Civil Forfeiture Funding Scheme Unconstitutional" [via Hit & Run]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Ron Bailey on Michael Crichton's

Ron Bailey on Michael Crichton's Prey:

Crichton's new novel further solidifies his position as our generation's bush-league Mary Shelley, constantly hectoring readers about the dangers of humanity's technological hubris. By all means enjoy the book and the movie. But please keep in mind that the beasties in Prey are more Stephen King horror than Jules Verne prediction.

"Be Afraid"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Let Remedy know that she's

Let Remedy know that she's a little loony for sitting up in a tree for months just to stop loggers from cutting it down.

Treesit Blog

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

U.S. intelligence suspects terrorists have

U.S. intelligence suspects terrorists have taken a chemical weapon--possibly VX--out of Iraq. If true, this is evidence of the real threat Iraq is to the U.S. First, it's a chemical weapon, but you can be sure that a biological or nuclear weapon would be next.

"Report: Al Qaeda Deal for Nerve Gas"

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

In a victory for economic

In a victory for economic liberty, the Institute for Justice won a case that lets New York residents buy wine from out-of-state sources via the Internet or mail order.

"Courts Spurn State Laws on Caskets, Wine"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2002

The Sen. Lott gaffe still

The Sen. Lott gaffe still hasn't died. Ralph Luker is calling him a "segregationist of the heart." What does that mean? Does Luker have some super power where he can peer into the hearts and minds of others and detect anti-social feelings? He provides no evidence that Lott has ever voted for a bill that would segregate the races. He hasn't shown that Lott wants to go back to the days of separate but equal. All he offers is the infamous Thurmond quote and some nice words to a meeting of a far-right organization. That's no reason for Lott to resign as Majority Leader. There is a simpler reason he shouldn't be leader: he isn't very good at it.

The blogosphere hasn't let up on Lott either. Josh Chafetz is calling him a racist; Glenn Reynolds won't quit with the links; and Andrew Sullivan wants Lott to go so the GOP has credibility on race issues.

Lott had a chance to repudiate his words and he chose to side-step the issue. He's flirted with racists before. He's said the same things before. It seems to me that president Bush now has his Sister Souljah opportunity. Just as Clinton secured centrist backing when he repudiated the anti-white racism of Sister Souljah, so Bush needs to repudiate the anti-black racism of Lott publicly, clearly and irrevocably. If he doesn't, then I'm afraid he will lose any black support indefinitely and the respect of many decent voters who aren't black as well. Lott's remarks are, in fact, a direct insult to black members of the administration and the Republican Party. Mr. President, we're waiting for you to say something.

Sullivan thinks that blacks don't have the sense to look beyond one political leader when elections come around. This makes to sense based on reality. Despite the Democrats having a former member of the Ku Klux Klan in the Senate, and letting President Bill Clinton give an award to segregationist Senator William Fulbright (his mentor) 90% of blacks vote for Democrats. Does Sullivan think blacks are too stupid to see this? I think this shows that there's more to the Democrats' dominance of the black vote than race issues.

"Lott the Segregationist Wears out Welcome" [via InstaPundit]

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

Global warming might be causing

Global warming might be causing malaria outbreaks? How about the abandonment of the use of DDT to kill the mosquitoes that carry the disease?

"Scientists Question Climate Change, Malaria Link"

"Without DDT, Malaria Bites Back"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

Why should I care that

Why should I care that a bunch of Hollywood Lefties oppose war with Iraq? Most of the time these types are ill-informed, knee-jerk liberals. Today is no different. Martin Sheen thinks President Bush wants war to placate his father.

I think he'd like to hand his father Saddam Hussein's head and win his approval for what happened after the Gulf War. That's my own personal opinion ? I don't know if that's true. I hope it's not, but I suspect it is.

Sheen has no evidence that Bush wants family revenge, or that the administration filled with people like Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld would just lie down and let Bush have his way.

"Celebrities Ask Bush to Stop War Rhetoric"

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

December 10, 2002

Since Sen. Lott isn't the

Since Sen. Lott isn't the smartest guy the GOP has in the Senate, why do they always elect him as their leader? Does he just have really good people skills? Or does he shake pixie dust on the other Senators prior to caucusing?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2002

Here's probably my only comment

Here's probably my only comment on Sen. Trent Lott's comments: He was trying to say something nice at Sen. Strom Thurmond's birthday party and failed miserably. What a surprise, he said something stupid. He's apologized, and everyone needs to move on. It is hilarious watching Democrats like AlGore and Jesse Jackson claim as much media time as possible over this while ignoring their ex-Klansman Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd.

Andrew Sullivan asks, "Why are the Republican commentators so silent about this?" As a conservative commentator who can't remember the last time he voted for a Democrat, I'll answer. Trent Lott says dumb things a lot. After he said it, there would be a lot of hoopla, but eventually he would apologize. It will be forgotten in a few months, or at least until Lott says another dumb thing.

Do I care if Lott is the Republican Senate leader? No, because Bush is in the White House and he's THE leader of the party. Lott's job is to get the President's bills passed and keep his GOP colleagues in line.

"Lott Apologizes for Remark on Thurmond"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Victims of the Racine rave

Victims of the Racine rave bust are having their day in court. About 100 people had their initial hearing today. 450 were arrested for attending a rave where police were tipped off about drug activity and arrested three on drug charges. About 200 will fight the fines--initially $968, then reduced to $100--so many that Racine may have to hire a special prosecutor.

"Racine Rave-Goers Appear In Court"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2002

Larry Kudlow writes that Paul

Larry Kudlow writes that Paul O'Neill got fired because he couldn't sell a tax plan that he didn't believe in. Kudlow goes on:

O'Neill never had any credibility on Capitol Hill or Wall Street. He dismissed the former as buffoons and the latter as irrelevant. So naturally, as the stock-market decline continued for most of this year, almost nobody on the planet defended O'Neill and almost everybody criticized him. Finally, Bush had enough.

"No Tears for O'Neill" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

Right Wing News remembers Pearl

Right Wing News remembers Pearl Harbor.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

Out of all the books

Out of all the books that make the NY Times Book Review's list of notable nonfiction, I read only two--Warrior Politics and What Went Wrong? The world-famous TAM Book Awards will be coming in a few weeks so you know what the best nonfiction of 2002 really was.

"Notable Books 2002"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Big econ news! Paul O'Neill

Big econ news! Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsey both got the boot. O'Neill was most well known for hob knobbing with Bono in Africa while the stock market was in a free fall and the economy sputtered. Lindsey may have been a good economic adviser during Bush's campaign, but that didn't translate into anything effective in the White House.

Former Goldman Sachs head, Stephen Friedman appears to be Lindsey's replacement. As for Treasury Secretary, Bush is said to have a name, but that hasn't leaked out yet. Some names that have come up include Stanford economist Michael Boskin (not familar with him), Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, ex-Congressman Bill Archer, ex-Senator Phil Gramm (won't take it because he wants to make a little money in the private sector), Gerald Parsky (never heard of him), Charles Schwab (interesting pro-investor class choice), NYSE chairman Richard Grasso, Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Rep. Dick Armey (great tax cut advocate), Steve Forbes (tax cut obsessed, but in a good way), and UBS PaineWebber head Joseph Grano.

O'Neill's problem was that he was an invisible Treasury Secretary. He wasn't visible pushing for Bush's tax cut. He wasn't making waves on news programs advocating grand tax reforms. He wasn't on CNBC reassuring investors that tax cuts with time would bring about economic recovery or that the economy wasn't as dreadful as many say. Part of it was political. I'm sure the White House didn't want O'Neill to speak too loudly about eliminating the corporate income tax. Another part was O'Neill's personality. He formerly ran Alcoa. While running it fine, he was absolutely invisible to 95% of Americans. O'Neill didn't seem to mind the anonimity and brought that to the Treasury Department. O'Neill wasn't a Bob Rubin or even a Larry Summers (and he's an academic economist). William Saletan is right in calling that "show business." A Minnesota economist sees the personel changes as selling a plan. The Bush economic approach won't change "because I don't think these guys were making the calls."

Here's Brad DeLong's criteria for an effective Treasury Secretary:

The Treasury Secretary should (a) be a strong voice helping the U.S. pursue good economic policies, (b) understand what the economic policies of the United States are, (c) be effective at using his extremely prominent and powerful post to tell outsiders about the economic policies of the United States, and (d) know how to use his--truly excellent, dedicated, and very large--career staff inside the Treasury building. Paul O'Neill was zero for four.

The public trusts Bush. They trust him with fighting the Islamist War, and they trust him to do his best with the economy. If Bush were to stay the course and not make any changes, the public would have seen this as Bush not making an effort. Democrats would go after Bush for caring more about stuff overseas than in the U.S. By firing O'Neill and Lindsey, it sends a signal that Bush is concerned and is willing to try new things to get the economy moving faster. If it doesn't work, at least Bush can say that he wasn't standing still. If outside events (war, terrorism, or a general world economic downturn) are perceived to be the reason for continued economic sluggishness, he could survive politically. That all depends on the public's trust in Bush to do his best for the country.

As for a replacement, it should be someone who's sound on economic policy, and is willing to talk loudly and often. My first choice is Larry Kudlow even if that means he has to leave his great CNBC show. Heck, I'd even think about his co-host James Cramer. Brad DeLong likes Martin Feldstein. So do I because he knows so much about the importance of tax policy.

"Speculation Begins on Replacement for Treasury Secretary"

"Bush Eyes Former Goldman Exec for Economic Job"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2002

The USS Paul Hamilton collided

The USS Paul Hamilton collided with an Iranian oil vessel in the Persian Gulf. The only damage was a hole in the Paul Hamilton above the water line. The destroyer is in the same class as the USS Cole which was attacked by al-Qaeda two years ago.

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

Rep. Kathleen Harris (R-FL) as

Rep. Kathleen Harris (R-FL) as been named as an assistant whip. She is "one of [the] very few first-term members of Congress who will be included in the whip teams." The Left conspriacy nuts will be all over this. In exchange for helping Bush win Florida in 2000, Harris gets a jump start to Congressional power.

"Katherine Harris Named Assistant Majority Whip in Congress"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:25 PM | Comments (3)

Happy B-Day Strom! "Strom Thurmond

Happy B-Day Strom!

"Strom Thurmond Turns 100 Years Old Thursday"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

Bravo to German tax protesters.

Bravo to German tax protesters. They're sending Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder the shirt off their backs in opposition to new taxes.

"Taxed Germans Having Shirty Xmas"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

I know I'm a little

I know I'm a little behind, but TIPS is dead.

"Feds' Spying Plan Fades to Black"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2002

Is it the sign of

Is it the sign of addiction to have to visit a grand opening of a Krispy Kreme? I will be in Brookfield, WI on the 10th.

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

Ok, so the world doesn't

Ok, so the world doesn't like us as much as it used to. Until I see the waiting lists of people who want to emigrate into the U.S. drop to zero, or nations dropping out of the Islamist War and joining the enemy, I won't be very worried.

Let's delve into this story a little bit. 83% of Turks oppose using their military bases to launch attacks into Iraq. That's fear of a Kurd nation rising from a broken Iraq.

Americans find nuclear weapons to be a major threat, while foreigners see AIDS, disease, pollution, ethnic strife, crime, and corruption to be serious problems. This isn't shocking since the U.S. has done a better job than the rest of the world at solving those problems. If you have AIDS or any other disease, you're better off in the U.S. We have little ethnic strife (we would call them hate crimes), have an ever-improving environment, and besides a few outrageous corporate fraud cases have little corruption. Compared to other places on earth, the U.S. is a shining city on a hill.

Here's a nugget that irritates me:

While strong majorities in the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Russia agreed that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein poses a "great to moderate" danger, British public opinion is evenly split on whether to use force to remove him, and large majorities in France, Germany, Russia and Turkey oppose the use of force.

It's easy for these countries to hate Saddam, but not support toppling him. The U.S. will do the heavy lifting when war breaks out. It's easy to be in opposition when you don't think you're the No. 1 target of radical Islam, and when another country's men and women will die instead of your own.

But so as to not make it appear that I'm a typical cowboy American who doesn't appreciate foreign policy, I offer this suggestion to the State Department. Since only 6% of Egyptians support the U.S., how about not sending them their $2 billion in aid next year. We don't need to financially support a country that doesn't appreciate us. Cut them off, and then do a poll.

"U.S. Losing Popularity in World"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

Al Sharpton is positioning himself

Al Sharpton is positioning himself for a Presidential run by blasting Bill Clinton. He told the Washington Times,

For him to say that the Democrats failed to bring out a message is wrong. He was the messenger, he was the one out there and helped run the campaign, him and [Democratic National Committee Chairman] Terry McAuliffe. So how can he give an objective opinion with his subjective involvement?

He then gave a speech in Salt Lake City calling for $250 billion over five years on "infrastructure revamping." Sharpton thinks it "would infuse the private sector with jobs and money." It certainly would be full of pork barrel projects.

"Sharpton Raps Clinton for Election Losses"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Modern art and the Culture

Modern art and the Culture of Death have combined into something gruesome.

"Suicide Mistaken for Art Performance"

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

December 04, 2002

Daniel Pipes delivers a strong

Daniel Pipes delivers a strong accusation to the current administration and previous ones. He claims the Saudis have paid off past and present administrations to protect the close Saudi-American relationship.

Why this undue solicitude for Saudi feelings? This hedging by the executive branch fits a pattern going back almost 60 years, to when President Franklin D. Roosevelt met the Saudi king in 1945.

Since then, U.S. politicians, diplomats, flag officers and lobbyists have enjoyed a cozy relationship with their counterparts on the Saudi side. The tie is premised on Americans - Democrats and Republicans alike -accommodating the kingdom's wishes and in return, being plied with substantial sums of money, either at the time or after they leave government service.

Pipes is accusing the Bush and past administrations of taking bribes. Such serious charges require some evidence. Pipes doesn't provide any in his article.

"Government for Sale [to the Saudis]"

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

December 03, 2002

Be wary of Brazil's president-elect

Be wary of Brazil's president-elect Lula. Fidel Castro sent him a box of cigars for winning the election and told him he would be attending his inauguration.

"UPI hears ..."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

The U.S. officially presented to

The U.S. officially presented to the WTO its proposal to end tariffs on industrial goods. The response was mixed. Australia, Singapore and New Zealand approved it, but developing nations like India called it "clearly unfair."

"Mixed WTO Reaction to U.S. Zero Tariff Bid"

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

December 02, 2002

Rush Limbaugh on why there

Rush Limbaugh on why there isn't a liberal version of him:

Well, look, and you boil it down to the essence, I think mine is a good show regardless what's on it. The content, political, it's a good show. It's fun. It's entertaining, and I'm a broadcast professional. There have been plenty of conservatives in the media who haven't achieved audience size like this, and one of the things I think you have to understand is that -- and I know I'm going to get in trouble for this because it'll be taken out of context and misunderstood -- but it is a performance. People giving public speeches are performing. You don't just get on the radio and say OK, I'm conservative and here's what I think or OK I'm liberal, here's what I think. If you get specific beyond that, I think the liberal message is something people hear enough on TV.

They don't want to hear the institutions and traditions that have made the country great constantly under attack. They don't want to hear doom and gloom. I mean liberalism is this most recent Democrat campaign and who wanted to listen to that. I mean it's not fun. Liberals don't seem to be smiling. They've got nothing -- they can't even admit that they're liberal for the most part. They come up with terms like centrist or progressive.

It would be tough for a liberal radio yapper to say why our health care system should be run the same way as the post office.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe John DiIulio just has

Maybe John DiIulio just has sour grapes. How can he claim that "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, being run by the political arm"? Doesn't he recall the Clinton administration? That White House was so concerned about politics that cruise missile attacks "happened" at great times to divert attention from Bill's peccadillos.

"White House Faith-Based Adviser Turns on Rove; Claims all Decisions are Politicized"

UPDATE: Dilulio denies the quotes attributed to him. He told Fox News, "I regret any and all misimpressions. In this season of fellowship and forgiveness, I pray the same."

"DiIulio Denies Making Critical Comments of the White House" [via Instapundit]

ANOTHER UPDATE: Drudge has posted a memo from John DiIulio to the Esquire writer, Ron Suskind. He's critical of a White House that doesn't get into detailed policy discussions. He's hopeful that more substantive policy comes out because of "the presidentís character and heart, the decent, well-meaning people on staff, Karlís wonkish alter-ego." This isn't the same DiIulio that Suskind claims "turned" on Karl Rove.

Patrick Ruffini goes off on DiIulio.

In his e-mail, DiIulio asks for more bull sessions, more research papers ó more "discourse." That's admirable, but it's a mode of operation uniquely suited to a world where deadlines don't have to be met, where the give-and-take can go on for hours in the comfort of plush upholstery. People who do serious government work rarely have that luxury.

He goes on.

What DiIulio has produced is the garden-variety disillusionment you find when academics are confronted with How Politics Really Works 101. What he's reporting on is the very real clash of cultures that probably would have taken hold even if he'd served under the last President of his own party.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

With Wal-Mart announcing a record

With Wal-Mart announcing a record sales day for this past Friday that could mean the holiday season could be better than analysts suggest, or people are concentrating their purchases to discount stores.

"Wal-Mart Reports $1.43 Billion Sales Fri." [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

Let's remember those guys and

Let's remember those guys and gals abroad fighting and protecting us from the bad guys.

"Support Our Servicemen!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:05 AM | Comments (1)