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:
That mumbo-jumbo is out of the way. On to the good stuff. Here are the 2002 TAM Music Award winners:
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
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:
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"
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:
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.
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.
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.
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"
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"
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.
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?
Here's a quote that puts
Here's a quote that puts fear into any Packer's fan:
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"
On an unChristmas-y note, Free-Market.Net
Ever the inspirer, Pat Buchanan
Ever the inspirer, Pat Buchanan offers this for his Christmas message:
PunchtheBag calls this line of thinking "paleonihilism".
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.
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"
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?"
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"
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.
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"
Robert Pilon appreciates the blessing
Robert Pilon appreciates the blessing of liberty from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution:
"The Blessings of Liberty and Law"
Since Yahoo is buying Inktomi,
"Yahoo! to Buy Inktomi for $235 Million"
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
"Lott Should Go"
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.
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.
UPDATE: John Hawkins found some examples of Bill Clinton's hypocrisy.
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.
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"
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.
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"
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.
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"
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:
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.
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.
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:
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"
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"
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"
December 14, 2002
Lee Bockhorn in The Weekly
Lee Bockhorn in The Weekly Standard's weekly e-mail:
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?"
December 13, 2002
Quick! President Bush, start the
Quick! President Bush, start the bombing.
"Actor Sean Penn Visits Baghdad"
Trent's toast. Peggy Noonan eloquently
Trent's toast. Peggy Noonan eloquently (as always) wants him to go away.
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:
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.
More good work from the
More good work from the Institute for Justice.
"New Jersey Court Declares State?s Civil Forfeiture Funding Scheme Unconstitutional" [via Hit & Run]
Ron Bailey on Michael Crichton's
Ron Bailey on Michael Crichton's Prey:
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.
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"
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"
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.
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.
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"
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.
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"
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?
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"
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"
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:
"No Tears for O'Neill" [via Power Line]
Right Wing News remembers Pearl
Right Wing News remembers Pearl Harbor.
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"
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 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"
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.
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"
Happy B-Day Strom! "Strom Thurmond
Happy B-Day Strom!
"Strom Thurmond Turns 100 Years Old Thursday"
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"
I know I'm a little
I know I'm a little behind, but TIPS is dead.
"Feds' Spying Plan Fades to Black"
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.
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:
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"
Al Sharpton is positioning himself
Al Sharpton is positioning himself for a Presidential run by blasting Bill Clinton. He told the Washington Times,
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"
Modern art and the Culture
Modern art and the Culture of Death have combined into something gruesome.
"Suicide Mistaken for Art Performance"
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.
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]"
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 ..."
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"
December 02, 2002
Rush Limbaugh on why there
Rush Limbaugh on why there isn't a liberal version of him:
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.
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."
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.
He goes on.
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.