[star]The American Mind[star]

November 30, 2003

Clark Can't Make Up Mind about Faith

We shouldn't be surprised that Weasley Clark couldn't make up his mind about whether he supported the war in Iraq or whether the Bush administration is doing a good job. He's about as wavering on his Bush bashing as he is on his faith. This from the LA Times:

Clark, who supports abortion rights, was born Jewish, raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism as an adult. He attends a Presbyterian church, but hasn't given up Catholicism. Clark describes himself as "pro-choice" and has said during the campaign that "homosexuality is not a sin."

"Church May Penalize Politicians" [via Professor Bainbridge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:37 PM | Comments (2)

Stop the Insanity!

It's bad enough that AmeriCorps even exists. Now, it's got itself a budget increase. This is how bad the Bush administration is doing on domestic budget spending:

The money represents a $170 million increase over AmeriCorps' 2003 budget. And it is at least $99 million more than either the House or the Senate had previously indicated they would grant AmeriCorps in 2004. Both the funding level and the increase are the highest in the corporation's history.

Boy is Big Government Conservatism expensive.

"AmeriCorps Receives Major Boost" [via The Corner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

Dennis Not Just Done, Fried

Rep. Dennis Kucinich's constituents should seriously question the sanity of their representative. Matthew Stinson points out that fictional characters have endorsed him for President. Yesterday, I swear I heard one of the cats say "Kucinich," but that was probably just bad fish.

"Dennis Kucinich's Campaign Fiction" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:26 AM | Comments (1)

I'm Buyin' Me a Star

Since TAM was shunned from Commonwealth of the Blogosphere States, I'm going to get a star named after me. I want it to be a big one, just about ready to go supernova. I'll watch in glee as deadly TAM radiation pours across Reynoldssia and into Joyneria. It sure beats Michele's (one L) measly plan for secession.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:13 AM | Comments (1)

Serious Problems at Guantanamo

Now, a fourth person has been accused of security problems at Guantanamo. Col. Jack Farr, a reservist, is accused of "wrongly transporting classified material" and lying to investigators. At first glance, this doesn't look as suspicious as Senior Airman Ahmad al-Halabi, who is accused of spying for Syria, or Army Captain James Yee, who received religious training in Syria. But even sloppy handling of classified information isn't very assuring. Let's just say, I'm happy those terrorists are tucked away in Cuba. Heads should start rolling and/or some inquisitive Congressmen should look into this.

"US Officer Faces Security Charges"

"Guantanamo Officer Charged with Security Breach"

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

November 29, 2003

First and Only Word on Paris

For those of you in need of more Paris Hilton info, I have none to offer. However, I have one bit of pithy analysis: next time you make a porn video skip the night vision and turn on the lights. The point is to see something, isn't it.

This bit of traffic whoring was inspired by Kevin at Wizbang.

UPDATE: Kevin's Google trick sure is working. It's made for a pretty good Saturday since I didn't post anything since really early yesterday morning. I still have nothing more to add about Paris except I will not be watching her Fox television show.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

Blood as Stem Cell Source

Oh, I hope this technology is legit. Then the embryonic stem cell debate becomes moot.

"Blood Could Generate Body Repair Kit" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

TAM Still Not "Cool"

You know you're still not one of the "cool kids" of the blogosphere when you don't even get river on the Politburo's map.

"Map of Blogosphere" [via Amish Tech Support]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:20 AM | Comments (1)

Black Friday

I made it through Black Friday without any injuries to me or customers. In fact, it didn't seem as busy as it was (my boss was very pleased with the sales). I also know, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. My store has historically gotten busier the closer we get to Christmas.

Last year, I posted some tips to make last-minute Christmas shopping a little smoother. Almost all of them can be applied already, less than one month from Christmas.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2003

Sign of the Apocalypse

I think Oliver and I agree on something.

Reagan having the guts to not abandon SDI in Reykjavik was braver than a secret flight to a military base.

"Bush Visit, Update"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

How Much Can Glenn Bench?

Jay's super-secret spies have gotten a hold the cover for Glenn Reynolds' next book. In the comments, Jay and I are both wondering about his buffness. Glenn, have you been working out? Here's a picture of Glenn and I at BloggerCon in October (I'm the short, very attractive guy).

It's hard to tell anything from it, but it might be enough evidence to start testing webloggers for steroids. Maybe that's his secret for his relentless posting.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

Bush May Dump Steel Tariffs

It looks like some sense has come to the Bush administration on those stupid steel tarrifs.

Speculation mounted on Friday that Washington will scrap or roll back controversial steel tariffs after it sought and obtained an effective delay in retaliatory sanctions by countries opposed to them.


Officially, Washington wanted the delay because it had not been expecting the meeting to take place before Dec. 10, the legal deadline for WTO states to ratify the court decision.

"The president has said he would make a decision in a timely manner and this action will provide additional time, and the ongoing review will continue," said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan.

But the delay comes amid increasing signs that President Bush's administration is considering ditching the duties, initially for up to 30 percent, which it imposed in 2002 to help defend the country's struggling steel industry against cheap imports.

Ending the tariffs 16 months ahead of schedule could spark a political backlash against Bush in next year's presidential election in the pivotal steel-producing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

But key Bush advisers have concluded the tariffs are causing more harm than good and that lifting them would boost Bush's standing with steel consuming industry, another important constituency, political sources say.

Tariffs usually cause more harm than good. That's why free traders like myself oppose them. If Bush and Rove would have listened to me instead of made a purely politically strategic decision, the harm to steel-using businesses wouldn't have happened, and the U.S. wouldn't be close to a trade war with the E.U.

"Speculation Mounts Bush May Give Way on Steel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Bashing Prediction

Bush bashers' cynicism is so predictable Matthew Stinson already knows what they would say:

I can see the blog posts now: "Bush's memorial service is a PR stunt because he didn't invite Democratic leaders. That makes it look like Bush cares more about honoring the military than Democrats."

"Ending a Big Lie"

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

November 27, 2003

"The Ultimate Road Trip"

It takes a lot of guts for a President to pull off a secret mission to Baghdad. This wasn't just going anywhere in the occupied country. No, President Bush flew into the heart of the Sunni Baathist Triangle to give the troops a big thank you and some much-deserved moral support. Because of the risk, this trip makes his aircraft carrier landing look like a game of jacks.

Reuters has a great report on how Bush snuck out of his Crawford ranch onto Air Force One bound for Maryland. There he switched planes for the long flight to Baghdad. All along, Bush was willing to cancel the mission if it leaked out. On the way to Iraq, it almost happened:

The plane took off for Baghdad on Wednesday night on an 11-hour flight.

Somewhere en route, a British Airways pilot thought he spotted an unusual plane from his cockpit.

"Did I just see Air Force One?" the pilot radioed.

There was a pause. Then came the response from Air Force One: "Gulfstream 5" -- a much smaller aircraft.

Another pause. "Oh," said the BA pilot.

The troops loved it, cynics and Bush bashers nash their teeth, some reporters are ticked at not being on the flight, and the Democrats once again look dumbfounded before a bold and clever man they always underestimate.

In Afghanistan, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) celebrated Thanksgiving with the troops there. Bravo to her.

"Bush Pays Surprise Thanksgiving Visit to Troops in Iraq"

"Amid Tight Secrecy, a Tip: Bush Is Going to Baghdad"

"Guess Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner?"

"How Bush was Whisked to Iraq"

[Links via Michele and Matthew Stinson.]

UPDATE: Oliver Willis tried really hard to be 100% nice about the trip, but he just couldn't stop his case of knee-jerk Bush bashing:

Wonder if he found any WMDs there? Just asking.

MEANWHILE: Senator Clinton visited the real front in the war on terror.

(Emphasis mine.)

Note that TAM made no cynical remark about Hillary in Afghanistan. I could, but I won't. She did a good deed. Nothing else needs to be said.

UPDATE II: Matthew Yglesias joins the cynical Bush bashing party by bluntly calling the trip a "little stunt."

UPDATE III: Matthew Yglesias won't renege his comment. He goes even further in this post:

That doesn't mean everything Bush does is harmful -- there's no real harm done here -- but it does mean that none of it should be taken seriously. It was a stunt -- designed to maximize partisan advantage. Hence the secrecy, etc., etc. I'm not going to give the president credit for pulling stunts, even if they are well-executed stunts.

He fits in perfectly with the TAP crowd.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 09:53 PM | Comments (13)


Here are a few things I'm thankful for:

  • All of God's tremendous blessings.

  • Generous family who put up with me.

  • A job that pays the bills.

  • Good friends.

  • President George W. Bush.

  • Warriors fighting overseas to protect us from evil.

  • Funny, smart, and generous webloggers.

  • Instalanches.

  • The greatest team in pro-sports.

  • The greatest stadium in sports.

  • Krispie Kreme doughnuts.

  • Sushi.

  • Wasabi.

  • Led Zeppelin.

  • The Blues.

  • F.A. Hayek.

  • Ludwig von Mises.

  • Adam Smith.

  • Classical Liberalism.

  • Ronald Reagan.

  • Howard the Duck, M.D. (for sheer entertainment value).

What are you thankful for? Just leave a comment. Also heed the spirit of Laurence's post. (My, can he be blunt.)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2003

New Carnival

Setting the World to Rights is hosting this week's Carnival of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

Cranberry Sauce

Michele asks:

One question before I go: Does anyone really eat that jello-like cranberry thing that comes out of the can or do you all just put it on the table at Thanksgiving because it's supposed to be there?

I may be wierd, but I prefer the jellified canned cranberry sauce to the stuff where I can see most of the actual berry. It brings back memories of school lunches were that was served as the fruit at least once a week. Ah, the memories...


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:19 PM | Comments (2)

You're Gone

James has posted who he wants boot off the HOF island. He's still looking for other suggestions. I'd have to look at the list but have no time now. I'm just ticked Rush isn't in there and it sounds like they're never in the running.

"Rock Hall of Fame, III"

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

November 25, 2003

Cleland Goes Duck Hunting

Here's more evidence of Duck, M.D.'s Southern problem. This from former Georgia Senator, Max Cleland:

Now, at a time when young Americans are being killed and wounded by President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq... Our country can not afford to have another leader who took the easy way out like George W. Bush who hid out in the Houston National Guard. We can not afford to have a leader who weaseled out of going to Vietnam on a medical deferment for a bad back and wound up on the ski slopes of Aspen like Howard Dean.


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

HOF Survivor

James Joyner want readers to suggestions on who to drop from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'm going to bed and won't take up his challenge. But what irks me about the HOF is Rush still hasn't made it.

"Rock Hall of Fame, II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Outsourcing and Entrepreneurial Error

Glenn Reynolds points out that Dell Computer is moving some of its tech support back into the U.S. because "customers weren’t satisfied with the level of support they were receiving." Because no one has perfect insight into the future, businesses have to be allowed to experiment with new ways of doing things. Dell tried outsourcing their tech support to India. It hasn't met the needs of their customers so it was brought back to the states. Maybe in the future Dell will develop ways to make Indian tech support better for customers and cheaper for the company. For now they haven't figured that out.

Experimentation like this is one way the free market better satisfies the desires of consumers (customer feedback that's really listened too is also extrememely important). The possibility to err is vital in channeling resources to their most beneficial ends.

Austrian economist Israel Kirzner writes,

In fact, the one really valuable feature of unprofitable entrepreneurial endeavor lies in its crucially important role in stimulating profitable entrepreneurship. Only in a society where entrepreneurs are free to make errors, can we expect an outpouring of entrepreneurship to lift its economy to new, hitherto unglimpsed, heights of prosperity. Only where potential entrepreneurs are free to follow the lure of profits as they see them, will there be the unleashing of entrepreneurial vision, daring, and judgment that creates profits in fact-and in so doing, creates new, more valuable ways of utilizing resources.

From errors, entrepreneuers re-evaluate how they use their resources. In Dell's case, while outsourcing tech support saved them labor costs, it wasn't keeping their corporate customers happy. With the easy substitution of computers and their life cycles being so short Dell knew unhappy customers would result in lost future sales. Based on the feedback from this failed experiment the company knows how to better allocate scarce resources to meet their customers' needs.

"From Outsourcing to Insourcing"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Still Freaking Out

My latest Freaks of the Week column is up.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

ConAgra Makes One Mean Turkey

Sara Dickerman did a turkey taste test for Slate (they should do more food articles). After comparing a Butterball with kosher and organic turkeys, Big Agriculture won the contest.

"Turkey Derby"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Death Cult

Here's a symptom of the Palestinians turning homicide bombers into martyr-heroes. They could use a Care Bear airdrop.


[via StrategyPage.com]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 06:52 PM | Comments (1)

New Bonfire

Feel like your weblog posts just aren't cutting it? Feel like you just aren't getting your point across? Don't fret. Read a few of these bad posts and you'll start feeling much better.

"Bonfire of the Vanities - Week 21"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)


I want to kiss Andrew Baio of Waxy.org or scanning Sunday's Opus. I laughed at the joke, was impressed with the quality of art Berkeley Breathed used for the strip, and smiled knowing that my favorite penguin is back.

I'm still fuming at the Journal Sentinel, but my Opus need has been satisfied.

[via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Yee Released

Military prosecutors must have little else on Capt. James Yee if they've now charged him with having pornography on a government computer and adultery. Yee was arrested for handling sketches of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Yee was released from the brig and will work at Ft. Benning. Why he had sketeches of Guantanamo and what he was going to do with them, no one knows. But unless there's evidence that he's a spy there's not a lot that can be done. However, Letting him work at a big army base doesn't make sense to me.

"Ex-Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Charged"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

Warren Spahn, R.I.P.

Spahn HOF Plaque

Milwaukee sports legend and one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Warren Spahn died yesterday at the age of 82. How good was he? Here's a few paragraphs from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story:

During his brilliant 21-year career, mostly with the Boston Braves and Milwaukee Braves, Spahn won 363 games, most ever by a left-hander, compiling 20-victory seasons 13 times. He was known for his longevity, winning 177 games after his 35th birthday, including No. 300 in 1961 at age 40.


Spahn's greatest season came in 1953, the Braves' first year in Milwaukee. He went 23-7 with 24 complete games in 32 starts and led the National League with a 2.10 earned run average.

He still holds or shares nine Braves franchise records and led the league in victories eight times, in ERA three times and in complete games nine times. He ranks fifth on the all-time victory list behind Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander and Christy Mathewson.


Spahn completed a remarkable 382 of his 665 career starts (57.4%), including at least 20 starts in 13 seasons.

Spahn was also a World War II veteran who earned a bronze star and purple heart.

Godspeed, Warren.

"Warren Spahn: 1921-2003"

UPDATE: For more Spahn links, read my SportsBlog.org post.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2003

Click Here

Continue clicking to build up TAM's forces (now over 100!). Help out my fellow warmongers:

Then help my first officer underling build his army.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)

Southern Consolidation

Howard the Duck, M.D. isn't the only Dem with Southern problems as James Joyner points out.

"The Solid South"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

Anarchist Terrorism

Dean Esmay joins the TAM blogrolling party with his link to Orson Scott Card essay describing another age when the world was ripped by terrorism.

"Fanatic Terrorism from the Past "

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

Great Econ Posts

The latest Carnival of the Capitalists is up hosted at Truck and Barter. I went straight for Professor Bainbridge's examination of the mutual fund scandal. The most glaring bit of malfeasance mentioned by the professor is the mutual funds' violation of the agreement between money manager and investor. This can create distrust turning the business into a lemons market for mutual funds. For me, the mud thrown on the industry just makes Vanguard look that much better.

Bainbridge has earned himself a place on the TAM blogroll.

There's more there to sink you capitalist teeth into.

"Alex Tabarrok on the Mutual Fund Scandal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

An Adoption Story

In the fight against the Culture of Death, adoption has to be promoted. In a country like China where there is a great desire to have a boy, girls are abandoned or aborted. Slartibastfast posts on going there to get their second child. He writes:

Adoption is a wonderful thing. I have people tell me all the time they have reservations about adoption, wondering if they could possibly love a child not of their flesh as much as a natural born child. I usually reply that I can't imagine loving either of my daughters any more if we'd had them the usual way. So, I have to strongly recommend it for couples who are past safe age of conception, or who are experiencing fertility issues, or who otherwise aren't well suited for childbirth.

"The Second Adoption"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 12:58 AM | Comments (1)

An Economic Fable

Gene Callahan has written one great fable on the benefits of trade. After reading it you'll understand that fears of lost manufacturing jobs are unfounded. The key to wealth is market being free to use scarce resources to satisfy people's desires.

"The Nation That Lost Its Jobs, But Got Them Back" [via Deinonychus Antirhopus]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

I Demand a Footnote

David Brooks' column on marriage is generating some heated discussion in the blogosphere. Conrad at The Gweilo Diaries calls it "self-rightous pontificating." What I can't understand is how a writer who calls for legalizing gay marriage, like Brooks does, is considered a member of the Religious Right according to Conrad. Last time I checked, the RR don't want gay couples to get hitched. He might have been distracted by his pursuit of a "hat trick" for the weekend. Stephen Green writes, "What we think about sex reveals a lot of what we think about ourselves." We don't have to play pop psychologists with Brooks. We have a pretty good idea what thinks about himself. He thinks he's a better person because of his marriage. Green thinks he's a better person because he's married. In a blogosphere that doesn't shun from making moral judgements on whether to go to war, some have a problem with others making moral judgements on sex outside of marriage. Brooks' intro is an argument for keeping sex sacred. Commodifing sex reduces the beautiful act to masturbation with someone else's body.

There's one final item I have to point out. Brooks continues the "Half of All Marriages End in Divorce" Myth when he writes, "Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce." Where's the citation? What study has shown this? I wrote a couple posts on this [and here]. No one has yet shown me anything to support this meme.

"The Power of Marriage"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:25 AM | Comments (2)

November 23, 2003

A Report from Prague

You could say New Media (broadly defined) was beating the pants off Old Media on the al-Qaeda/Iraq connection if the latter was even bothering to cover it. No big newspapers or news magazines have followed up on The Weekly Standard's report by Stephen Hayes on a Defense War Department memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now, Edward Jay Epstein of Slate has come back from the Czech Republic after talking to people in Czech intelligence. He doesn't prove Atta ever met an Iraqi intelligence officer. What Epstein does do is give enough information to make an al-Qaeda/Iraq connection to Sep. 11 a good possiblity. In order to figure this out, the FBI has to stop being control freaks and work with the Czechs to connect all the dots. They are our allies last time I checked (no pun intended).

"Prague Revisited" [via Blaster's Blog]

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

Opus, Where are You?

Today, you could call me Mr. Gump. I stayed up too late last night doing nothing productive. I slept all day and missed the Packers' victory over the 49ers. My obsession with Kings of Chaos has taken a bad turn. I've been yelling at my computer because twice in the last day my army has been attacked and lots and lots of gold has been stolen. Stupid, yes, but it's just added to my irritability. Then the Christamas shopping season is picking up, and my store doesn't have enough workers. I have to run around helping even people who only come during Christmas and can only describe the book they want as "yellow and written by a woman."

What really set me off is a comic strip or lack of one. I haven't wanted the comics section in my Sunday newspaper in years. But today is a special day. Berkeley Breathed brought America's most famous penguin, Opus, back to comics. The Berkeley Breathed website assured me the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would have it. I pulled the section out and hunted for my favorite water-proof bird. It wasn't at the top of the first page where it deserved to be. I open up the section. Second page? Nope! Third? Nope! Fourth? Fifth? No! Nada! I know, they saved Opus for the last page just so fans wouldn't have to sift throught dreck like Pickles and Hi & Lois. I turn to the last and final page hoping the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn't one of the most inept papers in America. Was Opus there making some witty introduction telling the world he's back? That may have been exactly what he did, but I have no idea. Opus is no where to be found. The Journal Sentinel can publish a racist jerk like Aaron McGruder (of the unfunny Boondocks) and old Far Side strips, but not Opus.

(I'm hoping my paper was missing a page of comics because Dilbert wasn't in there either. If that's what happened then my ire goes to the Journal Sentinel's printing department for their incompetence.)

It's bad enough that Opus wasn't in the newspaper, but what's worse is the strip isn't available on the Web. Does the Washington Post (which syndicates Opus) and Breathed think people will subscribe to the paper just for one strip? If so, I'd start short selling Post stock.

I can't comment on Breathed's return to comics because I haven't seen it. I'm left with a bunch of links from Daniel Drezner and this short review from James Joyner:

Let's just say the debut strip wasn't worth the ten year wait.

I want my Opus, and I want him now!

It's not a good reason to be grumpy, but to bad.

"Opus Lives!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:40 PM | Comments (1)

You Know the Drill

Continue clicking to build up TAM's forces. Then help out my fellow warmongers:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:25 AM | Comments (0)

TiVo Still Rules!

TiVo is beyond words. However, Chuck Barney attempts to understand their owners passion for the black box.

"Worshipping at TiVo's Shrine"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:29 AM | Comments (1)

Another Anniversary

Another anniversary directly connected to JFK's assassination was the decision to play NFL games two days later. Kevin posts on it at Sportsblog.org.

"Black Sunday"

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

On This Day... Part II

James Joyner dug through Glenn Reynolds' pre-Sep. 11 posts. He didn't find any non-terrorist news that stood out. He does note the explosion in Glenn's traffic.

I'm again going through the dusty TAM archives. This time I'm looking for big stories before the Sep. 11 attacks.

On 9.04.01, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard announced their merger.

Around the same time, Janet Reno decided to run for Florida governor.

This post reminded me of the biggest story that Sep. 11 tossed aside: Gary Condit and Chandra Levy.

I searched through a few weblogs on my blogroll and realized few had posts from that time. It makes me feel a little old (I was posting on Elian Gonzalez back in 2000.), and it illustrates how the weblog phenomenon has exploded.

If you remember some interesting non-terrorist news from around Sep. 11, let me know.

"All the News That's Not Fit to Print"

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

November 22, 2003

Allow Steroids?

Dave Pinto is leaning toward the legalization of player-enchancing drugs--steroids for example.

So my position is becoming, why not let players who want to use steriods under a doctor's care for a short time period during the off-season? It has to be better and safer than what's going on now.

Unfortunately, what would happen is most players would use them. Those that didn't would be at a significant disadvantage. It would be similar to batting glove use today. Most players use them because they think they'd be at a disadvantage if they didn't. Of course, that doesn't explain the amazing (and gloveless) Vladimir Guerrero.

"Steroid Hysteria?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 06:57 PM | Comments (1)

On this Day...

Amazing! I learned from James Joyner that C. S. Lewis died the same day JFK was killed. There's some cosmic meaning to that. This makes James ask, "One wonders, for example, what happened on September 11, 2001 and the week or so thereafter that virtually no one knows about."

Let's see what non-terrorist news I posted on:

I wrote in 9.23.01:

If it wasn't for the September 11 attacks, Andrea Yates would be America's biggest story. The mother who killed her five children was found competent to stand trial.

Andrea Yates, remember her?

On 9.25.01, the Supreme Court took up the Cleveland school voucher case.

On 9.26.01, I posted on a NASA probe that caught up to a comet.

In local (Wisconsin) news, philanthropist Jane Pettit died on 9.10.01.

There must be more, so fellow webloggers, do some archive digging. I'll link to your discoveries.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2003

Quiet Day at TAM

I'll be at work early tomorrow so no posting until the afternoon if I'm in the mood (it is College Football Saturday). For your reading pleasure, check out Daniel Drezner's post on President Bush's "creeping protectionism." Then read my post on new restrictions on Chinese clothing. After that do some Kings of Chaos clicking for me and my compatriots.

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

Attack of the Big Government Conservatives

Late tonight the House will vote to add prescription drugs to Medicare. The cost is estimated at $400 billion, but since when has a government program been anywhere close to its estimate? The GOP leadership and the White House want this bill passed, but it's just not good policy. There is a group of Republicans fighting this massive increase in an already massive federal entitlement. Since the House will be working late, Congressional offices should be open too. The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Just tell the operator you Congressman's name or zip code, and they'll connect you to the right office.

"A Senior Moment"

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

GOP Ad Hits Dems Hard

The RNC must be pretty sure Howard the Duck will get the Democratic nomination. It's first commercial doesn't address the recovering economy or tax cuts. Instead, it defends President Bush's "policy of preemptive self-defense."

[via Jeff Jarvis]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

From the No Duh! Department:

This headline from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

UW System Students Drink More than Average

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:27 PM | Comments (3)

Terri's Brain

Since the brain is an amazing, yet baffling organ, imagine what Terri Schiavo's life could be like now, if her husband had put her through therapy instead of spending money on lawyers to kill her.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

James' Inferiority Complex

James Joyner doesn't think he's an "Influential."

Now, since I'm a super-duper Influential according to the checklist, one would think people would be flocking around asking for my advice on everything under the sun and copying my every move. So far as I can tell, that's not the case.

Strangely, James doesn't include all the weblogs that link to him and generate traffic. In N.Z. Bear's Ecosystem, OTB is ranked #49 with 381 unique inbound links. To compare, TAM is #363 with 102 unique inbound links. In the daily visitor count the difference is similar (1190 vs. 404 visits/day). Assuming the Ecosystem is a pretty good indicator of weblog popularity, OTB is about three-times more popular than TAM. Being read more also means one's writing is more desired and therefore more influential. So, it's safe to conclude that OTB is more influential than TAM.

Don't be so modest James. People aren't reading you just because you're another pretty face.

"The Influentials"

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

Jobless Claims Down Again

Good economic news for the President. This from Reuters:

First-time applications for unemployment aid fell 15,000 to 355,000 in the week ended Nov. 15, the Labor Department said, well below the 365,000 expected by Wall Street economists.

"These are good numbers," said Gary Thayer, chief economist for A.G. Edwards and Sons. "It suggests that the labor markets are improving and that the economy is, indeed, getting a little bit healthier."

How will Bush bashers spin this to make it sound like the economic sky is still falling?

"U.S. Jobless Claims Fell 15,000 Last Week"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Gould's History of the GOP

In a review of Lewis Gould's Grand Old Party, James Ceaser points out what has stayed firm throughout the history of the GOP:

Despite all their shifts, Republicans have shown an abiding commitment to four principles. First, the GOP has been the party of the idea of the nation, stressing this theme at its origins even when half the country denied it. Republicans have retained this pride in the nation, and it has always marked their brand of internationalism, so clearly on display today. Second, Republicans have placed great reliance on the "rising" individual and the self-made man. The horror of Republicans is for the wealth and property of society to be thought of as being owned collectively, to be distributed on the basis of "social justice." Third, the party has always been concerned with maintaining traditional standards of morality. From its early opposition to polygamy (coupled with slavery in the 1856 platform as one of "the twin relics of barbarism"), to the "just say 'no' to drugs" campaign, the party has stressed the connection between moral restraints and ordered liberty. Finally, the Republican Party has adhered to "Nature and Nature's God" as the transcendent source of truth. It has asserted this position in opposition to those who claim that standards derive only from evolving conceptions of morality, or from the social construction of values, or from humanitarian norms temporarily affirmed by bodies of international lawyers. A recourse to natural right was the first principle of Abraham Lincoln, just as it is the first principle of George W. Bush.

"Right Turns"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Call and Response

Professor Bainbridge links to the responses to Howard Dean's call for "re-regulation." Sen. Joe Lieberman responded in a statement,

He would give us a treacherous trifecta of policies that turn back the economic clock: new trade barriers, a larger tax burden on our middle class and now bigger bureaucracy. Either he doesn't know how to turn the economy around, or this is another reckless mistake.

Weasley Clark showed why the nickname I've given him fits. The general scolded Duck, M.D.'s ideas, calling them an abandonment of "proven policies that were the cornerstone of our party's success." He then went on to say, "I agree that we need far stronger protections for workers, consumers and our environment going beyond where the Clinton administration went in several respects, as times and circumstances have changed, too." It seems Clark has never come to a political fork in the road that he hasn't taken.

The Duck, M.D. campaign's response sounded even more populist than AlGore's in 2000:

If Democrats in this race want to side with big corporations over regular people, that's their choice. Howard Dean is going to grow the economy and reestablish the trust of the American people.

We know how well this strategy worked in 2000. No wonder many Democrats are scared.

"Opponents Assail Dean's Economic Proposal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

MJ's Road to Pervertdom

We shouldn't be flippant about child molestation charges, but Michele attempts a musical anaylsis of Michael Jackson's path to pervertdom.

"Essential Media: Charting the Demise of MJ through his Music"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

A Bush Bashing Compulsion

Oliver Willis just can't stop his knee-jerk Bush bashing. In a post on FirstEnergy's blame in the East Coast blackout, he had to note that some company executives raised money for President Bush. I'm sure if he could, Oliver would blame Bush for his dog catching a cold.

He and Duck, M.D. are a perfect match.

"Cause, Meet Effect"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

All Wet on Economics

Democrats may claim President Bush has had the worst economic record since Hoover, but Howard Dean, M.D. sounds like he wants to recreate FDR's massive New Deal regulation. That means "re-regulating" (to use Duck, M.D.'s term) "utilities, large media companies and any business that offers stock options." His two prime examples are Enron and the California energy crisis. On Enron, Dean said in a speech, "those at the top enriched themselves by deceiving everyone else and robbing ordinary people of the future they'd earned." The result was the company going into bankruptcy and its executives undergoing criminal investigations. The Enron scam was going on way before Bush came into office. Unless we want a government regulator watching over every action done by a private company (maybe that's what Duck, M.D. wants) fraud will take place.

On the Golden State's energy crisis, I'll steal Steve Verdon's words:

Great, just great. I figured this would be the possible reaction to the California Energy crisis. Never mind that the roots of the crisis are to be found in the blundering and ineptitude of government.

Duck, M.D. is maintaining his appearance as a "decentralized paternalist."

"Dean Calls For New Controls on Business"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Kings of Chaos Update

The TAM army is up to 73. Continue clicking to build up TAM's forces. Then help out my fellow warmongers:

KoC is fun. You should join the fun. It'd also be cool to have some officers under me. For every two men you recruit, I get one. It's another way to help my army grow.

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

Bad Art Mascarading as Memorials

The finalists in Ground Zero memorial competition are about as bad as the architectural plans for the area itself. All these memorials are about contemplation and weeping. None show off New York City's and America's ability to rise from the ashes. America's grandure and greatness aren't found in these proposals. Dare I say it? These ideas are worse than the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, and that's saying a lot. Majestic tributes to the dead like those at Gettysburg, these aren't. The art world is in seriously bad shape if these are the best that it can come up with.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)

Bush Still Bad on Trade

The last thing our economy needs while working its way into a decent recovery are new trade restrictions. But that's just what the Bush administration is doing. Limits on import growth will be implemented as a sop to uncompetitive U.S. textile factories. I hoped that the WTO's ruling against Bush's steel tariffs would have let the President reverse his trade stance with some political cover.

The affect on the world economy was immediate. The dollar dropped to a record low against the euro. That means U.S. buyers don't have as much buying power of European goods as before this decision. American consumers' choices have been restrained in exchange for an attempt to save some jobs.

Let's put this on a personal level. The U.S. government has no business from whom or where I buy my clothes. If an American company can produce a good product for a good price, then they'll have my business. If I can get better and/or cheaper stuff from a place like China, then so be it. This is how a free market works. This institution, not intentionally designed by any single mind, has created more wealth and a better quality of life to more people than any other in human history. Messing with it ends up hurting everyone.

"U.S. Announces Limits on Apparel Imports From China" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

New Carnival of the Vanities

A post loaded with good links means another Carnival of the Vanities. Peaktalk is hosting this week.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:35 AM | Comments (0)

Cult Duck

Here's something that won't be mentioned on Howard the Duck's weblog. This is a comment from Joe Klein on Howard Dean's performance at last weekend's big Iowa Democratic rally:

He seemed more like a cult leader than a candidate for president.

Judging by the dreamy, utopian vibe you get from his followers, Klein is right on the money. Guru Howard plays to his base very well, but all will do is scare everyone else.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

What Happened to Terri?

Nat Hentoff is doing one heck of a job in asking important questions surrounding the Terri Schiavo case. His latest column reports on a bone scan that shows, "This patient [Schiavo] has a history of trauma. The presumption is that the other multiple areas of trauma also relate to previous trauma." Where did this trauma come from and why has Michael Schiavo been so insistent on wanting her to die? These are important questions that should have been asked before the courts let Michael starve Terri.

"Was Terri Schiavo Beaten in 1990?" [via The Smarter Cop]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

Freaks of Nature

For your fantasy football pleasure my latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.

And King, I will defeat you next week!

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

November 18, 2003

Burn Blogosphere Burn!

Have fun with all the bad posts on this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)

A Few Quick Hits

I don't have time to post anything substantial. I'm off to dinner with a friend and his family. Then I have to work on in very important Week 11 Freaks of the Week column. But I won't leave you in the lurch so here are a few links (discuss amongst yourselves):

DaveL and Steve at Deinonychus antirrhopus respond favorably to the Massachusettes State Supreme Court's decison to allow same-sex marriages. Note this from DaveL's post:

My only quibble is that it's another instance of judicial fiat, and will probably produce a backlash. I would much prefer that legalized gay marriages come from the legislatures, not the courts.

To use a weblog cliche, "Indeed."

James Joyner links to a review of Rush Limbaugh's return to the talk radio airwaves. I listen to his first hour and was proud of his return and attitude. He's learned alot and will continue to grow. He will also be telling us more about his legal situation when circumstances permit.

Continue clicking to build up TAM's forces. Then help out my fellow warmongers:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)

Southern Dem Primaries

Michael Van Winkle argues that Howard the Duck, M.D. should abandon the Iowa caucuses and worry about Weasley Clark in South Carolina. His scenerio is plausible, but I just don't see any buzz from the Clark campaign. He lost all his momentum with his ridiculous waverings on Iraq and his campaign's rejection of the grassroots movement that gave him so much buzz in the first place.

For Clark to stop Howard Dean in the South, you have to assume Duck, M.D.'s confederate flag remark alienated Southern Democrats, not just average voters. I just don't think there are that many Zell Millers left down there. Over the past 20+ years those Southern conservative Democrats have switched parties. By default, those left are more liberal which should help Duck, M.D.

"Forget Iowa: A New Strategy For Howard Dean"

UPDATE: Duck, M.D. isn't taking Van Winkle's advice. His campaign started running ads aimed at Gephardt.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2003

Dean's N.H. Support Grows

Duck, M.D. expands his lead in New Hampshire. Sen. John Kerry, who by the way served in Vietnam, continues to look like a Republican version of Phil Graham.

"Dean Continues to Surge in NH; Clark Sputters"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

Reporter Awakens from Coma

Here's a case where the man wanted the woman in a coma to live, and they weren't even married yet. Steve Fullington has more love for his fiance Rebecca Spitz than Michael Schiavo has for his wife Terri.

"NY1 Star Awakens" [via The Corner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

Duck Can't Win South

It may be obvious to any serious political watcher, but Duck, M.D.'s followers are too drunk with their "emergent democracy" to realize this: Howard the Duck can't win the South. Without the South, he has a slim chance of beating Bush.

James Joyner then comments on an article telling the Democrats to forget about the South. Joyner doesn't see victory in that strategy.

"Dixie Democrats Consider Dean 'Too Liberal' to Win"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)

Township Approves Wind Farm

The Town of Marshfield approved a plan to build 44 wind turbines. Navitas Energy will pay land owners $4000 per year for each turbine on their land. The township government will get $133,360 a year from the company. Why this isn't considered a bribe I don't know. It may have been a reason why getting this plan through was so much easier than in my township. The battle over building a wind farm here lasted over two years and shut down the local government.

It's good people are actually allowed to use their land to make money. I'm just disappointed that the energy company had to give the government almost as much cash as the landowners ($133,360 vs. $176,000).

"Fond du Lac County Farmers Look to the Sky for Newest Crop"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Kings of Chaos Update

It was a bad day for the TAM army. While its numbers continued to swell, defenses couldn't repel an attack that resulting in the loss of over 100,000 pieces of gold. Resources are now going into boosting defenses and intelligence. Information is crucial before engaging in an effective counter-attack. Continue clicking to build up TAM's forces (up to 43). Then help out my fellow warmongers:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:37 AM | Comments (2)

New CotC and Mutual Fund Scandal

There are some really good posts in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists hosted by Professor Bainbridge. Sadly, there's nothing from TAM this week. However, read this post by Chris Noble on the mutual fund scandal. He responds to some bad writing by a MSN Money columnist.

With [open ended] mutual funds, shares are created when the purchase is made and destroyed when the shares are sold. There is no direct harm to another investor. Indirect through higher fees and operating expenses, maybe. But not directly.

I've followed the story only casually because a local fund executive is in Elliot Spitzer's sights. Throughout all the reporting I've read, I never found out how investors were being harmed. Does "higher fees and operating expenses" justify the witchhunt by regulators and the press? Or am I missing something?

"Mutual Fund Misinformation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

More on "Weblog Incest"

Jonathan Wilde at Catallarchy.net has a great response to Jennifer Howard's article. Jonathan writes,

There is absolutely nothing democratic about blogs. Rather, the blogosphere is the ultimate free-market anarchy. Bloggers are vendors and ideas are their wares. Readers who spend their time reading blogs are free to choose which blogs they visit, and they are free to never come back again, just like the customer who never re-visits the restaurant that served him cold pasta.

Ralph Luker describes the blogsphere well:

The blogosphere is like a library in which books offering competing interpretations of things sit quietly beside each other until you open them up and the dialogue begins.

I would just add that since some kind of network principle underlies much of Man's social behavior (have read little on this topic so bear with me) it's natural for there to be hubs or link concentrations. I suspect it has something to do with people having limited time to deal with an unlimited amount of information. We need ways to filter all this stuff. Popular weblogs like Instapundit do just that. But since the blogosphere is in essence an anarchy, Glenn's popularity depends on him continuing to produce useful content.

A flaw in Howard's (I'll use her last name since she feels webloggers use first names too casually) analysis is the list of weblogs she uses to prove her point. For example. Old Hag my be popular in Howard's world, but it's a "Crawly Amphibian" in N.Z. Bear's ecosystem with only 17 unique inbound links. The Minor Fall, The Major Lift has even less link popularity with only two unique inbound links. In comparison, TAM is ranked 357th with 103 unique inbound links. That's not big time, but it certainly makes TAM a giant compared to those Howard mentioned. If she would have mentioned all the linking between the big time webloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, the Volokh gang, and Kevin Drum then she'd have some credibility. Instead, she looks like a Big Media writer who doesn't know what she's talking about.

"The Blogosphere: a Free-Market Anarchy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:25 AM | Comments (5)

November 16, 2003

Weblogs Illustrate Human Nature

Jennifer Howard thinks the blogosphere is too incestuous. Certain webloggers are constantly linking to one another. Somehow, she fell into the trap of believing that weblogs would end the cult of personality. It obviously doesn't. Something is engrained in Human Nature that draws us to people. What that is is the desire to find something interesting (subjectively defined). Weblogs ease of use and few barriers to entry only give people the opportunity to get their views out. Having a weblog doesn't ensure those views will be read.

"Incestuous Blogging?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

Bombing in Turkey

To follow the horrible events in Turkey, check out Kris Lofgren's weblog. It's live from Turkey.

[via a small victory]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

A Smoking Gun

The Weekly Standard has a blockbuster on a memo showing a 13-year link between al-Qaeda and Iraq. It even appears Iraq wanted to finance the Sep. 11 attacks. From the memo (as quoted by Stephen Hayes):

The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.

Hayes adds, "Note that the report stops short of confirming that the funds were transferred. It claims only that the IIS officer requested the transfer."

Is this the reason we toppled Saddam? Is the intelligence contained in this memo the reason Iraq was an immediate target after the Sep. 11 attacks? How much training does al-Qaeda have in regards to WMD? Is the reason they haven't carried out such an attack due to lack of materials (uranium, killer viruses, certain chemicals), the lack of knowledge, or both?

My guess is the White House leaked this memo to the sympathetic magazine.

"Case Closed"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 09:19 PM

Getting Plucked at Dartmouth

The conservative student newspaper, The Dartmouth Review, covered Duck, M.D.'s bad day at the school. I have a good feeling Dean will turn the dial ever "Rebel Yell" comes on the radio.

"Rebel Without a Cause" [via Dartlog.net]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Thanks Milt

Milt Rosenberg may be the smartest man on radio. I don't listen to his show Extension 720 enough, but when I do Milt is just as insightful as his guests. Milt also has a great weblog and was kind enough to add TAM to his blogroll.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Wisconsin Crushes Michigan State

Lee Evans scored five times in the Badgers' win.

"Evans Spears Spartans"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2003

Kings of Chaos Update

TAM's army has grown. It's up to 43. Unfortunately, while earning real money (and it wasn't gold) my stockade was attacked and whole bunch of gold was stolen. To prevent this from happening again I need you to continue to click and make my army grow. Then help out my fellow warmongers:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Birth of a Nation

Mark Pierce is on a roll. This time, he has a good piece on the U.S. occupation and the creation of a new Iraqi state.

"The Iraqi Double Fork"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Let Me at Him! Let Me at Him!

If Tacitus can volunteer to be a "warblogger in the war" by going to Iraq, TAM volunteers to cover Duck, M.D.'s campaign from his headquarters in Burlington, VT. Let's see how open Duck, M.D.'s followers are to that.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

One Yucky Word

From now on I will feel icky everytime I hear the word "chickenhawk."

Thanks, Steve...I think.

"Hawks and Doves"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 10:42 PM | Comments (2)

Local Hero Honored

Maj. Mark Mitchell will received the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, the military's second-highest honor, today for his heroism in attacking a prison in Afghanistan two years ago. That was the prison filled with al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners of war where CIA agent Johnny Spann was killed.

"In the Line of Duty, a Hero Emerges"

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

Michele's Album List

Michele is listing the best 100 albums of the 90s. For some reason, I didn't think her and I would be musical comrades, but she started off with two good ones.

"Best Album's of the 90's"

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

Kings of Chaos Status

TAM's rag-tag group of marauders is up to 37. They'll all nicely tucked away in a new stockade ready to defend themselves from all the other armies I've been sniping at. You're clicks are helping. Keep it up. Also, think about playing. I'd like some officers. You'd have fun, and my army would grow even stronger.

UPDATE: Click here to build Laurence's army and here to help out Dr. Schloktopus' Army of the Squid.

And yes, I'm a dork for obsessing about this.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:34 AM | Comments (2)

Duck's Dealing Out Goodies

Mark Pierce catches Howard the Duck, M.D. in the act as a tax-and-spend Democrat.

"College Kids Would Like a "Dean" Like This"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 01:00 AM | Comments (2)

November 13, 2003

Only War in Our Interests

I didn't support the Iraq War because Saddam murdered and tortured thousands. I supported it because he was a threat to the well being of the United States. On this, I'm in agreement with James Joyner:

I didn't support our wars in Bosnia and Kosovo because they were wholly unrelated to U.S. national interests. The world is full of crazy dictators victimizing their own people; we can't take them all out. I supported the war to oust Saddam because he was a dangerous man in a vital region; that it also liberated the Iraqi people was a wonderful, happy bonus.

I too opposed the Bosnian and Kosovo operations and felt strange being allies with the anti-war Left.

Duck, M.D.'s foreign policy looks too much like Bill Clinton's. He sent in the troops in too many places that weren't threats to the U.S. (Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti) and failed to do anything with the real threats (Iraq, not going after bin Laden). A Duck, M.D. Presidency would only make the U.S. more vulnerable to attack.

"Dean: Brutal Ruler Doesn't Justify Use of Force"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

Translator Indicted

Ahmed Fathy Mehalba has been indicted for lying to investigators and carrying unauthorized military information. He was a translator at Guantanamo Bay and was caught in Boston with CDs containing secret documents. Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad Al-Halabi, a Syrian-American, has been charged with espionage, and Army Capt. James "Yousef" Yee (who also has links to Syria) has been charged with mishandling classified information.

"Former Guantanamo Translator Indicted"

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

Mises Institute Politics

The LibertarianJackass has little problem with the Mises Institute promoting a paleo-libertarian political agenda under the name of economic study. He writes,

Talk about price theory all you want, but don't touch the fundamental issues facing society today ("national defense," galloping statism, etc.)?

More "fundamental" is price theory, the capital structure, and how knowledge is used in an economy. These are more fundamental because they need to be understood in order to better address the more political questions Mises Institute scholars talk about. I've been following the Austrian School for over ten years (the Mises Institute sent me monthly Free Market issues when I was in college) so I can safely say the Misesians wear their anarchist advocacy on their sleeves (I just wish they'd publically say it). I compare the essays and weblog entries at Mises.org to the discussions that take place on the Hayek-L e-mail list. Part of it may just be scholarly politeness, but those postings to the e-mail list aren't knee-jerk libertarian.

My main complaint with the Mises Institute is their straying from economic analysis into defending the South in the Civil War and beating the hell out of Lincoln. DiLorenzo actually compared Lincoln to Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe. As a learning institution, they have done the most of anyone in the world to keep Ludwig von Mises' ideas alive. For economics students and lovers of liberty, that's a great accomplishment for which they deserve tremendous praise.

"The Austrian Economics Hoopla"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:34 PM | Comments (3)


How do I address Oliver's pretty flimsy argument? His attempt at satire fell flat here in TAM land. Then his point falls short. He writes, "[T]he people who are supporting and encouraging a war of first-strike aggression are the same people who didn't/aren't serving." The first thought that came to mind was, "So what?" That's an ad hominem attack. But in the next sentence, Oliver trips over himself. "Do you have to have been in the military to support or oppose war? No." If it doesn't matter, then why did he bring it up?

What Oliver doesn't understand is pro-war webloggers don't get some glee from Americans sacrificing their lives. What we have realized is after September 11, the world changed. After that date, we knew we weren't safe from terrorist attacks. A city could burn up in nuclear hellfire. A deadly plague could ravage whole states. The scales fell from our eyes. Unless America's enemies are stopped ("eradicated" as Oliver put it), all of us are vulnerable.

Here's an example from Glenn Reynolds. On 8.28.01, Reynolds wrote:

To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, a nation's got to know its limitations. We were established as an anti-imperial nation. Playing a quasi-imperial role during the Cold War strained our nation's institutions, and its soul, almost to the breaking point. Playing the role of global hegemon, without any struggle against an Evil Empire to give it a moral center, would surely destroy us.

A few weeks later, three jets were turned into cruise missiles aimed at our financial and governmental centers. When events change one's worldview changes along with it. Glenn became a "warblogger."

We've supported invading both Afghanistan and Iraq because they were threats to the U.S. Afghanistan because it was home to al-Qaeda while under Taliban rule; Iraq because of their WMD. Oliver and others may disagree with this opinion.

Let's turn on the way-back machine to find out what Oliver was thinking in the days after the Sep. 11 attacks. There's this post:

It is good to see England, Germany, France and the rest of Europe stand with us, as well as NATO's willingness to treat this as an attack on all the member nations. But, this is not the time to build international coalitions like we did in the Gulf War. America fights now. If those other countries want to help, more power to them - but this is our battle.

Then here's a portion of this one:

The enemy must be eradicated. Not attacked, or bombed, but eradicated. One by one we must expunge the world of these terrorists. When that is accomplished, we will work with the countries of the world to set things right - as we did after World War II.

So for now, I am a hawk. But a temporary hawk, in search of becoming a dove again.

Oliver was pretty upset and justifiably so. But was he a "chickenhawk" then because he didn't immediately march to the local recruiting office and enlist? No.

Finally, after the attacks Oliver wasn't so keen on coalition building:

As I saw on a British comedy: "Weak as water". This is why coalition building is useless. The rest of the world continually hems and haws, wrings its hands, issues "condemnations" from the UN. They talk diplomacy when the enemy kills innocents. It seems only England truly understands the situation. They stand with us. If the rest of the world doesn't stand with us, where do they stand? Think about it.

To be up-front, my pro-war views have hardened since Sep. 11. On 9.26.01, I wrote:

A war on global terrorism is impractical. There are so many groups out there and only one or a handful took part on the 9.11 attacks. An open-ended quest to rid the world of terrorism would be a bigger failure than the War on Drugs. Terrorists would still exist and would attempt counterstrikes.

The U.S. response must be focused on the groups behind the recent attacks, the nations that harbored or supported them, and any terror groups or nations that pose a direct, immediate threat to national security. Much of this will be done through covert operations, but the occasional blatant military strike will be called for (think Libya).

I supported the Iraq War even if Saddam wasn't a "direct, immediate threat." I went from that to this position:
Iraq can never move forward as long as Saddam remains in power. Recent history shows that internal opposition won't topple him. Maybe U.S. military might can? Liberating Afghanistan is step one in the War on Terrorism. Liberating Iraq would be a good step two.

As I put it in a post last year, "At its core, invading Iraq is a war to save lives."
Neither Oliver then nor I now are chickenhawks. We're just two people who disagree about means to the same end--wiping out the Islamist terrorist threat to the U.S. Tom Tomorrow, who started this whole debate, has no idea how pro-war webloggers' thoughts evolved. He just went for the quick insult.

I'll let Lt. Citizen Smash have the final word:

Do I believe that my decision to serve my country somehow makes my opinion more relevant than those who chose not to join up? While I do feel that my experiences in the military, and especially my time in the Gulf, give me a unique perspective on some issues of national security, I don’t believe that it somehow makes me morally superior to those who have never worn wear a uniform. After all, serving in the US military is all about protecting the freedoms that we ALL cherish – including the right to free speech.

"Chickenhawk Debate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:30 AM | Comments (5)

November 12, 2003

Duck's Stable

Few people are as highly critical of Howard the Duck, M.D., but even I don't buy what this Princeton prof. is selling:

Character, whether you mean it as moral fiber or psychological soundness, is really the bottom line in an office in which the incumbent is never more than a couple of dozen feet away from the nuclear button. You want to be very comfortable with the personal wiring of your chief executive.

It's easy to feel uneasy about Dean in the Oval Office.

Policywise, the Duck's all wet (that's how I gave him his nickname). He's also good at manipulating his followers to make it appear his campaign is more voter-centric than it really is. But if a solar flare made Air Force One to crash killing President Bush and fry Dick Cheney's pacemaker so Duck, M.D. found his way to the Oval Office I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be so rash as to launch nuclear weapons in a state of rage. I accept Duck, M.D.'s explanation about his tempter:
I hardly think not backing down to (rival) Al Sharpton is equivalent to having your finger on the button and not thinking about it. That would be a very silly conclusion.

Many liberals have become Bush backers in the Islamist War because they feel he grew into the role History gave him. Something like that would happen to the Duck, M.D.

"As Dean Forges Ahead, his Temperament Gets Closer Look" [via Political Wire]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

Kings of Chaos

What's fun about Kings of Chaos is checking on my armed gangs' status and seeing new recruits. That means someone's listening to my requests. Thanks, everyone. Keep on clicking and even start playing yourself. It's addicting.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Libertarian Victory in Culture Wars

Stephen Green notes that the conservative "victory" in the culture wars isn't as conservative as at first glance:

Sounds to me like what we have today is less of a conservative victory, than a libertarian one.

I made the same point a few weeks ago.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2003

Generally Wrong

Andrew Sullivan offers some damning reasons why Wealsey Clark shouldn't be President.

"At War With Himself"

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

Kling's Take on Austrian Economics

Arnold Kling is confusing the Austrian School of economics with the paleolibertarianism of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell. Kling comments:

The reason that I only scored a 78 is that I took the title of the quiz literally ("are you an Austrian"), so I answered with my own beliefs, knowing that they diverged in some cases with the Austrian School. For example, I subscribe to the quaint notion of national defense. When tyrants and would-be tyrants ask about our President, as Stalin once asked Churchill about the Pope, "How many divisions does he have?" I would like the answer to be "more than enough to smash you!" The Austrian School thinks that you do not need a government to provide national defense. The Mises.org weblog is as eager as any Dean Democrat to see the U.S. fail in Iraq.

The Mises Institute group is deeply influence by Murray Rothbard, a student of Mises and and the second-most influential thinker (behind Ayn Rand) of the libertarian movement. These Austrians are highly critical of any governmental activities. Why they don't overtly call themselves anarchists, I don't know. They don't even admit to being anarcho-capitalists. To them, government fails at everything it touches. It's not only bad at educating children, managing trade, writing environmental regulations, managing health care for the elderly and poor, running welfare, and running the post office; it's also bad at defending the country (even though we haven't endured a serious invasion since the War of 1812) and handling monetary policy.

But the Rothbardians aren't the only branch of the Austrian School. From my observations, most non-Rothbardians focus more on economic research than libertarian political economy.

For a response to Kling's article, Mateusz Machaj has a post on the Mises Economics Blog.

"The Sect of Austrian Economics"


Charles Oliver took the Austrian quiz and notes, "Actually, it should be how Rothbardian are you? Mises, Hayek, Kirzner and many other Austrians would have failed to get 100% if they took this quiz."

Catallarchy.net also has a few posts on Kling and the quiz.

"The Ubiquitous Quiz"

"Burn the Heretics"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:04 PM | Comments (5)

Soros: Old Moneybags

How can the GOP be considered the party of the rich when rich people like George Soros, Peter Lewis, Rob Glaser, and Rob McKay donated millions to Left-wing groups for the sole purpose of defeating President Bush? Will we be reading Paul Krugman questioning the "real" reasons these people handing out such large sums? Will Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) or Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) publicly be outraged at rich people pouring millions into politics?

"Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Somalia: A Risky Place

For some libertarians Somalia is a stateless paradise. To a consulting group in London it's a base for terrorism.

"Somalia Considered One of the World's Most Dangerous Countries"

"RiskMap 2004: International Political and Security Risks: What can we expect in 2004?"

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

Veteran's Day

My closest connections to veterans are a cousin who was a Marine about ten years ago and a great uncle who fought in WWII. On this Veteran's Day I just want to say thank you to Lt. Citizen Smash, James Joyner and their fellow current and retired soldiers who have put their lives on the line so I can breath free. Then read the last words from some soldiers killed in Iraq.

"The Things They Wrote" [via Easterblogg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Freak Out

My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

Government Abuse

Randall Fitzgerald's Mugged by the State is one of those books that will make you mad. It's full of stories of people who run smack-dab into abusive government employees. A man had $19,000 confiscated because a drug-sniffing dog detects some illegal substance on it. The man was never charged from a crime, but the police kept the money. A farmer is forced by the EPA to protect an endangered snail that came onto his land. These are just two outrageous tales mentioned in Radley Balko's review.

"We're From the Government and We're Here to Help" [via PrestoPundit]

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

Clark's Memorial

Really thinking big Weasley.

Clark is the only candidate who proposed a new memorial to honor the men and women who fought and died in wars not yet memorialized in our nation's capital. Clark supports a tribute to all Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, including those who served in Panama, Somalia, Iraq and many other places around the globe.

"They answered the call," Clark said. "They served with honor. Their sacrifice is a solemn reminder that 'freedom is not free.' Generations of young Americans have paid for it with their lives."

A new veteran's memorial is all well and good, but it's micro-policy in the Clinton mold. Since Weasley's campaign is simply anti-war without big ideas pandering to veterans is the way to go.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:21 PM | Comments (2)

Flynt Won't Publish Lynch Photos

So out of the good graces of Larry Flynt's heart (does he even have one?) he won't publish nude photos of Jessica Lynch. The original Fat Bastard said, "She's very much a pawn for the government." Now, if Lynch wouldn't have complained that the U.S. military fluffed up her ordeal and rescue, then Flynt's "conscience" wouldn't have prevented him from printing the embarassing photos? Even more disgusting, Flynt had the gall to say, "You gotta do the right thing." This may have been the first time in his life he's done that.

"Flynt Says He Won't Use Nude Lynch Photos" [via Amish Tech Support]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 06:02 PM | Comments (1)

More Clicks Please

Corny, yes, but addictive Kings of Chaos is. Yoda, do I sound like. Anyway, click here to keep my troop (still too small to be called an army) growing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

TiVo Rules My TV World

Since I think TiVo is greatest evolution of television watching since the VCR, I have to add to James' post.

For some the recorded selections TiVo picks (those not specifically chosen to be recorded) may be pretty accurate. It isn't for me so I rely on lots of season tickets. Since getting my TiVo over three years ago and the lack of good programming, my tv watching has become smarter. I'm down to watching live sports event, 24, and various egghead talk shows. With TiVo, I can watch it when I want to. I fit tv into my schedule instead of fitting my schedule around what's on tv.

"TiVo Addicts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 04:16 PM | Comments (1)

Read 'em and Weep

This week's Bonfire of the Vanities has been posted.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2003

Graham on Duck's Short List

From the Tallahassee Democrat:

He [Howard Dean, M.D.] said Sen. Bob Graham, who announced on Monday that he won't run for re-election, is on his "short list" for vice president - if he wins the Democratic nomination to face President Bush next November.

Howard the Duck, M.D. running with the numerical illiterate. Oh the fun I would have with that Democratic ticket. Since Graham is known for his obsessive notetaking habit, he sure would had some spice to Duck, M.D.'s weblog:

6:30 A.M.: Woke up.
6:45 A.M.: Got out of bed.
6:50 A.M.: Looking for Geritol pills.
7:00 A.M.: Still looking for Geritol pills.
7:02 A.M.: Found pills; opening bottle.
7:03 A.M.: Damn child-proof caps!
7:15 A.M.: Turned on computer to read comments on campaign weblog.
7:25 A.M.: Asked wife what "HTTP 404" means.
7:26 A.M.: Wife didn't know. Told me to call grandson.

This is award-winning stuff. Duck M.D.'s followers would just eat this up. Duck, M.D., please, pretty please pick Sen. Graham.

"Howard Dean Campaigns in Tallahassee" [via The Chicago Report]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:02 PM | Comments (10)

Primary Problem

Some states are canceling their Presidential primaries or are replacing them with caucuses in 2004. With the primaries becoming so front-loaded, some states feel holding one would be a waste of money and wouldn't add to the Presidential race. Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, is concerned with the move to caucuses because "fewer voters will participate because [caucuses] are more complex." This unintended effect of front-loaded primaries may return more power to political parites to choose candidates. For a number of years, I've thought it strange that people who never participate in party functions or even associate themselves with a particular party could help pick a party's candidate. Republicans should pick the Republican candidate for office; Democrats should pick Democrats; Libertarians should pick Libertarians, etc. We are allowed free association in the U.S. A corollary to that is groups have the right to govern themselves and decide who will publically represent them. Voters don't pick the heads of the RNC, DNC, or state parties. They shouldn't pick

But the argument in favor of open primaries is that the more people who participate the better. Oh, really? In the AP story, about 20% of registered voters vote in primaries. Open primaries still are a guild for party activists.

If we are to continue the primary system, we should either move toward a national primary like James Joyner suggests or make the parties shoulder the costs of holding primaries (another Joyner suggestion).

"Several States Move to Cancel Primaries"

"Primaries Cancelled"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Hooked

My armed gang (too small to call it an army) engaged in its first mission. My spy got valuable information, so I tempted fate again. Only the second time met with disaster. The spy was killed and I must prepare for a counter-attack. If you care about all that is just, right, and good with one's online gaming addiction you'll click here to beef up my defenses. Thanks in advance.

Laurence, this is all your fault!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Read and Be Enlightened

The Accidental Jedi hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.

UPDATE: James Joyner's link to a story of cities chasing young smarties dovetails nicely with my entry in the CotC.

"Brain-Gain Cities"

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

Rummy Vs. Aziz

Donald Rumsfeld has been hammered by the Left for meeting with Saddam in 1983. Their desire for foreign policy purity (and cheap shots at the current administration) makes them unable to see that compromises need to be made to protect U.S. interests.

At a dinner in 1985, Rumsfeld demonstrated his concern for the Arabs. He challenged Tariq Aziz, then Iraqi foreign minister, on Iraq's attempt at uniting the Arab world:

Rumsfeld expressed his admiration for the foreign minister’s ability and for the aim of modernizing the Arab world. He shared and supported the idea that Arabs should live with pride and comfort, rather than being ruled by princes and tyrants. His goodwill toward Iraq had recently been demonstrated by his success as Middle East negotiator in restoring diplomatic relations between Iraq and the United States. Aziz beamed with pleasure. But then Rumsfeld asked Aziz directly: “Do you really think the way to achieve what you are attempting is through ethnic solidarity? Are you convinced that you have more in common with all Arabs than with others who are non-Arab but share a vision of hope and decency for all peoples? Is it possible that the quest for Arab solidarity is driving the Arab world to seek alliances that are artificial or based on self-defeating and costly hatreds?”

Rumsfeld went on to say, "The values that ensure political and economic progress are universal, not ethnic." The way the Pentagon has approached the war and post-war shows its leader still believes those words.

"Dinner with the Eight of Spades" [via Milt's File]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:20 AM | Comments (1)

Keep Clicking

My little rag-tag army is slowly growing thanks to all your efforts. Hopefully in a day or two I'll have the money and armor to go on the war path. Help me satisfy my warmongering appetite by clicking here.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:44 AM | Comments (0)

Living Colour is Back

One album I have to get soon is Living Colour's Collideoscope. Their last album, Stain, came out ten years ago. Tom Johnson calls the new album a "grower."

"Living Colour - Collideoscope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:15 AM | Comments (1)

All He's Doing Is Egging Me On

John Hawkins really, really, really doesn't want to you see The Matrix Revolutions. He claims it's that bad. How bad? This bad:

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it was easily the worst film I've at the theater at this year. Just in case you're not getting my meaning, I'm saying that you shouldn't go see this movie. But you're wondering, "what if I've seen the other two movies and I just want to finish out the trilogy?" Have you got wax in your ears? Let me repeat myself; don't go see this movie! "But, the Matrix 1 & 2 were my two favorite movies of all time," you say. How many times do I have to say this? Don't go see this hideously bad, soul-suckingly atrocious, godawful movie!. "But Hawkins, my cousin is in the movie. He even had a speaking role! Plus, my first child is named Neo and..." Let me stop you there. Let me put it this way; do not go see this movie tomorrow, the next day, if your friend says he'll pay your way in, when it comes out on video, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, just don't do it! Friends don't let friends go to see, "The Matrix: Revolutions".

What if you want to see how bad a movie can be to illicit such a response? I'll just make sure I go during the day so I'm not stuck paying full price.

"A Movie Review Of The Matrix: Revolutions"


While you're at RWN, check out the list of best dinner guests as chosen by Right-wing webloggers.

Here are my votes:

  • F.A. Hayek
  • Winston Churchill
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Bob Hope
  • Johnny Carson
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Ben Franklin
  • P.J. O'Rourke
  • George Washington
  • James Madison
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • John Locke
  • Martin Luther
  • Da Vinci
  • Ayn Rand
  • Fredrick Engels
  • Edmund Burke
  • Voltaire
  • Jesus
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:39 AM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2003

Duck Wishes Terri Was Dead

In Florida, Howard Dean harped about Terri's Law which saved Terri Schiavo from death by starvation and dehydration. "I'm tired of people in the legislature thinking that they have an M.D. when what they really have is a B.S.," Dean said in Tallahassee. Such a smug remark demonstrates the Duck's arrogance. To him, only doctors can form a valid opinion on a medical issue. Any intellectually honest person could examine Terri Schiavo's case and come to any number of conclusions. Because of the circumstances surrounding this case, Gov. Bush and the Florida legislature erred on the side of life. As a doctor, you'd think Dean would approve of that. He doesn't because it counters his radical view that doctors should be in the business of killing their patients.

"Dean 'Appalled' That Florida Lawmakers Saved Schiavo"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 05:23 PM | Comments (2)

24 Suggestion

24 has just started and already someone wants Kim dead. At least the writers didn't try to claim Kim got her job at CTU only because she's magically become a computer whiz.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

Marshall Gets Fisked

Ed Moltzen shows when it comes to the Senate Democrat intelligence memo, Josh Marshall is just another partisan hack.

"Josh Marshall, Cowards and Memos"

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

Where Have All the Solos Gone?

There's a review of Pat Benetar's latest album, Go. The reviewer's most pressing complaint are the five-second guitar solos. It might be another bad influence of Nirvana, but the guitar solo in modern rock has vanished. I'm not talking about the 10-20 minute epics of Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton, or Eric Clapton. I'm talking about that 20-30 stretch in the second half of songs where the lead guitarist solos off the song's melody. The last band to seriously do this was Pearl Jam. Today, if you want to hear a guitar solo on radio, your only choice is Audioslave's Tom Morrello. Now, we're stuck with grinding rap-rock bands like Korn and Linkin Park where you wonder if the guitarists have the talent to even pull a decent solo off. The dearth of solos has gotten so bad that standard heavy metal/hard rock bands Metallica and Rush both decided that solos didn't fit in their most recent studio albums. They're both rock legends with outstanding guitar players, but they couldn't find a place in any song for them to stretch out? At least Alex and Kurt still shred live.

"Death of the Guitar Solo? Pat Benatar: Go"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)

Click Early, Click Often

I have joined Laurence's quest. What that quest is (marching on Arafat?), I don't know, but it requires that people click on this link to build my army. Right now it amounts to one untrained soldier. One slightly-trained Iraqi child could destroy me right now.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

"One Man's 'Special' Interest..."

Stephen Taylor on the Duck's populist rhetoric:

For one thing, Bush has raised a lot of his money in individual contributions, like Dean, and even if he hadn't, groups are limited to $5k, so it isn't like, as suggested, interest groups are "flooding" the campaign (it takes a lot of $2k and $5k contributions to reach $100 million). For another, one man's "special" interest is another's "vital" interest (in other words, an interest is only "special" if it isn't mine).

And the bottom line is that both gentlemen are raising money for the exact same reason: they both think that they should be President, as do all the people who gave the money. It isn't complicated, and it is democratic to the core.

"Dean Eschews Matching Funds"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

Grumbling about Dean-Bush Race

Matthew Yglesias writes that the Duck's nomination is "locked up" (welcome to the party). He doesn't like the prospects of a Dean-Bush fight:

A Dean-Bush campaign, on the other hand, will probably be an ugly, culturally-charged battle of innuendos not unlike the vapid races we saw in 2000 or (worse) 1988. Dean's a much savvier politician than Dukakis or Gore, so he might well win out in a struggle like this, but it's not going to be pretty. The main upside, on the other hand, of a Dean nomination is that win or lose it should breath new life into the increasingly-ineffectual Democratic Party apparat, shake some things up that could use some shaking, etc.

In retrospect, though, Dean really looks to me more like the nominee we needed in 2000, than the man of the hour.

"Meet Your Nominee"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:17 AM | Comments (0)

Which Founding Father are You?

Does this fit me? It might, except I'm not into the dueling thing.

[via PrestoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:03 AM | Comments (2)

Bartlett on Flat Tax

Bruce Bartlett has a weblog. Nice. He points out that Paul Bremer didn't actually institute a flat tax in Iraq. What he did was put a ceiling on individual and corporate rates of 15%. That doesn't prevent future Iraqi governors from creating a progressive tax scheme with a top rate of 15%. Bartlett then looks at the effects of a flat tax on Estonia and Russia. He also points out that Arnold Schwarzenegger is eyeing a flat tax for California's budgetary ills.

"Flat Tax"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2003

Shift to the Right

At least one more election is needed to see if Fred Barnes' theory of a Republican realignment is legit. But last week's elections and some poll data support him.

"Realignment (Continued)" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

Lousy Sports Fans

My latest SportsBlog.org post illustrates just how bad some Minnesota football fans are.

"A Tale of Two States"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

No Public Funds for Dean

Howard Dean won't take matching campaign funds during the Democratic primaries. His followers "told him" it was ok.

Duck's chief weblogger, Matthew Gross writes,

You have made history. Never before has such a monumental decision been turned over to the supporters of a campaign-- and you stepped forward and voted, showing again that you are restoring a politics of participation in America.

Your vote on this decision marks one more way you are reviving our democracy.

If Gross and the Duck's flock want to believe President Bush lied his way into the Iraq War, then fine. I'll believe that this whole participatory campaign is a sham. Any thinking person should realize that the Duck wouldn't have let his followers make this important decision if he didn't already know what their answer would be. About 85% supported Dean's decision. No re-count need here. I have to give the Duck some credit. He finds ways to manipulate his grass-roots, Internet-powered supporters to generate plenty of free media. However, I do find it rather disgusting for Dean to compare his rejection of "special interest" contributions to the Founding Fathers' rejection of British imperial rule. He's equating contributors' free speech to the British army. Very taudry.

Also, why did the Duck have to show off his tech cred by signing his Declaration on a tablet PC?

"Democrat Dean Will Not Take Public Funds"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

Hotel Attackers Captured

U.S. troops captured Iraqis suspected of being behind last month's Rasheed Hotel attack.

"US Troops Grab Iraq Hotel Attack Suspects in Raids"

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

A Duck's Waddle

GOP operative Joe Gaylord backs my theory on why Howard the Duck is letting his followers decide the matching-funds issue:

Howard Dean is saying to his supports, 'Oh, please tell me what to do,' when he is just looking for an easy out and a why to put more money into his race. He used to think the existing system was great until he figured out how to get around it to his advantage.

"Analysis: Dean May Bust Campaign Limits"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:08 AM | Comments (2)

More Brett Next Year

Expect to see Brett Favre slinging the ball around in 2004.

"Brett Favre May Not Retire"

[crossposted to SportsBlog.org]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

Still Need Suggestions

The only book or music suggestion I've gotten is for Bernard Lewis' What Went Wrong? It's a good book, but it's two years old. I'm almost done with Return of the King and will next jump into Hayek's Journey. On the music front, this week I bought Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow and Coldplay's Live 2003.

There's only about 1 1/2 months left before the TAM Awards. I want your choices for best non-fiction book, album, and weblog of 2003.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

Winer's Tips

Dave Winer is watching how candidates are using weblogs. He's has some advice for them. It's too months old, but still relevent since the campaigns are still learning.

"Tips for Candidates re Weblogs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)


Whenever you notice a Democrat yapping about how the Iraq War was wrong because WMD hasn't been found, just pull out this list of Democrat quotes. If President Bush was wrong about WMD, then so were a lot of others.

"Clintonistas on Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2003

Joyner Goes Duck Hunting

James Joyner responds to Howard the Duck's southern bashing:

Dean has a rather stereotypical view of the average Southerner. Yes, there are a lot of men in the South driving pickup trucks with a gun rack, a pinch of Copenhagen between their cheek and gums, who are quite culturally conservative. Of course, there are a fair number of people like that in Vermont, too. (I suspect they didn't vote for Howard Dean, either.) But just as everyone in Vermont isn't a fat socialist who makes overpriced ice cream, neither is every Southerner an unthinking redneck. Considering that it's virtually impossible to get elected president without winning a Southern state or too, Dean might want to get down there a little more and talk to some people.

"Dean and Southerners" [via PoliBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)


The New Hampshire State Supreme Court ruled that lesbian sex outside a marriage can't be considered adultry. This is from the AP story:

The majority determined that the definition of adultery requires sexual intercourse. The judges who disagreed said adultery should be defined more broadly to include other extramarital sexual activity.

So, based on this thinking lesbian sex isn't adultry, but gay sex is. Where's Andrew Sullivan's take when you really want it.

"Supreme Court: Gay Sex Not Adultery" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

Al-Halabi Facing Court Martial

Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi will face 20 charges relating to spying at Guantanamo. He's accused of giving secrets about the terrorist prison camp to people from Syria and Qatar.

"Guantanamo Translator Faces Court-Martial"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

Centrist Claptrap

William Swann at Centerfield is playing a little game with Sen. McCain's Iraq comments. It seems TAM has allowed the Right to fall behind the Left. Sorry guys, I let you down.

Someone should tell me when I'm in a race to the center. I would have leaped into a wormhole back to my own ideological dimension. My opinions have developed from years of reading and thinking through things. I'm way too young to be wise, but I think I'm pretty knowlegable when it comes to politics. My political economic beliefs have aligned me closest to the Right, and I'm not ashamed of that. It's a distinguished intellectual fraternity I'm associated with. I have no need to claim some moral high ground by calling myself a "centrist."

Try this: instead of positioning yourself based on some liberals and conservatives examine the situation and come to your own conclusion. By definition the center is constantly moving based on changes at the two poles. Develop an ideology and defend it.

"Pop-Quiz for the Blogosphere"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:56 AM | Comments (3)


Enter Stage Right is suffering a money crunch. Let's help Steve out so he can keep this conservative Internet institution up and running.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

Scholars are Doomed!

My fantasy football team, the Crazy Cooters is the first team in the Webloggers League to break the 1000 point mark. You'd think I'd be comfortably in first place. Uh, no. While players like Payton Manning and Torry Holt play so well week after week, a Ph.D. in the land of the Vikings (oh the insult!) has ripped off eight wins in a row. Last week, I pummeled my arch nemesis and high school buddy so, the chase is on for the league title.

King, you might as well quit now. You may have some secret econometric technique to pick an optimum line-up, but it's no match for one who writes a weekly fantasy football column. You may be ahead of me right now, you haven't beaten me yet. Our showdown is only weeks away. I hope you have plenty of sleepless nights until then.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2003

More on South Park Republicans

Kevin Holtsberry comments on Brian Anderson's "South Park Republicanism":

In the same way I insist to the paleocons that a respect for Abraham Lincoln doesn’t mean you are a closet liberal, I must insist that a dislike for liberal sentimentality and political correctness run amok does not make you conservative. The middle must hold. Their will always be some tension between libertarian inspired “leave me alone” type arguments and the traditionalist devotion to faith, family, and the ordered society but if we begin to see “South Park” Republicans as conservative then we will have lost the meaning of that word in an important sense.

This echoes my concerns about the evolution of conservatism:
This group of truly neoconservatives accepts a live-and-let-live approach to homosexuals (include me on that) along with coarser language and pre-marital sex. It's an objection to "the image of conservatives as uptight squares—crusty old men or nerdy kids in blue blazers" as on college student told Anderson. Discarding conservative stereotypes is all well and good. I'm a prime example. I worry that this 21th Century conservatism has internalized much of the Left, morally harmful parts of the Culture War. I also worry that conservatives will become morally lax to the point where groping women (in Arnold Schwarzenegger's case) is looked at as a slight flaw.

"South Park Conservatism?"

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

McCain Wants More Troops

Sen. John McCain is criticizing post-Iraq War efforts. He wants more troops there to put down any Baathist/Islamist resistance. Like all the "more troops in Iraq" crowd, he doesn't mention if the U.S. has the manpower to send more troops, or where they'd come from. It's not like the U.S. can send a carrier group back to the Persian Gulf and those seaman can be used on the ground. What would seem like prudent strategy is to send special forces into the Sunni Triangle to destroy the resistence, but they may be too occupied with chasing al-Qadea in Afghanistan.

"McCain: Force Levels in Iraq Inadequate"

"McCain on War"

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

Another Book Source

In what should help make Downtown Milwaukee even more attractive to young professionals, a new bookstore is opening up in the Third Ward. Voss Books is expanding from its Racine location. To add a little 21st Century tech to the story, owner Kelly Voss said, "I probably would not have purchased that bookstore without the Internet."

"Racine Bookshop Expands to Third Ward"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 04:29 AM | Comments (0)

Southern Fried Duck

Howard Dean now is doing penance for his Confederate flag remark. The result is more South bashing. Here's Matthew Stinson's response:

After all, what Dean is demanding is nothing less than for a veil of ignorance to descend whenever a Southerner enters a voting booth. Every faction in American politics has a bundle of legislative priorities, and it is both the beauty and the intent of our representative system that these priorities are distilled down into a form that shifts public policy incrementally, rather than radically. However, Dean is asking Southerners to give up some of their legislative priorities before they're moderated by our governmental institutions, which is a guarantee that Southerners will feel socially and culturally alienated from the political process. This makes Dean's solicitation unrealistic at best and evidence of prejudice at worst.

Why prejudice? I submit that Howard Dean would never tell an African-American audience that they should stop thinking about slavery, racism, and affirmative action before voting; nor would he speak to a gay and lesbian audience and say that they shouldn't base their votes on AIDS policy, hate crimes legislation, or gay marriage; nor would he tell a union audience that they should look past a candidate's trade and minimum wage policies; nor would he speak to Jewish groups and tell them to stop caring about a candidate's position on Israel. There are myriad groups that Dean would not make similar entreaties to because liberal orthodoxy dictates that it's proper for a group to have values so long as they're the right ones.

The Duck's comment again supports Sen. Zell Miller's (D-GA) analysis:

Howard Dean knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday. This must be his Southern strategy. And I can tell you right now, that that’s the same kind of stereotype, that’s the same kind of character trait that I write about in this book. I write about in this book in 1988 Michael Dukakis coming to Georgia and having this rally, and they had all these bales of hay stashed around here and there, like it was some kind of set from the television show “Hee Haw.” That’s not what the South is. The South right now, if you took its economy, it would be the third largest in the world, next to the United States as a whole and next to Japan. Fifty-five hundred African-Americans right now hold office in the South. In Georgia we have several statewide elected officials who are African-American and who were elected last year in a race where a senator and a governor were being defeated. They were being elected in a state that’s 70 percent white. This is not the South that Howard Dean thinks it is. Sure, we drive pickups, but on the back of those pickups, you see a lot of American flags. It’s the most patriotic region in the country. And you see hardworking individuals that want to instill values in their children, and you see a very, very strong work ethic in the South. He doesn’t understand the South.

As today's Wall Street Journal editorial notes, Dean's typically Democratic approach to Southern voters has resulted in "nine of 12 Southern statehouses" in the hands of the GOP.

"Dean's Confederate Veil of Ignorance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 04:21 AM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2003

Jarvis on Reagan Flap

Jeff Jarvis has a good post on the Reagan mini-series flap. He wishes CBS would have aired it just so everyone could criticize/praise it. "But killing it? That's downright undemocratic. It's unAmerican. Ronald Reagan himself would be ashamed," writes Jarvis. That's a bit over the top. The mini-series hasn't been "killed." It will just be shown on Showtime. Free discourse hasn't been harmed. Although I am concerned that certain Right-wingers will complain about any criticism of Reagan. Ronald was a political figure, not a cult leader. I will say it again, "CBS should have broadcasted it so I'd have another reason never to watch their programming."

"Reaganistes" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

Duck Feels Pain

In New York, Howard the Duck said,

I regret the pain that I have caused, but I will tell you there is no easy way to do this and there will be pain as we discuss it and we must face this together hand in hand as Dr. (Martin Luther) King and Abraham Lincoln asked us to do.

The only pain the Duck is feeling is political. He insulted Southerners by stereotyping them all as racist hicks, and can't take the heat from his fellow Democrats when called on it. If no one said a thing about this flap, the Duck wouldn't be feeling any thing.

"Remarks from New York’s Cooper Union"

"Dean Regrets Pain of Confederate Flag Remark" [via Drudge]

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

Milwaukee's Youth Movement

In the last five years, Milwaukee has gained college-educated people aged 25-39. This is an important demographic because their high education adds to the human capital of the local economy. Also, this group is at the age where they start families which could add to the area's population.

Milwaukee has become more hip for recent college graduates. In the downtown area, old buildings are being gutting and remodeled at lofts. Entertainment institutions like the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Brewers have been updated with new buildings. And the city has moved passed its aura of being only a place of Rust Belt manufacturing jobs.

As a state, Wisconsin isn't doing well keeping college-educated young people (broadly defined). She lost over 11,000 from 1995-2000. The state is doing better than others at keeping them, but can't attract them from other states. That's a sign to lawmakers that the state's business climate isn't healthy. In order to have good jobs young people want, business has to have a friendly enviroment conducive to job creation. Wisconsin has a long way to go.

"Milwaukee Gains Young Professionals"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)


Thanks to Interested-Participant for having TAM on its blogroll.

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

Joyner on Luttwak

James comments on the Edward Luttwak article I posted on:

Luttwak's argument is reasonable but he comes to the wrong conclusion. It is not only unrealistic but unwise to employ that many American soldiers as civil police authorities. This would only inflame resentment.

The mistake was in breaking up the existing Iraqi military and police forces, who were presumably large enough to get these jobs done before we arrived. Corruption in these forces would be unfortunate, but hardly novel in a Third World security force. But far easier to root out the bad apples on the job than screen them out ahead of time, given that we'd have to trust locals for the necessary background information anyway. US forces should be mainly concerned with training the locals to whom the job will devolve, with providing physical security to key sites as a major secondary responsibility.

"Boot on the Ground IV"

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

That Traffic Whore

Kevin at Wizbang is hosting this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Yesterday, he posted the Bonfire of the Vanities. His server might explode from all the traffic.

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

Letting His Flock Decide

Howard the Duck will let his followers decide if he should take federal matching funds for his campaign (along with the spending restrictions). Is this how he would run his administration? Would a President Duck collect votes on how to address policy questions through e-mail, weblog comments, and web polls? This is actually worse than when President Clinton acted based on polls and focus groups. If the Duck is so fond of direct democracy he should declare his stance out loud and in public so we can all decide if such a radical change in governance is warranted.

What Dean is doing is the opposite of leadership. He's not leading, he's following the will of his public. The wind of public opinion can shift quickly. It can also be quite incoherent. That's when leaders are needed to make tough decisions. This experiment not only proves the Duck has no understanding of 3000+ years of Western political thought. It proves he doesn't have the moral strength to lead his supporters let alone a superpower.

"Howard Dean's Political Suicide?"

UPDATE: After a little more thought and reading the Duck's e-mail I figured out that "letting the people decide" is his way of getting out of his promise to "take public financing and would make it an issue if other Democrats didn't." If he thinks he'd be hog-tied and at a disadvantage by accepting public funds, then he should have the guts to say so. If his followers vote to not take the money and he fails to make up for the lost $19 million, then he can blame them. This isn't leadership. It's the Duck's way of having a scape goat.

"Dean Keeps Options Open on Campaign Funds"

UPDATE II: To further support my claim that the Duck is using this poll to wiggle out of his promise, there's this paragraph from the NY Times:

One person close to the Dean campaign described the polling, which will be conducted Thursday and Friday mainly through an elaborate secure Internet system, as a way to provide political cover for abandoning the system.

"Dean Considers Plan to Forgo Public Financing" [via Political Wire]

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

Gettin' Freaky

My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2003

16 Teams

16 teams will play basketball in the new Big East in the 2005-06 season. All the schools shuffling around was confusing enough, now I have to keep track of 15 others when Marquette plays. What this expansion creates is one hell of a basketball power.

"Big East Expands by Five"

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

History Defended

Gus [click here and scroll down to "Getting it straight"] at The Chapin Nation on the Reagan mini-series moving to Showtime:

The reportage on the cancelling of the Reagan mini-series was peppered with references to Republicans, conservatives and economic pressures by the right implying that the mini-series was forced off the air by "political" pressures.
Then there was the gobble-de-gook about pay-per-view standards being different than regular network standards, meaning, I suppose, that it's OK to lie and be sub-human on one but not the other.
The point here is about being a decent human being.
There are issues about Ronald Reagan and his presidency that need examination such as Iran Contra and the interesting combination of what, by all reports, was a decent human being who did not seem to grasp the social issues of his term.
All of that is decidedly fair game for an honest dramatic and historical exploration of a president and his time.
What was not fair game was creating lines and situations that make Ronald Reagan look like something he wasn't, which even people who were not avid supporters of his knew that he wasn't and what his enemies wished him to appear as to the public.
The short term for that is "hatchet job".
That was what CBS tried to pull off.
And they got caught at it.

CBS should have broadcasted it so I'd have another reason never to watch their programming. Unlike Michele, I'm not disturbed by the move. A group of people (conservative Reagan fans) used their free speech rights to complain. CBS didn't have to cave, and I'm actually surprised they did. The show will go on, and Showtime will be the beneficiary.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:10 PM | Comments (1)

The Right was Right

Spinsanity analyzes the misuse of the words "imminent threat."

"Sorting out the "Imminent Threat" Debate" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Destroy the Enemy

A little bit of recent history can certainly make my war juices boil. Rich Lowry compares Sunday's downing of a Chinook helicopter to the Black Hawk Down battle in Somalia in 1993. He writes that after 18 Americans were killed followers of warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed were terrified of a counterattack. That never came to be. Instead, President Clinton bailed out of Somalia sending the message to al-Qaeda that the U.S. didn't have a fighting heart. Such a message may have inspired bin Laden to go ahead with the Sep. 11 attacks.

Fate has given the U.S. an opportunity to make amends. Since Iraqi resistance killed 16 of ours, troops should go out and kill 32 of theirs. If they kill 20 of ours, we must kill 40 of theirs. Superior force against force. That's what thugs like them understand. One way to rebuild support for the war at home is victory. Smash the resistance, show their destruction to the world, and let America's enemies quake in fear.

"Black Hawk Down Redux"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

More Troops? From Where?

Edward Luttwak's, Fareed Zakaria's, and David Brooks' criticisms of winning the Iraqi peace beg the question: Do we have enough troops available to send to Iraq? Right now, there are three hot spots where U.S. troops are needed: Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iraq. Troops there can't be moved to Iraq or those missions would be threatened. NRO's Stanley Kurtz offers the volunteer route. Recruiting more would mean months of training before they were battle-ready. So where do we get more troops in the mean time?

"So Few Soldiers, So Much to Do"

"Iraqification: Losing Strategy"

"A Burden Too Heavy to Put Down"

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

Fire, Fire, Fire!

This week's Bonfire of the Vanities is up.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Oliver's Selective Quoting

Oliver Willis quoted this portion of an AP story on company job cuts:

Job cuts announced by U.S. companies more than doubled in October from the previous month, providing more evidence that the nation's economy is in a period of jobless expansion, according to a report from an outplacement firm.

Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said Tuesday that in October companies announced plans to eliminate 171,874 positions, compared with 76,506 jobs in September. It was the highest monthly level since October 2002, when 176,010 job cuts were announced.

What he failed to mention is that these are just planned job cuts. They haven't actually happened yet.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas's monthly report focuses on companies' planned cuts, not actual reductions. The data is based on tracking figures from the news media and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Oliver should do more than a quick scan when trying to bash President Bush.

"Job Cuts Announced by U.S. Corporations More Than Double in October"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 04:25 PM | Comments (7)

TMQ to Return

Like Cam I didn't read TMQ much, but it looks like Gregg Easterbrook is making a come back.

"November 4 Update from Gregg Easterbrook re: TMQ"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2003

Wolfowitz on Democracy

I would have thought a highly-studied man like Paul Wolfowitz would know the difference between democracy and limited government. At a speech in Iraq, he told his audience,

To Americans, the most important thing about democracy is to guarantee human rights and justice for all.

Democracy is only a design of government. What Wolfowitz is refering to is limited government, classical liberalism. Just as authoritarian dictators can justify their rule through democratic means (Saddam claimed 100% of the vote months before the war) nations can guarantee human rights and justice without democracy (Hong Kong pre-Chinese take over).

Also in David Ignatius' piece he continues the lie that the Iraq War was in response to Saddam's "imminent threat" to the U.S.

"A War of Choice, and One Who Chose It" [via Matthew Stinson]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

I See Red

J.P. Carter misses the Communists.

"Bring Back the Commies! - A Neoconservative’s
Nostalgic Longing For Marxism"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)


Thanks go to Bill Hobbs and Laurence Simon for adding TAM to their blogrolls.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

Looking for Suggestions

We're in the final stretch of 2003, and I'm already mentally putting together the TAM book and music lists. I could use some help. What were some of best non-fiction books and music that I might have missed? On the book side, I've read David Frum's The Right Man, Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style, Bernard Lewis' The Crisis of Islam, and I want to read Anne Applebaum's Gulag before the year is out. On the music side, I've enjoyed St. Moritz Vibes, Feeder's Comfort in Sound (that would be a controversial pick because it's from 2002 but wasn't released in the U.S. until this year), and Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won.

This is not all I've read and bought. I've got to keep something secret to surprise you. But I want some help on books and music I've missed. If I get a bunch of suggestions (via e-mail, comments, links, or trackbacks) I may toss all of them into a big hat and pick a name. Then I'll select something off your Amazon wish list.

And one last item. I'm thinking about doing a TAM Weblogs award this year too. So I'll take suggestions on what you think has been the best weblog in 2003.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in BooksMusic at 05:35 PM | Comments (2)

Google IPO

They're months away from a possible IPO and a publicly-traded Google is the buzz of the financial world. That's because it would be the first big post-tech bubble IPO. With such hype and inability of the company to prevent competitors from entering the only direction Google stock could go is down. How can a company justify a $15 billion valuation on $150 million in profits from being a text ad agency?

"How Good is Google?" [via blogdex]

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

Packers Win!

My post on last night's sweet victory is at SportsBlog.org.

"Packers Beat Vikings"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:22 AM | Comments (3)

Lying Around

To those who think President Bush is a liar, I offer you this essay by Keith Burgess-Jackson where he writes,

Those who say that President Bush lied should be specific not only about the nature of the falsehood but about the evidence for his deceitfulness. Both the objective and the subjective components of lying must be established. It is not enough that the falsehood work to the president's advantage. That may be relevant to whether he lied (it may supply a motive), but it is far from sufficient. Not everything good that happens to a person is the product of a plan, after all. I am not suggesting that the evidentiary standard should be "beyond a reasonable doubt," for that reflects the high value our society places on individual liberty. Better that ten guilty people be acquitted, we say, than that one innocent person be convicted. Nobody (to my knowledge) is trying to put the president in prison. But it seems equally clear to me that the civil standard of "proof by a preponderance of the evidence" ­is inadequate. Shouldn't the president of the United States be given the benefit of the doubt? Isn't the president entitled to a thumb, if not a whole hand, on the evidentiary scale?

Along those same lines, I'll repeat what I've written about Iraqi WMDs: one can be wrong about a situation without lying or misleading.

"Logic Cop Asks, 'Is Bush a Liar?'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:35 AM | Comments (0)

My Favorite Democrat

Here are some excerpts from Sen. Zell Miller on Meet the Press.

On the Democratic Presidential candidates:

I respect all of them, and they’re good and decent people, but they are so far afield in wherever they’re going in this campaign. I mean, here they have adopted the worst possible features of the McGovern campaign. That is, get out, at any cost. Give up, come home, quit. And, the worst possible feature of the Mondale campaign, raise taxes. Tim, I was there in 1972 at Miami Beach when—here you had this crowd, chanting about the president of the United States, “Liar, liar, liar.” And they had on these T-shirts, “Make love, not war.” And Willie Brown was going around, shouting, “Let my people go.” And then in the wee morning hours, they nominated George McGovern. He carried one state, one single, solitary state. And I was there in 1984 at San Francisco when Walter Mondale looked out and told the nation, “I’m going to raise your taxes.” What? Goodness gracious, that’s not the way to campaign. He carried one single, solitary state. They have managed, except a, somewhat, Lieberman, Gephardt, a little exception—they have managed to make this a double feature of the worst of the Democratic Party.

On Howard the Duck:

Howard Dean knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday. This must be his Southern strategy. And I can tell you right now, that that’s the same kind of stereotype, that’s the same kind of character trait that I write about in this book. I write about in this book in 1988 Michael Dukakis coming to Georgia and having this rally, and they had all these bales of hay stashed around here and there, like it was some kind of set from the television show “Hee Haw.” That’s not what the South is. The South right now, if you took its economy, it would be the third largest in the world, next to the United States as a whole and next to Japan. Fifty-five hundred African-Americans right now hold office in the South. In Georgia we have several statewide elected officials who are African-American and who were elected last year in a race where a senator and a governor were being defeated. They were being elected in a state that’s 70 percent white. This is not the South that Howard Dean thinks it is. Sure, we drive pickups, but on the back of those pickups, you see a lot of American flags. It’s the most patriotic region in the country. And you see hardworking individuals that want to instill values in their children, and you see a very, very strong work ethic in the South. He doesn’t understand the South.

And my favorite excerpt, on Weasley Clark:

Well, as you know, Tim, there’ve been 12, I think, generals been elected president of the United States. Only one of them has been a Democrat; 1828, Andrew Jackson. And with all due respect to Wesley [Clark], he is no “Old Hickory.” I can tell you that. I have a tremendous respect for anyone who wears the uniform, anyone who has been shot at by our enemies. But when your last boss, in this case General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that you lack integrity, that’s a pretty strong indictment. No integrity? I mean, how would you like to be taking that reference around whenever you’re looking for a new job?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:47 AM | Comments (1)

An Economics Feast

This time of the week is really good for reading econ material. David Warsh publishes his latest Economic Principals column and there's the always insightful Carnival of the Capitalists. First, Warsh doesn't lament the purchase of Boston-based Fleet Bank by Bank of America but uses the event to illustrate economic growth and change. He writes,

The thing about successful cities, as Jane Jacobs pointed out long ago, is that they generate their own renewal. New work grows out of old. And Boston does better than most because, since its very beginnings, it has been a center of education, a potent source of both new ideas and high-skilled talent.

"Everything Must Go"


There are some real goodies in the CotC. TJ, inspired by the Friendster VC funding, looks at the online dating market. He tries to make the case that Friendster "might be worth $135 million."

sugarmama comments on job opportunities for those with strange names.


And I can't pass up the opportunity to comment on Paul Bremer instituting a 15% flat tax in Iraq. Now, Russia and Iraq are sensible and fair to taxpayers than the U.S. It also easier for Iraq to start from scratch with a flat tax than it does in a country like the U.S. that has oodles of tax rules and constituencies willing to lobby hard to protect them. The flat tax is sound economic policy that will help turn Iraq into the Middle East's version of Hong Kong.

"U.S. Administrator Imposes Flat Tax System on Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2003

Iraqi Transition

One quick post before watching the Packers beat the Vikings. This week at OpinionJournal Bernard Lewis and James Woolsey advise the allies to use the 1925 Iraqi constitution as a transition device to modern Iraqi self-rule. Also, they reject the fetish of some to yearn for U.N. submission in this process:

Some contend that a process that gave the U.N. a central role would somehow confer legitimacy. We are at a loss to understand this argument. Nearly 40% of the U.N. members' governments do not practice succession by election. In the Middle East only Israel and Turkey do so. Why waste time with U.N. member governments, many of them nondemocratic, working out their differences--and some indeed fundamentally oppose democracy in Iraq--when the key parties who need to do that are the Iraqis? Besides, real legitimacy ultimately will come about when Iraq has a government that "deriv[es] its just power from the consent of the governed." During a transition in which Iraq is moving toward democracy, a government that is operating under its existing constitution, with a monarch as called for in that document, is at least as legitimate as the governments of U.N. members that are not democracies at all.

Lewis and Woolsey are being too kind to U.N.-ites. Those in favor of greater U.N. involvement in Iraq do so because it isn't a U.S. led institution. American opponents like France don't give a damn about Iraqis or a transition to self-rule. Their goal is to lessen American "hyperpower."

"King and Country"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)

Local Hero Killed

Christopher Mueller, southeast Wisconsin native, was killed this week chasing terrorists in Afghanistan. The former Navy Seal was working for the CIA.

"Tracking Terrorists, Waukesha Native Gave his Life"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 06:34 PM | Comments (1)

DIY Economist

Gene Sperling has an outstanding article on some economic indicators anyone can look. Even better, he has links to the indicators so you don't have to spent a lot of time at Google.

"The Insider's Guide to Economic Forecasting" [via Tom Ehrenfeld]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

RU-486 Claims Another Victim

RU-486 is suppose to make abortion as simple as popping a few pills. That didn't happen to Holly Patterson who died of septic shock due to the drug. Here's some irony. I'm sure thousands of women have already taken RU-486 to kill their babies with nothing but news silence, but when the mother dies it's a story. Another thing to think about: it's legal for a woman to consume a substance that kills here child inside her womb, but it would be illegal to poison the baby just after birth.

"Coroner: Drug-Induced Abortion Led to Teen's Death" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 02:38 AM | Comments (0)

Meg On Friendster Funding

Meg Hourihan on Friendster's valuation by VCs:

Hello? Did we totally forget what happened just two or three years ago?! Sure, Friendster is cool, but eyeballs and traffic do not a (huge) business model make. Remember? We already learned this! Obviously this is another deal with a valuation based on potential and not actual revenue (or did Friendster's revenue increase from ~$4 million to ~$17 million in the past two months?), and sure, there is potential there. But I hardly think there's $53 million worth. Earth to VCs: cut it out, before you force another crop of companies to grow too big, too fast, all to recoup an investment you shouldn't have done in the first place.

Ultimate blame for any Friendster flame-out has to go to company founders who accepted the VC money. They too saw what happened to most of those dot coms, yet they gladly took the money. There's no manipulation here. Like any transaction, both sides think they will gain, or they wouldn't have agreed to the deal.

"How Soon We Forget"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)

Lt. Col. Allen West

Boycott Hollywood is nowt Right Voices. Chris has posted on the Lt. Col. Allen B. West story. He's the soldier in Iraq who got some information out of a prisoner by shooting his pistol in the air. The prisoner wasn't harmed (except for some soiled pants) and he foudn out about a future sniper attack. Lt. Col. West is now facing charges for his interrogation method.

"Tying The Hands Of Our Troops"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:28 AM | Comments (8)

November 01, 2003

Stick to Our Text

When the Supreme Court starts consistently going to the text of the constitution for its rulings, then they should be allowed to scan through international law. Remember, Justice O'Connor and friends are on the United States Supreme Court, not the United Nations Court, the European Union Court, or the World Court.

"Sandy Baby, The Supreme Court Isn't A Part Of The State Department"


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

Wild VC Spending

Near the end of the NY Times story on Microsoft possibly buying Google, there's this:

Partly in response, Google continues to explore new businesses to extend its reach into new markets and to find new sources of revenue. One such effort included approaching Friendster, a Silicon Valley social networking company that has recently grown rapidly, according to an executive briefed on the talks. Friendster has instead received a $13 million investment from a group of venture capitalists led by Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark Capital, an action that was first disclosed in The Wall Street Journal.

$13 million for Friendster? Another bubble may be starting when a profit-less business gets a ton of money to do nothing more than visually demonstrate six degress of separation.

"Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals?" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)