[star]The American Mind[star]

December 31, 2003

2003 TAM Weblog Awards

This is a brand new award. My criteria are simple: the weblogs have to be on my blogroll and I have to consider them insightful, entertaining, or have some good quality to keep me coming back.

  1. Outside the Beltway James Joyner pounced on this weblogging with in 2003 with plenty of political insight. He goes beyond merely restating the obvious in political and foreign affairs stories to offer unique perspectives.

  2. Matthew Stinson
    One plus is he's a night owl like me so I have something new to read in the wee hours. More importantly he brings a young scholar's approach to current issues. He does it while not being boring or too academic.

  3. Milt's File
    Milt Rosenberg is really new to this weblogging thing, but the host of WGN's Extension 720 takes his great intellect and transfers it brilliantly to the blogosphere. And he does all that in just a sentence or two.

  4. Betsy's Page
    Betsy is the type of weblogger who doesn't need to say much. A link and a quick sentence is all she needs to make her point. Plus she has great links.

  5. ScrappleFace
    This is The Onion of the blogosphere. His "Axis of Weasels" became a Rush Limbaugh staple. But Scott Ott is consistently funny day in and day out.

Congratulations to the winners.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:52 PM | Comments (3)

2003 TAM Book Awards

And now, the TAM Book Awards:

  1. Moneyball by Michael Lewis Lewis asks a simple question: How can the Oakland A's win so many games with such a small payroll? He answers by giving us a portrait of A's general manager Billy Beane and his technique for picking cheap players other teams don't want. This is a book that transcends its subject. Moneyball is more than about baseball. It's about personality. It's about business. It's about how to find a niche. In all this, Lewis tells one hell of a story.

  2. Gulag by Anne Applebaum
    There have been so many books written about the Nazi death camps, but Applebaum's is the first on the Soviet Union's string of forced-labor camps. This history is gut-wrenching. Honest and detailed to a gruesome fault, but it's what all freedom-loving people need to know. If we lose the permanent fight for freedom we'll end up with a Gulag of our own.

  3. Of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan
    This slim book examines the political differences between the U.S. and "Old" Europe. Enlightening and crucial for understanding their opposition to America's foreign policy direction.

  4. The Company by Adrian Wooldridge and John Micklethwait
    This short history covers this important economic instiution. How we can produce so much with so few resources is a direct result of the joint-stock company's structural make-up. As Wooldridge and Micklethwait point out, "We are richer as a result."

  5. The Right Man by David Frum
    This memoir gives us an inside view of President Bush's White House during dramatic times. It's only one man's point of view so don't consider this a definitive history of the time. However, it's filled with respect and admiration for our current President.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:36 PM | Comments (2)

2003 TAM Music Awards

I know you've been waiting for this all year. The TAM Music Awards are here.

  1. Unclassified Robert Randolph and the Family Band Guitar fans, we have found ourselves a new god. While sitting behind his pedal steel guitar sounds remanisent of Hendrix, Allman, and Satriani spill out on his listeners. But while you can here the past in his "sacred steel" the sounds are distinctively all Robert Randolph. Notes bounce, cry, and sing on songs like "Going in the Right Direction, "Good Times," "Run for Your Life," and the wonderful "I Need More Love." The Family Band's rhythm section of Danyel Morgan on bass and Marcus Randolph on drums are tight and bring bring a solid dose of funk to the music. The only drawback to Unclassified are the sugar-sweet, forgettable ballads "Soul Refreshing" and "Smile." But that's the price you pay for guitar work touched by a higher power.

  2. Day I Forgot Pete Yorn
    The sophomore slump was the big question with Yorn's second album. Since it made this list, I don't think it was a letdown. What Yorn did on Day was turn up the pop factor with some great hooks on songs like "Crystal Village," "Long Way Down," and "Come Back Home." Some may compare Yorn to Bruce Springsteen. I think he sounds more like the Eagles. Both comparisons put too much on the guy. Here's hoping he continues to make good, honest, pop rock.

  3. New York City The Peter Malick Group Featuring Norah Jones
    This EP probably wouldn't have been release if not for Jones' huge, award-winning debut, Come with Me. The story behind this recording is guitarist Peter Malick heard Jones singing in a New York club in 2000. He asked her to record some songs and perform with his band. The result is proof that Norah can go beyond pop standards and jazz. On "Deceptively Yours" and "All Your Love" Jones pulls out a sexy, smokey blues. On "Strange Transmissions" and "Things You Don't Have to Do" she rocks. When you give a great singer great songs with a great band you end up with a great recording. That's just what New York City is.

  4. De-Loused in the Comatorium The Mars Volta
    Progressive rock never died, it just faded away only to be taken up by former members of the cult-fave At the Drive-In. A way to describe De-Loused is a hybrid of Rush with Husker-Du. It has hardcore crunch and energy with epic musical composition. De-Loused is a concept album, but I'd be damned to know what the story is. Normally that would turn me off, but the music is so mesmerising. Guitars and drums are going as 100-miles an hour. The vocals remind me so much of Geddy Lee's helium voice. The album echoes Rush, but this is nothing like what the Canadian power trio would put out. It's punk, hardcore, and thrash metal touched with oodles of cerebral maddness.

  5. Martin Scorses Presents the Blues
    Without the blues our pop music would be so much different. There wouldn't have been Motown. No Led Zeppelin. No Jimi Hendrix. No Rolling Stones. No Beatles. It seems a little unfair to have a huge collection of timeless songs compete with new stuff that came out this past year. Too bad. The box set along with the oodles of individual CDs make for a great understanding and appreciation for a great American artform.

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

Letter to Dean, M.D.

dean-gb-hat.jpg

Dear Dr. Duck,

Please refrain from wearing a Green Bay Packers hat on the campaign trail. They're my favorite sports team and I don't appreciate you jumping on their playoff bandwagon just so you can pad your lead in Wisconsin. Also, they have a winning tradition which you won't know much about after you're defeated next November.

Please ignore Jonah Goldberg's ignorant comment implying the Packers are some kind of quasi-socialist organization. While they are own by shareholders, they are still a private entity. They are a great example of a community-supported enterprise that seldom needed government help. Currently, the team does receive tax-payer support for the remodeling of Lambeau Field so they wouldn't make too many libertarians happy. Let it be noted that the Packers aren't a good example of the socialistic tendencies inherent in your campaign platform.

If by some gift from God (he does work in mysterious ways) you become the next President of the United States and the Packers win a Super Bowl during your term, feel free to wear a hat with a big "G" on it. For now, stick with one of these or, more fitting, one of these.

Sincerely,

Sean Hackbarth

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:24 AM | Comments (9)

Sore Winner

It's not enough for Duck, M.D. to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. He also demands to be treated with kid gloves. If not then he threatens to keep his supporters away from the polls if he doesn't get to face President Bush next year.

Then there's also the hypocrisy where it's ok for Duck, M.D. to bash "conventional Washington politicians," but they can't try to clip his wings.

"Dean: Dems Doomed if He Loses Nomination" [via Hoystory]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

Warm Up with Something Bad

The latest Bonfire of the Vanities is up. Fortunately for me, Kevin didn't add the post I submitted.

No, I won't tell you what it was.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003

TAM Labels Dean "Twit"

Keeping quacking Dr. Duck. He has to be speaking only to his Net heads because calling the Bush White House "the most dangerous administration in my lifetime" will do nothing to win over conservative and swing voters.

"Dean Labels Bush 'Reckless'" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:18 PM | Comments (3)

Overkill

Milwaukee's own Mark Belling, filling in for Rush Limbaugh talked about a story of a California high shcool being harassed for expressing conservative opinions. Glenn Reynolds wants the Justice Department to get involved. Isn't that overkill? And how does that tie into his idea of federalism? Or is Reynolds' federalism a "soft" federalism?

"A Dissenting Student Hounded for his Views"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:57 PM | Comments (3)

Michele the Greek

I hope Michele pulls out some of her voodoo to make sure her Super Bowl prediction comes true.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:43 PM | Comments (4)

I'll Stop the World and Melt for You

Sen. Joe Lieberman said Howard the Duck would "melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him." Was he trying to make a funny? Remember some of the best ice cream is made in Duck, M.D.'s Vermont. (My tastebuds transcend ideology.)

"Lieberman: Dean Will 'Melt' Under GOP Attacks" [via Drudge]

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I know nothing about the book, but just by its title alone I'm declaring Enslaved by Ducks the official book for Deaniacs.



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And then there's this great Cox and Forkum cartoon. [via Steve Verdon]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 04:03 AM

Pluck Duck

I've got two posts that again demonstrate that Howard the Duck is the perfect name for Gov. Dean, M.D. First, Jim writes about Duck, M.D.'s hypocracy for criticizing Vice President Cheney's secret talks with energy executives while doing the same thing when he was running Vermont's government.

Second, at Jonathan Chait's Diary of a Dean-o-phobe he thinks Dr. Duck's newfound religous talk comes "across as forced and awkward, like Michael Dukakis in a tank." Chalk one up for Chait for making the first specific Dean-Dukakis link in this election.

In both cases, he's all wet.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:34 AM | Comments (0)

Comment Contest

I'm a few dozen comments away from hitting 1000. Back in September, Jim at Unix, Music, and Politics left the 500th comment and got a CD off his Amazon wish list. That's what will happen to the lucky 1000th commenter so comment away.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:25 AM | Comments (2)

December 29, 2003

Those Darn Almanacs

People posessing almanacs should send up a red flag to police. At least that's what a FBI memo is saying. Will I and other booksellers be drafted into the Department of Homeland Security to monitor almanac sales? Which book is more dangerous to national security: The World Almanac or The Farmers' Almanac? This warning is on par with looking at people with binoculars with suspicion. Be wary of those bird watchers.

"FBI Urges Police to Watch for People Carrying Almanacs" [via Drudge]


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:10 PM | Comments (3)

Duck's to Lose

James Joyner links to some polls and other than New Hampshire, Arizona, and Wisconsin, Howard the Duck has no big lead anywhere. What he is doing is holding his own in Iowa (with Gephardt), crushing John Kerry in New Hampshire, and "dominating the money primary." I'd say my prediction of Duck, M.D. getting the nomination is threatened, but the ABD (Anybody But Dean) voters are all spread out among the other candidates and none of them appear willing to drop out until its too late.

Then go read Stephen Green's thoughts on the primary season.

"The Horse Race"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

Person of the Year

Enter Stage Right seeks nominations for its Person of the Year. If you can think of someone better than President Bush (none of those plural persons Time does although this year's pick was good) go here, then leave a comment to this post letting us know who you chose and why.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:23 PM

Less Debt for Iraq

Japan has agreed to reduce a portion of its outstanding Iraqi debt. James Baker is turning out to be an economic saint for the Middle East debtor. Chalk this up as another foreign policy achievement by President Bush. This time no stick was needed.

"Japan Ready to Write Off Majority of Iraq Debt"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:50 AM | Comments (2)

Carnival of the Capitalists

This is the last Carnival of the Capitalists for 2003. What a toppsy-turvy year in the economics/business world it was. President Bush got more tax cuts passed and continued to allow the Congress to spend, spend, spend. Also, through much of the year, the economy looked to be a heavy weight on Bush's re-election chances. But in the second half of the year, things perked up. The economy grew at a rate not seen in 20 years. The stock market has rebounded, while everyone waits for jobs to be created. What will happen in 2004? Here's wishing all of you untold riches (both material and non-material) in the new year. I apologize in advance for any and all errors or misconceptions of posts. Next week's CotC will be hosted by Misty at A Special Kind of Stupid.

Let's get this party started.

Josh Cohen has given up on NASA and sees it as a waste of tax dollars.

Da Goddess has found the real reason behind an Australian kangaroo culling.

Dean Esmay found a union he wouldn't mind joining.

J. P. Carter gets the "Most Clever Post Title Award" for his "Collecting Dead Presidents from Dead Peasants." It looks at a practice where an employer gets life insurance benefits from dead employees.

Todd at A Penny For... can help you find some good business books to help pass the time during the post-holiday doldrums.

Karun Philip is about to start his Knowledge Capital Project. This innovative, grass roots idea has real promise.

Robert Prather points out something good in the recently passed Medicare bill: Health Saving Accounts "get the same tax treatment as a regular insurance policy -- meaning a company can expense it and the employee doesn't have to pay taxes on it."

For you students of technical economics, Steve Verdon got a new book for Christmas. Firms aren't the "profit maximizers" you thought they were. This is due to the incentives of employees.

Joe Kristan offers some end-of-the-year tax ideas. (As with all things legal and tax-related, check with you accountant or financial adviser.)

Professor Bainbridge looks at food regulation in light of the Mad Cow situation.

Barry Ritholtz sees 2004 as a test for supply-side economic theory.

Aunty Goob rips apart a news story on pollutants found in people.

Rob of BusinessPundit sees the business benefits of running.

Micha Ghertner at Catallarchy.net points out that capitalism's critics have to do more than use platitudes.

Mike Pechar, the Interested-Participant, posts on the rise of the gift card and its effect on after-Christmas sales.

Tony Gill writes about Canada's new Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and how it incorporates health emergencies (unlike the U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

Lesjones applies the Law of Demand to prescription drugs.

And last, but not least, Kevin points out that Howard Dean, M.D. is already calling for a federal bailout of the cattle industry in light of the Mad Cow situation.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

December 28, 2003

Still Waiting for CotC?

I'm home, but due to the Packers sneaking into the playoffs (thank you, Arizona) I'm on the phone and Net trying to get tickets for next Sunday's game. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: My patience paid off. After a little over 1 1/2 hours of constant redialing, I got through and got my tickets. What a way for a big Green Bay Packers fan like me to start the new year. The CotC is on its way.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 08:42 PM | Comments (5)

Another CotC Reminder

You still have plenty of time today to get in your entry to this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. I'll be at a family Christmas gathering today so the CotC won't be up until late this evening. So far the entries are of high quality. Now, I also want a high number. Any recent economic or business related posts are fair game. Just send the URL to capitalists -at- elhide.com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2003

Bad Customer

This is from an e-mail posted on The Corner:

Wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and to let you know my wife gave me a copy of Rich Lowry's book for Christmas...she says she saw me rearranging the book display at our local Waldenbooks - replacing all of the Franken tomes with Legacy. She then thought, correctly, that I should have one in my collection.

I don't care if this person was a conservative who thinks Al Franken is full of it. He's still obnoxious and rude. If I saw this guy doing his own version of "Hey, I work in a bookstore too" I would have asked him if he needed any help while thinking, "It's people like you that give conservatives a bad name."

This is even worse than a female customer who was upset a stack of Bill O'Reilly books were right next to Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? Some people, whatever their ideology, get so upset and threatened at the mere existence of an opposing opinion. Why they even bother to turn on a tv or radio, open a newspaper, read a website, or even step out their front door is beyond me.


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

Best of the Worst

If I pointed out all the "Best of" lists on others' weblogs I'd have no time to enjoy this Christmas weekend. There is one list I will point out for you. Right Voices AKA Boycott Hollywood had a wild year. By pointed out the stupidity of certain Hollywood celebrities the William Morris Agency tried to shut them down. Lisa S and her crew are still at it so the attempt failed. For your pleasure and for WMA's displeasure here is Right Voices' worst quotes for 2003.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

Hate Stops Help

Help and aid from all over the world is headed to Iran. Unlike the 1990 earthquake that killed 36,000, the Islamic nation isn't shunning the assistance as long as none of it is Jewish.

Officials have said this time help would be welcome from everywhere except Israel.

The mullahs should be toppled now for putting their religious bigotry above the needs of victims. This is a matter of life and death. You'd think driving the Jews into the sea could take a back seat. Heck, the U.S. has put their problems with the Iranian government aside for a little while in order to help.

My prayers are with the survivors, victims' families, and those helping.

"Stench of Death in Iran Quake City, U.S. Sends Aid"

UPDATE: Some Jews are transcending the mullahs' hate by collecting donations for the earthquake victims.

"US Jewish Group Raising Funds for Iran Victims" [via ATS]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

Bush: Lord of Plagues

Some Deaniacs think President Bush is behind Mad Cow Disease arriving in the U.S. As one person wrote on Duck, M.D.'s "Forum For America,

The questionable beef comes from the Pacific Northwest, typically a Democratic stronghold. Who would most benefit from the Pac NW losing so much agricultural business? How about the Midwest and Southest, i.e. Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska - hated RED states!!

Could Bush's plan be to implement a plan that would screw over the Pac NW in an effort to further strengthen his power base?


The supposed Dunce-in-Chief is also a diabolical political mastermind. Amazing!

It's too easy to call these extreme members of Dean's raft crazy. I just think it's amazing that Duck, M.D. and his politicos give them such an open forum to embarass themselves and the campaign. All candidates have their wacked-out supporters. If you head over to Free Republic, I'm sure you'll find some "interesting" Bush-backers. But unlike Duck, M.D., President Bush doesn't give his kooks a soapbox. Sure, it's not as open, but the goal of a campaign is to win the election, not to give every tin foil-wearer a voice--especially when anyone can easily start a weblog and mumble to himself.

[via Jessica's Well]

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TAM has made the Google top 20 for the term "Howard the Duck." If you want to do something to counter the "miserable failure" Googlebomb copy this link: Howard the Duck. It's lame and juvenille, but when has that ever stopped anyone on the Net?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 03:15 PM | Comments (2)

Belated Weblog Anniversary

The wild and wooly Christmas shopping season is my excuse for missing TAM's 4-year anniversary. On 12.11.99, your humble weblogger uploaded his first post onto a bit of free space on Angelfire. I won't reminisce too much because it is only TAM's fourth birthday, and who gets all worked up about four years of anything (marriage excluded)? Oh, but those were the days. Weblogging by hardcoding HTML with plain old Notepad. Today, I have a fancy, schmancy CSS-based template (thanks Joni) and some spiffy software to make publishing so much easier (thanks MT guys). TAM's purpose was to force me to get in the daily writing habit. Ideally, it would lead to a paid writing gig or book project. That hasn't happened yet due to me having a poor ability to self-promote. A lesson I've learned from over four years of weblogging is just putting content on the Net isn't enough. There's too much other stuff out there competing for people's scarce attention. What I haven't learned is how to self-promote without looking (or feeling) like a linkwhore. Maybe I'll find my answer in 2004. I'll be sure to let all of you know.

I do want to thank all those who have linked to TAM over the years. More importantly, I want to thank all of you who read my screeds. Your traffic and feedback means that I'm writing more than the merely non-trivial. Thank you.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:14 AM | Comments (4)

December 26, 2003

An RFID With Cheese

Forrester Research advises the use of RFID tags in the food supply chain in recall cases (like Mad Cow disease).

"New Regulations Open The Way For RFID Tags For Tracing Food" [via Smart Mobs]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

Graham Goes No. 2

With all Sen. Bob Graham's problems with numbers this year [here and here], there's one number he understands and wants: #2 on the Democratic ticket.

"Graham May Be Angling for No. 2 Spot" [via PoliBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

Two Reminders

Keep the Carnival of the Capitalists entries coming. Only a few of them are "Year in Review," "Year-End Wrap-up," or "2004 Prediction" posts. That's ok, but this week would be the most timely for them. Keep 'em coming. Since the Packers are playing a late game, you have most of Sunday afternoon to get your entries in.

I haven't asked you to help build my Kings of Chaos army in quite a while, but in the past few days an opponent has had my number and sabotaged most of my offensive and defensive weapons. So click early and often to help me rebuild and exact revenge. Then click on these fellow KoC players: Laurence, GoaticusMaximus, and Dr. Schloktopus.

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

What's Missing?

Here's Howard the Duck's Christmas message:

Today, for just a single day out of the year, much of the world recognizes a day of peace. It is a day when we set aside our differences and come together to celebrate an ideal of a world free from hate, free from want and free from war.

"Over the 3,500 years of recorded human history, we have seen thirteen years of war for every year of peace. Today, as we gather with families and friends, we must remember the hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers separated from their families, serving overseas. We must remember the people of Africa who have seen too much war, destruction and want this year, and we must remember all of the other humanitarian crises that escape our notice on other days of the year.

"On this day more than most, we must resolve to continue our work and to redouble our efforts to ensure that someday soon world peace can be something we celebrate more than just once a year.

"The United States was founded on an ideal that we would serve as a peaceful and moral beacon for the rest of the world. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, 'Peace with all nations, and the right which that gives us with respect to all nations, are our object.' The biggest roadblock to achieving that is our own doubt that it can be accomplished. Franklin D. Roosevelt told us that 'The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.' May today bring peace on Earth and goodwill toward everyone.


To find out what's missing, read Matt's post at Hoystory where I found this bit of Duck, M.D. quacking.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2003

Not Over Yet

Just because Christmas is over, don't think that me and other retail workers will be taking it easy. Schools are out until after New Year's Day and many workers take their last few days of vacation for the year. Add that to the large numbers of gift cards given this Christmas and the inevitable gift returns, and retailers will be quite busy for a while. I won't be taking a breather until the middle of January when the post-holiday doldrums set in. It won't come too soon.

"Results Mixed, Stores Await a Final Burst of Shopping" [via Drudge]

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

Merry Christmas

nativity.jpg

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room,
And heav'n and nature sing ( And heav'n and nature sing! )
And heav'n and nature sing ( And heav'n and nature sing! )
And heav'n and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy ( Repeat the sounding joy! )
Repeat the sounding joy ( Repeat the sounding joy! )
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love ( And wonders of His love! )
And wonders of His love ( And wonders of His love! )
And wonders, and wonders of His love.

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

December 24, 2003

Mad Cow Effects

It may be a short trading day on Wall Street, but resturant stocks are getting hit because of the Mad Cow scare. But there's a possible bright side:

But some analysts said there could be a long-term benefit for restaurants as beef prices slide from recent highs.

Japan and South Korea, the top two buyers of U.S. beef, along with several other countries, have already halted imports.

"That will increase domestic supply, which is good for pricing," said Matthew DiFrisco, analyst with Harris Nesbitt Gerard.


Of course, that requires people to not be scared to eat beef.

On the futures market cattle futures are down sharply. No surprise there.

"Restaurant Stocks Drop on Mad Cow Scare"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

CotC Reminder

This is a reminder that I'm hosting the last Carnival of the Capitalists for 2003. Fitting posts would include "year in review" or "look ahead" posts. Do you have an analysis of the ups and downs of the stock market? Send them my way? Do you know what a major marketing trend was this year? Let me have it. Do you know of a hot company or sector we should all be watching in 2004? Send me that too. Do you know who'll win the Nobel Prize in economics next year? Gimme, gimme, gimme. Of course, I'll accept any and all economics and business-related posts. Send all entries to capitalists -at- elhide.com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:28 AM | Comments (0)

Black Christmas for Beef Producers

The first U.S. case of Mad Cow disease has been found in Washington state. Japan, Singapore, and South Korea immediately banned U.S. beef imports. It was only a matter of time before the disease reached the U.S. Let's hope the beef industry prepared for this potentially devastating blow.

Mad Cow is related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease [also here], a devestating neurological disease where 90% of its victims die within one year. Scientists believe both diseases are caused by prions, proteins folded in such a way as to disrupt the brain. There is no known treatment.

As for me, I'll be enjoying some nice beef roast at my family's Christmas dinner.

"First U.S. Mad Cow Case, Buyers Ban Beef Imports"

"USDA Refused to Release Mad Cow Records"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2003

Really Freaking Out

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

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

Joyner on the Book Biz

With this being the final few days until Christmas, work has driven me away from posting. After running around tolerating people who don't understand the idea of planning ahead I come home exhausted. Sleep and a little reading is preferrable at this time.

But I can still get myself to link to James Joyner's post on the book biz. He gives us his perspective as "an acquisitions editor with a publishing house at the mercy of the B&N's of the world."

"Book Prices"

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

December 22, 2003

Color Scheme

James Joyner has an insightful post on the homeland security color threat scheme and government bureaucracy:

Since the inception of the system, we have always been in either Elevated or High status. Because the level is set by a bureacracy, it will likely always be either Elevated or High. No bureaucrat is going to be willing to take the risk of lowering the level to merely Guarded or--Heaven forfend--Low because, if they do, and an attack happens, heads would roll. Likewise, we're unlikely to see the level raised to Severe unless we're literally in the midst of an attack and already know it. No one is going to be willing to call Red Alert and then not have an attack happen.

The end result is a constant state of alert that becomes "background noise" to the public. Using public choice economics would offer a more complete analysis, but all we really have to know is that much of this is simple CYT (Cover Your Tush). Bureaucracies want to continue to exist. Setting the level too high for an attack that doesn't come is less damaging than setting the level too low and giving the public a false sense of security. However, setting the level too high puts financial stress on state and local governments. These bureaucracies pressure Congressmen who pressure the Department of Homeland Security. The equilibrium color is yellow, the color the scheme started with.

"Level Orange"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

Barbie Lobster

Don't tell PETA.

"Fishermen Dress Lobster As Barbie" [via ATS]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

CotC Now Available

The Bejus Pundit hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. Yours truly will be hosting next week. Get those economic and business posts in. I'm really interested in takes on the Christmas shopping season. Was it good in your neck of the woods or lackluster? Notice any trends? Another good topic is last-minute tax advice or important changes for 2004. Of course any subject-related posts are welcome. Tell your friends, family, and friends' family about the CotC. I want to be really busy on Sunday collecting all the entries. Send all entries to capitalists -at- elhide.com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

Why is This News?

Even the NY Times reporter admits President Bush's parties are "standard seasonal events, with many of the same guests and much the same menu year after year, no matter the president." Is this just to make Bush appear to be a man out of touch with most Americans while living it up with people who have special access to him? Will Howard the Duck be using elements of this story in his irritatingly populist rhetoric?

"A White House Christmas: Crab Cakes, Handshakes" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

WI Reporter Weblogging in Iraq

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Jones is writing a weblog reporting on her trip to Baghdad to see how the Wisconsin-based 32nd Military Police Company is faring.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

Favre's Dad Dies

Brett Favre's father passed away last night. He was only 58.

Will Favre play in tonight's game? Will this tragedy end Brett's 204 game streak of starting as Green Bay's quarterback? Will his father's death do what drug addiction and injuries couldn't do: stop him from playing?

As someone who's dealt with death in the past few months, Brett's comfort zone has been totally disturbed. For him, his father was his football coach and his biggest fan. Knowing Irv won't be watching him play could be a tremendous distraction. Or it could give Brett the amazing focus needed to pull off a performance for the ages as a testimony to his father.

I don't care if Brett plays or not. That's not the important thing right now. Coping with one's own loss and comforting others is what's most important. Brett's family wants him to play. Football is in their blood, and that may help all of them. Whatever he chooses to do, I support him (like that really matters). Playoffs come and go. In the end, it's just a game. It's just a way to escape from the real world for a few hours.

I offer Brett and his family my deepest sympathy. Godspeed, Irvin.

"Favre's Father Dies" [via SportsBlog]

"Favre's Father Dies Suddenly"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

Devoted Duck Watchers

Add the Question Dean Blog to the list of Duck, M.D. watchers. It's filled with plenty of satire as well as tough criticism.

For even more Duck hunting, Captain's Quarters has an entire category devoted to our favorite political waterfowl.

I will be making an announcement soon regarding TAM and Dr. Duck.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2003

Some Thoughts on the Book Biz

James Joyner, a man in the book business himself, commented on my post on Barnes & Noble desiring lower prices. He writes,

Interesting. As one on the other end of the book business--an acquisitions editor with a publishing house at the mercy of the B&N's of the world--I always just assumed that such efforts were a way for the book chains to keep more shelf space devoted to schlock books that are almost pure profit.

We're actually quite price sensitive and have tried to keep prices down well below that in the article. The problem is that the economy of the book business is just whack--discounts to wholesalers and mass chains in the 47-50% range, payments made on credit and usually well behind schedule, and a no-risk situation for the retailers, who can return books--often damaged--for a full refund if they don't sell.

I'm sure there are plenty of things B&N does that's not in the best interests of their customers or publishers (Some publishers won't sell through B&N). The company is no more virtuous than any other. To tell you the honest truth from the front lines of retail bookselling: we don't care who's books we sell. The goal of my superiors from the store level on up is to put the book the customer wants in their hand. If it's a B&N house title, fine; if it's someone else's, fine too. What B&N does by expanding its publishing business is inject some more competition in certain markets (classics, crafts, some cooking).

James' mention of returns is interesting. I've read comments (don't know of any links) from Len Riggio saying how much he hates returns. At a store-level it can be a waste of time. It does give store managers and company buyers the flexiblity to take a chance with a book, but that risk then is on the shoulders of the publishers.

Then there are the deep discounts. I'd like to say that if the base prices were lower to begin with then there would be no need for the discounts. However, that doesn't take into account the economics of physically making a book and the tough barganing of huge retailers like Target and Wal-Mart who get more favorable prices than B&N (but sacrifice that with a lack of selection).

I think more experimentation is needed. So far, e-books are a bust, but maybe print-on-demand technology will help alleviate the need to print lots of books that may be returned and allow non-blockbuster titles with little-known authors to make a profit.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 06:25 PM | Comments (4)

Barlow Joins Blogosphere

It feels like 1994 all over again. A tech company prepares for a big IPO and John Perry Barlow has a weblog. When will Wired paste "BLOG" all over one of its issues like they did with "push" technology?

Welcome, John. The more, the merrier.

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

Promoting Big Government

Another reason not to donate to my alma matter:

The University of Minnesota-Duluth is planning on offering a new weekend Masters Degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership. It’s a program designed for people who want to make the world a better place…through advocacy and political activity.

Why don't they just call it a "Masters Degree in Expanding Government." It's safe to assume the student body will be dominated by Lefties.

[via SCSUScholars]

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

Time Person of the Year

Good choice.

"Time Magazine Names U.S. Soldier 'Person of the Year'" [via Tim Blair]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

"Contradictions on Foreign Policy"

On Thursday, the Washington Post was pretty harsh on Howard the Duck. The editorial said,

The former Vermont governor has compiled a disturbing record of misstatements and contradictions on foreign policy; maybe he will shift yet again, this time toward more responsible positions.

It goes on to say,
His most serious departure from the Democratic mainstream is not his opposition to the war. It is his apparent readiness to shrink U.S. ambitions, in Iraq and elsewhere, at a time when the safety of Americans is very much at stake.

When Duck, M.D.does get the nomination will the Post bend over backwards to offer some kind of reason to endorse him over President Bush? If the paper ends up backing Bush then a Bush-Dean race could be the landslide many Democrats fear.

This does benefit Duck, M.D. in his claim that he's challenging the "Washington Democrats."

"Beyond the Mainstream" [via Fredrik Norman]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Benefits from Improving Economy

An AP poll finds public support increased for President Bush's handling of the economy. Right now, 55% approve and 43% disapprove. Last month, 46% approved, while 51% disapproved. The first thing to notice is how quickly public opinion moved. Second, other than dropping the steel tariffs, Bush hasn't done anything in the past month to deserve praise. In fact, the signing of the prescription drug expansion to Medicare will do long-term harm to the economy. What probably did more to boost people's spirits was the good economic news from the government and the rise in stock market indices [Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S&P 500] and a decrease in gasoline prices.

This is another reason to discount a poll from a rationally uninformed sample.

"AP Poll Finds Bush Getting Good Marks" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Bombs Over Brookings

I consider myself pretty well-versed in recent U.S. history. That's why I was shocked to hear that people in the Nixon White House considered bombing the Brookings Institution in order to steal damning documents in their possession. I don't know how in the last few days I stumbled upon this piece of information, but it's been floating around since at least 1982 where this Atlantic article very briefly mentions it. How did I miss this all these years?

"Nixon Aide Tells of Talk about Bombing Brookings Think Tank"

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

Duck's Mouth Hurts Him Again

Will Duck's, M.D. (is this the correct grammer?) raft realize their candidate and cult leader is a baffoon for shooting his mouth off. He could make a case (albeit, a weak one) that Saddam's capture doesn't make American safer, but he didn't stop there. Duck, M.D. went on to claim "We are no safer today than the day the planes struck the World Trade Center." Al Qaeda was blasted in Afghanistan, bin Laden is in hiding, Iraq's not funding terrorism, Libya has given up its WMD, and there has been no attacks on the U.S. mainland since Sep. 11. In what way are we less safe?

Howard Dean's strategy may be to demonstrate that he isn't the wacked-out Lefty the Right thinks he is; but his ridiculous statements make him appear to be an ignorant fool.

"Dean Stands by His 'We're No Safer' Bit" [via Matthew Stinson]

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

December 20, 2003

Nice Plug

Kevin Holtsberry is plugging my company's Collectors Library. Let me add that this is part of the company's efforts to make books more affordable.

"Barnes and Noble Collectors Library"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)

"Poor" Little Rich Girls

I gave up on The Simple Life after the second episode. Based on Tom Johnson's review of the most recent episode, I'm not missing much. The review re-confirms my belief that Paris and Nichole are the ones leading the "simple life" not the average Joes and Janes they're living and working with.

"The Simple Life Turns Sour"

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

December 19, 2003

Libya Abandons WMD

Libya's abandoning of WMD is one heck of a foreign policy victory for the President Bush. Without firing a shot, Gadhafi gave up. Bush bashers and members of Duck, M.D.'s raft may try to argue that diplomacy can be just as effective as war. And since war has all that destruction, they would argue diplomacy is the more moral option. Let's look at the timeline here. From the AP story:

In London, Blair said Libya had approached Britain and the United States in March, after successful negotiations on Lockerbie, to see if it could "resolve its weapons of mass destruction issues in a similar manner."

Gadhafi started talks at the time of the final military build-up and invasion. Would the dictator have even bothered if he didn't think the U.S. and U.K. were willing to go to war if necessary? I'm sure Gadhafi's reasons for abandoning WMD development are more complex than that. From my very casual following of Libyan news Gadhafi wants to bring Libya out of the international hinterlands. There may be domestic politics involved that would explain a part in his actions, but I'm very sure a possible military confrontation played a role.

Also note that Bush didn't publically threaten Libya. Diplomacy was used. Non-U.N., non-French diplomacy to be exact.

Combine this news with Iran agreeing to international nuclear inspectors, and one can make a pretty credible case that President Bush's muscular policy is having a positive effect.

Surfing the blogosphere, James Joyner asks, "Could it be that the 'you're either with us or you're against us' line is actually having positive results?" It's hard to say it isn't. The outlier is North Korea. Hindrocket at Power Line is happy writing, "if the administration's tough line can yield results like these, its wisdom should be beyond question." HipperCritical has a wide range of links on this story. To give you an idea how knee-jerk Bush bashers are taking this news, here's an Oliver Willis quote:

You mean we can stop WMDs without invading and occupying nations? Unpossible!

"Libya to Give Up Weapons Programs"

UPDATE: Oliver reminds me that he thinks Blair and Bush did a good job. So I'll take back calling him a "knee-jerk Bush basher" in this instance. Oliver caught me. Me bad, me sorry. I'll try not to be so knee-jerk myself.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:24 PM | Comments (6)

Clash of Cultures

Will John Rhys-Davies ever get a job in Hollywood again for saying stuff like this:

By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. You look and see what your founding fathers thought of the Dutch. They are constantly looking at the rise of democracy and Dutch values as being the very foundation of American Democracy. If by the mid-century the bulk of Holland is Muslim—and don’t forget, coupled with this there is this collapse of numbers ... Western Europeans are not having any babies. The population of Germany at the end of the century is going to be 56% of what it is now. The populations of France, 52% of what it is now. The population of Italy is going to be down 7 million people. There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western civilization in Europe that we should think about at least and argue about. If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn’t matter too much. But if it involves the replacement of Western civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss—because, g**dammit, I am for dead white male culture.

He even realizes that "what I’ve been saying [is like] blasphemy."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

Anti-Duck Weblog

How Jonathon Chiat got away with running an anti-Dean weblog for almost a week and I not knowing just goes to show you how mentally draining working in retail during Christmas is. Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe will be a fun daily read for all us anti-Duckers even if Chiat's dislike for the man has little rational basis (like his Bush hatred). Now, I just have to get Chiat to call him "Howard the Duck" just once (and/or get a link).

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

December 18, 2003

Another Something New I've Learned

Hopefully, this post won't need a correction.

Marquette University has an extensive J.R.R. Tolkien collection including the original manuscript of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Author Wayne Hammond said Marquette's collection is "one of the two most important in the world, together with that at the Bodleian Library in Oxford."

Wow.

"Marquette Expanding Tolkien Collection"



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

Really Freaking Out

It's late. Really late. Two days late. But Week 15's Freaks of the Week is posted at SportsBlog.org.

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

December 17, 2003

Learned Something New

Blaster's a pilot. I didn't know that.

UPDATE: Like the New York Times, I have to make a correction. Pittspilot is a co-weblogger at Blaster's Blog who is the pilot. I may have been wrong, but I've still learned something new.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:51 PM | Comments (1)

Tough Words

I quote Thomas Kean head of the Sep. 11 investigation:

There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed.

My first pick would be CIA chief George Tenet. Why he still has his job, I don't know.

"9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable" [via Drudge]

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

Still Wrong on Saddam

For Howard the Duck, capturing Saddam didn't make America safer, but Taegan Goddard found this quote from Duck, M.D. last year:

There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies.

I'll even offer the context of the quote (to satisfy Unfogged):

Not quite yet. There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies. The question is, is he an immediate threat? The president has not yet made the case for that.

I think it may very well be, particularly with the news that we've had over the weekend; that we are going to end up in Iraq. But I think it's got to be gone about in a very different way. It really is important to involve our allies, to bring other people into the coalition, to get a decent resolution out of the U.N. Security Council.

And if Saddam persists in thumbing his nose at the inspectors, we are clearly going to have to do something about it. But I'm not convinced yet and the president has not yet made the case, nor has he ever said, this is an immediate threat.

In fact, the only intelligence that has been put out there is the British intelligence report, which says he is a threat but not an immediate one.


Dean stuck with the idea that Saddam had to be an immediate threat to justify war. Let's go to President Bush's State of the Union speech. He shot down this argument that could make for a pretty good commerical contrasting Bush and Duck, M.D.:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

Removing and capturing Saddam eliminated a threat (even if not imminent or immediate). That, by definition, makes America safer.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

CAFTA

The Bush administration's great efforts to get free trade agreements makes it even more frustrating when they try to buy votes like they did with the steel tariffs.

"U.S. and 5 Nations Work on Free Trade Pact" [via PoliBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

Advantage: TAM

James Baker is doing amazing work on reducing Iraq's debt. In a little over two weeks, he's moved France and Germany from being totally recalcitrant to not requiring a new Iraqi government to be in place before debt is reduced. Russia will require its companies have access to rebuilding contracts. It's all a part of the Bush strategy I surmised last week.

I did enjoy John Cole's rip on Howard the Duck:

If only Howard Dean had taken the time to teach former Secretary Baker and President Bush about foreign affairs, instead of just teaching them about defense, perhaps that could have been negotiated today. Howie will soon save us all, I guess.

"Two Nations to Ease Iraq Debt" [via Matthew Stinson]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

Union Interference

Can anyone explain to me why the union opposes this particular restructuring of A-Rod's contract? What do they have to gain or protect?

"Union Rejects Changes to A-Rod's Contract"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Fox Goofed

Wisconsin Packers fans have an explanation why the first few minutes of the game against San Diego was missed:

Fox 11 did not broadcast the start of the Packers game at San Diego Sunday.

Not that it was the station’s fault. Zollar contacted Fox Sports in Los Angeles on Monday and was told problems in the network’s satellite switching center had affected not only Green Bay, but the entire state and other games as well, including Dallas and Washington.

Of course, it didn’t help that Fox 11 finally got the Packers feed just in time to see the team kick a point after the game’s first touchdown — which it had missed.


Not only was Ahman Green's touchdown run missed, but his team-record breaking run was too. He passed Jim Taylor for most yards rushing in a season for a Packer.

"WLUK GM: Fox Admits it Goofed"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:45 AM | Comments (1)

Card Pulls No Punches

This is amazing, hard-hitting stuff by Orson Scott Card. In essence, he calls Howard the Duck, and the anti-war Democrats "unpatriotic." He also bashes the media for their "yes-but" approach to coverage of the war and economy. Some of this criticism could also be applied to a few Left-wing weblogs.

"The Campaign of Hate and Fear" [via Daypop]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:42 AM | Comments (1)

Austrian Econ Apparel

vivamises.jpg
I want a t-shirt like this to match my Reagan one.

"What the World Needs Now"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:31 AM | Comments (0)

Anarchy Lew is Off His Rocker

PunchtheBag found a real doozy from my favorite anarchist, Lew Rockwell. It seems Saddam wasn't that bad since he ran a "non-Islamic regime, and protected the Christians." In Anarchy Lew's twisted morality human suffering by the state is not as bad as long as the Christians are protected. As long as Muslims are the subject of brutal oppression it's all right to turn a blind eye and deaf ear. Now, that's not to say oppression justifies a U.S. invasion. It doesn't. It isn't a necessary nor sufficient condition. What we have seen from Anarchy Lew a bit of ugly non-Christian bigotry along with some factual errors (see PunchtheBag's post). It's a remark like this that makes me glad his ilk doesn't join the mainstream Right in our common fight for liberty and smaller government. They can stay on the sidelines and away from us non-bigots.

At least fellow weblogger, Bill Barnwell was happy Saddam was captured.

"Worse than Nebuchadnezzar"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 02:20 AM | Comments (2)

"Morning-After" Pills Next to the Tylenol

Selling Plan B, a "morning-after" pill, over the counter might not be as bad as I first thought. The pill is a massive dose of hormones that can prevent fertilization (My views aren't as strict as those of the Catholic Church). But it can also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus. When that happens it's a chemical abortion, and that's my problem with it. If a pill could be made where only fertilization was prevented, my opposition would be cease. Regardless of my moral concerns, an FDA advisory panel recommended morning-after pill be sold as easily as asprin.

"Fed Panel Backs Easier Morning-After Pill" [via Cam Edwards]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)

Pass the Marshmellows

The latest Bonfire of the Vanities is up. Read 'em and weep. Really. They're that bad.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2003

Read It and Weep

Yesterday, Howard Dean, M.D. gave his foreign policy speech that was suppose to fill in the holes of his most glaring weakness. Oh, what a lurch to the center. actually had the gall to call the current administration "radical." Much of it sounds like it was taken from President Bush's speeches. However, Dean's speech contains a significant falsehood.

The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show that the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at unbelievable cost. An administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk.

Dean continues the canard that the U.S. went into the Iraq War alone. If that's the case, then what are those British, Polish, Italian, and Spanish soldiers doing hanging around Iraq? Did they come for a ring-side seat at a guerilla resistance movement? Later on Dean wacks the Bush administration for choosing "unilateral action as our weapon of first resort." If that's what happened then the U.S. would have toppled Saddam much sooner instead of taking time to bend over backwards to please the French.

Seriously, the blame for other nations not joining the "Coalition of the Willing" lie with France, Germany, Russia, and those that refused to join. Months and months of diplomacy both across the globe and at the U.N. were tried to convince unwilling countries that finally dealing seriously with Saddam was critical to the security of the free world. The "Coalition of the Unwilling" wasn't convinced. Some of the resistance was due to those countries not particularly liking President Bush. Much of the resistance was animosity toward the U.S. France and other coutries saw Iraq as an opportunity to knock the United States' global stature down a notch. They fear the continued American Century more than the Islamist threat.

As for less cost and risk, if the coalition were bigger, Dean has made a point, but only a slight one. A larger coalition would have spread out the cost of the war and rebuilding as well as risk to soldiers across more nations. So the U.S.'s relative costs and risks would have been less, but the total costs and risks would still be the same.

Dean's theme in this speech is that the U.S. shouldn't have gone into Iraq until it convinced more countries to help fight. But what about what actually happened? France, Germany, and Russia said, "No." They weren't going to help free Iraq. German President Gerhardt Schroeder used anti-American and anti-war fervor to win a narrow re-election while France claimed that oodles of U.N. resolutions should be ignored because it finally found a way to stymie American "hyperpower." In his speech, Dean said, "America should never be afraid to act alone when necessary." Fine words, but doesn't answer this question: If no other country was willing to invade Iraq, would you have sent in U.S. forces? A related question is this: How long would you have tried to build a larger coalition knowing that Saddam was in possession of WMD (at least that was the conventional wisdom that not even war opponents denied)?

But wait, there's more:

The Iraq war diverted critical intelligence and military resources, undermined diplomatic support for our fight against terror, and created a new rallying cry for terrorist recruits.

If it wasn't Iraq, something else would have been Islamist terrorist recruiters' ralling cry. If Osama bin Laden was under siege in Pakistan, Islamists would be encouraging people to march upon the location to aid with the monster's last stand as well as calling for attacks upon the U.S. to try and break the will of the American public. Dean is critical, but he really hasn't thought this through at all. Knee-jerk Bush bashing helps pump up his followers and gets them to "hit the bat"--his nickname for donating to the campaign.

Here's an example of sloppy thinking on Dean's part:

We have, rightly, paid much attention to finding and eliminating the worst people, but we need just as vigorous an effort to eliminate the worst weapons. Just as important as finding bin Laden is finding and eliminating sleeper cells of nuclear, chemical, and biological terror.

The problem with WMD isn't that they exist. It's that the wrong people have them or are trying to get them. Great Britain, France, and Russia all have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons yet the U.S. isn't planning on invading them to make sure they don't fall into terrorists' hands.

Let's finish this up with another example of Duck, M.D.'s loose lips. In the speech, he said, "[T]he capture of Saddam has not made America safer." An Iraq without Saddam was the whole key to the war. Saddam's Iraq in possession of WMD (at least in the past) threatened his neighbors and the U.S. Saddam' links to terrorism (housing Abu Nidal, funding Palestinian homicide bombers) only made him that more threatening. Now that he's been captured, it's assured he will never have the controls of a state to use for his evil intentions. That makes America safer. Dean can't see that and exemplifies Sen. Joe Lieberman's hard-hitting attack on him.

The speech was filled with lots of what was bad about President Bush's foreign policy and vague notions of what Howard Dean would do as President. What Duck, M.D. displayed was how unsophisticated his thinking is. The ideas sound like they came out of the mouth of a undergraduate foreign relations student. Yesterday, along with this important speech, Dean announced his foreign policy advisors. Many of them have extensive foreign policy experience. Unfortunately for Duck, M.D., none of them impressed any wisdom upon him.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Lieberman Plucks Duck

Sen. Joe Leiberman (D-CT) isn't letting up on Howard the Duck. Today, in New Hampshire, he said,

He seems to believe if you are just against everything, that's enough. Against removing Saddam Hussein, against middle-class tax cuts, against knocking down the walls of protection around the world so we can sell more products made in America. Dr. Dean has become Dr. No.

"Lieberman Sharpens Criticism of Howard Dean's Foreign Policy"

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

He Doesn't Like Duck

Alex Knapp has some good reasons not to vote for Howard the Duck:

After 9/11, he said that we needed to erode civil liberties to catch terrorists. Now he lambasts the PATRIOT Act.

In 1998, he was okay with unilateral action. Now opposition to the Iraq war is the center of his campaign.

Originally, he was going to keep with campaign finance restrictions to receive federal funding. Then he changed his mind.

These and more events like these, coupled with Howard Dean's record in Vermont, make me deeply suspicious of the type of President he would make.


In Alex's words, "I think that evidence is mounting that Howard Dean is, like most politicians, just a naked opportunist who sticks his finger in the wind to decide where he wants to go." It's too late for his followers to listen. They've already drank too much of his kool-aid and will stick with him until the bitter end.

"Howard Dean--Naked Opportunist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Baker Already Succeeding

It didn't take James Baker very long to find some success in reducing Iraq's debts. Also, the carrot-and-stick approach seems to be working. France is already willing to eliminate some of its debt in a deal put together next year. France wants to tie it to the establishment of a new Iraqi government. Since the plan is to shift sovereignty to them next summer, the U.S. and its diplomatic adversary are on the same page. On the rebuilding contracts front, the administration says its remains open to discussion.

"U.S., Germany, France Agree Iraq Needs Debt Relief"

"France Pledges to Help Reduce Iraq's Debt" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

Dean and Iraqi Classical Music

My response to Howard Dean's foreign policy speech will have to wait until daylight. I'm beat from dealing with too many Christmas shoppers. I'm at the point where I'd wish the Pope would declare that Christmas is canceled for this year due to too great an emphasis on buying stuff.

On a postive note, Eric Pfeiffer has a story on the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra's performance in Washington, D.C. Before the concert, Colin Powell (may God bless him) told the audience, "Witness the historic re-entry of Iraqi culture to the world stage. This wonderful orchestra is a symbol of normal life returning to Iraq." Here here!

Then ScrappleFace reports on Howard the Duck's other response to Saddam's capture.

"Dean Demands Saddam's Release, Recapture by U.N."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:32 AM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2003

Quacking About Foreign Policy

A response to Howard the Duck, M.D.'s foreign policy speech will have to wait until I'm done with work late tonight. My first impression is that Dean's attempt to move toward the center is filled with as much serious policy thinking as that of a college student studying foreign relations.

Until then, chew over this Washington Post story on Duck, M.D.'s move to the center on foreign policy. Here's an interesting quote I noticed on Instapundit:

Though Dean has repeatedly criticized Bush for failing to win international support for the Iraq war, for instance, in June 1998 he defended Clinton's bombing of Iraq by arguing on the Canadian program, "I don't think we could have built an international coalition to invade or have a substantial bombing of Saddam."

During another 1998 appearance on the show, "The Editors," Dean said it was not worth trying to woo French support on foreign policy initiatives. "The French will always do exactly the opposite on what the United States wants regardless of what happens, so we're never going to have a consistent policy," he said.

Asked about the comment, Dean said he now thinks that because the French "have seen how bad things can get with the United States, they might respond to a new president who's willing to offer them respect again."

"Dean Working to Be Seen as Foreign Policy Centrist"

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

Zombyboy Attacks Raft

Zombyboy goes off on Duck, M.D. commenters. If you didn't get enough of my selections, check his out.

"Disgusting" [via VodkaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:28 AM | Comments (0)

Target: Dean

Rosemary, "Good" Dean's wife, just had a field day with Howard the Duck's take on foreign policy and right-to-work laws. The more Duck, M.D. talks, the more polarizing he is. What this does is make his base (followers) just go crazy with passion. They eat this stuff up. At the same time, Bush backers get reved up too. Such excited political bases mean next year's election won't be a Goldwater or McGovern-like landslide. Bush will win, but that's as firm a prediction as I'm going to make.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 12:39 AM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2003

Econ Links. Yummy!

samaBlog hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Dial "M" for Moron

I never thought someone would be so obnoxious as to one-up Terrell Owens in the touchdown celebration department, but New Orleans' Joe Horn did that. After his second touchdown catch he made a call with a mobile phone that was hidden in the goal post padding.

"Cell Phone Was Stashed Behind Goal Post" [via SportsBlog.org]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:02 PM | Comments (1)

TAM Lost

Kevin is checking the vote totals for accuracy, but it's clear TAM didn't win the Large Mammals Category. It's not like I expected to since I was competing with the likes of Roger Simon and Professor Bainbridge. I'd like to say I was just glad to be nominated, but I nominated myself. Anyway, it was fun, and I found some interesting weblogs.

Kevin's exercise has convinced me to add a weblog category in this year's TAM Awards. I'll try to post the method of this maddness in a few days. If you think you have a weblog that you think deserves this award leave a comment or e-mail me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Raft's Reaction*

The reactions from Howard Dean's followers are wide-ranging. There are many who are proud of the efforts of our troops in capturing Saddam. Some don't want this victory politicized by anyone. There are some almost neo-isolationists like a commentor named "turn" who wrote,

HEY GUYS WAKE UP!!!
THERE IS NO SUCCESS EXISTS IN THE UNJUSTIFIED WAR WHOEVER WAS CAPTURED!!!
IT IS ONLY A DANGEROUS ILLUSION OF SUCCESS WHICH MAY LEAD ONLY TO THE NEXT WRONG JUGMENT AND NEXT WRONG DECISION SUCH AS A NEXT WAR!!!

Term “success” in this war should be applied only in the light of bringing international community IN and USA OUT.
If that capture will help with it, then it is a “success”, otherwise – not.


There's the conspiratorial such as one commentor quoting a comment from another post that reads, "It seems the capture of Saddam is some huge success--ignoring the real motivation for invading Iraq, which was not to protect us, but to protect Bush's financial interests, etc." "Pat_K" thinks Saddam's trial is already rigged:
Whether an Iraqi court or world court, given that no weapons of mass destruction have been found, won't the legitimacy of the U.S. "pre-emptive" invasion come into question as part of any war crimes trial of Saddam? Or is the notion that this question can be avoided by "keeping it local" (in the hands of the Iraqis...largely under the control of the U.S.).

"REAL DEM" thinks this:

Some have said that a live Saddam might be a problem for Bush because he'll tell the truth about Republican support of his regime in the 1980's when he's put on trial.

This may be true.

But this fails to take into account what I consider a far more likely possibility:

They tell Saddam: "You say you had Al Queda connections, that you were involved in 9/11, and that you were six months away from a nuclear weapon, and we won't slowly torture you to death before we kill you".

THAT seems like the most likely possibility to me. Bush and co. will NEVER relinquish power if they can find a way to hang on, and NOTHING is beneath them.

"Anamericanabroad" believes "In this administration there are no coincidences, this just shows how frightened the DNC/DLC and the GOP are of keeping their jobs."

There's the display of historical ignorance:

The capture of Sadam is a victorie for the Iraqi people and the coalition forces. On this occassion I would like to thank the American armed forces: good work.

For Dean, I hope he will give a good statement concerning Iraq and that the American people will not leave the people of iraq now that Sadam is gone.

Finish the job with Dean in the White House and democracy will rule on[ce] more in the Middle East.


Democracy has never been the norm in the Middle East. Turkey and Israel are the only free democracies in the region.

There's the eerily cultish comment:

Don't forget--Dean has us--and that's what will carry him through this media rapture with Hussein's capture.

Then there's the cynical, political analysis like this from "Carrie B":
I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election.

Here's one from "gg" (don't these people have real names?):
I am feeling pretty upset as well. I think our chances are dropping fast.

But mostly it's the feeling that they're still right in opposing the war. Here's Silhouette's (who actually has a weblog) comment:

It is a trimuph for human rights that Saddam Hussein was captured. We should thank the troops and the intelligence gathering that we have caught him.

But do not lose sight that this was a war that we did not need to fight, justified with reasons that were either uncertain or downright fraudulent, and goaded into a conflict by a man who wanted regional influence, control of natural resources, and revenge.

The fact that we did not need to do all this still weighs heavily on my mind.

[via a small victory]

*According to this bird web page a group of ducks is called a "raft." I've never heard the word used that way before.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 09:35 PM | Comments (2)

Doing My Best Cheney Impression

Fox News just reported an explosion in Baghdad. For up-to-the-second coverage go to The Command Post. TAM will be off to an undisclosed location to eat good food, drink good beer, and (hopefully) watch a Packers victory. I don't know if I will post until this evening.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:34 AM | Comments (6)

The Complicated World We Live In

Michael Van Winkle has a cogent post on Iraq rebuilding contracts. In his argument he sees this as a free-rider problem:

The whole world benefits from the coalition’s actions in Iraq. So if you’re a foreign country, there is not much incentive to join the coalition because you know they are going to overthrow Saddam with or without you. Your benefit is the same whether you pay or not. Leaving contract bidding unrestricted enhances this effect even more. This would be a disaster for future American campaigns. We would expect that fewer and fewer countries would participate unless they had an immanent security threat, even if the whole world agreed that the campaign would be beneficial.

So regardless of the problems with restricting bidding, there would be just as many problems with unrestricted bidding. As with many public policy decisions, it’s a lose/lose situation. When the left is bashing Bush for using contracts to reward friends and castigate his enemies, they cover over the economic issues underneath the surface. Complex political situations always give somebody reason to make noise and that’s all the Dems are doing on this one.

"Contract Complexities"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

President Addresses Nation

I just watched President Bush's brief statement. Here are some quotes:

"His capture was critical to the rise of a free Iraq."

To Iraqi people:
"You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again."

To American people:
"The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

"We Got Him"

saddamcaptured.jpg

Note in Saddam's capture that he was found in a spider hole on a farm. Over five months passed since President Bush declared major war operations over. It took that long to find one man. We shouldn't be surprised that WMD hasn't been found yet.

"Without Firing a Shot, U.S. Forces Detain Ex-Iraqi Leader"

UPDATE: Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL) predicted a few weeks ago that Saddam would be captured. ADVANTAGE: LaHood. [via MeFi]

To follow the news as its made periodically visit The Command Post.

"Roundup of Saddam Stories"

UPDATE II: Fox News is reporting a rumor that Saddam's location may have bee given away by a tipster. If so, that person may have earned the $25 million bounty on that thug's head. Note: this was only a brief mention, but I'll be keeping my ears peeled on this angle.

In the blogosphere, Jeff Jarvis has tons of coverage. So does Glenn Reynolds. Kevin Ayward posts this quote from Sen. Joe Lieberman:

Let's be real clear... If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would be in power, not in prison.

Now why couldn't Joe have said this stuff a few months ago? Is it because the Democratic base so full of anti-war/anti-Bush rage they wouldn't listen?

[via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 09:49 AM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2003

Someone Smack Sony on the Nose

Sony Music is not listening to the cries of their customers who want more music for less. While Universal Music Group has begun rolling out their CD price-reduction plan (not as broad as I hoped), Sony tries to double dip into Thorns fans' pockets by putting out a new version of their debut album with a bonus acoustic CD which came out just this past May. For those who haven't purchased the album, getting it now is a sweet deal. Two disks for under $14 dollars on Amazon. But for those of us who already are enjoying the lush harmonies we're peeved to have to buy the album again.

Shop at Amazon.com
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

Libertarian Fisking

Technically, I wouldn't consider Harry Browne a paleolibertarian. However, this violent fisking was inspired by a Steve of Norway post that linked to my post responding to the paleo ruckus earlier this week. It may be two parts removed, but it's close enough, and Browne's foreign policy makes Duck, M.D.'s seem imperialistic.

For what it's worth, like Steve, I'm also on the Loompanics mailing list. I also recently gave some money to Free-Market.net. Since they're owned by ISIL, they sent me a membership card, making me a "card-carrying libertarian." If they only knew I was a "warmonger" bent on American imperialism. Although I don't believe ISIL has an organizational position on the Iraq War.

"Why I Will Never Vote Libertarian Ever Again"

"Why I'm Not a Big L-ibertarian"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 11:21 PM | Comments (3)

To Democratic Supporters who Oppose Howard the Duck:

Please continue to make ads like this one. President Bush may be a campaign fundraising machine, but it's nice to see attacks on his soon-to-be opponent without having it cost him a dime.

Please make this Democratic race as ugly and bloody as possible. It will be great entertainment for us Right-wing political junkies, plus it will help the President get re-elected.

"When Democrats Attack Democrats" [via Oliver Willis]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Duck Starts Flying to the Center

Duck, M.D. actually has a foreign policy that goes beyond his typical opposition to the Iraq War. These interviews on foreign policy issues is a sure sign Dean even thinks the Democratic nomination is his to lose. Not a single primary or caucus has been held and he's already moving to the center. Here's an interesting quote from the Washington Post story:

Indeed, Dean suggested that on some issues, the difference between Bush and himself was more of tone and temperament.

Will this bother his anti-war, anti-Bush followers? We'll have to watch for any cries of "sellout" from Duck, M.D.'s flock.

"Dean Working to Be Seen as Foreign Policy Centrist" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2003

On Paleos

With all the traffic I got for my spot-on take on Rockwellians, I had to dig out the post where I tell the world why the word "Anarchy" always precedes Lew Rockwell's name on TAM. I've been critical of Anarchy Lew Rockwell's take on politics for years. Here's what I wrote back in 2000 (when I was in the weblogging Dark Ages hand coding posts to an Angelfire account):

I'm so tired of Lew Rockwell's rhetoric. He's a proud and able defender of the free market, but when it comes to talking politics, I'm sick of his bashing. He already wants to hate GW's administration before he even beats AlGore or implements one policy. He calls Dick Cheney a "mouthpiece for the military-industrial complex." I guess I'm a mouthpiece too because I support a strengthening of the U.S. military after the defunding and demoralization of eight years of Clinton/Gore. Rockwell then calls the Bush/Cheney ticket "an all-oil ticket, one with a history of war-making and war-profiteering." He also offers some silly conspiracy theory about the real reason for going to war against Iraq.

Bash, bash, bash, bash, bash is all Rockwell is able to do. He yaps about limited government, but never mentions what government should do. For Rockwell, it's either a perfect libertarian state (that the Founding Fathers may not have wanted) or Leviathan. While the U.S. is a Nanny State, we still enjoy one of the most free societies in human history. Rockwell only calls for the end of government functions and never offers any transitional stages to get to that final stage. What Rockwell is is an anarchist who can't seem to come out of the closet. Being an anarchist is fine. It's a wrong-headed, but valid political stance. I just wish he would be honest about his stance. Until Rockwell writes or says something to refute my premise, I will refer to him as "Anarchy Lew."

PunchtheBag skewered the Rockwellians and in return, Libertarian Jackass lived up to his name by linking to a hate-filled video for a song called "I Hate Republians."

Karen De Coster was observant enough to know that TAM is an original "Paleo-watcher," maybe the original. However, I do not hate Anarchy Lew Rockwell. In college in the mid-90s, I was graced with receiving copies of the Mises Institute's Free Market newsletter, and loved the stuff. I didn't agree with everything in it then or now, but it was refreshingly radical. My problem isn't with Anarchy Lew's economics, it's with his hidden-in-the-closet anarchism. She then goes on to claim that "Mr. Rockwell needs to be schooled by Mr. Hackbarth if Lew wants to really learn about Rothbard. Uh huh." I said nothing of the sort in this post.

Throughout De Coster's post is the air of snobbery. She knows the Truth devined by Murray Rothbard and other libertarian thinkers. I don't need to attack or defend Rothbard. He wrote more than De Coster and I could ever write. It's just that any opposition to her (and her fellow Paleolibertarians') worldview is treated with so much derision. I'm "simplistic, vapid, uninformed." Her snobish tone about my occasional Paleowatch posts (which are about responding to wacky Paleos, thus the name) and her not actually reading many of my posts feels as though the words "simplistic, vapid, uninformed" are better applied to her. And who cares what TAM's Alexa ranking is? I TAM was only about generating traffic, then it would have been abandoned long ago.

This attitude proves PunchtheBag's arguement that Paleos have nothing constructive to offer the American body politic. There are people like Robert Prather and myself who are fans of the thinking of Mises and Hayek. Together, Paleos and other members of the Right could work together on issues they agree with to fight back against Leviathan. We libertarian sympathizers might even be pursuaded that anarcho-capitalism is a realistic, non-utopian political program. But Paleos like De Coster brush us aside for not being pure enough. The only ones smiling are the socialists--of both parties, to steal Hayek's phrase--who have that much less opposition to their plans of bigger and bigger government.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 09:57 PM | Comments (2)

BlogCuba

Bablu Blog held a BlogCuba day today. Great idea, because just 90 miles off the U.S. coast sits a prison nation just waiting to burst from its shackles and join the league of free nations.

At that weblog I found an awful piece of propaganda from the Granma, Castro's "journalistic" mouthpiece. Over three years ago when I was passionately covering Elian Gonzalez's story I knew Castro would use that little boy as a propaganda tool. I was right, that's exactly what Fidel has done to Elian. To celebrate Elian's 10th birthday, Castro declared that Cuba has "made a utopian dream reality." It's such a utopia that people clammor to escape.

Kevin Aylward is right to call for the end of travel restrictions to Cuba. I'd even go so far as to call for the end of the embargo. Castro's survived all these measures that were designed to remove him from power. After all these years of failure something new must be tried. We shouldn't bother crushing them with our military (It's too busy fighting the Islamist War). Instead, we should crush them with our economy and our ideas of freedom.

"Cuba Has Made a Utopian Dream Reality"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Duck Sighting

Matthew Stinson has a picture of Howard the Duck, M.D. and is looking for some captions.

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

Political Prisoner

John Cole wants to be "one of the first people arrested next year for violating" the BCRA. I've joined up with Matthew Hoy and wonder if FEC agents are armed?

"McCain-Feingold" [via Matthew Stinson]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:52 AM | Comments (0)

Death Over the Counter

The idea of dropping into the local Wallgreens, putting a few bucks down, and getting some morning-after pills to kill your unborn child is barbaric. What would come next, do-it-yourself partial-birth abortion kits? Here we have technology attempting to make up for personal mistakes. The price to be paid is in the blood of dead children. Will we learn that there isn't a technological fix for everything?

"Debate on Selling Morning-After Pill Over the Counter" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:02 AM | Comments (8)

Help!

I'm not begging, I'm pleading. Please vote for TAM in the Weblog Awards. I can promise nothing but a smiling face from me and warm spot in your heart. Unless you had some spicy food for dinner in which case you should get some Pepto Bismal.

Then do some Kings of Chaos clicking for me, Laurence, Dr. Schloktopus, and my only officer GoaticusMaximus.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2003

Iraq Contracts

Matthew Gross, Duck, M.D.'s chief weblogger had underestimated President Bush's tactic in regards to Iraqi reconstruction contracts. Bush sustained the new policy that only companies from countries that are part of the war coalition can bid on the major contracts (but they can be subcontractors). Here's an key item from the LA Times:

The president made no mention of specific nations. But in a clear reference to France, Russia and Germany — key targets of a U.S. effort being led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III to restructure Iraq's staggering international debt, estimated at $125 billion — Bush suggested that he might look more favorably on those who helped ease Iraq's current financial problems, even if they had not contributed militarily or financially to the war effort.

"It would be a significant contribution, for which we would be very grateful," the president said.


Carrot, meet stick. And with this Bush could do some major damage on Iraq's huge debt. If the President pulls this off Iraq's future is more secure, he can claim a substantial foreign policy victory, and Duck, M.D.'s chances at beating him become dimmer.

"Bush Stands Firm on Iraq Contracts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:22 PM | Comments (9)

Adoption Story

Slartibartfast tells the story of his family's first adoption. This culture war isn't just playing the role of the critic. It also involves sharing the joy of a family being formed.

"The First Adoption"

"First Adoption, Part II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 10:26 PM | Comments (4)

Quack Quack Quack

How can I not respond to the nasty, uncivil Dean rally in NYC Monday night. It won't be hard for the GOP to alienate Duck, M.D. from the public because he's doing well on his own. We shouldn't be surprised Duck, M.D. hangs around these types. He let the foul-mouthed Elaine Cho post some dreadful rap on his official weblog.

Then notice that Duck, M.D. was giddy the Supreme Court made it legal for Congress to restrict political speech despite the clear words of the First Amendment.

"GOP Hopes to Paint Dean as the New McGovern"

"Howie Pals Show True 'Blue' Colors" [via The Blog from the Core]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

What a Plan

Matthew Hoy wants to challenge the BCRA (McCain-Feingold Free Speech Restriction Act). Here's his plan:

My suggestion is to somehow pool enough money, via donations or some other method (I'm a poor journalist), and run a 30-second ad during primetime on CNN either just before the Super Tuesday primaries or the November general election. We'll need to rope in some legal assistance, but the challenge to the high court's "logic" will be how exactly are we corrupting the political system by our 30-second electioneering communication? How and why would any politician feel indebted to us for our single ad aired during the FEC's blackout period?

In fact, our ad would be as non-threatening as possible while still violating the law. All we would have to do is name candidates for federal office -- one after another. Say nothing else, just their names, and we would be in violation of the law.

Any lawyers or bloggers are interested in participating in this project, shoot me an e-mail at hoystory -at- cox -dot- net and we'll see how we can organize this.


Count this weblogger in as long as it doesn't cost too much--I'm a poor bookseller.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:08 AM | Comments (1)

Supply-Side Spokesman

Bob Bartley died of cancer at the age of 66. He made his mark as the editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His advocacy for tax cuts influenced Republican Presidents for over 20 years. Fred Barnes said, "How many other editorial pages can say they created the economic policy for an administration and for an era? Without The Wall Street Journal editorial page, there is no supply side economics." It's pretty easy to argue that Bartley's editorial page was the most influential in the world. That stems from Bartley's belief in the benefits of freedom and its relentless pursuit.

Godspeed, Bob.

"Robert L. Bartley"

"Robert L. Bartley, Who Led Journal Editorial Page, Dies at 66"

"Robert L. Bartley Dies; Influential Editorialist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:01 AM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2003

On the Battleline

The American Conservative Union is fed up with the spending spree of President Bush and the GOP Congress. An editorial goes so far as to call the Republican Party the "nation's new welfare state party." They're also fed up with conservative journals like National Review and The Weekly Standard who the ACU thinks aren't holding the GOP to task.

The ACU's response is to start a new conserative magazine, Conservative Battleline Online. It's a mouthful but an important mouthful in the fight for smaller, limited government. The idea is good. I just hope its focus is on advancing conservative ideas rather than being a weapon in a conservative civil war.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:00 PM | Comments (3)

Free Speech Restricted

What part of "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech" didn't a majority of Supreme Court justices understand? For some analysis, check out the Volokh Conspiracy [here, here, here, and here]. Rick Hasen is distressed at the Court's "cursory dismissal of First Amendment arguments." Since Hasen is an election law specialist, his weblog is loaded with relevant posts. Read 'em and weep--for the First Amendment.

With the opinion weighing in a over 90,000 words (by Eugene Volokh's count) really good evaluations will take a while.

"Campaign Finance Law's Key Parts Upheld"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)

Revised GDP Numbers

Steve Verdon points out that due to adjustments on how the government measures the economy third quarter 2000 GDP growth was negative. There goes the idea that President Bush led the country into a recession.

"Bureau of Economic Analysis Revises 2000 GDP Numbers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)

Lots of Vanity

No, I don't mean one of the women who hung out with Prince in the 80s. First, there's the (ick!) bug-infested Carnival of the Vanities hosted by Signal + Noise. Then after reading some good posts, check out the stinkers at the Bonfire of the Vanities hosted by Wizbang!

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

Falcons Drop Reeves

How is Atlanta Falcons' coach Dan Reeves rewarded for getting his marquee-player back and a victory Sunday night? He gets fired. I smell a sulking superstar behind this. Details at SportsBlog.org.

"Reeves Fired"

"Is 9/11 His Fault Too?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:03 AM | Comments (1)

Simply Dumb

Dr. Schloktopus actually watched more of The Simple Life. Better him than me.

"The Twit Train Rolls On"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

Week 14 Freaks of the Week

It's late, but my latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.

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

December 09, 2003

Rusting Ships

What do these rusting ships have to do with anything? Not much. I'm just trying to divert your attention away from the mildly embarassing post below.

"Hyperfinch @ S.S. American Star" [via memepool]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

Heil Duck

Separated at birth?

UPDATE: Howard Dean is no Hitler. I just thought it was a funny contrast. Sometimes I forget that some jokes (no matter how lame) don't transfer well through the written word.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:10 PM | Comments (9)

Population Bomb a Dud

Paul Erlich and those that feared a world where we run out of room must be happy with new U.N projections. For me, it's just further proof that capitalism solves leads to a solution. For some reason when a country gets richer they don't have as many children.

"World Population to Level Off"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

AlGore Waddles with Duck

AlGore endorses Duck, M.D. The tree backs the waterfowl. I give it a "ho hum" because I already thought Dean had the nomination in hand. Steven Taylor agrees with me:

What, precisely has been remade? Prior to the Gore announcement everyone was saying that it's Dean's to lose, and that he was the prohibitive favorite. The polls in Iowa, NH, SC and MA were all looking good for him (to name a few key ones). So how does Gore's endorement "remake" or "rock" anything aside from Lieberman's ego?

I do think this is good for Dean, but only as another brick in a wall that was already 3/4th complete.

It was pretty classless for AlGore to not even bother to give his former running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman a call letting him know his was endorsing Duck, M.D.

Michael Van Winkle notes that Duck, M.D.'s big issues are "polarizing issues" with nothing to go after the middle with.

Oliver Willis spotted Duck, M.D. waddling on the Charles River.

With Dean sure to have the nomination wrapped up after the South Carolina primary this will make for an extremely long Presidential race. Maybe the longest in U.S. history. Will the public even pay attention to the shots Duck, M.D. makes at President Bush and vice versa? Or will they just go about their business and start focusing around Labor Day? This may be great for political webloggers and professional pundits, but besides us, will anyone be listening?

[This is a late entry to the Beltway Jam. Traffic was really bad here in Wisconsin, ok?]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

Vote for TAM

I'm stunned the folks at LewRockwell.com care about little old TAM. More on that later after some much-needed sleep.

I ask you to vote for TAM in the 2003 Weblogs Awards. I only have 10 votes, and it's been that way for some time. I don't expect to win, but don't want to end up in last place. Remember, a vote for TAM is, well, a vote for TAM.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2003

Good Business Weblog

Oliver Willis and Jimmy Varghese have a business weblog called BoomNation. There are good, short, pithy posts there.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:08 PM | Comments (4)

Out of Touch with Reality

Professor Bainbridge has discovered this wacked-out statement from one of the paleolibertarians writing for Mises Blog:

However, I'll never understand the leaners and their support of hegemony, war, and false phraseology such as the "war on terrorism." That's the stuff that separates the wheat from the chaff, and ultimately, freedom from chains.

Bainbridge responds:
I'll concede that I'm still not sure the Iraq War was a good idea, but how can you call the war on terror "false phraseology"? Did she sleep through 9/11?

I'm guessing in the author's mind the United States' interventionist foreign policy brought on those horrible attacks. The War on Terrorism (a very imprecise term rather than "false phraseology") then is an effort to clean up the mess while at the same time growing the state. I'm also guessing that the author's solution to the Islamist threat is simply to bring all our troops home and hope the rest of world would simply want to trade freely with the U.S. Seeing how apart from reality this view is is obvious.

Remember, even though this writing is written under Ludwig von Mises' name, it may not truly represent his beliefs. What this thinking does represent is Murray Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism. This point is reinforce by this post from Robert Prather.

TMLutas agrees with the author about false phraseology but acknowledges "there is an honest and proper case to be made in the practical world for the policies that are grouped under the War on Terror and which can be supported on libertarian grounds."

"The Mises Bloggers are Stark Raving Nuts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 01:48 PM | Comments (7)

Taxing the Duck Campaign

Joe Trippi, Duck, M.D.'s campaign manager, is in a tizzy (that's the closest you'll get to Snoop Dog here at TAM) over a Club for Growth ad attacking Dean as a typical Democratic tax-hiker. Trippi called the ad a "bald-faced lie." Why? What part of the ad was incorrect, the AP story doesn't say. Presumably, Trippi didn't have an answer. What really got my wings flapping was his claim that Bush's tax cuts "threaten this country's economic well-being." They seem to be doing alright for the economy so far. The problem is with runaway spending that Bush is facilitating to the shagrin of many on the Right. Also, as Steve Verdon pointed out Duck, M.D.'s budget wouldn't be fiscially sound.

"Conservative Group Targets Dean; Gephardt Airs Ad in South Carolina" [via Right Wing News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 02:04 AM | Comments (1)

BDS

Charles Krauthammer, being a doctor, has "discovered" a new psychiatric condition: Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS). It's just like Bush fever only he has a proper definition:

the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.

Those afflicted with BDS (no need to name names) may respond that Krauthammer is just another neocon using his pen to further American empire. Or they may explain that the President himself is the cause of BDS.

Duck, M.D. will never admit to having BDS. His explanation will be that as a doctor (as mentioned on all his press releases) he knows his health pretty well. Well, just like lawyers shouldn't represent themselves in court, doctors may not notice certain symptoms like wacked-out paranoia. Here's an example:

Diane Rehm: "Why do you think he (Bush) is suppressing that (Sept. 11) report?''

Howard Dean: "I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far -- which is nothing more than a theory, it can't be proved -- is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?''

--"Diane Rehm Show,'' NPR, Dec. 1


Someone better call a vet and send him to Burlington, stat. [Get it? Vet? Duck? Oh forget it!]

"Bush Derangement Syndrome" [via Robert Prather]

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

December 07, 2003

BCS Stuff

I'm trying to start a conversation at SportsBlog.org on the difference between computer analysis in college football (the BCS mess) and baseball (sabermetrics). Why has it taken the latter sport by storm while receives plenty of derision in the former?

---

Tomorrow morning Cam Edwards will have Jerry Palm from CollegeBCS.com on his radio show at 7:15 CST. Most of the blogosphere can catch it at the KTOK website.

Since Cam isn't competitng with TAM in any catagory of the 2003 Weblog Awards, feel free to vote for him in the "Adorable Rodents" catagory.

You're welcome, Cam.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:42 PM | Comments (2)

ABC, CNN, FNC, and NRA?

The NRA as news organization. I love the idea. With the costs of information distribution constantly going down (it's getting the public's attention that's expensive) any can (and does) become a news organization. In the NRA's case, they already are because they publish some magazines.

One of the unintended consequences of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance (free speech restriction) law is its own destruction.

"NRA Seeks Status as News Outlet" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Oliver Has Bush Fever

In the comments to this John Cole post, Oliver Willis actually defends a despicable Dennis Kucinich ad that said the Iraq War wasn't about Iraqi liberation or America's self-defense but to fatten the pockets of Bush's rich friends. But realize, anti-conservative views have gotten so off-the-wall that he's labled Reagan fans "GOP Jihadis."

I don't know what's gotten into Oliver. He's smart, writes well, and is a great, entertaining part of the blogosphere. It's just that he's gone (figuratively) crazy with Bush anger.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:44 PM | Comments (7)

Trojans Denied

There will be month of screaming in the college football world because number 1 USC won't be playing in the national title game. I have more at SportsBlog.org.

"USC Beaten by Equation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 05:13 PM | Comments (3)

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today is Pearl Harbor Day and Michele is saddened because she's found little media coverage. Part of it is time. As one of commenter wrote, many WWII veterans are dead. People who had direct experience with those events are gone. Another reason for the lack of Big Media coverage no hook to the anniversary. 1941 is 62 years ago, an odd number for anniversary coverage. Contrast this to the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination. There was lots and lots of coverage on television and newspapers as well as a bunch of new books.

We don't honor every anniversary of infamous events. If we did we'd have no time to live our lives and make our own history. We'd be too busy honoring the dead at the expense of the living. We'd become a culture of historians.

I don't want the memory of the awful Tuesday to be a day of over sentimentality. Every Sep. 11 should not be a day where America cries and laments how some evil men killed 3,000. That day should be remembered as the beginning of the Islamist War where the United States took on its biggest nemesis since the Cold War and in the process brought freedom and opportunity to the Middle East.

Michele worries that Sep. 11 will be "forgotten" eventually like Pearl Harbor. But history's perception changes with the culture and distance. I hope it isn't forever a day of saddness, but of rebirth. Out of the ashes of Ground Zero a new urban center will be built (despite the bad Libeskind plan). Hopefully vitality can rise from the ashes of death. If it happens people in the future will remember Sep. 11 as a day of transition for New York City and the U.S.

"December 7th: How Long Does Infamy Last, Then?" [via Jay Solo]

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

Milwaukee Mayor Poll

Poll results for Milwaukee's mayoral race are out. Former Congressman Tom Barrett is first with 29%, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is second with 24%, undecided is third, Common Council President (and soon to be mayor, replacing John Norquist until the election this spring) Marvin Pratt with 11%, with the rest of the 11 candidates dividing up the remaing 36%.

"Poll Shows Tighter 3-way Race for Mayor"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

Don't Underestimate this Man

Anyone who thinks President Bush is a political doofus has to look at the sheer genius of what he pulled off last week. Last Tuesday, he goes to Pittsburgh, Steel City, and pulls in lots of campaign money. While doing this, he's deciding whether to dump steel tariffs that would have resulted in a trade war with the EU. Later in the week, Bush scraps the tariffs (pun intended) with loud opposition from steel workers in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Then Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that steel industry executives believe the end of the tariffs won't hurt their industry.

Bush averts a trade war, rakes in a boatload of campaign funds, and the industry he protected ends up being ok (it still doesn't justify the tariffs in the first place). Sometimes is better to be lucky than good, but the President read this situation perfectly.

"Immediate Impact to Steel Industry Expected to be Slight" [via Daniel Drezner]

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

December 06, 2003

What's Republican About Her?

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is cute and all--let me rephrase that, she's very cute--but what makes her a Republican babe? Has she ticked off Barbara Walters by being a cheerleader for President Bush while co-hosting The View?

And no, just because she's not on The View I'm not programming it into the TiVo.

[via The Evangelical Outpost]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:53 PM | Comments (2)

Iraq's "Odious Debt"

James Joyner linked to my post on Iraq's debts. He was making a similar point in October, but also brought the idea of "odious debt" onto the table.

Politically speaking does anyone really believe U.S. critics like France will consider any of Saddam's debt "odious?" Doing so would help the U.S. in their rebuilding efforts, and the only thing France cares about it putting up as many roadblocks in front of the U.S. as possible. For Chriac et. al. global gamesmanship is more important than successfully building a free country in Iraq.

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

Manly Men

J.P. Carter posted pics of conservative "studmuffins." Let's just say most of these guys have faces perfect for a weblog. I offer very studly one of Glenn Reynolds and me.

[via Jay Solo]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:43 PM | Comments (1)

Vote for TAM

You can now vote for TAM in the Large Mammals catagory of the 2003 Weblog Awards. You can vote once every 24 hours. There is some really tough competition. Roger Simon, Professor Bainbridge, Jay Solo, Josh Clayborn, mtpolitics.net, and Ben Domenech are all really good weblogs. I'm already greatful (and surprised) for the votes for TAM so far. Thanks for voting and reading.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 06:22 PM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2003

Cheering Myself Up

Here some things I've done to combat today's funk:


Now, I'm going to do something totally out of character: I'm going to get away from this weblog for the rest of the night. I'll try to finish Anne Applebaum's Gulag (great yet heartbreaking), and get some sleep so I survive another day at the store.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Bad Day

Today, I dealt with the idiot shoppers who only enter a bookstore once a year, really have no idea what they want other than that big, yellow book they saw at another store last year, and think it's poor customer service if you can't get them exactly what they want. While I'm doing this, I'm tolerating a bad back I hurt moving a new television all by myself (I know, me bad). Then Kevin got his pink slip, and now Lori and Maripat are signing off from the Right We Are!
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq's Debt

President Bush appointed James Baker as the point man in restructuring Iraq's debt. Why should Iraq even bother paying back this debt? There is a new regime in charge. The money lent to Iraq by other nations was to Saddam's government. That one is no more. The $120 billion owed is Saddam's debt, not the New Iraq's. Besides the crushing effect on the Iraqi economy, paying off this debt wouldn't change international lending behavior. There should be a disincentive to not lend money to dictators. Paying off the debt is a form of moral hazzard. Lending money to dictators only encourages these brutal people to continue on violating the rights of their citizens. There should be more risk for lenders who lend to dictators. If thug become a pariah toward the rest of the world, they risk being toppled and the debts vanishing. In Iraq's case, the people shouldn't need to suffer because of Saddam's economic policies. Operation: Iraqi Freedom wiped the slate clean. That includes international debt. "Bush Picks Friend Baker as Iraq Debt Envoy"
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

Good News

The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%

"Jobless Rate Declined Again in November, to 5.9%" [via Balloon Juice]

UPDATE: Steve Verdon's post asks a good question: "has something changed in the economy that means employment will take longer to rebound and the rate of growth will be smaller?"

Could Paul Krugman get off his Bush-bashing horse and tackle this question? He is a better economist than political hack columnist.

"Unemployment Lower for Second Month"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2003

Bush Bashing Babes

One could take this site to be opposed to lesbianism. Instead, it's just Bush bashing with lots of skin.

Reilly at Right Voices just goes off on these ladies.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Foot Still in Mouth

Oliver isn't apologizing for his crass and flippant "jihad" description of gung-ho Ronald Reagan fans. I didn't expect one. He actually thinks comparing Reagan fans to terrorist killers is stating a fact. The fact is if Reagan fans don't get the Gipper on the dime they won't strap bombs onto themselves, board a bus, and blow themselves up like real jihadis do. If Oliver can't see this obvious distinction than it just shows he's willing to put rabid, unthinking, uncivil partisanship above reasoned, highly opinionated discourse. He's better than that.

Interestingly, it's alright for Oliver to equate Reagan fans with Muslim terrorists, but he feels the need to point out vicious statements by persons with opposing ideologies. Something about a pot, a kettle, and the color black comes to mind.

Then there are the commentors to his "GOP jihad" post. It seems Grover Norquist is the Osama bin Laden of the "GOP Jihad." Since when is the pursuit of radically smaller government on par with Islamism? These comments are perfect for the Democratic Underground. Oliver and those wacked-out commentators need to take this Susan Estrich column to heart.

Finally, I have a question: Is the GOP Jihad a spin off of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, or is it an independent offshoot? Do I have to get two membership cards?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:42 PM | Comments (2)

Croom Makes History

James Joyner comments on the hiring of Sylvester Croom as coach of the Mississippi State football team. He becomes the first black coach in the history of the Southeastern Confernce. I don't have anything more to add to James' cogent thoughts except I want to give you a local (Wisconsin) angle. Croom is currently running backs coach for my beloved Green Bay Packers and will finish the season with them.

"The Croom Hire"

UPDATE: Croom may only keep both full-time jobs until Sunday. He's said, "I truly am during this transition period going one day at a time."

"Croom Says Double Duty with Packers May End Soon"

---

In a related note, for the rest of the season, Packers players will have a #3 decal on their helmets in honor of the late Tony Canadeo.

"Packers To Pay Tribute To Canadeo With Helmet Decal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Opus Part 2

The second Opus strip is on the Web. Thank god!

[via Oliver Willis]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

Turkey Talk

I have one and only one comment on the nonsense spewing from Bush bashers over his now famous Thanksgiving Day picture: Wouldn't you rather have your picture taken with a gorgeous, real (just not eaten) turkey than with some poultry sitting in a pot at a buffet? 90% of us have the aesthetic sense to know a good visual like that.

That is all.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)

Easy Targets

Dr. Schloktopus watched The Simple Life too. He's a little less generous towards Paris and Nicole than me:

If I were that dairy owner, I would have shot them.

If he was aiming at Paris, and she turned sideways he wouldn't have anything to aim at.

P.S. Click on his Kings of Chaos link while you're here (and mine too).

"Twits on Parade"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:18 AM | Comments (1)

Need More Opus

Is the second Opus strip anywhere on the Web? Since the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are still morons for not putting it in their Sunday paper. Or if anyone's willing they could send me the strips periodically (I'd cover postage, of course). I just really want my Opus, and one strip was a taste I can't resist--kind of like Krispy Kreme's golden glazed goodies.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:39 AM | Comments (2)

Packers Legend is Buried

Running back Tony Canadeo, the "Grey Ghost," was buried in Green Bay yesterday. The Hall of Fame halfback died last Saturday at the age of 84.

In 1949, he became the third player to rush for over 1,000 yards. Now, every season, many players accomplish that feet. Canadeo is fourth on the all-time Packers rushing list and is one of only four players to have his number retired.

Godspeed, Tony.

"Funeral Held Wednesday for Packers Great Tony Canadeo"

"Running Back Stuck with Pack"

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

Behavior Matters

Here's a stunning quote from liberal researcher Isabel Sawhill on how to reduce poverty:

If people did a few things -- graduated from high school, got a job, and delayed having a baby until they married -- our analysis shows that would eliminate a huge chunk of poverty in this country, and that would be far more effective than anything we could feasibly do through the welfare system alone.

When Dan Quayle said stuff like this he was chastised for "blaming the victim." This thinking may soon become conventional wisdom.

"No Slack" [via Catallarchy.net]

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

December 03, 2003

Better Check Those Numbers

Steve Verdon ran Duck, M.D.'s budget numbers. They don't add up. With some generous assumptions Howard Dean's spending plans would increase the deficit. Duck, M.D. hasn't even been elected yet, and he's already broken one of his campaign promises.

Steve doesn't even include the effects of Duck M.D.'s "re-regulating," of rescinding Bush's tax cuts. Both would prevent economic growth which would lead to greater deficits (barring the miracle that Duck, M.D. would actually cut non-defense spending).

"Democrats and the Deficits: Dean"

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

Bad, Bad Oliver

Oliver Willis is upset that some Reagan zealots want to put the 40th President on the dime (sounds good to me, just wait until he's dead). But Oliver goes over the top when labeling them the "GOP jihad."

I'm posting the comment I left there:

GOP jihad!?! That's really over the top. Wierd Reagan cult, yes. Republicans intent on waging holy war across the country in the name of their hero, absolutely not.

Are the people who want to change the appearance of a coin on par with bloodthirsty killers willing to turn planes into cruise missiles? Of course not. Oliver knows better. No wonder some webloggers think he's "overrated." (I am not one of them.)

Oliver crossed the line. The blogosphere is wonderful because its passionately opinonated, but civility must still be maintained. He should apologize.

"The Hagiography of Ronny Continues"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:57 PM | Comments (2)

Enough of The Simple Life

I wanted to post a summary of the second episode of The Simple Life. I tried to watch it from start to finish, but it was too painful. It wasn't Paris' and Nicole's work attire for their first day of work: designer camo hats, sunglasses, and shiny, new work boots--farmer chic. Nor was it the goofy way they walked arm-in-arm around the pasture rounding up the cows for milking. It was the way Paris and Nicole were completely unattached to the idea of work. In the middle of the day, they decided they had enough, and it was time for a dip in the hot tub.

Without having any experience as to how things get done in the real world, it's not a surprise Paris and Nicole got fired after their first day. At first glance "the simple life" the show refers to may seem to be the one in Arkansas. In fact, Paris' and Nicole's lives of pampering are simple compared to the complex, real world between the two coasts where things have to be done or else. I feel sorry for them. Good comes from knowing you've worked hard and accomplished something. Since these two ladies haven't had to do anything significant, they fill their empty lives with drugs (for Nicole) and sexual adventures (for Paris).

I think I'm done with The Simple Life. These are freak shows analagous to the wierdos of circuses past. The audience gets some cheap laughs from the eccentricities of the freaks. Some may have a chuckle watching super-rich women flounder around, but for me there's too much sympathy.

"Fox TV has Fun Tormenting the Farmyard Rich Chicks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

Lessons from Adam Smith

In his column last week, Declan McCullagh points out that the Bush administration has done more for protectionism than just slapping tariffs on imported steel and Chinese underware. They also went after cheap Korean memory chips. Somebody send the White House a copy of The Wealth of Nations.

"Adam Smith's Lessons for IT"

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

Brooks on Soldiers in Iraq

David Brooks writes on the peacekeeping and warmaking U.S. soldiers have to do in Iraq. He also takes on the "America as Empire" meme:

When you read their writings you see what thorough democrats they are. They are appalled at the thought of dominating Iraq. They want to see the Iraqis independent and governing themselves. If some president did want to create an empire, he couldn't do it with these people. Their faith in freedom governs their actions.

Take that you America-bashers on the Right and Left.

"Boots on the Ground, Hearts on Their Sleeves" [via Instapundit]

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

Flames of Desire

Or at least some really bad posts in this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

Freaks of the Week: Week 13

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

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

December 02, 2003

I Feel Better

I don't feel that ashamed for watching The Simple Life, because Kevin watched it too.

"The Simple Life"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:02 PM | Comments (2)

Ocean-Size Threat

Alright, I'm scared.

According to United Nations estimates, up to 80 per cent of the approximately 6bn metric tons of cargo traded each year is moved by ship. Of that, almost 75 per cent passes at some point through one of the five main choke points in the seafaring economy - the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Straits of Hormuz and the Straits of Malacca.

A terrorist attack against one or more of these transit areas that disabled it for weeks or months - or, in the case of a radiological "dirty bomb", for far longer - could seriously disrupt global trade. The economic calculus of moving cargo by sea would be rendered useless. Everything from energy prices to insurance rates and shipping freight costs would be affected. The ripple effects, particularly for industrialised nations, are incalculable.

But wait, there's more (unfortunately):

Data compiled by Aegis Defence Services, a UK security consultancy, provides worrying evidence of this. In March, for example, pirates boarded a chemical tanker, the Dewi Madrim, near Sabah in the south Pacific for several hours. Their intention was not to ransom the crew or offload its cargo, as south-east Asia's pirates usually do, but simply to learn how to steer it at varying speeds. And in the past few months, 10 tugboats have been reported missing, each of which could be used for close-in manoeuvring of a disabled tanker, hijacked just before entering a big port (at Singapore, say) and just before being set ablaze.

Other dangers to maritime interests are also becoming apparent. In June, for example, an offshore maintenance engineer with deep-sea diving skills, who had been kidnapped in 2000, was released by Abu Sayyaf. He reported that his captors had wanted to learn how to dive, but were not interested in learning how to resurface.

At first sight, one purpose of gaining such one-way expertise might be to set charges for blowing up a supertanker. But supertanker hulls rest no more than 40 feet below sea level, hardly deep-sea diving depths. It is more likely that al-Qaeda is training for attacks against deep water rigs and platforms. Where? One target could be the offshore oil and gas drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, near New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi. Attacks on the pipes that link drilling platforms to the ocean floor at depths of more than 500 feet, where large clusters of machinery are set up to pump natural gas and oil to the surface, could cause serious disruption to domestic US energy supplies as well as grave environmental damage. In an extreme case, such an attack could severely restrict seagoing traffic through the mouth of the Mississippi.

You want to see gas and oil prices go through the roof. Imagine New Orleans in flames after an attack. It would probably take at least a year if entire petroleum operations were destroyed. Energy and auto stocks would take an immediate hit. Chemical companies would be running around trying to assure themselves adequate oil supplies. Manufacturers who use petro-chemicals would alter their production probably layoff workers. At the minimum we'd drop into another recession.

Because I'm more concerned about national security I'm willing to excuse much of President Bush's domestic actions. I don't trust Democrats like Duck, M.D. who didn't see the wisdom of the Iraq War.

"The Maritime Threat from Al Qaeda" [via OTB]

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

Bush's Improving Poll Numbers

Like the economy, President Bush's polls numbers are coming out of the doldrums. You know Bush is doing some good political work when his approval rate from Democrats is 55%.

"Poll: President's Approval on the Rise after Thanksgiving" [via PunchtheBag]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

I Can't Believe I'm Watching This

Oh, The Simple Life would have been perfectly fine if a terrorist would have taken out Paris Hilton's and Nichole Richie's helicopter with a surface-to-air missile.

How many times am I going to hear one of them say, "Oh, my god!"?

Best quote so far:

Nichole: "Paris, don't drive it like its a Porche."

I'm half-way through so I should be able to tough it out until the end of the first episode. Come back for an update.

UPDATE: More stunning quotes:

Paris: "What does soup kitchen mean?"

Paris: "What is Wal-Mart? ... Do they sell walls there?"

Paris: "What's a well for?"

Nichole: "We should have a threesome with him [one of the teenage boys they're living with]."

I'm tempted to give The Simple Life a TiVo season pass. But can I endure the pain?

Someone get Paris a decent pair of jeans. I'm all for females showing off what they've got, but the plumber look just doesn't turn me on. And could someone tell Paris it's alright to eat something. Put about 30 pounds are her and she'd stop looking transparent and be rather cute.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:45 PM | Comments (6)

Like Shooting Ducks in a Barrel

Playing the role of tech geek diverted my attention from my daily Duck, M.D. hunting. Thankfully, Steve Verdon has some killer posts on Howard Dean's economic hypocracy how he'd deal with Iran and North Korea.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

TAM's Gone Wireless

The TAM global publishing empire has finished its first major addition to its infrastructure since moving over to Movable Type. TAM HQ has now gone wireless. Yours truly had no problems installing a network card into the mothership (my desktop), connecting the wireless router, and installing the Wi-Fi card into the TAM Mobile Command Center (ie. notebook computer). I bought D-Link products and installation went smoothly. The only real problem is with ZoneAlarm. After a few minutes of Net use, I can't receive any inbound traffic, but I notice plenty of traffic going outbound. So, I'm trying some other free software firewalls such as Agnitum's Outpost Firewall.

UPDATE: My wireless router must be providing enough security for me. It also must be turned on by default since I didn't do anything to turn it on. I tested my notebook's security with AuditMyPC.com and it came out fine.

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

Kudos

Professor Bainbridge has added TAM onto his blogroll. Thank you, professor. I'm in great company with the other newcomers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

False Advertising

While being a leader of the Paleolibertarian movement, Anarchy Lew Rockwell is quite the misleading advertiser. In response to David Brooks' column on the GOP as the nation's governing party, he writes,

But did Bill Buckley really invent conservatism in the early 1950s? As Murray Rothbard pointed out, this is propaganda intended to send the Old Right down the memory hole, and to convince Americans that conservatism means bombs and central planning. In other words, Buckley is a neocon.

But the Old Right, born in opposition to FDR's New Deal and drive to war, still lives, thanks largely to Rothbard.


Anarchy Lew makes it appear Rothbard was just a Buchanan-type small government conservative. In fact, he was very radical. He was a full-blown anarchist, but you wouldn't know that from Anarchy Lew's brief post.

"The Republican Mega-State" [via PunchtheBag]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

Poor Bird

Oh, is this funny.

"Pardoned Turkey Suffering From Survivor Guilt"

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

Steel Tariffs Still Kicking

Maybe dumping the steel tariffs aren't "all but set in stone" like I thought yesterday. The AP reports President Bush is still weighing his options. He might decide not to get rid of all the tariffs he imposed last year. Keeping some wouldn't make the EU happy and would probably result in retaliation. I don't know what political calculations Bush is doing. If he doesn't drop the tariffs there will be a trade war just when the U.S. economy is coming out of its slumber. Domestic steel manufacturers would be hurt, but domestic steel users could face a steel shortage. We will know the President's decision later this week.

"Advisers Urge Bush to Drop Steel Tariffs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2003

Nominations are Now Open

Go over to Wizbang and nominate some weblogs. I know of one in particular you could nominate in the Large Mammals and Best Conservative Weblog catagories (*hint* *hint*).

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:32 PM | Comments (4)

The Bush Boom

Factory growth is at a 20-year high, people are being hired, and construction remains strong. Dare I say it? The recession is over and a new boom has begun.

"US Factory Growth Fastest in 20 Years, Spurs Jobs" [PoliBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Bush's Beneficial Quirk

The slow crawl of government may be pretty timely for President Bush's re-election:

Mr. Stanley pointed out that while the Bush tax cuts this year were retroactive to Jan. 1, the tax tables could not be changed until July 1, after the cuts were adopted. As a result, next spring, consumers will receive tax refunds fattened by federal over-withholding during the first six months of this year. That might make taxpayers feel better, and if they spend the money, it could buoy an already consumer-driven economy as the campaign moves into high gear.

Bush bashers (i.e. Oliver Willis) will simply smell a conspiracy.

"Change in Consumer Confidence and Thus the Presidency"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)

Bush Steel Tariffs: R.I.P.

Rolling back the steel tariffs are "all but set in stone" according to unnamed Bush administration officials. Yeah!

"Bush Likely to Repeal Tariffs on Steel Imports"

"President To Drop Tariffs On Steel"

UPDATE: Stephen Green notes, "Free trade just doesn't seem to be in Bush's blood."

"Bad Instincts" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:52 AM | Comments (0)

Weasley is Fiscally Irresponsible

Duck, M.D. is a spendthrift and Weasley Clark isn't any better. He's wants to spend $30 billion to fight diseases in foreign countries. Imagine how much he'll have to throw at Americans so as to not have it appear he cares more about foreigners than the natives.

"Clark Proposes $30 Billion Plan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

What!?!

It's been way too long since I had a Paleowatch post. But thanks to PunchTheBag I found one hell of a "what!?!" item to post on. Anarchy Lew Rockwell may be pretty good with economics, but when it comes to speculating on foreign affairs he comes off as extremely goofy.

"Bush I Revisionism"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

Satisfy Your Econ Cravings

Bill Hobbs is hosting this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.

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

Dean: Fiscally Irresponsible

Steven Taylor has joined the party and declared Howard the Duck, M.D. will be the Democratic nominee.

Steven's column let's me go off on Duck, M.D.'s flippant remark about last week's great GDP numbers. He stated, "[the] Bush administration’s fiscally irresponsible house of cards upon which this ‘growth’ is built cannot continue forever" (emphasis mine).

Duck, M.D., donning his economist cap, wants to be "fiscally responsible" by giving states and municipalities $100 billion over two years to "prime the pump" of job creation, pay for special education, and cover anti-terrorism costs to police and fire departments. That may all be well and good (except for their constitutionality), but does Duck, M.D. promise that the "Fund to Restore America" will dry up after its planned two years? Or will that just ossify into existing government spending to make it impossible to ever end?

But creating an entitlement to state and local government isn't Duck, M.D.'s only example of fiscal responsiblity. He also wants to spend $200 million to start a "Welcome Baby" program to "connect families and their children to the resources and services available to help them raise healthy, successful children" (government services most likely).

Then there's Duck, M.D.'s big budget item: universal health care. Based on an analysis by a health care consulting firm, it would cost $88.3 billion a year. Always be wary of estimates on the cost of government programs. Because the government doesn't opperate with the profit incentive, it's less inclined to control costs.

Dean's health care plan would be paid for by recinding some of President Bush's tax cuts. Since most economists think those tax cuts helped bring the economy out of recession, raising taxes might not be so good for the economy and subsequently the budget deficit.

So Duck, M.D. will subsidize state and local governments, welcome babies into the world, and provide health coverage for every American. While doing all this (and more) he'll balance the budget. How will he do this? By using the political bromide, "tough decisions."

"Dean Riding Steady Course to Party Crown"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 01:36 AM | Comments (0)

Transition Period

Stephen Green declared T.R. Fehrenbach's op-ed "required reading." It's good because it goes into the mind of our (conservative's) political opponents. The summary of the piece goes like this: conservatives/Republicans are beating liberals/Democrats because the former focus on strategic thinking and the pursuit of innovative ideas. Liberals/Dems instead are "long for office." This makes them become fixated on putting "together winning coalitions, not a generation from now, but today."

This difference can be seen from conservative intellectual history. After FDR's political victories in implementing his New Deal, many conservatives felt that even if their ideas were better they wouldn't be put into effect. Folks like Albert Jay Nock reserved their thoughts for the "Remnant" who would keep conservative ideas alive until there was ever a time society would accept them. They were a pessimistic lot.

Compare this to the Democrats/liberals. After the New Deal, they were the major political power for over 40 years. Running government and winning elections became their sole (and important) talent.

Now, the tide has turned. Liberals/Democrats have to create their own idea factories while conservatives/Republicans have to learn how govern in a conservative way that doesn't bust the bank. Historically, we're in a political transition period (one that started in 1994 with Newt Gingrich), and like many moments of change, they can be quite messy.

"Democrats Should Learn from Conservatives"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)