"The firing of rockets at civilians from densely populated civilian areas is the newest tactic in the war between terrorists who love death and democracies that love life. The terrorists have learned how to exploit the morality of democracies against those who do not want to kill civilians, even enemy civilians.
The attacks on Israeli citizens have little to do with what Israel does or does not do. They have everything to do with an ideology that despises – and openly seeks to destroy – the Jewish state. Consider that rocket attacks increased substantially after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, and they accelerated further after Hamas seized control last year."
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Rush aptly demonstrated the cynicism of Blagojevich's action by brandishing the blunt weapon of racism. Rush, an African American, warned that a senate that refused to seat Burris, an African American, would be engaging in a "hanging" and "lynching." Even by Chicago political standards, the deployment of those inflammatory words was an extraordinarily slimy racist play.
But that's Chicago for you. By appointing a black man, Blagojevich figured that he would put Reid in the hot seat by forcing him to shut out the only African American in the Senate.
Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times adds:
Who dares, asked Rep. Bobby Rush, . . . to deny a qualified (and, important to note in Illinois, never indicted) appointee as the lone black to replace the lone black in the nearly lily-white U.S. Senate?
Illinois politicians, few of them profiles in courage, better tread carefully with their African-American constituency.
That might include President-elect Obama, who has endorsed his fair share of regular Chicago Democrats.
"...the UAW owns and operates Black Lake Golf Course — a “championship caliber” course opened in 2000 that’s part of a larger “family education center” and retreat nestled in 1,000 acres of property in Onaway, Mich. Spearheaded by former UAW president Steve Yokich, the resort also includes “a beautiful gym with two full-sized basketball courts, an Olympic-size indoor pool, exercise and weight room, table-tennis and pool tables, a sauna, beaches, walking and bike trails, softball and soccer fields and a boat launch ramp.” Like everything else we’re subsidizing these days, the UAW’s playground is a money pit. The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this year that the golf course (valued at $6 million) and education center (valued at $27 million) have together lost $23 million over the past five years. While membership in the union has plummeted, the UAW retains assets worth $1.2 billion."
Read the whole thing... makes you sort of wonder?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
"But Hamas knows one big thing, which it labels 'resistance' or, for Western audiences, 'ending the occupation.' Just what that means was made clear by Palestinian cleric Muhsen Abu 'Ita in a televised interview. 'The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine,' he said, 'is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine.'"
Monday, December 29, 2008
This story by Nancy Trejos from the December 21 business section of The Washington Post definitely got my attention. To my mind, the money quote was from a homeowner who was complaining about his situation, especially about his inability to refinance his second loan on a home that is now worth much less than when he bought it:
It's no fun when your house is upside-down by $80,000. I didn't create it.
"It makes sense in a bizarre kind of way. In the terrorist calculus, attacking one crowd is as good as another. It garners the same amount of publicity and sows the same amount of terror; greater even for being so unpredictable. To paraphrase Crosby, Stills and Nash — when you can’t kill the one you hate, then kill the one you’re with."
Sunday, December 28, 2008
“A mesmerizing speaker, Obama electrifies voters with his exciting new ideas for change, although people have trouble remembering exactly what these ideas are because they are so darned mesmerized. Some people become so excited that they actually pass out.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"Because war and the defense of freedom, contrary to the misty Hallmark rearview of people unwilling to take any action to do so, is not a pretty or an easy thing. I’d add that it is with tremendous grace that George Bush has accepted his designated role as villain, fall guy, punching bag, even as president-elect Barack Obama picks up where Bush is leaving off. Maybe someday they’ll look back at that small footnote, Bush’s magnanimous handling of the not-so-friendly fire, as another sign of his great statesmanship. Much as Lincoln, revealed as an “ape” by lesser pols and small opinionmongers in his time, is today the statesman, commander in chief and champion of freedom everyone wants to be compared to."
All that said, these factors pale in comparison to the underlying instigator: a changed policy within the Clinton administration. Andrew Cuomo’s HUD and Janet Reno’s Justice Department threatened banks with a variety of sanctions unless they loosened underwriting standards. Their aim: to hit certain thresholds for loans to the urban poor. Securitization, leverage and poor ratings were all built upon the underlying subprime rot caused by the Clinton administration’s egregious experiments.
"Hey, that’s great news, isn’t it? After all, everyone knows Americans consume too much. What was it that then Senator Obama said on the subject? “We can’t just keep driving our SUVs, eating whatever we want, keeping our homes at 72 degrees at all times regardless of whether we live in the tundra or the desert and keep consuming 25 percent of the world’s resources with just 4 percent of the world’s population, and expect the rest of the world to say you just go ahead, we’ll be fine.”
And boy, we took the great man’s words to heart. SUV sales have nosedived, and 72 is no longer your home’s thermostat setting but its current value expressed as a percentage of what you paid for it. If I understand then Senator Obama’s logic, in a just world Americans would be 4 percent of the population and consume a fair and reasonable 4 percent of the world’s resources. And in these last few months we’ve made an excellent start toward that blessed utopia: Americans are driving smaller cars, buying smaller homes, giving smaller Christmas presents.
And yet, strangely, President-Elect Obama doesn’t seem terribly happy about the Obamafication of the American economy......
The NT Times seems a bit conflicted, too.
"It is not for lack of interest at either end of the food chain that the Beatles can’t manage to get upgraded versions of their classic recordings onto the market, except by way of a video game or a site-specific show (Cirque du Soleil’s “Love,” in Las Vegas)."
Friday, December 26, 2008
"Ohio schools have long been known as proving grounds for young coaches. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, which has been called the 'Cradle of Coaches' (Messrs. Hayes, Parseghian and Schembechler all coached there), is where Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma's heralded offensive coordinator, got his first job running a major-college offense. Mr. Saban of Alabama got his first head-coaching gig at Toledo in 1990 and Bowling Green, just 20 miles away, gave Mr. Meyer, coach of the No. 1-ranked Florida Gators, his first team to command in 2001."
"Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.
Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing."
Here we have all the evidence we need that that the Bambi-watching Krugman has become (or has always been) a full-blown fool. In lock-step with the "compassionate government" crowd (my kids and their friends are in this, too) we are supposed to buy into the notion that the world's largest corporate bureaucracy , mired in process, union contracts, corruption, and silly political rules is somehow supposed to become "good". Oh, how marvelous a thing we shall have! If we can only make it bigger, it will be that much better! So, how'd we do with that whole thing making the banks and the insurance companies "bigger"? Yes, but our intentions were good....
Now, I don't really want to rain on this naive, adolescent parade; but I feel I must - if nothing else than to finally prove that Krugman is little more than a self-promoting snake oil salesman. First, his charactization of Roosevelt is so dead wrong, but appropriately self-serving, that I had to stop wretching before I could even write this. Second, do we really need to discuss the fact that institutions and things cannot be anthropomorphized into "good" or "bad" moral entities (hence the Bambi reference)? Do you own a "compassionate" car? Perhaps and empathetic washing machine?
If you think politicizing your health care is going to make it any better - please take a look at the last 25 years and tell me how we've done so far. If you think throwing (more) money at the educational system is going to get the job done - please tell me you don't work in the evidence department at your local police station. Do we really need to discuss the histories of Social Security, the CIA, the State Department, and just about each and every government department you can think of in order to finally realize that "bigger" in almost never "better" - unless, of course, you work in those places.
But, no... Mr. Krugman sees it otherwise. Methinks because he (like so many others) believes that from behind his cushy little desk at his well-endowed school, he can run your life so much better than you can. You see, he won a medal.....
Update: At least I'm not the only one who's a sceptic.....
"In the quest to find the perfect middle school for her 10-year-old daughter, Aimée Margolis has zig-zagged across Manhattan for 11 school visits, grilled pre-teenagers at a school fair on music classes and the preferred attire at dances, and compiled a dog-eared folder full of notes.
Then there is the bathroom test."
Althouse weighs in, too.
It is, I suppose, possible to find a "key insight" about population growth in Ehrlich's book that's anodyne enough to qualify as "elementary" and irrefutable. But there's a pretty good reason that the book is remembered primarily for its mix of hysteria and moral idiocy: When you kick off your argument by predicting that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over," and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now," and then proceed to argue for mass sterilization programs, the quarantine and abandonment of countries too overpopulated to save from total collapse, and various other "triage" methods (honestly, The Population Bomb has to be read to be believed), you pretty much forfeit the right to be praised for your prescience forty years down the line.
And, of course, there's no way we could be repeating that same hysteria now, is there? We just luuuv to use the latest scientific fads combined with our self-loathing to come up with recipes for curing our sick, sick society of all its ills. Is there really any difference between the followers of Erlich, the Al Gore sycophants, and the apocalyptic religious fanatics (see the movie "The Seventh Sign") who think that we need to be punished for our collective sins?
Not really....... so just chill a bit, take a deep breath and then try and go live your life as best you can without trying to tell everyone else what they must do to be righteous, pure, and green, i.e. shut the fuck up! (Please...)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
"I have a theory of government which says that the government should make these kinds of interventions only where they benefit society as a whole, not when they almost exclusively benefit the interests to whom the money is given. (I make exceptions for those who are, temporarily or permanently, unable to care for themselves. But that doesn't describe the autoworkers, except insofar as I think they should get unemployment insurance and relocation help. And anyway, I digress.)
Now, I may be wrong about my judgement that the collapse of the financial industry will destroy the economy in a way that the collapse of Detroit will not. But it's not some belief that I just cooked up yesterday to justify giving outrageous amounts of money to my friends on Wall Street while sticking it to the UAW--indeed, a year ago any left-wing development economist could have happily and easily enumerated all the countries where a financial crisis had far, far worse results than, say, the collapse of the national automaker."
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Our headline of the day: Obama team probe of Obama team finds no Obama team impropriety.
Can you imagine what the Democrats would say if this was an inquiry into either Bush or Cheny?
"When Ronald Reagan pardoned Felt, Nixon apparently sent him a bottle of champagne. But ironies aside, the entire episode illustrates the ways in which subsequent information changes our understanding of history. The sheep and the goats change places, not once but several times as new data becomes available. What will Woodward and Bernstein be remembered by posterity for? Will it be for unmasking All the President’s Men or facilitating Jimmy Carter’s rise to power?"
The most interesting piece I have read in a while. Read the WHOLE THING, and then wonder about history and its judgments.
"But the predicted famines and resource shortages never arrived. Instead, the amount of food consumed per capita around the world increased over the following decades, and the prices of food and natural resources continued their long-term downward trend. Even though poor countries rejected the coercive population-control policies advocated by Dr. Ehrlich, even though population boomed, even though the store of minerals in the Earth was finite, people adapted and ended up better off. Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Holdren would have lost their bet whether they’d picked food or energy or other natural resources."
'...They want someone else on the ballot with that star power who can raise the money.'
Would someone please draw a dark line of distinction between what we call a scandal in Illinois and business as usual in New York? Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell a vacant Senate seat, while New York Gov. Paterson is expected to give a Senate seat to the woman whose family can raise lots of money for his benefit."
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"If Barack Obama wants political success, following in the footsteps of FDR looks like the way to go. But people who are concerned about the economy need to take a closer look at history. We deserve something better than repeating the 1930s disasters.
There is yet another factor that provides a parallel to what happened during the Great Depression. No matter how much worse things got after government intervention under Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, the party line was that he had to “do something” to get us out of the disaster created by the failure of the unregulated market and Hoover’s “do nothing” policies.
Today, increasing numbers of scholars recognize that FDR’s own policies were a further extension of interventions begun under Hoover. Moreover, the temporary rise in unemployment after the stock market crash was nowhere near the massive and long-lasting unemployment after government interventions."
"I must conclude by acknowledging that in one respect Bill is probably being absolutely truthful. When he says that “I never killed or injured anyone,” he is most likely being totally honest. Bill, like Charles Manson, never exposed himself to any kind of danger. He always gave orders and then left it to his then-girlfriend, Diane Oughton, and others to implement his plan. If you listen closely you can even hear the similarities in the arguments Manson and Billy use today to justify what they did: the 60s made me do it."
Monday, December 22, 2008
"From the beginning of this decade, the process of new company creation has been under assault by legislators and regulators. They treat it as if it is a natural phenomenon that can be manipulated and exploited, rather than the fragile creation of several generations of hard work, risk-taking and inventiveness. In the name of 'fairness,' preventing future Enrons, and increased oversight, Congress, the SEC and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have piled burdens onto the economy that put entrepreneurship at risk.
The new laws and regulations have neither prevented frauds nor instituted fairness. But they have managed to kill the creation of new public companies in the U.S., cripple the venture capital business, and damage entrepreneurship. According to the National Venture Capital Association, in all of 2008 there have been just six companies that have gone public. Compare that with 269 IPOs in 1999, 272 in 1996, and 365 in 1986."
And it is only going to get worse, my friends. The "share the wealth" crowd that has taken over/hijacked the government will make sure of it to make sure that the commonfolk remain completely dependent upon them to live......
Sunday, December 21, 2008
"General Motors now has a market valuation about a third of Bed, Bath And Beyond, and no one says your Swash 700 Elongated Biscuit Toilet Seat Bidet is too big to fail. GM has a market capitalization of just over two billion dollars. For purposes of comparison, Toyota’s market cap is one hundred billion and change (the change being bigger than the whole of GM). General Motors, like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a vast retirement home with a small loss-making auto subsidiary. The UAW is the AARP in an Edsel: It has three times as many retirees and widows as “workers” (I use the term loosely). GM has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to a million people."
Friday, December 19, 2008
Credit Suisse is paying its top executives in illiquid mortgage-backed securities. I've no doubt that someone, somewhere, will find a way to complain that it's not fair, but it strikes me as a very good idea. If the things really are any good, they make money; if not, they take a bath along with the rest of us.
Let's face it, we have reached that point in time where the people no longer run the governments of this nation, the governments (federal, state, local, etc - there seem to be SO many) run us. And we asked for it.... just look at the last Presidential campaign.
We are still celebrating the fact that we have elected the Man who is now going to take care of us; and we should be prepared to give everything we have to make sure that the powers that be have whatever resources they say they need to make sure that we never hit a bump in the road again. We should welcome the taxing of our music, our phones, our soda, our income, and eventually our thoughts (don't laugh, they surely will try it eventually) if necessary in order to keep in place the structures and the institutions that have consistently failed to do exactly what they have promised - not once or twice, but ALWAYS.
Failure is their only option; but, like lemmings, we have soaked-up the bullshit promises (oh, the audacity of hope) and followed the same path over and over. 2 + 2= 5: we believe it again and again.
"And thanks to a tax break proposed by President Bill Clinton and approved by Congress in 1997, he did not have to pay tax on most of that profit. It was a break that had not been available to generations of Americans before him. The benefits also did not apply to other investments, be they stocks, bonds or stakes in a small business. Those gains were all taxed at rates of up to 20 percent."
Perfect - now we can find ways to NEVER let people keep their own money. Just what the NY Times loves to do....
"A Postal Service official in Washington, after an initial, limited acknowledgment of a “privacy breach,” said that at one of the programs, not New York’s, a man whom a letter carrier recognized as a registered sex offender had “adopted” a letter. When postal officials confronted the man, the official said, he said he was sincerely trying to do a good deed, but postal inspectors nonetheless retrieved the letter and notified the family of the child.
The Postal Service, indicating that the closing down of all of Operation Santa might be temporary, said that it felt it was wise to take the precaution."
"Talk about a setup man: someone named Putz in one of the most visible, all-or-nothing roles in New York sports. His new opponents may not include just National League sluggers, but the tabloid headline writers and New York fans with a history of unforgiving expectations, and little history of letting something like proper pronunciation get in the way of a good insult or cheap laugh."
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"Consider this - on issues such as FISA surveillance or the Bush tax cuts for the rich Obama has already back-pedaled. He is likely further to outrage a contingent of his supporters by declining to declare defeat in Iraq, blame Bush, and leave. There even seems to be a movement towards creating a bit of wiggle room on enhanced interrogation. One might have thought, that given these setbacks on substance, Obama would be generous in handing his leftmost admirers some symbolic victories (an indictment of Dick Cheney, for example) but with the Warren selection they are getting shut out there as well. Interesting. Of course, chuckling righties might wonder whether Obama is holding up on symbolic victories for the left because he knows they have some huge substantive wins coming..."
"The problem of illegitimacy and broken families had seemed intractable for decades, but the Census Bureau has been able to make a significant dent in it, at virtually no cost to the taxpayer, merely by redefining the word parents.
And why stop there? Suppose the Census Bureau were to redefine two as meaning 'one.' Voilà, any child who now lives with 'one' parent would have an intact family. Instantly the rate would go from 40% to nearly 100%. Wait, make that nearly 200%.
Some may object that the middle of a financial panic is not the best time to start redefining numbers, a practice that could have unintended and undesired consequences for interest rates, currency exchange rates, asset values and so forth.
So here's a more modest idea: Why not redefine together to mean 'on the same planet'? So long as at least one man and one woman live on Earth, whether or not they are married or the child's biological parents, every child is being raised by two (or more) parents, and this will remain true at least until we begin colonizing space. Hey, it takes a village!"
UPDATE (via Instapundit): “Obama just keeps disappointing supporters. Odd, but refreshing.” Particularly as the ones he’s disappointing are the ones who cast their disagreement with Bush on those same issues as a matter of ultimate good vs. evil.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"I think the most outrageous thing about Caroline Kennedy’s bid to become Senator of New York is that, as the New York Times recently explained:
She has not held a full-time job in years, has not run for even the lowliest office . . . Already, some columnists, bloggers and even potential colleagues in Congress have begun asking if she would be taken seriously if not for her surname.
How can someone like that possibly succeed . . . Hillary Clinton?"
But Michael Moore? Come on. He's railing against millionaires, when he's a multi-millionaire, himself. He rails against Wall Street, when he's a huge investor, not to mention, just plain huge.
It's nothing new that Michael Moore is a gi-normous hypocrite, literally and figuratively--in this case, the literal is his figure, or lack thereof. I've written about it numerous times over the last decade, including here and here.
The Express-Times of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley reports on a kerfuffle in nearby Holland Township, N.J.:
Adolf Hitler Campbell--it's indeed the name on his birth certificate--turns 3 today, and the Campbell family believes the boy has been mistreated. A local supermarket refused to make a birthday cake with "Adolf Hitler" on it.
The ShopRite in Greenwich Township has also refused to make a cake bearing the name of Campbell's daughter, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in February.
Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, a girl named for Schutzstaffel head Heinrich Himmler, turns 1 in April.
"ShopRite can't even make a cake for a 3-year-old," said Deborah Campbell, 25, who is Heath's wife of three years and the mother of the children. "That's sad."
A director for the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia applauded the supermarket's decision. An Allentown psychologist said the names would cause problems for the children later in life.
Boy, you don't say! What if the Campbell boy grows up and wants to be president one day? He'll never get elected once people realize his middle name was also the name of a brutal dictator!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
MICHAEL SILENCE: The Nothing But Caroline Network: “Clearly, NBC Nightly News is running the U.S. Senate campaign of Caroline Kennedy. In a jaw-dropping move, her run for the office was the network’s lead story Monday evening. The American auto industry is on the verge of bankruptcy, President-elect Obama makes key cabinet appointments, Illinois is impeaching its governor and some fatcat bilks more than $50 billion from the rich and not so famous, and NBC chooses to launch Kennedy’s campaign?”UPDATE: Claudia Rosett on Caroline Kennedy and the Banana Republic of New York:
Evidence that an asteroid may not have doomed the dinosaurs after all is accumulating in first real challenge the extinction theory has met in three decades.
The combination of studies on dinosaur fossils, magnetic signatures in rocks and the timing of the disappearance of different species suggest it was massive volcanic eruptions in India that belched sulfur into the air for around 10,000 years that did the beasts in.
Don't you love "science"? But the reality here is "So what?" (to quote Miles Davis).....
Monday, December 15, 2008
"Mr. Obama and his team may find ways to give more Americans access to the waiting room, but what if there’s no doctor on the other side of the door? The crisis in primary care must be addressed before any real change can occur; otherwise, the flood of new patients may instead turn out to be a final strike for our ailing health care system.
And at that point for all of us, doctors and patients, the game would be over."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"From a communications perspective, this has been done about as wrong as is possible. There have been no credible spokespeople, the messages about the plan have been wrong or incomplete, the plan's supporters failed to understand the different audiences that had to be reached, and few people validated the claim that the plan was needed."
"In the midst of a steep global downturn, Fiat ekes out a profit while Chrysler and GM may soon run out of cash. For that alone, they should be shunned. Fiat's and Detroit's troubles started with the 1973 Arab oil embargo. That's 35 years of hand-wringing and warnings.
Congress worked in its aerie on Capitol Hill on an expensive temporary rescue of the American auto industry. The proposals, arguments and rhetoric over what to do for Detroit sounded as if they'd been imported from cuckoo land."
Saturday, December 13, 2008
"As the city’s economy soared and its population grew between 2003 and 2007, something unusual was happening on the streets and in the subway tunnels."
Oh, so you mean all of those evil Wall Streeters, bankers, and free-market business owners were actually good for everyone. Ain't that a kick in the head!
Friday, December 12, 2008
"As the American economy sinks into the deepest recession in a generation — caused in large part by this sort of anti-government and anti-regulatory dogma — it would be folly to allow the ideologues to undermine efforts to pull the country out."
We can argue all we want about the virtues (or not) of bailing out the American auto industry. There really are 2 sides (and maybe then some) to this unfolding disaster. But, of course, the NY Times, in its ever infinite wisdom, sees only one side; and then uses the above reasoning.
The rest of us know better. There is just as much blame to be shared here by the big government, quasi-nationalized Fannie and Freddie fools, as there is from the greedy, underfunded free-enterprise set. But, the Times editors think a bail-out is in order, so who are they to let the facts get in the way of a good ol' fashioned prejudice when they are in the mood?
"Well, surprise and disappointment are the same… There are two big things: First, I was a much bigger fan of anonymity then than I am now. I thought it was cool. And it is, but it turns out anonymity really encourages bad behavior. I’m not in favor of the government tracking everybody and so forth, [but] at least persistent pseudonyms and communities and stuff like that makes everything a nicer place.
It’s like a lot of things. I’m pro choice, but I think abortion is an unfortunate thing. I think the same thing about anonymity: Everybody should have the right to it, but it’s not something one wants to encourage. And that’s not weasel words, that’s the reality of it.
[Anonymity] should be allowed. People should be able to make that choice, and there are many reasons to make that choice. If you live in an oppressive regime, you may well want people to be able to remain anonymous or have secret communications. But at the same time, it should not be encouraged, and it should be acknowledged that it’s a response to a bad situation."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"But previously undisclosed internal documents that are now in Mr. Waxman's possession and that we've seen tell a different story. Memos and emails at the highest levels of Fannie and Freddie management in 2004 and 2005 paint a picture of two companies that saw their market share eroded by such products as option-ARMs and interest-only mortgages. The two companies were prepared to walk ever further out on the risk curve to maintain their market position.
The companies understood the risks they were running. But squeezed between the need to meet affordable-housing goals set by HUD and the desire to sustain their growth and profits, they took the leap anyway. As a result, by the middle of this year, the two companies were responsible for some $1.6 trillion worth of subprime credit of one form or another. The answer to Mr. Waxman's question about their role in the crisis, in other words, is that they were central players, if not the central players, in the creation of the housing boom and the credit bust. Mr. Waxman released some of these documents Tuesday but kept others under wraps."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"This notion that there are some parts of society that are too important to be left to the market naively assumes that whatever the market’s alleged shortcomings, the government will do better.
To believe this, you have to believe that bunch of government bureaucrats and politicians are capable of orchestrating a food delivery system for 300 million people—the same bureaucrats and politicians who never meet a budget, are subject to the whims of politics and the pull of special interests (why do we subsidize corn, but not fruit? cotton, but not tomatoes?), and who are incentivized to fail (government programs that fail get more funding!)."
"...our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet."
It's "call in gay" day today. Or, no, the real name is "Day Without a Gay." "Call in gay" equates "gay" with "sick," which isn't the intended message. Well, what is the message? What possible good is done for a cause by a protest that comes in the form of shirking your responsibilities?
Because the whole reason for flaunting one's "gayness" is to prove that you are entirely self-absorbed....
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Megan and some others feel the same:
Girls will be girls, I guess.
Drezner asks for suggestions as to how Hirshmann could have gotten it so totally, bizarrely, utterly, I-know-why-don't-I-save-time-by-blow-drying-my-hair-in-the-shower? wrong. If you figure it out, please do let me know.
HEH: Hypocrisy: Senator Dodd (D - Countrywide) Wants General Motors CEO To Resign. Boy, it’s sure a target-rich environment out there today.
Monday, December 8, 2008
"I’m curious to see how many people do an about face on issues like judicial confirmations, use of the filibuster, executive power, and similar issues now that an imperial GOP presidency is likely to be replaced with an imperial Democratic one."
Today's editorials from our newspaper of record. Well, I'm ready to start my day....
The extent of the damage done by the Bush administration to American civil liberties will be told in part by the outcome of two cases in federal court.
A federal appointment could mean that Arizona will lose its most powerful voice of reason in a state that continues to hatch some of cruelest ideas for getting tough on immigrants.
Any plan that President-elect Barack Obama is devising to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work must include a provision for youthful workers.
Preserving the bluefin tuna species requires sharply reduced quotas or, better, a moratorium on tuna fishing.
"Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?Here we have the perfect example of the pseudo-intellectual Mr. Egan, ranting away at the potential good fortune of someone who actually has the temerity to work for a living. The fact the our plumber friend does not actually have to be licensed for domestic (non-commercial) work in the state of Ohio is something to be used against him because..... oh yeah - because Egan wants to. Let's license writers, perhaps, and see how far Egan gets.
I didn’t think so. And I don’t want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor’s gate.
Joe, a k a Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was no good as a citizen, having failed to pay his full share of taxes, no good as a plumber, not being fully credentialed, and not even any good as a faux American icon. Who could forget poor John McCain at his most befuddled, calling out for his working-class surrogate on a day when Joe stiffed him."
Poor J. the P. owes back taxes - something else to demonize him for. But take a look at the rolls of those who are in the same position; and you will find hundreds of thousands working people who have come upon hard times, and , again, work for a living actually doing things and performing services that create (taxable) income. "Bad People", says Mr. Tim who don't sit on their asses all day putting pen to paper....
So lets have a Blue Ribbon Panel (call Chuck Schumer, he'd love to participate) to decide who gets published and who doesn't. Call it the Ministry of Information & Truth - just perfect for the Obama crazies who want The People to decide everything. The Fairness Doctrine awaits, folks. Beware......
Update: Thank God I wasn't the only one who took exception to Egan's stupidity......
Saturday, December 6, 2008
"I wrote in my book, 'America Alone,' that 'reforming' Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Quran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there'll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there'll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Mumbai in the name of Allah, and that's just business as usual. And, if it is somehow 'understandable' that for the first time in history it's no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, 'worry about image.' Not enough."
"Because these Iraqi agents were operating at such a low, grassroots, level, they rarely appeared on the FBI radar. Saddam's espionage service was efficient enough to set up ways to get information to and from his American spies. This is nothing new. Many other nations, both friendly and hostile, have similar spy networks inside the United States. And many of these low level spies are never caught."
Friday, December 5, 2008
"Mainline voting for Hall of Fame membership, as any other imperfect process, has its cracks, but few have fallen through them as unreasonably as Gil Hodges, the generator of the powerhouse Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s."
"The 11 teams on the Formula One circuit spent a reported $1.6 billion during the 2008 season, which ended on Nov. 2. Max Mosley, the president of the International Automobile Federation, which governs Formula One and other racing series, has called that spending figure “unsustainable.”
A statement Friday from the federation reiterated that view, repeating the word “unsustainable” and adding that “the global economic downturn has only exacerbated an already critical situation.”
Even successful, winning teams on the circuit lose money, and the budget for the Honda operation was said to be close to $300 million this season. The team employed more than 700 people at its headquarters in Brackley, England."
"The observation that some people are jerks, and that jerkiness does not enhance performance, is not exactly surprising. What I want to know is whether disruptive doctors actually account for a notable percentage of medical errors. I'm sure if you surveyed doctors, 20% or so could report an error caused by a lazy LPN, incompetent PA, or pigheaded nurse. But I'm skeptical that 'nurse pigheadedness' is actually a major problem that America's healthcare system needs to address."
I don't know. I've sure run into some pretty nasty nurses along the way..... And no offense to some of my closest friends; but I believe that doctors, in general, are a fairly arrogant, self-assured bunch (not that it is always a bad thing when lives hang in the balance). Let's face it, it usually takes a very bright soul to become a physician, and most of them know it and show it. Then, along the way, their medical education teaches them that they are as close to gods as mortals can be. What do you expect? Would you want to be treated by a doctor who wasn't very sure about him/herself?
Shit! I hate these "life is a two way street" scenarios.....
"Irregular warfare is now considered to be both a “steady state” as well as a “surge” activity. This means that from a U.S. policy perspective, there are no longer alternating states of “peace” and “war.” There will only be a constant hum of irregular warfare in its various forms and conducted at varying levels of intensity. This will include traditional Phase 2 and 3 conflict, which will be followed by Phase 4 stability operations – more irregular warfare."
"It is awfully generous of the Times to forgive Obama's supporters for believing what they read in the Times."
Even TNR is caving; and, of course, that's just fine with them. It's amazing that all of the ranting and raving, all of the "change" bullshit was little more than personal animus towards Bush. But none of these fools will ever admit it...
"“It was one of the most hostile meetings I’ve ever been to,” Jeff Abbas, manager of KPVL, the local radio station, which has led a community effort to help laid-off plant employees, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I felt a little sorry for Sarachek, because there were so many questions he couldn’t answer: When will we be paid? When will we go back to work?”
Mr. Sarachek, a bankruptcy expert from New York, was appointed trustee after the plant’s owner, the Rubashkin family, filed for bankruptcy last month. The plant’s kosher certification was threatened after it was fined $10 million for wage violations and faced criminal charges for 9,300 child labor violations."
A sad story, indeed. And yet another unintended consequence of a scattershot immigration policy.
"It was a guilt fiesta. Victims were invited to unload tales of abuse — not necessarily to the authorities (that was optional), but to lawyers brought by Mr. Mateo, who roves the New York region, popping up at crime victims’ sides.
In the vestibule, volunteers kept the delivery system flowing, sending a stream of potential clients to Mr. Mateo’s lawyers. “Are you a victim? Are you a victim?” said a woman passing out fliers in Spanish. The fliers explained that testimonies would be recorded, but did not explain that the person doing the recording was a reporter for the public-radio station WSHU who had done a flattering story on Mr. Wolter two days earlier."
So, here we have the most famous victim-finder on the planet, The New York Times editor, complaining about a group of people (and lawyers, and publicity seekers) attempting to flush out as many "victims" as possible. Gee, I wonder where they got the idea that they could get away with it?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"If Abraham Lincoln were delivering his Gettysburg Address today, he might feel compelled to conclude, 'that government for the government shall not perish from this earth.' He was 'Honest Abe' after all."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Perry County, Alabama, voted over 70% for Barack Obama in the November election and now its Commissioners have voted to honor him with The Barack Obama Day:
“The Perry County Commission voted 4 to 1 to observe the second Monday in November as “The Barack Obama Day.” County offices will close and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid holiday.”
How appropriate to honor the “spread the wealth” candidate by giving county workers a day off with pay - at taxpayers’ expense - in recognition of a man who hasn’t even taken office yet.
Now that the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial has resulted in convictions, will the unindicted co-conspirators in the case still be treated by the media as legitimate “civil rights organizations?” Steven Emerson says this is CAIR’s Make or Break Moment.
"So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain's most respected TV journalists, use the word 'practitioners' when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors?"
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Evidently, New York Times economics reporter Peter Goodman (or perhaps his editor, depending upon who wrote the headline) fancies himself as the next Picasso. So who are the Nazis in his mind? The management at Wal-Mart who, somewhat like Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium 30 years ago failed to have adequate security and preparations for the onslaught of a crowd, or the shoppers who crushed the unfortunate sales clerk? The article, found via Newsbusters doesn't say.
I'd excuse a high school or sophomoric college newspaper journalist making such an overwrought analogy. But if the New York Times and its writers and editors can't see the difference between an unfortunate shopping incident and the Spanish Civil War, one wonders what what value the newspaper has as an information source to be trusted by their readers.
Actual people are never responsible for bad things - that is how institutions like the Times keep their nonsense going.... Read the whole piece.
Monday, December 1, 2008
"This weekend, news reports were full of finger-wagging over the death by trampling of a temporary worker, Jdimypai Damour, at a Wal-Mart store in Long Island on Friday. His death, the coverage suggested, was a symbol of a broken culture of consumerism in which people would do anything for a bargain.
The willingness of people to walk over another human being to get at the right price tag raises the question of how they got that way in the first place. But in the search for the usual suspects and parceling of blame, the news media should include themselves.
Just a few days ago, the same newspaper writers and television anchors who are now wearily shaking their heads at the collective bankruptcy of our mass consumer culture were cheering all of it on."
"When President-elect Barack Obama introduces his national security team on Monday, it will include two veteran cold warriors and a political rival whose records are all more hawkish than that of the new president who will face them in the White House Situation Room."
"The agency that protects pension plans raised new concerns about Detroit's three auto makers, saying their use of pension funds to pay for restructuring threatens to drain the funds and leave the agency footing the bill.
The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. this week sent letters to General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC asking for projections on how the companies plan to use their pension plans to cover early retirements or other buyout deals."
"When Donna Campiglia learned recently that a genetic test might be able to determine which sports suit the talents of her 2 ½-year-old son, Noah, she instantly said, Where can I get it and how much does it cost?"
"The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: 'Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,' he said.
Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. 'During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis,' an IB source said."
"Imagine that. Because Obama is black, before he even steps into the White House and accomplishes one darned thing he already has more legitimacy around the world than possibly every American president that came before him.
Isn't that racist? Isn't suggesting that someone is better or more 'legitimate' solely because of the color of his or her skin a tremendously offensive concept?
Doesn't this go counter to Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that his four children 'will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character' (h/t NBer Mike Bratton)?
How did such obvious racism go completely unchallenged by Matthews and the rest of his panel? After all, doesn't this mean that all the white leaders of Europe and in other parts of the world are now LESS legitimate than Obama just because they're not black?"
Sunday, November 30, 2008
A leaked intelligence document issued by Spain’s CNI spy agency in October warns that Russia is aggressively pursuing a plan to “monopolize access to energy supplies to Europe.” The report validates what many analysts have been saying for a long time, namely that Moscow is using Russian energy companies to gain geo-strategic control over northern, central and southern Europe.
"'The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid,' Nash said. 'In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting.'"
"Predictably, almost as soon as the engagement ring slid onto my finger, I fell in love with someone else. I fell madly, insanely, obsessively in love with a conservative Christian man who believed that I, as a Jew, was going to hell. We fought long and hard about that, and then had sex. This is so stupid, it pains me to write about it.If you want to see what is really wrong with this country and this world, just check out the Sunday Styles section of the NY Times. From the above quoted essay from the (worse than) pathetic Lauren Slater - whomever she may be, to the self-obsessed wedding announcements, one can virtually bathe in the silliness of folks and the "journalists" who have nothing better to do with their lives.
And yet this affair, I sensed, was necessary for me to move forward with my marriage. It was a test. I believed, but could not be sure, that just as sex had cooled for my soon-to-be husband and me, it would cool with this man, with any man, no matter what or whom — in which case my fiancé was the person I wanted to marry."
"In what sense is he “change you can believe in”? How is he part of the solution, not part of the problem? I know he is a protégé of Robert E. Rubin. But isn’t Mr. Rubin himself the essence of the Washington-New York finance axis of power? He was a fine Treasury secretary while the tech boom made all things new, but Citigroup hasn’t exactly thrived during his tenure. Again, where is the change?
It’s not just Mr. Obama’s personnel choices that bear watching, but what he’s said about his economic programs. Public works seem to be the centerpiece of his effort to jolt the economy back into high gear. But recall the history of national attempts to “jolt” economies this way. In a word, their success is limited.
New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps were highly visible but accomplished little on a macro scale. Yes, they employed hundreds of thousands, and that was great. They built post offices and bridges. But they created friction with unions because they paid sub-union wages.
Will the new administration be prepared to require that public works employees be union members? If so, of what union?"
From his terrace on Colaba Causeway in south Mumbai, Arun Shanbhag saw the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel burn. He saw ambulances leave the Nariman House. And he recorded every move on the Internet.
Mr. Shanbhag, who lives in Boston but happened to be in Mumbai when the attacks began on Wednesday, described the gunfire on his Twitter feed — the “thud, thud, thud” of shotguns and the short bursts of automatic weapons — and uploaded photos to his personal blog.
It would have been better, perhaps, if we knew less, and he fought back more.....
Update: Futher thoughts....
Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the right thigh while at a Manhattan nightclub early Saturday, hours after he was deemed unfit to play in Sunday’s game at Washington because of a hamstring strain in the same leg.
"With the high level of training, preparation, and coordination these terrorists showed, it’s pretty clear that this was more than just a local battle. It was a strike at the heart of India’s financial sector, it was targeted primarily against Westerners and Jews, and it was a message to the incoming Obama administration that the global jihad is alive and well."
"Lovely of Ms. Dietrich to bring up race in an article on guns, or for that matter, any other topic except … um … race. I know plenty of gun owners who fear new restrictions on their right to own or carry guns. I also know plenty of gunophobes who think guns are icky, can’t imagine why an sane person would want to own one, and would be delighted to see government take everyone else’s guns away. I do not know a single individual, however, who is in favor of having his guns taken away from a white guy, but opposed to having them taken away from a black guy. Do you? Does Dietrich? If not, what the hell point is there in bringing race up?"
Everybody knows how President-elect Barack Obama's amazing campaign money machine was dominated by several million regular folks sending in hard-earned amounts under $200, a real sign of his broadbased grassroots support.
Except, it turns out, that's not really true.
In fact, Obama's base of small donors was almost exactly the same percent as George W. Bush's in 2004 -- Obama had 26% and the great Republican satan 25%. Obviously, this is unacceptable to current popular thinking.
"But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. 'There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,' he said. 'At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back.'"
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The costs of Washington’s bailout fiesta are now so huge, you can see them from space.Read the whole thing....
Indeed, one of the most astounding aspects of the gelling Obama administration is how completely it’s relying on the same old people Obama once said he was going to ignore in his pursuit of cosmic “change.”
As a conservative, I’m grateful that Obama isn’t picking the sorts of people I feared he would. Some of us half expected Che Guevara T-shirts to be the unofficial dress code of the Obama Cabinet. Yet, so far, with all of the Wall Street cronies, Clinton retreads, and Bush holdovers, it appears Obama’s far more of an agent of the status quo than an agent of change. That’s a relief compared with how bad it might have been, but it’s also a shame considering what could be.
"So Bush is history, and we have a new president who promises to heal the planet, and yet the jihadists don’t seem to have got the Obama message that there are no enemies, just friends we haven’t yet held talks without preconditions with. This isn’t about repudiating the Bush years, or withdrawing from Iraq, or even liquidating Israel. It’s bigger than that. And if you don’t have a strategy for beating back the ideology, you’ll lose.
Whoops, my apologies. I mean “suspected ideology.”"
Belmont Club takes a slightly different approach:
"One of the biggest obstacles to dealing with this mutating beast is the Western intelligensia’s perverse inclination to assign altruistic or holy motives to what are purely criminal or political aims. This is not to deny the genuinely spiritual aspirations of Muslims because that is a universal human trait. But there is a need to distinguish between man’s search for the numinous, which is part of our common heritage, and confidence tricks of caravan raiders who dress up their predatory activities with the color of religion. The age of the sound-bite has shown itself as bandwidth limited as the age of illiteracy. Today it is often enough to describe oneself as holy, a prophet or a messiah to blind the world to the true character of banditry."
Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg -- along with his wife Rivka -- died in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
AND: "The miracle of this life continues to unfold for me on a daily basis," wrote Alan Scherr, who "devoted his life to meditation and the search for peaceful balance." He took his 13-year-old daughter Naomi with him to India, on a spiritual quest. The 2 of them died in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
"Some shoppers who had seen the stampede said they were shocked. One of them, Kimberly Cribbs of Queens, said the crowd had acted like “savages.” Shoppers behaved badly even as the store was being cleared, she recalled.This is the article on page 16 of today's Times. The front page has genius Stephanie Rosenbloom telling us:
“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”"
In a sign of consumer desperation amid a bleak economy, the annual rite of retailing known as Black Friday turned chaotic and even deadly, as predawn shoppers scrambled for holiday bargains.Once again, we will most likely find a way to make sure that the uncivilized wretches who killed this poor man are never brought to justice; and that a maximum payout from a corporate scapegoat keeps the legal profession busy. If times were good, do you think this would not have happened?
Friday, November 28, 2008
"Wouldn’t you know? The attack on Mumbai is already being spun as a retribution for Hindu oppression and a stinging rebuttal to the “so-called” War on Terror, a phrase implying the bankruptcy of even the thought of resistance. And notice the not-so subtle connection of events in Mubai to the Jew. The message is clear. Get rid of the Jew, return Kashmir. Stop struggling. And the pain will stop."
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A sugar molecule linked to the origin of life was discovered in a potentially habitable region of our galaxy.
The molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the less-chaotic outer regions of the Milky Way. This suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.
"Financial reports suggest the Obamas have a net worth in excess of $7M. That’s a lot more than most of us have so I think Barack Obama should give up his salary as President and recognize his responsibility to us, his citizen shareholders.
After all, times are tough and it’s for the good of the country."
"I've been thinking about this for awhile. How much of this current crisis is just a manifestation of the American--indeed human--will? We're always talking about politicians deluding us and Wall-Street manipulating us, and predatory lenders conning us, into doing things that aren't in our own interest. But maybe we don't want what's in our interest. Maybe we like our gas-guzzling, credit-card charging, second house buying when you can't afford it, commercial culture."
A defiant deathbed song written and recorded by Imam Samudra shortly before his execution has been released on the internet and is now being downloaded as a mobile phone ringtone by hardliners and ordinary people alike in Indonesia.
"'Oh shit,' he mumbled. 'I just broke the Internet.'"
"So far, Mr. Biden has not been given a defined portfolio, the way Al Gore was given the environment and technology in 1992. And Mr. Obama’s aides say they do not expect Mr. Biden to assume the kind of muscular role that Vice President Dick Cheney has played over the last eight years, although he is expected to put out a number of fires"
Come Christmas, McKenna Hunt, a gregarious little girl from Safety Harbor, Fla., will receive the play kitchen and the Elmo doll she wants. But her mother, Kristen Hunt, will go without the designer jeans she covets this season.
Leave it to the Times for this hard-hitting piece of economic downturn journalism.
Ann Althouse brings another comment to the table on the same article.....
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"The words from General Petraeus about Southwest Baghdad will always stick with me: “It will be the canary in the mineshaft; if they can pull it off, this will be doable...”
The General was right…and the canary to sing for another day."
Andrew Breitbart hit back at Hollywood tonight for blacklisting the Proposition 8 supporters.
Breitbart joined Laura Ingraham on The O'Reilly Factor tonight and challenged the gay activists to go protest at the local mosques for gay marriage
Monday, November 24, 2008
"A jury on Monday determined that the Holy Land Foundation and five men who worked with the Muslim charity were guilty of three dozen counts related to the illegal funneling of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas."
"There's been a lot of talk about how the mainstream media failed the country during this last election cycle, and that because of that failure their days are numbered.
I have to disagree. I think the media performed flawlessly during the two year election cycle. They managed the story, shielded their candidate, attacked the opposition, sat on damaging stories, and in short did everything a good state run media should do during an election cycle.
In fact, the only sign of their incompetence was that McCain kept the race much closer than he should have, but that failure might be more due to the education system failing to properly propagandize the young voters, although they'll probably blame home-schoolers for that.
But all in all, the media performed admirably. Just watch this video and you'll instantly see how effectively the media communicated the Obama message."
And then read Dershowitz's "Why Terrorism Works" to understand just what is going on here...
Eric Holder (Barack Obama's choice for Attorney General), on the question of whether unlawful combatants captured in the war on terror are entitled to prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Convention. From an interview on CNN, January 2002:
One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.
It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.
Someone I can get behind.... finally.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Your Sunday required reading comes from Eric Dash and Julie Creswell, who do a fine job of reporting on the demise of Citigroup in their New York Times article, "Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk." I was expecting the stories of greed, stupidity, and lax internal oversight. What I was not expecting was the way the article portrays Robert Rubin in a much less favorable light than he has been accustomed to from an adoring press corps.
THE OBAMAS walk away from public schools. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, it’s wonderful that the Obamas had such a broad range of public and private school choices available to them. What’s puzzling is that the president-elect opposes programs that would bring that same easy choice of schools within reach of families who lack his personal wealth.”
"In short, expansionary monetary policy and wartime orders from Europe, not the well-known policies of the New Deal, did the most to make the American economy climb out of the Depression. Our current downturn will end as well someday, and, as in the ’30s, the recovery will probably come for reasons that have little to do with most policy initiatives."
"So a mere two weeks after victory, 'hope and change' and 'a break from the past' reified into parceling out posts to dozens of Clintonite retreads, plenty of the old requisite Ivy-League law degrees, ample influence from establishment ex-lobbyists, de rigueur Sidwell Friends for the kids, and apparent sudden existential angst and uncertainty over FISA, getting out pronto from Iraq, closing down the Constitution-shredding Gitmo, and overturning the McCarthyite Patriot Act—and all to acclaim and relief from aristocratic Beltway pundits of both parties? So that was all the election was about? Just new faces on the same old, same old? And relief that Treasury, the National Security Advisorship, and Defense will be in the hands of well-known centrists? And at least on national and homeland security it is perhaps not the shadow of Bill Clinton, but of George W. Bush, that now begins to loom large?"
Saturday, November 22, 2008
"I can’t think of any campaign promises Obama has kept. Can you?"
"Put aside that these ballots have already been ruled on by trained election judges. Put aside, too, the invasion of voter privacy. The real problem of allowing Mr. Franken to conduct his own voter discovery operation is that this is changing the rules after the election has been held. The gambit introduces subjective judgment and political pressure into a voting process that is supposed to be immune to both."
There was a weird moment last night even before the attorney general collapsed.
A man at a table near ours stood up, early in the speech, and shouted, "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!"
He would have been right, too, if the definition of tyrant were "a government official who will leave office in two months as part of a peaceful transition of power after a lawful, regularly scheduled election."
Michael Mukasey continued with his speech. He appeared to us unruffled, although Kathryn Lopez thought he "seemed rattled." Perhaps he was shaken but not stirred. The heckler sat down, and a bit later we looked over and noticed he was gone.