Saturday, May 17, 2008
Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It's one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks are the end, talks without end. Because that's what civilized nations like doing — chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It's easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything. And, as the Iranians understand, talks provide a splendid cover for getting on with anything you want to do. If, say, you want to get on with your nuclear program relatively undisturbed, the easiest way to do it is to enter years of endless talks with the Europeans over said nuclear program. That's why that Hamas honcho endorsed Obama: They know he's their best shot at getting a European foreign minister installed as president of the United States.
Read it all here...
Friday, May 16, 2008
"When I stayed at one of your hotels recently and asked if it would be possible to email a copy of my receipt to me and your clerk said yes I was hoping for a copy of the receipt to be emailed to me and was not hoping to be inundated with spam on a near-daily basis.
Action on either of those points would be appreciated."
"As much as 55 percent of the state budget currently goes to pay for civil servants and state pensions. Mr. Sarkozy and his prime minister, François Fillon, say they intend to have a balanced budget by 2012. Mr. Fillon was encouraged on Thursday by reports that economic growth was up in the first quarter, and that the French economy was likely to grow 1.7 percent to 2 percent this year."These folks arent going to be around much longer, are they? Pass the cheese, please...
"For Obama’s communications director to call the President’s remarks an “unprecedented political attack on foreign soil” is utter nonsense. More than that, though, Obama’s reaction is exactly the kind of “distraction” that he constantly complains about–even when the issues raised are legitimate ones to discuss (like his association with the Reverend Wright). To take a serious address like the one President Bush delivered in Israel today and shoehorn it into a campaign is exactly the kind of thing that drags down political discourse in America–and is the opposite of what Obama claims to represent."
P.J. O'ROURKE SUMS UP THE ELECTIONS:
Two substantive political issues are the federal budget deficit and the war in Iraq. Now, if you're electing Democrats to control government spending, then you're marrying Angelina Jolie for her brains. This leaves the Democrats with one real issue: Iraq. And so far the best that any Democratic presidential candidate has been able to manage with Iraq is to make what I think of as the high school sex promise: I will pull out in time, honest dear.
Though, actually, I think Angelina Jolie is smarter than Obama when it comes to Iraq.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"After last year’s stellar profits, American refiners are going through a traumatic period. In a time of record gasoline prices, some of them actually lost money in the first quarter, and for virtually all refiners, profits are down sharply.
Experts say the refiners are caught in a double bind. The price of their raw material, oil, is rising because of strong global demand. At the same time, consumption of gasoline in the United States is falling as a result of slower economic growth and consumer efforts to conserve."
Read the whole thing. Dumbass political slogans will just make things worse.....
"After two years of extremely heated debate that included references to ecology, history, geography, and the politics of selling or buying mass-produced cupcakes, the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn voted at the end of last month to discontinue the sale of bottled water. It comes to about 670 gallons of water per week.
Just as the co-op membership: 13,966 has been selling its last few ounces of designer water, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital is very quietly going into its third year with signs posted over every sink in one of its newest buildings that say: “Do not drink the water. Use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, or taking medication.”"
I have always DESPISED the ever-present image of Sue Simmons on the telly. Nothing specific, she just irked me to the bone; and she will always be the poster girl for the vapid, empty and ridiculous waste of time that local news represents.
Couldn't have happened to a better person.....
"The next American president will inherit many foreign policy challenges, but surely one of the biggest will be the cold war. Yes, the next president is going to be a cold-war president — but this cold war is with Iran."Friedman hasn't been all that cogent lately; but this Op-Ed today makes a whole lot of sense. Appeasing the Shiite animals will be the left's primary focus after the election; and we will find out very quickly if our new President has any balls at all.
"It s not very popular to pass energy policies that would really lower gas prices. That would mean giving up our SUV s, funding mass transit, and building more smelly refineries. It s not popular to tell some farmers that if they can t survive without taxpayer subsidies when commodity prices are this high, maybe they shouldn t be farming.
The fantasy is that suspending additions of light sweet crude oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would lower gas prices. We re currently purchasing 68,000 barrels per day out of 86 million barrels purchased daily on the world market. Furthermore, refiners operate flat out over the summer. There is no additional gas to be had at any price. Adding a trickle more crude oil will not yield any more gas.
The fantasy is that rewarding farmers with subsidies will ease food prices. No, the subsidies will just reward favored farmers. Growing more food will ease prices, and that usually happens as the result of investments in technologies that increase crop yields."
"The fact is that the Democrats will control Congress. If they also control the White House, we will have a series of legislative packages that will make the Great Society look like a libertarian government. In opposition the Republicans rediscover their principles; it s power they haven t been able to handle since Newt Gingrich was Speaker.
The country is in trouble. We have forgotten our founding principles, and we move inexorably toward a European style socialist state, with the only winners being an enormous bureaucracy. This will accelerate the economic decline.
The argument is to give the Democrats their head, and pick up the pieces after the inevitable crash. I think that overlooks the resilience of tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect regimes. We haven t seen much in the way of reforms in Europe. The Democrats will create new bureaucracies that can never be dismantled: an example is the Department of Education. Reagan came into office determined to abolish it. Now it owns US education, and No Child Left Behind is entrenched. The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is inexorable.
The country was reasonably well managed when we had a Republican Congress and a Democrat President."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Yes, it is premature to say this, but if the Red Wings and Penguins meet in the Stanley Cup Final which becomes more likely each day , the series will be marked by this rarity: The last Penguins team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1992, was coached by Scotty Bowman. The last Red Wings team to win the Stanley Cup, in 2002, was coached by Scotty Bowman.If Philly loses tonight, it is all but over, and this Times blog is spot-on in its prediction. Certainly, the two best teams are showing their stuff; and a showdown between the two is going to be maybe the best Cup Final in quite some time. Watching the Flyers lose is ALWAYS something I find satisfying, though...
Perhaps the researchers at Elias Sports Bureau can figure out the last time that happened, if it has ever happened at all.
And wouldn’t it be nice if the NHL and these clubs honored Scotty along with the captains of those two teams — Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman — prior to Game 1 of the Final, maybe by having them drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff?
American victims of bombings and rocket attacks in Israel have sued Swiss bank UBS AG for more than $500 million, accusing the bank of helping fund the militants behind the attacks through dealings with Iran.
Monday, May 12, 2008
By most measures, the Jewish state is a great success story. The modern Middle East is the misbegotten progeny of the British and French colonial map-makers of 1922. All the nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years — Iraq to the Thirties, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel to the Forties. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it. Would I rather there were more countries like Israel, or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Iraq may yet prove a second) and its Arab citizens enjoy more rights than they would living under any of the kleptocrat kings and psychotic dictators who otherwise infest the region. On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita just shy of $30,000 — and within striking distance of the European Union average. If you object that that’s because it’s uniquely blessed by Uncle Sam, well, for the past 30 years the second largest recipient of U.S. aid has been Egypt: Their GDP per capita is $5,000, and America has nothing to show for its investment other than one-time pilot Mohammed Atta coming at you through the office window.
"Part of what drives Cosby’s activism, and reinforces his message, is the rage that lives in all African Americans, a collective feeling of disgrace that borders on self-hatred. As the comedian Chris Rock put it in one of his infamous routines, “Everything white people don’t like about black people, black people really don’t like about black people … It’s like a civil war going on with black people, and it’s two sides—there’s black people and there’s niggas, and niggas have got to go … Boy, I wish they’d let me join the Ku Klux Klan. Shit, I’d do a drive-by from here to Brooklyn.” (Rock stopped performing the routine when he noticed that his white fans were laughing a little too hard.) Liberalism, with its pat logic and focus on structural inequities, offers no balm for this sort of raw pain. Like the people he preaches to, Cosby has grown tired of hanging his head."
Read the WHOLE THING!
"When former President Jimmy Carter spoke at Brandeis University in January, he complained that 'this is the first time I've ever been called a liar...'. Well, he'd better get used to it, because I can now prove that he is a liar."
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose $10 million contribution was turned down by Rudy Giuliani in the days after the 9/11 attacks, is showering American colleges and political institutions (like the Jimmy Carter Center for Peace and the James Baker Institute) with multi-million dollar donations: Harvard Islamic Studies Program Opened.
After anointing Obama as the nominee on Tuesday, the media narrative has shifted to the West Virginia and Kentucky "Appalachian" contests. They are reduced to quaint curiosities in which poor, white, uneducated mountain people from a "bygone era" have been trained to make their way to a school gym and push a button just like real people for the delight and amusement of the media elite.
The "dueling banjos" video in this post entitled "On to Appalachia" is a good example. Presumably it is a reference to the retarded West Virginia inbred voter demographic making up Clinton's 20% to 40% margin of support there.