The Washington Post headline caught the self-pity of a couple of antiwar congressmen: “Lawmakers Describe ‘Being Slimed in the Green Zone’ “
If they were “slimed,” it was with their own words. As these congressmen visited Iraq, so they can go back home and declare the Surge is lost, someone circulated their past quotes.
Democratic Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher of California had said: “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight.”
She dared to protest. She whined to the Washington Post: “This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone.”
Truth hurts. Is she saying she lied when she said: “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight”? Is she saying she is ashamed that she said: “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight”? Is she saying she was misquoted when she said: “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight”?
Then there is Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, who had said: “This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history.”
He, too, protested having his words come back to haunbt him, complaining: “Spin City. The Iraqis and the Americans were all singing from the same song sheet, and it was deliberately manipulated.”
No, what is being spun is this “slimed” crapola.
The troops are human beings. They do not like being pawns in partisan games. Moran and Tauscher are part of a clique of Democratic politicians who want us to lose in Iraq so they can gain on Republicans.
Most Americans see through this charade.
So, apparently do the troops and the Iraqi politicians.
One amusing pasttime is to watch liberal Democrats puzzle about why they lose elections, especially those to George W. Bush.
Generally, their explanations boil down to:
- The election was rigged
- Voters are stupid
- Karl Rove is/was an evil genius
One even wrote a book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” that pondered why Kansans voted “against their own interests” by voting Republican. (One simple answer: because they define their interests differently. Duh.)
One might ask why blacks vote heavily for Democrats, the party that smothers them in pity, undermines their sense of self-sufficiency and patronizes them worse than any racist ever could.
Now there’s a new theory of voter behavior, as covered in the latest issue of The New Republic, the liberal mag that was recently scandalized by publishing phony war diaries designed to make US soldiers look bad.
The theory? That fear of mortality makes people act differently (sparking something called worldview defense), and that Bush, by reminding voters of 9/11, induced them to vote against their own interests.
In the months after September 11, most Americans were caught up in the same reaction to the tragedy–and that included adulation for Bush, even among many Democrats. But over the next few years, faced with two elections, Bush had to maintain his popularity; and he did so by constantly reviving memories of that dark day.
Yes, but perhaps it was because Bush sees daily intelligence briefings and sees the threat as no one else can. Remember the failed attempt to hijack airliners in England and explode them over US cities two summers ago?
As the 2002 election approached, voters turned their attention to the recession, as well as Enron and other scandals–all to the Democrats’ favor. At that point, Bush, who had stood aside in the November 2001 gubernatorial elections that Democrats won, sought to base the 2002 election on terrorism. Bush and Karl Rove used the full arsenal of scare tactics to evoke fears of another September 11.
The Democrats want Americans to forget 9/11 so they can get busy redistributing citizens’ wealth to suit their “worldview.” Republicans believe that, of all things, the federal government must protect the lives of its citizens.
It’s really not that complicated.
Moisture from Hurricane Dean found its way into SoCal, and for the past week we’ve had cumulous clouds in abundance — unusual for this time of year. Yesterday I goofed off and shot some photos near Ventura Harbor.
Here are three featuring the same cloud formation, which didn’t seem to change for hours.
Liberal means being generous with someone else’s money. For example:
In a split vote, L.A. Unified’s new school board agreed to pay health benefits to part-time cafeteria workers – a decision that will cost the cash-strapped district $105 million over three years and could force layoffs of other workers to cover the expense.
Board members who voted against the plan Tuesday said it could set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgates for other unions demanding full health benefits for their members.
Don a hairnet, serve lunch and get full health benefits. What a
…cafeteria workers and Service Employees International Union Local 99 officials insist that after two years in which action was postponed, the vote will ensure adequate staffing for every child to be able to eat at lunchtime.
Cute. Divert $105 million from the schools and claim it’s for the kids.
“They have a multibillion-dollar budget. I know it’s hard, but sometimes the kids and the workers have to come first,” said Bill Lloyd, interim executive director of SEIU Local 99. “It’s just there has to be the desire to make the hard decisions. This was an agonizing decision, but I think putting kids first is important.”
Here’s a hard decision: if you want to work part-time, expect to make other arrangements for your healthcare.
My two oldest boys began playing tackle football this year and I have been, to put it mildly, ecstatic. Had they chosen something I have little passion for – say soccer – while I would still encourage them, I doubt I would currently be slipping down the slope into little league parent oblivion.
Aside from the rather annoying certainty that their child is the most gifted on the field, my main complaint with sports parents is that rather than remain rooted in the tera firma of academic emancipation, they begin tip toeing in the celestial arena of athletic deliverance. The bar tends to drop as priorities shift. Excellence on the field is prized over excellence in the classroom. “B’s” are satisfactory when “A’s” had been previously been expected. Fathers encourage kids to watch game films rather than to read books. It is often a subtle compromise and it was one I thought I was guarded against.
I began to suspect I might have slipped when my blood pressure rose during a scrimmage and my son, one of the better players on the team, didn’t start. I sensed things might be more serious when in my daydreams I began hearing the faint chords of the Notre Dame Victory march. Or was it “The Victors,” the song preferred by the Wolverines of Michigan? I had to pull over on the highway when I began humming out loud “fight on for ol ‘SC.!” There was no doubt I had crossed over when I loaded a screen saver of LaDainian Tomlinson on their computer.
I have always felt a special affinity for the end of summer. The smell of football is in the air. The symphony of the cadence of calisthenics and that first pop of plastic hitting plastic makes my heart beat a little faster. When I outfitted my sons in their first set of helmet and pads, it brought water to my eyes. Perhaps it was some atavistic response to my sons beginning a right of passage. Outfitted like bobble-headed gladiators, my boys are growing into warriors ready to do battle every Saturday morning. Listen as the coaches on the sidelines as they tell eight-year-old boys to “man up” and “stick with their man”. It is a time of celebration. We should dance, feast and tattoo our bodies!
I am of course not the only one. Hundreds of fathers in my area lined up and paid hundreds of dollars to submit their sons to grueling workouts in 90 degree heat, and to have other men yell at them. We are accused of trying to live our childhood fantasies through our children. Absolutely untrue! Yes, I showed them my team photo of the undefeated 1972 Holly ridge Eagles. This was, however, only to provide context.
Of course, they are still little boys and kidding aside, my true hope is not that they become professional ball players, but that they grow to love the game as I do. That the smell of fresh cut grass invokes in them memories of fun and comradeship. Beyond that their mother and I will continue to demand the same academic performance we did prior to their donning the pads. Football will always be what they do after they have taken care of business. If the grades slip or they find they do not have time to maintain the level of quality work we are used to, they will not play and I will not think twice.
Will I get excited at the sight of my sons displaying athleticism? Guilty as charged. And there is nothing wrong with a little harmless fantasy. Besides, in the end I might have the best of both worlds. After all, they play football at Princeton and the “Cannon Song” is immensely hummable.
Entomologists are debating the origin and rarity of a sprawling spider web that blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch of trail in a North Texas park.
Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park say the massive mosquito trap is a big attraction for some visitors, while others won’t go anywhere near it.
“At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland,” said Donna Garde, superintendent of the park about 45 miles east of Dallas. “Now it’s filled with so many mosquitoes that it’s turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs.”
Spider experts say the web may have been constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together, or could be the result of a mass dispersal in which the arachnids spin webs to spread out from one another.
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto:
There are moments in history that prove decisive and mark a turning point for the future. The Civil War was such a moment in the United States. The fall of the Berlin Wall was such a moment for Germany and the European Union. Today is Pakistan’s moment of truth. Decisions made now will determine whether extremism and terrorism can be contained to save Pakistan from internal collapse. The stability of not just Pakistan but the civilized world is at stake.
In a democratic Pakistan, extremist movements have been minimal. In all democratic elections, extremist religious parties never have garnered more than 11% of the vote. But under dictators — most notably Gen. Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, but unfortunately also Gen. Pervez Musharraf during this decade — religious extremism has gained a foothold in my homeland.
Whether leaders like Zia exploited religion for their own political ends, or dictatorships inherently induce deprivation and desperation, the fact remains that extremism has emerged as a threat to my nation, to the region and to the world. These extremists are the petri dish of international terrorism. It need not be so. It must be reversed. And it can be done.
While the Left predicts the world is running out of oil — that notion was big in the 1970s and never really died (see “peak oil”) — those big old nasty oil companies keep finding more of it.
Those “record oil profits” help pay for this:
Today, deep-sea rigs are capable of reaching down 40,000 feet, twice as deep as a decade ago: plunging their drills through 10,000 feet of water and then 30,000 more feet of seabed. One platform sits atop each so-called field, thrusting its tentacles into multiple wells dug into ancient sediment, slurping out oil, and then pumping it back to onshore refineries through underwater pipelines.
It’s a business where huge sums are lost (two years ago, BP suffered a $250 million blow when a hurricane took out one of its platforms) but even more can be made. The mother lode of oil in the deepwater Gulf is so significant that Tahiti and other successful fields in this region are expected to soon produce enough crude to reverse the long-standing decline in US oil production of about 10 percent per year.
Even better, a recent discovery by Chevron has signaled that soon there may be vastly more oil gushing out of the ultradeep seabeds — more than even the optimists were predicting four years ago. In 2004, the company penetrated a 60 million-year-old geological stratum known as the “lower tertiary trend” containing a monster oil patch that holds between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of crude. Dubbed Jack, the field lies beneath waters nearly twice as deep as those covering Tahiti, and many in the industry dismissed the discovery as too remote to exploit.
But last September, Chevron used the Cajun Express to probe the Jack field, proving that petroleum could flow from the lower tertiary at hearty commercial rates — fast enough to bring billions of dollars of crude to market. It was hailed as the largest publicly reported discovery in the past decade, opening up a region that is perhaps big enough to boost national oil reserves by 50 percent. A mad rush followed, and oil companies plowed more than $5 billion into this part of the Gulf.
Of course, Hillary Clinton plans “to take” some of those oil company profits and spend them on pet energy projects, because, well, liberals always know what’s best.
Campaign finance “reform” was a hot agenda item for the Left (see end of this post). With McCain-Feingold, they got their wish and immediately set about violating the new restrictions.
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.
America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.
The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.
If you’re shopping for insurance, note that Progressive helps fund the Left. Most everyone knows of billionaire currency speculator George Soros and his leanings.
Some perspective is in order. Congressman Tom DeLay was run out of his house seat by a vindictive, activist Texas district attorney, one Ronnie Earle.
DeLay was charged with conspiracy to misappropriate $190,000 in campaign funds in what appeared to be a technical violation, if a violation at all.
So the entire sum of what DeLay supposedly misappropriated amounts to 1/4 of the fine Soros et al paid for their corruption.
Now, for some further corruption, consider how a handful of liberal groups phonied up “grassroots” clamor for campaign finance reform in the first place.
If a political gaffe consists of inadvertently revealing the truth, then Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, has just ripped the curtain off of the “good government” groups that foisted the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill on the country in 2002. The bill’s restrictions on political speech have the potential for great mischief; just last month a member of the Federal Election Commission warned they could limit the activities of bloggers and other Internet commentators.
What Mr. Treglia revealed in a talk last year at the University of Southern California is that far from representing the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, the campaign finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by liberal foundations like Pew. In a tape obtained by the New York Post, Mr. Treglia tells his USC audience they are going to hear a story he can reveal only now that campaign finance reform has become law. “The target audience for all this [foundation] activity was 535 people in [Congress],” Mr. Treglia says in his talk. “The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot. That everywhere [Congress] looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform.”
The truth was far different. Mr. Treglia admits that campaign-finance supporters had to try to hoodwink Congress because “they had lost legitimacy inside Washington because they didn’t have a constituency that would punish Congress if they didn’t vote for reform.”
So instead, according to Mr. Treglia, liberal reform groups created a Potemkin movement. A study last month by the Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Web site dealing with campaign funding issues, found that of the $140 million spent to directly promote liberal campaign reform in the last decade, a full $123 million came from just eight liberal foundations. Many are the same foundations that provide much of the money for such left-wing groups as People for the American Way and the Earth Action Network. The “movement” behind campaign-finance reform resembled many corporate campaigns pushing legislation. It consisted largely of “Astroturf” rather than true “grass-roots” support.
But the results were spectacular. Not only did the effort succeed in bulldozing Congress and President Bush, but it might have played a role in persuading the Supreme Court, which had previously ruled against broad restrictions on political speech, to declare McCain-Feingold constitutional in 2003 on a 5-4 vote. “You will see that almost half the footnotes relied on by the Supreme Court in upholding the law are research funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts,” Mr. Treglia boasted.
Iraq’s most powerful Shiite militia chief ordered his gunmen today to halt all hostilities for six months to restore his Mahdi Army to credibility in the eyes of Iraqis shaken by a rash of Shiite-on-Shiite violence.
The stunning move, coupled with a vow by the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr to cease attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, may also have been aimed at elevating his standing with Iraqis and their neighbors by demonstrating that he has the power to make peace or to destroy it.
Sadr’s announcement through his offices in Najaf followed a deadly clash in the holy city of Karbala earlier this week that killed at least 52 people and injured 300 in fighting blamed on his Mahdi militiamen and their rivals within the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the country’s biggest Shiite political force, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.
In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the “consensus view,” defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes’ work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.
Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.”
A group applied to hold an anti-Islamization demonstration in Brussels, but:
Two weeks ago Freddy Thielemans, the Socialist mayor of Brussels, banned the demonstration because, as he said, “the organizers have chosen the symbolic date of 9/11. The intention is obviously to confound the terrorist activities of Muslim extremists on the one hand and Islam as a religion and all Muslims on the other hand. […]
Such incitement to discrimination and hatred, which we usually call racism and xenophobia, is forbidden by a considerable number of international treaties and is punished by our penal laws and by the European legislation.”
The organizers decided to appeal against the ban before the Council of State. Today, the Council of State decided to postpone its verdict until it has decided whether or not the appeal, which was presented in Dutch, one of Belgium’s two official languages, should have been presented in French, Belgium’s other official language.
When Udo Ulfkotte, the German organizer of the demonstration, filed his initial request for the demo he was told by the mayor’s office that he had to do so in French, which he did. Ulfkotte told us that, being a foreigner, he was not aware that he could also opt for a Dutch-language procedure. Now the Brussels authorities demand that he should stick to French and that the case should be brought before French-speaking judges of the Council of State. Dutch-speaking (Flemish) judges are more favourably inclined towards defending political freedoms than French-speaking (Walloon) judges. The Council of State judges are political appointees. Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, is free-market oriented while Wallonia, the French-speaking south of the country, is Socialist-dominated.
We’re back around to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, so naturally there is a lot of press coverage provoking a lot of questions — indeed, questions other than “Will the Katrina retrospectives end with the Bush presidency?” In particular, the press is full of stories about the delays in rebuilding New Orleans, as if a city 250 years in the making ought to have been rebuilt in even two years. Still, much depends on who is doing the reconstructing. USA Today has a front-page story that is not the least bit surprising to anybody who would read this blog:
Two years after the devastating floods that followed Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of New Orleans, and much of the Gulf Coast, has largely taken two paths: communities that have rebuilt themselves using private funds, insurance money and sheer will — and publicly funded efforts that have moved much more slowly.
Now, economists have long observed that certain kinds of insurance schemes create a “moral hazard” if they cause the insured to take on risks that are inconsistent with the original intentions of the insurer. For example, if we insure deposits in banks, then depositors might shift their money to financial institutions with weaker balance sheets because they pay higher interest — the decision to take on more risk is “free” to the borrower because of the government deposit insurance, and therefore a “moral hazard.”
Similarly, if the availability of government flood insurance actually causes more people to build in places prone to flooding, then it has not only shifted the risk of people who unwittingly find themselves — because of coastal erosion or a change in the course of a river, for example — in that position but it has increased the total risk taken on.
There is another idea, originating in conservative public policy circles, that is a close relative of moral hazard: dependency. The idea is that people who rely on the government to take care of them lose the ability to take care of themselves.
Rudy Giuliani is a complicated character, one who might well be the best candidate for president in 2008.
This New Yorker profile of Rudy is fair and, as you might expect, thorough.
This article from City Journal details the astonishing accomplishments he achieved in remaking New York from a debt-ridden, crime infested city.
The Wall Street Journal reports amazing generosity benefits Hillary.
One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.
Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.
That total ranks the house with residences in Greenwich, Conn., and Manhattan’s Upper East Side among the top addresses to donate to the Democratic presidential front-runner over the past two years, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of donations listed with the Federal Election Commission.
It isn’t obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple’s grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to “attendance liaison” at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.
The Paws’ political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.
When the WSJ reporter called the Paws, one of their sons, Winkle (seriously, the son’s name is Winkle Paws) said that Hsu had asked them to donate dough.
Hsu’s attorney, miffed at the questions being asked, wrote in an email:
“You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu’s name was Smith or Jones, I don’t believe it would be a story.”
When the race card gets played that quickly, it only deepens suspicions.
UPDATE: Norman Hsu is a fugitive.
For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish.
“He is a fugitive,” Ronald Smetana, who handled the case for the state attorney general, said in an interview. “Do you know where he is?”
Hsu, it seems, has been hiding in plain sight, at least for the last three years.
Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
In addition to making his own contributions, Hsu has honed the practice of assembling packets of checks from contributors who bear little resemblance to the usual Democratic deep pockets: A self-described apparel executive with a variety of business interests, Hsu has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving.
This is too funny. Burning Man, the annual gathering of loony leftists, aging hippies, dopers, wannabe anarchists and all-around rule breakers, got a taste of its own medicine.
The climax of the annual Burning Man bacchanalia in a Nevada desert was scheduled for Saturday, when the 40,000-plus attendees were to gather around the 40-foot-high man-statue and watch him burn.
Instead, the effigy went up in flames four days prematurely early Tuesday, and a San Francisco resident faces felony arson and destruction-of-property charges in connection with the crime of burning Burning Man too early.
How dare anyone break the rules? It’s just so…so wrong!
And the early burner is grinning in his booking photo.
Two of the Santa Barbara’s great preoccupations — progressive politics and sky-high real estate values — have collided over the last couple of months, yielding high drama over an art project that was to denote land imperiled by global warming with blue waves painted on downtown intersections.
“The community conversation turned into a frenzy,” said Mayor Marty Blum, one of the idea’s supporters. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.”
Last week, the activist behind the city-backed wave project withdrew his plan, abandoning for now the idea of vividly charting just what would happen in Santa Barbara if Greenland’s ice sheets turn to slush. Opponents, who believed that the aptly named “lightblueline” project would sink property values on the wrong side of the line, claimed victory.
“If you’re below the line, there’s a stigma,” said Jerry Beaver, a real estate developer who owns a warehouse and other property that would be swamped if, as lightblueline predicts, the oceans rise 23 feet over the course of time.
Even the U.N., which has an interest in meddling in everyone’s business, only predicts a rise in sea level of 34 to 17 inches by the year 2100. Let’s see them paint that line. It would be on a pier support, no doubt.
That’s the kind of embarassment you face when you trust Al Gore for facts.
Hillary was once party to the looting of a savings and loan. Now she has the gall to call mortgage lenders unscrupulous.
Hillary Clinton is now pitching her multi-billion dollar bailout plan for the “victims” of “unscrupulous” mortgage brokers who act “dishonestly and try to take advantage of people”. And what will fix the problem of “unscrupulous” business people? Why, more government bureaucracy and our money, of course. It’s as if Madame Hillary thinks we taxpayers won’t mind one little bit just eating cake, while she gives away a billion here and another few billion there; after all it’s not her money.
But Hillary Clinton is certainly in a position to know about “unscrupulous” business practices that end up costing taxpayers lots and lots of money. After all, as Barbara Olson so nicely pointed out in her 1999 account of the prelude to Hillary Clinton’s political rise, Hell to Pay, Ms. Rodham was up to her armpits in “unscrupulous,” corporate wheeling and double-dealing long before she became First Lady.
Evidently, the entire Democratic Party, the Mainstream Media moguls, and every Harry, Dick and Jane American have collectively lost their memories. We all need a refresher course, and quick.
The year is 1978. Bill Clinton is Attorney General of the State of Arkansas. Ms. Hillary Rodham (married to Bill Clinton, but still using her maiden name) has become an associate in the Rose Law Firm.
According to Carl Bernstein (A Woman in Charge, page 128):
Rose was the ultimate establishment law firm, representing the most powerful economic interests in the state: Tyson Foods, Stephens, Inc. (the state’s biggest brokerage firm), Wal Mart, Worthen Bank, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and the Hussman media empire in southwest Arkansas. In the capital of a small state in which business was a matter of backslapping and backscratching, its primacy was undisputed.
Take it from a Southerner who knows: Ms. Rodham, married to the Arkansas Attorney General, was taking the shortest short-cut possible to scrapping her principles and lining her purse with gold. Her association with this particular law firm ensured not only a nice income, but a backdoor route to insider deals, mountains of under-the-table perks, and the golden parachute that comes with on-the-ground-floor speculating – whether in land development or cattle futures. She and Bill, as well as the Rose partners, knew it was a shady conflict-of-interest setup; they obviously didn’t care.
We wrote here about the television commercials that Freedom’s Watch has produced, featuring veterans and their families, that urge Congress and the public to continue supporting the Iraq war. The commercials are well done, and convey the simple message that the Iraq war is important and winnable, and that we should allow our troops to see the mission through. The ads are appearing in the context of a blizzard of anti-war ads by left-wing groups, intended to pressure Senators and Congressmen into pulling the plug on the Iraq effort.
Freedom’s Watch has placed its ads on Fox and CNN, but CNBC and MSNBC have refused to run the ads. Ari Fleischer wrote this morning on behalf of Freedom’s Watch to let us know that CNBC and MSNBC have stubbornly refused to air the pro-war ads, even though they have run issue ads on other controversial topics.
Here is the ad:
Under the heading “” the PostGlobal section of The Washington Post website recently declared that “U.S. influence is in steep decline.” It was just the latest verse in a growing chorus of declinist doom-saying at home and abroad.
In 2004, Pat Buchanan“the decline and fall of the greatest industrial republic the world had ever seen.” In 2005, The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee concluded that Hurricane Katrina exposed In 2007, Pierre Hassner of the Paris-based National Foundation for Political Science declared, “It the New American Century.”
And the dirge goes on.
It’s a familiar tune, of course. We heard it in the early 1990s, when economists, political scientists and pundits were quipping that while the U.S. and Soviet military superpowers waged the Cold War, it was economic superpowers Japan and Germany that won it; in the 1980s, when Paul Kennedy led the chorus by concluding that America was tumbling toward “imperial overstretch;” in the 1970s, when the U.S. slipped into a malaise; and in the 1960s, which began with the U.S. unable to dislodge a communist dictator 90 miles off its coast and ended with the U.S. unable to hold back the spread of communism half-a-world away.
But the declinists were wrong yesterday. And if their record—and America’s—are any indication, they are just as wrong today.
Any discussion of U.S. power has to begin with its enormous economy. At $13.13 trillion, the U.S. economy represents 20 percent of global output. It’s growing faster than Britain’s, Australia’s, Germany’s, Japan’s, Canada’s, even faster than the vaunted European Union.
In fact, even when Europe cobbles together its 25 economies under the EU banner, it still falls short of U.S. GDP—and will fall further behind as the century wears on. Gerard Baker of the Times of London notes that the U.S. economy will beof Europe’s by 2021.
So what do these numbers and comparisons tell us? For starters, as historian Niall Fergusonin Colossus, they tell us that the U.S. share of global productivity “exceeds the highest share of global output ever achieved by Britain by a factor of more than two.”
They also serve to explain how the United States can withstand not just the human losses and psychological blows of a 9/11 or Katrina, but the sort of economic and financial blows that would have overwhelmed any other country on earth.
Just consider what the U.S. economy has lost since 9/11. One estimate posited that by the end of 2003 the U.S. could have lost as much asin GDP as a result of 9/11. That’s roughly the size of the entire Iranian economy or half the Canadian economy.
As to Katrina, Congress poured $122 billion into the vast disaster area—and that was just in the 12 months immediately following the storm.
None of this was budgeted or foreseen, yet the U.S. economy dusted itself off and soldiered on.
While the declinists routinely remind us that the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 15 countries combined, they seldom note that the current defense budget accounts for barely four percent of GDP—a smaller percentage than the U.S. spent on defense at any time during the Cold War. In fact, defense outlays consumed as much as 10 percent of GDP in the 1950s, and 6 percent in the 1980s.
The diplomats who roam the corridors of the UN and the corporate chiefs who run the EU’s sprawling public-private conglomerates dare not say it aloud, but the American military does the dirty work to keep the global economy going—and growing. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” as Thomas Friedman observed in 1999.
San Francisco is worried that black folk are getting out of town and moving to the suburbs. Time for government intervention!
One of the ugliest aspects of contemporary “progressive” thought is a thoroughly patronizing attitude toward African-Americans, regarding them as eternal victims unable to fend for themselves. The latest insult comes from America’s most stridently left wing big city government, San Francisco, where municipal officials are fretting over recent declines in the number of blacks living within the city limits.
The nation’s largest newspaper, USA Today, yesterday joined the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle in bemoaning the trend of San Franciscans of African heritage moving out of the central city. Not just to “working-class cities like Vallejo, Richmond or Fairfield” (The New York Times), but to genuine American Dream suburbs like fast-growing Tracy California, which welcomes all races and hosts a proud and growing African-American community that includes a number of people of my acquaintance.
Even more pernicious than liberal journalists lamenting blacks behaving like every other group attracted to the amenities of suburban living are the official attitude and actions of local government.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last April that:
San Francisco officials are now calling the thousands of black people who have moved away “the African American diaspora,” and the mayor’s office is putting together a task force to figure out what can be done to preserve the remaining black population and cultivate new residents.
USA Today helpfully updates:
San Francisco officials… vow to stop the exodus and develop a strategy to win blacks back to the city. In June, Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed a task force to study how to reverse decades of policies – and neglect – that black leaders say have fueled the flight. [emphasis added]
So taxpayer funds are already being expended for the purpose of encouraging one race to live in the city of San Francisco, and by extension discouraging other races who might instead occupy the same housing. Am I the only person who sees this as racist madness?
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman complains that Bush has lost the PR battle with Osama bin Laden.
“Dive into any conversation about America in the Arab world today and it won’t take long before the words “Abu Ghraib” and “Guantánamo Bay” are thrown at you. Yes, both are shameful but Abu Ghraib was a day at the beach compared with what Al Qaida and its Sunni-jihadist supporters have been doing in Iraq.”
Where to begin?
One, there is nothing shameful about Gitmo except for the misleading reporting coming from the New York Times, et al.
Two, opinion in the Arab world is often irrational to the point of insanity — it’s like Cindy Sheehan times ten. There’s no fixing that.
Three, just why do Arabs, and most Europeans, think Abu Ghraib when they think of Iraq? Why not the millions of Iraqi Arabs liberated from a murderous tyrant? Friedman should look in the mirror — his own newspaper — for that answer. Just which newspaper blew Abu Ghraib all out of proportion? It’s a rhetorical question.
Friedman complains that Bush doesn’t use his bully pulpit effectively to point out the evil of Bin Laden.
If bin Laden were running against George Bush for president, how would Karl Rove and Karen Hughes have handled the Yazidi murders? Within an hour they’d have a press release out saying, “The genocide of Iraqi civilians was inspired by Bin Laden. We accuse Bin Laden of mass murder…”
True, Bush’s White House communications operation has been weak.
But Bush regularly makes the very points Friedman wants made. And what was the response of Big Baloney, lead by the New York Times? That Bush was attempting to tie 9/11 to Iraq and that Bush was using fear as a political weapon.
In the NYT, Bush’s war on terror becomes the “so-called war on terror” and attempts to thwart another 9/11 by intercepting calls from terrorists into the US becomes “domestic spying.”
Yeah, the US president has a bully pulpit. But the megaphone of the NYT can drown out anything any president says.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday a diplomatic push by the world’s powers to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program was the only alternative to “an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”
In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara.
He also presented some new ideas, such as possibly renewing high-level dialogue with Syria and expanding the Group of Eight industrialized nations to include the biggest developing states.
Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.
“This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,” he said, adding that it was the worst crisis currently facing the world.
Engineers develop a mind-controlled prosthetic arm dexterous enough to play piano.
More than 130 veterans of the Iraq war now face the daunting challenge of learning to live with a missing arm. To make that transition easier, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, has launched a $55-million project that pools the efforts of prosthetics experts nationwide to create a thought-controlled bionic arm that duplicates the functions of a natural limb. If all goes well, by 2009 the agency will petition the Food and Drug Administration to put the arm through clinical trials.
This summer the team hit a critical milestone when it finished Proto 2, a thought-controlled mechanical arm—complete with hand and articulated fingers—that can perform 25 joint motions. This dexterity approaches that of a native arm, which can make 30 motions, and trumps the previously most agile bionic arm, the Proto 1, which could bend at the elbow, rotate its wrist and shoulder, and open and close its fingers. A person wearing a Proto 2 could conceivably play the piano.
Iraq’s top Shi’ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.
The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments infor months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands.
But skeptics will be watching for action amid growing frustration in Washington over the political paralysis that has gripped the government of.
White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore congratulated Iraq’s leaders on the accord, hailing it in a statement as “an important symbol of their commitment to work together for the benefit of all Iraqis.”
The apparent breakthrough comes two weeks before U.S.top officials in Iraq present a report that could have a major influence on future American policy in Iraq.
“I hope that this agreement will help Iraq move beyond the political impasse,” Deputy Prime Ministertold Reuters. “The five leaders representing Iraq’s major political communities …. affirmed the principle of collective leadership to help deal with the many challenges faced by Iraq.”
Maliki’s appearance on Iraqi television with the four other leaders at a brief news conference was a rare show of public unity.
More from LA’s incompetent government: You may recall that the Los Angeles county-run hospital was killing patients. After four years of fighting incurable bureaucracy, the feds insisted the hospital be put down.
Meanwhile, the LA school district, the one that built a high school atop a toxic site that will end up costing $400 million, can’t even pay its employees:
Seven months after Los Angeles Unified rolled out a $95 million computerized payroll system, school officials are prepared to pour at least another $37 million into the project to fix thousands of problems as they brace for the start of the school year.
But even as workers frantically try to resolve software glitches that have left thousands of employees underpaid or overpaid, district officials say solutions are still months away.
…David Holmquist, LAUSD’s interim chief operating officer, says the main problems now in the payroll system are for about 49,000 certificated teachers and principals. On Aug. 3, the last certificated pay date, nearly 4,000 had errors.
Well, that’s about 92% correct, which counts as an A, right?
Now, what’s with this “certificated”? The verb is “certify.” One who is certified receives a certificate. There’s no need to turn a noun into a verb.
Surgeons are “board certified,” not board certificated.
One expects educators to respect language, but I guess doing so is brain surgery to them.
Several years ago I wrote Bill Moyers to complain about a biased PBS story he had done. He wrote back — this was pre-email days — and defended himself. He seemed to a bit thin skinned, not the drawling avuncular guy you see on TV.
Anyway, this came to mind after seeing this bit:
Life on earth is better than ever. James Surowiecki reviews, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet.
Just about everyone living today is the beneficiary of what can almost certainly be called the single most consequential development in human history — namely, the onset of industrialization.
As the economic historian Angus Maddison has shown in a series of studies of economic development over the past two millennia, human economies grew very little, if at all, for most of human history. Between 1000 and 1820 or so, Maddison estimates, annual economic growth was around 0.05 percent a year — which meant that living standards improved incredibly slowly and that people living in 1800 were only mildly better off than people living in 1000. But sometime around 1820, that all began to change. Between 1820 and today, world per capita real income grew 20 times as fast as it did in the previous eight centuries.
In the West, above all, the effects of this transformation have been so massive as to be practically unfathomable. Real income, life expectancy, literacy and education rates, and food consumption have soared, while infant mortality, hours worked, and food prices have plummeted.
And although the West has been the biggest beneficiary of these changes, the diffusion of technology, medicine, and agricultural techniques has meant that developing countries have enjoyed dramatic improvements in what the United Nations calls “human development indicators,” even if most of their citizens remain poor. One consequence of this is that people at a given income level today are likely to be healthier and to live longer than people at the same income level did 40 or 50 years ago.
In one sense, all of this should be obvious, since a moment’s thought — or a quick read of a nineteenth-century novel — should suffice to remind you of how much better, at least in material terms, life is today than it was a century ago, let alone in the 1600s.
But as behavioral economists have persuasively demonstrated, human beings quickly adapt to their surroundings and come to take their current state of affairs for granted. In other words, it is difficult, even after your life has changed dramatically for the better, to remain aware of just how much better it is, and even harder to truly appreciate how much better you have it than your great-grandparents did. So part of Goklany’s project here — and it is a valuable part — is to make clear just how much real progress there has been over the past two centuries and even (in many places) over the past two decades in the life of the average human being.
Curiously, industrialization is what many Leftists seek to deny the Third World because they see it as evil.
Also evil, in the eyes of the Left, are corporations, those human engines that power our industrial society. In short, the Left despises that which improved the lives of human beings.
And they call themselves progressives.
Three years ago, UCLA law professor Richard Sander published an explosive, fact-based study of the consequences of affirmative action in American law schools in the Stanford Law Review. Most of his findings were grim, and they caused dismay among many of the champions of affirmative action–and indeed, among those who were not.
Easily the most startling conclusion of his research: Mr. Sander calculated that there are fewer black attorneys today than there would have been if law schools had practiced color-blind admissions–about 7.9% fewer by his reckoning. He identified the culprit as the practice of admitting minority students to schools for which they are inadequately prepared. In essence, they have been “matched” to the wrong school.
No one claims the findings in Mr. Sander’s study, “A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools,” are the last word on the subject. Although so far his work has held up to scrutiny at least as well as that of his critics, all fair-minded scholars agree that more research is necessary before the “mismatch thesis” can be definitively accepted or rejected.
Unfortunately, fair-minded scholars are hard to come by when the issue is affirmative action. Some of the same people who argue Mr. Sander’s data are inconclusive are now actively trying to prevent him from conducting follow-up research that might yield definitive answers. If racial preferences really are causing more harm than good, they apparently don’t want you–or anyone else–to know.
Take William Kidder, a University of California staff advisor and co-author of a frequently cited attack of Sander’s study. When Mr. Sander and his co-investigators sought bar passage data from the State Bar of California that would allow analysis by race, Mr. Kidder passionately argued that access should be denied, because disclosure “risks stigmatizing African American attorneys.” At the same time, the Society of American Law Teachers, which leans so heavily to the left it risks falling over sideways, gleefully warned that the state bar would be sued if it cooperated with Mr. Sander.
Stifling of dissent, indeed.