Wednesday, January 31, 2007
More State of the State: A Profile in Courage
However, this may actually work to our advantage as his unwillingness to risk bad press with bold moves may put a crimp on his natural Liberal ways. Towards that, let’s refresh our memories of the recent Maryland gubernatorial election:
“Paths to Progress
As Maryland’s next Governor, Martin O’Malley will:
“Fully Fund the Thornton Education Plan. Martin O’Malley will fully fund the entire Thornton Commission plan to improve K-12 education across Maryland, reduce the achievement gap, reduce class sizes and recruit and retain the quality teachers our children deserve.” Martin O'Malley: Opening the Doors of Educational Opportunity for All Marylanders
Remember that? He was all over Bob Ehrlich for not – as he continually hammered out - FULLY funding Thornton. Flash forward to presentation of his 1st budget:
“However, the governor admits he is not funding the extra $100-million due Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties that's included in the Thornton Plan.
“That extra money is known as the Geographic Cost of Education Index or G.C.E.I. …
“During the campaign, O'Malley criticized Governor Robert Ehrlich for leaving out that extra money.” O'Malley Unveils Budget Plan; No Tax Hikes, Slight Spending Increases
Now we go to his just-completed State of the State:
“1) I ask for your support for the final year of Thornton school funding -- the largest single-year increase in Maryland history for education, with an additional $580 million in funding for local school systems;
2) I ask that you pass legislation codifying our state's commitment to phase in funding of the Geographic Cost of Education Index, beginning next year”
To sum up then:
- He rips Governor Ehrlich for not fully funding Thornton;
- He wins the election and decides not to fully fund Thornton (as he defined it in the campaign) because he can’t make the tough decision on how exactly to pay for his campaign trash-talking;
- He asks the legislature to pass a law requiring him to fulfill this campaign trash-talking.
But having the legislature pass such a law is just a political coward’s way of not having to take full responsibility for the spending it will entail. Oh, he’ll gladly bask in the aura of being the Education Governor but he will just as quickly point toward the legislature if this added requirement becomes part of the reason the state “reluctantly” has to raise our taxes.
Governor O'Malley's State of the State
“We cannot resolve every unsettled issue in just 90 days; nor can we heal in 90 days divisions that were four years in the making.”
“If not, we risk going back to a time that we were not particularly proud of -- making life less affordable for middle-class families. Cutting funds to local government. Stealing from our children's future by taking money away from open space, and shifting transportation dollars away from reducing traffic. I don't believe that is the sort of future we would choose.” Text of Gov. O'Malley's address
(Unless you think he's referring to the thirty years of Democratic rule prior to Governor Ehrlich...)
Most obnoxiously, he early on got in this little dig:
“Fourteen days into the four years the people have given us to do their business, I am glad to report that thanks to the hard work of citizens in decades past -- and despite the drift of recent years -- the state of our state, today, is strong."
Strangely followed by this observation:“Maryland is the second wealthiest state in the union.”
That must be have been some drift because Governor Ehrlich reported in his first State of the State only four years ago:
“…our per capita personal income is the sixth highest in the nation.”
Compare and contrast yourself the tones of the two initial SOTS: Text of Gov. O'Malley's address, Gov. Ehrlich's 1st State of the State Address (washingtonpost.com). Now I’m no fan of the ordinary-heroes-in-the-audience routine used by Governor Ehrlich (and practically de rigueur for State of the Union speeches now) but he properly didn’t take the obvious and available potshots at the just-departed Glendening administration…So much for the Democrat’s respect for precedent.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Omnipresent Wendy Doniger
As you’ll see, she’s being clever:
“I don’t care a fig about our next president’s personal religious views. The candidate can worship the Great Pumpkin, for all I care, as long as he or she doesn’t assume that the rest of us do too, and that the Great Pumpkin told him to do things such as, to take a case at random, invade Iraq.”
See? Without actually naming President Bush, she manages to gratuitously slam him, thus setting herself to receive the accolades and approval of the reading left. That she makes reference to an incident that is speculative (first reported by Mahmoud Abbas!), affirmatively denied by the White House and just ludicrous in concept – all that is irrelevant to her getting in a clever dig at our President.
Unfortunately, that’s as clever as she gets and the rest of her posting offers up just the usual platitudes about not mixing faith with government. Showing that anyone can play at constitutional scholarship she relates:
“I pledge allegiance to the first amendment, which I interpret to mean that government shouldn’t traffic with religion—neither promote it nor persecute it—and this means that, in the public arena, the candidate should not use religious rhetoric, which does nothing but harm, fogging over the clear lines of argument on the issues and eliciting irrelevant and irrational choices in the electorate.”
I was already pretty sure she was a liberal but when you read condescension such as “eliciting irrelevant and irrational choices in the electorate”, well, confirmation received. And you just know she isn’t including herself as part of that distracted electorate – she’s way too bright for that; she teaches at Chicago. …and would anybody also be surprised at her degrees from Harvard?
She argues that a politician’s judgments should have to stand on their own merits without reference to the various beliefs underpinning them:
“I don’t care how they got to where they stand; I care about where they stand.”
I'm going to take her at her word and just assume she's politically shallow. I always want to know why a politician has taken a particular stand on an issue. Remember, these politicians will be in office for a period of years making decisions on a whole host of matters – how they do that is important. Sadly, we have guaranteed the right to vote even to the likes of straight-PC-ticket voters like Ms. Doniger.
But enough of that rant...later then I am reading James Taranto’s consistently entertaining OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today 1/30/07 and there she is again. Mr. Taranto refers to a USAToday article: How 'mamisma' can change politics within which “University of Chicago scholar Wendy Doniger” (same person, I checked) is cited for this brilliant insight:
“Men would marry their mothers if they could."
I swear, it’s as if Ms. Doniger just sits around ole U. of Chicago (home of the first Heisman Trophy winner: Jay Berwanger – you know, back when it was a real school with a football team and all.) and just thinks of clever soundbites. Anyway, I know you’re wondering: “Mamisma is femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities. It lets a female candidate make men look like wimps while doing the taboo-dance, enticing people to fall in love with her.”
USAToday’s Harriet Rubin explains why Ms. Doniger is correct:
“Because [men] like being reminded that they are great. It's the ultra-maternal message. A female candidate would likewise remind the electorate that a golden future awaits — a message more seductive than better homeland security.”
We're so transparent. Well, if such psycho-babble doesn’t sell to Hillary, maybe Al Gore will change his mind about running and would be receptive.
The Hillary MBA
Soccer Dad gives a deservedly complimentary link to David Broder’s latest effort about Senator Clinton’s non-questioning of Lt. Gen. David Petraeus during his hearings before the Senate Armed Services last week. He uses the opportunity to square some of the Senator’s more recent posturings on Iraq with those from the really not-too-distant past.
SD especially takes off on this recent expression of “resentment” by Ms. Clinton:
"The president has said this is going to be left to his successor. He has said that on more than one occasion," Clinton said during a town hall meeting here Sunday morning. "I really resent it. This was his decision to go to war." In Iowa, Clinton Calls Bush Reckless
(Ed. Note: In all fairness, the Post may just have dropped off “…after obtaining the Advice and Consent of the U.S. Senate, which included my vote” after “This was his decision to go to war”. Hey, I’m just trying to give her the benefit of the doubt for what otherwise reads as a weak and whiny statement; not at all befitting one who purports to show “the character and toughness to be president”.)
Of course, it would also probably be the height of cattiness to point out that President Bush was himself left with a few problems by the prior Buy-One-Get-Two administration so I will just link to this excellent summary of our thinkings and actions towards Iraq in the eight years prior to President Bush's time in office: The Clinton Administration's Public Case Against Saddam Hussein
Meanwhile, Crablaw manages to slam Ms. Clinton all the while defending her from the juvenile ponderings of Andrew Sullivan: Sullivan: Hillary Clinton Has "Cootie Vibes". Nicely done!
[Mr. Sullivan was a guest on The Chris Matthews Show and while I will refrain from criticizing fellow Holy Cross grad Chris Matthews, his guests are fair game (especially Colgate grad Howard Fineman).]
Finally, Kevin Dayhoff has an amusing, though probably apocryphal, story about the Junior Senator from New York. (Side Note: Wouldn’t it be fun to once with Senator Schumer around refer to HIM as the Junior Senator from New York…not that I think he cares about that kind of stuff.)
Fleischer nails Libby...kind of
“Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified yesterday that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby divulged Valerie Plame's identity to him in July 2003, three days earlier than Libby has told investigators he first learned of the undercover CIA officer.”
“Fleischer said he believes Libby mentioned Plame's name, although he told the jury he could not be sure.”
…so if he can’t be sure, just how did he testify that Mr. Libby “divulged” her identity?
“He is not charged with the leak itself, which administration critics have contended was designed to discredit Wilson's argument that the White House was twisting his findings as it justified the invasion of Iraq.”
…but predictably, the Post can’t seem to find the room to mention that the administration critics are demonstrably wrong in this matter as it was internal administration critic Richard Armitage who leaked the info.
Then later, Ari Fleischer testifies that he told Time’s John Dickerson and NBC’s David Gregory “If you want to know who sent the ambassador to Niger, it was his wife; she works there" -- a reference to the CIA.”
“In an interview yesterday, Dickerson, who has left Time and is writing about the trial for Slate, an online magazine, said he recalls that Fleischer had merely urged Gregory and him to "check and see who sent Wilson" on the trip.”
Dickerson claims he learned of Ms. Plame’s identity later from another Time reporter.
I’ll be curious to see how others read all of this. Still, I just can’t help but think of all those unsold Fitzmas cards and artificial trees clogging up some Daily KOS or MoveOn warehouse.
Full Disclosure: I’m rooting for Scooter Libby because I believe him and right now the only prosecutor I have less respect for than Mr. Fitzgerald is Mike Difong. But I’ve got to admit that seeing fellow Holy Cross grad Ted Wells ’72 head up the defense is also kind of cool.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
A Feminist Case for Getting the Women to Vote...for Hillary
She opens with an observation that, had she stopped right there, would still probably had the blogosphere buzzing:
“Her success may very well turn on the decisions of millions of women sitting on their living room couches.”
Or may very well not…who knows? But she’s undoubtedly right that the votes of over half the electorate may play a role in electing our next president. What’s strange is that this (repeatedly) self-professed feminist seems to be making the case that the 19th Amendment was a mistake:
“In every election, there's a chance that women will be the decisive force that will elect someone who embraces their views. Yet they seem never to have done so, and I've never seen a satisfactory answer as to why. My own theory is that women don't decide elections because they're not rational political actors -- they don't make firm policy commitments and back the candidates who will move society in the direction they want it to go. Instead, they vote on impulse, and on elusive factors such as personality.”
Hey – don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just relaying the words of a bona-fide Feminist. Now in her defense there was research for this article; she “contacted half a dozen members of the Wednesday Morning Group, a D.C. area organization that provides speakers and programs mostly for stay-at-home moms”. Demographically, they were “a few white, married women.” Of that group, “[n]either the former teacher nor the retired television reporter read any newspapers at all” and “[m]ost of the women read People and Real Simple magazines.” Obviously she tapped into a group of deep thinkers that are representative of liberal Democrats everywhere. (Ed. Note: That last is my observation, not hers.)
It’s easy to mock Ms. Hirshman but her point here is simply that women have not been doing their job: Electing liberal Democrats. To get around this inconvenient truth of feminism, she subtly suggests portraying Ms. Clinton as “[a] suffering wife and mother whose campaign mysteriously unleashes attacks on her opponents”. Otherwise, she concludes, in a plaintive call to “Clinton advisers James Carville and Mark Penn” (and no comments, please, as to which gender a feminist icon like Hillary Clinton has turned to in this time of need): “Mark my words: Those who do not study women's history are doomed to repeat its failures.”
Jane %$^$@ Fonda
Somehow, I’m guessing that wasn’t President Bush’s reaction upon hearing the words of this critic:
“Among the celebrities who appeared was Jane Fonda, the 69-year-old actress and activist who was criticized for sympathizing with the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. She told the crowd that this was the first time she had spoken at an antiwar rally in 34 years.” Thousands Protest Bush Policy
Now off hand, I can’t think of a fellow citizen that I have more disdain for than Jane Fonda. She wasn’t criticized for just “sympathizing with the North Vietnamese”, she was and remains reviled for her traitorous (Yes, I will question HER patriotism!) behavior as she openly rooted for the North Vietnamese; hoping they would shoot our pilots down and defeat our ground troops. Here is a woman who had every benefit this country can offer and she cheers on the enemy.
"I've been afraid that because of the lies that have been and continue to be spread about me and that war, that they would be used to hurt this new antiwar movement," she told the crowd. "But silence is no longer an option."
Lies? Calling her actions “sympathizing” sure is a whopper but aside from that…Urban Legends Reference Pages: Hanoi'd with Jane
And can you guess where the Post stands on these issues?
“Tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through melting snow on the Mall yesterday and vowed to work harder -- since Democrats have taken control of the Capitol -- to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973.” Abortion Foes to Renew Efforts
“Under a blue sky with a pale midday moon, tens of thousands of people angry about the war and other policies of the Bush administration danced, sang, shouted and chanted their opposition.” Thousands Protest Bush Policy
Guess which one gets the Front Page treatment and which one got Page A10. If you need more than one guess then you’re probably not even a casual reader of the Washington Post.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Post Sportswriter Mike Wise certifies his PC-ness
Mike Wise...who today laments that Illinois [is] Still on the Offensive.
“Yet when we come across the most serious and offensive issue on campus -- a hurtful reminder to a people of their grave mistreatment, a blatant misappropriation of their religious and spiritual practices -- we go into denial.”
He’s writing about the use of Chief Illinewek as the Symbol of the University of Illinois. In doing so, he makes obvious that his research on this matter probably consisted of little more than putting his pinkie up to see which way the Political Correctness winds were blowing.
This article may as well have been written by the NCAA‘s laughably titled Office for Diversity and Inclusion. That office has arrowheaded (heh, heh) the NCAA’s efforts to rid the world of Indian-sounding names and symbols. But this has all the makings of what Thomas Sowell so pithily described as “Self-Congragulation as a Basis for Social Policy”. In fact, true to the Liberal Mantra of “Trust us, we know what is best for you”, the proposed beneficiaries of these efforts at racial sensitivity don’t seem to fully comprehend just how badly they need them:
“Here's the most important finding: "Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81 percent of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83 percent of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters, and symbols." John J. Miller on Sport Teams & Indian Names
And yet to be identified are those schools and colleges that chose these symbols in a deliberate attempt to demean Native Americans. Would they have us presume that, while most schools pick their symbols and nicknames for the positive traits so associated, those institutions choosing Indian symbols were instead just out to have a good laugh at some minority’s expense?
My own lodestar as to just how serious and sensitive the likes of a Mike Wise are for the plights of those who ancestry is appropriated in supposedly "hurtful" ways is Notre Dame. Here is a school bearing a French name that doesn’t just refer to itself as the Irish but rather the “Fighting Irish”. And its representation of this moniker is a Leprechaun, posed in a pugilistic stance. Yet, I find no instance of Mike Wise publicly troubled by such a shameless exploitation of a stereotype.
Of course, taking on Notre Dame would mean taking on a nationwide constituency. Much easier instead to take on an a more-regionally based Illinois faithful, convienently located halfway across the country; this way he still gets to point to his column and say “See, I make a difference” without all the attendant hassle of, you know, really making a difference.
For The Record and Full Disclosure: My ancestry is 50% Irish and I am decidedly not a Notre Dame fan. Still, I can’t get at all worked up as offended by their use of the “Fighting Irish” nickname. However if, like members of other groups, I begin to sense the possibility of a cash settlement, I reserve the right to heighten my sensitivity to such an obviously demeaning portrayal of my ancestors.
Oh yeah, I have a brother-in-law who is a UofI grad. But he's never given me (and I've never worn) any Chief Illinewek (or for that matter, any Illinois) emblazoned clothing....so dear Brother-in-Law, if you read this...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
After reading the Post, you may want to consult your tax advisor
“Other winners include the 17 million people who buy health insurance on the individual market, who would for the first time enjoy a tax break on the money they use to pay health premiums.” Experts Examine Bush Health Plan - washingtonpost.com
You know, with all the the so-called "Experts" examining the Plan, you think the Post would have had at least one of them know something about taxes. And with all the whining we read from the Post about tax cuts for the rich and all, I’d have expected at least a passing knowledge of what the code says by the editors. Instead we are treated to this embarrassingly inaccurate analysis foisted off on us as news.
*Ahem*The 17 million people who buy their own insurance already can deduct their health insurance premiums under certain provisions – At a minimum, assuming no self-employment income, they must itemize their deductions (use Form 1040) and their medical expense deduction is limited to the amount over 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income. Read more at Publication 502 (2006), Medical and Dental Expenses
If you read the Post article, I would also question the math and assumptions included in their Tax-Proposed Scenarios. For example Family A – self-employed at $60,000 – should be able to currently deduct medical health insurance premiums on line 29 of Form 1040. To the extent those costs can’t be deducted there, they would then be deducted on Schedule A - subject to the calculation of whether using the standard deduction or itemizing is more beneficial (…and by more beneficial I mean in the ordinarily understood sense that it allows you to keep more of YOUR money).
Again from the IRS:
“Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed Persons
“If you were self-employed and had a net profit for the year, were a general partner (or a limited partner receiving guaranteed payments), or received wages from an S corporation in which you were a more than 2% shareholder (who is treated as a partner), you may be able to deduct, as an adjustment to income, all of the amount paid for medical and qualified long-term care insurance on behalf of yourself, your spouse, and dependents.”
I hope this has helped.
A Free Press - Red China-style
“But more generally, journalists and officials say, Chinese reporters are demanding such hush money with increasing regularity from businesses and government agencies in exchange for the withholding of unfavorable news.”
Meanwhile, over at CNN there’s probably a collective I-coulda-had-a-V8 reaction going on. After all, when CNNers struck a similar deal with Saddam, all they got was ongoing access in Iraq.
Who's trashing Senator Obama?
“Although he rides a wave of enthusiasm among Democrats who like his vision of a different kind of politics and see him as an alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), it is not clear that his multiracial message can excite black voters hungry for affirmation of their top concerns.” Obama's Appeal to Blacks Remains an Open Question
But it’s not who gains the most from his losses but rather who loses the most from his gains. That’s why I blame the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton for the media change on the Senator.
Of course, I can’t actually prove that but just you wait; when that first misbehaving-but-contrite celebrity calls Senator Obama instead of either of the Reverends for public apology purposes – well, it’s gonna hit the fan so fast and then you’ll know I was right.
Mea Culpa: Maryland Democrats are not the sexist bigots their voting record otherwise might suggest.
“I think you attribute to race and sex what would be better explained by partisan affiliation and other factors.” The Old Line: Are We Who We Say We Are?
My response: One of the downsides of blogging is that no one can see when your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek…(pause)…Of course partisan affiliation and other factors best explains what happened!!! My point was not that Maryland Democrats are a bunch of sexist bigots (I don't think most are) but rather that the race and gender cards can be played by anyone. Yes, ideology usually trumps (as it should) race and gender. It would be nice if much of the sanctimonious left would remember that.
I believe this country is (and has been) ready for a woman and/or black president…which doesn’t translate to mean that we’re ready (and hopefully never will be) for the staunchly liberal likes of a Senator Clinton or a Senator Obama. So when we openly oppose and don’t vote for them, try to remember that bit about “partisan affiliation and other factors”.
"We don't care who won; we're still trashing Karl Rove"
“Weeks later, Grenier said he saw Plame's name revealed in Robert D. Novak's syndicated column and figured that it was the work of the White House. In fact, Armitage and Rove have acknowledged that they were Novak's sources.” Ex-CIA Official Testifies About Libby's Calls
When did Karl Rove acknowledge he was Robert Novak’s source? And why would he? At worst, he only inadvertently confirmed what Mr. Novak already knew:
“At the end of that 15- or 20-minute call, according to the lawyer, Novak said he had learned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
"I heard that, too," Rove replied, according to the lawyer, confirming the Times account.” Rove Confirmed Plame Indirectly, Lawyer Says
And what Mr. Novak knew was directly on account of what Richard Armitage told him; Richard Armitage was the source:
“He says he was reading Novak's newspaper column again, on Oct. 1, 2003, and "he said he was told by a non-partisan gun slinger."
"I almost immediately called Secretary Powell and said, 'I'm sure that was me,'" Armitage says.
"Armitage immediately met with FBI agents investigating the leak. "I told them that I was the inadvertent leak," Armitage says." Armitage On CIA Leak: 'I Screwed Up', CBS Exclusive: Interview With Man Who 'Outed' CIA Agent Valerie Plame - CBS News
And let’s not forget how Robert Novak – the “leakee” reported it: Robert D. Novak - Armitage's Leak - washingtonpost.com
“The news that [Armitage], and not Karl Rove, was the leaker was devastating for the left.”
“Duberstein told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source.”
“Armitage's silence for the next 2 1/2 years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source.”
I guess trashing Karl Rove is just instinctive among much of the press.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Great Moments in Diversity
From the DNC website:
“The DNC is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity. It is our policy to recruit, hire, train, promote and administer any and all personnel actions without regard to sex, race, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, ethnic identity or physical disability, or any other legally protected basis. The DNC will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination and any such conduct is prohibited.” The Democratic Party
From the 2004 Democratic Party National Platform for America:
“We pledge to stand up for our beliefs and rally Americans to our cause. But we recognize that disagreements will remain, and we believe disagreement should not mean disrespect. Members of our party have deeply held and differing views on some matters of conscience and faith. We view diversity of views as a source of strength, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who seek to build a stronger America. We are committed to resolving our differences in a spirit of civility, hope and mutual respect.
That's the America we believe in.” Democrats.org
Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed
(H/T - Mark Krikorian @ NRO)
UPDATE: Let's not forget this recent tidbit from Crablaw: Baltimore Examiner: Black Mayoral Candidates to Unite to Prevent White Mayor?
SOTU...and a Ted Kennedy sighting
On a lighter note, Style Section “journalist” Tom Shales has his own review of the speech performance. While actually not too critical (though still predictably catty), he makes this gushing observation:
“Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was caught by cameras reading the speech, too, but he looks so venerable and distinguished by now that it's hard to get a bad picture of him.” Getting a Read On the Speech Makes for Quite A Snapshot
Funny, but while watching the speech I couldn’t help but notice his sitting in front of Senator Clinton and next to Senator Obama (do you think Senator Kennedy got the name right last night?). And I’m thinking: how pathetic that Ted Kennedy – who used to be “It” among Democrats – is now reduced to shamelessly acting like a groupie just to get some guaranteed air time.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
What's in a designation
“Hezbollah-led protesters paralyzed Lebanon Tuesday by burning tires and cars on major thoroughfares in and around the capital to enforce a general strike that aims to topple the government.” Opposition strike paralyzes Lebanon - Mideast/N. Africa - MSNBC.com
Were this Iraq, this would probably qualify as the actions of a Civil War. However, I guess since the U.S. (and by extension George Bush) isn’t in Lebanon with troops, what would be the point of NBC making such a declaration?
As for injury reports, MSNBC tells us:
“Several people have been reported wounded in clashes between government and opposition supporters in northern Lebanon. Earlier reports indicating that at least one government supporter had been killed in a gunfight were incorrect, Reuters reported.”
Meanwhile over at the Washington Post:
“Clashes erupted along the country's fault lines, injuring at least 50 people.” Opposition Protesters Paralyze Lebanon
At the same time, on the same page, the same Washington Post is reporting:
“Hezbollah-backed protesters seeking to unseat the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called for a strike across Lebanon on Tuesday, blocking highways and sparking clashes that killed at least two people and injured 100 or more”
No decision yet though on whether one major party openly seeking the overthrow of the ruling party qualifies for the sparingly-used “Civil War” designation.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Maybe Elvis will call in...
I’m guessing the first question comes from another former first lady:
“Mrs. Clinton wrote about her imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt in her June 10 syndicated column. She said she talked to Roosevelt about the role of a first lady.
"She usually responds by telling me to buck up, or at least to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros," Mrs. Clinton wrote.” CNN - Adviser downplays Hillary Clinton's conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt - Jun. 24, 1996
Apparently that’s the way Democratic Senators from New York frequently converse:
“Biking through New York's boroughs in 2005, I thought about some old friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey. Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them.” Schumer: How Dems Can Win White House - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com (H/T – NRO)
I can’t improve on that.
UPDATE: Senator Schumer has apparently struck a chord as Jonah Goldberg catches it at The Corner here and here (apparently the last time the Senator wrote about talking with them , they were the O’Reilly’s). James Taranto also couldn’t resist mentioning it in today’s Best of the Web Today - WSJ.
Listening to Hillary
“Speaking at a rally of Irish immigrants, Clinton criticized a bill the House passed in December that would impose harsher penalties for undocumented workers.
“The House measure would make unlawful presence in the United States, which is currently a civil offense, a felony.” Sen. Clinton slams GOP immigration bill
Here is her video announcing her exploratory committee:
“…our basic bargain that no matter who you are or where you live, if you work hard and play by the rules you can build a good life for you and your family…” HillaryClinton.com - Video
I guess the part about “playing by the rules” is superfluous.
A suitable Spot...and it's not near the Post
A Suitable Spot Day laborers in Gaithersburg will finally get an employment center
…and damn it, they deserve it.
“Day-laborer centers provide shelter, bathrooms and other basic needs to local workers looking for gainful employment. Though many of the workers are illegal immigrants, their services are clearly in demand -- and essential to the area's economy.”
Why are the illegal immigrants in demand? Is their a wage differential that makes their employment so attractive? Doesn't building a welcoming spot for them – to make their illegal presence here more comfortable - possibly run counter to the supposed need for a minimum wage hike? And what does “clearly in demand” have to do with anything? So are prostitutes, cocaine and bars that allow smoking. Not sure what the Post thinks about the first two but its position on the smoking ban is predictable.
And I will challenge just how essential illegal immigrants are to the area’s economy. Such workers may be a windfall for the companies that hire them (now there’s a windfall profit tax I’ll back) but I don’t see how they pay their fair share of the infrastructure costs. They use the local schools and local health care – how are they paying for those? Income taxes? Property Taxes? As a criminal defense attorney, my anecdotal experience suggests illegal immigrants are also over-represented on the daily dockets, with the attendant extra costs of public defenders and interpreters. Hell, they’re not even going to pay for this wondrous “day-labor center”.
But the classic part of the editorial is this:
“But that did not prevent a rash of NIMBY outrage and anti-immigrant rhetoric when Gaithersburg proposed to base an employment center on a parcel that housed a disused water treatment plant. …
“It's a nice fix to a fight that has pitted immigrant-rights activists against neighbors and anti-immigrant groups for more than a year.”
The pro-illegal immigrant apologists constantly put up this strawman of anti-immigrationists…and it’s crap. The vast majority of us have no problem with those who come here lawfully with the intention of either becoming Americans or at least assimilating into the culture. What we don’t like are ILLEGAL immigrants being here…and we resent the hell out of liberal guilt-ridden places like Montgomery County openly doing what it can to make such people feel welcome.
For the faceless editorialists over at the Post, no doubt such postures play well as they make their way through the Georgetown social scene. They can even point to their support for minimum wage hikes as further proof of their liberal street cred as they toast the new Democratic power structure. But, at the end of the evening, the one thing they are probably NOT doing is driving back to their home in Gaithersburg.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Clinton & Obama v. the Democratic Party
“New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) today announced she will establish a presidential exploratory committee, launching a 2008 campaign that could make her the first female president in history…”
And earlier this week the buzz was all about another Senator:
“Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, whose best-selling books and political travels generated huge pressure to run for the White House, joined a crowded Democratic field yesterday, vowing to advance "a different kind of politics" in a campaign that could make him the nation's first African American president.” Obama Jumps Into Presidential Fray
As an outsider looking in, I’m going to suggest that, hype to the contrary, it probably ain’t going to happen for either one of them: The Democratic Party just isn’t ready for such a self-consciously historic happening. I base that conclusion on my observations of Democrats here in Maryland – surely one the bluest of blue states.
Here in Maryland, three of the past four gubernatorial elections have seen a woman top the slate of one of the two parties but we have yet to elect a woman governor. Can’t blame that on the Republicans – Ellen Sauerbrey was a worthy candidate twice sliced down by the feckless Democrats. And the other female nominee, Kathleen KENNEDY Townsend remains the only Democrat to lose a statewide election here in like a million years (or since whoever lost to Charles Mathias in 1980). For the uninitiated; it takes a LOT of Democratic defections for a Democrat to lose here.
Most recently, we saw Democratic Party leaders (a) pull out all stops to keep Kweisi Mfume from being their nominee and then (b) run a vicious campaign to keep Michael Steele from being our next Senator. Rhetorical Question: What is it about those two guys that inspired such Democratic Party enmity?
This past election even saw the Democrats here shoot down an opportunity for Maryland to have its first woman comptroller (Anne McCarthy) – instead it predictably turned to yet another older white guy with far less credentials but who had that all-important - (D) – after his name.
Yep – we’re going to hear a lot of talk in the months and years ahead about broken ceilings and historic firsts but if Maryland Democrats are at all representative of their party at large, well, then my bet would be on one of their many bloviating white guys. You think John Kerry is still interested?
Friday, January 19, 2007
O'Malley on Mount Rushmore?
“Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach was not ready to concede defeat in the battle against the retail giant.
‘‘Big corporations should be brought to heel. Teddy Roosevelt did it. Martin O’Malley should be able to do it as well,” Miller said.” Support for new Wal-Mart bill unsteady
No doubt it was the similar résumés that made this a natural…
Art Buchwald, R.I.P.
Some personal memories: One year my father got me a personalized, autographed copy of one of his books for Christmas which I still have on the bookshelf. Every so often I'll pull it out to read the inscription and think how cool it is to have it. Right before I showed up at Holy Cross, he was the commencement speaker there and gave such an enjoyable talk that the school invited him back again as the commencement speaker a few years later. (He was a very good friend of prominent HC grads Edward Bennett Williams and Joe Califano.) Unfortunately, that was my not my graduation day (and I’d be too embarrassed to put into print who we had for mine). In the 80’s, I furiously bid up the opportunity to have my name used in one of his columns at a charity function for my high school. Unfortunately, then – as now – my checkbook had limits.
After awhile I got out of the habit of reading Mr. Buchwald and never picked it up again. But I liked his writing style and I know it has had an influence on me. And I’m stuill grateful for the time he was a must-read for me.
Goodbye, My Friends - (a farewell column)
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wal Mart -2; Joe Curran and the Democrats -0
Later in July Federal District Court Judge Frederick Motz ruled the Maryland legislature’s actions (and it was all the legislature – then(sigh)-Governor Ehrlich had properly vetoed the bill only to have the legislature override that.) were pre-empted by ERISA. I noted at the time that I thought Judge Motz got the ruling right but I’d just as soon not have Federal pre-emption written into so many rules. A lot of Maryland legal “talent” then went to work on an appeal and, not surprisingly, Judge Motz’s decision got the better of them. As noted by Crab, one of his other blogging sites Maryland Courts Watcher has a good concise write-up with useful links. Retail Industry Leaders Ass'n v. Fielder (4th Cir. Ct. Appeals)
A few parting observations: Maryland got bad advice from then-Attorney General Joe Curran who was unequivocal in his claim that this did not run afoul of ERISA. Curran: ‘Wal-Mart’ bill not a violation of federal ERISA law. It continued to get bad advice as his office then helped in the appeal.
Joe Curran also thought the state requirement that an attorney had to be practicing in Maryland for 10 years to be eligible for the AG’s office needn’t apply to Tom Perez…he got taken down on that one, too. Both instances smacked of politics vice competent legal analysis making the decision which increasingly seemed to be the M.O. of his office. I am not going to miss Joe Curran.
And no word yet on whether newbie-AG Doug Gansler is going to appeal or correctly read the tea leaves.
When scientists talk, why listen?
“The Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' [BAS] ticking nudge to the world's conscience, moved two minutes closer to nuclear midnight yesterday, the closest to doomsday it has been since the Cold War.” Two Minutes Closer to Doomsday - washingtonpost.com (emphasis mine)
Now I’m sure these scientists are bright and all but why should anyone give their insight into the world’s political scene anymore respect and credence than one would give, say, Dennis Kucinich’s. A lifetime of playing with isotopes may give you some expertise in creating certain weapons; it gives you little to share when it comes to discussing how and when they’ll be used.
As if to specifically trying to prove my point, Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and a former member of the BAS board, opines:
"Bush the father's policy decisions produced the biggest one-time move away from midnight the clock ever experienced and Bush the son's policy decisions have pushed the clock almost as close to midnight as it's ever been"
Here’s some of what the scientists list out as the factors for their pessimism:
- "The Pakistan-based network that provided nuclear technologies to Libya, North Korea, and Iran, is an example of the new challenges confronting the international community."
- "More than 1400 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and approximately 500 tons of plutonium are distributed worldwide at some 140 sites, in unguarded civilian power plants and university research reactors, as well as in military facilities."
- "The prospect of civilian nuclear power development in countries around the world raises further concerns about the availability of nuclear materials. Growth in nuclear power is anticipated to be especially high in Asia, where Japan is planning to bring on line five new plants by 2010, and China intends to build 30 nuclear reactors by 2020."
- "Several factors are driving the turn to nuclear power— aging nuclear reactors, rising energy demands, a desire to diversify energy portfolios and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and the need to reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change. Yet expansion of nuclear power increases the risks of nuclear proliferation." "Doomsday Clock" Moves Two Minutes Closer To Midnight (BAS press release)
(Interestingly, they also refer to Global Warming (of course) as a danger but then they list it as an influence in pushing people toward more nuclear energy. So the Warming is a danger but combating it is also a danger. Good to know.)
Can you identify what the cliché-spouting Thomas Blanton is talking about? North Korea and Iran didn’t start their nuclear because of Bush-provided incentives. China and Japan aren’t building more reactors in response to the President’s much-maligned tax cuts. Just because he’s a scientist doesn’t mean he deserves to be quoted.
Profiles in Courage Sighting: I guess I’m just not appreciating how brave these sheltered brainiacs are:
“Lawrence M. Krauss, professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, an (sic) a BAS sponsor, said: "In these dangerous times, scientists have a responsibility to speak truth to power especially if it might provoke actions to reduce threats from the preventable technological dangers currently facing humanity. To do anything else would be negligent."
Too much even for BC
BC dismisses starting center Williams, reserve McLain
Were the Beatles Wrong: Can $$ Buy Us Iraqi Love?
“It's refreshing to see President Bush finally admitting his failures in Iraq for the first time since he declared the Iraq war over in April 2003.” Bush Is Right This Time - Bashir Goth at PostGlobal
Check the link he provides (Iraq war over) – it goes to an Australia-based web site which boldly proclaims: Bush declares Iraq war over …without actually providing the quote where the President declared the War was over. (Hint – he never said it.).
Now I’ve previously commented on a Bashir Goth PostGlobal posting; the last time he was suggesting that Saddam be sent to some other murderous thug’s country – the better to assuage the humiliation felt by so many Sunnis. Well, that’s OBE (Overcome By Events) and remarkably, Mr. Goth resists the urge to tell the rest of us “I told you so!”…or maybe he’s just hoping the rest of us won’t notice.
The tricky part of this most recent article of his is to declare his optimism for Iraq without violating the Global Mainstream Press Code of Ethics and, you know, come off sounding like a Bush toady:
“Well, looking at the fratricide and barbarism going on in Iraq today, any withdrawal of American forces would not only be a dereliction of duty but also a call for an unprecedented disaster across the whole region.”
So we’re doing a good thing there?
“The terrorists' only influence is violence, and their only agenda is death.” [Quoting a President Bush 2003 speech]
“But after almost three years, the Bush Administration has shown no better record than its adversaries. What is needed is to show to the Iraqis that Americans are better at building than filling hospitals.”
First of all, it’s not the American forces that are filling up the hospitals – that would be fellow Iraqis as well as imported terrorists. And the recent record, while not perfect, does include a few elections, relative peace throughout most of Iraq and a growing economy. That’s certainly not all the Bush Administration’s doing but that’s the side of the field they were on and I’d match that record against any of its “adversaries”.
He has previously called our involvement in Iraq an “internationally unjust war” (whatever that means) and called for “resorting to the traditional Arab way of resolving problems and sharing power [so that we] may reassure the Iraqi people that their fate is in their hands”. Nevertheless, he doesn’t want to leave Iraq in the hands of Iraqis, I guess because he doesn’t think they’ll be traditional. Most importantly, he calls upon the U.S. to rain money on Iraq because – and please tell me if I’m reading him wrong – he thinks we can buy Iraqi love. But like I wrote earlier, as a member of the Global Mainstream Media, he is ethically unable to be nice to President Bush so he leaves us with this:
“Meanwhile, the Bush Administration should realize that any goodwill overtures will come to nothing if it entangles itself in more embarrassing 'shoot from the hip' situations such as bombing Somali sheepherders…”
Do you think he is referring to this? TheSpoof.com : U.S. Military Kills 27 Somali Sheep herders, and several dozen sheep linked to Al Queda
Maryland Blogger Alliance H/T
Special Kudos to Jousting for Justice for having the coolest avatar at the top of a page. Stephanie is wrong about so many things – especially her infatuation with our new Governor – but any site that has a Purple Crusader at the top has standing with me.
And congrats to Crablaw for his new look – Best of luck, Bruce, on your ever burgeoning internet media empire.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Remember the Luxury Tax on Yachts?
“The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved by voice vote today a proposal to sharply limit the earnings corporate executives and other highly paid employees can place tax-free into deferred compensation plans, one of the most popular executive benefits in corporate America.” Senators Approve Executive Benefit Limit - washingtonpost.com
...I immediately thought: how does this affect Baseball?
Remember A-Rod has a significant portion of his salary deferred – estimated at $36,000,000 over the life of his $252,000.000 contract signed back in 2001. For 2007, $4,000,000 will be deferred. CNNSI.com - MLB Baseball - Breakdown of A-Rod's record $252 million contract
Since he’s a Yankee, I really don’t care about any negative implications for him or the Yankees. And there may be a clause within to grandfather previously-signed contracts but I’m going to wait until the bill is signed as law before I make any real commitment toward understanding the fine points within. But cash flow is an important business consideration and the implications for teams with salary cap issues (mainly outside of baseball), debt and previously-structured cash revenue streams may be initially significant.
Safe to say though, that if this becomes tax law, deferred compensation will simply take on a different form since only a moron purposely takes on taxable income that he/she doesn’t actually receive. Perhaps we’ll just have high pay individuals agree to future consulting deals or the like. Second safe prediction – somewhere CPAs and attorneys are scheming to mitigate this bill’s effect.
Play to Win or Take Your Ball Home
“"We have seen something I haven't seen in 28 years in the House Representatives — someone bringing a bill to the House they don't support," Skelton said. USATODAY.com - House overwhelmingly stomps out bill that would've reinstated draft
Or John Murtha’s call for an Iraqi withdrawal that he didn’t vote for in 2005: House Rejects Iraq Pullout After GOP Forces a Vote
Or John Kerry’s 2006 doomed-from-the-start withdrawal call: Senate Rejects Democratic Plans to Withdraw U.S. Troops From Iraq
…well, I generally look with disdain on such posturing. Tuesday’s Op-Ed by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, formerly of the Reagan and Bush I Justice Departments, does a good job of throwing down the gauntlet to our new Congress regarding Iraq:
“If Congress believes the war is lost, or not worth winning, it must take responsibility for the consequences of forcing a U.S. withdrawal. Otherwise, it must leave the president to direct the war and to bear responsibility for the decisions he has made and will make.” What Congres Can (And Can't) Do on Iraq
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
A year later...
Just a trip down memory lane.
Global Warming Update
Also:cbs4denver.com - Snow Threat Gone, Extreme Cold Lingers
Crews struggle to restore power as ice storm that killed several moves east - USATODAY.com
But ultimately, isn’t it all about us?
"Days like this, I worry about global warming, and we're not doing anything about it," said Coby Dolan, an attorney basking in the sunshine on the porch of the clubhouse at the Hains Point golf course.” March in January! Or Is It Mayday?
Diversifying for Profit
“[Sociology Professor Cedric] Herring has just completed his study. He found that companies that are more diverse have more customers, a larger share of their markets and greater profitability. In fact, when Herring puts his numbers on a graph, he finds a linear relationship between diversity and business success, meaning that as diversity increases, those business indicators increase in step.” In Boardrooms and in Courtrooms, Diversity Makes a Difference
I don’t know why Post writer Shankar Vedantam says Professor Herring “just completed his study” – the paper’s been out since August 2006 – but my guess is Mr. Vendantum has been saving this tidbit especially for Martin Luthor King Day. Since this is the Post, though, I decided to read the Professor's study myself.
Professor Herring early on attempts to de-flame the emotionalism surrounding the term “Diversity”:
“For some people, the term "diversity" provokes intense emotional reactions because it brings to mind such politically charged ideas as "affirmative action" or "quotas"; yet, at its base the term merely refers to variety. Diversity is an all-inclusive term that extends beyond race and gender and incorporates people in many different classifications. It includes age, geographic considerations, personality, culture, sexual preferences, tenure issues, and a myriad of other personal, demographic, and organizational characteristics. Generally speaking, the term "workforce diversity" refers to policies and practices that seek to include people within a workforce who are considered to be, in some way, different from those in the predominant group.”
Sounds great but later…
“The focus in this paper is on diversity that is based on race,…”
I am further on notice as to a possible agenda when I read, as part of his “Overview of the "Business Case for Diversity" Perspective” (p6), this tired old canard:
“In addition, Executive Order 11246 issued in 1965 required government contractors to take affirmative action to overcome past patterns of exclusion and discrimination.”
Since that wasn’t the way I remembered it, I went and looked up EO 11246. Read for yourself:
“The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship.” Executive Order 11246, As Amended
Nothing about past patterns of exclusion and discrimination – in other words, the exact opposite of what affirmative action is purported to mean today.
So his conclusion is as expected:
“The analysis provided support for all four hypotheses: racial diversity is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, greater market share, and greater relative profits.”
Now I will admit, I did not study extensively his use of regression analysis, stochastic curves and what-have you. But some of the numbers within are interesting. First, the data he uses isn’t new – it’s from 1996-1997. Further he is culling data from a database that already culled data. In this instance, 1,002 U.S. work establishments were stratified from over 15,000,000 work establishments in 1996/97. Apparently, Professor Herring then obtained information from 251 of these 1,002 to produce his work.
The information on Market Share and Profitability were based on perceptions of the respondents and not the actual numbers. Some of his results are so unsurprising; I’m not sure why he even thought to include it. If I told you that Sole Proprietorships were less-likely to be racially diverse than Corporations, would you felt like you learned anything? But there it is on Page 16 of the report. Then there is my favorite stat:
“Although the differences are not large, businesses with low levels of racial diversity have, if anything, slightly higher percentages of female employees (57%) than those with medium levels of racial diversity (51%) or those with high levels of racial diversity 54%).”
I think he’s embarrassed by that because it’s the only time he notes that the differences are not large – even though there are instances where the differences are smaller than reported here. Also I’m curious as to his data base if, in all three levels (low, medium, high), women make up more than 50% of the workforce when, as a group, they supposedly only now make up 46% of workforce (2005 Workforce statistics).
In the end, I don’t know what the study is supposed to add to the debate; a debate that Professor Herring paints thusly:
“The paper began with two competing views about the effects of diversity. The "business case for diversity" perspective argues that a diverse workforce, relative to a homogeneous workforce, produces better business results…
“In contrast, skeptics point out why diversity is counterproductive.”
There may be such skeptics out there but I believe that most Diversity skeptics instead just think the whole skin-deep diversity bit is, at best, irrelevant. Even Professor Herring admits the study shows a relational not causal link. I doubt that’s the way it’ll be used.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
After further review, holiday sales weren't horrible
“The Commerce Department released the final results on the holiday shopping season yesterday as the retail industry seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.” The Results Are in and Retailers Can Exhale
Why it seems like just last week that the Washington Post was reporting a gloomy holiday season for sales.
Well, in fact, it was last week: Maryland Conservatarian: Can the Democrats rescue retail?
And this may seem a small point but any retailer that didn’t know what kind of year they had until the Federal Government told them is not one that will be around for long.
Post writer Ylan Q. Mui does give some space to a potential downer amidst the good sales number:
“Martin also noted that while retailers rang up more sales, foot traffic fell 1.7 percent, compared with the same period last year. He said consumers likely had consolidated their shopping trips to save time and gasoline. The drop also could be because shoppers made fewer purchases, choosing to spend big bucks on one must-have item, such as a flat-screen TV set, Martin said.”
…or maybe more people than ever bought on line. Actually I’m not just making that up. The Post reported on that last week although even then they didn’t speculate on whether the non-inclusion of internet sales were a factor in what it thought were disappointing holiday sales.
(H/T - fellow HCer Baseball Crank)
"I said oh oh domino"
Well, thankfully the Washington Post had the same reaction and, as a public service, is offering up the thoughts of Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor. Zbigniew Brzezinski - Five Flaws in the President's Plan
Yep – who better to turn to than the man who had Jimmy Carter’s ear throughout the Iran Hostage Crisis. Reading his sage words hearkens back to a more simple time when people still liked America. Well, not enough to leave our embassies alone but you know what I mean…
Apparently, criticizing the President’s actions in Iraq is becoming a January tradition for Mr. Brzezinski. Here he is last January 18th:
“Official and unofficial spokesmen often speak in terms that recall the apocalyptic predictions made earlier regarding the consequences of American failure to win in Vietnam: dominoes falling, the region exploding and U.S. power discredited. An added touch is the notion that the Iraqi insurgents will then navigate the Atlantic and wage terrorism on the American homeland.” The Real Choice in Iraq
And here he is with this year’s edition:
“That would not provide a remedy for the dubious "falling dominoes" scenario, which the president so often has outlined as the inevitable, horrific consequence of U.S. withdrawal.” Five Flaws
Again with the ‘Dominoes” – where is he getting this stuff? I know the President’s critics (*cough*Zbigniew Brzezinski*cough*) have tried mightily to associate that terminology – with all its negative connotations left over from the Democrats’ push in the 60’s toward increasing our presence in Vietnam – to the President but I honestly don’t know that the President himself has ever used it.
Kind of makes you wonder though who first used that term in such a scenario. Our good friends over at WorldwideStandard.com must have asked themselves the same question because this is what they uncovered last year:
“In a March 1, 1964 op-ed in the Washington Post ("'Neutral' Viet-Nam a Chinese Backyard: Noted Student of Communism Says De Gaulle Suggestion Would Be U.S. Defeat and A Handover to Peking"), Mr. Brzezinski responded to a press conference by French President Charles de Gaulle, who concluded that the United States was neither capable nor had the will to stay in Southeast Asia. President de Gaulle argued for the "neutralization" of South Viet-Nam -- de Gaulle's gracious way of handing the area over to the Chinese, Mr. Brzezinski said. And what did Mr. Brzezinski think of this recommendation? Not much.”
“And then, under the heading "A Row of Dominos" (!), Mr. Brzezinski wrote this:
“As a result it is certain beyond question that there would be immediate political instability in Thailand, whose northeast is already exposed to insurgency and whose politicians are already fearful that American commitments are not to be trusted. Malaysia, until two years ago an area of Communist insurgency, would be certain to fall, and the collapse of these states would have a direct impact on the present insurgency in Burma.” WorldwideStandard.com: Zbigniew Brzezinski's "Falling Dominoes"
If not the first, no doubt one of the earliest.
According to the Post, Mr. Brzezinski “was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, [and] is the author of the forthcoming book "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower." Left out of that prose is the pertinent fact that he is also a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party – even trusted enough by them to deliver their Weekly Radio Address ( Dr. Brzezinski Delivers Democratic Radio Address Party – 6/24/2005) These Op-Eds then, are not the measured writings of a thoughtful, experienced observer of the situation but instead seem part of an increasingly pathetic effort by someone desperate to alter a current historic image of himself side-by-side with a failed Jimmy Carter. Hey, put like that, I’d be desperate too.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Great Moments in Feminism!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Madeleine Albright channels Thomas Aquinas
“The U.S. did not, however, have the “right authority” to go to war, given the lack of support from the UN Security Council, divisions within NATO, and the Bush Administration’s unwillingness to allow UN weapons inspectors to complete their work.” Madeleine Albright: Iraq War Did Not Meet All Just War Requirements
Leaving aside the mind-numbing realization that a former Secretary of State believes that a corrupt UN is a "right authority", why does she cite “the Bush administration’s unwillingness to allow UN weapons inspectors to complete their work.” After all, back in 1998:
“"The chief U.N. weapons inspector ordered his monitors to leave Baghdad today after saying that Iraq had once again reneged on its promise to cooperate--a report that renewed the threat of U.S. and British airstrikes." --AP, 12/16/98 What a Difference Four Years Makes
Now here is Ms. Albright criticizing the chief U.N. weapons inspector for not letting the rest of the inspectors complete their work:
Well, okay I couldn’t find any but if someone could send me the link, I’d be glad to include it. In fact, back in 1998 Secretary Albright was talking a different talk:
“The United States is prepared to use "substantial" force against Iraq if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis over U.N. weapons inspections, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday”
“"If diplomacy runs out, we have reserved the right to use force and if we do so it will be substantial," she said.”
CNN - Albright: 'All options open' on Iraq - Feb. 1, 1998
Reading all that, it sounds like she’d have had no problem agreeing with the President as he outlined exactly what we want out of Iraq:
“The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.”
In fact I know she had no problem with that statement because it was from her boss, President Bill Clinton, as part of his signing statement accompanying the signing of the Iraq Liberation Act on October 31, 1998.
But what’s even more galling is that we are reading such sanctimonious crap from the same woman who participated in this little exchange:
““Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it. --60 Minutes (5/12/96) "We Think the Price Is Worth It"
I know she has since expressed regret for that statement, claiming it didn’t come out the way she meant. And I believe her. The sanctions were morally defensible and they didn’t kill anyone. Instead, Saddam Hussein and his self-indulgent policies were the responsible factors for the death of those Iraqis. But I also believe that even accepting the premise of the question (that the sanctions were partly responsible for Iraqi deaths), I don’t think her answer would have changed. She – as part of the Clinton Administration – was committed to sanctions as an important cog in our and the world’s Iraq policy. (And I never quarreled with them on that.)
Clearly, our goals in Iraq haven’t changed much since the Clinton Administration of which Ms. Albright was a prominent member. Unless she is now repudiating the efforts and policies of that Administration, these come across as the words of a woman with a peculiar, if not ignorant, sense of history.
"Reporting for the Iranians..."
“U.S. troops raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq late Wednesday night and detained several people, Iran's main news agency reported today, prompting protests from Tehran just hours after President Bush pledged to crack down on the Islamic Republic's role in Iraqi violence.”
“U.S. officials have not confirmed the raid but did say in a press release that they had taken six people into custody in Irbil during the course of "routine security operations."
…so, of course, the Post goes with the Iranian version. For a more recent update on the story:
U.S. raid on Iranian consulate angers Kurds - CNN.com
“In Washington, a U.S. official confirmed that six Iranian officials were detained for questioning. But he disputed accounts that troops broke open a consulate gate and conducted a raid.
"No shots were fired. No altercation ensued," said the official. "It was a knock on the door and, 'Please come out.' "
“The official also explained that the Iranians in question were not inside an officially designated diplomatic consulate or embassy-like building.”
So CNN reports that a U.S. official more or less denies it was a raid on an official consulate and yet they, too, go with the Iranian version of events. Now, I’m only a blogger and thus apparently “the common journalistic practices of verifying facts, seeking both sides of a story and subjecting an article to editing are honored mostly in the breach” by me. But before such breathless accounts are ricocheted around the internet and beyond, shouldn’t we get a more reliable source than Iran? ...or CNN?
Side Note I: But what if it turns out to be a real consulate? I’m amused with the idea that somewhere Jimmy Carter would have to then be thinking that if only he had done something similar, he might have gotten a second term…nah, probably not, he knows the Jews would never have let him be re-elected.
Side Note II: From that same CNN report:“In an address Wednesday night, Bush vowed that U.S. troops "will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria" to insurgents inside Iraq.
“Both Tehran and Damascus denounced his plans Thursday and said an increase of U.S. troops in Iraq will only increase bloodshed, The Associated Press reported.”
They’re denouncing his plans to “interrupt the flow of support from” them? Doesn’t that kind of help make the President’s case?
Liberals love all people...except Asians
Okay, maybe they don't "hate" them...but they damn sure strongly resent them.
Now before you dismiss that out-of-hand, think about it. Liberals drone on and on about the need for race-factored admissions - supposedly in pursuit of some yet-undocumented benefits brought on by skin-deep diversity – but what group do such plans hurt most? Well, as once again outlined by the always excellent Thomas Sowell, Asians tend to bear the brunt of race-influenced admissions:
““At 41 percent Asian, Berkeley could be the new face of merit-based admissions. The problem for everybody else: lots less room at elite colleges.” [quoting January 7 New York Times]”
Anybody of any race who takes a place at any college leaves one less place for somebody else. Does an Asian American take up any more space than anybody else? Are they all Sumo wrestlers?” Thomas Sowell on Education & Quotas
I know this probably runs counter-intuitive to most of your thinking but I have an idea as to why this so.
If you’ll remember, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor during FDR’s administration, thus permanently distracting him from his efforts to get the federal government even more involved with our everyday lives. That was followed by the Truman Administration which got us involved on the Korean Peninsula. That effort is credited with helping to lead to eight years of Dwight Eisenhower. Then Kennedy/Johnson + Vietnam = Richard Nixon and a fractured Democratic Party (and yes, I know much of the Left was rooting for the Vietcong but that’s only because they were young & stupid & possibly at Yale...not that I’m questioning their patriotism). After Vietnam, we saw the surge of Japanese imports, followed by their non-UAW staffed American plants. Result: Democratic Party-ally UAW is now almost a third of what it was at its heyday in the late ‘60s. In short, I think liberals blame Asians for many of the woes and disappointments they’ve experienced over the past 70 years.
Feeding off, then, the stereotype of Asian obsession with education, liberals saw their chance to get even. They would deny children of Asian descent the opportunity to go to the school of their choice. Of course, they couldn’t be blatant about such discrimination; even Sandra Day O’Connor wouldn’t sign off on that. But after a few mis-steps (i.e. Bakke), they introduced the vague yet strangely alluring-sounding concept of skin-deep diversity - now better known as just “Diversity” – and those pesky Asians were screwed.
So far this Diversity shtick has to be rated an unqualified success as even liberals had to be surprised at just how readily this was accepted without much comment. Like the townsfolk too afraid to point out the lack of clothes on the Emperor, so too has the Diversity benefit gone unchallenged…as has its application; whereas most schools are chastised should their enrollment of certain minorities not achieve a PC-level of “Diversity”, can anyone realistically imagine a liberal criticizing an Historically Black College or University for their lack of Diversity? How about criticizing Hillary Clinton’s alma mater, Wellesley, for their lack of gender diversity? (On the flip side: would an all-male private college of similar stature avoid such criticism?)…(Yes, that was a rhetorical question.)
Obviously, this is just a rough draft of my theory. I’d like to write it up for some journal but Leftist-written campus speech codes being what they are today, I’d probably just be accused of hate speech. Instead, for the sanest, most common sense reaction to this problem, I’ll just leave you with the inimitable Ronald Reagan:
“It has been said that, when Ronald Reagan was governor of California, someone told him that admitting students to the University of California on individual performance alone could mean that all the students at Berkeley might be Asian Americans.
"So what?" was the Gipper's response.” Thomas Sowell: For What Purpose
Seriously, could a liberal in good standing have said that?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Seriously, Bonzo should be the WaPo Business columnist
Anyway, he is at it again with a column today about the minimum wage that is so filled with irrelevancy that is comes across as just an (another) audition for him to move to the Op-Ed pages:
“With Wall Street hot shots and corporate chiefs raking in obscene amounts of money, and with pay in the bottom half of the workforce barely keeping up with inflation, you'd think raising the minimum wage for the first time in a decade would be a political and economic no-brainer for the new Democratic Congress.”
“But you'd be forgetting about Max Baucus” Steven Pearlstein - Minimum Wage, Maximum Myth
Seems Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, wants to hold hearings BEFORE voting in a minimum wage hike. Steven Pearlstein is aghast at the idea that everyone isn’t already vested in the idea that a minimum wage hike is a self-evident truth. After all:
“Real Democrats know that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do -- economically, politically, morally.”
His argument is basically that raising the minimum wage is no big deal because (a) small business will eventually pass on the costs to us and besides (b) small business sucks.
He does concede, grudgingly it seems, that maybe, just maybe such legislation can have an impact on business but:
“The worst that can be said is that a higher minimum wage will add, very modestly, to overall inflation.
“There is also general agreement among economists that a higher minimum wage, at the levels we are talking about, will have a minimal impact on adult employment. Slightly higher prices might reduce, slightly, the demand for Wendy's hamburgers, cheap hotel rooms and dog-walking services. But largely offsetting those effects will be the increased demand for goods and services by tens of millions of Americans who will finally be getting a raise. A higher minimum wage doesn't lower economic activity so much as rearrange it slightly.”
Of course, Steven Pearlstein isn’t in the Wendy’s hamburgers business. Nor does he operate a hotel or dog-walking business. For him then this is all just faux-academics and guess-work. More importantly, such pontifications probably allow him to continue to hobnob with other like-minded liberals who can continue to tsk-tsk the less-anointed of us who haven’t yet seen the light. What he doesn’t address is just why most of us don’t work at the minimum wage. What is it about the market that it is so inept about valuing the labor of a particular stratum of workers that the federal government is forced to step in and make it right?
Despite Mr. Pearlstein’s claims, there is no ethical or moral justification for an increase in the minimum wage. That is sheer demagoguery and today's column is just another long-winded version of the liberal mantra: Trust us; we know what’s best for you!