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May 12th, 2006

Time for Republican smackdown

Peggy Noonan:

(Republican) Party leaders say they’re aware they’re in trouble, aware of a sense of stasis in the country. They are going to solve the problem, they say, by passing legislation. They’re going to pass a budget. And they’re going to pass an immigration bill, too. People will like that.

But no they won’t. The American people are not going to say, ‘I am relieved and delighted our Congress passed a budget.’ They will be relieved and delighted if Congress cuts spending. They would be relieved and delighted if Congress finally took responsibility for the nation’s borders. They won’t be impressed if you just pass bills and call it progress.

Party leaders are showing a belief in process as opposed to a belief in, say, belief. But belief drives politics. It certainly drives each party’s base.

One gets the impression party leaders, deep in their hearts, believe the base is . . . base. Unsophisticated. Primitive. Obsessed with its little issues. They’re trying to educate the base. But if history is a guide, the base is about to teach them a lesson instead.

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May 12th, 2006

Tax the rich more!

Everything you need to know about the US tax system:

I remember tables like this whenever I hear anyone blather on about “tax cuts for the rich…”
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May 10th, 2006

Arms: not just for hugging

In the LA Times (of all places), I read this comforting thought::

There has never been an age without war, not ever. Mass violence is a continual aspect of the human condition. Peace, like good weather, is always local and temporary and what is peace anyway but the result of past victories in war and the effective threat of future war against would-be aggressors?

We play with our children, read books, go to work and enjoy recreations only because people with guns stand ready, willing and able to kill other people with guns who would kill us if they could.

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Posted in Current Affairs | 14 Comments »

March 30th, 2006

Change the channel?

Amir Taheri has an interesting editorial that should be required reading for anyone who thinks our immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a great thing, helping the cause of world peace:

Hassan Abbasi has a dream–a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the ‘fleeing Americans,’ forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by ‘the Army of Muhammad.’ Presented by his friends as ‘The Dr. Kissinger of Islam,’ Mr. Abbasi is ‘professor of strategy’ at the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of ‘running away,’ leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of ‘the last helicopter.’ It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the corpses of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein’s generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton’s helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.

According to this theory, President George W. Bush is an “aberration,” a leader out of sync with his nation’s character and no more than a brief nightmare for those who oppose the creation of an “American Middle East.” Messrs. Abbasi and Ahmadinejad have concluded that there will be no helicopter as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. But they believe that whoever succeeds him, Democrat or Republican, will revive the helicopter image to extricate the U.S. from a complex situation that few Americans appear to understand.

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March 21st, 2006

Work = slavery

‘They’re offering us nothing but slavery,’ said Maud Pottier, 17, a student at Jules Verne High School in Sartrouville, north of Paris, who was wrapped in layers of scarves as protection against the chilly, gray day. ‘You’ll get a job knowing that you’ve got to do every single thing they ask you to do because otherwise you may get sacked. I’d rather spend more time looking for a job and get a real one.’”

A real job - in France - is apparently a job for life where you don’t have to do what your boss wants.

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March 15th, 2006

The attack of Eurogoogle

WE MUST take the offensive and muster a massive effort, said Jacques Chirac, the president of France, who went on to warn of the dangers of losing the battle for the power of tomorrow in a speech made last April.

What is Jacques Chirac worried about?

Is worried that Europeans should do more to explore space or science? Is he contemplating the possibilty of an Iranian nuclear weapon? Is he fretting that French Muslim immigrants are reproducing at a rate three times higher than the native French?
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February 27th, 2006

How I became a racist

Because I am someone who voted reluctantly for Bush - not once but twice - it should come as no surprise to the readers of this board that I am a racist.

No, not the rednecked, beer swillin’, stars and bars wearin’ yahoo type racist. And I certainly don’t have a skinhead. Or a closet full of hooded white robes and swastika flags.

But I am racist nonetheless.
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February 24th, 2006

Apologies of a Bush Voter

I wrote most of this in November 2004:

Republicans may someday look on the re-election of George Bush as one of the biggest disasters that has ever befallen their Party

Yes, of course I voted for him.
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Posted in Politics, Economics | 64 Comments »

February 21st, 2006

Richard Cohen’s War on Algebra

Columnist Richard Cohen has come up with a brilliant plan to help American high school students compete with the whiz kids from Asia.

Let’s get rid of the hard classes!, written as “advice” to a failing high school student:

You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it. You will never need to know — never mind want to know — how many boys it will take to mow a lawn if one of them quits halfway and two more show up later — or something like that. Most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator. On the other hand, no computer can write a column or even a thank-you note — or reason even a little bit. If, say, the school asked you for another year of English or, God forbid, history, so that you actually had to know something about your world, I would be on its side. But algebra? Please.

…It has its uses, I suppose, and I think it should be available for people who want to take it. Maybe students should even be compelled to take it, but it should not be a requirement for graduation.

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February 16th, 2006

Winning the center

Hey, maybe I could vote Democrat:

(Democratic Congressman Harold) Ford said he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, he is against partial birth abortion, he argues we have to stay in Iraq until we get the job done and he says he was encouraged on his most recent of four visits to the war zone. He wants to end pork barrel spending and balance the budget by making every department cut spending, and he wants to reform the tax code.

It was in the area of entitlements that Ford made his boldest statements. He says we need to notify people 40 and under right now that they won’t be getting Social Security until they are 70. Increased life expectancy is threatening the solvency of the program. He also favors means testing so that those making over $300,000 a year would not receive a Social Security check. He is opposed to private accounts.

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February 8th, 2006

In defense of McCain-Feingold

I once opposed McCain-Feingold. I must admit, I was wrong.

The election of 2004 as one of the fairest and cleanest in history, dominated not by the special interests, but by the power of ideas. Money was almost completely absent, and the election was one of the cheapest in history.

There was little character assassination from shadowy interests groups in the election, and - for once - wealthy people found it difficult to get their voices heard. The political scene was thankfully characterized by respectful disagreement and amiable debate. An unprecedented number of house seats changed hands, and every senator who ran faced a competitive race. As a result, I would say there has never been a cleaner and more responsible Congress in history.
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February 3rd, 2006

A spine in Europe?

The Religion of Peace is really freaking out over these cartoons (cartoons courtesy of LGF).

Fundamentalist Muslims are gently threatening editors with murder, meekly advising governments of coming suicide attacks, and reluctantly committing to the mass murder of the infidels.

And Europe has not surrendered! Europe is standing tough - with each day bring news of more courageous editors in more European countries.
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February 1st, 2006

Kennedy goes nuts and conservatives rejoice

I am not a conservative.

I am a liberatarian.

But people like Ted Kennedy make me wonder. He’s pushing me right.
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January 30th, 2006

Welcome to Hamas

Many people are absolutely shocked that the Palestinians have put Hamas in power.

I’m not.

Many people think it’s terrible.
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January 24th, 2006

More nonsense about spanking

I’m always amazed at how really bad science gets press (and funding):

Children who are spanked when they misbehave are more likely to be anxious and aggressive than children who are disciplined in nonphysical ways, research shows. This is true even if spanking is the “cultural norm….”

… researchers from questioned 336 mothers and their children in China, India, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, and Thailand about cultural norms surrounding use of physical discipline and how it affected their children’s behavior.

Jennifer Lansford, a research scientist from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University spearheaded the survey. She told Reuters Health that “across the six countries studied, children who were physically disciplined more frequently were more aggressive and anxious than were children who were physically disciplined less frequently.”

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January 24th, 2006

A shrub I could hate

In many ways Bush is a lousy president.

But the most delightful aspect of presidency - in my eyes at least - is this chimp’s ability to make his venerable political enemies look like turbo-charged, fire-spitting, deranged idiots.

I just wish they would be more amusing about it.
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