August 30, 2003

Affirmative Action for dolls...

You've heard about the dread Institutionalized Racism, which is well-known to be the only reason that certain minorities do not shoot ahead...(And I guess one would also have to surmise, is why certain other minorities do better than the majority race?) Finally, someone, or rather some wise government agency, is going to stamp this monster out! Donald Sensing writes:

...My wife is the director of a preschool and pre-Kindergarten run by a local United Methodist Church (not mine). Every year her school is inspected by the state's regulatory and licensing agencies. If the school does not pass the inspections, it can be closed by the state. There are a lot of different inspections at the school year's beginning.

Please note that this is a private pre-school.

Today she went shopping in preparation for an inspection coming up this week. It was for a doll. She told me that the state licensing agency requires that her school have three dolls of at least two different races.

Of course the school may have more than three dolls, but it may not violate the "two races per three dolls" ratio...

Do Space-Alien dolls count?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:56 PM

Casinos succeed where some schools fail...

...Las Vegas has been quietly succeeding where public schools subscribing to the bilingual model have failed � and it has done so simply by not tampering with an individual's natural predisposition to grasp a new language faster when it is the only tool available. So while school children in� bilingual ed � whose adaptive young brains are poised to assimilate language within months � are unable to read, write or form a clear thought in English, 40- and 60-year-old immigrants laboring as cooks, guest room attendants and bellhops at the�Bellagio Hotel and Casino�must communicate with co-workers and customers the only way that they can be understood � in English...
thanks to Zach

Posted by John Weidner at 9:39 PM

Steyn of course...

..."Well, all right," I said, "but do we have to disparage the whole Mars thing? I'm incredibly moved whenever I contemplate the vast unending emptiness of space."

"Tell me about it," said Ron. "I worked on BBC News 24."

"I mean, as a matter of objective reality, Mars is out there, approximately 34 million miles from Earth. So the central claim of our report that Alastair Campbell faked the whole thing is itself fake."

"Well, it's fake in the very narrow sense of being not true. But in the broader climate of general concern about the Government's credibility it's perfectly legitimate."

"Yes, but we created the broader climate of general concern about the Government's credibility," I pointed out."... (read more here)

Now where else have we encountered that sort of reasoning lately?

Posted by John Weidner at 1:38 PM

This is priceless...

Almost a year ago, Nathan Newman wrote this column: California: Where Democrats Can Be Democrats (In something called the Progressive Populist, a delicious irony since it was the Progressives who put the recall law on California's books)

...My contrarian view is that Democrats are more liberal than they were a generation ago.� There are just fewer of them.� So policy has moved to the right in many areas.�

To prove that point, the best place to look is California where Dems took control of all three branches of government in 1998 and do not face filibusters, except on budget and tax issues where the GOP maintains a veto due to post-Prop 13 rules. (Ironically, at the federal level, the budget is the one place protected from filibusters, the reason Clinton could pass his progressive 1993 tax bill and Bush could push through his regressive 2001 tax plan.)

So what�s been the result in California?� An overflow of groundbreaking legislation on behalf of unions, the environment, abortion rights, gay rights, consumers and renters...

...But those high-profile bills are only the tip of the iceberg. The last few years have seen a torrent of legislation that in its sheer volume shows the issues that could be addressed if the veto by the GOP could be removed from national legislation.

On education, the state has increased spending on the public schools by $9.1 billion, a 39% increase in three years while they have tightened supervision of charter schools to assure local oversight.

On consumer rights, the state has doubled to 60 days the time landlords must give tenants before displacing them. And with corporations seeking to replace court-enforced rights with private �arbitration� courts, California Dems pushed through rules that prohibit firms from the current practice of charging consumers for the costs of a winning company�s fees and barred arbitrators from handling cases involving companies with which they have any financial interests.

On health care, the state has passed some of the toughest HMO reforms in the nation, passing 21 bills giving Californians new health care rights, including: ...

There's lots more; a torrent of catastrophes and good reasons why the quasi-socialist "Progressive" Democratic Party shouldn't be in control of anything.

(thanks to The Minuteman)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:29 AM

August 29, 2003

Let them get on with it...

Remember when the Bush Administration gave initial reconstruction contracts to companies like Fluor and Bechtel and Haliburton, without any red-tape and competitive bidding?, And remember how various people were clucking and fussing like old grandmas about such shocking Republican goings-on? THIS IS PART OF WHY THEY DID IT!

...Compounding the impact of the US� military overstretch on security has been the State Department�s crippling bureaucratic mindset. Rather than recognising the exceptional nature of the Iraqi situation, officials have insisted at every point in applying the full rigour of US health and safety requirements, licensing procedures and other sundry impediments to progress. Take the mobile phone network. The sensible solution would have been to pick the most able and cost-effective operator and let them get on with it. But instead, the decision was taken to go through a full competitive tendering process, which takes an inordinate amount of time. One day, however, people suddenly found their mobiles working; a network had decided, to immense acclaim, to ignore the process and, indeed, get on with it. They were swiftly shut down, encapsulating just why things have been moving so slowly in Iraq: beauraucracy ahead of common sense...
From a good article by Stephen Pollard. Via Natalie Solent writing in Samizdata. Her comparison to Count Peter Stolypin is most interesting.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 PM

Typical Catholic immigrants?

Zev Chafets writes about an interesting poll of Latin-Americans:

...Neither are Latinos inclined to see themselves as victims. Asked about the main barrier to success in the U.S., a large plurality listed language.

Almost 70% could think of no instance in the past year in which they suffered ethnic or racial discrimination. Just 3.7% regard bias as the most important problem they face.

Fully 85.5% say that affirmative action should be based more on need than on race. Among potential Democratic primary voters, the Rev. Al Sharpton got just 1.8%.

Politically, a majority of Latinos call themselves conservative or moderate,..

...Seen through the prism of this poll, Hispanics appear to be less a group of disaffected minority voters than a fairly typical community of Catholic immigrants. A generation ago, the Republicans converted working-class Italian-, Polish- and Irish-Americans into Reagan Democrats. This year, they will be trying to repeat the act, in Spanish...

(via Brothers Judd Blog)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 PM

Bring back the Doges ...

Various antsy people seem to be saying that we ought to become the British Empire, or avoid becoming the British Empire. Or hang our heads because we've become the Roman Empire, or because we aren't tough and ruthless like the Roman Empire...

I think the allusions are pretty useless, and there are other empire-comparisons that would fit our situation better. Possibly most people are unaware that there were more than two empires in history, since those two are the only ones that Hollywood is cognizant of. It would be refreshing to hear occasional mention of the Persian or Athenian or Dutch empires, or the Venetian colonies.

But on the British topic, Charlene noticed this quote you might like from John Derbeyshire, in the September 1 National Review:

...The trumpets are sounding, we are called to our imperial duty; we must take up the White Man's Burden. (It is worth noting Kipling's definition of "white man," given in 1897: "the race speaking the English tongue, with a high birth rate and a low murder rate, living quietly under Laws which are neither bought nor sold.")

Posted by John Weidner at 5:31 PM

This is good, this is exciting ... and now you know what that sneaky fellow George Bush is really up to

At School, a New Era of Multiple Choices for Parents by Gail Russell Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor

...This fall marks the first year when neighborhood public schools feel the brunt of a new national experiment in accountability - and the impact on parents may be even greater than that on students and their teachers.

One result: more choices for parents. This fall, parents of 54 million students nationwide will see more comparative data about public schools than has been available, even to top administrators.

Parents will know which schools have highly qualified teachers, and which do not. They will know which schools are making "adequate yearly progress" toward state standards, and which are not.

The question is: What to do with the new information?

If parents act on new insights by moving their kids to different schools - ones that aren't deemed "in need of improvement," for example - it could have big implications not just for the future of their children but also for the shape of school reforms nationwide...

...The No Child Left Behind Act, which President Bush once dubbed "the cornerstone of my administration," adds new choices. It requires that all groups of students - whatever their race, ethnicity, poverty level, English proficiency, or disability - demonstrate "adequate yearly progress." If not, parents have options, which begin to kick in this year.

For parents in the least successful of US schools, the choice may be to leave the neighborhood school or to tap into some $2 billion in federal funds to buy academic help, such as tutoring or after-school program.

"The new law says that choices should not depend on your ZIP code or your personal wealth. The goal now is to make choice a permanent part of public education for every student, and we're definitely moving in that direction," says Lisa Graham Keegan, former Arizona Superintendent of Education and CEO of the Education Leaders Council, an education reform advocacy group...

Options. Choices. Parents choosing, not bureaucrats...

President Bush let Teddy Kennedy put any amount of money and foolishness he wanted into that education long as he got to add this morsel of yeast to the dough. I think the ferment has just barely begun.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:38 AM

#117: His stupidist column yet ...

P. Krugman

In Fistfuls of Dollars (08/29/03) Paul Krugman plays military affairs "expert " again and, in the process, writes the stupidest column of his entire tenure so far at the New York Times. And that covers a lot of stupidity!

His thesis today is that Bush will fail in Iraq because of a lack of money and troops. But Krugman's problem, as usual, is that he can't see beyond the end of his partisan nose. Bush won't fail quite simply because he (and we) can't afford to fail. If it takes a bigger deficit and the repositioning of some troops, then that is what will happen. But those are not even the most relevant issues. The greater Middle East including much of north Africa and as far east as Pakistan is a snake pit of failed societies. An unholy alliance of radical Islam and local hoodlums masquerading as government officials is holding back millions of people from economic progress. And that alliance is threatening the rest of us with violence at the same time. There is absolutely no reason why these mostly Islamic nations can't join the world community in growth and prosperity much as the Asian nations did earlier last century. But a free and democratically functioning Iraq is crucial to that process. The alternative is a nightmare that would be much more expensive ultimately in lives and dollars than we are expending now.

We think Krugman needs to get back to economic topics rather soon. He is about to begin a period of serious melt down over his anti-Bush economic outlook. The 2nd quarter GDP growth rate was just revised upward to a 3.1% annual rate. And, many serious economists believe SERIOUSLY that the 3rd quarter will be 7% or 8% and that calendar 2003 can exceed 4%. There will probably even be some job creation by the end of the year, but that normally lags a bit. In any case, Krugman will have some heavy duty damage control to undertake in the next five or six weeks. We can't wait!

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:30 AM

August 28, 2003

" if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there"

It was cool to click on NRO and see an article on space, by Rand Simberg. Those who wander the blogshore know him, but he really deserves a wider audience.

...Even Apollo, for all of the lofty rhetoric surrounding it, was not really about space, or opening the high frontier � it was about demonstrating technological superiority over totalitarianism. Sadly, rather than making it a race between free enterprise and socialism, we instead (partly in order to keep the American Left and the Europeans on board, partly because there was a Cold War on) made it one between democratic socialism and totalitarian socialism, by setting up a monolithic government agency to accomplish the mission..
And also partly because it was in the spirit of the times to think that big government, mobilized in a warlike fashion could solve anything. "War on Poverty,' "War on Cancer." Or the way we fought in Vietnam�it was always our big government vs theirs. It never occured to anyone, Republican or Democrat, to offer the Vietnamese a small government free-enterprise alternative.

We are gradually, by dint of many painful lessons, geting out of that mind-set. But it is still an odd idea to many people that 'space' and "NASA" might not be the same thing.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:57 AM

somebody, somebody has to, you see ...

Wow, is this ever revealing:

"I know a little bit about how White Houses work. I know somebody picked up a phone, somebody got on a computer, somebody sent an e-mail, somebody called for a meeting, somebody, probably under instructions from somebody further up the chain, told the EPA, 'Don't tell the people of New York the truth,' and I want to know who that is." --Hillary Clinton
That's how somebody's White House worked...and one thing that has been revealed about somebody's White House is the somebody picked up the phone and said:"Get Waco off the news!" and it was got right off the face of the earth...
(via Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 AM

August 27, 2003

The candidate's beach house...

Dean provides a link to the 9-11 Television Archive.

He also linked to this particularly strange and charmng dream:

...My assistant drove me to the candidate's rental house, which turned out to be a rickety, two story building of bleached driftwood out by the beach. I mean, right out by the beach...the incoming tide lapped at my feet as I circled the place in rank disbelief. "This place is crap!" I screamed at my poor assistant, a Jamaican guy named Conroy (who leaked into my brain from the Rocket Power cartoon). "You can't put presidential candidates in a fucking beach shack!"

I looked at the back of the house. On the first floor there was a door, with a set of stairs outside the place that led up to another door. Outside the downstairs opening hung a shingle that said "Laurence Simon"...and up the stairs, I could see another shingle, inscribed with the name Dean Esmay.

"Conroy! You fool! These guys can't be this close to each other! They'll KILL each other!" I was upset, disturbed, in a tizzy...and then I woke up...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 PM

A rose by any other name would be an AROmaZaPo960-D ...

For my my birthday Charlene bought me a Canon CanoScan LiDE 30 scanner. So far I'm quite pleased�it seems to pack a lot of value for a trifling price. Also, it's very slim and the only cord is the USB cable, which also powers it. So you can easily stash it away, and just grab it and plug it in when needed.

But I have to say that it's incredibly stupid marketing to give a product a name that people won't know how to pronounce! There goes the word-of-mouth advertising. And what kind of word is "LiDE" anyway? Something that made sense in Japanese, but didn't translate? Something that made sense to the engineers? Words are important, and products need good names. A null-word like LiDE makes it hard to think about the product, hard to talk about it, hard to remember it, hard to spell it if you are trying to Google...

The worst name-morass is with digital cameras. If you read a favorable review of something called an SBZ-601-Zoom, how likely is it that you will remember that name? And how likely is it that you can keep from confusing it with the SBZ-401-Zoom or the SBZ-901-Zoom? Blehhh. It probably means that the engineers are running the company. And while I yield to no one in my admiration for engineers, there are certain teeensy-weensy little slivers of life where their skill-sets are not optimal, and where they would be advised to hire someone who loves words...(My consultant fees are very reasonable high�that proves that I'm valuable.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:05 PM

Malice ...

David Warren writes:

...Returning from four weeks of holiday, in which I did my best to avoid all news, I find myself again somewhat shocked by the sheer malice of the mainstream media. The journalists themselves are overwhelmingly "liberal". In the U.S., for instance, they have been shown to vote as a class for Democrats over Republicans by margins of more than ten-to-one; and further, that they tend to identify with the left wing of that Democrat Party. They want to bring down President Bush, at all costs; and if Iraq is turned back into a Saddamite killing field, or Al Qaeda is given a new lease on life, they don't particularly care. For they smell Republican blood...
Too true. Individually they are probably no worse than the rest of us, but in the aggregate they form a hive that can only be called sociopathic. Other people just aren't real to them. A million foreigners in mass graves can easily be ignored, while the personal discomfort of being in the party out-of-power is overwhelming...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:42 PM

Accountability ...

Paul Jaminet writes

Subject of the experiment: University professors.
Stimulus: Virtually unlimited federal funding.
Observed response: Professors avoid teaching and commonly substitute declarations of opinion for research.
Conclusion: Money without accountability corrupts.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 AM

Guide horses ...

My daughter was thrilled to discover that miniature horses are being trained to guide the blind! Take a look at the pictures, they are very cute.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

August 26, 2003

Have a seat next to the elephant I mean sofa ...

(there's nothing new here, I just felt like expressing my feelings. Nothing beats a blog for that.)

It is being reported that large numbers of Islamic terrorist wackos are heading for Iraq. Why? Because they GET IT!

They understand that they've been outmaneuvered and this could be their last chance. If we can go into the worst cesspool of twisted Arab craziness and establish an even moderately free and prosperous country, their long term prospects resemble those of the California Condor.

George W. Bush GETS IT. He said "bring 'em on," because that's just exactly what we want. It's really hard for some people to grasp this point, but in any guerilla-type war, we want to be attacked. We are looking for a fight. Unless we get lucky we can't attack them because they are hiding. Being attacked is the next-best thing. And being attacked in a place where we have a hundred-thousand soldiers with blood in their eyes...well "pleeze, Br'er Bear, don't trow me in dat briar patch!"

And the Democrats DON'T GET IT! All those guys who are niggling about what Bush did or didn't say in the SOTU (like our friend Andrew, who is otherwise a fairly solid fellow) might as well be walking around with signs on their backs that read; Don't entrust National Security to me, because I'm CLUELESS!

And more than that, Bush is giving us a message of hope and optimism. We are no longer going to "adjust" ourselves to this problem, we are going to bear risks and endure pain to solve it. We can solve it. Is it only me that thinks it weird that no Democrat has anything positive to say on the subject? (Or any other subject that I've noticed lately)

And more important yet, it is a message of pure truth and honesty. Bullshit time is over, the Emperor has no clothes, and the road to peace is only going to be through war. Through WINNING the war, not just playing at it and then letting it fizzle-out in negotiations and compromises. That's the big truth right now, and all those Dems who are saying Bush lied are babbling desperately to avoid that big truth, that big elephant in their living-room. With sweating brows, cracking voices and mad bloodshot eyes they talk faster and faster..."Elephant? No elephant. Look, Bush lied I tell you. There's no elephant here! Lied! Lied! You gotta believe me! Ha ha, those blobs on the floor are just truths I mean pillows ha ha. Listen, he lied. Smell? No I don't smell anything. Lied! Ha ha ha, he lied..."


So geographers, in Afric maps,
With savage-pictures fill their gaps;
And o'er uninhabitable downs,
Place elephants for want of towns.

-- Swift

Posted by John Weidner at 4:19 PM

August 25, 2003

and filled the broad lap of the world with branches and leaves ...

I was leafing again today through Seamus Heaney's deeply pleasing translation of Beowulf. I recommend it highly...

Then a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark,
nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him
to hear the din of the loud banquet
every day in the hall, the harp being struck
and the clear song of a skilled poet
telling with mastery of man's beginnings,
how the Almighty had made the earth
a gleaming plain girdled with waters;
in His splendour He set the sun and the moon
to be earth's lamplight, lanterns for men,
and filled the broad lap of the world
with branches and leaves; and quickened life
in every other thing that moved...
I have little doubt that you already know this, but Old English poetry is Alliterative. Rather than having rhymes, it repeats initial stressed consonants: Hard, harrowed. Almighty, made. Mastery, man's. Lamplight, lanterns.

Heany does a wonderful job of translating this, without following the original poetic form too pedantically. If you emphasize the alliterations slightly as you read, you will fall into the rhythm of the poem.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:33 PM

August 24, 2003

the usual malarky ...

Betsy Newmark writes:

The Madison, Wisconsin schools are shutting down school for the day and spending $50,000 for a workshop on "institutionalized racism." They are concerned that it is racism that is maintaining the gap in achievement between whites and blacks. How about setting high standards and holding all kids to those standards? How about communicating to parents what your expectations are and encouraging them to support you in asking the best from their children? How about focusing on content rather than fluff? How about holding kids accountable for lack of effort? All that is harder to do than paying some guy to speak by TV to all your teachers, janitors, and cafeteria workers
Good. And how about lighting a fire under the schools by giving them a little competition?. Works wonders in the private sector. Nothing stimulates customer service like the prospect of being laid off due to lack of customers...

Actually our public schools provide splendid service to their "customers." Unfortunately that means bureaucrats and politicians, not parents or students...

And the stuff about "institutionalized racism" is the worst malarky. It's dogma. No other opinion is allowed. But when I go to our local library at night at finals time, who do I typically see poring over the books? 20 asian kids, 5 white kids, and one or no blacks.

* A friend sent this comment:

It's certainly a heartbreak to see such PC misguidedness. On the otherhand, 90 min away in Milwaukee the voucher system seems to be going gangbusters�not so much because the voucher kids themselves are doing a lot better, but because the REALITY of the voucher program is forcing the P.S. system to shape up. Like you said. Competition. It's an amazing tonic.

Interestingly, the academics who are busily studying voucher kid performance vs. P.S. school performance are missing the main point. It's the P.S. response, not their relative performance, that matters. No one ever thought voucher education was going to replace public schools�just make them more competitive.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:46 PM

August 23, 2003


Thinking about the previous post, I remember that there was a lot of carping about the word Homeland. It was alien to our usage, and brought to mind Continental locutions like Das Vaterland. But I think the complainers missed the real story. If the 800-lb gorilla calls his turf the Homeland, then "Homeland" becomes gorilla-talk, and all the smaller critters just have to lump it. The word is ours now, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear "Homeland" turn up in a Country Music song or a Wal-Mart ad.

For the best quote ever on the way English plunders other languages, go here.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:46 AM

At a desk, Ridge sits...

I'm reading a very interesting book, AFTER: Rebuilding and Defending America in the September 12 Era, by Steven Brill. It's a look at how American responded in the year after September 11. It follows several victims and their families, and also follows various bureaucrats and government departments, as they cope and change. Good stuff, although from my perspective its emphasis on big government misses a lot of the story. There are probably a hundred pages on airport passenger screening without the slightest indication that, in fact, hijacking is no longer a problem, because passengers now jump on anyone who looks the least bit like a hijacker.

To balance that, the thorny problem of screening for bombs in airplanes and in shipping containers is probably an appropriate job for government, and I found our efforts there to be a gripping story. And it looks like our government agencies have in fact made enormous progress in coping with some difficult problems, and haven't received much credit from people like me.

Last August I posted this haiku:

Still: sunbeamed dust flits.
Bare wall echoes unheard call.
At a desk, Ridge sits.

By Will Warren (via Natalie Solent)

It is very interesting (and embarassing) to read now about how hard Tom Ridge was working at that very moment to coordinate the efforts of various jurisdictions so they could work together on the next emergency. And the story of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was happening right then, is fascinating. Ridge's first (and very sensible) suggestion to bring together Immigration, Customs and Coast Guard was shot down instantly by jealous cabinet members. It was Bush who told him that a big change would actually be easier to pass than a small one, and to go back to the drawing board and propose the best solution, and then they would fight for it.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

Bullseye ...

I read Howard Dean's piece in the Wall Street Journal, and was thinking of blogging about it, but PoliPundit has already got it just right, in this summary of Howard Dean's core beliefs.

  • The slow economy is caused by the federal budget deficit, not vice-versa.
  • The deficit is caused by "tax cuts for the rich."
  • The deficit should be fixed by raising taxes.
  • Taxes should be raised on everyone, not just "the rich."
  • The taxes raised must then be spent on socialist healthcare, rather than fixing the deficit.
  • It's OK to run a deficit to implement socialist healthcare.
  • War on Terror? What War on Terror?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 AM

August 22, 2003

Gumby Davis?

Rand Simberg and his wife came by for dinner last night. I was a little nervous because I've always considered Rand a major thinker, and a prophet "crying in the wilderness." I was relieved to discover he is not seven feet tall. We had fun talking about slide-rules, space (of course), wineries, (did you know Fess Parker has a winery? Amazin') and some radio guys in LA who call Gray Davis "Gumby." Perfect..

Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

Can you believe this?

A friend sent me this NYT article, an amazing example of UN incompetence. And he added, "Remember what that little robot in Lost in Space used to say: "This does not compute."

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 21 � American investigators looking into the suicide bombing of the United Nations compound on Tuesday are focusing on the possibility that the attackers were assisted by Iraqi security guards who worked there, a senior American official here said today.

The official said all of the guards at the compound were agents of the Iraqi secret services, to whom they reported on United Nations activities before the war. The United Nations continued to employ them after the war was over, the official said...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

#116: Like a night bug circling a candle ...

P. Krugman

What is it about the Krugster and California? Like a night bug circling a candle�he can't seem to stay away from the place. He shipwrecked what was left of his credentials as a economist with nearly a dozen absurd columns in 2001/2002 on the CA electricity crisis and today he returns with Conan the Deceiver ((08/22/03)�an attempt to trash Arnold Schwarzennegger's gubernatorial campaign. So what's going on with this California obsession? Actually we think it is pretty simple and that it has nothing to do directly with anything in today's column directly. If you want to read it go ahead, but here's the way we see the big picture.

First of all, it is a fact of life that state governors are often buffeted by national trends, particularly economic trends, that are largely beyond their control. Hence their "success" or "failure" in office frequently comes down to the luck of timing. When things go well nationally, they get a lot of credit in their state�George W. Bush of Texas comes to mind� and when things go badly nationally, they get blamed in their state no matter what they do. In good times, the smart governors manage to keep their heads on straight and do not "confuse genius with a bull market." In other words, they don't blow the budget on spending programs. Gray Davis was not among the smart ones and now is in deep do-do.

But here is the second part of the picture. The U.S. economy is about to roar. It is probably roaring already, but it will certainly be roaring in the fourth quarter and into 2004. This will provide tremendous relief for beleaguered state budgets and to the governors who managed to hang on to their jobs. Hence for Democrats the prospect of losing the governorship of California in October is a disaster beyond calculation. Davis will get the blame for all the down side and the new Republican governor, probably Schwarzennegger, will get credit for a "miracle" recovery. We hope Arnold keeps his head and puts a lid on spending, but it almost doesn't matter. To paraphrase Woody Allen, about all he will have to do every day is "just show up." The rising economic tide nationally will do much of the rest.

It gets even worse for Democrats in 2004. If losing the governorship means they will have to fight for California in the presidential election they may as well not put up a candidate. It's that simple.

We suspect Krugman realizes all of this and in today's column he is simply doing his small part (peeing into the wind, actually) to stave off the inevitable. What we are wondering though is whether this is IT for Krugman on California? Will he cut his losses and ride off into the sunset or somewhere. Most of us doubt it. Rather than a sunset rider he reminds us more of the cowboy on horseback in those western movies shooting frantically over his shoulder as he flees from a losing battle with rustlers to round up a posse.


[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 AM

August 21, 2003

"Was there a sign?"

I read in The Corner recently Jonah Goldberg writing of his run-in with some State Park rangers in Vermont. I didn't pay much attention, but Scott Chaffin owns a campground (you can see it here) and he's not buying any of it...

...I go through this kind of crap every weekend. Sometimes the offenders are the wine-sippers in their Beemer SUVs who can't be bothered to turn in and check in. Sometimes it's the Latino caravan who "were here last month." Sometimes it's the hayseeds in monster 4x4s who "used to know the owner." Point is, in every single case, they pull the same kind of BS that this joker does: "Was there a sign?" I know they're lying, and they know I know they're lying...
...More "rules don't apply to me." Why is there a 15mph speed limit, a-hole? Because parks are full of kids who think they're outdoors, away from the roads and the danger of cars. It might have looked empty to you, but do you KNOW for a fact that it is? As for the dog, the reason, if you care, is that dogs are territorial and will get into fights with other dogs and a good puppy-dog could get killed and then someone would get sued...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:16 PM

August 20, 2003

"Pumpkin Positive"

Via Iain Murray, an article on what doctors are really writing down...

...However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with acronyms designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).

Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.

He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."...

Top medical acronyms
CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury

I think if you are in medicine you have to laugh or go crazy. Charlene's from a medical family, so this sort of grim humor is not unfamiliar to me. Her dad was an Army surgeon in WWII and ran a MASH in Korea.

Also, should you wish to immerse yourself in this subject, I highly recommend the extremely (and painfully) funny book House of God: The Classic Novel of Life and Death in an American Hospital , by Samuel Shem, MD.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 PM

Al-Qaida Claims Responsibility For Paper Cut

Curveball reports:

...In the memo to Al Jazeera, an unidentified al-Qaida operative detailed the reasons why the group targeted Mr. Scanlon.

"To strike fear into the heart of America, we have made an example of your countryman Fred Scanlon of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fred Scanlon is the son of monkeys and pigs! We have it on good authority that while on vacation in Toronto this summer he was overheard saying, 'Why don't we try that place across the street instead, honey, I don't really like Middle Eastern food.' This statement is a typical example of American arrogance and culinary imperialism!

"Has Fred Scanlon ever tried Fakhitha Bel Laban, which is roasted lamb with yogurt? It is delicious! Or how about Fattoush? How can he say he doesn't like Middle Eastern food when he has tried it only once -- ...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:20 PM

Too true, Martha ...

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances.

--Martha Washington

Posted by John Weidner at 10:13 AM

About that Reuters cameraman...

When confronted with mobs or demonstrations, our soldiers don't mow people down. (They could easily, a chain gun can shred hundreds of people in a few seconds.) They try to just shoot at anyone who is using a weapon. So look at this animated GIF and guess which is the camera and which the anti-tank missile. Then imagine the same quiz with the person a hundred meters away, in the middle of a crowd...

animated GIF of cameras and weapons

Reload page to restart animation...

I got this from A.E. Brain, referred by Trelenko. And it originally came from Spartacus!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:22 AM

August 19, 2003

#115: We report, you decide ...

P. Krugman

We found three aspects of Paul Krugman's The Road to Ruin (08/19/03) of particular interest. 1) the column was NOT virulently partisan as some had expected, 2) it raised some legitimate issues about the consequences of partial de-regulation, BUT, 3) Krugman chickened out every time he got close to proposing possible solutions.

Let's start with some of the issues he raised. There is no doubt that partial de-regulation often has unintended consequences. In California a couple of years ago the consequences of a market design with free floating wholesale prices, but fixed consumer prices, contributed to a massive electricity crisis because the need for consumer rationing could not be signaled through this flawed pricing system. Krugman argues that in the case of the recent northeast blackout it was again partial de-regulation (this time of generation, but not of transmission) that was the culprit because generators were no longer tied to transmission facilites in a manner that gave them incentives to maintain and upgrade the systems. Here is how he put it:

"Under the old regulatory system, power companies had strong incentives to ensure the integrity of power transmission � they would catch the flak if something went wrong. But those incentives went away with deregulation: because effective competition in transmission wasn't possible, the companies providing transmission still had to be regulated. But because regulation limited their profits, they had little financial incentive to invest in maintaining and upgrading the system. And because of deregulation elsewhere, responsibility was diffused: nobody had a strong stake in keeping the system reliable. The result was a failure not just to add capacity, but to maintain and upgrade capacity that already existed."
Now this seems a little far fetched and convoluted to us, but we give Krugman credit for at least coming up with a plausible analysis. However, on the crucial question of how to solve the problem he is virtually silent. Would he restore the old regulations at the electricity generation level? Presumably not, but he never says why not. He is clearly against extending de-regulation to the transmission sector because of monopoly pricing issues. But if profits in transmission remain capped, as they are currently, where is the incentive to invest in grid facility upgrades? An obvious question, perhaps, but Krugman does not even touch it. Instead he ends the column with some anti-climactic posturing.
"This nation needs to invest billions in its power grid, yet given recent history, it's crucial that this investment not be simply another occasion for energy-industry profiteering. Somehow, I'm not optimistic".
Neither are we with this kind of lunacy! Where does he think the investment will come from in the absence of proper incentives? Until the Krugmans of the world make peace with "profiteering" vs. "return on investment" there is little room for optimism on issues such as these.

There is one howler today. Krugman notes that "Incidentally, there seems to be a weird reluctance to face up to what happened in California." This is so true�and especially by Krugman HIMSELF. Instead of engaging in a sensible discussion of regulatory issues, his California analysis continues to be hung up on market manipulation rather than de-regulatory design flaws. He makes this fallacious claim with regard to a FERC report on California:

"even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which strongly backs deregulation, has concluded that market manipulation played a major role.
Here is what the FERC actually said:
"Staff concludes that supply-demand imbalance, flawed market design and inconsistent rules made possible significant market manipulations delineated in final investigation report. Without underlying market dysfunction, attempts to manipulate the market would not have been successful."
As the popular saying these days goes, "we report, you decide."

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 AM

Drops of drivel dribbling from the NYT's alembics ...

I'm repeating a point made by Orrin Judd, but this NYT article bemoaning how savage dictators get to go into comfortable exile and are not prosecuted is the purest distilled left-wing lunacy:

...But, as Reed Brody, special counsel for prosecutions at Human Rights Watch, says, "If you kill one person, you go to jail; if you kill 20, you go to an institution for the insane; if you kill 20,000, you get political asylum." Mr. Brody keeps a melancholy map on his wall of other tyrants gone free: Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay, lives in Brazil; Haiti's Rao�l Cedras is in Panama; Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia is in Zimbabwe; Hiss�ne Habr� of Chad lives in Senegal...
Why is it crazy? Because if Ronald Reagan or Bush senior had declared that the massacres in Uganda were intolerable and we should send in a couple of divisions and kill Idi Amin and his murderers, the NYT and all its lefty-scribblers would have been OPPOSED to it!

And right now Kim Jong-Il is killing far more people than Idi Amin did. But if President Bush declared that we were going for regime-change in NK, 80 or 90% of the Left would be be doing all they could to keep him in power, just as they did for Saddam (And if our saber-rattling ended in a deal where Kim goes into exile in some other socialist hell-hole, then, when it would do nothing to help the poor Koreans, Human Rights Watch would shed bitter tears because he wasn't being prosecuted in the ICC. )

And, if, mirabile visu, some international organization like the UN were actually removing murderous dictators and allowing their people to vote for the government they desired, the Left wouldn't like it one bit! They would instantly complain that the charming folk-culture of North Korea, with it's hundreds of quaint recipes for preparing grass, and tree-bark, and babies, was going to be destroyed by Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds...

(Oh, and we'd also be innundated with information about the marvelous health-care they have in Cuba.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

August 18, 2003

Deserts like this are hard going, but oh so beautiful at dawn and dusk ...

Pre-dawn raid, Ain Lalin, Iraq

Soldiers from the 588th Engineering Battalion block a road Monday during a pre-dawn raid in Ain Lalin, Iraq. Soldiers believed one of Iraq�s top fugitives used the village as base to plot guerilla attacks on U.S. forces.

They were unsuccessful in capturing their main target, a former regime officer who is on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis.

Picture from Army Times

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 PM

August 17, 2003

Haunted houses ...

I read this in Lileks:

...I hope someone has a camera pointed at Manhattan, ready to capture the moment the power comes on line. I suppose it�ll be a block-by-block rollout, but wouldn�t it be spectacular if the entire island lit up at once? What�s slightly creepy is the the thought of the offices that were cut-off in the middle of a normal day, and didn�t have generators. Imagine all those screens popping on, hard drives spinning up, printers whirring to life. The modern office, full of wide-awake machines with no masters...
I think Ray Bradbury would have had fun with things like that. Remember the story There Will Come Soft Rains, where all the people have perished in a war, but the automated house goes on fixing meals and lighting cigars for people who never come home?
...Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft thread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: "Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today�" And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing...
And think about all the little lights that glow in a modern house if you are about when it is dark. Little green lights, little green numbers displaying the time, or flashing 12:00 12:00 12:00 if you haven't figured out how to reset them...machines telling us not to worry, they are alive and ready if we need their help.

In the corner of our little library I made a rack for our DSL modem, router and hub. They remind me of monitoring machines in a hospital. I can glance over and see the little green lights telling me our system is alive, still breathing... (What's frustrating is that for a couple of years I had 3 units in the same stackable series, from 3-Comm. But their uniformity was an aesthetic pleasure that couldn't last. New gadgets replace the old, and now they are all different shapes and colors.)

I imagine that in a few more decades all our electronics will be implanted in chips in our brains. Then entrepreneurs will sell gizmos that have little green lights, just to make things look right. And a new generation will come along and wonder why Grandpa's house has such oddities. (And a Google chip in their heads will give them the answer instantly, and spoil the mystery.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 AM

August 16, 2003

Re-posting an old picture

This is a picture I posted a while back, of Dave Trowbridge expanding my son Bill's musical knowledge by teaching him how to make eery sounds on a new instrument. Bill was disappointed because this picture somehow got deleted from my I'm just putting it up again.


Bill and I went to Community Day (ie. parent's work day) today at the high school he is about to start at. I pooped-out at 1:00, and he stayed 'till 4. Good kid. Deserves to be immortalized by a mention in Random Jottings...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:10 PM

August 15, 2003

In like Flynn ...

One thing I haven't gotten around to blogging is that our oldest son has been accepted into the aviation department at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks. Sounds like the North Pole, but if you are interested in a career in aviation, UND is the place to go. (imagine a fleet of 80 the helicopters. And these are sharp new machines--no old clunkers.)

What's really delicious is that UND allows early applications, and Rob was accepted in July, at the end of his Junior year of high school. So he is looking forward to this coming Senior year because <evil grin> all his classmates will be sweating the college-admissions process, and the SAT test, and college visits...while he will be sitting back and smiling as teachers and counselors lash the sluggards into action. </evil grin>

Posted by John Weidner at 2:46 PM

#114: Who's doing the unraveling, Bush or Krugman?

P. Krugman

Twilight Zone Economics (08/15/03) is Paul Krugman's attempt (one more time) to put his pessimistic spin on the improving U.S. economy. We think he knows he's losing! Note that the critiria is no longer just "more jobs", but "easier to find jobs." All Krugman followers should file this one away for future reference.

The interesting thing to us is that Krugman has a book coming out this Fall entitled "The Great Unraveling." The unraveling referred to is supposed to be the Bush administration's economic policy. However, his publication date should coincide with a U.S. economy growing somewhere between 4% and 6%. Book critics will be asking who's doing the unraveling, Bush or Krugman?

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 AM

August 14, 2003

No reparations due ...

Dr Weevil discusses Arnold's name...

Update: (8/7, 11:55 AM)

For those too lazy to read the comments:

It appears I have fallen into an error common among medieval scribes: misdivision. Terry Oglesby of Possumblog gives a link showing that the name is not Schwarze-Negger, with a mysterious extra G, but Schwarzen-Egger, "black plowman". That makes a lot of sense, and in that case 'black' presumably means either dark-haired or relatively dark-complected, with no reference to African ancestry.

I know that in English usage, if you go back to, say, the Diary of Samuel Pepys, a "black man" or "black woman" normally means black-haired...confusing if you don't know what's going on.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:20 AM

August 13, 2003

Monoculture farming perilously vulnerable to disease ...

An interesting letter:

Dear MacDailyNews,

What a day! And night. Yesterday at work, the whole place was down due to the Blaster worm. Computers freaking out more than usual, except mine. Nobody could get online to access the web or get email and the IT staff, a third of whom were on vacation, were losing their minds.

This is the same IT staff that fought me tooth and nail when I requisitioned my Apple Macintosh computer (PowerBook G4 15-inch). They said at the time that they couldn't support multiple platforms, that I wouldn't be able to access the network - all of the usual falsehoods many others experience every day. What I went through to finally gain approval for the Mac purchase I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy! But, in the end, I got my Mac.

Well, yesterday, my Mac was the only functioning computer at work. My Mac handled several important emails which resulted in sales (revenue) for the company - this would've been impossible to achieve had we been stuck in a homogenous Windows situation as IT wanted. Basically, without the Apple Mac, no business would've been conducted yesterday.

The Mac was used for the first time by several top managers to communicate with their business contacts throughout the day and into the evening. Many of these people came away with a very positive impression of the Mac and seemed bowled over by Mac OS X. The fact that the Mac just worked and all of the Windows PCs didn't was not lost on these upper management people. In fact, several have scheduled meetings with IT to figure out how to prevent such a mess in the future and one thing they seem to want is to "mix in some Macs around here for safety," as one manager put it...

It'll never happen. Function is much less important than "looking businesslike" and not standing out from the crowd...and the IT Department will embrace, of course, the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:18 AM

August 12, 2003

GI's compaining about food? I'm shocked!

Phil Carter at Intel Dump, who's been there, has a thoughtful dissection of the military aspects of Krugman's latest column. (see below) Are we surprised that he is not impressed?

...Krugman cites to some letters on Hack's website, including one where soldiers complain about water supplies.
One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why U.S. troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths?
This is a flat-out false statement. The truth is, according to Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley during a recent press conference in Iraq, that soldiers are being issued two 1.5 liter plastic bottles of water today in addition to their regular water supply, which is provided in 500-gallon "water buffaloes" and other means. In fact, the planning factor for a soldier in a desert environment is something like 10 gallons of water per day -- plus between 10-50 pounds of ice per day (Note: a lot of this ice goes to food preparation and bulk water cooling, not directly to the soldier). A significant portion of the logistical effort goes to pushing this "Class I" supply forward to soldiers in the field, and distributing it. The physiology of this is obvious. If soldiers in Iraq were being forced to live on 3 liters/day, they would die.

Clearly, there is other water out there. Some soldiers are simply whining because they can't get an unlimited supply of Evian bottles, the way they did in Gulf War I when the Saudis footed the bill and the American supply lines weren't set up yet. I say: "Tough". Get your water in bulk from the water buffalo, fill your CamelBak, and deal with it.

A note on CamelBaks: I could write a book on this subject, from my active duty experience in the desert, but I won't. Suffice to say, the CamelBak is the best tool for hydration available, and every soldier should have one -- but doesn't yet...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:27 PM

# 113: Italian MRE's?

P. Krugman

The headline in the Wall Street Journal today is "As U.S. Shows Signs of Strength, Global Economies Look Up, Too." With news like that it is no wonder Paul Krugman in Thanks For the M.R.E.'s (08/12/03) is scrounging the earth for something to complain about. He finds it this time in a complaint department as old as the Trojan War�soldiers griping about food. Naturally, Krugman being Krugman, he tries to magnify this microscopic molehill into a gigantic anti-Bush mountain with the old "tip-of-the-iceberg" trick. The sub-standard food rations, you see, are just a small example of the administration's penny-pinching ways that extend all through government as they cut corners in a desperate attempt to pay for the irresponsible Bush tax cut for the wealthy. This guy is sooo... predictable.

There are a couple of howlers. In one he claims that our soldiers are swapping food packs or M.R.E.'s (meals ready to eat) with Italian troops. Being an economist you would think he would do some research and find out the U.S./Italian food ration "exchange rate." We suspect there are not enough Italian soldiers in Iraq to get a good sample. Anyway, we can treasure the visual image of our soldiers standing on Baghdad street corners trading their food packs for a bite of cannelloni.

The other is based on a vague, third-hand report (typical Krugman) of a "witch hunt" at the Transportation Security Administration to threaten those who would reveal cost-cutting measures with the Patriot Act. On the one hand, if true, we would join Krugman in deploring use of the Patriot Act to silence anyone. On the other, we can't help but note what a ludicrous world it would be (Krugman's world) in which bureaucratic cost cutting is a whistle-blowing offense. We don't know anyone but PK who could seriously consider anything that absurd. As a scary thought, imagine such a philosophy applied to something major�like Medicare reform. Can you see the $billions, floating away?

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:58 AM

August 11, 2003

Home is the soldier

From the Washington Post

FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 3rd Infantry Division soldiers who stormed Baghdad flew home Monday, completing a nine-month deployment to the Persian Gulf.

The last of the division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team landed at Hunter Army Airfield to turn in their weapons and the rest of their combat gear before being reunited with their families.

Only the division's 1st Brigade remains in Iraq, and it is scheduled to begin heading home in the next few weeks.

This is good to hear. 3rd Division has been over there the longest, and there have been stories floating around that they would be stuck in Iraq indefinitely...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:43 PM

August 10, 2003

Arnold: New Nazi ties uncovered ...

Steyn on Arnold...

1. Arnold is a Nazi.

Okay, Arnold's not a Nazi. He was born in the Austrian town of Thal, but not until 1947, and thus was technically unable to join the Nazi Party no matter how much he may have wanted to. But he certainly has family ties to the Nazis. His wife's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, was one of America's most prominent Nazi sympathisers...Oh, wait. That's not the Nazi family ties the Dems had in mind?...

2. Arnold is unqualified.

...Gray Davis has been on the public payroll his entire adult life: he represents the full-time political class. Arnold represents the other California: entrepreneurial energy, wit and invention, the California that understands that if Hollywood and Silicon Valley were run by "qualified" people like Davis we'd still be watching flickering silents and you'd need union-approved quill-feathers to send e-mail...

3. Arnold's had too many women.

Arnold has been married to Maria Shriver for 17 human years, which in celebrity years is the equivalent of a Diamond Jubilee. Any dirt Democrats dig up is going to have to be nuclear...

...He's one of a very few actors who was a millionaire before he ever acted...

(thanks to Rand)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

August 9, 2003

A hard-look at false impressions ...

I made the mistake of taking a look at Al Gore's speech to I have to bore you with my comments. Says Al:

The direction in which our nation is being led is deeply troubling to me -- not only in Iraq but also here at home on economic policy, social policy and environmental policy.

Millions of Americans now share a feeling that something pretty basic has gone wrong in our country and that some important American values are being placed at risk. And they want to set it right.
Uh, Al, are those, as who should say, Mainstream Americans? Hmmm?
The way we went to war in Iraq illustrates this larger problem. Normally, we Americans lay the facts on the table, talk through the choices before us and make a decision.
You shoulda been a Civics teacher...
But that didn't really happen with this war -- not the way it should have. And as a result, too many of our soldiers are paying the highest price, for the strategic miscalculations, serious misjudgments, and historic mistakes that have put them and our nation in harm's way.
Yes, I remember how no one talked about Iraq. Dead silence. No protests, no debate. Probably poor Al Gore wasn't even aware that we might invade...
I'm convinced that one of the reasons that we didn't have a better public debate before the Iraq War started is because so many of the impressions that the majority of the country had back then turn out to have been completely wrong. Leaving aside for the moment the question of how these false impressions got into the public's mind, it might be healthy to take a hard look at the ones we now know were wrong and clear the air so that we can better see exactly where we are now and what changes might need to be made.
We wuz Brainwashed! False Impressions were trickled into our ears while we slept. Drip, drip, drip...
In any case, what we now know to have been false impressions include the following:

(1) Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the attack against us on September 11th, 2001, so a good way to respond to that attack would be to invade his country and forcibly remove him from power.
A "Progressive" like Saddam support terrorists? Preposterous. You're right Al, he should still be in power. Dems should emphasize that.
(2) Saddam was working closely with Osama Bin Laden and was actively supporting members of the Al Qaeda terrorist group, giving them weapons and money and bases and training, so launching a war against Iraq would be a good way to stop Al Qaeda from attacking us again.
Silly idea, everybody knows that crushing defeats only spur Arabs to fight harder..
(3) Saddam was about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs that he had made into weapons which they could use to kill millions of Americans. Therefore common sense alone dictated that we should send our military into Iraq in order to protect our loved ones and ourselves against a grave threat.
Democrat Common Sense says that using force to protect ourselves is Fascism. Speak up Al, the people are waiting to hear it...
(4) Saddam was on the verge of building nuclear bombs and giving them to the terrorists. And since the only thing preventing Saddam from acquiring a nuclear arsenal was access to enriched uranium, once our spies found out that he had bought the enrichment technology he needed and was actively trying to buy uranium from Africa, we had very little time left. Therefore it seemed imperative during last Fall's election campaign to set aside less urgent issues like the economy and instead focus on the congressional resolution approving war against Iraq.
I thought you just said we didn't have a debate? Now you say we ignored the economy to debate Iraq. Actually at that time you Dems were squirming like mad to avoid debate and to avoid taking positions.
(5) Our GI's would be welcomed with open arms by cheering Iraqis who would help them quickly establish public safety, free markets and Representative Democracy, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US soldiers would get bogged down in a guerrilla war.
Well, that is exactly what is happening. But you have to understand that in the real world, "quickly" means months, or even a year or two.
(6) Even though the rest of the world was mostly opposed to the war, they would quickly fall in line after we won and then contribute lots of money and soldiers to help out, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US taxpayers would get stuck with a huge bill.
You would save money by bribing the Belgians to pretend to help out. Instead, like the Little Red Hen, we are doing it ourselves. The job will actually get done, and we will save in the long run. (And the bill isn't that huge on the scale of warfare. Much cheaper than having to do the job over again)
Now, of course, everybody knows that every single one of these impressions was just dead wrong.
Yes, lots of impressions were dead wrong. How about those millions of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq? The backlash from the "Arab Street" that would make us less safe, not more? Recruits flocking to terrorist orgs? Gas attacks by Iraq (which had, of course, no WMD's). Cholera. War (and even worse, the dreaded "instability") spreading across the Middle East! And there were going to be refugees, Al, streaming out of Iraq and Afghanistan into UN camps. Remember them? And the tribes of Afghanistan and Iraq were going to tear each other apart like mad dogs once the thrice-blessed "stability" provided by "strong leaders" like Saddam was gone...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

August 8, 2003

Netscape, too, has gone ...

Tobacco Road Fogey points me to more Haiku Error Messages, including

To have no errors
would be life without meaning.
No struggle, no joy.

The ten thousand things.
How long do any persist?
Netscape, too, has gone

Rather than a beep
or a rude error message,
these words: "File not found

Seeing my great fault
through darkening blue windows,
I begin again

Posted by John Weidner at 10:35 PM

Fedayeen in the Capitol...

...Despite the fact that Operation Iraqi Freedom is progressing well, Demo presidential wannabes and their Leftmedia advocates continue to dredge up visions of "Vietnam quagmire" when referring to Iraq. Apparently, the Demo-gaggle of candidates would rather talk about murder in Iraq than murder in their own back yard. U.S. military personnel experience a high risk of injury or death daily in Iraq, exposure which has cost the lives of 52 U.S. soldiers in the three months since major hostilities ceased on May 1st.

In the same time period, however, it is worth noting that 66 Americans were murdered on the streets of Washington, D.C. While the death of every American patriot on foreign soil defending our national security is an immeasurable loss, there is a real "quagmire" in our nation's Capital.

(lifted from the Federalist Newsletter

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 PM

One of my favorite things...a new font

In case you are interested, the font in the banner is G & G (ie: Henry and Charles Greene, heros of mine) from Arroyo Style.

My first choice was Rosemary Roman, which would have been by way of a compliment to Dean and Rosemary. Alas, it was out of my price range...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 PM

Not so hot ...

Dave Trowbridge writes about designer sunglasses for dogs. The picture is cute, but the idea is not:

...Put it this way: a dog in these glasses sends the same emotional message to other dogs that a man walking down the street in a fright mask would to other people. A wide-eyed, unblinking stare is dog-language for aggressive intent...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:39 PM

Tone and tendency ...

The tone and tendency of to attack the institutions of the country under the name of reform and to make war on the manners and customs of the people under the pretext of progress."
--Benjamin Disraeli, Speech In London, June 24, 1872
(Purloined from Brothers Judd Blog)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

August 7, 2003

Liliks Nails it !

...concerning that new bishop...

...This story has irritated me from the start, and it has nothing to do with Rev. Robinson�s sexual orientation. The guy left his wife and kids to go do the hokey-pokey with someone else: that�s what it�s all about, at least for me. Marriages founder for a variety of reasons, and ofttimes they�re valid reasons, sad and inescapable. But �I want to have sex with other people� is not a valid reason for depriving two little girls of a daddy who lives with them, gets up at night when they're sick, kisses them in the morning when they wake. There's a word for people who leave their children because they don't want to have sex with Mommy anymore: selfish...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 PM

Maybe we CAN learn from the past ...


From an article in the Boston globe...
BAGHDAD - The name is the same, and the bearing is strikingly similar to his famous grandfather. The words from the younger Ayatollah Khomeini's mouth, however, could hardly be more jolting, especially for those who remember Iran's explosive revolution, with its chants of ''Death to America.''
''America is the symbol of freedom,'' said Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Khomeini. ''The best example of freedom in our life now is America, especially its Constitution,'' he said, seated in the sprawling living room of his temporary Baghdad home, where he lives under armed protection...
...The younger Ayatollah's arrival on the scene is already causing a stir in the Shi'ite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. The younger Khomeini is determined that Iraq does not relive his grandfather's revolution.
The main job of the 21st Century is to not repeat the mistakes of the 20th.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

August 5, 2003

Cave Canum

Well, here's my new pad. Kinda half-finished, but I'm having fun. (MT experts, feel free to offer criticisms and suggestions...)

The picture at the top is special, because one of those buildings on the right side of California St (diagonal parking, egad) is where Charlene has her office. She can open her window and hear the cable cars go by...

And, as promised, the BIG EVENT. A rare treat, Natalie Solent's new puppy, "Laptop!"

laptop the puppy

Click Here to return to the old Random Jottings if you haven't read the exciting build-up to this moment...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 PM

#112: Where has he been the last 50 years?

P. Krugman
For a guy who makes his living spinning economic data for partisan advantage,Everything Is Political (08/05/03) by Paul Krugman is the height of chutzpah. His alleged point is that the Treasury Department no longer gives politically unbiased assessments of the economy. NO LONGER? Where has he been the last 50 years? Has he never heard of Engine Charlie Wilson or George Schultz or Don Regan or Nicholas Brady or James Baker or Robert Rubin or Larry Summers? Does he think "Rubinomics" was named after Robert's dog? ALL Treasury secretaries push the President's case. That's their job. That's why Paul O'Neill is no longer in office and John Snow took his place. And if Tim Russert befuddles Howard Dean on Meet the Press by uncritically citing Treasury Department estimates that's too bad for Russert and Dean.

Anyway, what's wrong with administration departments taking positions on complex policy issues? Krugman certainly does. In his ideal world there would be no Republican Treasury secretaries, only the rich would pay taxes and they would never get a tax cut. So anyone taking a position contrary to that is not being objective. Is that what he is saying?

This is one of Krugman's more absurb columns.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 PM

August 2, 2003

Screen. Mind. Both are blank ...

In Japan, they've replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft
error messages with Haiku poetry messages. Haiku poetry has strict
construction rules. Each poem has only 3 lines and a total of 17 syllables:
five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third.
Haikus are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a
wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity-the
essence of Zen.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Your file was big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:03 PM

Is This Thing On?

Testing, testing, 1,2,3....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:16 PM