Friday, April 29, 2005

Catherine's Birthday

My daughter turned two yesterday. I think the world would be a happier place if all of us had a toddler in our lives. It is impossible to be unhappy when a small child hugs you. And it is hard to get too self-important when you are changing a messy diaper.

Not to mention that they serve as a constant reminder of what is truly important in life. They are the best teachers for helping us learn that genuine happiness (i.e. joy, not physical pleasure) comes to those who love selflessly.

Let's face it, toddlers enhance mental health, improve moral virtue and promote personal responsibility.

No wonder married voters with children vote overwhelmingly for the GOP.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why Liberals Need Therapy

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics has an absolute must read on liberals who resorted to therapy after the election in November.
But the issue is really less about how liberals and conservatives view therapy than about how they view each other politically. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out nearly three years ago:

"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

Evidence of the truth of this statement is everywhere. Howard Dean tells the Democratic party faithful that politics is "a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

Markos Moulitsas, proprietor of the influential liberal blog Daily Kos, has probably used the word "evil" to describe Republicans and the Bush administration more times in the past month than the top twenty conservative blogs have used it to describe liberals in the past five years combined.

From top to bottom, Democrats tend to frame political debate these days in the most alarmist, even apocalyptic terms; conservatives want to poison the water; bulldoze forests and let greedy corporations rape the environment; make granny choose between food and her pills; throw women who have abortions in jail; take away day care and shred the safety net of Social Security; pack the courts with people who want to take us back to the 16th century and tear down the wall between church and state to establish an evangelical theocracy. And that's just the GOP's domestic agenda.

Is it any wonder some on the left are ridden with such terrible anxiety?

As Linda Huf, a member of the new liberal activist support group I wrote about on Monday, explained "I'm very worried about what's going on in the world. I was worried during the Vietnam War too. But somehow, today, the evil seems too big."

Why does "the evil seem to big?" Because the Democratic party, with the subtle yet consistent help of the liberal media establishment, has convinced some of its members that conservatives aren't just political adversaries with a different point of view, conservatives are a threat to their very existence. The reason some liberals need therapy is because they've traumatized themselves by buying into such demagoguery.
This sounds like something I might have written -- only I wouldn't have written it as well.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fraud and Deceit -- Fundamentals of Liberal Politics

William Voegeli provides some details in the example of Social Security.

Media Won't Reveal Funding of "Non-partisan" Group

Ryan Sagar has a piece in the the NY Post on all the money which poured into an election for a slot on the Illinois Supreme Court.
ANYONE still clinging to the notion that campaign-finance reformers are interested in "clean government" solely for its own sake should take a look at Illinois — specifically a race for a state Supreme Court seat last year that turned into the most expensive judicial contest in U.S. history.
The race was a money magnet — with more than $9 million spent by the time the dust cleared. Why? Because tort lawyers from all over the country go to Illinois' Madison County to file lawsuits against deep-pocketed corporations. If Democrat Gordon Maag won the Supreme Court race, the trial-lawyer gravy train would probably keep on rollin'. If Republican Lloyd Karmeier won (he did), he was expected to start hitting the breaks (he has).

Money rolled in from pro- and anti-tort-reform forces around the country. And so one group appointed itself traffic cop: the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the state's resident good-government watchdog. The "nonpartisan" group spearheaded a Tone and Conduct Committee — organized under the aegis of the state Bar Association — aimed at keeping advertising by outside interests to a minimum.

The media bought this charade hook, line and sinker, referring to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform as "nonpartisan" and the Tone and Conduct Committee as "independent."

Sager points out all the ties that the "non-partisan" group had to liberal trial lawyer groups. He also points out that these groups want to shut down political speech by those that disagree with them.
These state groups are part of the same effort to restrict all political speech deemed unworthy of a hearing by a cadre of liberal foundations.

These groups exist in nearly every state. And just as at the federal level, they get almost no scrutiny from the press.
Of course, the press won't report what their allies are doing. That would hurt the team.

Religious Discrimination by Democrats?

Glenn Reynolds points outs this debate involving Cathy Young, Stephen Bainbridge and Eugene Volokh on the question of whether the Democrats are discriminating against Christians in their opposition to some of Bush's judicial nominees such as Judge Pryor.

I just want to make the point that it is entirely appropriate to take into account the arguments being used by some of the Democrats' biggest supporters as a way to put their filibuster arguments into context. Hostility toward religion, in general, and Christianity, in particular, is obvious to anyone who is familiar with conversations on a lot of college campuses. Hollywood's hostility cannot be argued.

I recently pointed out that a number of liberal commentators have expressed concern that the country was moving toward a theocracy. The contention is patently ridiculous, but the fact that it is made tells us a lot about the hostility of those making the claim.

Finally, while I don't often frequent the left-wing swamps at Democratic Underground, Move On, and Daily Kos, whenever some blogger I trust posts some of the commentary that runs at these sites, it is obvious that there is a pronounced hostility toward religion. Given the power that these sites now have within the Democratic Party, I think it reasonable to conclude that hostility to religion is widespread and serves to motivate Party leaders.

Friday, April 22, 2005

John Podesta's Ethics

Over at NRO, Byron York has a piece on the efforts John Podesta's new liberal think tank has undertaken to attack Tom DeLay on ethics charges. Given Podesta's involvement in obstruction of justice as Bill Clinton's deputy chief of staff, he as no business impugning anyone's ethics.

After a variety of scandals came to light involving Ron Brown and the Commerce Department during the Clinton administration, Judicial Watch filed Freedom of Information requests for documents. After being stonewalled, Judicial Watch filed suit to compel the production of the relevant documents. As Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth described in these opinions available here, the Clinton Administration responded with a cover-up that involved the illegal shredding of documents, the illegal removal of documents from offices, lying under oath, lying by government lawyers and other officials to the Court and various other offenses amounting to obstruction of justice and other felonies. The obstruction efforts included Commerce Department officials, lawyers from the Inspector General's office, the Justice Department, White House lawyers and the White House chief of staff and his deputy. John Podesta was that deputy.

In describing the sworn testimony implicating Podesta, Judge Lambert wrote:
On March 23, 1998, Hill appeared before this Court and gave extensive testimony as to her knowledge, gained from communications with Secretary Brown, relating to this action.(6) Upon examination by Mr. Klayman, Hill testified that the Secretary told her that White House officials had actually instructed him to delay the production of documents responsive to Judicial Watch's requests and to come up with a way to avoid compliance with this Court's orders. See Transcript of March 23, 1998 Hearing at 85. Hill vividly recalled the Secretary's comment that Leon Panetta (then White House Chief of Staff) had urged him to "slow pedal" the document search. See id. at 85-86. According to Hill, this message was conveyed to Secretary Brown by Panetta and by John Podesta (then White House Deputy Chief of Staff) on several occasions. See id. at 85-88.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The importance of Dean's statement on Schaivo

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was recently quoted as saying his party intended to use Terry Schaivo's death in election campaigns in 2006 and 2008. A number of bloggers have pointed out that the MSM had no interest in covering the unseemly statement, despite national coverage of a talking points memo on the same subject that was inaccurately alleged to have come from the GOP leadership in the Senate.

The failure to cover the story is not due to media bias. It is due to media partisanship. This example is noteworthy because it, like Jimmy Carter's treasonous request for the Soviets to provide an October Surprise and the wildly disparate treatment of Bush's and Kerry's military records, has a directly comparable story implicating Democrats. In such cases, the clear partisanship of the media cannot be spun with a straight face.

Most stories don't offer such direct comparisons. We can assert that coverage of Sandy Berger's crimes was much more subdued than would have been the case had he been a Republican. But the case lacks a direct parallel for comparison. When the parallel is available, the gross difference in media coverage needs to be emphasized.

Character and Integrity

We don't expect much character from our politicians. And they generally deliver even less than we expect. The calculus of compromise and political ambition seems to work against it.

There is one area, however, when character absolutely must be demanded from "the whores in parliament" (as P. J. O'Rourke describes them). When quality people are nominated to serve as judges or civil servants, our elected representatives have an obligation to fight for the reputations of these nominees.

When vicious slanders and outlandish character assassination are thrown at a nominee, every member from either party who pretends to possess even a shred of integrity should be expected to stand up for the truth. Sadly, nominees know not to hope for even that small bit of support.

I guess what really makes me sick is the realization that, upon retirement, people like Joe Lieberman and George Voinovich and their ilk will be honored for their character despite a record of tolerating and participating in this type of mud-slinging for decades. Rather than be applauded, they should be booed.

Steyn on the Pope's priorities

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Mark Steyn does a wonderful job of explaining the Pope's priorities:
...he understands ... That it's what's important is know, if you compare it with what's happened in the Anglican communion, where effectively the U.S. branch, the Episcopal church, has been kind of semi-suspended from membership. The African members of the Anglican communion are fed up with the way all they ever hear from the American, British and Canadian branches of their church is just about gay weddings and gay priests. They think this is an irrelevant issue, if you're struggling in Africa. And what this Pope seems to realize is that it's better, if necessary, to lose members in Massachusetts, and hold on to the large body of Catholic believers worldwide, who want a Pope who gives voice to their belief, rather than the moral relativism that may win them a couple more theoretical votes in the San Francisco bathhouse. I mean, that's a ridiculous proposition."

I continue to be amazed at how liberal atheists, who have demonstrated nothing but contempt for the Catholic Church, seem shocked and irritated that the Church won't follow their advice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Carville and Begala forgot the biggest change

In this column in USA Today, James Carville and Paul Begala say that Democrats need to change everything. Unfortunately, they didn't address the biggest problem facing their party -- rampant dishonesty. And when you read what they wrote, it is obvious that their dishonesty infects everything they write and think.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Defending Liberal Pundits

I think we have been unduly harsh on some liberals. After the election, a number of liberal commentators wrote that those who voted for Bush had to be stupid or had lost touch with reality. If you were like me, you rolled your eyes and wrote them off as left-wing wackos who were, themselves, living in a looking glass world. I think we may owe them an apology.

Several weeks ago, I came across an article about people from North Korea who had managed to make it across the border into China in an effort to get some food (I can't seem to find it now). There was a quote from a woman in her 50s who expressed shock that everything she had been told by the North Korean media was untrue. In China, she had begun to discover the reality about her country and the world.

I felt really sorry for that woman. And I certainly didn't blame her that she had once believed much that was false. Her views were only as informed as the quality of her information. And it dawned on me that liberal pundits in the US deserve the same compassion.

Let's take a moment to look at the election from the point of view of a liberal writer living in Manhattan. He gets his news from the NY Times, CBS, CNN and Time. He knows that George Bush is the worst economic president since the depression. And he knows that Iraq is a complete disaster. On the two critical issues of the day, the facts are undisputed. Every source he reads, watches and listens to confirms what he knows. And none of his friends, neighbors or co-workers dispute any of it.

Given the information he had, the voters must surely have seemed to be insane. But he shouldn't be condemned. Like the North Korean woman, we really should feel sorry for him. He simply doesn't have access to all the information we have. He doesn't have the necessary contacts.

Compare our liberal writer to a high school dropout living in rural Georgia, or a business owner in Texas, or a truck driver in Kansas. They all had access to much better sources of information on the two pressing issues in the election, the war in Iraq and the state of the economy.

People in red states have family, friends and neighbors who are in the military or have children who are. In e-mails, letters, phone calls and return visits, these military personnel told us how the war was really going. Their messages were e-mailed to friends who e-mailed them on to others. In the red states, the truth got out. The successful elections in January came as no surprise.

The liberal writer in Manhattan, however, doesn't know anyone in the military. And doesn't even know anyone who knows anyone. He simply lacks access to the same quality of information on the war which was available to a high school dropout flipping hamburgers and living in a mobile home in rural Georgia.

The same is true regarding information on the true state of the economy. Truck drivers, waitresses, salesmen, small business owners and construction workers always know how the economy is doing. Their work provides constant feedback. The unfortunate writer in Manhattan lacks that kind of quality feedback. His liberal friends work for government, teach at universities and write for the media. What could they know about the economy? He was forced to rely on the NY Times and CBS to tell him what to think.

So I want to apologize to those liberal pundits for the thoughts I had about them when I read their disparaging comments after the election. I should have recognized how closely they resemble the woman in North Korea. They couldn't help it. Based on the information they had available, voting for Bush must have seemed insane. And I can't blame them for lacking sources with quality information. They, like the North Koreans, are stuck in an intolerant, provincial backwater where information is tightly controlled. They live and work in a culture dominated by superstitious beliefs about "evil Republicans" and "theocratic right-wingers" and suspicious of outsiders from red states.

We should feel sorry for them, as we do those trapped in North Korea. And look forward with hope for the day where they might be able to get accurate information, too.

Suspend Sheffield for hurting the team

Most sports fans have seen the replay of Yankee rightfielder, Gary Sheffield, getting into it with Red Sox fans at the right field fence. I think the proper resolution of the matter would be for Joe Torre and George Steinbrenner of the Yankees to suspend him for failing to think of the team first.

My problem with what happened is that he picked up the ball, shoved the fan and threw to second base. SAY WHAT!!! If the fan hit him in the face and tried to interfere with his ability to make the play, I don't care if Sheffield slugs him -- but only after he gets rid of the ball! He has to take care of his responsibility to the team first.

I think Mike Curtis, the former all-pro middle linebacker for the Colts, had the right attitude. A fan once ran onto the field and headed toward the Colts huddle. Curtis laid him out with a forearm shiver. As Curtis explained afterward, he had a different colored jersey. His job was to hit anyone that came his way in a wrong-colored jersey. So he did.

Fans don't belong on the field or interfering with play. During the 70s, protesters ran onto the field and were about to set fire to an American flag. Rick Monday raced over from centerfield and grabbed the flag away from them. I wouldn't have had a problem, if he had chosen to put a little Mike Curtis action on them. Fans don't belong on the field.

Why Hillary is such a bad politician

At Opinion Journal, Jay Cost does a good job of explaining why Hillary is such a bad politician. The whole thing is worth reading, but a couple of points he could have made would have strengthened his argument. First, he should have pointed out that her Senate victory was not only over a weak, late-replacement candidate in Rick Lazio, but also that Al Gore did twice as well as she did among NY voters in the same election. That is hardly a ringing endorsement of her ability as a politician.

Second, while Cost focuses on the need for a candidate to establish trust in the eyes of voters, he doesn't connect that to his discussion of how the pundits are missing the point on Hillary's move to the middle. A move to the middle is only effective if a politician is able to convince undecided voters that the moderated position actually reflects his beliefs (or that he is making a commitment to legislate in accord with the moderated position). Hillary's problem is more than simply a problem with style. She has a well-established track record that most voters know well. No one will believe anything she says that doesn't track a left-wing political ideology.

No matter what she says or how she votes, liberals and conservatives alike will always KNOW that she is really a left-winger. Neither her supporters nor her foes will be concerned that she is trying to portray herself as a moderate. It just won't matter.

Monday, April 18, 2005

How You Can Tell a Liberal Knows She is Losing

I am watching Larry Kudlow's show on CNBC where he is currently hosting a debate between Hugh Hewitt and Nancy Zirkin on the Senate filibuster rules on judicial nominations. I support Hugh's position and readily admit that I may be biased in his favor, but it sure looked to me that Hugh did a substantially better job.

Ms. Zirkin probably agrees. Because near the end, she veered into standard left-wing slander mode. The problem she said, was the extreme right wing theocrats who dominate the Republican Party and want to effectuate their dream of 20 years to pack all the federal courts with extremist conservative judges.

At this point, I took that to be the equivalent of an admission of defeat. Some wag once pointed out that internet discussion threads on politics invariably end up with someone likening his opponent to Hitler. Eventually, people began to see that person as the automatic loser of the debate. Cite Hitler? You lose.

Liberals use slander so often that it is rare to have a debate or a political campaign without their use of it. So slander alone doesn't signify that they know they are losing. I would say, however, that when you hear a liberal go beyond "extreme right-wing" and begin spouting "theocrat" you know that they know they are losing.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Hillary's "full disclosure" --- four lies and a stonewall

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics has this piece questioning an assertion in an article on Tom DeLay. The author somehow asserts that Hillary made a full disclosure when questions arose about her extraordinary cattle futures profits. While Bevan shows that the record demonstrates how false that is, he left out a large part of the story.

When questions arose about Hillary's $100,000 profit on an investment of $1000, she offered up an explanation, but it proved to be demonstrably false. She offered up another, but alas, investigation proved it to be untrue as well. Again, Hillary told a third story which didn't stand up to the facts. And then a fourth.

After the fourth explanation had been demonstrated to be untrue, James Carville gave a press conference at the White House on the matter. He explained that Hillary had been forced to fabricate four different false stories because she was unable to remember anything at all about the transactions involved. Since she couldn't remember anything, she would, henceforth, have nothing more to say about cattle futures. The press was told not to bother asking because she would not respond. The press, of course, then dropped the story as instructed.

Had our MSM not been so eager to do her bidding, they might have asked how any intelligent person could have no memories of the biggest financial bonanza of her life (to that point). After all, the deal was worth triple her annual income at the time. Not only that, but White House lawyers and accountants had access to all the trading records, her files and her calendars. Apparently, despite extensive access to all these records and experts with the ability to re-create much of what happened, she was still saddled with the memory of someone with advanced Alzheimer's.

Is someone with such a poor memory fit for public office? The MSM chose not to ask.

Did Hillary offer full disclosure in the cattle futures scandal? No. It was precisely the opposite. Four lies and stonewall.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Stupid MSM on Business/Consumer Dichotomy

CNBC just had a fairly extensive news report on the bankruptcy bill pending in Congress. The reporter wrapped up by saying that, if passed, this would be "the second piece of 'pro-business' legislation passed by the Republican-dominated Congress this year -- the other being the class-action bill."

How tiresome. First of all, businesses and comsumers are not on different teams which oppose each other. Most consumers are workers (or dependents of workers) who are employed by businesses. Also, a majority of workers own stock in businesses. Thus, their financial futures are closely linked with those of their employers and other businesses. Second, most businesses don't lend to consumers. So how are they supposedly helped by this bill?

Changes in the law will either help economic growth or hurt it. If they help, businesses and consumers will both benefit. If they hurt, both will ultimately suffer. If the present law favors bankruptcy debtors unfairly, it hurts everyone in the long run. If the proposed law favors creditors unfairly, it will hurt everyone. A small percentage of people go bankrupt and a small percentage of businesses devote major portions of the business to lending to them. Everyone else (non-bankrupt consumers and non-lending businesses which are the vast majority of both) have a joint interest in the law achieving an optimum balance.

This business/consumer false dichotomy that liberals and the MSM beleive in with such religious devotion is a complete crock.

Note -- I don't know enough about the bill and the current economics of bankruptcy to offer an opinion on the merits of this bill. I just want to comment on the brain-dead liberal way the media describes the potential impact.

Democrats lie with social security calculator

This is really pathetic. Details here.

Common Sense on Health Care

David Hogberg does a good job of dismantling the litany of left-wing rants on health care. This time they came from the fevered drooling of Paul Krugman, but we hear all these on a regular basis and it is convenient to have the responive facts in one source.

Liberals -- "Social Security Program is too Successful"

The American Spectator has this in an article by Phillip Klein:
The only "crisis" facing Social Security, liberals argue, is that it's too darn successful.

"The problem with Social Security is that it isn't broken, which is precisely why the President is so eager to destroy it," wrote Robert Scheer in the Nation. "It is the continued success, rather than failure, of the program that irks him."

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine about Social Security, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said, "It's been highly successful, and it's extremely popular. It's one of the things that makes people feel somewhat good about government -- and so, therefore, it must go."

While liberals assert that President Bush has put Social Security in his cross hairs because he wants to destroy evidence that government works, the far more likely scenario is that liberals are frightened to death that personal accounts will thrive.

Subtle is More Effective for the MSM, too

To follow up on the post before this one (see below), the same thing is true for the news media. In many ways, Republicans have been blessed by the incompetent bumbling of CBS, CNN, the NY Times and the rest. When the MSM allows its partisan desires to be exposed in blatant propaganda of the sort we have seen so often in recent years, the effectiveness is destoyed. Cheerleading is easy to spot. It is the slanted choice of news to report which is far more effective.

Subtle is More Effective

The other day, a local talk show host asked listeners with college kids to call in if they were concerned about blatant political ranting by professors in class. If I had called, I would have tried to make the point that the ranting isn't the concern. Obvious political speech isn't likely to persuade a reasonably intelligent college student. The potent stuff is the subtle, seemingly reasonable indoctrination which comes in the guise of normal, non-political class work.

A history, political science or economic discussion of FDR presents him as an economic savior. His construction of a social welfare system is praised. The extremely radical nature of some of the programs which prolonged the depression for many years is ignored. Students don't learn of all the food that was destroyed by the federal government while people went hungry. They don't learn of the owner of a dry cleaning shop who went to jail for offering to work for less than the government mandated price.

In the guise of simply learning history, students really get a powerful argument in favor of social welfare programs. Thousands of other examples could be illustrated on topics as diverse as environmental science, business, communication, art, education and sociology.

It isn't the anti-Bush rant that persuades. It is the one-sided presentation of evidence while posing as a friendly, honest, reasonable professor. To paraphrase, Irving Younger, a noted law lecturer on the rules of evidence, a good advocate doesn't call Republicans dirty, evil, rotten SOBs -- he simply presents evidence of how they oppose and obstruct Democrats' efforts to rid the world of war, racism, sexism, pollution, and economic exploitation. And than let's students (the jury) reach the obvious conclusion for themselves.

Effective Partisanship of the MSM

I have written previously to point out that the MSM is more effective in its partisan spin during non-election years. During election campaigns, the GOP has ads on the air and GOP supporters are tuned in to the partisan spin by news sources. During times such as the present, however, only political junkies are tuned in. Even bloggers are posting fewer items and less often than they were during the fall. Thus, the MSM becomes the default source for news for far more people. And that's not good for Republicans.

Yesterday at Power Line, Paul Mirengoff outlines how the President has continued to suffer poor poll numbers despite an amazing record of success in the face of constant criticism. In essence, the polls reflect the news that is reported, not the results.

At some point, Republicans are going to recognize that it isn't enough to mobilize during election campaigns to counter the MSM. The establishment news organizations don't just earn their "D" letter jackets with megaphone for cheerleading during election years. They are pumping out partisan spin every day of every year. Propaganda which isn't refuted tends to be believed by the impressionable swing voter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Another Clinton Screw-Up

One of the great myths of modern politics is that Bill Clinton is a great politician who rarely makes mistakes. While he may have charisma with certain types of voters, his track record is piled high with stupid mistakes. Michael Goodwin has a good column which points out how stupid it was for Bill Clinton to slam someone else for his personal life. Clinton made a slimy comment about a gay Republican:
In a cheap shot that set a new low for ex-Presidents, Clinton said a gay Republican strategist who recently married his male partner "may be blinded by self-loathing."

Later he asks:
So what is Bubba up to? Besides snuggling up to the Bushes whenever he gets a chance, campaigning for a Nobel Prize and hoping to be secretary general of the UN?

Maybe nothing more. Maybe he's losing his touch. Sometimes smart people do stupid things. Or as Finkelstein friend Michael McKeon deftly put it: "It's really beneath a former President to comment on someone's personal life like that. After everything he has been through in his own life, you'd think he'd know better."

Yes, you'd think.

But anyone looking at his record over the years shouldn't be surprised. He's made this type of stupid mistake his whole career.

Monday, April 11, 2005

When Republicans Read Polls

Dennis Savakis at American Thinker expalins that the GOP in Congress needs to play hardball. He complains that every time the Democrats and the MSM attack, they fold. And he speculates that this is why their poll numbers are down.

Michael Barone tells us that the hard numbers of elections tell us a whole lot more about the underlying strength of the GOP than the poor polls that the MSM outlets are turning out.

I think that Dennis makes good points, but ultimately has it backwards. The poll numbers are down because the MSM consistently hammers the GOP in the news and then slants the polls in asking people what they think of the slanted news they've been getting lately.

Barone has it right. The GOP is still scared to death of the MSM. Republicans in DC don't yet understand how strong their base is, how strong the alternative news network is, and how discredited the MSM when it comes to the ballot box.

Mickey Kaus ignores the key question

Kaus thinks it is a good idea for the filibuster to stop judicial nominations because it will produce middle-of-the-road judges. Of course, they haven't before.

More importantly, just because the GOP should refrain from eliminating the filibuster on judges (as Kaus desires), doesn't mean the Democrats won't change the rules the moment they get in power. Does Kaus really want us to believe that they wouldn't? Since I suspect he knows better, is he really saying that he likes the GOP nominating centrist judges while Dems nominate liberals?

Tiger Woods and Luck

Tiger is probably the greatest golfer to ever play the game. Luck, however, certainly plays a prominent role in golf. Greg Norman had the worst luck imaginable. Tiger, for all his greatness, has had some incrediblly good luck. Yesterday, he doesn't win without it.

I was even more taken with the luck he had on Thursday and Friday. When he got angry, he made some foolish decisions and hit some shots that could have resulted in double or triple bogey. Somehow, the ball hit a tree and bounded back in play or found a good lie with a path through the trees. He was extremely lucky not to be 8 over par before the weekend and out of the tournament.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Every Play Counts

While watching college basketball this year, I was struck by how many teams fail to understand how important every possession is. Too many players make ill-advised passes, poor shots or fail to hustle. It seems as though they think that a basketball game provides lots of chances to make amends. With all the missed shots and turnovers, one more can't make much difference. We'll just get a stop on defense and be even. Wrong.

As a football coach, I found that the kids understood how any one play can be the difference in winning and losing. A lot of games are determined by a TD or less. You hustle on every block because you never know if it is the key to breaking one all the way. Same in baseball -- any pitch can end up in the seats and drive in the decisive runs of the game.

In hoops, every possession is worth a little over a point. That is the price of a careless turnover. Making the extra pass and working for a slightly better shot pays off. Forcing the opponent to work a little harder on offense and contesting every shot makes a difference by game's end. How much? Each percentage point increase in shooting percentage is worth about a point. Each offensive rebound adds better than a point.

By the end of the game, these points add up. How many bubble teams at 16-13 would have been a lock for the dance at 20-9? How many more wins would they have had, if they could have found an extra handful of points each night?

Great coaching job

I meant to say something about the Baylor women winning the NC in hoops the other night. I only saw parts of the game and had never seen the Lady Bears play before, but they did the best job of passing against a zone defense that I have ever seen. They were unselfish. They were so well-prepared that they always seemed to know where the next open pass should go. And they executed their passes with tremendous skill. With the exception of one guard (who had a tendency of throwing soft, high, looping passes to the wing), their passes were sharp, well-timed and right on the money.

A lot of fans don't appreciate how much difference a foot or two off can make on a pass. A pass right on the hands chest high means the recipient gets off her shot unimpeded. If that pass is a little lower and behind, the recipient has to adjust which gives the defender time to recover and the shot is taken under pressure. Over the course of a game and a season, it can make quite a difference.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I'm Older than Dirt

I saw this quiz mentioned at Betsy's Page. I'm older than dirt and it's not even close.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Three Liberals Discussing Social Security

I am watching CNBC right now and three liberal journalists are talking about whether the president's plan is dead. The Time journalist passed along the lie that the current system offers a guaranteed benefit.

I'm happy that this type of charade doesn't irritate me as much as it once did. Now, I just wonder why any supposedly intelligent news organization thinks that any presentation which consists entirely of liberals provides a balanced discussion. I guess they are even dumber than they look.

Low taxes promote growth (except in NY Times land)

One suspects that at the Times they live in a land that exists only through the looking glass. Economics is the study of how we allocate scarce resources among unlimited wants (according to my professors). The basic fundamental principles of economics (and supported by every bit of evidence we have) requires that demand curves slope downward (people buy more when the price is lower) and supply curves slope upward (sellers supply more when they can get higher prices). This is because people are generally rational.

In NY Times land, people apparently are not rational (but we already knew that, didn't we). Larry Kudlow explains how badly wrong the Times is in an article claiming that tax cuts do not spur growth. He writes:
No amount of academic-style econometric finagling can take away from the historical evidence that flatter and simpler taxes are the best way to maximize our economy’s potential to grow.

To think otherwise only defies the laws of common sense. Higher after-tax returns to work, investment, and entrepreneurial risk-taking will promote more employment, more capital formation, and more wealth. If it pays more to produce then people will produce more. As Dr. Laffer put it three decades ago, when you tax something more you get less of it. When you tax something less you get more of it. Higher after-tax rewards always generate a greater supply of work effort and investment capital.

Kudlow concludes by writing that he respectfully disagrees with the Times. That's the only part of his article I disagree with. The Times stopped being worthy of respect years ago.

Media Polls -- Reporting Results of News Coverage

Morton Kondracke has this column at Real Clear Politics on how Bush's approval numbers don't seem to reflect his performance. The economy and foreign policy look to be in great shape, but his popularity has dropped.

Kondracke won't come out and say what this is really all about -- negative news coverage causes negative poll results. He mentions that the Schiavo coverage may not have accurately reflected her true condition, but he doesn't confront the reality of baldly partisan coverage intended to hurt the president.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Genuine Hypocrisy

The Beltway Buzz at NRO has this from George Mitchell on filibusters. Perhaps someone should tell him that his previous statements are no longer in a memory hole defended by the MSM from revelation.

Clinton's top priority

Bill Clinton originally reacted to the news about Berger's document theft by laughing and implying that Berger's lack of organization and mishandling of top secret documents was a frequent source of humor. Lori Byrd says that Rush Limbaugh ran a clip of Bill Richardson (former Clinton aide and present Democratic governor of New Mexico) in which he repeated this description of Berger as a sloppy bumbler.

As I pointed out before, this is just another in a very long series of instances where the Clinton administration has deflected criminal charges by admitting rank incompetence. Note that the most serious incompetence is not on Berger's part, but rather on the part of Bill Clinton as president. He and Richardson are telling us that Berger was totally unfit for his job, they knew very well how unfit he was, and he was kept on the job.

Why? Dick Morris tells us that Berger has joined another long list -- the list of those who have rolled over for the Clintons. Perhaps Clinton felt that having a security advisor willing to commit crimes to protect him was more important than having a security advisor competent at protecting us.

"That really says it all"

At the American Thinker, Steve Feinstein discusses the Berger case and the willingess of Democrats and the MSM to ignore it:
One can only imagine if the situation were reversed and a Republican official had been caught red-handed as Berger was. If Condi Rice had stolen and destroyed classified documents in an obvious attempt to shield her political cronies from humiliation, the NPRs and Bob Schieffers and George Stephanopouloses of the world would be loudly trumpeting the news, over and over and over, for the “good of the country.”

What makes this situation so different—and important—is that it is not merely the usual case of a politician lying about illegal campaign contributions or an embarrassing extramarital affair and then being defended by political allies. This was a case where a former National Security Advisor—the Government’s highest official in 1999 when it came to protecting the country against terror attack—broke the law because his concern for political advantage outweighed his concern for the future safety of the country.

And even more tellingly, the leaders of his party and the mainstream media are apparently willing to let the whole matter pass with only the most cursory acknowledgment that it even happened in the first place. That really says it all.

The MSM is partisan. It serves as the propaganda division of the Democratic Party. They lie, distort facts and mislead the American people. They are unworthy of respect.

A Winning Strategy?

James Taranto addresses the contention that the Schiavo case will help Democrats:
What will the campaign slogan be in 2006 or 2008? "Keep Terri dead: Vote Democratic"? Will the Dems seek out other women who depend on feeding tubes and run negative ads against them? "This is Jane Roe. She's in a persistent vegetative state, and doctors say she has no hope of recovery. But the religious right wants to keep her alive at taxpayer expense. Send Congress a message on Nov. 7. Don't let the extremists prevail."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Have Dems and GOP traded foreign policies? No.

Godfrey Sperling wonders if the parties have switched positions. My answer -- not in the last 35 years. For my entire life (49 years) the overriding principle governing the Republicans on foreign policy was the need to remain strong and challenge the totalitarians who were avowed enemies of the US. The GOP advocated maintaining a strong military and making the effort to undermine our enemies among their own people.

Democrats, ever since the late sixties, have had an unhealthy attraction to any dictatorship which claimed to be communist or marxist. They had a sizeable element within their ranks which believed in unilateral disarmament, preached hatred for the US military and favored diplomacy even when it was proven to be ineffective. In recent polls, about half of those who vote Democratic consider the US to be a malevolent force in the world. A generation ago, Jeane Kirkpatrick labeled these people the "hate America first crowd". They still dominate the Democratic Party leadership.

George Bush has simply continued to follow the principles that most Republicans have favored for generations. He understands the need for a strong military and the fact that it most be deployed to defeat our enemies. When we were attacked by terrorists, he took the war to the home of the terrorists. In analyzing the best way to defeat Islamic terrorists (and totalitarian enemies in general) over the long term, he concluded that supporting democracy was the most effective strategy. This is in keeping with a long tradition of GOP support for tactics which undermine totalitarian states.

The opposition of Democrats to the Iraq War simply reaffirmed their opposition to the use of the military against our enemies that stretches back to Vietnam.

So what is the big switch Sperling talking about? The parties seem pretty consistent to the same policies they have followed for many decades.

David Brooks -- Liberals get it wrong (again)

In this piece, David Brooks (who is considered a conservative by the NY Times opinion page) explains to liberals that they completely misunderstand the reason for conservatives' electoral success. They have it backwards.

Brooks makes a good argument for the claim that the key to conservative success is not a unified message, but rather disunity -- which has caused the various camps in the conservative side to think hard about the nature and purpose of life and the appropriate role for government in society.

Our Present Social Security Plan is a Mess

Arnold Kling reminds us that the present system is a disaster. When we work to "save" social security, let's be mindful of that fact.

Case studies on the problems with a minimum wage

Good discussion here by a small business owner.

Tar Heels win NC

Strange game for me to watch. I'm generally an underdog fan, but was rooting for UNC against Illinois last night. Having gone to school in Carolina, played against the Heels in old Carmichael, etc, I just had more connection to them.

UNC had more talent, especially Sean May. Illinois played better team ball. When the Heels played smart, they built a lead. But then they'd get foolish and the Illini would take advantage to get back in the game.

My favorite teams (Davidson and Vanderbilt) are usually not as talented as their opponents. They win by playing smart, tough, team basketball and executing fundamental skills well. Last night, that team was Illinois which is why it was so strange to root for the team with better talent.

You really have to admire the coaching job Coach Weber did with the Illini this year.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Liberal Projection

Dr. Sanity is on the case (with a cartoon).

What Conservative Crack-up?

Christopher Chantrell has a piece worth reading at The American Thinker. America is in the midst of a spiritual awakening that runs much, much deeper and is far more powerful than a few momentary problems caused by biased media reporting and slanted polling.

Honest Poll Questions Make a Difference

Earlier this weekend, I posted on Patrick Ruffini's observations that honest poll questions show support for personal accounts in social security. Zogby has these poll results on questions about Schiavo's situation. This one in particular is interesting:
"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

That is almost 9 to 1 against starving her.

The "worst case of liberal media bias" ever?

John Leo gives his evaluation of the various parties to the Schiavo case. On the media:
The behavior of the news media: Terrible. "Pro-life" columnist Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice called it "the worst case of liberal media bias I've seen yet." Many stories and headlines were politically loaded. Small example of large disdain: On air, a CBS correspondent called the Florida rallies a "religious roadshow," a term unlikely to have been applied to Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights demonstrations or any other rallies meeting CBS's approval. More important, it was hard to find news that Michael Schiavo had provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife since 1994 and even blocked the use of antibiotics when Terri developed a urinary infection. And the big national newspapers claimed as a fact that Michael Schiavo's long-delayed recollection of Terri's wish to die, supported only by hearsay from Michael's brother and a sister-in-law, met the standard for "clear and convincing evidence" of consent. It did nothing of the sort, particularly with two of Terri's friends testifying the opposite. The media covered the intervention by Congress as narrowly political and unwarranted. They largely fudged the debates over whether Terri Schiavo was indeed in a persistent vegetative state and whether tube-feeding meant that Schiavo was on life support.

Hentoff's criticism is especially pertinent. He may be pro-life, but he is also a liberal and a former board member for the ACLU. I'm not sure I agree with him that it was the worst case of liberal media bias I have ever seen, but the fact that he thinks so says a lot.

Wrecking Lives, Encouraging Fraud

Instapundit points to this post on law school affirmative action by David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy. I want to highlight this:
While the ABA and AALS congratulate themselves based on increasing the numbers of black lawyers, they neglect the carnage caused to people's lives who enter law school with a good-faith belief that the law school they are attending thinks they will succeed, while in fact admissions officers and law school administrators know that it is likely they will never become lawyers. Anywhere from one semester to three-plus years of these students' lives are wasted in a futile effort to become attorneys, while they could have been succeeding in some other field. The ABA won't accredit a law school that doesn't ADMIT what they consider to be enough black law students, but doesn't seem to mind that at many of these schools, most of the black students admitted won't become lawyers. It's a fraud, a travesty, and something that makes me very angry.

Bottom line -- affirmative action isn't about helping blacks. It is about liberals feeling good about themselves. And if they have to wreck the lives of a lot of blacks to do it, that is a price they are willing to "pay".

What Liberal Media?

Two current stories provide us with a good look at the blatant partisanship of the MSM. The Washington Post and ABC continue their dishonest stonewall on the fake Talking Points memo. For the latest, see Powerline's Scott Johnson in The Weekly Standard.

The second good example is the woeful coverage of the Sandy Berger story. As Rand Simberg notes, there would be a great deal more coverage and interest if Berger was a Republican.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

David Broder

Can you believe that he actually gets paid for this stuff?

Kinsley flunks Economics and Logic -- again

This column by Michael Kinsley is full of so many errors in logic that one has to wonder if Kinsley is really as stupid as this would indicate. But if he is not, does he think we are that stupid? This ranks right up there with the Kerry claim that Bush is the worst economic president since the depression. Could Kerry really be that stupid? Did he think the voters were that stupid?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Well worth reading

Megan McArdle has an essay that should be must reading for anyone contemplating reform. Here.

A look inside the NY Times

Power Line's Hindrocket catches the Times with its pants down on its story about the pope.

Americans Support Private Accounts

Patrick Ruffini has the story on how the margin is better than 2 to 1. It is all about how the question is worded. Every time private accounts are asked about in a way that fairly reflects the choice, a majority favors them. As he says:
If this holds up, I don't think "fraud" is too strong a word for the fast one the Democrats and the media have been trying to pull on the American people -- trying to manufacture opinion through bad poll questions.

Somehow, I don't think we'll see the headline, "Public Favors Personal Accounts" on the front page of the Post any time soon.

Dems -- voters are stupid

Congressional Democrats are convinced that the key to regaining a majority is as simple as changing a few words in their message. They think that they merely need to use different names for their positions and voters will elect them. Read about it in The Atlantic magazine.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Thugs seek to intimidate political opposition

For the second time in 3 days, a conservative has been attacked by a thug on a college campus. Although the weapon used in each case was food, the purpose was sinister. Thomas Lifson has more.

This is just more evidence of how violence, hatred and intimidation continue to be the values of the left.

Lying about Social Security

Why can't Democrats tell the truth? Check out this lie from Senator Mikulski at a rally put together by four Democratic senators:
"None of us can afford to sit on our bottoms," Mikulski told the enthusiastic and largely gray-haired audience that filled Town Hall to overflowing. "We've got to organize and mobilize and stop George Bush's radical plan to privatize Social Security. He wants to take a guaranteed benefit and turn it into a gamble."

As anyone should know, she has it exactly backward. Benefits in the current system are NOT guaranteed. No one has any ownership interest in any benefit from social security. Private accounts, on the other hand, would be owned and not subject to the whims of a future Congress.

Obstruction of Justice

On Sandy Berger's crimes, Lori Byrd at Polipunidt points out:
One thing I have not discussed in detail, and have not seen discussed much elsewhere, is that the offense goes beyond the theft of the documents, but includes the act of obstructing the investigation of the 9/11 Commission.

And from a post she wrote last summer:
If the former National Security Advisor has such disregard for the integrity of documents and the rules and laws pertaining to their treatment, what can be said for his regard for the security of the nation and the safety those rules applying to classified documents protects? And what can be said about that former NSA’s boss who regards the entire matter as a joke? I think we can rightly conclude that for many in that administration, that is exactly what national security was – a joke.

Politics in the new age

Frank Cagle gets it. He discusses how the internet and blogs will change coverage of the 2006 Senate election in Tennessee. He says "the days when a few political reporters or editors could decide the news are over." Thanks to Bill Hobbs.

Dirty Secret of "Investigative Journalism"

In the context of the Oil for Food Scandal, Roger Simon reveals the truth about so-called investigative journalism:
Here's the secret about investigative reporting: it's no big deal. For the most part all you need is email and a phone. Once you are known to be interested in a subject, people will come to you with their stories. Deep Throat - assuming there was one such person - contacted Woodward and Bernstein, not the other way around. So investigative reporting (often - and certainly in my case) is simply an example of the old saw "If you build it, they will come." Those national newspapers simply didn't want them to come.

Next time you wonder why there are no stories on the creators of the fake CBS memos or the fake GOP talking points or any of the dozens of other stories that would make liberal Democrats look bad, remember Simon's reminder -- the MSM doesn't want them.

Compare Sandy Berger and Chucky McGee

Can you say double standard?

MSM incompetence

Mickey Kaus has this:
And they say blogs are stupid: Here is the first sentence uttered by Brian Williams on last night's NBC Nightly News:

Age bias. A big win for millions of workers over 40. The US Supreme Court just made it easier to sue the boss for age discrimination.

Well, it may be a "win" for particular plaintiffs. But is it a "win" for "millions of workers over 40"? That would seem to depend on many factors, including whether employers stop hiring workers over 40 for fear of later getting sued for age discrimination, or whether American corporations, deprived of the ability to lure new, younger, cheaper, more energetic workers (see. e.g. GM), lose out to foreign competition, causing their over-40 employees to lose their jobs. Maybe the net result of the ruling will be a transfer of income from under-40s to over-40s and a net increase for the latter group, but it's a highly complex and controversial claim. ... NBC's hardly the first to buy into the facile plaintiff's lawyer's notion that a "win" in a particular lawsuit for a particular group of people means a "win" in the larger sense--as if litigation were costless and free of perverse consequences, as if damage awards are a bonus that materialized out of the ether. But it's relatively rare to see this hack fallacy become the actual lede of a newscast.

Compare Berger to DeLay (or Martha)

Beltway Buzz at NRO has a good point.
Berger’s crime will get plenty of attention. But this is a great moment to illustrate the obvious. Tom DeLay is smeared in the media when he has neither been accused nor indicted of a crime. Even though yesterday’s WMD report cleared the administration of misleading the public, the “Bush lied” accusations will continue. Can we even begin to imagine how the Berger story would be covered today if he were a Republican?

Actually, it won't get plenty of attention. In a week, the MSM will have let it completely disappear from view.

As I have said before, if there were such a thing as an honest journalist working for the MSM, he or she should be deeply embarassed.

Should Democrats pay higher taxes?

Why aren't those charging the GOP with hypocrisy over Schiavo also demanding that Democrats pay higher taxes?

I remember watching William Buckley many years ago respond on his TV show to a question about hypocrisy. He was asked if it was hypocritical for someone who had opposed social security to cash the checks. Of course not, he said. It is perfectly consistent to operate within the rules at the same time one advocates that those rules be changed.

We could come up with hundreds of examples. A coach may advocate changing a rule, but his team should continue to play in accordance with the rules until he is successful in convincing the rulesmakers to make the desired change. A lawyer will use all the rules of procedure and evidence despite his belief that some should be changed. And Democrats are not hypocrites for pocketing Bush's tax cuts despite advocating higher taxes.

This is why there is nothing at all hypocritical about Republicans in Congress advocating federalism and passing legislation seeking de novo review of the facts in the Schiavo case. Republicans are pro-life. Using the legal structure as it presently exists to advance this core principle is not hypocrisy, even while arguing that said legal structure is flawed and should be changed.

A genuine example of hypocrisy would be the positions taken by liberals on the issue of sexual harassment. They worked to have the law changed. They succeeded. Then their favored politician, Bill Clinton, flagrantly violated the law. At which point, they argued that the law shouldn't be enforced. Blatant hypocrisy.

Note, that the charges of hypocrisy made by them against conservatives at the same time were false. There was nothing hypocritical about insisting that Clinton be judged by the very laws he succeeded in implementing. Sure, conservatives opposed the implementation of those laws. But once the law was changed, insisting on even-handed enforcement for all is not hypocrisy in the least.

Getting Sick and Tired ...

of having Blogger lose my posts. All week. It seems like every long one gets wiped out when I try to post it.

So much silliness, so little time

Each of these topics deserve an in-depth look, but I don't have the time. Off the cuff observations:
1. The idea that the GOP will be hurt because Randall Terry is seen as a spokesman for those trying to keep Terri Schiavo alive and Terry is a dog with fleas. I'll worry about it when the Democrats are hurt by actually embracing and treating as a rock star nasty snakes like Fidel Castro and Michael Moore.

2. Glenn Reynolds highlighted this proposal from Bill Quick who is unhappy with Bush and the GOP. I think all of these folks who threaten to defect from the GOP over Schiavo, etc. are simply ridiculous. But look at some of the "particulars" that Quick cites for his dissatisfaction. This for example:
9. Bush's gross mismanagement of Fallujah in Iraq, that needlessly cost dozens of American lives, and for a time threatened the entire future of the Iraqi experiment in democracy.

Get that? He doesn't want to be a Republican because he disagrees with our military tactics in fighting the war in Iraq. Puhleeeze.

3. What about the charge that the GOP was hypocritical in pushing Congressional legislation? Or as Quick puts it:
I'm not happy about the hypocrisy exibited by a supposedly small-government, individual liberty party in cheerfully reaching for the club of government to enforce a different outcome on the Schiavo issue, simply because they don't like the way the current law plays out.
What garbage. Heck this does deserve a separate post. See next.

Media Partisanship on Sandy Berger

Jon Ham tells it like it is.

Divided Democrats

Here is a interesting juxtaposition of economic views from Democrats offering advice. Columnist James Klurfield uses a new book by former Clinton administration official Paul London to describe how much better private competition is than government for providing economic growth:
One of the lessons I've learned over the years is that we're usually better off when the market is allowed to make economic decisions as opposed to the government.

Maybe that comes from spending a good part of my professional life watching how and why government makes decisions. The reality is that government is inherently less efficient than the marketplace.

There is just no substitute for the discipline imposed by competition, no matter how noble or altruistic the motives of a government agency - and more times than not the government agency is motivated by non-economic considerations such as patronage or how to promote an elected official's career rather than some higher principle of public good.

I was thinking about this recently because of a provocative new book by Paul A. London, "The Competition Solution." London, who was deputy undersecretary of commerce for economics and statistics in the Clinton administration (and is a Great Neck native), argues that the great force in the American economy over the past two decades has been the unleashing of competition in major industries from automotive to steel, transportation, communications and trade.

Although he is a Democrat, London says what his research has demonstrated is that, over the long haul, members of both parties have sided with these outsiders, including foreigners, when these outsiders challenged the big, entrenched, sometimes oligarchic interests in the country. And that has resulted in competition, innovation, increases in productivity and the amazing growth of the 1990s.

That notion runs counter to the conventional wisdom that big, powerful special interests dominate our politics, whether it's the Detroit automakers, Pittsburgh steel or organized labor- all of which have doggedly opposed free trade agreements.

Contrast that with the advice of Democratic political pollsters James Carville, Bob Shrum and Stanley Greenberg in this memo on how to reclaim the white Catholic vote. They advise Democrats to demonize the wealthy and big corporations.

The choice is clear. The Democrats can preach the truth about economics and the benefits of freedom and competition. Or they can continue to push discredited falsehoods about tax cuts for the wealthy and evil corporations. Truth or Slander? What is good for the country or what is good for Democrats' election prospects?