Friday, February 24, 2006

Why Johnny can't read

Because six year-old boys get suspended for sexual harassment.

Of course, it might be a function of irrational teachers. A school teacher friend of mine said she was part of a group of teachers when the complaining turned to the subject of teachers' salaries being too low. One teacher said that it was all because George Bush was president!

Krugman math: 9.8 = 3.5

Don Luskin has fun with Paul Krugman. Paul has been foaming at the mouth so long he can't do arithmetic anymore.

I wish I had written this

This is the best explanation I have ever seen for the polarization of our politics. He is absolutely right.

The Left is engaged in an assault on everything America has always stood for. The stakes are much higher than they were 50 years ago:
The bitterness we’re experiencing these days is easy to explain. We disagree about much bigger things now than at any time since at least the Civil War. Here are some of the truly Big Things that today are in dispute:

-the basis of national community and national loyalty;

-the natural complementarity of the two human sexes;

-the centrality of the traditional family unit to American civilization;

-the dignity of every human life;

-the reality of a flawed, never to be perfected human nature.

American liberalism, having embraced post-modern Leftism, put these issues in dispute. It has changed fundamentally during the past four decades. None of these questions was seriously at issue on a large scale until the 1960s.

In allying with the post-modern Left, American liberalism has broken the national compact. It has stepped outside the 230 year stream of American consensus. It rails shrilly against the American creed, civic and spiritual. It unreasoningly indicts the phenomenally successful American economic system. It heaps scorn upon idealistic American purposes in the world and, indeed, actually impedes as best it can every exercise of American self-defense.

Able Danger turned up Clinton scandal, was shut down

A.J. has a must read. Too bad there aren't any "real" journalists to tackle this.

Read it all. Every damn word.

Bill Clinton's corruption shut down our best chance to stop 9/11.

You can be absolutely sure you will never get this story from the MSM. No way.

Talking sense on port deal

A.J. Strata has a quality long post which explains our options. As he mentions, everyone with a working knowledge of ports and shipping says that the hysterical naysayers do not know what they are talking about.

Wash Post agrees with me

Uh oh.

From the Captain re: the port deal:
Twelve government departments and agencies, including the departments of Treasury, State, Defense and Homeland Security, had examined the deal over a three-month period and found it acceptable. Perhaps the White House should have anticipated this week's political storm and prepared for it. But because the objections are irrational, even that complaint is questionable.

Sounds familiar.

What is an ordinary citizen supposed to believe?

Wouldn't it be great if there were any real journalists left?

Mark Tapscott points out how the Feds are unwilling to give the straight scoop on what happened in the OU bombing incident. All the information that has come out about the incident tends to cast very serious doubt on the official conclusion of suicide. I'm not a big believer in conspiracies. But I am beginning to wonder. Wouldn't it be great if someone paid to be a journalist actually did some investigativve work?

So many questions have been left hanging in recdent years and none of those paid to be journalists seems interested in finiding answers. A well-known NYPD homicide detective tells us there is no possible way that Vince Foster committed suicide in Marcy Park and the many reasons he cites seem compelling. Wish someone we could trust would look into it. Investigators play so many games with key witnesses' statements that the appellate court overseeing the investigation grants the extraordinary request of the principal witness to append a massive document to the final report explaining all the errors. Sounds like a big story. No one bothers to come up with a satisfactory explanation for it all. What am I to believe?

Jayna Davis (a journalist no less!) points out the Iraqi connections to the OK City bombing and some heavy hitters including a former CIA director describe the evidence as compelling. We hear that Senators are looking into her evidence. Nothing ever comes out. What am I to believe? Sure wish some "journalists" would follow up.

We could list a number of other stories over the last 15 years where substantial questions have been raised about the conventional wisdom or the official version. The bookstores are full of bestsellers raising questions and offering possible answers. Unfortunately, we don't know much about the authors. Wouldn't it be great if some person or organization with an established reputation as a straight shooter would do some investigative journalism? The book sales prove there is a market out there of customers wanting answers. Apparently, we want some real journalists, too.

Remember Vietnam?

Mickey Kaus has forgotten about Vietnam. He thinks that the Democrats can get elected on a return to normalcy platform whose major plank is that the war on Islamic terrorism is going so well that we don't need the GOP in the White House anymore. He thinks that we can adopt a Cold War mentality. Roger Simon and some of his commenters pointed out how silly this idea is. Kaus responds by claiming: "We even elected Democrats during those decades, yet somehow Communism was still contained and then defeated."

Ignoring how ridiculous it would be for Dems to follow up years of claiming the war is a disaster by now claiming it is going well, we need to remind Mickey that he seems to have forgotten how Vietnam completely transformed the Democratic Party. During the Carter years, Communism was NOT contained, much less defeated. In fact, the biggest obstacle to Reagan's efforts to win the Cold War was the Democrats' insistence that we should not even try to win it!

I seem to recall Jimmy Carter and his friends telling us that Communism was not really a threat. Our fear of communism was "inordinate", he said. And the Congressional Democrats on the Church Committee told us that the CIA was a much bigger threat to us than the USSR. Recent events remind us that things haven't changed much since.

How could Mickey have forgotten Vietnam. His liberal buddies seem to have Vietnam permanently seared into their brains. Every time we deploy our military we hear that we are repeating Vietnam. Surely Mickey remembers.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Who to trust?

I guess I have a choice on the ports controversy. I can trust the collective judgment of dozens of administration officials in a variety of departments who are familiar with the facts, have access to all the details, are charged with the professional obligation to protect us, and have demonstrated a commitment in the past to upholding their obligations.

Or, I can listen to politicians such as Hillary, Chuck and the wackos, journalists with a long track record of incompetence and misjudgment, and bloggers known to hyperventilate at a moment's notice.

Hmmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

After considering the choices, it seems clear there really is only one sensible choice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Port deal reaction

This port story seems like a lot of folks hyperventilating, rushing to judgment without the facts and generally behaving like MSM journalists.

The deal, after careful consideration, may or may not be a good idea. Most of those who have already thrown themselves on the floor wailing might want to stop long enough to get all the facts.

Pretty disgraceful all around. Of course, the fallback position now is to blame the White House for poorly handling the matter. When people lose their minds and spout nonsense without a clue, everyone in the country automatically blames Bush. It is the new national pastime.

"Sure we were completely irrational, but it's all Bush's fault for not anticipating how irrational we are!"

Happy Birthday George!

Happy birthday to the greatest American.

Foster suicide vs. Cheney shooting

I would have thought that someone else might have pointed this out by now, but I had not read it anywhere else when it occurred to me this morning that the MSM's hyperventilating over the Cheney shooting was providing us with another perfect parallel of the TANG vs. SwiftVet type.

I googled "cheney shooting foster suicide" and immediately saw that some others had beaten me to this insight. One was Michelle Malkin's reference in a Wash Times opinion piece: "Funny thing is, I can't recall the mainstream media melting down over the 30-hour delay — presided over by Hillary Clinton, according to internal records — in releasing the late White House counsel Vincent Foster's suicide note to authorities and her own husband. Can you?"

I think that Michelle misses the better point here. More critical than the delay in releasing the note was the long delay which preceded any announcement of Foster's death. That delay is critical because it was then that his office was combed through by Clinton aides and files removed. The Clintons delayed because they needed the time to cover up criminality and obstruct an investigation. Cheney's delay was completely innocent.

The difference in MSM reactions to these two events, however, has been extremely valuable to those who claim that the news media is partisan (not just biased). They form an excellent pair of references in the same way that the Texas Air National Guard non-story about Bush's service in the military during Vietmam made a close parallel with the Swift Vet exposure of John Kerry's dishonesty about his military service in Vietnam.

In each of these parallels, the Democrats were involved in serious dishonesty and the Republicans were not. Yet in both cases, the MSM went beserk pointing fingers at the GOP and showed no interest in reporting on the far more serious stories involving Democratic dishonesty.

Hard to write off as innocent. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone like Paul Mirengoff ask MSM editors to explain the disparate treatment? Of course, with someone like Paul to press the follow-up questions and pin down the spin, they would be insane to grant such an interview.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A real news story the press misses

Apparently the MSM is so worked up over Dick Cheney's refusal to treat them like royalty that they haven't notice real news. Will Collier points out that Communist Chinese agents have reportedly attacked an American in his home in Georgia because of his political activities.

Thankful I don't have a defined benefit plan

When companies decide to move from defined benefit plans to 401(k)s, the MSM always portrays the decision as one which screws over the employees. I am not surprised that they do, but it does make me wonder if journalists will EVER get a clue.

I am so glad that I don't work for a company with a DB plan. Of course, I studied economics in college.

Businesses pay workers for working. The company's cost is the entire expense associated with employing the worker. That includes the paycheck, the benefit package (including health and retirement), taxes, office space, furniture, safety expense, etc., etc.

If I weren't self-employed, I would want my employer to be able to accurately determine the cost of employing me. Open-ended health and retirement benefits which may not be incurred for many years and cannot possibly be estimated accurately put a huge burden on both the employer and the employee. Neither can effectively evaluate the pay package. Is it a good deal? For whom? Compared to what?

Increased risk is a cost. In this case, it is a cost to both employer and employee. It not only hampers each of them, but the overall economy as well. Without good information, people cannot make good decisions.

Stop for a moment and think how reckless it is for governments and companies such as GM to promise to pay health care costs for employees when they retire. They made and are making promises for which they cannot possibly predict the costs. The governments can always raise taxes (within limits) to cover the unanticipated costs. Businesses, on the other hand, cannot even know with any certainty if they will exist decades from now. Why would any sane employee agree to be paid for working today with retirement health benefits which may never be collectable?

Defined benefit plans and promises of retirement health care are a drag on our economy.

The Stench from DC

A. J. Strata summarizes the Able Danger hearings. That stench you smell coming from the Potomac is a massive coverup.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Jay Rosen and White House pushback

Mark Tapscott has a good post on the reality check experienced by the White House press corps and the MSM generally from this latest silliness over Dick Cheney. He praises journalism prof Jay Rosen for recognizing that the Bush White House developed a new strategy for dealing with the press. And he criticizes Rosen for failing to understand why. Rosen sees an attempt to repeal the First Amendment freedom of the press.

I have noticed the same problem with Rosen. If you read his whole piece, you will see that he buys into the entire litany of left-wing wacko accusations of the evil Bush. Just as bad, he denies that the MSM has a left-wing partisan bias (discrediting journalists as liberal is something the GOP cooked up to excite the base).

Tapscott has it right. Bush and Cheney understand that the MSM generally, and the White House press corps specifically, will not treat them in a fair and unbiased manner. So they go around them to get their message out. He writes:
Like it or not, the mainstream national media long ago lost much of its credibility with the public and has for many years been losing great chunks of its audience to Talk Radio, cable news and the Internet. The MSM is no longer the mainstream or national.

Indeed, one can make the case that entirely apart from ideological considerations it is rapidly becoming possible to communicate effectively with the general public without according the shrinking mainstream media anything remotely like the respect it once commanded. And still demands.

And nobody in this or any other White House is naive or stupid enough to think they can silence Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly or Powerline. Or DailyKos, MyDD or Comments from Left Field. Or PressThink, Tapscott's Copy Desk or (Lord help them if they ever try) Jeff Jarvis!

Bottomline: Rollback means "reality check."

What took so long?!

Bruce Bartlett discusses the importance of dynamic scoring in Congress. His rough estimate of the problems caused by static scoring all these years: the projected loss of revenue from proposed tax cuts is overestimated by a factor of 35% and the projected revenue from proposed tax increases is overestimated by the same factor of 35%.

This has created a tremendous analytical bias in favor of tax increases and against tax cuts. About time for some honesty in government forecasting.

Yes, but the big story is yet to come ...

Just One Minute has the latest on the legal back and forth between Libby's lawyers and Fizgerald, the Plame prosecutor, on the question of what information the prosecution must provide to the defense. Everything he says is interesting, but readers need to remember one important point -- just because the prosecution may not be required by the Judge to hand over lots of information about which reporters spoke with whom when, does not mean that the defense can't find that out with subpoenas of its own.

Note, I've never practiced criminal law. However, as I understand it, the defense is entitled to request that the prosecutor turn over all relevant info. All such info makes the job of the defense easier. But the defense's ability to develop information doesn't stop there. It only starts there.

I suspect that this case will ultimately see a host of famous reporters being put on the witness stand and being forced to choose between jail and revealing sources, etc. I see a whole lot of embarassment, gnashing of teeth, wails about the First Amendment and reporters' privileges, etc.

Sounds like it will be fun to watch (although not for Lewis Libby).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

MSM hypocrisy

What she said. And especially what she said.

Mirengoff exposes the benefit of liberal MSM bias

Mark Tapscott has written a number of posts about Powerline's Paul Mirengoff and his questioning of Senators Kennedy and Durbin. The senators were startled to get an intelligent question and even more startled when he followed up their evasive answers with more intelligent questions. Paul's account is here.

In the late 90s there was an internet site named Washington Weekly run be some conservatives. One of them wrote a very interesting piece in which he argued that there were some very strong benefits which accrue to Republicans as a result of the uniform liberal bias of the MSM. Foremost of these was the serious difference in trial by fire experienced by political leaders of the two parties. GOP politicians cannot get to a position of prominence without learning to be careful in what they say. They know that they are always under a microscope and always deal with the press as if they are the enemy (because they are!). Often the heat starts at the state and local level.

Democrats, however, are used to a free ride from the news media. The result is the deer-in-the-headlights reaction which Kennedy and Durbin gave Mirengoff. One of the reasons that we are treated to the irrational ravings of Algore, Howie Dean, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and company is because they were all elevated to prominent positions on the national stage without ever being tried and tested by the MSM.

One more example of the workings of the law of unintended consequences.

Kaus' headshaker

I enjoy reading Mickey Kaus. He may be an unreformed Democrat, but he can be sensible at times (e.g. his support for welfare reform). He has been on a crusade lately to expose all the liberal BS surrounding "Brokeback Mountain".

What is interesting is his tone deaf advice to the Democrats today after all the effort he has put into telling liberals they are fooling themselves about Brokeback. He writes that Dems should run on a return to normalcy theme because:
The essential premise is that Bush has stretched the military, the Constitution and the civility of our politics to the limit in reaction to the threat of future 9/11s. All this fevered straining and leveraging may have been appropriate at the time, but there's no real need to keep running in hyperdrive. We can routinize the anti-terror struggle the way we routinized the Cold War, when just as much was at stake. We don't have to make an end run around the Constitution or a duly-passed statute (wiretapping). We don't have to torture prisoners or hold them forever without hearings. We don't have to slight disaster relief (Katrina) because the Department of Homeland Security worries only about terrorists. We don't have to unmask CIA agents in a desperate effort to build a case for war. ** We don't have to alienate our allies. We don't have to run giant deficits to finance our armed forces, as if the "Global War on Terror" were a temporary crisis that will be over in three years. It's not. It's a semi-permanent part of the landscape. Democrats can contain the terrorist threat the way, for four decades, they helped contain the Russians--while (as during the Cold War) we allow ourselves to turn our attention to domestic problems such as health care and Social Security.

This might be good advice, except that Bush hasn't violated the Constitution, we don't torture prisoners, we haven't slighted disaster relief, we didn't unmask any CIA agents and the deficit isn't giant. The only people who believe all that are the same folks who want to believe all the breathless hype about Brokeback (hint: not an electoral majority).

Oh, and the idea that the Democrats did a good job during the Cold War is pretty funny, too. I don't think the Cold War legacy of LBJ, John Kerry and Jimmah Carter is going to make people forget about the Gipper.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Poorest coaching ever?!

Vanderbilt was leading Kentucky by 10 at home in the final two minutes. The Dores proceeded to make some of the most stupid plays you will ever see. They tried to give away the game, but Ky gave it back.

One of the worst jobs of coaching I have ever seen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Robert Reisch -- smear artist

On Larry Kudlow's show on CNBC right now, they are having a debate about Sarbanes-Oxley and the recent lawsuit which claims the law is unconstitutional. Robert Reisch argued that the claim of unconstiutionality is totally ridiculous. Reisch's support for his argument that the case is ridiculous is the fact that one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs is Ken Starr.

Ken Starr is an incredibly accomplished attorney. Robert Reisch is a political hack and smear artist. His argument convinced me that the claim is more viable than I originally thought.

I wish Larry Kudlow had scolded Reisch for his vicious little jab. As host, he has responsibility to keep the argument focused on the issues and avoid ugly smears -- especially against folks who aren't there to defend themselves.

Monday, February 06, 2006

More info on Saddam's WMDs in Syria

Jack Kelly reviews all the evidence.

Betty Friedan's myths

American Thinker has a piece on how Betty Friedan blatantly lied about her background and life in her book and as the founder of NOW:
... was not in fact the simple suburban housewife she had advertised herself to be. ...she was a political activist and professional propagandist for the Communist left for a quarter of a century before the publication of The Feminine Mystique launched the modern women’s movement… Her husband, Carl, also a leftist, once complained that his wife “was in the world during the whole marriage,” had a full-time maid, and “seldom was a wife and a mother.”

Just one more example of how every sphere of the Left is dominated by lies and half-truths. Friedan's unwillingness to be honest is so very typical.

Those stubborn facts

Econopundit debunks NPR's efforts to throw cold water on the great economic news. Did NPR get the story badly wrong because of a partisan effort to hurt Bush or because they are just incompetent?

Maybe both.

Indoctrination Schools

Betsy points us to this by Frederick Hess on the intellectual wasteland that our Education schools have become. Not content to teach all the latest bizarre theories, they have moved toward regulating the beliefs of future teachers. Apparently, if you can't convince them -- demand professions of belief as a condition of employment. He writes, "teachers colleges have begun to regulate the dispositions and beliefs of those who would teach in our nation's classrooms."

At the University of Alabama, the College of Education explains that it is "committed to preparing individuals to promote social justice, to be change agents, and to recognize individual and institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism." To promote its agenda, part of the program's self-proclaimed mission is to train teachers to "develop anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist . . . alliances."

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks School of Education declares on its Web site: "Teachers often profess 'colorblindness' . . . which is at worst patronizing and at best naïve, because race and culture profoundly affect what is known and how it is known."

Consequently, the program emphasizes "the interrelatedness of race, identity, and the curriculum, especially the role of white privilege."

Professors at Washington State University's College of Education evaluate candidates to ensure they exhibit "an understanding of the complexities of race, power, gender, class, sexual orientation, and privilege in American society."

Can you graduate from Wash. State if you failure to exhibit an "understanding" of white privilege in your teaching technique?

And how exactly does sexual orientation affect Einstein's Theory of Relativity?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

More Yuck

The Seahawks two minute offense was abominable. It might even have revealed a worse coaching job than that turned in by their receivers coach tonight.

Wash Post Trifecta: Criminal, Corrupt and Incompetent

We have already seen many examples of how partisan bias has corrupted the news reporting of MSM news media like the Washington Post. Their credibility has been further degraded by their incompetence. John at Powerline shows that the Washington Post has hit the trifecta with their coverage of another NSA program. They butchered the facts, committed criminal acts and all in furtherance of their corrupt, partisan jihad against the president.

With apologies to Dean Wormer (from Animal House) -- "Corrupt, Incompetent and Illegal is no way to go through life."


What an ugly game. Dropped passes, terrible throws, horrible officiating.

Seattle fans have got to be screaming bloody murder about the 2 Seahawk TDs taken away by really bad penalty calls.

Big Ben has been awful and Hasselback only slightly better.

The MVP of the game should probably by the officials. They did more to determine the outcome than any of the players. Two minute warning. I'm going to put one of the kids to bed.

Early thoughts on the game

Hasselback has had problems with accuracy. He badly missed on a curl and threw very poorly on a screen to Alexander. I will be interested to see if he settles down.

Just threw an easy pick, but the Steelers' DB just dropped it. Don't know what he was thinking with that throw.

Fitzgerald's case against Libby starting to fall apart?

Clarice Feldman wades through the documents that have been released and shows that the special prosecutor seems to have contradicted himself. Statements made to the public don't jibe with statements made to the judge.


Super Bowl predictions

1. The team which provides the best pass protection will win the game.

2. The QB of the winning team will get far too much credit for the win.

3. The winning team will run for more yardage than the loser.

%. Idiot pundits will confuse corelation with causation and cite the rushing yardage advantage as the reason for winning. Reality will be exactly the opposite. The winning team will run for more yardage precisely because it is winning, that is, winning causes rushing, not vice versa.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

David Climer -- village idiot

I don't think David Climer is any relation to Adam Clymer, but I'm sure there are a lot of folks who would say that President Bush's description of Adam as a "major league a--hole" applies to the Nashville sportswriter. I've meant to blog about this since he wrote it, but there is only so much time and an adequate fisking of him would take days.

I intend to address David and the rest of the stupid, the ignorant and the lazy with a comprehensive post in the near future.

W persuades

“In the pre-speech interview, 52% of people who intended to watch the speech said Bush’s policies would move the country in the right direction, compared with 68% who said that after the speech

Bush’s comments about the economy and Iraq apparently persuaded many speech watchers that things are better than they thought.

When asked to evaluate how effective Bush’s proposals for healthcare and energy consumption would be, speech watchers were mostly optimistic.”

D.J. Drummond quotes from Gallup.

What liberal bias?

Michelle Malkin notes that the NY Daily News ran a negative story on the president's body language which featured the "analysis" of one "expert" who also happens to be a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, Bush-hating activist. The Daily News apparently forgot to mention her postings on Kos and other left-wing activities.

All that really matters

Pundits throughout the MSM and the blogosphere have opined about the SOFU speech and the current states of politics in DC. By election day in November, everything that has happened in the last two months will be reduced to a mere three snippets of memory that make any difference. The independent voters who decide elections are not paying attention. They will remember nothing but the following:

1. Democrats think it is terrible that we try to listen when terrorists talk on the phone to their contacts in the USA.

2. Democrats are mean (Alito hearing).

3. Democrats are proud of doing nothing about Social Security.

Of these, the mean-spirited assaults on Alito will fade the quickest unless some GOP candidate ties it up with similar treatment since the first borking and makes it a theme. The Dems' wild applause the other night for obstructing social security reform will be remembered because it will be featured in campaign commercials in the fall (if not TV, certainly in internet ads by independent groups). Nothing else about the SOTU will be remembered past tomorrow.

The liberal hysteria over surveillance of terrorists' phone calls, however, will be remembered for the next 20 years or more. It perfectly embodies the public perception of how Democrats just don't get it on national security. I predict that their hysteria following the story in the NY Times will be the focus of historians and political scientists forever. It will become the defining moment of why the Democrats became a permanent minority party (and perhaps eventually split).

So -- if you have been out of touch the last 2 months, that is all you really need to know about political developments during that time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Democrat exemplifies the problem he complains of

This recent candidate for Congress complains that the Democrats need to focus on and articulate a simple, coherent message. He's right. What should that message be? He doesn't say.

Jimmah Clueless

I meant to link to this cartoon this weekend. Cox and Forkum capture the essence of Jimmy Carter.

Talking a little sense on oil profits

Ben Stein talks sense. No doubt, liberals will ignore it.

Stop the witch hunts

Iain Murray makes a great argument -- we should evaluate the quality and persuasiveness of opinion pieces by evaluating the quality and persuasiveness of the piece. He writes:
An opinion piece -- whether an individual op-ed or a column -- exists to promote a point of view by argument. It does not seek to establish a fact, but to win people over to a particular viewpoint or opinion. Therefore, the strength of the argument is the key factor in determining the effectiveness of the piece. A sloppily constructed, poorly thought-out argument will convince no one -- while a tightly constructed, coherent, and well-written argument can sway minds. That is why opinion pieces are considered intellectual ammunition in the war of ideas.

The only valid response to a persuasive argument is an equally persuasive argument towards a different conclusion.

He describes the witch hunt against writers like Michael Fumento and the fallacious arguments which are used against them.