Sunday, April 30, 2006

Self Censorship on Illegal Immigration

It is obvious that the press does now want to address the issue of illegal immigration in an evenhanded manner. Take this AP article on the labor boycott scheduled for tomorrow.

Scope of immigrant work boycott unclear


NEW YORK -- Now that immigrants have grabbed the nation's attention, what next?
Monday has been set aside for immigrants to boycott work, school and shopping to show how much they matter to their communities. But with some growing tired of street protests, and others afraid they'll be deported or fired for walking out, people are planning to support the effort in myriad ways.

The article refers to immigrants or immigration 18 times, but only once uses the adjective that states what the issue is really about, "illegal" immigrants, and that is only in referring to the "Opponents of illegal immigration", the Minutemen. The press will claim that they are just trying to be neutral and sensitive, but in this Orwellian newspeak which avoids calling something what it is, they are in fact taking a side.

Loose Change Loose Screw

I have covered 9/11 conspiracy theorists in the past, and with the release of the movie United 93, they are starting to come out of the woodwork even more. So I have decided to start a new blog exposing the dishonesty of the these people, particularly the Internet movie Loose Change, in which honor I have named the new site, Loose Change Loose Screw. The title is a bit long and awkward, so bookmark it, or add it your blogroll. Also contributions welcome, there are literally hundreds of lies out there that conspiracy theorists are spreading about this trafic event, and there is no way any one person could document them all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

University of Washington Medal of Honor Memorial

As pointed out by a commenter, I missed the story earlier in the month where the ASUW approved a memorial, in the wake of the "Pappy" Boyington comments controversy, to honor 5 University of Washington Medal of Honor recipients. It is gratifying to see them do the right thing and treat this issue with honor and respect. I look forward to seeing it put up.

Atlas Shrugged: The Movie

The rumors are that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may star as John Galt and Dagny Taggert in the movie version of Atlas Shrugged. Seems reasonable casting to me, I am just wondering how they are going to fit a 1160 page novel into a two hour movie. The real casting coup would then be landing Billy Bob Thornton and Jennifer Aniston as Hank and Lillian Reardon.

H/T Don Luskin

Friday, April 28, 2006

United 93

I don't normally do movie reviews, but this is an obvious exception. The reviews for the most part have been right. An exceptional movie, there was not a dry eye in the house, including mine. A rather difficult movie to watch at times. Well worth watching, and remembering.

The Judge Code

I thought the recent case where an author of a non-fiction book sued Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was pretty silly. If your book is supposedly based on real events, how can you copyright the fact that those events took place. If I write a book on WWII can I sue anytime someone mentions Pearl Harbor, on the basis that they must have stolen the idea from me?

In anycase at least the judge involved, who ruled for the defendant, managed to have a sense of humor. He created his own code, embedded in the ruling in the form of italicized letters. Alas, it was not too difficult, as it has already been cracked.

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More Bad Economics

I think that before anyone is allowed to make a speech on the floor of the senate they have to pass a freshman level economics course. Now politicians of both parties are pandering, by offering, among other things, a $100 tax rebate to consumers. The fall in tax revenue will be made up by, get this, raising taxes on oil companies. Of course, anyone who managed to stay awake for the first week of any microeconomics course will know that the price level and tax paid varies little whether it is paid by the producer of a good, or its consumer. These must be the same people who think that half of Social Security is a free ride, because it is paid by the employer.

Update: On Wizbang they have a hilarious conversation on oil prices with Senator Maria Cantwell, who is apparently stunned by the concept of supply and demand. Quite sad.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Moving to Kabul

After reading this editorial in the WSJ I am inspired to move to Kabul to start Afghanistan's first Kinkos, or perhaps a hedge fund...

KABUL -- The recent Yale graduate I was chatting with at a party here spoke Chinese and had lived in China, the seeming epicenter of all things capitalist. "Why did you decide to come to Afghanistan?" I asked. He stared at me. "This is the largest rebuilding and development effort in the history of the world. Who wouldn't want to be here?"

After decades of conflict and the crippling legacies of communism and fundamentalism, Afghanistan is finally open for business. The signs are everywhere, from Kabul's traffic jams to Mazar-i-Sharif's building boom; from the opening of a Coca-Cola bottling plant to the country's first private university, the American University of Afghanistan, offering programs in business administration and information technology.

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Maybe We Can Negotiate a Price

I have been thinking about getting into real estate...

Leading the way in your local listings? A $53 million Medina waterfront estate built by the late medical-eyewear magnate Peter LaHaye. The 30,000-square-foot, six-bedroom manse has been on the market since the late 1990s, when it was listed at half that much. It's even got its own, registration-required Web site: Don't even think about moving here if you can't lay down a 10 percent down payment and a $301,000 monthly mortgage.

Now I am no expert, but if it has been on the market since the late 90s, shouldn't they be lowering the price, rather than raising it? Well, I guess if you got that much money, why haggle over it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Forget the Oil Companies, Investigate the Textbook Scam

From the WSJ:

Congress is looking at the textbook issue as well. Last month, the House passed legislation that includes a provision, by Oregon Democrat David Wu, with many of the steps being discussed by states. It takes aim at bundling and calls on colleges and universities to develop book-renting, lending and swap policies.

Legislative efforts to make textbooks more affordable are meeting resistance from publishers and some professors.

"We understand the desire, but it is very difficult to legislate how media will be prepared, designed and disseminated in a free-enterprise system," said Bruce Hildebrand, executive director for higher education for the Association for American Publishers, the New York organization that represents educational, professional and scholarly publishers nationwide. He said states are barred from taking steps that would interfere with interstate commerce and that book publishers are protected by the First Amendment.

While I am as much of a free marketer as they come, the problem with this, is that college textbooks do not operate in a "free-enterprise system". Students don't get to shop around for the best textbook bargain they can find, the professors tell them which they need for the class (often written by the professor himself) and they are forced to buy it in order to complete their coursework. The fact that I can buy a copy of Freakonomics at the local Barnes and Noble for $20, but an equivalent economics texbook at the University Book Store will run over $100, is an indication that there is monopoly pricing at work.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Flak Over Flags

I am offended by the association, I know of no brothels that have supported suicide bombers.

BERLIN (Reuters) - A brothel in Cologne was forced to black out the flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran from a huge World Cup soccer-themed advertising banner after angry Muslims complained and threatened violence.

The 24-metre-high by 8-metre-wide (78 by 26 ft) banner displayed on the side of the building features a scantily-clad woman and the slogan: "The world as a guest of female friends," a variation on the World Cup slogan: "The world as a guest of friends".

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dispatch from Iraq

I am stunned the Seattle-PI actually printed this. You have to read the whole thing, so I will not excerpt it, just click here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Unduly Low Taxes

All you would need to know about Stanford economist Ronald L. McKinnon can be summed up in this quote from the WSJ:

Tax revenues have fallen to an unduly low level by international standards.

What exactly is the international standard for tax revenues?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No, You Are Out of Touch Too

One of the more bizarre editorials I have seen lately.

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Many awards presentations are accused of being out of touch with the public or even appearing to be popularity contests. But I contend that many of the Pulitzer Prizes, handed out on Monday, accurately reflected the nation's growing discontent with President Bush.

In particular, the awards presented to reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times, Dana Priest of the Washington Post as well as editorial cartoonist as well as editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution could be called a reflection of Bush's declining national approval rating.

How often do you see a Pulitzer given to a pro-Bush, or even pro-current administration writer? Pulitzers are always given to whomever comes up with the biggest scandal of the day, corruption, crime, secret government leaks, drug addicted babies... Real or imagined it makes no difference, but it is hardly a reflection of the popular will. James Risen, the NY Times reporter mentioned above, recently wrote a book on the "NSA wiretapping scandal" called "State of War", which isn't even selling well enough to appear on the bestseller list of his own newspaper. I had the misfortune of reading Dana Priest's "The Mission" last year, a book that universally depicted the US military as incompetent. It is now available used on for $1.65. President Bush is certainly not doing well in the polls lately, but anti-Bush journalists are hardly caught up in a swell of public sentiment.

An Oldie But a Goodie

In case anyone is wondering why I am so annoyed by a certain columnist mentioned below, it goes back a couple of years to this editorial. In which he makes the following claim:

My mother was intensely proud of her kids, and saved clippings and other notices of notoriety as we built our careers. When she died this year, I inherited a stack of memorabilia, but nowhere among them was a flattering letter to my dad from my National Guard commander.

At its command levels, the Guard has always been a very political organization, anxious to do favors for the likes of Congressman George H.W. Bush by looking after a late-maturing son. But my dad was a farmer and millworker, not a congressman, and nothing would have been gained from the flattery.

From piles of documents (some apparently faked) and interviews, it is apparent that the future President George W. Bush did in fact get special treatment from the Texas Air National Guard. Those of us who put in our time can justly feel some resentment.

The letter in question, of course, was not from LT Bush's National Guard commander, it was from MG G.B. Greene, the active duty Air Force commander of the base LT Bush was training at, and thus could hardly prove the point of corruption and influence in the National Guard chain-of-command that Professor McKay was trying to make. When I e-mailed the good professor, he originally denied that he was wrong, and then when shown overwhelming proof, conceded that I was correct, but that it did not change his column at all. The Seattle Times, like most newspapers, does not run corrections to editorials, so this error remains to this day.

Another Floyd Fisking

My favorite fact challenged pseudo-academic Seattle Times columnist is back with his editorial Sharing the Sacrifice, and ready for a Fisking. See previous posts here, here and here.

On the same day last week that retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste joined several other retired generals in calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — with Batiste adding that he was struck by the "lack of sacrifice and commitment on the part of the American people," excepting military families — a second story quoted a new poll showing 48 percent of Americans would support a military assault on Iran if it doesn't give up its nuclear plans (40 percent are opposed).

This is kind of a drive-by editorial, in that generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation has really nothing to do with the point of the column. Since McKay doesn't get into this issue, I won't either but retired admiral and University of Washington lecturer Bill Center (the father of one of my MBA classmates incidently) has a great editorial on this issue in the Seattle-PI today.

What I didn't see were stories that President George W. Bush and Rumsfeld — wanting to keep the military option on the table — have called for a military draft in order to support overstretched forces in Iraq and convince Iran of our serious intentions. And, I didn't see a report that, to spur morale at home, the Bush twins have volunteered to serve, if not in the military at least in a nongovernmental aid mission in Afghanistan or Iraq.

This is a complete strawman argument, in that nobody is even remotely suggesting a land war in Iran. In the unlikely event that any attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would take place it would be through the use of airpower, and the Air Force hardly needs a draft, in fact it is cutting personnel.

The Bush twins comment is of course silly. Nothing would be served by their joining, other than causing security issues, which would cost more than their contribution. I don't recall anyone demanding Chelsea join to serve in Kosovo. Given the fact that an overwhelming majority of the military is conservative, including children of members of Congress, and even John Ashcroft's son, the left is hardly in the position to complain on this point.

Iraq is costing about $5.9 billion a month, more than $400 billion total, not counting the huge cost of replacing equipment and training Iraqi forces.

This is just bad math. At $5.9 billion a month "more than $400 billion total" would mean the war has been going on for more than 5 1/2 years. Even the anti-war cost of war website only estimates it has cost $270 billion. Of course I have already shown how bad Mr. McKay is with numbers.

Additionally, much of this does in fact count the cost of replacing equipment and training Iraqi forces, the latter of which is carried out mostly by US troops.

We are, in short, paying for this war on a credit card, largely held by foreign bankers and coming due after Bush is out of office. His successor, Republican or Democrat, will face the worst financial mess since Herbert Hoover went back to fly-fishing.

Hmm, the unemployment rate in 1933, when Herbert Hoover "went back to fly-fishing" was 25%, now it is at 4.7%. Yeah, good comparison.

But wait, you say, he is talking about the crushing burden of debt on the US economy. OK, well in 2001 when Clinton left to go sexually harass women in the private sector, interest on the national debt amounted to 3.6% of GDP. Last year, after 4 years of dangerous Republican debt accumulation, that amount skyrocketed to... 2.8%. It is definitely reaching crisis proportions!

Only about 25% of the national debt is "held by foreign bankers" by the way, although I guess in McKay math this counts as "largely"

Our federal government in fiscal 2005 spent $760 billion more than it took in, and put the rest on the credit card.

Actually, counting social security, which last I checked was part of the federal government, the government spent $319 billion more than it took in. Even if you don't count the Social Security trust fund, the number is only $554 billion. A large number no doubt, but over $200 billion less than the bogus numbers he comes up with. But hey, we can't expect Mr. McKay to give us accurate numbers in an editorial accusing the administration of bogus accounting, can we?

Some 622,000 soldiers and Marines have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, including multiple deployments. Reservists and National Guard troops among them make up more of a cross-section of economic and social classes. But all in all, the upper and middle classes don't show up in these figures nearly as much as they show up on college campuses across America.

OK, but there are more than 1.3 million soldiers and Marines. So what Mr. McKay is saying is that on average, over the last 4 1/2 years, 11% of them have been deployed at any one time. Given how the left has been screaming that our efforts are quagmires, this is hardly reaching a crisis level.

And yes, college campuses probably have more upper class types than the military, perhaps Mr. McKay will speak out strongly against those who would restrict access to military recruiters in Seattle in his next column? Hah, I crack myself up...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stupid Letter To the Editor O' the Day

From the Seattle-PI:

Defense secretary a little off on his numbers

So Donald Rumsfeld is now saying that out of the "thousands" of generals and admirals in the U.S. military, "only a handful" are criticizing his performance as defense secretary. But I have to ask, where does he get his numbers? According to a U.S. Census report dated April 10, 2003, as of Jan. 31, 2003, there was a total of 873 generals and admirals in the U.S. military.

William E. Wilson
Moses Lake

Uhh, except that the generals who are criticizing Rumsfeld are all retired (the active duty ones aren't stupid enough to attack their current boss). Given that you generally retire as a general in your 50s, when you would expect to live another 20-30 years, I think it is safe to say that there are thousands of generals out there.

Update: The NY Times has a more specific estimate:

Among other things the memo stated that Mr. Rumsfeld has held 139 meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the start of 2005 and 208 meetings with the senior field commanders. And it noted that there are more than 8,000 active-duty and retired general officers alive today, compared to the handful who have publicly challenged him.

Balkan Terrorists

From the AP:

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — His code name was Maximus, and he held secret meetings in a shabby room at the Banana City Hotel on the outskirts of Sarajevo.

Bosnian police put him under surveillance, and in a raid last fall on his apartment on Poligonska Street, authorities seized explosives, a suicide bomber belt and a videotape of masked men begging Allah's forgiveness for what they were about to do.

What they planned, investigators believe, was to blow up a European embassy. Compounding their concern, they say, was the ringleader's background: Maximus turned out to be Mirsad Bektasevic, 19, a Swedish citizen of Serbian origin with ties to a senior al-Qaida operative.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Letter to the Editor O' the Day

In general the Seattle PI is a pretty lame newspaper, but occasionally they carry a bit of brilliance. From today's letters:

Wasteful spending happens here, too

While I agree with Joel Connelly's sentiment in his Wednesday column, "Passing the hat in the 'GOP Welfare State,' " that we need to watch wasteful "pork barrel" spending, one part of the story that he is leaving out is that when Republican Sen. Tom Coburn got up on the floor of the Senate and proposed an amendment to control these types of appropriations, including the famous "bridge to nowhere," our very own Sen. Patty Murray had this to say:

"As the old saying goes: What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And I tell my colleagues, if we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next.

"So, Mr. President, when members come down to the floor to vote on this amendment, they need to know if they support stripping out this project, Sen. Bond and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations.

"We must not and we will not go down the road of picking on one senator or another on the floor of the Senate. I urge a no vote on this amendment."

Perhaps if we want to look for the cause of wasteful spending, we should be looking at home.

James Bennett


The original source for Senator Murray's quote by the way is at Radioblogger, they also include an MP3, as well as Senator Coburn's response.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Another Connelly Fisking

Floyd McKay hasn't written much of interest lately, so I have turned to Fisking Joel Connelly. In his most recent column he has taken on Iraq, by comparing a proposed John Kerry solution with the Dayton Accords which ended the Civil War in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The model would be the Dayton Accords, the peace agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina worked out in 1995 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Participants in and enablers of Yugoslavia's civil war were isolated and made to deal. The accord ended 3 1/2 years of war in Bosnia.

Mr. Connelly hasn't been paying much attention to his history though. That isn't how it worked. The participants were "isolated" for 3 ½ years. We just sat back and asked them to work things out while the UN watched and 100,000 people died. It wasn't until we ended this isolation and got involved militarily and bombed the Serbs that anything started to happen. Milosevic was worried that the Bosnian Serbs would lose and the problems might spill over to affect him. The Bosnian Serbs never did "deal" and refused to participate in the Dayton Accords. Many of them feel to this day that Milosevic sold them out to save his own skin. Only the threat of military force kept them in line. US troops are still in Bosnia 10 years later, albeit in limited numbers.

So basically if he wants to "model" this on the Dayton Accords, that would require leaving, letting a civil war break out and waiting for the parties to tire of it. If an equivalent number of Iraqis died relative to their population as Bosnians, that would be over 600,000 deaths and 6-7 million refugees. Then the US would find whoever was winning the war (losers tend to be more willing to negotiate to begin with) and then bomb them to force a negotiation. Only then could we lock the factions up on an Air Force Base and expect them to reach a compromise.

Not really the type of model I want to follow.

Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out

Maybe it is just me, but I am getting tired of professional sports leagues blackmailing us into providing subsidies for billionaires to pay millionaires to play sports. Good riddance, we can get by without your arrogant and greedy attitudes.

Jilted, unwanted, unloved by city officials, the Sonics should leave Seattle, National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern said Thursday.

"They're not interested in having the NBA there," Stern told The Associated Press in New York.

"We understand that," he said. "We understand that there are competing issues, and the mayor is free to make whatever decisions he needs to make and I support that."

The Pelosi Doctrine

I have spoken before on the feckless UN and the pointlessness of a foreign policy based around working with them. This editorial in the WSJ sums it up so well:

This is of a piece for what passes as a security policy in most of Ms. Pelosi's party. A recently published Democratic "plan" for "real security" offers some poll-tested words on "finishing the job in Afghanistan," spending more on body armor and veterans' benefits, getting out of Iraq fast and achieving energy independence by 2020. The word "democracy" is never mentioned, nor is the word "prevention." On outrages such as the one in Darfur, the plan promises to "lead international efforts to uphold and defend human rights; and renew long-standing alliances that have advanced our national security objectives."

Terrific. In Sudan, that and the United Nations will get you exactly . . . what we have now: slaughter. With the best of intentions, Ms. Pelosi urges Mr. Bush to "do something" about Darfur. But she then refuses to confront the fact that the very international institutions and sometime allies she wants the U.S. to defer to are unable or unwilling to help Mr. Bush do anything at all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Joel Connelly on Wasteful Spending

Voter fraud proponent Joel Connelly wrote an article attacking Republicans for wasteful spending. I actually generally agree with that, but he is leaving out an important part of the puzzle, so I sent the Seattle PI the following 'letter to the editor'.

While I agree with Mr. Connelly’s sentiment in the editorial “Passing the hat in the 'GOP Welfare State'”, that we need to watch wasteful “pork barrel” spending. One part of the story that he is leaving out is that when Republican Senator Tom Coburn got up on the floor of the Senate and proposed an amendment to control these types of appropriations, including the famous “bridge to nowhere”, our very own Senator Patty Murray had this to say:

"As the old saying goes: What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And I tell my colleagues, if we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next.

So, Mr. President, when Members come down to the floor to vote on this amendment, they need to know if they support stripping out this project, Senator Bond and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations.

We must not and we will not go down the road of picking on one Senator or another on the floor of the Senate. I urge a no vote on this amendment."

Perhaps if we want to look for the cause of wasteful spending, we should be looking at home.

UPDATE: To his credit Mr. Connelly replied, to an admittedly more sarcastic version of this that I sent him. Hey, I never said I wasn't a smart ass.

Don't get sarcastic and spoil a very, very good argument.
. I've seen oft-reprinted the threats that Sen. Stevens made in the face of the Coburn amendment. This is the first I've seen of Murray's comments.
The quote will be saved, and used.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bellevue Community College Racist Math

I usually scoff at accusations of racism in math on the SAT and such, but in this case as reported by Michelle Malkin, they have a point. BCC sadly enough is right down the street from me, although with the exception of going to a car show once, I have never been there.

Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300 -foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. The height of the watermelon above the ground t seconds later is given by formula h= -16t2 + 20t + 300

a. How many seconds will it pass her (she's standing at a height of 300 feet) on the way down?

b. When will the watermelon hit ground?

The saddest part of this is not just the racism, it is the fact that when I had to learn this, it was my junior year of high school.

McCain Receives Another Endorsement

First Krugman and now Helen Thomas. Keep it up ladies.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Crazed Right Winger Writes On Illegal Immigration

From the Spokesman Review:

Rights reserved for citizens

Re: the cover of Monday's Spokesman. The lead stated "Rallying for rights." Is this mob of illegal aliens demanding the rights of U.S. citizens? The ones guaranteed the legal, law- abiding citizens of the U.S.?

How about the kid with the sign with "Viva La Raza" on it. Most folks in Spokane don't know that is a Mexican organization dedicated to taking California back. Now, that sounds pretty traitorous to me for someone demanding our rights. Their slogan is "For those within 'the race,' everything; for those outside 'the race,' nothing." Would you be so supportive if the sign was KKK or White Power?

The legal Mexican residents of Arizona have been working for low wages and paying taxes for years. Illegal aliens will work for $4-5 an hour, no questions asked, and suddenly there are no minimum wage jobs to be had for legal American citizens.

Wake up Spokane! What will happen when we get 20-30 percent of the workforce willing to work for $4 an hour? Before someone accuses me of Hispanic bashing, I should tell you my mother's maiden name was Trujillo and I learned to speak Spanish before I learned English.

Jim Bennett

What Would We Do Without Studies?

Where would we be without smart people telling us the obvious?

Study: Obese people lack health awareness


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Obese people have a blind spot when it comes to their own weight problem, according to a study that showed only 15 percent of people in that category view themselves as obese.

Such a lack of self-awareness can be deadly.

The French, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I swear, France has now become a parody of itself. Like an Ayn Rand or George Orwell novel come to life. Chirac has now withdrawn attempts (one could say, surrendered) to reform French job laws. The opposition has this brilliant comment.

Chirac and Villepin were careful to say that the CPE, part of a wider law on equal opportunities, was being "replaced" rather than repealed. Unions who opposed the measure, arguing it would create insecurity for young workers, declared victory.

"Perhaps we will drink a drop of champagne. This is an undeniable victory for a social movement," said Gerard Aschieri, secretary of the FSU union.

At the risk of appearing cynical, exactly how much economic security is there to begin with in a country with 9.6% unemployment and 1% growth?

Meanwhile, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal has this amazing tidbit:

A recent study published by French history professor Barbara Lefebvre and journalist Eve Bonnivard concludes that French college textbooks are generally biased against globalization, deeply anti-American and somewhat complacent towards terrorism. French students are taught to approach the future with foreboding and skepticism of market forces. Not surprisingly 76% of French between the ages of 15 and 30 hope to become government employees.

So twenty years from now, the French economy will consist entirely of overpaid government workers handing forms to other overpaid government workers. And I am sure they will all blame the Americans.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Open Secrets

Someone explain this to me. The left is absolutely incensed with Bush leaking part of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) regarding Iraq seeking uranium. If the issue as to whether Iraq was seeking uranium was so sensitive, why is it then, that they had absolutely no problem with the CIA sending Joe Wilson, a non-employee, to investigate it, did not require him to sign an NDA, and then allowed him to write about it in the New York Times? I know that not that many people read the New York Times anymore, but it was bound to "leak" out somehow...

211,000 New Jobs

The unemployment rate is down to 4.7%, despite the fact that I still don't have a summer internship. If this keeps up Paul Krugman is going to start complaining that Americans don't have enough time to spend with their families.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Always Bad Economics, Always

It cracks me up whenever someone comes up with these hysterical attacks on WalMart. Now we have the President of the AFL-CIO (no, he isn't biased) attacking WalMart, for of all things, bad port security. He includes this little tidbit:

The successes of Wal-Mart are made doubly dangerous by the shift of manufacturing work from the United States to developing countries. Twenty years ago, Wal-Mart bought only 6 percent of its merchandise overseas. Today, "Wal-Mart and China are a joint venture, and both are determined to dominate the U.S. economy as much as they can in a wide range of industries," Duke University professor Gary Geriffi told PBS's "Frontline."

Nearly two-thirds of all Wal-Mart products come from China, Geriffi said. Most of the rest comes from 70 other countries, including Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia, where there's a dangerous cocktail of workers' rights abuses and lax enforcement, official corruption and active terrorist organizations.

OK, aside from the fact that he can't spell Gary Gereffi's name right, how is he coming up with these numbers? Maybe this is correct if you are just counting SKUs, but if you look at the sales numbers, it is not even close. As of Jan 2004, WalMart imported about $15 billion from China. A large number no doubt, but if you look at its income statement, that was out of $199 billion of merchandise. Or about... 8%.

Duke University professor Gary Geriffi by the way, is a professor, not of business or economics, but of sociology.

More Bogus Anti-War Stories

I saw this joker on the news tonight. He is now trying to claim political asylum in Canada by telling lurid stories of atrocities, none of which can be confirmed of course. I found this tale that he told earlier especially ridiculous.

His specialty was home raids because "I was good at it." He admitted it was an adrenalin rush at first.

"You put three pounds of C4 on the front door, blow it up, and then five or six guys run in and you clear every room."

Now I am no explosives expert, but that seems like a bit much. I would doubt you would have much of a house left after that. Regardless, I can read an FM, so a quick search of the Internet turned up FM 3-06.11 COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS IN URBAN TERRAIN

If you scroll down to the section on breaching doors you get the following, in bold type no less:

Net explosive weight should not exceed 8 ounces for a complete charge.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dude, Your Movie Just Sucked

The Republicans are responsible for everything nowadays, if you put out a lame movie that nobody wants to watch, just blame Bush.

Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."

Oh please, the movie got a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, apparently the Bad News Bears remake is more erotic.

Monday, April 03, 2006

McCain's Stock Goes Up Some More

For the second time in less than a month Paul Krugman has launched a personal attack on John McCain. If he keeps this up McCain could be vaulted into front-runner status. McCain already suggested Krugman for the Pulitzer for his previous endorsement.

Farewell to a Hero

I remember Chief Novosel from Ft. Rucker. About half the post is named after him. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

Michael J. Novosel Sr., a veteran of three wars, a Medal of Honor recipient and a major figure in Army aviation history, died April 2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after a long battle with cancer.

The 83-year-old retired chief warrant officer 4 earned the Medal of Honor for actions on Oct. 2, 1969, when he completed 15 hazardous combat extractions in a UH-1 Huey helicopter, saving the lives of 29 South Vietnamese soldiers who had been surrounded by enemy forces along the Cambodian border.

What is Wrong With the Arabs?

They don't need money or power. They need books. Read this fascinating article in Reason magazine on a project to translate great works on liberty into Arabic.

Intellectual isolation is a widespread Arab phenomenon, not just an Iraqi one. Some of the statistics are startling. According to the United Nations' 2003 "Arab Human Development Report," five times more books are translated annually into Greek, a language spoken by just 11 million people, than into Arabic. "No more than 10,000 books were translated into Arabic over the entire past millennium," says the U.N., "equivalent to the number translated into Spanish each year." Authors and publishers must cope with the whims of 22 Arab censors. "As a result," writes a contributor to the report, "books do not move easily through their natural markets." Newspapers are a fifth as common as in the non-Arab developed world; computers, a fourth as common. "Most media institutions in Arab countries remain state-owned," the report says.