Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RIP Bill Walsh, football great

One of the great football coaches of all time has died. Say a prayer for Bill Walsh. Joe Montana would not have been the great come-from-behind leader without a great teacher were it not for Walsh.
"This is just a tremendous loss for all of us, especially to the Bay Area because of what he meant to the 49ers," said Joe Montana, San Francisco’s Hall of Fame quarterback. "Outside of my dad he was probably the most influential person in my life. I am going to miss him."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I am an artist! Where's my subsidy?

A digital photograph of "public art," a staid but intricate sculpture from Bullfinch Place near the JFK Postal Station. I presume you all will deem it sufficiently post-modern with the meaning posited exclusively in the eye of the photographer rather than the sculptor.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Can someone ring Bono?

Bono likes to pretend that he knows something more about economics than what Jeffrey Sachs teaches him.
Economists see aid to poor nations as ineffective

Aid to poor countries has little effect on economic growth, and policies that rely on such claims should be reexamined, two former International Monetary Fund economists wrote in a paper released this month.

"We find little evidence of a robust positive correlation between aid and growth," wrote Raghuram Rajan, who stepped down as IMF chief economist at the end of 2006, and Arvind Subramanian, who left the IMF this year, said.

"We find little evidence that aid works better in better policy or institutional environments, or that certain kinds of aid work better than others," they added.

Rajan is now teaching at the University of Chicago, while Subramanian joined theWashington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"Our findings suggest that for aid to be effective in the future, the aid apparatus will have to be rethought."
Foreign aid is no better than welfare; it keeps people afloat but driftless. Great discussion at Professor Mankiw's blog.

Miles and Trane

This is worth a listen.

Hat tip to Atlas Shrugs

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trite posuers; Boycotting Israel

Patrick Porter at Oxblog raises an objection to the latest effort to measure the pulse on the irrepressible move in Britain to boycott Israeli academics. This has long been a left-wing effort in the UK which kowtows as much as it can to the nation's Islamic minorities. But why are the labor leaders in academia so selective? Is not Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro worthy of a boycott or two for their suppression of free speech?

This is becoming a bit tiring don't you think? Here's more:
Academic trade unions should be making more efforts to direct their solidarity towards other fellow unionists in countries where it is needed, and where human rights violations are in many ways far worse: Iraq, Iran, China, etc.

And finally, some effort at balance would be nice. The state of Israel is one of the few states on earth that receives continual demands for its extinction, having survived several wars of aggression itself. That this is barely mentioned in these debates suggests that this is not being approached in a fair-minded spirit.

Do we really need a sit-down with Iran?

Jeff Jacoby asks: Why are we rewarding Iran? Good question.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spitzer goes Nixon on us

Round 1: Bruno. Goodie two-shoes Spitzer is starting to fritz.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hitchens rips Galloway, Saddam's poodle, a new one

This is not going to go down easy with the Hate-Halliburton, BushHitler, Daily Kos Krowd! After a couple of years of apologizing for George Galloway, fifth columnist and shil for Saddam, the left has a lot of explaining to do.
The "anti-war" movement is not blameless in all this. When Galloway came to testify before the Senate and delivered a spittle-fueled harangue instead of answering the direct questions posed to him, he became a populist hero on the Left, was rewarded with a moist profile in the New York Times that praised his general feistiness, and was invited back to the United States to mount a speaking tour in which he repeated his general praise for the heroic "resistance" in Iraq, adding a few well-chosen words in support of the Assad regime in Syria. Praise was showered upon him in the Daily Kos, by columnists in The Nation, and elsewhere. Now we have the sober words of Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary commissioner for standards among elected members, who adds to the existing reports and evidence by saying that however much Galloway may have "prevaricated and fudged," the evidence against him is "now undeniable."

I do not think that an 18-day suspension from the House of Commons is anything like enough punishment for what Galloway has done, first on behalf of a sadistic and genocidal megalomaniac and second to steal food and medicine from the mouths of desperate Iraqis. We ran into each other a few times on his debate-tour, and on the last occasion on which we exchanged views, when he told me that he would never debate with me again (which he has since consistently refused to do), I told him that we were not done with each other. I would, I told him, be waiting to write a review of his prison diaries. The Senate subcommittee referred his "false and misleading" statements under oath (a crime under 18 USC Section 1001) to the Department of Justice in November 2005. Prosecutors in Manhattan (location of the banks through which some of the shady transfers were made) have also been handed the relevant papers. And the evidence adduced by the House of Commons must necessarily be considered by Scotland Yard, because it goes far beyond the damage done to the honor of Parliament. In the meantime, it will be interesting to discover whether Galloway's former wife, or the associates of his campaign who also received "Oil for Food" money, ever declared the income or paid any tax on it. And if I was the editor of the Daily Telegraph in London, whose printed documents about Galloway appear to have been vindicated by the parliamentary inquiry, I would want to revisit the judgment for libel that Galloway astonishingly managed to win, even under a notoriously oppressive law, in an English court. His troubles are only now beginning.
Like Hitchens, I would love to read the Galloway Prison Diaries.

Goldwater: Quote for the day

Barry Goldwater wrote in The Conscience of a Conservative, "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom."

Goldwater was much reviled in his time but he proved in the long run that ideas matter. He rightly saw the welfare state as a threat to individual freedom.

Cato's David Boaz offers this insight.


Yeah if this were a Republican, you'd hear a lot about the abuse of power from the mainstream media. Bob Dole once remarked:"Where's the outrage." Well this time it's on the sidelines particularly when a media-favored Democrat like Charlie Rangel abuses power.
New York's Charlie Rangel provoked smirks this week when news emerged that the Harlem Congressman was humbly seeking a $2 million earmark to create a "Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service" at the City College of New York.

Titters turned to dropped jaws yesterday when a 20-page glossy brochure popped up, describing the yet-to-be-created center. That flyer, which asks for donations, explains that organizers need a mere $4.7 million to restore a "magnificent Harlem limestone townhouse" that will house the center, plus another $2.3 million endowment for its operating costs.

What, overtaxed taxpayers might ask, would all this money buy? One dollop would go to provide "a well-furnished office for Congressman Rangel" and another dollop would fund "the Rangel Library," which will be "designed to hold the product of 50 years of public service by the major African-American statesman of the 20th and early 21st centuries."

According to the brochure, the library not only would tell "the story of one great man.... The Rangel archivist/librarian will organize, index, and preserve for posterity all documents, photographs, and memorabilia relating to Congressman Rangel's career."

...Yesterday, Republican Study Committee Member John Campbell brought an amendment to the House floor that would have stripped Mr. Rangel's homage to himself. He was defeated 316-108. Only one Democrat voted to kill the earmark.
Who's John Campbell? He's the guy standing next to your scrivener last month at a Heritage Foundation event in DC.

Thank God we had Robert Nozick

Robert Nozick put John Rawls in his place. Thank goodness for that; it's too bad he left us way too early. The post-modern liberal socialist philosopher Rawls often had some useful arguments to make but when it came to practical politics he turned out to be a bit of a twit
What Rawls contributed to the political education of American intellectuals was not any sort of rigorous analysis, but an overall spirit or outlook detrimental to freedom. He coined a doctrine of what he called "excusable envy," according to which it is rational to envy people whose superiority in wealth exceeds certain (unspecified) limits, and to act on that passion. He cancelled out his ostensible prioritization of liberty by holding that liberty must first be given its "fair value," meaning that political liberties, including freedom of the press, may need to be restricted so as to ensure that the political process yields legislation that is "fair" to the poor. In his later writings, increasingly deferential to the Marxist critique of liberalism, Rawls wrote that securing people's equal rights and liberties must be preceded by government's first having ensured that their "basic needs" for economic goods were met -- thus sanctioning the alibis offered by assorted despots for violating their subjects' elemental rights to free speech, the freedom from arbitrary arrest, and the security of individual life and property.

John Rawls's intellectual legacy for American politics was an unfortunate one. Then again, he disparaged our political regime as only an "allegedly" democratic one anyway, and grew increasingly bitter in his last years, according to his closest associates, over our failure to institute the policies he happened to favor -- such as severe campaign-finance restrictions and universal health insurance. Whatever one's views on such issues, neither Rawls's principles nor his spirit offer a promising approach for addressing them.
Nozick was a great corrective for the excesses of Rawls's redistributionist anti-libertarianism. For a taste of Nozick's unabashed defense of capitalism, read this.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Prince of Darkness, an old shoe leather reporter

Good review of Robert Novak's new book. I think I'll put it on my reading list.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Oh no! Tax revolt in Norway, prized welfare state

Tax revolts can grow from the ground up even in Norway, the "model" welfare state. Norway is on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve.
Norwegians are among the most heavily taxed people in the world, and that in turn has made Norway one of the most expensive countries in which to live. Most accept the taxes they're ordered to pay on income and even net worth and property, but growing numbers are publicly complaining about sky-high taxes on everything from cars to fuel to consumer goods.

Norwegians differentiate between skatter (taxes) and avgifter (duties, fees or user taxes) and the latter is the most hated. They're what causes a glass of house wine at an Oslo restaurant to cost the equivalent of nearly USD 16, or a gallon of gas to cost nearly USD 9 at current exchange rates.

"It's clear that taxes are much too high in oil-rich Norway," Oslo resident Gro Pettersen told newspaper Aftenposten. "It's sick!"

The taxes placed on new cars, which can more than double the price of the car itself, are another bone of contention, even though most Norwegians support measures to protect the environment. "The car tax is much too high, but so are most all the other avgifter also," said Ernst Bendiksen of the northern city of Vadsø, where Norwegians are far more dependent on their cars than those living in cities with good public transit systems. "We certainly don't get anything in return for them."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Milhous, always entertaining

The last liberal president, Richard Nixon, is the gift that keeps giving for psycho-historians.
WASHINGTON - President Nixon and his 1972 re-election campaign tried to tie Democrats to the mob, gay liberation and even slavery, according to newly released papers and tapes betraying bare-knuckle tactics from the dawn of the Watergate scandal.

Still, even as Nixon's lieutenants explored every avenue for defeating Democrat George McGovern and nullifying critics of all stripes — "hit them" was a favorite phrase — the president brooded over his reputation as a hard man whose gentle side was not being seen by the public.

Nixon called that side of him "the whole warmth business."

In 1970, he wrote an 11-page, single-spaced memo detailing his acts of kindness to staff and strangers and expressing regret that he was getting no credit for being "nicey-nice."

And in the profanity-laced conversation for which he was known in private, Nixon complained bitterly about Democratic campaign hecklers who shouted down his speeches, in contrast to well-mannered Republicans.

"Our people," he snapped, "are so goddamn polite."
Nixon's crime was that he got caught.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Shocker: Howie is going to rival WTKK-FM Talk

In a stunning blow to the station where has worked for more than 15 years, Howard Lawrence Carr is packing it up for rival talk station WTKK. Moreover, it will be early to rise for Howie who owns Boston radio's afternoon drive time. At WTKK, he'll take over the coveted morning slot once held by Don Imus.
In a bombshell development, WRKO-AM radio host Howie Carr is jumping ship to rival station WTKK-FM, where he’ll take over the prized morning-drive slot.

Tonight, WRKO said not so fast.

The AM station announced they expect to keep Carr in his seat "for many years to come."

Carr, whose contract with WRKO-AM (680) expires in September, is set to host WTKK’s morning drive show solo and replaces shamed syndicated talk jock Don Imus, who lost his national show after the “nappy-headed hos” scandal.

Carr inked a five-year deal with WTKK (96.9), according to his lawyer, Bret Cohen of the law firm Mintz Levin. Carr could not be reached for comment and is vacationing in Florida.
Is this a good move for Howie? He says it's not about the money, Ahem...

And there are more pressing questions:

Will the Howie trademark talk about hacks and pop culture cut it in the morning? Will Max Robins do mornings? How will the Death Pool sound on FM?

Did the constant Red Sox pre-game pre-emptions rub Howie the wrong way?

Did the hiring of the felon as Howie calls him endearingly Tommy "Taxes" Finneran have anything to do with it?

Is this the beginning of the end for WRKO?

And what does this say about the Jason Wolfe-Julie Kahn empire?

What will become of the ever-so-lovely Sandy, Howie's vital foil and a potential on-air talent?

Does Victor Bravo, aka Virgin Boy, return for the afternoon slot freed up by Howie?

Will Howie make frequent appearances on the moderately successful Eagan and Braude mid-day show? Will Jim Braude have seizures? Will Howie get to interview the Governor, Deval Patrick?

This tumultuous event definitely increases the value of John Dennis and Jerry Callahan. It forces Entercom's management to pay a dear financial price to keep their all-star WEEI morning team in place either in their current slot or an afternoon one.

Lots of reports from all over. Brian Maloney at SaveWRKO has more.

BostonRadioWatch.com, one of the best "trade" web sites on Boston radio, thinks the flight of Howie will result in several interesting chess moves.
WTKK's blockbuster move to land Carr will set off some major speculation as to how WRKO's programmers will counter the latest development in the talk radio battle. Will "Dennis and Callahan" move over to WRKO's PM drive to do a non-sports show? Will Don Imus who is rumored to be returning to the airwaves after the summer will somehow fall into the equation? Only time will tell, but for now it's advantage WTKK.
The demise of WRKO began with its deal to be the Red Sox station except when sister WEEI carries the game, a stupid dualism that strains credibility. It made matters worse by brushing asideScotto, a likeable, hip talkmaster in favor of Tommy "Taxes" Finneran. The Wolfe-Kahn tag team of destruction need a miracle and fast.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cat Stevens Live Earth Headliner: A death-to-Rushdie kind of guy

Yusuf Islam or Cat Stevens as he is known to us in the Western world wanted Salmon Rushdie dead in 1989 upon the publication of The Satanic Verses. He supported a fatwa issued by the ayatollah and has never looked back hoping the modern world would soon forget his disdain for the rights of others. The prize-winning author of Midnight's Children refreshes everyone's fading memory.
However much Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam may wish to rewrite his past, he was neither misunderstood nor misquoted over his views on the Khomeini fatwa against The Satanic Verses (Seven, April 29). In an article in The New York Times on May 22, 1989, Craig R Whitney reported Stevens/Islam saying on a British television programme "that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, 'I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing'.''

He added that "if Mr Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, 'I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is'.''

In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Mr Whitney added, Stevens/Islam, who had seen a preview of the programme, said that he "stood by his comments".

Let's have no more rubbish about how "green" and innocent this man was.

Salman Rushdie, New York
Apparently Al Gore didn't get the memo. After all climate change -- and not terrorism -- is the most pressing issue to the self-indulgent hypocrites worried about global warming. Who knew that Al Gore would be so sentimental about the vindictive heirs of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini?

They have no shame!

More of the Clinton Show from Dick Morris. Weren't the Clinton years wonder years? Pardons for sale and all those years of peace and prosperity. These people can't help themselves.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Clinton Show is back

Of course, the Clintons can't restrain themselves in the rush to pile on the Libby fiasco. The woman won't apologize for her vote on the Iraq War but she becomes unleashed when the President wisely commutes Scooter's sentence. The Clinton pardons were far more offensive (including the indulgences to the Clinton library paid by one Denise Rich) but we didn't hear the Democrats or the New York Times complain about justice. How convenient!

More from the Examiner
Republicans who clamored for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair in the White House with Monica Lewinsky may justifiably be taken to task now for merely tut-tutting Libby’s crime. Perjury is perjury, regardless of the position of the guilty or the magnitude of the topic misrepresented. Like every other felony, if you commit perjury, be prepared to do some hard time.

But no GOPer is making as much noise as the chorus of the nation’s most prominent Democratic leaders, some of whom should have Googled Clinton’s commutation record before opening fire on Bush and his Libby decision.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, accused Bush of “betraying the American people” and then added that “he has abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold the rule of law.”

Pelosi had a much different understanding of fairness, justice and the importance of upholding the law back in 1999, when Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 imprisoned members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution of disapproval, but Pelosi said she would have voted no had she been present for the tally. Pelosi was thus defending Clinton’s commutations of sentences received for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to make bombs, bank robbery and illegal possession of stolen firearms, among other things. Between 1974 and 1983, FALN mounted numerous attacks against this nation’s police and military, killing six people and maiming many others.

Then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who saw in Bush’s Libby commutation “a clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” Clinton touts her years as first lady among her qualifications for being president, but she has never publicly repudiated either her husband’s FALN commutations or his pardons of Susan McDougall, convicted of mail fraud, and Marc Rich, the stock speculator convicted of tax evasion. McDougall was a former Clinton business partner, and Rich was the former husband of Denise Rich, a major Clinton fundraiser, both of whom clearly qualify as Clinton cronies.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

An American hero

This is how an American sacrifices for his fellow man.

"Recycling is cheaper, no matter how much it costs!"

Michael Munger, economist from Duke, says: "I'm saving the Earth, one piece of expensive garbage at a time."


Monday, July 02, 2007

Rolling back the rolling back canard

Others bemoan the SCOTUS push back on racialism. Stephen Chapman is more level-headed.
The real educational problems faced by minority kids today are not lack of white students to sit by but inadequate choice, lack of order, a shortage of good teachers and families who don't make a priority of learning. Most parents, given a choice between racially balanced schools and safe, sound schools, would unhesitatingly choose the latter. In the wake of this decision, education officials can now focus more on what's really important.

The chipping away of the New Hampshire Advantage

I have one piece of advice for the "reborn" Blue Granite Stater and the Free State types that enable them; When it comes to the income tax Democrats will put in place, just make it a flat one.
Granite Staters have spent the last half-century reveling in their reputation as the keepers of Yankee libertarianism, the rock-ribbed neighbors to the north who loathe taxes, Democrats, big government, and -- well, anything else that reminds them of Massachusetts.

But now, Democrats are running both houses of the state Legislature, the corner office, and the Executive Council for the first time since the 19th century. This spring, New Hampshire became the fourth state to adopt same-sex civil unions. The House passed legislation, later killed in the Senate, that would have enacted a mandatory seat belt law in the last state to lack one. And, the other day, the Legislature adopted a budget that will increase spending by 17 percent over two years, along with a 28-cent cigarette tax increase to help pay for it.
This is what happens when Republicans stay home.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Proud to be an American, an unhyphenated one

Of course we are a nation of immigrants and we should continue to be so under the right conditions that protect borders, language and culture. My agrarian grandparents came to America and found it wasn't for them. Previous waves of immigrants told their children to become Americans that is to learn the language, succeed in business and promote the culture. That's not the way it is today in part because of the knee-jerk multiculturalism that's taken hold. Peggy Noonan explains why it's important for immigrants to cast away the ways of the Old World. Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.
My grandfather had his struggles here but never again went home. He'd cast his lot. That's an important point in the immigrant experience, when you cast your lot, when you make your decision. It makes you let go of something. And it makes you hold on to something. The thing you hold on to is the new country. In succeeding generations of your family the holding on becomes a habit and then a patriotism, a love. You realize America is more than the place where the streets were paved with gold. It has history, meaning, tradition. Suddenly that's what you treasure.

A problem with newer immigrants now is that for some it's no longer necessary to make The Decision. They don't always have to cast their lot. There are so many ways not to let go of the old country now, from choosing to believe that America is only about money, to technology that encourages you to stay in constant touch with the land you left, to TV stations that broadcast in the old language. If you're an immigrant now, you don't have to let go. Which means you don't have to fully join, to enmesh. Your psychic investment in America doesn't have to be full. It can be provisional, temporary. Or underdeveloped, or not developed at all.

And this may have implications down the road, and I suspect people whose families have been here a long time are concerned about it. It's one of the reasons so many Americans want a pause, a stopping of the flow, a time for the new ones to settle down and settle in. It's why they oppose the mischief of the Masters of the Universe, as they're being called, in Washington, who make believe they cannot close our borders while they claim they can competently micromanage all other aspects of immigration.