It may take 12 steps to get clean and sober, but only 6 to make the world realize just how super the U.S. can be.Read on.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Last year University of New Hampshire Survey Center Director Andy Smith conducted a poll for the Boston Globe. He asked Massachusetts transplants, in the state less than a year, why they moved. Their No. 1 reason was cost of living. Their No. 2 reason was taxes. And No. 3? Too many liberals in Massachusetts.Count the days that New Hampshire remains income and sales tax free.
Mr. Smith discovered that former Bay Staters tend to be middle- and lower-class tax refugees. Many of them own small businesses or commute to Massachusetts. They might or might not have a college degree, and they are reliably Republican. UNH political scientist Dante Scala sums it up: "I think the reverse of the old yarn about Massachusetts liberals is actually true. Massachusetts émigrés are keeping the state as Republican as it is, down in the border areas."
So why is the rest of the Granite State going blue? Transplants into the state are changing the political landscape, but they're not from Massachusetts. They're highly educated professionals and come mostly from mid-Atlantic states. These newcomers have college degrees, many advanced, and work in high-tech, academia and other specialized fields throughout the state. They are affluent and very liberal.
The Massachusetts émigrés shop at Wal-Mart, eat at 99, a local family restaurant chain, and watch the Patriots. The mid-Atlantic émigrés shop at boutiques, eat at small cafes and watch Roger Altman films. They're the ones tipping the state Democratic.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films.With their anti-war posturing these movies probably have all the subtlety of a daisy-cutter. Bill O'Reilly has more.
Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.
"Rendition," which features three Oscar winners in key roles, grossed $4.1 million over the weekend in 2,250 screens for a ninth-place finish. A re-release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" beat it, and it's 14 years old.
"Rendition" follows an Egyptian-American who gets kidnapped by U.S. authorities who think he's a terrorist. Reese Witherspoon plays the man's wife, Meryl Streep dials up her dark side as the official who keeps his disappearance a secret and Alan Arkin is a senior senator with the power to influence the case. Meanwhile, the man is shipped off to an unnamed North African country, where he is tortured for information.
"Elah" boasts Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon, another Oscar-winning triumvirate, under professionally red-hot director Paul Haggis, who won his own Oscar for "Crash." Mr. Haggis' drama focuses on the disappearance of an Iraq war veteran upon his return home.
Beyond the fiction features, the anti-Iraq war documentary "No End in Sight" (box office: $1.4 million) couldn't capture the indie crowd, beating a swift retreat to DVD next Tuesday despite glowing reviews.
Brandon Gray, president and publisher of www.boxofficemojo.com, says audiences seek out movies for inspiration, for laughter and to be moved.
"Many of these recent dramas fail on all those fronts," Mr. Gray says. "They're too heavy handed in their presentation."
This supply-side orthodoxy is striking in a couple of ways. First, it requires Republican politicians to commit themselves publicly to a position that is wrong—and wrong not as a matter of ideology or faith but as a matter of fact. Saying today that tax cuts will increase tax revenues is not like saying that bombing Iran constitutes a sensible foreign policy, or that education vouchers will wreck the public schools. It’s more like saying that the best way to treat sick people is to bleed them to let out the evil spirits. Second, despite the fact that the supply-side faith has no grounding in reality, within the Republican Party there is little room for dissent on the subject, as Jonathan Chait details in his new book, “The Big Con.” Last week, the blogger Megan McArdle wrote that she had a book review for an unnamed right-wing publication spiked because in it she dared suggest that, in the U.S., tax cuts decreased government revenues.Given all this how would Mr. Surowiecki respond to Robert Lucas's recent remarks on the benefits of the Reagan tax cuts?
The cynical explanation for the persistence of the supply-side dogma is that it’s simply cover for cutting taxes for the rich. But the supply-side orthodoxy has flourished for other reasons, too. To begin with, the absurd idea that tax cuts pay for themselves is based on an idea that is not at all absurd, which is that tax rates can have an impact on people’s behavior. Increase taxes too much, and people may work less (since they get to keep less of the income they earn) and invest less (since their gains will be taxed more heavily), and so the economy will grow more slowly. The opposite can happen if you cut taxes. (How much of an impact tax rates have—and how high taxes have to get before they have an impact—is a subject of much debate in economics, but it’s inarguable that they do matter.) What supply-siders have done is start with that reasonable idea and extrapolate it to unreasonable lengths.
In the past 50 years, there have been two macroeconomic policy changes in the United States that have really mattered. One of these was the supply-side reduction in marginal tax rates, initiated after Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 and continued and extended during the current administration. The other was the advent of "inflation targeting," which is the term I prefer for a monetary policy focused on inflation-control to the exclusion of other objectives. As a result of these changes, steady GDP growth, low unemployment rates and low inflation rates -- once thought to be an impossible combination -- have been a reality in the U.S. for more than 20 years.If tax policies weren't responsible for the long boom, what are Suroweicki and Chait's explanations? Technology? Infrastructure? The Peace Dividend garnished by 1991's Iraqi Desert Storm? I don't know. But what I'd like to know from Suroweicki an answer to the following question: Is Robert Lucas a wingnut?
Both of these reforms work, in part, because they stabilize people's expectations about aspects of the future. The supply side tax cuts, in contrast to Keynesian on-again-off-again temporary tax cuts, are designed to be in place over the long run, and help to assure us that the returns to today's hard work and savings will not be taxed away tomorrow. Inflation targeting is a commitment that no matter what unpredictable shocks the economy is subjected to, the Fed will do what is needed to restore a fixed, target inflation rate and so maintain a "nominal anchor" to expectations.
In 2000, I changed my party registration back to Republican for one reason, and one good Libertarian reason only: To vote against John McCain (and his statist threats of campaign finance reform) in the primary. I fully intended to switch back before the next general election.
Then we all woke up one morning to learn that airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the wooded hills of Pennsylvania. “Well, here’s a war even a good Libertarian like me can support.” We’d been attacked, directly, and we knew who the culprits were and where their protectors and sponsors were. We would go after them with such righteous fury that no one would dare strike New York City ever again.
Boy, was I wrong.
The angry folks at Liberty were mad at most everybody but Islamic terrorists. One even went so far as to denounce the Afghan War as “racist.” It was all imperialism this, and blowback that, and without a care in the world for protecting American lives, commerce, or, well, liberty. Then Postrel turned over Reason to Nick Gillespie, who seemed more interested in presenting libertarianism as something hip, arch, fun — and ultimately unserious. Such should have been no surprise, coming from the former editor of a magazine called Suck.
I felt abandoned, betrayed, by my comrades. By my former comrades.
If Libertarians couldn’t agree about the clear-cut case for war in Afghanistan, you can imagine how Iraq must have divided us. I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. Ron Paul, whose name once graced the back of my first car, started sounding to me, less like a principled defender of American liberty, and more like a suited-up reject from the Summer of Love.
I stopped voting Libertarian for local candidates, leaving lots of blanks on my ballot. Next year, I’m not sure which party I’ll support for President, much less which candidate. From here, it looks as if the Republicans have become wrong and corrupt, the Democrats are stupid and corrupt, and the Libertarians have gone plain crazy.
It was easy tearing up my LP membership card. It’s quite a bit harder to find something to replace it. But I know this much: There’s no going back. Maybe there’s just too little room for principle in such a violent world.
Then again, maybe leaving the Libertarians is like leaving the mob. Somewhere in the back of my mind there are echoes of Al Pacino. “Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in!”
Unscientific as it may be, this Boston Business Journal online poll doesn't express much faith in Deval Inc. and the legislature. Only 11 percent would buy enthusiastically. Do they see something the majority doesn't?
Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said he would propose paying for curbing the alternative minimum tax this year with a $48 billion tax increase on executives of buyout firms and hedge funds.Dick Morris has more here
The New York Democrat said the proposal would more than double the tax rate on so-called carried interest, the compensation that executives at buyout and venture-capital firms, as well as real estate and oil and gas partnerships, receive for managing investments. It would also require hedge- fund managers to pay tax on income they defer in offshore accounts, he said.
The so-called patch, which lawmakers must pass this year to forestall a tax increase on 21 million households, will set up a showdown between Democrats who want to offset the lost revenue with new levies and Republicans who oppose any increase. The carried-interest measure will also be part of a broader overhaul that contains a permanent repeal of the minimum tax, a tax-rate surcharge on wealthy households and a lower corporate rate.
Rangel, 77, laid out his plans today to the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. ``I didn't get a lot of responses, though,'' he said. Rangel plans to introduce the broader measure tomorrow and the one-year stopgap bill next week.
After the half-hour meeting, Louisiana Representative Jim McCrery, the ranking Republican on the panel, said he didn't know all the details of Rangel's plan, though had heard enough ``to know that I can't support the bill.''
`Mother of All Reforms'
Rangel said the broader measure, which he has called the ``mother of all reforms,'' would contain a 4 percent tax-rate surcharge on adjusted gross income over $200,000 for married couples. The surcharge would rise to 4.6 percent for those with income of more than $500,000. In addition, households with income of more than $200,000 would have to pay rates as high as 19.6 percent on capital gains and dividends, instead of the current rate of 15 percent.
That provision alone would raise $831.7 billion, more than enough to cover the cost of eliminating the minimum tax, Rangel said.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Moreover, who will keep or regain the Catholic vote? Seth Gitell says Ray Flynn is seeing his flock of pro-life, pro-poor Democrats coming home. Former Mass. governor Paul Cellucci says Catholics will gravitate with much gravitas to the very lapsed Giuliani.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
When he takes office in January, Jindal will become the nation's youngest governor in office. He pledged to fight corruption and rid the state of those "feeding at the public trough," revisiting a campaign theme.
"They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go," he said, adding that he would call the Legislature into special session to address ethics reform.
Political analysts said Jindal built up support as a sort of "buyer's remorse" from people who voted for Blanco last time and had second thoughts about that decision. Blanco was widely criticized for the state's response to Hurricane Katrina and she announced months ago that she would not seek re-election.
"I think the Jindal camp, almost explicitly, (wanted) to cast it this way: If you were able to revote, who would you vote for?" said Pearson Cross, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette political scientist.
Jindal has held a strong lead in the polls since the field of candidates became settled nearly two months ago.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I have accepted an offer to serve as program director and morning drive talk show host on AM 590 WROW in Albany, New York.Good luck to a great radio personality!
This is just a tremendous opportunity for me. I am already very familiar with the market having worked at WROW's main competitor before coming to WRKO in September 2003.
I have always loved Albany. It's a very diverse community of politicians, hacks, educators, middle class working stiffs, high tech brainiacs, students, immigrants, and scary mountain people. It's close to the Berkshires, the Catskills, the Adirondacks, my in-laws in New Jersey, New York City, Montreal, and... Boston! In fact, some WROW listeners commute to Albany from Berkshire County, and over the last four years I have been fortunate to have fans from Albany still tuning in to hear me in Boston and on Fox News Radio.
Albany listeners really "get" talk radio. They always have politics on their minds, they just elected an incompetent governor, and a carpetbagger is using their state to run for President. Now that I think of it, Albany is a lot like Boston.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Piracy, it seems, is about more than price.
That's one of the surprising discoveries to come out of an experiment by the British band Radiohead last week. On Thursday, the group made its latest album, In Rainbows, available for direct downloading from the Web at an unusual price: whatever fans feel like paying. Downloaders who want to pay nothing can enter "zero" in the site's price field and download the album for free.
But for hard-core music pirates, even free hasn’t been enough of a draw. According to music industry analysts, hundreds of thousands of Web users who frequent copyright-infringing file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and TorrentSpy, have chosen to download In Rainbows illegally, distributing their contraband around the Internet just as they might with any other pirated album.
On the first day that Radiohead's latest became available, around 240,000 users downloaded the album from copyright-infringing peer-to-peer BitTorrent sources, according to Big Champagne, a Los-Angeles-based company that tracks illegal downloading on the Internet. Over the following days, the file was downloaded about 100,000 more times each day—adding up to more than 500,000 total illegal downloads.
That's less than the 1.2 million legitimate online sales of the album reported by the British Web site Gigwise.com. But Eric Garland, Big Champagne's chief executive, says illegal file-sharing is likely to overtake legal downloads in the coming weeks, given that many of those 1.2 million legitimate sales were pre-orders taken during the 10 days between when the band announced the album and its actual release last Thursday.
With popular album releases, illegal download volumes normally outstrip sales, says Garland. But more surprising is that fans chose to steal music they could legally download for any price they choose.
Studies have shown that hospitals could do more to improve standard hygiene to reduce the spread of the infection. Individuals can reduce their risk through common-sense measures, such as frequent hand-washing.
If Elmasry has sold the stock, ``it's almost a dead certainty there would be a bailout of other institutional holders,'' Bibb said in an interview. ``If that happens and there is a sharp drop in the share price, the Sulzbergers have to sit down and decide whether now is not a good time to take the company private.''
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Garlic has long been touted as a health booster, but it’s never been clear why the herb might be good for you. Now new research is beginning to unlock the secrets of the odoriferous bulb.Hat tip to Instapundit.
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of an organic substance called hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.
In the latest study, performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.
The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Republicans plan to seize on an allegation from the 1992 presidential campaign to tarnish Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the red-hot issue of government surveillance.How long will it be before Sidney Blumenthal starts shanking Gerth?
Government surveillance will be at the forefront of the political debate this fall as congressional Democrats and President Bush square off over legislation allowing electronic spying on U.S. soil without a warrant.
Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents.
In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.
“The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill,” Gerth and Van Natta wrote in reference to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.”
A GOP official said, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign hypocrisy continues to know no bounds. It is rather unbelievable that Clinton would listen in to conversations being conducted by political opponents, but refuse to allow our intelligence agencies to listen in to conversations being conducted by terrorists as they plot and plan to kill us. Team Clinton can expect to see and hear this over and over again over the course of the next year.”
Gerth told The Hill that he learned of the incident in 2006 when he interviewed a former campaign aide present at the tape playing. He has not revealed the aide’s identity. Clinton’s campaign has not disputed any facts reported in the final version of his book, which became public this spring, he said.
“It hasn’t been challenged,” said Gerth. “There hasn’t been one fact in the book that’s been challenged.”
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Dear LFB Associate,
We are very sad to announce that Laissez Faire Books is going out of business. The book market has changed tremendously over the past 30+ years, and it has gotten harder and harder for a small niche bookseller to cover expenses. I suppose the market has spoken.I want our loyal customers, supporters, and friends -- and especially our Associates -- to know how much your support has meant to everyone at LFB over the years. You helped us stay around as long as we did and made our efforts worthwhile... Our web site will be going
down at the end of this month.
Thanks again for your support,
Laissez Faire Books
a division of Center for Libertarian Thought, Inc.
7123 Interstate 30, Suite 42
Little Rock, AR 72209501-975-3650
Saturday, October 13, 2007
October 13, 2007 -- Every major daily paper in New York took note of President Bush's deci sion to bestow the first Medal of Honor of Operation Enduring Freedom on Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy - a Long Islander who gave his life for his country and his fellow SEALs.
Every paper but one, that is.
And it shouldn't be particularly hard to guess which one.
By now, most folks know exactly how much The New York Times despises the U.S. military.
How it detests any mission that involves U.S. troops - whether to protect Americans by killing terrorists or to help stave off a bloodbath in the Middle East.
How the paper works tirelessly to promote its anti-war, anti-military agenda - even in its supposedly objective news pages.
So while Bush's announcement merited stories and appreciative editorials in The Post, The New York Sun, the Daily News and even the front page of liberal Newsday, it shouldn't be all that surprising that the Times didn't publish a single word about Murphy's well-deserved honor.
What did the paper of record focus on yesterday? No fewer than three stories reported on how Americans had killed innocent Iraqi civilians.
Regarding the war, of course, the Times' "coverage" was pernicious long before the fighting began.
Since then, it has focused obsessively on the mistakes and sins of American GIs (Abu Ghraib, anyone?) - and rarely has it played up U.S. victories.
Indeed, it would be hard to cite a news outlet more responsible for sapping U.S. morale - and emboldening America's enemies - than the Times.
But Murphy was a New Yorker.
He served with unusual valor and distinction in Afghanistan.
When Taliban militants ambushed his four-man team in 2005, he risked his life scrambling to an open spot to radio for help. He got his call through, but was later killed in the battle.
Surely even editors at the Times could have had the heart to report - if not honor - such courage and self-sacrifice.
Unless, of course, they're so blinded by their disdain for America's fighting men and women and their missions that they just can't muster the decency to do so.
That must be it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
WASHINGTON - The falling dollar led more foreigners to buy American in August, helping to push the trade deficit down to the lowest point in seven months. That was welcome news for the Bush administration as it tries to deal with a Congress unhappy over huge trade imbalances and 3 million lost manufacturing jobs.More
President Bush also got good news Thursday on his other deficit headache. The budget deficit declined in 2007 to the lowest level in five years, dropping to $162.8 billion, an $85 billion improvement over 2006.
Bush said the declining budget deficit was a sign that his economic strategy of cutting taxes to grow the economy was working. But Democrats pointed to the soaring national debt under Bush as evidence of his fiscal irresponsibility.
The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit declined to $57.6 billion in August, down 2.4 percent from the July imbalance. It was the lowest gap between exports and imports since January and a much better showing than had been expected.
The improvement reflected a 0.4 percent rise in exports, which climbed to a record $138.3 billion, as the decline in the value of the dollar against many other foreign currencies boosted sales of American farm products, industrial supplies and consumer goods to all-time highs.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The tensions in the Middle East seem to have influenced the decision of Iranian-born German international soccer player Ashkan Dejagah's decision not to travel with the national Under-21 squad for a match in Israel.Multiculturalism is a long-running farce.
Dejagah, who plays for Bundesliga club VfB Wolfsburg, asked his national team managers to withdraw him from Germany's European Championship qualifier against Israel, to be played in Tel Aviv on Friday, citing "personal reasons."
"He came to us citing personal reasons that seemed very plausible," DFB spokesman Jens Grittner said in a statement.
Dejagah was quoted by mass-circulation tabloid daily Bild as saying his motive was cultural.
"I have more Iranian than German blood in my veins," he said in a report published Tuesday. "That should be respected, and besides I'm doing this out of respect. My parents are Iranian."
Dejagah was born in Tehran, but later moved with his parents to Germany. He holds a German passport.
Iranian citizens have been forbidden from traveling to Israel ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the point from which Iran also began to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
PARIS (AP) - Intruders entered the Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched a hole in a renowned work by Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the French culture minister said. She described the damage as an attack on "our memory, our patrimony."
A surveillance camera caught a group entering the museum, which houses a major collection of Impressionist art on the Left Bank of the French capital along the Seine River.
An alarm sounded and the group left, but not before damaging an invaluable painting, "Le Pont d'Argenteuil," an aide to Culture Minister Christine Albanel said by telephone.
No arrests were immediately made.
To recap, here are the rules of grievance as dictated by white liberals: If you're an African-American and your politics lean to the left, you can be righteously angry over slavery, segregation and discrimination and preserve that anger for more than 200 years. But, if you're an African-American and your politics lean to the right – and you're wronged in any way – then you have no right to be angry. And if you do succumb to anger, you must get over it in, oh, say, 16 years.
Personally, I'm glad Clarence Thomas is angry. He should be angry. And the rest of us should be ashamed.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
An Al-Qaeda atrocity like the Yazidi bombings, the murder of a brave young Sunni Sheik, torture chamber drawings, or dismembering and booby-trapping dead soldier's bodies just won't do. It must be an American atrocity. Sometimes it's hard to figure out just who they are rooting for
The Italian government is now giving young men cash to fly the nest.I blame the welfare state, endless corruption and the lack of a rational tax system. This targeted tax cut is not going to improve matters but Aaron Hanscom offers a suggestion.
An idea for Italy: pass a law prohibiting mothers from doing their sons’ laundry. Although even that might not work. According to the Telegraph, “Many other Italians happily send their laundry home to their mothers, and 43 percent, when they do finally move out, rent or buy homes less than a mile from their parents.”
LaFleur said the bright side will likely be an increase in the price per barrel, to about $45 dollars. It was about $37 per barrel last year.Markets! There's always an upside for somebody.
Friday, October 05, 2007
I was having a conversation with a Kurdish man in the city of Dahok (by myself and completely safe) discussing whether or not the insurgents could be viewed as "freedom fighters" or "misguided anti-capitalists." Shaking his head as I attempted to articulate what can only be described as pathetic apologetics, he cut me off and said "the difference between insurgents and American soldiers is that they get paid to take life—to murder, and you get paid to save lives." He looked at me in such a way that made me feel like he was looking through me, into all the moral insecurity that living in a free nation will instill in you. He "oversimplified" the issue, or at least that is what college professors would accuse him of doing.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Publishers of Metro Boston, a free daily newspaper, have purchased 200 recycling bins which will be distributed throughout the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter system. The bins will provide a spot for commuters to recycle their newspapers.Will BostonNow follow suit?
The bins also serve as 200 mini-billboards for the paper, with the Metro’s logo visible on the sides.
“Two of the chief concerns raised by our customers pertain to trash on the MBTA system and the desire to see us recycle more,” said MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas. “On behalf of hundreds of thousands of T customers, I want to thank Metro for this innovative and generous initiative. This will help us expand our recycling program so people can conveniently dispose of their newspapers, not on the floor, but in a bin.”