Monday, October 20, 2008

True Believers for Obama

Capitalism Magazine
A pretty telling synopsis of the state of the election today.
For the true believers-- which includes many in the media-- it is just a question of whether you like him or not.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Left and Right Divide

Townhall - Dennis Prager
Prager gets it, McCain does not.
For most of my life I have believed, in what I now regard as wishful thinking, that the right and left wings have essentially the same vision for America, that it's only about ways to get there in which the two sides differ. Right and left share the same ends, I thought.

Right and the left do not want the same America.


...

For these and other reasons, calls for a unity among Americans that transcends left and right are either naive or disingenuous. America will be united only when one of them prevails over the other. The left knows this. Most on the right do not.

Oblivious Progressives

Say Anything
Today the truly cultured person is expected to know nothing of his own culture and a smattering of everyone else’s. Because they’re certain in their epistemological arrogance they’ll never need any of the things they’ve safely abandoned. Who needs a family when you’ve got a retirement fund?

There Goes WEP Security for our WiFi

Herd Mentality in Markets

Economist
Is it really that simple?
The way that we behave depends as much or more on how others behave as it does on what the best information available suggests we ought to do:
Are we really that silly?  This author thinks so and his solution is nanny government to protect us from our silliness.  Ugh!!  Just where would all this silliness stop?
Clearly, it's in our nature to be so silly. One might think that it would make sense, then, to build some additional safe-guards into the financial system, so that when we forget again a few years down the road, we aren't once more threatened by dreadful collapse.
Children are silly.  Adults make choices - good and bad.  Adults should be accountable for their choices.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Expectation of Government Backstop

The Economist
The markets were never really free.
Much of the infrastructure of modern finance in effect rested on an expectation of a government backstop for the creditors of large financial institutions – a backstop that allowed a broad set of institutions to borrow short-term at low rates despite holding large quantities opaque and hard to value assets on their balance sheets.

Giving Christians a Bad Name

Real Clear Politics
This is the kind of stuff that makes reasonable people angry at parts of the Christian Right.  The assumption that their God is the only God and all others are wrong.
And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Orleans in the News

Tigerhawk
And not good news either.  It is listed among five of the cities with high murder rates.  The legacy of years of failed welfare policies and corrupt local Democratic government.  Bet this news doesn't hit the Big Media.

Suspending the Laws of Economics

QandO
McQ pretty much nails it and spreads the blame to the appropriate parties.  The problem is that the only ones left holding the bag are the investors.  Most of the managers and politicians will not be held accountable.  He references an great article from Victor Davis Hanson.
One last thought. Actually it’s Hanson who brings it up. It’s about those old fashioned "laws" that seem to have worked so well in the past. The ones that people seem keen on dumping because, well, they just don’t feed the needs of the instant gratification crowd:
  • Save your money. Don’t borrow what you can’t pay back. Look first at a man’s character, not his degrees. And if a promised return on an investment seems too good to be true, it probably is.
That little paragraph, if followed, can save you not only a lot of grief, but a lot of money as well. For most, it is common sense. For some, however, it will come as a revelation. For all it provides some rules of the road that will weather most political storms cause by the arrogant, inept and stupid who call themselves members of Congress and who repeatedly attempt to suspend the laws of economics for party and personal political gain.

McCain's Incoherency

Commentary
This pretty much describes my position with McCain.  I will vote for him because he is the lesser of two weevils.  The other day, in the same speech, he railed against Obama for ties with guys like Ayers and then told the crowd not to boo Obama because he was a decent person.  This kind of confusion makes ones head explode.  Like my prior article - is this the best we have to offer?


Friday, October 10, 2008

Kudlow is Optimistic

National Review
Yes, the months ahead are going to be tough. But I remain optimistic that our free democracy and free-market economy will survive this crisis as well.

Economic Terrorism

Counterrorism Blog
This wouldn't surprise me.  Congress has refused to acknowledge the national security aspects of energy independence.  Have the bad guys really out-thought us this badly?
According to economic analysis the severe financial crisis ravaging the US and hitting the international community on all continents has its economic roots in two major realms: One was the overbearing political pressure put on Wall Street to release loans into unprepared sectors of society and two, was the miscalculation -some say the drunkenness- of Wall Street in accepting these immense risks. But according to Political Economy assessment, there may have been a third player in the crisis: OPEC, or more precisely, radical circles within Oil Producing regimes in the Peninsula. The thesis argue that combined Salafist-Wahabi and Muslim Brotherhood circles in the Gulf -with consent from the Iranian side on this particular issue, used the escalating pricing of Oil over the past year to push the financial crisis in the US over the cliff.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

McCain Out of Ideas?

Tigerhawk
Seems like it doesn't it.  He doesn't have a clear platform about how to solve many of the issues facing us today.  Too bad the election process is so bad at promoting the needed debate.  He needs to take a page from  Newt Gingrich and offer a "referendum" for America.
He is the lesser of two weevils but he is not conservative and hasn't really articulated a vision of solutions for the problems we face.
There are rumors that McCain has a major announcement - we'll see tomorrow.  In the mean time:
What will the McCain administration do in its first 100 days? We know what Barack Obama will do -- raise our taxes (or at least my taxes), go about restructuring the healthcare system, re-regulate business from the agencies, try to negotiate his way to peace European-style, accelerate the withdrawal from Iraq, and appoint judges that turn the Constitution upside down. Since I dislike all that stuff (except maybe the health care piece) I am going to vote for McCain, but I am still left with the question, what will John McCain do? It is much less clear, at least to me. Conservatives are consigned, therefore, to vote for a leader only, not a program or even a way out of Dodge. I can live with that given the alternative, but in times of economic trouble it is not the way to win the election.

Common Sense for A Complicated Financial System

The Foundry
When a Nobel Prize-winning economist tells you something is too complicated to understand, pay attention. That is just what Nobel Laureate Gary Becker said about the financial crisis in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Still, Becker offers three sensible reforms:
  • increasing capital requirements on investment banks and money funds
  • speedy sale of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the governmet
  • resisting future bail-outs to reduce the “moral hazard” problem


What is a Right

National Review
Constitutional rights protect us from things: intimidation, illegal search and seizure, self-incrimination, and so on. The revolutionary idea of our Founding Fathers was that people had a God-given right to live as they saw fit. Our constitutional rights protect us from the power of government.

But these new so-called “rights” are about the government — who the Founders saw as the enemy — giving us things: food, health care, education... And when we have a right to be given stuff that previously we had to work for, then there is no reason — none — to go and work for them. The goody bag has no bottom, except bankruptcy and ruin.

A Glimmer of Education Reform

National Review
This is big stuff. So long as tenure protections make employment an entitlement and DCPS is constrained from identifying and removing faculty who don’t make the grade, it is hard to get serious about school improvement. It is not teacher-bashing to observe that some teachers aren’t equipped to instruct their students or that struggling teachers impose heavy burdens on their colleagues. Indeed, the return of these teachers each year sends an unhealthy message to their peers — that this is not a profession in which excellence is valued.

Entitlement Mentality

Belmont Club
There is something almost insane about these attitudes. It is almost a form of lunacy, and the worse for being completely unnoticed by the lunatics themselves. But if they knew they were crazy, they wouldn’t be, would they?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nuclear Energy News

Instapundit
I think we need to focus on Nuclear energy.  The technology for both producing the energy and handling the waste is improving.  Like all technologies, we can expect this to continue to improve.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Unintended Consequence of Attacking Bush

American Spectator
This author suggests that the vicious attacks against Bush have so diminished his authority that he is unable to rally the American people and we are losing much more wealth the longer the markets decline.
His image has been so thoroughly attenuated that he simply does not have the power to cheer America. Leaving office with 35 percent approval makes the duck more than lame, it makes him paralyzed.

Those who believe that George W. Bush has really performed that badly may feel justified in diminishing his authority through ridicule. All I will say is they had best be sure of their facts. Because if he has basically been a nice guy pursuing relatively bland policies, and most of the trouble we face cannot be laid at his door, then viciously scapegoating him until he has been stripped of the power to inspire has been more pernicious than anything he has committed or omitted.

This is one of the reasons conservative societies continue to venerate their leaders even after they mess up a time or two. The aura of the presidency has a value that accrues to all of our benefit. Diminishing the dignity of the office makes all of us poorer, in this case financially.
I think what the liberal media has done to Bush is disgraceful.  They have acted far beyond the notion of the political opposition and they have acted far beyond the bounds of news reporting.

As the article points out, I too am surprised at his (Bush's) lack of response.  I think this has contributed to the decline in support for the Republican party.  People don't understand when one doesn't fight back to protect himself.





This is the Best We Have to Offer?

I watched the debate tonight.  Actually that's not quite true.  I couldn't bring myself to watch Obama so I read QandO's live blog of the debate.
Now, I honor John McCain.  I honor him for his service and I think he is a true American.  I don't like Obama and I think he does not understand what it means to be an American.  But, neither of these guys should be president.  How is this the best we have to offer for the most important job in the world?  This is a truly sad commentary on the state of our republic.



Sex Education for Sixth Graders

First Things
Sadly, because they need it.

Too Late for Moral Questions

EPPC Publications
Interesting questions in the vein we ought to be talking about rather than the ridiculous state of affairs our election process brings us.
Between "gotcha" questions and the ubiquitous gaffe-watch, there hasn't been much serious moral debate in the endgame of this presidential campaign. In fact, there hasn't been a serious exploration of the moral kernel of so many of today's contested issues since the forum at Saddleback Church in August. In the hope that it's not too late to raise the level of a public discussion too often conducted in sound bites, here are some urgent moral questions to be pressed on those who would lead us.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Michelle Obama - Insuferable Complainer

Patriot Room
This not as much about Michelle as it is about the man who married her.  Why would a man marry an insufferable complainer?  What does it say about him?  And don't kid yourself that she doesn't have plenty of influence with him.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

New UCLA Study Confirms Media's Left Tilt

Impact Lab
“I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican,” said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study’s lead author. “But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.”

“Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left,” said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

Poll Disconnect?

The Strata-Sphere
there is something seriously wrong with polls showing an Obama wave across the country, yet on the ground Palin still commands record crowds (without enlisting big name music groups like Obama does to pad his events). For a campaign on the ropes and supposedly losing in VA and FL, how is it Palin is out in CA and drawing crowds the state has NEVER seen before for a political rally

Congress Has Been Useless for a Long Time

Samizdata
I suppose there is some consolation to know this is not entirely new.  And a hit on the lawyers thrown in for good measure.
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.

John Adams.

Do We Need An educated President?

No Quarter
As Mark Twain said – “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.”

Some Advice for McCain

No Left Turns
Recent rumors have it that McCain will go negative to win the election.  I'm not sure that, alone, will do it.  This article lays out specific things McCain needs to do.
  • McCain's ghost of chance would come from showing that he understands the real cause of the financial crisis in fairly partisan Republican way (which means implicating the Democrats),
  • taking on Biden's lies on judicial activism (while showing that Obama is far to the left even of Biden on abortion etc.),
  • defending in detail his quite defensible health-care reform as real and desirable change,
  • getting real tough and specific on the real differences between the two parties on energy policy (which means embracing the Palin let's do everything policy),
  • trumpeting the dangers of a very liberal united government (taking people's eyes away from Obama's baloney platform and toward what a very liberal Democratic Congress would actually do and roll back),
  • and driving a wedge between Obama's and Biden's record on war, foreign policy etc.,
  • showing, from the record, that Obama is actually pretty much of a McGovernite, and generally attack politically correct boboism on the level of "cultural" and educational policy.

Barney Frank's Conflict of Interest

Instapundit
The left's lies have infected our culture.
Others, however, are afraid to bring it up because he's gay. Is this the "soft bigotry of low expectations?" Or is it just, you know, a case of convenient political correctness?


Bribes

Instapundit
Your duly elected representatives are being bought off.

A Broken Political Culture

Instapundit
That we have a nearly incorrigible and immature Washington political culture has never been more clear.

A Chink in the Feminist Armor

Instapundit
A sensible feminist supports Sarah Palin

Reverse Racism

Home of Erotosthenes
The big lies of the left have overcome an entire generation of black people.  They are no longer able to think for themselves.  They have been purchased by the left with your tax money.  It's called welfare.
Listening in to a public conversation between two black girls
It degenerated from there but I can’t even imagine the pressure black people must feel to support Barack Obama based strictly on his race. It’s completely acceptable for Girl 1 to say “you’re a person of color, how can you not support the black man?” in a lobby full of people. Imagine the flip side, a white person chastising another white person for daring to support the black guy. Racism may still exist, but it’s not the kind we’re used to. This kind is considered ok. That’s a problem.



AP Alleges Racism

Don Surber
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as “not like us” is another potential appeal to racism.
So simply saying he is not like us implies racism?  How absurd.  However, this is what passes for analysis from Big Media and this appalling lie is being force fed to the electorate.

Michael Crichton on Environmentalism, Complexity, Fear and Humility

MichaelCrichton
In previous speeches, Michael criticized environmental groups for failing to incorporate complexity theory. Here he explains in detail why complexity theory is essential to environmental management, using the history of Yellowstone Park as an example of what not to do.

Fortunately, studies show that we can learn to manage complex systems. There are people who have investigated complex systems management, and know how to do it. But it demands humility.

...
And I would add, along with humility, managing complex systems also demands the ability to admit we are wrong, and to change course.  If you manage a complex system you will frequently, if not always, be wrong.  You have to backtrack.  You have to acknowledge error. You’ve probably learned that with your children.  Or, if you don’t have children, with your bosses.

 

And one other thing.  If we want to manage complexity, we must eliminate fear.  Fear may draw a television audience. It may generate cash for an advocacy group. It may support the legal profession.  But fear paralyzes us.  It freezes us.  And we need to be flexible in our responses, as we move into a new era of managing complexity. So we have to stop responding to fear.

An Argument for Government Intervention in the Financial Markets

Big Lizards
Several long-time commenters to Big Lizards have decried the Paulson-Bernanke rescue package. The line of argument is that, instead of a massively statist approach (we certainly agree on the description), we should have allowed the "free market" to correct itself.

I agree, this would have been a very much better approach -- if we had a free market to begin with. But we don't; we have a mixed socialist-free market, and that is what we will have for the forseeable future. So in the real world, the claim of the naysayers is that "We should have allowed the socialist-statist-populist-quasi-free market to correct itself."
And this very astute understanding of the reality of a very broken politicial system.
I understand that the plan that Congress enacted and the president signed on Friday sticks in the craw of many of you; it gags in my own throat. But we live in a real world, not Fantasyland; there simply is no other plan that can actually pass the 110th Congress.

(And if you think we can just wait a few months until the new Congress is sworn in, I can almost guarantee you that you'll like the 111th even less than you like the 110th.)

This deal was quite literally the best we could get enacted into law... and it was much, much better than doing nothing. So we had no choice.

Face it, gentle readers... you cannot put your foot down when you're stretched over the barrel.


Bill Clinton is Speechless

Big Lizards
Not very often the Slick Willy is at a loss for words.  I am no fan, but it is difficult to deny his intellect and political acumen.  Watch his response when he is questioned about Jeremiah Wright and David Duke.  The silence is deafening.

The Boomer Elite Mess

American Thinker
The current market turmoil is a product of every bad trait the Boomer Elite has long exhibited in other social and political contexts: unbridled greed and hubris, exorbitant self-regard, breathtaking recklessness, insatiable appetite for immediate gratification, and a rollicking sense of entitlement.

We are seeing in the Wall Street implosion the inevitable result of the Boomer Elite outlook and the behavior it spawned.

...

The Boomer Elite ideal is a sort of Directorate in the political system and economy, moral anarchy in personal conduct, and a quasi-totalitarian PC regime in societal relations.  It is bad character as a manifesto, and tsarism as a mode of governance.

Big Media is the Enemy

American Digest
The sooner the conservatives abandon their delusional belief in the innate goodness of the liberal heart and realize that the Big Media is their bitter enemy that has to be fought tooth and nail, the better their chances will be.

Uninformed Electorate

Greg Mankiw
Nevertheless, it's become good strategy to claim credit for good news and blame the other guys for bad news -- even though neither is likely.

Lee Iococca's Call to Arms

I agree with most of what he said.  I certainly agree with his outrage at the lack of leadership.  I certainly hear his call for change, but what is his plan?  Perhaps, since this is just part of his book, the solution is in the book.  May be worth checking it out.
I received this in an email.
"Throw all Represenatives out this Fall. Get some American Balls."   If you read this and are offended by it, call someone else;be mad or just get over it.Iacocca is right on.So is the NRA..Remember "rights to arms"..was in case you needed to overturn a corrupt government.The men who signed the constitution saw it coming.Pardons to the ladies who don't have balls-I know you have the right attitude!
 Remember Lee Iacocca, the VP at Ford credited with the birth of the Mustang, the man who rescued Chrysler, Corporation from their death throes, and the owner of the famous quote 'Lead, follow, or get out of the way'?   Well, he's back!  He has a new book, and here are some
excerpts.

          Lee Iacocca writes:

          'Am I the only guy in this country who's
fed up with what's happening?  Where the hell is our
outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder.  We've
got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state
right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters
stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a
hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of
getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when
the politicians say, 'Stay the course'

          Stay the course? You've got to be kidding.
This is America, not the damned 'Titanic' I'll
give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!'

          You might think I'm getting senile, that
I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone
has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

          The most famous business leaders are not the
innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're
fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody
seems to know what to do. And the press is waving
'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions.
That's not the promise of the 'America' my
parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've
had enough. How about you?

          I'll go a step further. You can't call
yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a
fight I'm ready and willing to have.

          The Biggest 'C' is Crisis !

          Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged
in times of crisis.  It's easy to sit there with your
feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone
else's kids off to war when you've never seen a
battlefield yourself.  It's another thing to lead when
your world comes tumbling down.  George Bush, Dick Chaney
and who it this Bozo
          coming up next?  One of the most Liberal Idiots
in the U. S. Senate and he is talking about disarming
America.  I can't believe the American people are seeing
what he is about to do to this country.  May God have mercy
on us all.

          On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader
more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady
hand to guide us out of the ashes. A Hell of a Mess. So
here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody
war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.
We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the
country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia,
while our once-great Companies are all moving offshore.
We're getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas
prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent
energy policy.  Our schools are the worst in the world. Our
borders are like sieves. The middle class is  being squeezed
every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership
and we are getting ready to put the most Liberal Senator in
the U. S. Senate in as our next President because we want to
be fair and elect someone just because of his race.  We
don't have time to be fair, we need a strong leader.

          But when you look around, you've got to ask:
'Where have all the leaders gone?' Where are the
curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of
character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common
sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I hope you
get the point.

          Name me a leader who has a better idea for
homeland security than making us take off our shoes in
airports and throw away our shampoo? We've spent
billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all
we know how to do is react to things that have already
happened.

          Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of
Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day
evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding
accountability for the decisions that were made in the
crucial hours after the storm. Everyone's hunkering
down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again.
Well guess what people?  We are having more floods right
now.  What are we doing to help these people out.  Now,
that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a
plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.
Why are we allowing people to build in flood plains anyway?
If you build in a flood area, expect to be flooded and deal
with it.  Don't expect the Government to bail you out.

          Name me an industry leader who is thinking
creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in
manufacturing.  All they seem to be thinking now-days is
getting themselves bigger salaries and bonuses. Who would
have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The
Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did
this happen, and more important, what are we going to do
about it?  likely nothing!

          Name me a government leader who can articulate a
plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis,
or managing the health care problem The silence is
deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at
our country and milking the middle class dry.

          I have news for the gang in Congress and the
Senate. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do
nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being
hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with
mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some
bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break.
 Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?  I
honestly don't think any of you have one!

          Had Enough?

          Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom
and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm
speaking out because I have hope; I believe in America ....
In my lifetime I've had the privilege of living through
some of America's greatest moments I've also
experienced some of our worst crises: the 'Great
Depression', 'World War II', the 'Korean
War', the 'Kennedy Assassination',  the
'Vietnam War', the 1970s oil crisis, and the
struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If I've
learned one thing, it's this:

          'You don't get anywhere by standing on
the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action.
Whether it's building a better car or building a better
future for our children, we all have a role to play.
That's the challenge I'm raising in this book.
It's a call to 'Action' for people who, like me,
believe in America . It's not too late, but it's
getting pretty close. So let's  shake off the crap and
go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had
'enough.'

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Have the Big Lies of the Left Tipped the Scales?

Wolf Howling
If this article is true, then the lies of the left have taken their toll at the very highest levels.

1.  A person running for president finds an argument too complicated?

2.  We are afraid to confront an issue because it has tinges of racism?

3.  We are unable or unwilling to identify what is important to the American people.




Unrestrained Greed

Townhall
Two things restrain greed - morality and appropriate government oversight.  In the decline of both of these, we ran wild.
Perhaps you think the problems causing the market meltdown are economic and financial in nature.  If so, think again.  Such problems are mere symptoms of the malady.  The root causes are moral and ethical in nature.

Disgusting Democrats

Instapundit
The Mudville Gazette quoting Jennifer Rubin of Commentary
It does remind one of their attitude on the Iraq war: every set back was gleefully trumpeted and every minor advance was dismissed. They never much cared how their rhetoric or votes might embolden the enemy or unnerve our ally. The sole consideration was domestic political gain. If they didn’t want to lose they certainly gave every indication it was low on their list of priorities. Bashing the President, rallying their base and positioning themselves for the next election was clearly more critical.

Hold Politicians Accountable

Blogs for Victory
I'm not a big fan of Bill O'Reilly but he goes after Barney Frank - and that's a good things.
We need to hold our elected officials to a higher standard. To not hold them to account for their malfiesance would be to say, in so many words, that we have ceased to live in a land of the people, by the people, and for the people; and have rather moved on to a "brave new world" of the elites, by the elites, and for the elites.